Honey Fig Cornmeal Muffins

We once had a kind neighbor who planted a fig tree on the side of their house. They were great cooks. They would share homemade pita bread, and gave Dad a trunk of lobsters when they returned from a trip to Maine. When we first moved into our house, they shared tips on landscaping our front yard. After-school, my sister and I would accidentally leave our house keys at home, and we would stay at their house until our parent came home. The smell of their evening dinner was enticing.

They were generous. And, they broke our hearts when they moved away without telling anyone where they were going. No one had in the neighborhood had any problems or disagreements with them. We woke up one morning to discover they had disappeared. All that was left was their fig tree and a beautiful yard.

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Grapefruit Cornmeal Cake

Citrus season has long passed, but it’s never too late for a Grapefruit Coconut Cake. After all, with limes being expensive (Read or listen about this year’s lime shortages in both NPR’s Tell Me More‘s Michel Martin and Carrie Khan’s articles), grapefruit is proving to be a juicy alternative. That’s not too bad of a comeback, considering The New York Times published a story about the decline of grapefruit’s popularity, which cites similar production and growth problems to limes. The article also discusses grapefruit’s competition with seedless and easy to peel citrus varieties. It’s sour taste doesn’t help its popularity. Despite both lime and grapefruit’s production problems, paying more than a dollar for one lime isn’t realistic.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

When the my boyfriend’s father was asked what type of birthday cake he wanted, he said, “It doesn’t matter, but make it with plenty of nuts.” The boyfriend’s father is health conscious and a martial arts instructor. He looks excellent for his age, because he’s always exercising, reading health-related books and playing music. Ask him any health-related question, and he has an answer. Such as repeatedly telling us how nuts are good for {blush} men’s reproductive health, and he explains why without the crass. The decision to make him a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake — with plenty of nuts — was easy.
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Pecan Bars

Potato Chips, fruity and hard candies, twirly sugar sticks, chewy caramels, salty pretzels and raw nuts were not my childhood friends. Among the most offending taste were raw nuts. The taste of peanuts are what I image wood to taste like, but I love peanut butter. And, I will never understand people’s obsession with salted sunflower seeds as they spit speckled shells onto subway train floors. Then there’s the pecans. They’re a different nut.

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Meyer Lemon Muffins

One snowy and freezing day, in which outside temperatures hovered around 10° F, my apartment was filled with a clean lemony and early spring, floral smell of Meyer Lemon Muffins. These aren’t super sweet muffins mimicking cupcakes. They have an earthy flavor from wheat flour, flax seeds and chia seeds as the glaze sweetens the muffins with an extra lemony taste. As temperatures continue to rise and extremely fall (in some places below 0° F), the taste and smell of these Meyer Lemon Muffins reminds us of early spring gardens as we watch snowflakes dance outside our windows.  Read more