Monday, July 26, 2010

Healthy & Thrifty Kitchen: Muffins

I want to encourage everyone in their cooking and feeding your family that you can make tasty and healthy food quickly and within budget. We love muffins but as our morning are so busy I  am grateful for any recipe that simplifies my time in the kitchen.  We usually serve muffins with fruit and a big glass of milk. So today I am going to share one of my favorite mix recipes with you. It is The Hillbilly House Wife's .....

Sweet Wheat Muffin Mix

•8 cups whole wheat flour

•1 cup brown sugar
•1-1/2 cups instant nonfat dry milk powder
•1 tablespoon salt
•1/4 cup baking powder
•1 cup solid vegetable shortening

For this recipe you will need a very large bowl. I have a huge metal one with a few dents that the children borrow for a top spinning game. It is nearly indestructible, although, as I remember it cost over $7 brand new, so it should be.

Measure eight level cups of whole wheat flour into the bowl. Add the sugar, dry milk powder, salt and baking powder. Stir the mixture with clean hands, so that the salt and baking powder are evenly mixed in with the other ingredients.

Next get a one-cup sized measure. Pack shortening into it until it reaches the top. Use a spoon or your fingers to make sure the shortening is firmly packed into the cup without any air pockets. Now use your index finger to level off the top. Your fingers will be very greasy. That is alright, you can wash them later. When you get the top level, use your fingers to scrape the shortening out of the measuring cup, into the bowl of flour. Try to get as much of the fat out of the cup as you can without being obsessive about it.

Now you should have a bowl of dry ingredients with a big glob of white shortening on top. Mash the shortening with your hands. Yes, with your hands (don’t panic . Use your fingers to mush the flour mixture with the fat until it is very crumbly. This part is fun, like you’re a kid again. Mash and mix and mix and mash; contemplate the textures between your fingers. Reminisce about squeezing mud between your toes as a kid. Sigh and relax and enjoy yourself. When the mixture is evenly crumbly, with a few small chunks the size of peas, or dried beans, you are done. Phew, now you can wash your hands.

Scoop the Muffin Mix into a clean coffee can. It will make 12-1/2 cups, or enough to fill a large coffee can all the way full. If necessary, shake or tap the can gently, to pack down the mix, so there is enough room for all of it. The mix may now be stored in the fridge, if you will be slow to use it, or on the shelf in the pantry, if you will be using it within the next 6 weeks or so.

Suggested Directions for how to use the proportions along with some variations to the basic muffin mix

Things we add to the mix for variety: peaches, blueberries, apples & pineapple. Any kind of fruit your family likes would go really well in these things! These are not the super sweet jiffy muffins they have sweetness to them so if your family is used to super sweet muffins it may take a few batches to adjust.We make a large batch of this and keep it in the pantry. As you can see I write the directions on the side of the container so they are always handy. If you are wondering the container is one of those jumbo ice cream containers that we buy for birthday parties. Having this premade mix ready is also really easy for my hubby to make healthy muffins (if I am away) for our family with any trouble.

I hope you find this recipe to be a blessing and an encouragement as you are seeking healthy and thrifty recipes with which to bless your family!

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