Magic Muffins

This is a great quick recipe, perfect for those times when you’re being careful with your money or don’t feel like shopping, but need to satisfy a craving for something a little sweet. I give recipes like this the name “magic” because they can be made with a wide variety of ingredients (Magical Options) and they come out a little different every time, depending on what you have in the kitchen…. they’re a nice dessert, a great snack, a quick breakfast and a super gift for friends and neighbours… enjoy!

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

2-3 Cups Muffin mix and a few Magical Options (see below)

Wet ingredients:

1 C water, 1-2 T cooking oil (or melted margaine or butter) and an extra cup of water

Mix your wet and dry ingredients separately, then make a ‘well’ in the middle of the dry. Add the wet mix to the well, stir it through to coat the dry mix; keep adding water a little at a time until the mixture is moistened all the way through, but not too stiff to stir. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease your muffin tins well. Fill to 3/4 full of muffin batter, bake for 20-28 minutes or until they spring back to the touch and smell just right.

Magical Options (pick a nice combination from below and use your imagination!):

1/2 cup shredded coconut 1/2 C raisins or currants, chopped dates, dried cranberries, papaya, apricots…

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, almonds, walnut or pecans

1 tsp. powdered ginger 1 tsp. cinnamon powder

1 plain chocolate bar, chopped (or 1/2 C chocolate chips, or 2-4 T. cocoa

1 small apple, chopped or 1/2 C blueberries, strawberries

Muffin Mix

1) Store bought mix: you can find cake or muffin mix on sale and add “Magical” stuff from your kitchen

2) Homemade mix: 3 cups flour (or 2 Cups flour and 1 cup oats) 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 3/4 C of sugar, or more or less to taste

Suggestions

Fruit Filling: Fill each muffin tin half-way and add 1/2 tsp jam, jelly or soft fruit in the middle. Fill the cups 3/4 full with the muffin batter and bake!

Time Savers:

1) Keep half of the batter in a clean jar in the fridge to make fresh muffins quickly anytime; the batter will keep for 4-7 days.

2) Make a big batch of dry muffin mix and keep it in the freezer – When you’re ready to make muffins, shale out what you need into a big bowl, add your wet ingredients and magical options and bake.

Sweet combinations:

“Fruity” explosion: Add chopped apple and a few raisins and berries to the dry mix; put a spoonful of jam in the middle of 2 layers of batter.

Ambrosia: Add coconut, ginger, cinnamon, almonds and orange essence, diced orange rind or mashed banana.

Gourmet ideas: You can blend a whole orange with the seeds removed into the wet mix, add some chocolate chips or cocoa to the dry and make a nice chocolate orange muffin!) How about lemon, poppy seed and cornmeal?

Savory Combinations: Leave out the sugar and add one or a combination of: Shredded cheese, chopped sundried tomatoes, cooked beans, diced carrot, fried minced onion, celery

Add herbs and spices – chili powder, oregano, rosemary, parsley , olive oil

Rough Times Bacon ‘n’ Egg Muffin: (you’ll never want to stop at a fast food place for breakfast once you’ve tasted these! ) Put a small piece of cooked bacon (vegetarians can use soy bacon), a bit of grated cheese and a spoonful of stirred raw egg in the middle of each muffin, fill the muffin cup with no-sugar batter (you can add a few herbs too!) and add a little grated cheese on top. Bake as usual.

Tip: Don’t have a muffin tin? Well, use a cake pan, a frying pan with a heatproof handle, small tart or other baking dishes – or get to the second hand store and find a nice muffin tin… it’s still probably cheaper than buying those store-bought muffins.

Much Love, Gramma Willi

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

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Rough Times Cake

Rough Times Cake

Watch a video of this recipe at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_aMmz_nhhE

This is a simple and not-too sweet cake, sometimes called “Depression Cake”. So easy to make, it is free of eggs or milk, so it’s vegan friendly, easy on the budget and delicious.

Ingredients

2 Cups Raisins

1 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups Water

1/3 Cup Margarine

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Nutmeg

1/8 tsp Allspice

2 Cups Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Round Tbsp Baking Powder

Sift dry ingredients together or stir well. Mix the wet ingredients in a big cup or bowl, add to dry mixture to make an easy-to-stir dough. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry.

Suggestions: While it’s still warm, spread a thin layer of corn syrup over the top for a nice glazed, elegant-looking cake. Freezes really well if it’s wrapped twice; since it’s such a big cake, I usually freeze half for later). Add nuts, raisins, currants, sweet cranberries, chopped apples or coconut to the dry mix… use mashed bananas, a little less water and make it a banana cake… forget the spice and add chopped strawberries, peaches or blueberries… use less water and a beaten egg or two for a rich texture – there’s no limit when you use your imagination!


