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.

Continue reading

How to Journal: The Artist’s Way

artists wayWhile Expressive Journaling is deeply personal, there are times when we need a bit of help discovering a topic or emotion to unravel. There are three books I have used extensively to help develop writing prompts for just this purpose: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron; Life is a Verb by Patti Digh; and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

Over the next three weeks I will illustrate how I develop personal writing prompts from these three sources. Hopefully these will help you create your own writing prompts from special books in your personal library.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

How to Journal: Expressive Journaling

journal and penExpressive Journaling is the brainchild of Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas, Austin. This differs from other types of journaling because it focuses on Emotions and Feelings rather than detailing events, thoughts, or reactions to circumstances.

Pennebaker’s writing prescription is simple:

Write your deepest feelings about an emotional event in your life for 15-20 minutes a day for four consecutive days.

Continue reading