I know what you are thinking. I am really really late with my SRC post. But I’m not. Honest. I changed groups and now I am with Group C. It’s a whole new world with lots of delicious blogs and new friends to make. So, you see, I am not late!

And I am starting with a blogger who had more than 500, YES, 500, recipes to choose from. Egad! It was a hard thing to just pick a couple I knew I could do before leaving town and then starting back to work. This time I chose all SIDE dishes from my August assignment – Kate is Cooking. Kate is in Indiana with her mate and sous chef, Connie, and has been blogging since 2009. So many many good recipes to choose from. And usually a good story to go along with them. Auto wrecks, parties, travels.

I am trying to finish up some dishes I had leftover so I had my main dishes picked out (not wanting to cook this month and have leftovers) but I didn’t have any good sides to go with them – until I started browsing thru’ Kate’s site.

I started with


    Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

which matched up beautifully with some brisket. It is a very simple dish to put together.

    3 large baking potatoes
    1-2 T butter
    Big spoonful goat cheese {I used Garlic and Herb from our local goat dairy.}
    1 T chives, chopped
    fresh ground pepper
    a sprinkle of salt

Do not peel the potatoes. {I peeled half of them.} Dice them and cook them until they’re tender. Drain and stir in the butter, goat cheese, chives and pepper. Smash them with a fork.

Told you it was easy!


What’s the old saying – less is more? In this dish that is completely true. And this was so simple I cannot believe I didn’t think of it!


Pasta! Specifically Garlic Spaghetti. Melt some butter, add a little olive oil and toss in some finely chopped garlic. Let the oil infuse for a few minutes then toss with the pasta. Add some salt and garlic powder. {If you ckeck out Kate’s recipe you can see I made mine a little differently.} Sprinkle with chopped parsley and Parm cheese. Notice there are no measurements. Kate didn’t have any either. She said just go with it. So I did. While she used it as a meal with a salad I used it as a side with some chicken. And since I had lots of garlic in the chicken it was perfect. AND! It was so good.


Okay, one more. I couldn’t resist another simple side.


    Individual Potato Gratins

Yeah, I know, that’s THREE picks from Kate’s many many dishes, but they were all just so simple and you always need sides for your meal, right?

Instead of using a large dish and layering TONS of potatoes all you need is one muffin tin and a few potatoes. Especially good when you are cooking for two. Here is her list of ingredients and my changes.

    “B” sized red potatoes {I used small russets.}
    freshly ground pepper
    garlic powder
    finely shredded romano or parmesan cheese {I used gruyere.}

Now for the easy part. Slice the potatoes into thin pieces. Layer the ingredients into the muffin pan – two potato slices then salt/pepper/garlic powder. Two more slices with seasonings and about 1Tbl shredded cheese. REPEAT! Ending with just salt and pepper on top. Pour 1 Tbl of cream over each gratin Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes. {Mine were done in about 25 min.}


These were just the right size and you can make as many or as few as you need. Ideal for us.

Okay. That was it. Well for the sides anyway. I couldn’t resist just one one…


I HAD to, we needed them for something delicious and ‘handy’ for the road. BTW, Kate, Hubs says this is the best Blueberry Muffin I have made! The recipe is HERE along with another good story.

NOW, about those other 16 recipes I have pinned…..

You really need to go visit Kate

And while you are doing that check out the other bloggers in Group C and enjoy their dishes as well.

Better yet, join The Secret Recipe Club and join in the fun every month!!

We have one blueberry bush. Just one. It is self pollinating and yields enough blueberries to make a few muffins, or a pie, or just to eat {if I can beat the dog to them! He eats them off the bush!!??}. This is the first year we have had the bush and I was excited to harvest the berries. I had enough berries to make the FFWD galette and a small batch of muffins.


    1 3/4 cups AP flour
    1/4 cup cornmeal
    2/3 cup sugar
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 cups blueberries {I used fresh}
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    2 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 cup plain low-fat yogurt or sour cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Place the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small mixing bowl and mix well. Add the berries and gently toss until they are coated with the mixture.
Place the butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk well. Add the flour mixture by hand and stir until just combined. (Do not overmix.)
Fill each cup almost to the top. Transfer the muffin pan to the oven and bake until golden, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, and then place on a wire rack to cool. 12 muffins.

This is the first recipe I have seen with cornmeal in the mix. I like the texture it gave.

