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Rainy day treats that taste of fall: Sweet potato muffins

Recipe: Nutrient-rich, they're good anytime

Muffins on a blue plate
Bake these on a rainy day. (Photos: Debbie Arrington


Rainy days are made for baking. That’s when I pull out the muffin tin.

Muffins are a handy treat good for anytime snacking, on-the-go breakfast or after dinner with coffee. When they include high-nutrient vegetables or fruit, they might even be healthy.

With dark red skin and orange flesh, garnet sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. And right now, they’re available in abundance. Other varieties also work in this quick and easy recipe.

Two small sweet potatoes or one medium will yield ½ cup pulp. To cook quickly, trim ends and prick with a sharp knife in several places. Wrap sweet potatoes in a paper towel and zap them for 4 minutes on High in the microwave until fork-tender. The flesh will slip right out of the skin. After mashing, a little orange juice keeps the color bright.

Leftover mashed sweet potatoes also work in this recipe.

3 sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins.

Sweet potato muffins

Makes 1 dozen 2-inch muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ cup mashed sweet potatoes, cooled

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

½ cup raisins or dried cranberries

2 tablespoons Demerara sugar or white sugar

Instructions:

Muffin batter in orange, blue and yellow liners
Silicone liners make for easy pan cleanup.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes and orange juice. Add beaten egg and milk. Fold in melted butter.

Add sweet potato mixture to dry ingredients with big strokes, just until blended. Fold in raisins.

Prepare muffin tin; grease cups or line with paper or silicone liners.

Fill cups about two-thirds full of batter. Sprinkle tops with Demerara or white sugar.

""
Muffins are great any time of day.
Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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