I can think of nothing better to do on a cold, winter Sunday than making soup and baking muffins with a few friends. And that’s exactly what Jackie, Debbie and I did over the weekend. Sundays are a good day to get organized and ready for the week, especially when it comes to meals. But since it’s the weekend, it can be no fun being in the kitchen all day — except of course if you’re in it with some good friends. And that’s exactly what we did.
We had three large pots of soup crowding my four burner stove and lots of elbow action peeling, slicing and chopping. Debbie took charge of the split pea soup, sautéing the veggies and dicing the ham; Jackie did all the washing and peeling for the potato leek soup and I grated the ginger and chopped the veggies for the red lentil soup. Before long, three enormous pots were rapidly boiling, promising many meals for the week.
And then, it was if the cleaning crews came in, as we washed and scrubbed all the evidence from our first cooking task to make way for muffins and meatloaf! Debbie somehow mixed nearly nine pounds of chopped meat — asking every-now-and-again for someone to season her meat while she mixed — while Jackie and I mixed a triple batch of banana oat batter. It was such a whirlwind time in the kitchen together and I’m not even sure how we managed to get so much done in such a small amount of time. But somehow we did. And after the dust settled, my kitchen was clean and we each had quarts and quarts of a variety of delicious soup, mounds of muffins and a few meatloaves for the freezer.
We also had quality time with one another, something even more vital than food for the week. Ah, food and friendship — an ideal way to wrap up a weekend and kick off a new week.
Banana Bran Muffins
Makes nearly 100 mini muffins
9 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup applesauce
1 stick of butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups white flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup bran
¾ cups milk
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
1 cup white flour
¾ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter, oil and applesauce. Add the eggs and beat again. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla and banana and mix until well blended. In another bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry to the wet and mix again. Slowly pour in the milk until a smooth batter forms. If using a topping, mix the ingredients together until a crumble forms. I like using my hands but feel free to use a fork or pastry blender. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins.
Fill muffin pan ¾ with batter and bake until cooked through — about 12 minutes. Cool and freeze.