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Sara’s Holiday Stewed Fruit Muffins

Stewed Fruit Muffins
Sara L. Ambarian

These rich, aromatic muffins are delicious with an autumn or winter breakfast, or as a slightly-sweet accompaniment to a holiday dinner or buffet.  Makes 12 regular or 18 small muffins. /

Stewed Fruit–
1 cup mixed dried fruit (or any combination of dried apples, apricots, peaches, pears, prunes, raisins, brown or yellow raisins, cranberries, and/or sour cherries)
–pack the whole fruit in the cup to measure, then chop into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4- 1 cup water (depending on how soft you want your fruit, use more water for softer fruit)
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, optional

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan, and cook at a simmer over medium-high heat.  Stir frequently initially, then constantly as the liquid absorbs, until the fruit is rehydrated to your desired consistency (approximately 10-20 minutes.)  Set aside to cool at least 15 minutes, before adding to muffin batter, or store in refrigerator up to several days.  (This recipe also makes a nice topper for oatmeal or ice cream, and can be doubled to make a simple side dish/condiment for pork or poultry.  For a topping, you may prefer to add the optional brown sugar. Serve warm or cold, as desired.)

Muffins–
1 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat or buckwheat flour
1/4 cup flaxmeal, optional
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cooking oil

cinnamon-sugar, “Sugar in the Raw”, or decorative coarse sugar sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well.  Combine egg, milk and oil in a small bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup, and beat egg lightly.  Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour in egg mixture all at once.  Stir together until just moistened and fully mixed.  Do not over beat. Batter should be lumpy. Gently fold in cooled stewed fruit.

Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling only to 2/3 of capacity.  Sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar or decorative sugar, if a glazed top and sweeter muffin is desired.  Bake 20-25 minutes for standard-sized muffins, 15-17 for small muffins.  Serve warm or room-temperature, as desired.  Makes 12 standard or 18 small muffins.  Warm muffins are delicious with butter, or with butter and apple butter if you like a sweeter muffin.

Variation: You can make a similar muffin using 1 to 1 1/2 cups packaged mincemeat in place of the stewed fruit; however, the resulting flavor is a little more “grown-up”.

Enjoy!

About Sara L. Ambarian
Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved.
Website: http://condortales.com/bridestouch.html
Sara L. Ambarian is the author and illustrator of /A Bride’s Touch: A Handbook of Wedding Personality and Inspiration/.  Sara is also a designer, wife, and mother with professional and personal experience in a wide range of subjects, including: arts and crafts, fashion, weddings, homeschooling, cooking, nature, and travel.

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Cooking with Kids this Winter – Practical Life Exercises

Eating and (to a lesser extent in recent times) cooking meals within a family or other group are important daily rituals with many traditional and practical elements which can enrich the lives and skills of children.

Rae at The Creative Process shares both the meaning and many artistic representations of meal sharing in Sharing Food, Food in Art Unit Study. http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

Gayle Henderson discusses the subject of family meals and includes an interesting questionnaire about family relationship styles here: http://www.ivillage.com/family-dinner-value-sharing-meals/6-a-128491

This University of Florida Extension article goes into even greater detail. It also encourages families to not only eat together, but cook and clean up together, too. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1054

Cooking provides many great opportunities for children to practice both academic principles and practical life exercises.  Reading recipes, shopping, cleaning fruits and vegetables, measuring ingredients, making substitutions, serving family or guests, and trying new flavors are all wholesome and educational activities that help children learn and grow. They also offer opportunities for children to “absorb culture”, as Maria Montessori put it.

This short article talks about how one busy family uses friendly family “cook-off” competitions to share their love of cooking and for one another.  Male and female family members of all ages participate, and relatives who don’t cook get to eat and vote along with everyone else. http://www.associatedcontent.com/shared/print.shtml?content_type=article&content_type_id=1765762

Do you have good cooks among your family and friends?  Do they have “signature” dishes you look forward to eating over and over again?  If so, and especially if they are older folks, a fun and meaningful project is to compile these recipes and related stories into a booklet form that your whole family can share and save to remember when the beloved cooks are no longer around to share their cooking secrets and stories. For some great hints on how to get started, check out this article: http://www.kitchendaily.com/2010/04/28/preserving-family-recipes/

Farm Country General Store has a great selection of cookbooks —  historic, thrifty, beginning, Amish, etc.  – as well as books on gardening, nutrition, and other related subjects. Many are on sale now, just in time for the holidays!  http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/index.php/cPath/34

Also, here are some recipe ideas from our resource list members to get you started.

