“Mmm,” Lacey yelled. “Smells good.” She entered the kitchen and hugged Melanie. “I love Saturdays!” She grabbed a muffin. “Lemon-blueberry! The best.”
I love to make muffins. It’s almost an obsession. I always tried to perfect them, and when I realized I was gluten intolerant, I started experimenting. But, I’ll admit, nothing tastes as good as regular muffins. Working with oat flour, almond flour, or any gluten-free blend is not the same. I used to make scones almost every morning for my family, and I loved the feel of that dough in my hands. Working it, folding it, shaping it. It was quite a heavenly feeling. But alas, if I want to eat them right now, it’s oat flour and a blend for me.
So how did this obsession start?
We have a good friend who should have been an Italian Chef. How could you not be with a name like Frank Sanicola? When our family (five children at the time) would visit his house for the weekend, he would cook to our hearts’ content. One morning, I watched him whip up a couple of different batches of muffins using cereal. They were better than anything I’d ever tasted at a French bakery. I was inspired.
But inspiration wasn’t enough. So the first weekend back home, I pulled out a recipe and tweaked it. Thankfully, I had all the ingredients on hand. Those were the manna days of our lives when my husband was a real estate broker, and the market crashed. As well, he answered God’s call to begin distance learning at a seminary. I think our reliance on God’s provision was never greater than back then! So I baked and cooked with whatever I had on hand.
Mmmm. Good butter, Mom.
With six of us crowded around the table, I set the plates, napkins and everyone got a knife for butter. The muffins did look beautiful in the center of the table, but that was it for breakfast. I secretly beamed, staring adoringly at my family and the enticing basket of baked goods. My husband gave thanks, and everyone dug in. I waited and watched. My high beams switched to low as quickly as the flip of a wrist. Shifty eyes looking toward dad went around the table. A slight nod from my husband silenced any words about to escape. Then Daniel, four at the time, grinned from ear to ear. He had a smile that lit up the room. At thirty-three years old, he still does.
He crooned, “Mmm,” his eyes disappearing into apparent bliss.
“See! Someone likes my muffins.” I couldn’t help myself from blurting.
“Good butter, mom,” gushed Daniel, with a lick of it still on his lips.
Back to the kitchen!
A bit about Melanie
Fortunately, Melanie’s muffins are much more delicious, and Lacey can attest to that. She even agrees to run with her mother along the gulf coast just because her mom treated her with home-baked muffins. Melanie is a fitness buff and running is her go-to. I based Melanie’s hobby if that’s what you call it, off my eldest daughter. She is so disciplined she runs, so she can enjoy a little treat now and then. You can see below that she keeps in shape, unlike me. She says, “I eat to live. Mom and Dad, you live to eat.” Wait till she gets our age.
Anyway, if you read the book, you can jog along with Melanie and Lacey, you’ll meet the 90-year-old Mrs. Higa, Bubba, the Catch Shack Chef, and even get a glimpse of the mysterious Captain Jack. Some or all of these characters may have their own books in the future. We’ll have to wait and see.
Who is Lacey?
Back to Lacey. She’s a little sassy but a sweet teenager that grows up in her faith fast. She faces a trial that, sadly, some young girls experience across the globe. My Release Week posts discuss human trafficking. But Lacey’s relationship with her mom is a source of strength. Their relationship is close and lots of fun. It’s a bit like what my youngest daughter and I have. As well, my other two daughters, but I was much more mellow raising JoAnna. Melanie had Lacey at a very young age. I, on the other hand, gave birth to JoAnna, my youngest, at forty-four! By the time she hit the teen years, I was exhausted, but God showered grace on me, and she is and was a delight, as is Lacey. I hope you’ll be enticed to go read all about Lacey.
So, the recipes. Don’t worry! This author has perfected her baking and God was very gracious to provide all the cooking channels that broke out following my muffin disaster. That was almost thirty years ago when my family swore off my muffins. I promise my kids and husband love my baking to this day as long as it’s not gluten-free. I’d be happy to send you both recipes. Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get them out to you.
Check back tomorrow, when I’ll share about Miss Ellie, a senior citizen who makes a killer Savory Beef Stew. The recipe will be available, and I think you’ll want to give it a try. I just made it for our church potluck last Sunday, and it was a big hit. Have a blessed day!