Someone on Facebook this week was asking for the three greatest gifts their mom gave to the world. I’m guessing they were looking for words of wisdom, or love, or sacrifice, or something, but my answer was a bit more tangible: 1) Me 2) Her bran muffins 3) My brother. If the list was longer I’d have added things like her lifelong work with Bible Study Fellowship, her years with the American Cancer Society, Meals on Wheels, and founding the library at Calvary Baptist Church in Bakersfield (which I think they named in her honor when she died). She also taught me to cook, which obviously became a focus of my future life.
Many of my standard dinners (meatballs and rice w/mushroom gravy, chicken and rice w/chicken gravy, pork chops and rice casserole, fried chicken and mashed potatoes w/country gravy , mashed potatoes, crock-potted roasts, and I’m sure a few others) are derived directly from meals I grew up with. I’ve made some adjustments along the way, but they’re still pretty true to her originals , and all made off the top of my head now.
There are only two actual hand-written recipes I have from her. One was this abomination called African Chow Mein, which I remembered being awesome from childhood. Much later in life, I asked her for the recipe, and upon reading what was in it, I have no idea why I thought it was so good. Or why it had anything to do with Africa. It’s a very 60’s sort of dish with two different canned Campbell’s cream soups, Minute Rice (Minute Rice???), ground beef and a few other things. The only thing I can figure that attracted me to it was it had ground beef in it, it was topped with chow mein noodles (always a hit for a kid), and we could add soy sauce to it, which was sort of a novelty to us as a kid growing up in the Midwest. I’ve never made it, but I still have the recipe card.
The other was her bran muffins from scratch, which was always a special occasion when she would make up a big batch to eat with breakfast. We’d frequently freeze some of them for use on a future weekend. I have made this recipe many times, and that is what I’m sharing with you here.
Usually this would be where I type up the ingredients and the steps, but we’ve got one of them new-fangled scanners, so why not share it as my mom wrote it?
Okay, so Colleen has informed me I can’t get away with not typing the actual recipe and procedure. Something about search engine ophthalmology or something. So here it is:
MOM’S BRAN MUFFINS
1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Shortening
1/2 Quart (2 Cups) Buttermilk
3 Cups Bran Cereal (separated)
1 Cup Boiling Water
3 Cups Flour
2 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
Optional: 1 Cup (or so) Raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Pour 1 cup bran cereal into bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over it. Let sit while you do the rest.
- Cream Crisco and sugar
- Add eggs and buttermilk and mix
- Add flour, baking soda and salt
- Add both wet and dry bran cereal and mix
- If you like raisins, add them here and mix
- According to my mom’s tip “I think it is much better if it (the completed mixture) sits at least one day (overnight) in the refrigerator before baking”
- Fill greased muffin tins (or muffin papers–my preference) 2/3 full with mixture
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes
Kellie graciously agreed to be my model for the procedures photo shoot:
Measuring bran cereal
Checking mom’s recipe while mixing the wet ingredients. Bran cereal is soaking in hot water on the lower left.
Mixing the dry cereal into the wet ingredients
Mixing the mixture
Adding the raisins (optional)
Muffin cups 2/3 filled