Food and Recipes that Nurture
our Spirits and Bodies
A Conversation in BGCafé

Birthday Muffins
Bonnie Neugebauer

When I was growing up, my Mom made blueberry muffins for birthday breakfasts, and that made it a very special day.  Roger and I have continued this traditional birthday breakfast, and now our children make them for our grandchildren.  We always ate dinners together as a family; but everyone had different morning routines, some beginning very early, so breakfasts were more slap dash.  But on a birthday everyone had to be up to sing and celebrate the birthday person—they remember that as quite an ordeal, but still, they love the muffins!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Topping:
1 teaspoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs thoroughly; add the vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture (sifted together), about half at a time, alternating with milk, half at a time.  Stir in blueberries.  Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.  Add topping if desired.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in pan before removing.

Viennese Crescents
Judy Kulczycki

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a wooden spoon or fingers mix the walnuts, butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and flour into a smooth dough. Shape the dough (about 2 teaspoons at a time) into small crescents, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet until lightly browned — about 15-18 minutes. Cool one minute. While still warm, roll in the confectioners’ sugar.

Spinache’ Penne Pasta Casserole with chicken, sausage or vegetarian.
Melissa Nelson

In a mixing bowl combine:
2 cups fresh or frozen (cooked) spinach 
1 can garbanzo beans 
1 cup of cottage cheese (more if desired)
1 cup parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder.

Mix, cooked pasta, meat of choice and cheese blend in a casserole dish. Pour 1 jar of pasta sauce and stir until mixed. Top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake 400 for 20 minutes. Serve with side salad or roasted veggies. Veggies such as carrots, mushrooms or zucchini or asparagus can be added instead of meat.

Akra Bean Fritters
Margaret Akinware

One and a half cups brown beans or black eyed peas – Nigerian akara natively utilizes black eyed peas, cowpeas, West African brown beans or honey-beans which are a sweeter variety of brown beans. Brown and honey beans may be available at a local African store near you.Half of a red onion2 scotch bonnet/ habanero peppers – Feel free to use less or omit if you aren’t into spicy food.3 teaspoons of vegetable bouillonSalt to tasteOil for deep frying – I tend to prefer canola oil because it is a flavorless oil. Feel free to use any other flavorless oil like avocado oil, sunflower oil or vegetable oil. If you choose to use palm oil as is traditionally used, just be aware that it will add its own unique flavor (which some prefer).  Skin and Prep the Beans  First of all, start by skinning the beans. Simply soak the beans in water for 3 minutes. After about 3 minutes, the skin of the beans should start wrinkling a little bit. Place the beans in a food processor, with some water, just enough to cover it. Pulse the food processor about 5-6 times to agitate the beans. This process breaks the beans up and separates the skins off the beans. Be careful, some water might splash out of the processor while pulsing the beans.

Clara’s Cheese Meatballs
Roger Neugebauer

My mom really didn’t like to cook (or do housework for that matter) but every Christmas she would make her specialty for us – Cheese Meatballs.  Later, after I moved away, got married, had kids etc, every time I came home to see my folks in Fargo, North Dakota, mom would make Cheese Meatballs for me.

1/2 pound hamburger
1/2 cup cornflakes
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon sal
1/4 cup catsup
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp shortening
Pepper
1 can cheddar cheese soup or 1 ½ cup milk, 1 tsp salt and ¼ cup grated American Cheese.

Combine and shape into elongated patties.  Brown in 2 tablespoons shortening.  Add 3 tablespoons flour to shortening.  Add 1 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 pound grated American cheese or 1 can cheese soup.  Pour over meatballs.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.  We usually at least quadruple the recipe!

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People who commit their lives to young children and their families have powerful stories to tell and we can find our own hope and inspiration as we listen.  Bonnie’s Global Café is the space where people gather to share their stories.  Stop by for tea and find affirmation and companionship.

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