Ham and Cheese Corn Muffins Plus MVK’s *Like* of the Week

I love homemade muffins. Such an easy recipe, but I find I don’t make them very often. But when I do, I wonder why not?! They are a perfect mid-morning snack and because it’s homemade, I know what is going into it, rather than a mystery extra-large muffin you’d pick up at a coffee shop.

I recently got the urge to make a batch and decided to go with a savory favorite as opposed to sweet. With a hint of cheese, hot pepper, flavorful ham, and a little crunch of corn, I’ve been making these delicious muffins for years. And with good reason, they’re really delicious!

For changes, I used cayenne pepper and two eggs instead of egg substitute. When the muffins finished cooling, I wrapped each one individually in plastic wrap and placed in a freezer bag, so in the morning when I’m putting my lunch together, I’ll pull one out of the freezer and it will defrosted by mid-morning. I’ll warm it for 20 seconds and enjoy it with a cup of tea. These would be a fabulous addition to a chili dinner, too!

Happy cooking!


This looks like a huge muffin, but it’s really not!

Ham and Cheese Corn Muffins

This recipe first appeared in the September 2009 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Makes 12 muffins

7 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 2/3 cups)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup egg substitute
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup (3 ounces) reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
1/2 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1/3 cup (2 ounces) diced extra lean ham
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, egg substitute, and oil; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in cheese, green onions, corn, and diced ham.

3. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan; place on a wire rack.

COOKED_VERTICAL_KEYART_USMVK’s *Like* of the Week: New Netflix Series, “Cooked”
The quote “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants” that you see on my home page is a quote from author Michael Pollan. Famous for his books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, Pollan is an evangelist for healthy eating and cooking and now has a new project on Netflix called “Cooked.”

The four-part docuseries, which is taken from his book of the same name, focuses on the four parts of cooking: fire, water, air, and earth. In his latest project, Pollan gives a nudge to viewers to get in the kitchen and start cooking.

I can only hope as many people who watched “Making a Murderer” view this documentary, so we have a kitchen cooking revolution on our hands in this country!

I’m Back! With Stories and a Recipe

Good Wednesday morning! I hope everyone’s April was warm and lovely! We had about four days of warmth, and those four days were spent with my fabulous friends at a wonderful book event we go to every year! Seven of us women are a force to be reckoned with; we live all over the world, and I swear, between us all, we could rule the world! Four days of laughing, talking, walking, eating, drinking, books, authors, it was heaven! Coincidentally, this event also happened right before my birthday, which made the actual day doubly special to me.

Dinner with my Fabbies.

Dinner with my Fabbies.


photo (3)As I mentioned last time, I was a moderator at the Newburyport Literary Festival at the end of the month. My author whose session I moderated, Abigail Carroll, wrote the fascinating book, Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal. My friend, Jennifer, (pictured on the bottom right of the dinner photo) is a co-director of this lovely one-day book festival, and she asked me last fall if I wanted to moderate a food discussion. This was so much fun and I had a great time!

photo (4)It was SRO (Standing Room Only) in the art gallery where our talk was held (and I knew only four people in the audience!), the questions were insightful, and the hour whizzed by as we discussed the history behind our breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you ever get the opportunity to be in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in April, check this festival out. This year, 70 authors spoke in ten different locales around the town; it’s a book lover’s dream!

* * * *

So now that my busy month is over, it’s back to eating and cooking at home.

The Eater of the House came home the other day with a bag of lemons. Now, I usually buy a lemon or two each week at the supermarket for fish and sometimes my martini, but this was three pounds of lemons! There is only so much lemon water and lemon chicken I can stand! I think regret set in when he realized just how many lemons we had, so the request was made to “find a recipe!” It’s still too cold for lemonade and I really don’t like lemon meringue pie, but I do like lemon muffins!

Since it is Mother’s Day this weekend, I thought this would be a perfect recipe to bring to you, because brunches are popular for our moms, and these are light and tasty for a late morning/early afternoon meal. I used frozen blueberries, since the fresh berries this time of year have no flavor; just put them in a bowl to thaw for 30 minutes or so.

While it didn’t use as much lemon as I would have liked, I have enough to make a second batch!


Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
This recipe originally appeared in the April 2003 issue of Cooking Light.
Yield: 1 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup blueberries
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

3. Combine buttermilk, egg, and rind; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Gently fold in blueberries.

4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place on a wire rack to cool.

5. Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze evenly over cooled muffins.

Note: You can make these muffins up to 2 days ahead and glaze them the morning of the brunch.

MVK’s Endorsement of the Week
Hopefully, you aren’t too tired of me spouting the brilliance of food writer, Mark Bittman of the New York Times. I found this April 29th editorial he wrote in the paper and just loved it; comfort food, childhood memories, with a side of food politics. And of course, bagels and lox. My favorite.

Bagels, Lox and Me