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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Easy, Light and Refreshing Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese

You'll love this easy, light and refreshing watermelon salad for your lazy summer meals.  It also makes a great take-along for those summertime cookouts and get-togethers...we enjoyed it on the Fourth, and don't forget...Labor Day isn't far away!

This salad is fabulous with crumbled goat or feta cheese...I like it best with goat cheese.  Layering the ingredients, rather than tossing them, preserves the color and texture.  Reserve the dressing until right before you serve the salad; because, otherwise, you'll be draining the dressing along with any accumulated watermelon juice.

                                               Cold and Refreshing...

                                            And Pretty Guilt-Free!                               

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cinnamon and Sugar Teddy Bear Muffins with Strawberry Butter

We enjoyed these adorable muffins at a baby shower my daughter hosted recently.  They were wonderful with the strawberry butter my daughter made, but they would be great with most any of my Very Berry Butters.  When I first saw a friend make the teddy bear muffins years ago, I just had to have the pan. The John Wright Classic Gourmet Cast-Iron Teddypan is now considered vintage; but you can find various internet sources for it, and you could use this recipe in most any cast-iron muffin pan.

I feel I've simplified the process and eliminated all of the kinks in working with this intricate pan for you.  A denser muffin is an ideal candidate for this pan; and after trying several recipes, I decided this simple, eggless muffin worked best.  I did enhance it with cinnamon and sugar; but you can make it totally plain, if you prefer.

                                                   So Whimsical...
                                                        Oh My!

As adapted from the vintage Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 8, page 1193, recipe for Eggless Muffins

Makes approx. 12-14 muffins


The Muffins
  • For greasing the pan...approx. 3 TB margarine or shortening per pan
  • 2 c. sifted plain, all-purpose flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 TB granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. cold water
  • For sprinkling on the muffins...1/2 c. granulated sugar & 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

The Strawberry Butter (or...raspberry, blueberry or blackberry butter)

                                            Just Waiting To Be Filled!

                                              Playful Little Teddies ...
                                                For Girls or Boys!                                           


(Before initially using cast-iron pans, they should be pre-seasoned according to the manufacturer's directions.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ยบ.
  2. For each pan of muffins you are baking, cover and melt 3 TB margarine or shortening in a microwavable dish for about 15 seconds on high.  Brush the pan(s) with the melted grease, thoroughly coating every detail in each cup.  Initially, heat the greased pan(s) in the oven for about 10 minutes before filling with the batter.  Thereafter, preheat the greased pan(s) for about 5 minutes before each time you fill with the remaining batter. The grease will pool within the muffin not drain!  Handle the cast-iron pans carefully, as they will be very hot!  (While the pan(s) are preheating, begin the next step of the recipe.)
  3. With a fork, thoroughly mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl or container.  (You will probably have extra...just enjoy it in another recipe or on your toast.)  Set aside.
  4. Sift the pre-sifted flour, baking powder, salt and 1 TB granulated sugar together.
  5. Mix in the cold water just enough to dampen the flour.
  6. Fill each muffin about 2/3 full with the batter, spreading any batter with a toothpick as necessary into the ears of the bears.  Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of each filled muffin cup, and set aside the leftover sugar mixture to use on the front of the bears after they bake.
  7. Bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from a couple of muffins.  Transfer the pan(s) from the oven to the top of the stove.  Using a toothpick, carefully lift the muffins from the pan(s) one by one and place on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch crumbs.
  8. If you have any excess residue from the pan(s) on the muffins, holding over the sink, carefully brush away with a mushroom brush or a very soft, new toothbrush.  You don't want to brush too much away, or you may lose some of the detail.  If you have excess cooked batter around the edges, you can carefully trim with clean, sharp scissors after the muffins have cooled a little...but consider first if it's that much excess batter, as you could risk disturbing the outline of the bears.
  9. To capture the detail well, sprinkle the top of each teddy bear with about 1/2 tsp. of the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture and tap off any excess.
  10. Serve warm with a bowl of the strawberry butter on the side. 

                                            We Have Character!

                                    Oh, Just Please Turn Me Over and...
                                   Slather Me with Strawberry Butter!

Delight your family or guests with these cute little teddy bear muffins with strawberry butter and enjoy!

Printable Recipe