The muffins were full of flavor and lots of blueberries. They were also quick to put together.
{Recipe adapted from The Quilter’s Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini}

I like making muffins. They are quick and easy and they don’t need frosting – much to The Hub’s chagrin. If I make muffins I make ones that have some kind of topping even if it isn’t frosting. So this week when he asked for muffins I found some that I liked and then changed the recipe – a little – to fit our tastes. They contained Nutella. And while I am a fan, The Hubs is not.

P1010024 - Copy

    Chocolate Caramel Muffins
    2 cups flour
    1/3 cup finely shaved chocolate
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    1/2 cup caramel plus extra for decorating
    1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
    3/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup yogurt
    1 cup chopped pecans (Reserve 1/4 for decorating.)
    1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
    1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your muffin tins (one 12-cup and one 6-cup) by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with muffin papers.
Combine your flour, shaved chocolate, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In another smaller bowl, whisk together your egg, milk, yogurt, and butter.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stop when it’s still quite dry looking.
Add in the caramel, pecans, coconut flakes and chocolate chips. Stir until just mixed.
Divide your batter between the 18 prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pans and then remove to continue cooling on a wire rack.
Once cool, drizzle the muffins with a small amount of the caramel and decorate with the rest of the pecans.

The Hubs liked these. The caramel was just the perfect topping with a few pecans on top. You could put some coconut on top, too, but we preferred them without.

The recipe was enough for 12 full sized muffins and 12 minis.


I liked the minis best – one little bite of sweetness.


I know what you are thinking. Pumpkin season is OVER! Maybe! Or Maybe not when you find a recipe you want to try. I was supposed to make these for my Mom for Christmas, but she got sick, the weather was bad, and she didn’t come for the holidays. Since I am going to see her this week I decided it wasn’t too late to make them.


Mom sent me the recipe from her local newspaper.

    i cup AP flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 heaping tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1/8 tsp nutmeg
    2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
    3 Tbl unsulfured molasses
    1/4 cup apple sauce (or canola oil)
    2 large eggs
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
    1/4 gup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cookign spray (I used paper cups.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices
In a larger bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, applesauce, and eggs until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla.
Add in the flour in two batches alernating with the buttermilk until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared muffin pan filling 2/3 full {Mine were full and gave a nice mound top}. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
Tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake 20 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool on rack 15 minutes.
12 muffins {I got 13 full muffins.}


Make sure you don’t over bake or they will be dry. The buttermilk keeps them moist. And delicious. Just enough spices for good pumpkin flavor.

Muffins are easy.
Mix, bake, no frosting.
Good for breakfast, good for snacks, good for dessert.
For that reason, when they showed up as the next Baking With Julia selection I knew I would make them. I mean, really, why skip something THAT simple.

And these were super simple. And super tasty. They are topped with part of the dry ingredients – flour, brown sugar, and shortening {and I was wondering how butter would be…..} which was kind of interesting but gave the muffins a nice crispy crust. I made 1/2 of the batter and ended up with 4 Texas Sized Muffins. They were done in about 32 minutes. Look on page 207 for the super simple recipe.

If you want to join in with Baking with Julia read THE RULES and turn on your oven.

Today is the 17th of August. That means it is almost September. Which means FALL is right around the corner! Right? Okay, fine! I am stretching it just a wee bit, but I am so ready for fall after all the HEAT we have had this summer!!

So when my friend, Di , mentioned making Pumpkin Muffins the other day I found myself wanting pumpkin. Before the Pumpkin Craze starts!!

And since Ellie has a pumpkin muffin recipe in The Foods You Crave I saw it as an omen!!

These muffins pack in all the flavor of pumpkin pie – nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger – without all the sugar (3/4 cup brown and 3/4 cup molasses) and without all the necessary whipped cream on top. {I think I can resolve THAT problem, but then they won’t be quite as healthy!!} AP and Whole Wheat flour add to the health-ful-ness of this tasty little muffin. {Only 205 calores/muffin and 7gm fat} After only 18 minutes I had some lovely little bites {13} for breakfast. Thanks, Ellie!

These muffins can be found on page 21 of TFYC

BTW I forgot to toss on the pumpkin seeds before baking so just pretend they are there!!

How would you like to live a Fit and Spicy Life? I know I would? And this past week or so I did – virtually – through Mellissa’s foodie blog – A Fit and Spicy Life. Mellissa’s blog was my ‘assignment’ for April’s The Secret Recipe Club. And, as usual, I found a blog full of tasty treats and interesting entrees.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to some of Mellissa’s recipes.

