Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day and a Few Dozen Muffins

Last night I dropped off two dozen muffins to The Guardian House, a residence for homeless women veterans in Ballston Spa, New York. I first heard of this special home when a facebook friend posted Home Depot's contest for worthy non-profits, and The Guardian House won the first round of competition, and is now in the running for the larger, national prize. I was thinking about service, and what people do for others, when the thought came to me that I could help in my own small way by using my particular skills. So, I baked up two dozen muffins to honor these women on Memorial Day. It's not much, but if these muffins bring even a little bit of happiness to the residents of The Guardian House (eleven women at this time), that would make me feel like I did a little bit of good. More info about The Guardian House is linked here.

Henry and Peter helped me make the muffins yesterday afternoon. As they were cooling I decided that last night would be a good time to drop them off, rather than this morning, because it'd be nice for the women to have them for breakfast when they woke up. I looked up the address of the house on-line, and took the 20-minute ride just around 8 pm. As I stood at the door and pressed the doorbell, I wondered if I should have called first, made arrangements in a formal way. But that wasn't necessary -- after a moment the door opened, I was welcomed in and asked to sign the guest book. What a warm, cozy, and inviting home it is! The kitchen (always my point of interest) looked like HOME, so welcoming, and immaculately clean (well, my kitchen doesn't always look like that!), with a big wooden, family-style table in the center. It felt like a family's home.

The two women I met were in pretty robes and slippers, seemingly settled in for the night. One mentioned that they were watching a Memorial Day tribute on PBS. I didn't want to interrupt their evening so I thanked them for their service and left within just a couple of minutes, with a new awareness that this home is a very important place, and so very deserving of the the attention and generosity it has been fortunate to receive lately. I have a feeling I'll be visiting again (and again).

About this muffin: it's made with light sour cream and egg whites, and whips up into a light yet substantial batter.The addition of lemon extract, along with strawberries and blueberries, makes these irresistible (to me, anyway!) and I bet your family and friends will love them!

Oven 375 degrees Farenheit - makes 24 standard muffins (half the recipe for a dozen)
Spray muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners

1/2 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
4 egg whites
2 cups (1 pt.) light sour cream
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4-1 cup cup frozen blueberries, tossed with 1 tablespoon flour
1/2-3/4 cup chopped up fresh strawberries

In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add extracts and mix well.  Add egg whites, one at a time, and beat well.  Add sour cream and mix thoroughly.

To the mixer bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  On very low speed,  mix into the wet ingredients and then increase speed to mix thoroughly, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

To this batter, stir in (gently) the blueberries and strawberries, but just until combined or the blueberries will turn the batter purple!  Divide batter among muffins cups -- I use an ice cream scoop to do the job since it works perfectly!

Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake for 21-23 minutes or until muffins test done - top springs back when lightly pressed or toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Here are a few photos of the muffins along the way!

It is my pleasure and privilege to remember our veterans in this very small way, and on this day of picnics and welcoming summer, I won't forget that the true purpose of Memorial Day is to honor our fallen heroes. I can't let this day go by without thanking my father, Alfred J. O'Farrell (1917-1993) for his service in the United States Army during WWII.  He was, and always will be, my hero.


  1. What a lovely gesture, Jeannie! I am sure your muffins were enjoyed this morning and were very much appreciated. They look delicious!! And the Guardian House sounds like a wonderful, very important place...

    1. Hi Colleen - I am pretty sure the muffins were a welcome treat this morning, hope so anyway! I plan to stay connected to The Guardian House. It's close enough, and I look forward to bringing them baked goods now and then (especially since I love to bake and write about it, but often have to scramble to get the goods out of the house!).

  2. Jeanne, your kindness and caring were most likely greatly appreciated. I glad I can call you a friend ! ckj

    1. Thanks CKJ. Pretty sure I got more from this experience than they did. Grateful.

  3. That was so nice of you, Jeannie! And the muffins look delicious, as always! (love your addition of lemon extract - one of my favorites :-) ).

    1. I love these muffins, Melissa, because these are light, bright, and delicious. The white batter, with the flavor of lemon, is just perfect with the blueberries and strawberries! Thanks so much for the comment!

  4. Jeanne you have such a li.d heart and beautiful spirit. Red white and blue great idea great cause. Sharron eddy cataldo .

  5. These look absolutely amazing. I don't know why I never thought of adding lemon to my blueberry muffins!