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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The joy of cooking--with a grandchild

Jacob eating a mini-muffin while Sophie watches jealously
In the continuing effort to keep seven-year-old Jacob from being constantly attached to one kind of digital screen or another, I announced Friday night that we would pot some herbs and then make mini-muffins. I shop at Origins (cosmetics) a lot, and last time I was there they gave me a starter kit for three herbs--chives, basil and thyme (all of which I already have on my porch). Each small pot had a hard cake of dirt in it--Jacob was fascinated watching the dirt cakes expand as we poured water on them. Then we carefully planted the ten seeds in each packet. He hasn't quite got the idea of giving them a tiny bit of water each day, but I do hope they sprout.
Then we moved on to muffins. He wore an apron, dumped the ingredients in the bowl, and with a bit of help from me, used the mixer. Then he spooned the batter into each muffin tin, using two spoons. As he worked, he said, "This is so much fun!" When I told him it would be easiest to use the spoon in his right hand to dip up the batter and the one in his left to scrape it off the first spoon, he said, "You just taught me the secret of cooking." I said, "Well, one of them." "How many are there?" he asked in all seriousness.
I will admit he flaked out on the second pan and spent the rest of the evening watching TV in the chair in my office. But he enjoyed the fruits of his labor. I gave him one muffin, and then when I took the second batch out of the pan I said, "Jacob, something awful has happened. This muffin fell apart. I can't serve it to company. What should I do with it?"
His answer was instantaneous. "Give it to me." And I did.
Here's the easiest muffin recipe you've ever tried:

1 pkg. Devil's Cake mix
1 can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup mini chocolate bits

Spoon into greased muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. The recipe is meant for regular size muffins, but I found that the mini ones have to bake just as long.

Best thing: one regular size muffin is something like one Weight Watchers point. So enjoy and feel righteous.

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