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Archive for November 12th, 2009

Memories and muffins.

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of my granddad’s passing. I thought about my mum a lot as I know she was missing her mum and sisters back in England. I also thought about all of the happy memories I have from the ten years that I knew Nic-nic.

He was such a special man, and he spoiled his grandkids like there was no tomorrow. I always looked forward to our trips to the north of England to see him and Gran. We lived less than two hours from them but that was a huge journey back then. They lived on a farm in an old farm-house (where my mum grew up). I have vivid memories of playing outside on go-carts, or frolicking in the fields for hours with all of my cousins and running in from the cold wind with rosy cheeks to seek the warmth of the crackling fire. It seemed like Nic-nic always had a grandchild in his lap laughing their heads of as he pulled his fake teeth out and put them back in again. I think the real reason we loved going there so much was that we were given more candy in the week we spent there, than we were for the rest of the year. Nic-nic was always awake first in the mornings before going to work on the farm. Andrew, Jess, and I would arise as early as possible and sneak downstairs before our parents awoke in eager expectation of what we would be given for ‘breakfast’. “Do you want eggs this morning?” Nic-nic would tease. “Cadbury’s cream eggs???” We were in heaven. But these treats were always accompanied with the warning “Don’t tell your Gran or you’ll have me shot!!!”.

Needless to say, we all miss him. I wish he could have seen all that his family has accomplished and the love that was born out of his love for Gran. Even though he’s been gone for a long time now, the memories I have are as fresh as they were 13 years ago. Because I was a child for the entirety of my relationship with him, these memories are innocent, naive, and almost magical. They are unadulterated by the complicated and harsh reality that comes with adulthood. And I like it that way. In my mind he was a saint. He was perfect. He was Nic-nic.

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On another note altogether, I thought I would do a recipe post. I baked these pumpkin apple streusel muffins two days ago and they are delicious! So I thought I’d share.

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Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple

For the streusel 

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons butter

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

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2. In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.

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3. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil.

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4. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten.

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5. Take the cut up apples and fold them in to the mixture.

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6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

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Now for my favorite part! The streusel (which should be a food group all of its own in my opinion):

7. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

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8. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.

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9. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

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10. As soon as they have cooled, take them to the neighbors, or throw them in the freezer. Otherwise you will want to eat them all, they’re highly dangerous ; )

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