Oat Bran Sour Cream Muffins

I started out with a recipe from Joy the Baker, one of my favorite food bloggers, but made quite a few changes.  I switched out some of the high fat items and used oat bran rather than wheat bran.  Please note that this is not bran cereal, but oat bran such as we used to buy in health food stores and now is available in most groceries.  Joy said that her version improved after a couple of days and mine did, too.  Carefully packed on the kitchen counter, they will be delicious up to 5 days.  This is a nice breakfast muffin – not too sweet and full of healthy ingredients.


  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup molasses*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup oat bran (not cold bran cereal)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Grease/flour 12 muffin cups or insert paper or silicone liners.

In a medium bowl, place the oil, light brown sugar, egg and molasses.

*I used some pure natural cane molasses from Amish Country (Holmes County, Ohio) because I like its slight sorghum flavor.  Something like Grandma’s Molasses would also be good.

Whisk these ingredients until smooth.  Whisk in the baking soda and salt.  Stir in the oat bran and flour just until dry ingredients are absorbed.  Gently stir in the raisins and nuts.

Divide batter between 12 muffin cups.  Bake @ 400 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes – until tops are golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Remove pan to rack to cool.  I like the silicone liners now that I’ve discovered letting the muffins cool in the liners for 5-10 minutes makes it easy to pop them out of the liners.

Allow muffins to cool completely on a wire rack.  Then store in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days.

Really tasty with a cup of morning coffee.

The next picture has nothing whatsoever to do with oat bran muffins, but I collect vintage linen and scottie items and had to share  this gift from my oldest daughter.  I love the ladies in the background enjoying their card game while poor hubby is coping with feeding the baby – a revolutionary idea back in the 1930-40s.

A Good Autumn Meal

buggyOne of my favorite meals in the autumn or any other time of the year consists of marinated pork tenderloin, sweet potato patties and Spinach-Mushroom Casserole.  I marinate 3/4″ thick slices of pork tenderloin in Italian dressing for about four hours, then cook on a range-top grill.   Sweet potatoes are microwaved until tender, allowed to cool, then peeled and mashed with a little salt and pepper.  The potatoes are formed into patties and browned in olive oil. The Spinach-Mushroom Casserole is based on a recipe for Mushrooms Florentine from a wonderful Cincinnati Junior League cookbook, I’ll Cook When Pigs Fly. I changed the ingredients a bit  to reduce the fat and to have more spinach and less mushrooms.  It makes a great side dish.


Preheat oven @ 350 degrees F

  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. bag of fresh spinach
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onions
  • Butter flavored spray
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt
  • 4 oz. low fat Colby cheese

Saute mushrooms in oil.   Place spinach in a sprayed large flat casserole (mine is about 10″ square).  Spray the spinach with butter flavored spray, add the cooked mushrooms, and sprinkle the dried onion, salt, pepper and garlic salt over the surface.   Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake uncovered @ 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.


Grandparents’ Day….and Hollandaise Sauce

My two youngest grandchildren, known here as Jellyfish (age 9) and Dolphin (age 5) have always been encouraged by their mother to remember me on Grandparents’ Day.  Yesterday I received a mug with their pictures to join 9 others in my collection.

As soon as they were able to draw, write or color, they have also given me something they made themselves.  This year, Jellyfish spent many hours printing and coloring detailed information sheets about dinosaurs.

Dolphin also drew a dinosaur and made a special card.

Both of them made up a booklet, “My Grandmother”, with lines to fill in with information on where I live, what I like and what we like to do together.  The page about my real name turned out fine with Jellyfish’s “Lillian” but a little odd with Dolphin’s “Owl”.

I like to have Sunday dinner at home, so as usual I fixed dinner for everybody.  Along with roast beef, mashed potatoes,carrots and homemade yeast rolls,  I steamed some asparaus and served it with this delicious Mock Hollandaise Sauce which is much friendlier fat and cholesterol-wise.


  • Servings: One cup of sauce
  • Print

  • One 3 oz. package low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup melted low-fat margarine

Blend together by hand or in a food processor.  To warm, heat in microwave oven for about 30-45 seconds.

Yield:  One cup of sauce 

I have a note in my recipe binder:  “From Southern Sideboards cookbook.  Made for Mother’s Day 1994 to serve with our homegrown asparagus.  Very rich and smooth – easy to heat up.”

Waikiki Banana Bars–Reduced Fat

I’ve been baking these chewy bar cookies for 20+ years – a good recipe when you have one banana getting too ripe.  They’re good for a low fat/cholesterol diet because there are no eggs and a small amount of butter – most of the fat comes from good-for-you walnuts.


  • 2 Tblsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. banana extract
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (one medium)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a medium bowl combine butter, brown sugar, vanilla, banana extract and mashed banana.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to banana mixture.  Stir in chopped walnuts.

Spread batter in a buttered 8″ pan.  Dampening your finger tips with water and pressing will help even out the batter.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes.  Place pan on wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.

While still warm, cut into 8 bars and remove from pan.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon and gently roll the warm bars in the mix.

Makes 8 bars 

In my recipe binder, I have a note: “From a library county fair cookbook – recipe from Smartville, CA.  First made 10/29/86 – excellent”.

A Picnic at Cincinnati’s Coney Island

For generations, Cincinnati families have been going to Coney Island on the Ohio River for picnics, rides and swimming.  Until the mid-1940s, there was a beautiful boat which made the trip, bringing people from the public landing in downtown Cincinnati to this lovely spot just outside Coney’s old riverside entrance.

Then, up the hill and through the stone entrance to a day of fun.

Everyone enters  Coney Island these days by car, coming in the main front gate, but it’s still a fun way to spend a few summer hours.  I came along with my youngest daughter and her two children to see Lake Como….

….try out the ferris wheel….

…and bounce up and down on The Frog.

The best feature of this old park is the abundance of big, leafy trees and lots of shade.  We picked a shady spot to eat the picnic lunch I had prepared – chicken sandwiches on foccacia bread, brownies and our favorite Broccoli Salad.  Here’s the recipe for the broccoli salad which is a little lower in fat than the original:


  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Blend mayonnaise, granulated sugar and vinegar and refrigerate until ready to mix with vegetables.

Blanch broccoli by steaming for just a few minutes – just until the broccoli turns bright green.  Place broccoli, bacon, cheese, onion, pecans and raisins in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to mix.

AT LEAST ONE HOUR BEFORE SERVING, mix mayo dressing with salad and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Yield:  4-6 servings.