Sometime between Good Friday and the Monday after Easter I lost my recipe binder.
I went to whip up some Cherry Oatmeal Almond Muffins, and my binder was no where to be found.
Several years ago I decided to purchase a binder, fill it with plastic sleeves and organize my recipes this way instead of a small recipe index card box. Partly because a lot of my recipes were full-page printed from websites or emails from my mom.
At first I wasn’t too worried; I figured it had to be somewhere. But as I looked high and low around the house to no avail, I quickly realized the irreplaceable nature of this plain binder I had built.
I was actually very close to crying.
Don’t you even laugh at me because I know you have something like this too. Something that you use every day, that seems relatively insignificant, but that you rely on, and you don’t know you would mourn the loss of until it’s suddenly not there.
Well, my sister started looking around the house yesterday, with me saying in the background:
“I don’t know where it went, but I’ve looked everywhere, and it’s not even worth looking because I just know it’s gone forever… how am I going to replace all of those recipes? I guess I have to email Mom… (lots of wringing of the hands…) Don’t bother looking in there – I already looked there…”
Very melodramatic. It’s a skill I possess. I’m not saying it’s a worthwhile skill, I’m just saying it is one.
She found it. Buried in the laundry room cabinet, of all places. I’m not sure who to blame yet.
So this morning I made Cherry Oatmeal Almond Muffins.
(These parchment baking cups by Paper Chef are hands down the best, by the way. They never stick. Free tip.)
I spent some time looking through my binder. As I turned the pages it came to me why this everyday plain binder is so special to me.
It contains recipes only I can read:
Family favorites from my mother-in-law:
The photocopied page of my cousin’s published (and mighty delicious) Apple Shortbread Crisp… next to my Aunt Grace’s Puffed Apple Pancake recipe in my grandmother’s handwriting.
The pot roast recipe that broke the ice with a cute guy named Steve on an online dating site… scribbled by my dear friend, Janet, on a tattered and well-loved scrap of paper… Pot roast, then emailing, then talking on the phone, then meeting, then falling in love and getting married 11 months later.
My mom’s (and grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s) Hungarian Kifli recipe copied in my handwriting from my mom’s recipe box while I was home from college. I sat in the kitchen while she baked Christmas cookies, and scratched out the tastes of home on colorful cards so I could take them with me. Next to a new and addictive Caramel Corn recipe from another dear friend, Sue.
I realized it’s not just a collection of food I can make. It is pieces of me.
So, I’m thankful to have a few of the pieces back.
And since you can’t read my recipe card, I’ll type out the recipe for these sweet and lovely-textured Cherry Oatmeal Almond Muffins. I’m not sure where the recipe comes from, since it was copied down from my friend Donna’s (a close friend of my mom’s who has known me since I was little) own recipe binder… So if you know where it’s from, let me know!
Cherry Oatmeal Almond Muffins
1 cup oats (can be quick-cooking)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup frozen cherries, roughly chopped
Put oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Combine buttermilk, egg, oil and almond extract in a small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture into oats mixture, stir just to moisten ingredients. Quickly stir in cherries (not necessary to thaw). Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or use muffin cups. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.
The buttermilk keeps these muffins soft, the cherries are sweet and juicy and the almond reminds me of cherry pie…
Make them for Sunday brunch! You’ll love them. And while you’re at it… make some sausage. In the oven – 400 degrees on a lightly greased cooking sheet for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Never slave over the stove again! At least for sausage (another free tip.)
I’d love to hear about your recipes or recipe files or finding something you lost…