DEAR JEANNE: This is a recipe for a raisin-bran muffin mix, which can be refrigerated for up to six weeks or frozen. You improve the quality of ingredients for so many wonderful recipes; I am hoping that you might be able to do the same for this one, which is healthy but can still be kept in the refrigerator to be baked as needed, or frozen. Thanks for all you do to help so many of us enjoy eating — more healthily! — Venita Ballinger, San Diego

FEEDING THE FLOCK

1 box raisin bran (15 1/4 ounces)

3 cups sugar

5 cups flour

5 teaspoons baking soda

2-3 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup melted shortening

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 quart buttermilk

Mix raisin bran, sugar, flour, baking soda and pumpkin-pie spice. Add eggs, shortening, vanilla and buttermilk. Makes a large batch. They will keep in the refrigerator for six weeks, or may be frozen for longer storage (do not stir each time).

I drop a quarter-size amount to make cookies and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 325 or 350. Or I make “scuffins”: Drop a larger amount on a cookie sheet and bake like scones 15-20 minutes. The batter lasts a long time, but the muffins are bake and eat. Makes 6 dozen regular muffins.

 

DEAR VENITA: I can see why it’s called “Feeding the Flock” — that’s enough muffins for a large crowd! I have changed some of the ingredients to make it more nutritious. I have added different kinds of fiber — oats and flaxseed meal — because we need all kinds of fiber to absorb the things we don’t want to hang around and move them along. I also like to grate apples, carrots or zucchini into the mix. You also can add dates, prunes or dried apricots, finely chopped.

All of these will not add a lot of calories per muffin, but lots of good nutrition. I like your idea about making cookies, which also could be called drop biscuits!

FEEDING THE FLOCK HEALTHY (BRAN MUFFINS)

2 cups boiling water

2 cups oatmeal

3 cups whole-wheat flour

4 cups unprocessed bran

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

5 teaspoons baking soda

2-3 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice

1 cup raisins

1 egg

3 egg whites

2/3 cup honey

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 quart (4 cups) low-fat buttermilk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Combine the boiling water and the oatmeal in a bowl and set aside.

2. Combine the whole-wheat flour, bran, flaxseed meal, baking soda, pumpkin-pie spice and raisins, and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the egg and egg whites; beat in the honey, brown sugar, canola oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat the oatmeal into the egg mixture. Beat with a hand mixer if necessary to break up the oatmeal. Beat until no large lumps of oatmeal remain.

4. Add the flour mixture, and combine with a few swift strokes. Do not overbeat at this point. This can be kept for several weeks, tightly covered in the refrigerator, baking as needed.

5. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Makes 72 muffins.

Each muffin contains approximately:

Original recipe: 118 calories; 3 gm fat; 12 mg cholesterol; 149 mg sodium; 20 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm protein; 1 gm fiber.

Revised recipe: 80 calories; 3 gm fat; 3 mg cholesterol; 106 mg sodium; 18 gm carbohydrates; 3 gm protein; 3 gm fiber.

 

Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently “Cooking From the Cupboard” (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com. Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope.

 

– King Features Syndicate