Main dishes and side dishes

Children and adults alike enjoy a dish that looks fancy but is actually easy to make. Laeticia from Professor Toto shares a great example of this with her recipe for Crêpes for Children http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

For a variety of filling ideas for both main dish and dessert crepes, check out: http://www.world-of-crepes.com/crepe-filling-recipes.html and http://www.easy-french-food.com/crepe-filling.html

Mary Roberts from Hello Wood Products offers another simple but tasty main dish recipe with her Onion Pie.http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

For a taste of a different culture, try Verna from The Music House’s recipe for Aromatic Basmati Rice with Saffron. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Get kids to eat their greens with Elaine from Kimbo’s fun Spinach Dip. It is perfect for many types of fall/winter gatherings. http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

 

Desserts and sweets

Introduce children to a new flavor combination with Pistachio Poppy Seed Cake from Rick at Fun With Languages. http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

Have fun with this classic recipe for Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie Cut-outs from  Cooking with Children Can Be Easy. http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

Ligia from Childsake offers a quick and easy no-bake Holiday Cheesecake as a festive dessert for busy families. http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

For a baked cheese pie, try this recipe from Sara L. Ambarian, which makes two pies: http://www.amonco.org/ambarian4thofjuly.html

Get more cheesecake topping ideas here: http://www.baking911.com/recipes/cakes/cheesecake_toppings.htm

Dale Gausman at North American Montessori Center shares a traditional dessert with a tropical twist with his Ginger-Coconut Baked Apples.http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Even the youngest budding chefs can help make Dianne from Conceptual Learning’s Nutty Chocolate Pudding Squares. What a great opportunity for the little ones to get involved and serve their own creation with pride!  http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Georgette at Cantemos shares some sweet snack recipes with her Dried Pineapple and Chocolate-Dusted Almonds. http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Perhaps Farmer’s Favorite Fudge from Larry at the Farm Country General Store will be come a new family favorite for you.  http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

Find more recipes in AMONCO’s Christmas in Australia Unit Study, including historic and delicious Anzac Biscuitshttp://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

 

Kitchen chemistry, substitutions and science for older students

The following sites have lots of interesting and useful information for older children to use in the kitchen.

http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/common-ingredient-substitutions/detail.aspx

http://www.scienceofcooking.com/

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/index.html

If you know an aspiring “Iron Chef”, this blog provides really complex and interesting information about both the chemistry and the art of cooking, with gorgeous photos of nouvelle cuisine. Check the left sidebar to see specific subjects, or just enjoy whatever is current.

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Hands-On Holiday Activities for the Family and Classroom

The activities found at the following links will provide hours of hands-on holiday fun for the family and can also be integrated into a holiday lesson planning unit study.! 🙂

Christmas in Australia Study Unit
Holiday Origami
Montessori Service Projects for School and Homeschool Classrooms

Holiday Frozen Salad Delight

Montessori Holiday Grammar
Pine Cone Christmas Trees

Holiday Math Crafts

Heidi
http://www.amonco.org

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Holiday Frozen Fruit Salad Delight

Okay…. Get ready for a dessert or salad that will put a smile on the faces of your guests. As I mentioned in my other craft post, I will be posting the recipes, crafts and other activities on other pages.

The Holiday Frozen Fruit Salad Delight recipe has been in our family for over 30 years. My mom received it from a dear friend many years ago when she was young. I have served this salad/dessert with ham, turkey, chicken and vegetarian plate main dishes with excellent results. This salad is so light and attractive that it can be used as a dessert as well. It’s perfect for all of the upcoming holidays. Delicious!

Visit AMC Hoiday Recipes for instructions. Enjoy!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Heidi

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