Planning For A Long Cold Winter–Let’s Start With These Muffins

Our garden was pretty much a big wash out this summer. I’m thankful that our harvest, or lack thereof, doesn’t mean we will have to go without this winter.  It just means we will be buying more canned goods and frozen veggies from the grocery store which never taste as good as those you preserve or freeze yourself.

Because of this, I have started stocking up on many of the canned goods I anticipate we will need to get us through a long cold winter.  Fortunately, I did get around to freezing some delicious sweet corn that our good neighbors gave us, and I have made several containers of homemade applesauce that went directly into the freezer too.   Today, I decided to add to my freezer stockpile by making a batch of these ever so tasty breakfast muffins (Banana Oat Mini Chocolate Chip) that should help make any morning just a little warmer and brighter – no matter the temperature. 

If you’ve got some brown bananas sitting around that you just aren’t sure what to do with, you MUST make a batch of these muffins!   These muffins are a bit heartier than my mom’s banana bread recipe. They also have mini chocolate chips in them which helps capture your taste buds attention.  I’m also thinking that a quarter of a cup of chopped walnuts would really send these muffins over the moon but I didn’t add any to this batch.  Maybe next time!

Banana Oat Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 stick of margarine (or butter), sliced

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. sour milk

1 c. old-fashioned oats

2 c. all purpose flour

3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place baking papers in muffin tins.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put mashed bananas in a large bowl and cover with both brown and granulated sugar; let sit for a few minutes.  Add sliced butter and eggs; mix thoroughly.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Mix in flour and oats until combined.  Fold in mini chocolate chips. 

Fill baking papers about 2/3 full.  Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.  Allow to cool before removing from the tins.

There is nothing sweeter smelling than ripe bananas covered in brown sugar.  Is there?

How do you prepare for long cold winters?  Does it involve preserving or freezing?

Sweet Corn and the Deep Freeze

If you live in climates where fresh fruits and vegetables are practically unheard of during the winter months than you might appreciate this post.  You know what I’m talking about, it’s that time of year when the only things that you’ll find  green are misletoe or Christmas trees.  *Disclaimer – if you can’t associate with this type of winter season than send me your address I’m coming to visit!

To help myself feel as if I have some, even if it’s just a little, control over the situation I typically think ahead.  I pick fresh berries and freeze them, make an abundance of sweet jams and jellies, and if the conditions are right – I load the freezer up with some veggies too. 

Our neighbors always plant a Goliath of a garden which they share with their family, friends, and neighbors.  This year, thanks to their generosity, they offered us sweet corn to freeze and to eat fresh. 

Have you ever froze corn?  It’s not hard.  You just have to blanch it before freezing it. I usually pull out my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning Cook Book to refresh my memory on blanching times before I freeze anything.  In the case of freezing sweet corn, here is what to do. First, put a big pot of water on the stove and set the heat on high temperature to bring the water to a full boil.  Then husk and wash the corn. Once the water is boiling  drop the corn into the pot one ear at a time.  The size of the ears of corn depends on your blanching time. For example, the cookbook recommends 7 minutes for small sized ears, 9 minutes for mediums sized ears, and 11 minutes for larger sized ears. Start timing your blanching process the minute you drop the corn into your pot.  *If you live 5000 feet above sea level add another minute to your blanching time.

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Once the corn is blanched plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking process.  When the corn has cooled enough so you can handle it cut the kernels off of each cob and package it in freezer bags or containers. I use freezer bags and press them flat so they take up less space in the freezer. 

I know there will be many a winter night that this home grown corn will taste great smothered in butter and salt and pepper.