For breakfast one morning we had:

      Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

If you like pumpkin and all the spices that go with them then these muffins are right up your alley. Filled with cinnamon and nutmeg they are sweet and spicy. Especially warm from the oven. 1/2 of the recipe resulted in 12 regular muffins and 10 minis. Perfect!!

    3 cups sugar
    1/2 cup oil
    1/2 cup applesauce
    4 eggs
    2 tsp. vanilla
    3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour {I used half AP flour and half Whole Wheat}
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    2/3 cup milk
    1 15oz can of pumpkin
    1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray muffin tins with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.
Beat together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well mixed.
Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl
Mix the milk, pumpkin, and applesauce in another bowl.
Add the flour mixture in 1/3’s to the wet sugar oil, vanilla and egg mix.
Add half the milk and pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the rest of the milk and pumpkin.
Stir in the chocolate chips
Add batter to muffin tins until about 2/3 full
Bake for 20 minutes

Good breakfast.


Dinner found us eating Risotto and Fish. To be exact we had…..

      Foil Packet Fish with Tomato Corn Relish
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    1 cup fresh parsley
    1 cup fresh cilantro
    1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 can of corn, drained
    1 heirloom tomato, chopped {I used sun dried tomatoes since Tomato season is no where near!}
    Mahi Mahi (or any other white fish) {I used VERY fresh Catfish, it was swimming that morning!}

Preheat a grill to high the oven to 350.
Toast coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium high heat, tossing, about 3 minutes.
Crush the seeds and add to the food processor with the parsley, cilantro, ginger, vegetable oil, salt and 1 tablespoon of water.
Toss the corn and tomatoes with 3 teaspoons of the herb mixtures in a bowl and season with salt
Tear off foil sheets for each piece of fish. Please fish in center and top with herb mixture while placing tomato and corn relish on the sides of the fish. Fold up foil packets, but leave room for circulation.
Grill Bake the packets, covered, until the fish is cooked through, 10 – 15 minutes. Place a foil pack on each plate and open very carefully!

Talk about easy, and tasty, and quick. And no dishes to clean afterward if you leave the fish in the pouch. I loved the play of the ginger with the sweetness of the corn and the herb mix was just perfect with both the fish and the veggies. When summer comes along and we can actually find DECENT tomatoes I want to try this one again.

Along side the fish we enjoyed…

      Leek Bacon and Pea Asparagus Risotto

    2 leeks (use just lower half)
    12 cups chicken broth vegetable broth
    4 slices bacon
    2 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
    1 cup dry White Wine
    3/4 cup frozen peas chopped asparagus
    1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan
    1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    Salt and Pepper to Taste

Finely chop leeks and bacon
In a saucepan bring broth to a simmer over medium heat
In a large skillet cook bacon until crispy, add leeks and cook until softened
Add rice and cook about a minute, ensure it is coated
Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add broth in 1/2 cup to 1 cup intervals and stir until absorbed, waiting about 2 minutes between additions for a total of about 30 minutes
Stir in peas asparagus after final addition of broth
Remove skillet from heat and stir in Parmesan, cover and let stand 2 minutes.
Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper
Serve remaining Parmesan on top of the risotto

I really liked the sweet crunch of the asparagus in the risotto. I had only used it because I couldn’t find the peas and I needed to use up the last of the asparagus. It is simply too good to waste. I am glad I couldn’t find the peas!! I have been making more risotto since I found out how easy it can be. It was always a dish that scared me. I mean, really, making risotto at home?? YES!!! And this one was delicious. The vegetable broth added another layer of flavor.

For dessert I made…

      Peanut Butter Surprises

You can find the recipe on Mellissa’s Blog. I’ll let you visit her and find out what the surprise is.

There are lots more recipes I want to try from Mellissa but they will have to wait.

Hop on over to the other SRC members’ blogs and see what fun they had exploring their ‘assigned’ blog. And if you want to join in the fun just visit The Secret Recipe Club. You could have a great time with your ‘assignments’!!

PUMPKIN!! Does any other word elicit more joy during the the fall baking season? Not in my kitchen! So I have stocked up on pumpkin and spices and muffin cups and….. well you get the point. And good thing, too, because this muffin was just begging to be served for breakfast.

    Pumpkin Pie Muffins

These are good stuff. Good for breakfast. Good for snacks. Just good. But I thought they needed a little more spice. Next time I will increase the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger by about 1/2. I liked the pumpkin seeds on top. They added a little extra crunch (and protein).

The full recipe gave me 12 regular sized muffins and 12 minis. Perfect.

