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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Party


Last night we had lots of wonderful friends over for a Christmas party. It's something we've started doing since we moved to Colorado, and I look forward to it all year long! This is the third time we've done it, and every time it has been so wonderful. I feel so blessed to have made some wonderful friends here, and I think it's so nice to take a night (without kids:) and just hang out, enjoy some good food and wine, and celebrate Christmas together. We had two sommeliers from a local wine store come and do wine tastings the first hour. Later on, Rob and two others played guitars and sang, which was just amazing.

This year I decided to stick with some favorites and not re-invent the wheel. I feel like last year I had put together such a good menu for appetizers. So much of it could be done the night before, and nothing required me being in the oven all evening. I set out the last food as the first guests were arriving, and then was able to just be a part of the party and enjoy myself the rest of the time. Très magnificant!

I did a table of appetizers(see above), and then a table of desserts. (I don't want to include pictures of people since not everyone likes to have their pictures online. :) We had the desserts catered from my favorite local French Bakery. yum! Today we are eating like kings, and it's wonderful!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Almond Poppyseed Muffins


From time to time I check out High Altitude Baking books from the library. Admittedly, I don't always have enough time to read them, or try anything, before they are due. Finally, I tried something from one of them, called Baking at High Altitude: The Muffin Lady's Old Fashioned Recipes. They were good. A little dry, but again that can be an altitude thing, or I could have left them in too long, or it could be because of the whole wheat pastry flour I used. It was a good enough recipe to keep though. They didn't fall, and they cooked all the way through. I'm learning that if I get my hands on a recipe like that up here, I need to hang on to it. (For those of you out of the area, I believe we are at 5960 ft here)

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour ( I used whole wheat pastry)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup sliced almonds

1. Thoroughly mix the melted margarine/butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and almond extract.

2. Add the dry ingredients and poppyseeds, if using, to the egg mixture. Thoroughly mix the batter until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

3. Grease 5-6 large muffin pan sections or 10-12 regular size muffin pan sections or 2 dozen mino muffin sections.

4. Fill each muffin section 7/8 full with the batter. Sprinkle almond slices on top of each muffin.

5. Bake 15-35 minutes (I know, big variance - I did 12 regular size muffins, and it took 15 minutes, just to give you some idea) until firm on top or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Add 1 extra egg when doubling or add 2 extra eggs when tripling this recipe.
To change it up, substitute 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips for the poppy seeds!