Gramma Willi’s Random Blogging

Rough Times Come Again No More

It’s January 2009. Everybody’s talking about the world’s economic collapse. Canada said it’s officially in a DEPRESSION last week, while the United States, Asian and European countries are still calling it a RECESSION. This is leaving the rest of us wondering, what should we be doing about it?

Being old enough to be a Gramma, I’ve already been through a few recessions. I also listened hard to my Mom and a lot of other older-than-me people tell me what the last Depression was like. I’m pretty sure that this one will be way harder on big companies than on the average person… so relax a little, willya?

My strategy is to ignore the hype, get back to basics and do everything I can to share what works for my family with people who are asking what to do. After all, when you cut out the opinions of the media, your boss, banker, wealthy people and “experts,” the bottom line is “what can I do to help myself and my loved ones?”

I wrote the Rough Times Cookbook a few years back to help people like you and me. Lately, it seems a whole lot more important to get it out there as widely as possible! People are starving in cities, towns, whole regions of the Earth and it’s NOT because we don’t have enough food to feed us all. Answer questions about what we eat, spend our money on, how and and where and why we buy things and you’ll find out important truths about yourself and our world.

Seems to me, too many of us are acting like the big companies – selfish and lazy. Too many of us depend on governments and big companies and don’t take control of the little money that we do have. Not enough of us are learning OR doing what it takes to take care of our communities and our lives and become more self sufficient. For us little guys to survive, supporting each other is the name of the game… after all, the big guys are bailing each other out like crazy, aren’t they?

If you take the information I’m offering to help you take immediate action to get and stay ahead financially, then I’ve done my job. Support this work and then you’ve done your job.

Love, peace, hugs and full bellies for all

Gramma Willi

P.S. My next move is to get Rough Times cooking stuff published and televised… anybody out there interested in a fun, radical, waaaay-cool cooking show? Well then, let’s have a cup of tea together!

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup

A good hearty soup for cold nights, versatile too!

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (optional)
oil for sautéing
2-3 C. cabbage
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 C. chopped tomatoes
1/2 C. pearl barley
1/2 tsp. dried dill (optional – oregano or basil will do nicely)
Salt and pepper to taste
8 – 12 C. water, (enough to fill the pot)

Sauté onion and garlic in oil in soup pot until soft, add the rest of the ingredients, water to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 -3 hours, all day or overnight. Serve with your choice of bread, crackers, biscuits, and cheese.

If you’re adding cooked meat or beans, allow them to simmer in the soup for at least an hour.

Hints: Meat lovers can add slices of cooked beef or sausage, while vegetarians can add beans and extra barley, rice or macaroni for complete protein; Lentils are especially good in this soup, and they cook quickly! Almost any vegetable tastes good in this soup. Leftover Spaghetti Sauce (leftover chili, etc.) can be added in place of the tomatoes

Rough Times Cookbook

RoughTimesCookbook.jpgAbout The Book

ROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK: How to Cook, Eat and Shop on a Low Budget. By Willi Nolan

Written by a former welfare mother and legendary human rights activist, Nolan’s cookbook is a labor of love and a chance to help low income people to eat well for life. People on the smallest budgets will find ways to stretch their food dollars and make delicious, gourmet-quality, quick and easy, meals at home with this timely, simply written book. Sure-to-become a kitchen classic, The Rough Times Cookbook teaches common sense, tried and true ways to shop on a budget, stock a kitchen, store good food and eat healthier.

Although it was written to meet the needs of people who live on very low incomes, anyone who wants to eat well and still have money left to enjoy life will appreciate The Rough Times Cookbook’s no-nonsense approach to eating and living well. Drawing from grandmothers, students, and single parents, The Rough Times Cookbook gives plenty of great tasting, inexpensive and nutritious recipes, from main dishes and soups to quick breads and desserts using ingredients found in most kitchens.

Its great combination of home-style and unique recipes include low meat, no meat, East Coast, Asian, Jewish, wartime and Native Indian cookery. An entire “Meatless Meals” section is devoted to vegans and vegetarians. The thought-provoking section on “Healthy Foods” takes the mystery out of health food, while the mouth-watering recipes provide plenty of helpful hints and suggestions for saving time, substituting ingredients and putting your personal touch to any dish. Most main dishes will feed 4 people and can be prepared for $2.00 -$5.00

The Rough Times Cookbook makes a great gift for anyone who wants to get the most out of their food dollar, and is especially useful for the budget-challenged. $20.00.

Contact: Willi Nolan, The Backwoods Writing House