Recipe slightly adapted from Ellie’s

    Cooking spray
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup whole-grain pastry or Whole Wheat Flour {because I discovered I didn’t have any WWF}
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
    1/4 cup canola oil
    2 large eggs
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
    1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and 1 egg until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

Please visit The CEinMB site and see what the other fans of Ellie made for today. Or you could join in. There are lots of Ellie’s recipes on line so even if you don’t have one of her books…..

This recipe is on page 29 of Ellie’s The Food Your Crave and on The Food Network


Cupcakes without frosting. Or maybe cupcakes are muffin ‘wanna-bes’ just waiting to be stripped of their frosting cover {Which is why, maybe, lots of people lick off the frosting before eating the cupcake.} While cupcakes are ‘fussy’, Muffins always tend to feel comforting to me.

Whatever is right muffins are tasty little handy breafasts/snacks in a paper holder crying out to be cupped in the hand warm from the oven and savored slowly.

See, they even make me wax a little poetic!

    Sweet Potato-Pecan Muffins

I ran across a Muffin Mini-cookbook while cleaning out 30 Years of Country Living Magazine. {And no, I don’t know why I kept them…and yes, I know there are others out there …you know who you are!!} By cleaning out I mean tearing out all the recipes, paper clipping them by month and throwing out the rest of the magazine. There were 12 muffin recipes to choose from. This is the first of many. The mini cookbook is still on my counter which means I will make, probabaly, 11 more from it.

And if they are all as good as this one…. There was a hint of sweetness from the grated sweet potato and a nice little crunch from the chopped {and toasted} pecans. Beware CupCakes, these don’t need no stinkin’ frosting to be very very tasty!!


    6 tablespoons butter, softened
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 3/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup milk
    1 sweet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and finely grated
    2/3 cup chopped pecans

1.Heat oven to 375’F.
2.Prepare muffin pan.
3.In large bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until blended.
4.In medium-size bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
5.Add flour mix¬ture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating just until combined.
6.Fold in sweet potato and pecans.
7.Using ice-cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter among greased muffin-pan cups.
8.Bake muffins 25 to 30 minutes or until centers spring back when lightly pressed with fingertip. Cool muffins in pan on wire rack 5 minutes.
9.Remove muffins from pan and serve warm.

Country Living October 1993

Submitting to

How do you choose just one or two, okay maybe 3, recipes from a blogger’s site when you have 30 you are looking at? Every once in a great while I find a site where I want to make just about everything on the site. I have several friends with foodie sites that have widened my horizons but seldom do I find a site where 99% of what is being made/cooked/baked looks delicious. The blogger I was assigned for August’s Secret Recipe Club is one of those.

    Hi, Kate, Nice to meet you.

Kate’s website is “isn’t everything in the kitchen trial and error?” She has been a food blogger since January 2010. Some of her posts are adapted from other bloggers, or books, or magazines. But many of them are labled ‘a kate original’.

After a long agonizing time deciding on which of Kate’s recipes to use – these are the ones I ended up with. A dinner, complete with dessert.

We started with…

Usually when I make what we call Chicken Finger Salad I fry the chicken strips. I have tried baking them before but they came out rather dry. This time I used Kate’s recipe and they were perfect. The panko crumbs added just enough crunch.

To accompany the salad we had Kate’s

These were sooo good. A sweet cornbread muffin with pieces of bacon and onion in each bite with a hint of cheese. Definitely a repeat here. The only change I would make would be to use MORE cheese. Never can get too much cheese.

And for dessert:

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

Which was delicious. And now it’s gone and I cannot find my pictures ANYWHERE!! Take my word for it – it was rich! It was creamy! It was full of stawberries! Kate gave two ways of making the ice cream – smooth and creamy by blending the strawberries in with the ingredients. Or chunky – which was our choice. Oh, and I I left out the vodka. Next time I will add it. I had never made ice cream with sour cream. Good stuff!!!

Now, since I couldn’t find those pics, I leave you with one more dish I made from Trial and Error –

I had been craving Chicken alfredo for days and when I ran across this one on Kate’s site I just adapted it to what I needed. Kate’s recipe called for pancetta, so I just subbed in some cooked chicken. Perfect!!

If you want some good food this is the blog to visit. Pies, ice cream, breads, pasta, risotto, veggies, cookies…it’s all there. Go visit Kate and check out her recipes. You wont’ be sorry!!!

This is part of The Secret Recipe Club so to see other great recipes from the Secret Recipe Club members, follow the links below!

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