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Totoro Family Recipes: Fudge Muffins

river roadRiver Road Recipes (volumes 1 and 2) are popular Junior League cookbooks in the south. They hail from Baton Rouge and include such local specialties as Shrimp Creole and Crawfish Étouffée. My mom owned both copies, and I know she prepared several tasty dishes for family and friends.

I’m not sure she ever made the Fudge Muffins, but I couldn’t resist trying this easy, decadent recipe. Most of the ingredients are staples in any baking pantry, and they can be prepared and baked within thirty minutes. The texture is a cross between chocolate cake and chewy brownie, and despite the lack of coffee flavoring, I believe they have delicious mocha flavor.

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Totoro Family Recipes: Blueberry Muffins

MuffinsWhile blueberry muffins are a staple in any quick bread recipe collection, the ones from Muffins by Elizabeth Alston are unique in two ways.

First of all, the author suggests mashing a portion of the blueberries to avoid the soggy lump of fruit in the center of the muffin. When making mini-muffins, I like to mash all the blueberries. This ensures full berry flavor in every bite.

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Totoro Family Recipe: Cappuccino Chip Muffins

In a previous life, before school-aged children, a teaching career and my writing obsession, I operated a small catering business. I focused mostly on appetizers and desserts, but I was most known for Molly’s Muffins.

mostly muffinsAt the height of my baking career, I would make eighteen dozen mini-muffins a week for my Bible study group: six-dozen each of three different varieties. Suffice it to say, I had quite a repertory of muffin recipes. Continue reading

Totoro Family Recipes: Angel Bites

angel bites-3Most of you would recognize this confection as Puppy Chow, but in our family it is affectionately known as Angel Bites. Personally, I think we should rename the recipe and call it “Heavenly Crack” … because once I take a single bite, I can’t seem to stop.

My mom collected angels for years. At one time she was even a member of the Angel Collector’s Club of America. At one of their annual conventions, she purchased a fundraiser cookbook that included this recipe, and it was love at first bite.

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Totoro Family Recipes: Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread-5In 1992, our family established this Gingerbread House tradition.

Initially we would invite a family from church to join us, but as the children grew over the years and added significant others, we now limit the crowd to immediate family members.

Each “child” receives his/her own gingerbread house and cardboard base. Currently that would be my three children, their spouses, and one grandchild. One double batch of the recipe makes approximately three houses. So this year I will plan to make three-double batches and have a bit of leftover dough for gingerbread men and women to decorate as well.

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Totoro Family Recipes: Monkey Bread

thanksgiving dinnerThanksgiving 2015 was a bit different for us.

For the first time, we spent the weekend alone. Just the two of us.

Prior to children, we had a holiday tradition. Thanksgiving was spent with my parents – and Geoff’s family was invited. Christmas Eve was spent with his grandmother, who prepared the Italian vigil – and my parents were invited. And Christmas Day was spent at his parents’ house with everyone in attendance. We were fortunate that the two families lived close by and enjoyed one another’s company.

Once we had children and moved to Kansas, however, we would host the holiday feasts, and all children and grandparents gathered around our family table.
But this year all the children had plans of their own – and all parents have passed on. It was just the two us around the dining room table.

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