In the Kitchen

Fresh Pumpkin Muffins

Fresh Pumpkin Muffins

We cleaned and cooked pumpkins for our famous Fresh Pumpkin Cheesecake again this year, and found we had some leftover puree. I like to make muffins for one of our customers on Saturdays as lagniappe (see my other post) and decided to add the pumpkin. They were very tasty! If you are not a pumpkin fan – you may still want to add this one to your collection. The recipe can be modified to use almost any type of fruit. I’ve included substitution instructions for your baking pleasure. It’s posted on our main site under Breads – click here to download your copy.

In addition to the regular printed version, I also included an audio commentary. What’s this? Just something I’m playing around with. When trying to duplicate recipes from some of my relatives (okay Aunt Lois – I am speaking about you) I find that it is those ‘un-written’ comments that can make or break the dish.

The recipe section of our website is very popular. So, if you have a minute, please indulge me by taking a very brief and absolutely non-committal survey about how you use your PC and the Internet for recipes, by clicking here.

Thanks and enjoy!

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How to save 86,000 barrels of oil

In my post about going green, I mentioned that we switched to dishwashing soap from Seventh Generation. It is plant based and contains no dyes or petro chemicals. Here is a statistic from their label:

    “If every household in the U.S. Replaced just one 25 oz. bottle of petroleum based dishwashing liquid with our plant-derived product, we could save 86,000 barrels of oil a year. That’s enough to heat and cool 4,900 homes for a YEAR!”

I must admit that my wife buys most of our household products and I really don’t know what a bottle of dishwashing liquid costs. But even in these times, I’m happy to purchase this product and do what I can to save a little oil. We shop at Target, so it should be available in your area.

The price of oil has fallen recently (approaching 50%), and now OPEC is talking about cutting production to get the price back up again. My purchase of one bottle of soap may not give them cause for worry, but collectively, if we all start looking for ways to reduce our oil consumption, it can have an impact. So the next time you are out shopping, pick up a bottle. If enough of us do, it will make a difference.

And at the prices they’ve been charging us for oil recently, I’m not too concerned that our neighbors overseas will be standing in line at their local homeless shelter any time soon.

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A great way to serve brownies

Gourmet brownies

A red (a little dark in the photo), white and blue delight!

I hope you had the opportunity to watch at least some of the Olympic games in Beijing. We enjoyed some great family time and watched some incredible moments in history. It is truly inspiring to see these young (and some close to our age – thank you Dara) athletes from all around the globe put everything on the line to compete against the best in their sport.

After reading about the spectacular closing ceremonies, I decided to cap off our Olympic experience with a special dessert, featuring red, white and blue in honor of our athletes – GO USA!. So I pulled out some of our gourmet brownies and got to work. This was simple to prepare, but very tasty and a great presentation.


    Seedless raspberry jam
    Raspberry liqueur
    Powdered sugar

In a saucepan, scoop out enough jam to heat and cover the bottom of the plate (about 2 tablespoons per serving). Heat the jam, stirring constantly to melt. Add the liqueur to taste – about 2 teaspoons per serving. If you don’t have raspberry liqueur, you could add Grand Marnier or your other favorite that goes with raspberries and chocolate. Keep stirring until the lumps are all melted.

I used my favorite cobalt blue plates and poured enough of the melted jam on the bottom to coat the center. Sprinkle the powdered sugar lightly over the plate. Place a brownie in the center. Enjoy!

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