Category Archives: Recipes

Welcome Autumn and a Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

Maxwells’ Pumpkin Muffins

There’s something so beautiful about autumn in Kansas, and today, we welcome it officially! God is gracious to allow the sun to rise each day and to set. The seasons are predictable. “… for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

To welcome fall, I want to share a pumpkin muffin recipe from the Maxwells. This muffin is bursting with flavor and so moist, but dense, so it won’t receive any puffy-bakery-top muffin awards. It’s our go-to recipe for family holiday breakfasts in the winter.

Enjoy!

Love,
Sarah

Combine the dry ingredients.
Chocolate chips are semi-optional. 🙂
Before baking with streusel topping
Pumpkin Muffins

Maxwells’ Pumpkin Muffins

Yields: 12 muffins
1 cup flour 
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/2 cup plus 2 TB. brown sugar
2 eggs 
1 cup pumpkin 
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (can be omitted)

Preheat oven to 350º. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Next, add the eggs, pumpkin, milk, oil, and vanilla, and stir until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Line 12 muffin tins with muffin cup liners, although this is not necessary. If you don’t use liners, make sure to grease the pans. Sprinkle topping over muffins if desired. Bake for 16-19 minutes until the desired doneness.

Streusel Topping (optional)

1 TB. melted butter 
2 TB. flour
3 TB. brown sugar 
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together while melting the butter. Stir in the butter. The mixture will be soft, buttery clumps. Sprinkle on top of each muffin before baking.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to
every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

How to Make Chocolate Mousse

In 1989 when Nathan was 13 years old, our homeschool group hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the seniors in our church. Served at that meal was chocolate mousse cake, and Nathan thought it was so delicious that he asked me to get the recipe and make it for his birthday dessert the next month. He has requested chocolate mousse cake for his birthday dessert ever since. Nathan had his 42nd birthday in December so that’s been 29 years of chocolate mousse cake. He’s the only one in our family who has been so consistent with his birthday dessert. At this point, we can’t imagine him requesting anything else!

Be warned: there are raw eggs in the recipe. If you don’t want to use uncooked eggs, there are pasteurized egg products such as egg beaters you could use, but the results will probably end up different. Make sure the product you choose doesn’t have any spices included. Onion flavored eggs would make this quite a concoction!

We like the mousse over chocolate cake. We use a traditional Betty Crocker cake mix and then make sure the cake is cool before putting the mousse on.

Below you’ll find step-by-step pictures for Chocolate Mousse with the recipe following.

Start with unsweetened chocolate.
Place chocolate in double broiler and add water.
After chocolate is melted, add sugar and salt.
Cook until completely dissolved.
Beat egg yolks.
Add chocolate mixture slowly to egg yolks.
Stir in vanilla.
After chocolate mixture is thoroughly cooled (we placed ours in the refrigerator), add Cool Whip.
With everything combined, it turns into a creamy mousse.
Spread on chocolate cake.
The finished product.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 egg yolks, well beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups Cool Whip

Heat chocolate and water over a double broiler until chocolate is melted. Add granulated sugar and salt; cook until completely dissolved (about 3 minutes). Add slowly to egg yolks, blending well. Stir in vanilla; cool thoroughly. Fold Cool Whip into chocolate mixture. Spread on cake.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the
house of the LORD for ever.”
Psalm 23:6

A Week of Maxwell Dinners

We had a request to share some of our main-meal menus. We keep those in a Google Spreadsheet that the cooks can access from their computers or phones. I copied a week from there to post here.

Saturday 2/16 Instant Pot ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans
Sunday 2/17 Burritos, green salad, homemade whole wheat tortillas, chips, salsa
Monday 2/18 Salmon patties, buns, green salad
Tuesday 2/19 Leftover vegetable beef soup with pasta, homemade whole wheat bread
Wednesday 2/20 Leftover enchiladas, green salad, chips, salsa
Thursday 2/21 Vegetable ham soup with pasta, homemade whole wheat bread
Friday 2/22 Ham pot pie, green salad
Saturday 2/23 Ground beef skillet, green salad

About two years ago, we started having our bigger meal at lunch time. After the initial adjustment of more food preparation in the mornings, we have liked the switch. We talked about making this change years ago, but with homeschooling weren’t willing to give up our quality, morning homeschooling time for food preparation.

In winter, we often have homemade soup. Anna discovered cooking the pasta separately and then adding it to the soup portion keeps it from getting mushy as it does if boiled in the soup broth and then reheated for leftovers.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee,
if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God”
(Deuteronomy 28:2).

