Mulled Cider Muffins by @Donna_Fasano #Recipe #Foodies

Welcome to November! Last month, I posted a recipe for Mulled Cider and this month I’m giving you a recipe for Mulled Cider Muffins. Bakeries everywhere offer Apple Cider Donuts this time of year. These delicious dunkers are very popular. I wanted to take the idea and add a twist of my own. Why, you might ask… well, because fried donuts give me indigestion, and I wanted the flavor of apple cider in a baked muffin. Here’s what I came up with.

Mulled Cider Muffins

Please don’t skip the first step! When you reduce a flavorful liquid, it gives your baked good an even more intense taste.

Mulled Cider Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients for the Mulled Cider Reduction:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for Muffins:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mulled cider reduction

Ingredients for the Coating:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoon butter, melted
First, make the Mulled Cider Reduction. Directions:
  1. Place apple cider, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon in a small saucepan.
  2. Simmer on medium heat until reduced by half. You should end up with 1/2 cup of liquid.
  3. Remove the star anise and cloves from the mulled cider reduction and set the cider aside to cool.
Second, make the Muffins. Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg, and then whisk to combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 10 tablespoons of the butter, the brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the mulled cider reduction. When the cider is fully mixed into the batter, scrape the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. While the muffins bake, make the Coating. Whisk 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl to combine. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small pan over low heat. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes after baking. Then, brush them with the melted butter. And then dredge the muffins in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately.

Apple Cider Muffins

Enjoy!

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An Honorable Man

Book 1 of The Black Bear Brothers Series

A Beautiful Stranger

Book 1 of A Family Forever Series

Mountain Laurel

The Perfect Autumn Romance! If you enjoy light, entertaining Hallmark movies, then you will love Mountain Laurel.

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If you love delicious down-home recipes, then this cookbook is for you.

 

The Beauty of Fall Celebrations….

The Fall season is upon us, and school is back in session. (Hurray!)

I always think of this season as a time for fresh beginnings. It’s also the time for regional events, which are always unique and interesting. Here are a few in the U.S. you might want to explore.

  • The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, Croton-on-Hudson, New York – The celebration of the Jack O’Lantern is a full swing party here! There are more than 7,000 pumpkins carved by the artisans at the Van Cortland Manor displayed on the grounds of the stately home. This goes on through November.
  • Sever’s Corn Maze and Fall Festival, Shakopee, Minnesota – this annual event runs through Halloween. There are music events, pumpkin sculptures, art installations, and the not to be missed, corn maze. The largest in the state!
  • Autumn at the Arboretum, Dallas, Tx – This event has a Pumpkin Village and gardens full of fall decorations. You can also visit A tasteful Place which is their food, herb, and vegetable garden. Plus, live bands. This exciting event runs through November 1st.
  • The North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival, Whiteville, North Carolina – Here we have everything from musical entertainment to craft vendors, a fun run, in the town known as the top producer of pecans in the state. The festival runs the weekend of November 5-6.

Wherever you live, you can find wonderful activities to celebrate fall my favorite season.

How are you and your family celebrating Fall? Please share your comments below.

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6 Home Remedies for Bug Bites by @Donna_Fasano

Help! I’ve been bitten by a mosquito. Twice! And the red bumps that were left behind itch like the dickens! What to do? Here are some quick and easy home remedies for bug bites.

Remedies for Bug Bites

  1. Baking soda – Mix a bit of baking soda with water and coat the bite. Sodium bicarbonate will relieve itching. (I smeared some on my bites.)
  2. Toothpaste – Yes, toothpaste! Most brands of toothpaste contain menthol which alleviates itch and swelling. Toothpaste also contains astringent ingredients that draw out fluid from beneath the skin which helps with swelling.
  3. Basil – Mince up some fresh basil and rub it on the mosquito bites. Basil contains eugenol which relieves itchy skin. Don’t have fresh basil? Simmer some dried basil in water (as if you were making tea). Let the basil water cool, and then dip a cloth in the water and apply to the bites.
  4. Ice – Apply ice to the bites to help relieve itching and swelling. Only apply ice for about 10 minutes at a time. And never fall asleep with ice on your skin.
  5. Garlic – There are compounds in garlic that relieve itching and swelling. Place a slice of garlic and put it on the bite. This might not be the best remedy to use with children as garlic can sting.
  6. Aloe – Keep a bottle of aloe vera gel in your fridge. The gel will cool and help heal red, itchy skin.

Did you know you can make your own mosquito repellent? It’s easy to keep the bug bites at bay.

Homemade Insect Repellent

  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon rubbing alcohol
  • 2 Tablespoon water
  • 25 drops citronella oil
  • 25 drops eucalyptus oil
  • 40 drops peppermint oil

Pour all ingredients into a small spray bottle and then shake. Make sure you shake before each application.

What are your best home remedies for bug bites?

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We all love to be entertained… or to entertain. Some of us wear both sombreros. Before there were books, entertainers – jesters and gladiators of one sort or another – strutted their stuff to elicit reactions. Then folks learned to write. Can you imagine the thrill when someone figured out how to go beyond hash marks for tallying sheaves of grain and used scribbles to create words to share stories and histories?
Coming forward a few millennia, new ways have been developed to entertain us. I still like the written word, but I can’t read and drive, shop, garden, or clean house (ugh) at the same time. Well, I can – sort of – if I ‘listen’ to my book. Audiobooks are cool, but unless you have a fantastic public library that lends them, they’re pricey to buy and only a small percentage of books are recorded.

The solution to reading while driving, washing dishes, pulling weeds, swinging from the trees… whatever… is to enable text-to-speech on your phone, computer, or other smart device. Chrome, Apple, and Amazon all have their own versions of TTS. I couldn’t test Apple’s because I have a PC, but here are two other options.
The Chrome Store has a free app that will read several different formats (Kindle, Google Play, Scribd, Overdrive) to you. The reading pace is adjustable in settings, but the speech is mechanical. I’d have to be desperate or really mad at Amazon to use it.


The other way to go is with Amazon. I think all their Echo and Fire devices are now Alexa enabled. I love my Echo units. I can start ‘reading’ (listening) to a book in the car, walk into the store and continue listening through the wee speakers in my Echo glasses frames, come home and listen to more on the Echo Show, then fall asleep as Alexa continues to read on the Kindle Fire. No eyestrain involved plus all the devices automatically sync to each other. Alexa’s voice is sweet and the rate and manner of speech are great, too. Oh, and she also pauses, skips forward or back, or changes books when you tell her to (no fumbling for a keyboard). Awesome if you missed a passage.
Now, no excuses for not checking out a great read. Go ahead. Put in your earbuds and listen to a book while your sweetie is watching a ball game or you’re hauling kids to karate class. You deserve a break today. Just try and time it right so you’re not at an emotional moment in the story when picking out produce. The other shoppers might wonder if you’re crying at the prices or losing it completely. They won’t know it’s because Claire just left Jamie (again).

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