Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blueberry Oat Muffin Tops for a Happy Thanksgiving

While I am waiting for our guests to come in for breakfast, I decided to invite you into the Americus Garden Inn kitchen for a peek at today's muffins - Blueberry Oat Muffin Tops What can be better than the slightly crispy top of a freshly baked muffin?
These are really easy to make, even if you don't have a muffin top pan. The recipe makes 12 muffin tops or 6 regular muffins.
The recipe is at the bottom of this post. Here is the pictorial version of exactly how I made these muffins. Combine the oats and the orange juice to allow the oats to absorb the juice. Let it sit at least 5 minutes. (I usually do this step the night before).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees so it will be ready when you are.
In a small bowl, crack 1 egg
add 1/4 cup of oil
and whisk until combined.
Add the oat mixture
Mix until combined.
Measure dry ingredients into a sifter or wire strainer.
Using a whisk, sift to ensure there are no lumps.
This is what the dry ingredients should look like after sifting.
You don't have to sift, but I always do.In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients - 1 TBS sugar and 1/8 tsp cinnamon. If you have cinnamon sugar already mixed, feel free to use it.
This is the pan I use for muffin tops. I found it online a long time ago. It was really for some kind of special cookies, but, I remembered the Seinfeld episode about muffin tops and thought this pan might make the perfect muffin tops. I was right!
I sprayed the pan with PAM. Of course, you could use shortening or butter if you prefer.
Once the pan is ready and the oven is up to proper temperature, it's time to mix the blueberries into the flour mixture. I buy blueberries from Koinonia Farm, here in Americus, when they are in season. I wash them, dry them thoroughly, and freeze them for future use. If you didn't know, Koinonia Farm is the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity International. And, if you have been looking for a great holiday gift, Koinonia makes the most incredible fair trade chocolates. Anyway, back to the muffins.
Mix the blueberries into the flour gently. You want them slightly coated with flour.
Remember the egg, oil and oat mixture?
Add that to the blueberry flour mixture and mix gently. You don't want purple muffins, do you?
Mix just until combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, either 12 muffin tops or 6 regular muffins.
Sprinkle each one with some of the cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 13 minutes (18 - 22 minutes for regular muffins)
Test for doneness with the toothpick test - if it comes out clean, they are done.
Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from the pan to the wire rack.
Here are 2 muffin tops ready to be enjoyed.

Wish you were here to be my taste-tester. Don't they look delicious?
Here is the recipe:

Blueberry Oat Muffin Recipe

1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup orange juice
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh

1 TBS sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine oats and orange juice in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Combine egg and oil in a small bowl. Add to oat mixture. Stir until blended.
  3. Combine flours, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Spray muffin pan with PAM (12 muffin tops or 6 regular muffins)
  5. In a small bowl, combine 1 TBS sugar with 1/8 tsp cinnamon for topping.
  6. Add blueberries to dry ingredients. Mix carefully. Stir oat mixture into blueberry flour mix just until combined.
  7. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes for muffin tops or 18 - 22 minutes for muffins (until toothpick comes out clean)
  9. Cool 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Thank you for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog on Thanksgiving Day 2010. Have a very happy day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It Feels Like Summer in Americus

I can't believe how beautiful the weather has been here in Americus, Georgia. Today, it was 80 degrees in the shade on the porch. The small sasanqua next to the porch has just exploded with flowers.

The persimmon tree is turning a gorgeous orange hue. Remember, you can click to enlarge the photos.
This crepe myrtle is one of the tornado survivors (from 3 years ago) on the north side of the yard.
The parrotia tree in the front yard.
We are not seeing as many pecans this year. From what we have heard, this is not a good year for the pecan crop.
The gingko tree leaves are a beautiful yellow.
A glimpse of the bald cypress looking up into the tree.
As I was taking the photo of the bald cypress, I smelled a familiar aroma, and not a pleasant one. And then, I found the source. A stinkhorn mushroom.
The stinkhorn mushroom was under the salvia. When we first did the landscaping, two years ago, the stinkhorn mushrooms appeared. We had never seen them before. They are incredibly interesting - this exotic, orange, columnar "thing" appears. The precursor to the mushroom looks like a hard-boiled egg just under the surface. They don't become "stinky" until they are orange. The insects are drawn to the scent and they spread the mushrooms' spores. Fascinating, but "stinky". What is really peculiar is that they normally appear when the soil is damp. But, it hasn't been raining... Hmmmm....
The salvia above the stinkhorn.
As I said, it feels like summer and the "endless summer" hydrangea is blooming, again!
But, there is another stinkhorn directly underneath.
We thought the yarrow was finished for the season, but, it is blooming again.
This past weekend, we had some really wonderful guests staying with us. Some came to attend Jimmy Carter's Sunday School class, some came for Andersonville National Historic Site, Milt came for his fraternity reunion. We had some first time B&B folks and some people just passing through our area. One of our guests was a vegan, so, I made some special things just for her. I found a recipe for vegan yeast pancakes which came out quite good. Lory, here is the recipe that I promised to share.
VEGAN YEAST PANCAKES (small batch for 2 - 3 people about 7 pancakes)
1 cup flour
1 tsp dry yeast (I used rapid rise because that is what I had on hand)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 TBS flaxseed meal
1 1/2 tbs water
1 TBS oil
3/4 cup soy milk (I used vanilla)
  1. Whisk first 4 ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. In the small bowl of the food processor, combine flax and water until thick and foamy.
  3. Add oil and soy milk to flax mixture.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry.
  5. Allow batter to sit covered overnight in the refrigerator.
  6. Remove batter from refrigerator as you heat griddle to proper temperature for pancakes.
  7. If batter appears too thick, add a couple of TBS of extra soy milk.
  8. Grease griddle lightly using canola oil or use PAM.
  9. Cook on one side until golden brown, flip and cook other side until golden.
  10. Serve with real maple syrup.

NOTES: I did add a little cinnamon to the batter and fresh banana slices on top. Kim said that the texture was reminiscent of yeast dinner rolls. You can add any fruit, nuts, granola - use your imagination.

Thank you for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog. We wish everyone a Thanksgiving full of wonderful blessings.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn Colors on a rainy day in Americus

To some, it might be a dreary day in Americus, Georgia. But, on a closer look, it is a beautiful autumn day at the Americus Garden Inn. I took this photo earlier today from the front gate. The sasanqua is in full bloom and the crepe myrtles are gorgeous this year. Remember, you can click on any photo for a larger view.This is the view from the parking area behind the house. The purple queen is, well, purple. The red rocket crepe myrtles turned a beautiful orange. However, the rain caused most of the leaves to drop making it appear that the trees has "melted".
One of the crepe myrtles in front of the house.
The Chinese flame tree still has the "pom poms" but the leaves at the top of the tree are now a bright yellow.
The holly berries are starting to turn red.
The nandina berries are already bright red like cranberries.
Every day, the oakleaf hydrangea shows more color.
One of our oak trees.
A view of the parrotia leaves up close.
From the distance, the parrotia tree looks orange.
The pistache tree has just started turning.
A fragrant gardenia has appeared by the porch entrance.
Today, the knockout roses are truly knockouts!
By the porch entrance, a single pink bud has emerged.
One of the two varieties of sasanqua in front of the house.
A close up of the other variety of sasanqua, from the bush in the front of the house in the first photo of this post.
It is hard to believe that we have been here since 2002. In the years we have been here, this is the prettiest autumn we have seen. Wish you were here enjoying it with us.