Melanie Maxwell’s Christmas “Pick” Recipe

Now that we’re onto another second sister-in-law recipe, you may have figured out what we’re doing. A blog reader requested the sisters-in-law favorite Christmas recipes! So, we’re working on fulfilling that. 

Melanie’s Christmas pick is actually our favorite cinnamon roll. 

We use a basic roll dough, which is one that has been previously posted on the blog, but I’ll post it again.

Recently I oversaw the making of these cinnamon with Nathan and Melanie’s kids so we could document it for the blog. The kids really did pretty much all of the work. These are awesome cinnamon rolls.

Maxwell’s Favorite Cinnamon Rolls
(if you want to see the step-by-step instructions,
this is the link to our Light and Fluffy Rolls
which is what we used)

1 1/2 Tablespoons (heaping) yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 cups warm water (100-110º)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
6 TB. honey or granulated sugar
1 egg room temperature (Put egg in bowl with hot water to warm it for a couple minutes.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dough enhancer (optional)
4 1/3 cups flour – white or wheat or a mixture (This is measured by scooping the flour into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife.)

Filling:
melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Step #1: Heat water to 100-110º. Pour warm water into a mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Gently mix together with a spatula and let proof for 5 minutes.

Step #2: In saucepan, melt better. Then add milk and honey until warm.

Step #3: Pour the milk+honey+butter mixture into the yeast mixture.

Step #4: Turn mixer on, and add egg, salt, dough enhancer, and a cup or two of flour. Finish adding the rest of the flour and knead for 7 minutes.

Step #5: Place dough in oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, then put in oven at 120º to rise for an hour. I heat the oven up to 180º and then leave the door open until the temperature drops.

Let rise until doubled (about an hour). Lightly flour hands and top of dough as often as needed. The dough might be slightly sticky. 

Step #6: Punch dough down. Divide into thirds. Roll one portion out. A key is not to make it too tall. Otherwise, your rolls will be huge. Brush with melted butter. Then, sprinkle on 1/3 of the brown sugar + cinnamon mixture. Tightly roll up, and then cut (we use floss).  Put in a greased pan. Let rise until doubled (I put ours in a warm oven). Take out of oven, preheat to 375º, and then return rolls to oven and bake until golden brown (around 15 minutes). Do not over bake! Frost with your favorite frosting recipe. Ours is a standard Betty Crocker buttercream icing. 

We use dental floss (not flavored, lol) to cut the cinnamon rolls,
and it works beautifully.
This is about how tall you would want it.
Drew brushed on the butter.
Benji adding his approval.
Before we baked them
The final product
100% kid approved

“Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know
to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
Isaiah 7:15

Cherry Tart

Do remember our Austrian blog friend who sent us a cherry stoner (see this post)? She also sent us her favorite cherry tart recipe, which we wanted to try out with the cherries we stoned and froze. We usually make pies, cobblers, and crisps with fruit, but we hadn’t made a tart before so it was fun to try something new.

We served this dessert recently when we had weekend guests. We all agreed. It is delicious.

Cherry Tart

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 lb. cherries

Beat butter with hand mixer until fluffy. Then beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sugar. Continue until everything is really fluffy. Then fold in flour with baking powder. Mix only until everything is combined.

Pour into baking dish. (I use a round one about 9 inch diameter). Then let the cherries sink in. You can use even more than 1 pound of cherries. Bake at 350° until golden brown. Serve warm or cold, with or without vanilla ice cream. It’s delicious!

“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness;
and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).

Happy First Day of Autumn!

Y’all, I’m so excited! Today is the first day of autumn. Here in Kansas, this season means crisp temperatures, sunsets painted of pinks and oranges, vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow leaves, and more time spent outdoors. As I stepped outside last night, I breathed in deeply. It’s that unmistakable autumn smell of someone burning leaves. I praise the Lord for His amazing gift of seasons. “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons … ” (Daniel 2:19-20).

I’m deep in editing my new book. I am grateful for your prayers as I press toward the end. God has been abundantly gracious to me during this busy season!

With autumn also comes cozy times of baking. Why not spend one-on-one time with a little and bake chocolate chip cookies together?

Love,
Sarah

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yields: 20-22 cookies

3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg (room temperature)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°. Beat room temperature butter for 1 min. Then add brown sugar and cream with butter until light and fluffy. Then add milk and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl and then mix into butter-sugar mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 7-12 minutes until the desired doneness. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Enjoy!

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to
divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for
seasons, and for days, and years.”
Genesis 1:14