Baking, Breads, Muffins & Donuts, Dinner

The Unexpected

Good morning!

Who knew I would be having a four day weekend! It was an unexpected surprise for sure!! I have been thinking about unexpected events lately…It could be a phone call from a friend, an unexpected book arrives on your doorstep and you are launched into the world of Julia Child, a new recipe catches your eye, a surprise snow day…this list could go on for days. I’ll spare you all the details.

Zesty cranberry muffins

I made up a batch of muffins with the intent of using up some cranberry sauce I had. Well…the good news is…there is still some cranberry sauce left! That just means more muffins are ready to be made! I adapted this recipe from the Two Peas and Their Pod blog ( What is great is that this doesn’t make 12 muffins…I actually got 8 good sized muffins out of this recipe.
Leftover Cranberry Muffins
1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 C. sugar (orig. called for 1/2 C)
1 T. lemon/ lime zest (orig. called for orange)
1/4 C. canola oil
1 egg
1/3 C. buttermilk (orig. called for milk)
1 t. almond extract (orig. called for vanilla)
3/4 C. cranberry sauce

I mixed the wet ingredients up. I whisked the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. I added the zest to the sugar, mixed it up then added it to the dry ingredients. Mix everything together and you should know that this batter is thick! It was so thick I thought that I would have hockey pucks instead of muffins. In fact..I bet the buttermilk thickened this up even more…next time maybe a splash more buttermilk? I used my tablespoon cookie scoop to lay out the bottom layer of dough, added in a teaspoon or two of sauce, added the top layer and tada. I sprinkled on some turbinado sugar (I was feeling fancy) and away these gems went to the oven. I love the slight zesty tang of these muffins, the surprise cranberry sauce and light sugar crunch on top. It made for a great morning…sipped a latte, ate a muffin and learned some harmonies to some new tunes.

Until this moment I didn’t realize just how much I cooked over the past few days! I roasted a chicken. Simple roasted chicken is a fantastic thing!! Added a lemon half, some thyme, sage, and rosemary to this one. With the remains of the chicken…i.e. chicken carcass (what a strange word!)…I made a homemade chicken stock. I have never been successful with this before. In fact, I usually ended up with a very subtle chicken flavored hot water. This time around I ended up with a delicious, rich, chicken stock. I added some garlic, onion, celery, carrots, salt, pepper, thyme to the mix. I simmered for 5/6 hours. What does one do with chicken stock you ask?

Connect the dots

Did you guess? Risotto of course! Risotto is fairly simple…it requires patience. I have a lot of patience so I was ok with this stirring for 25 minutes or so adding in broth in 1/2 cup increments. The final version had a little sundried tomato chicken sausage sprinkled on top. 3 cheers for happy, comfort food!

So creamy. So dreamy.

And today on my bonus day off I made up a cherry cake. Why a cherry cake you ask? Well I have had this can of cherries for some time.

Adios cherries!

I guess they are supposed to be really good? Well good, or not, I had to use them up. I was tired of looking at them! This cake is pretty groovy…it has a glaze on the top. The glaze is made out of the cherry juice. There needs to be a full cup of cherry juice….and I was just shy of a cup. I used Grand Marnier to top it off of course! A hint of orange mixed with the cherries, walnuts made for a tasty snack today amidst the shoveling.

I realize I usually leave you with some type of life lesson. But today I really don’t have any life things to offer. Although you could go be kind to one another…unlike the man who pulled out in front of me today on slippery roads. I had two choices…hit him or narrowly avoid a parked truck and veer towards a fun, pillowy, type of snowbank. I opted for the snowbank. A kind stranger helped pull my car out of this snowbank. I love living in a small town where people just have towing cables in their trucks…just because? It was a fun adventure (I was safe, the car was too)…and I was only 5 minutes late to my session at the gym. It really does pay to be kind towards others. Go forth and be kind. And get some towing cables to store in your car…you never know when they will come in handy! Thanks for reading and have a great week!

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