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Pantry Basics

Cabin Fever
January 24, 2011 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Snow days may be a blast when it’s fresh-fallen, but soon it becomes a slushy, cold mess. Here are some fun ways to staying sane indoors this winter.

Dance Party! Even the littlest family members can join in, so get ready to break a sweat. Whether you’re playing hot potato or just getting on your groove, pump up the volume and get ready to dance the day away. Family game night. Games like Pictureka—think I Spy but as a board game, have been our game of choice. The fun has been so contagious we even designated Sundays picnic game night. We lay a tablecloth on the living room floor, set up finger foods & sandwiches, then let the fun take hold as we all frantically try to find the hidden pictures first.

Get cooking. Staying warm is easy when you’re cooking up a storm. Let the kids choose their favorite recipe, for starters. Little ones can help measuring dry ingredients, while big kids can mix batters and fill cupcake tins. Here’s a recipe to get you started along with more tips for baking with kids.

Gingerbread Muffins
makes one dozen

The holiday may be over, but these fragrant, spice-scented muffins are the perfect treat year-round with an icy glass of milk for the kids—and hot cup of coffee for mom.

2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (11 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) sea salt
1 teaspoon (4 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground ginger
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold butter, cut into 12 pieces
1/2 cup (112 ml) molasses
1 cup (8 ounces/225 ml) buttermilk
2 teaspoons (10 grams) coarse sugar, for sprinkling tops (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease one 12-cup standard size muffin tin or fill with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Add the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices to a deep bowl. Whisk to combine. Add butter and using a pastry blender, or your fingers (my preferred method), blend until it forms a sandy-looking mixture.
  3. Add the buttermilk and molasses to a small bowl and beat with a fork. Pour over the flour mixture and stir, using a fork or wooden spoon, until just mixed and there are no visible traces of flour. Spoon into the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle tops with an even amount of coarse sugar, if desired.
  4. Bake 18 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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