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A little of this, A little of that.

By Kathy Little

Fri, Jan 4th, 2013
Posted in All Features

“Three or more of anything makes a collection” goes the saying. That means that I am a cookbook collector among other things. It started out innocently enough. At my wedding shower I received two cookbooks: The Betty Crocker Cookbook and The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Before the cooking sites on the internet and the food channel on TV, people really depended on cookbooks. Many of us still do because we read them like novels while enjoying the pictures. Call it virtual cooking.

At first these were my only reference for all things cooking; call them my cooking encyclopedias. Then I branched out and began collecting recipes from friends and family and clipping them out of newspapers and magazines. These I stored in metal file boxes on recipe cards. Eventually, I had six metal boxes and a few vintage wooden boxes. This gave me a sense of security - I owned these recipes. Then I purchased printed cards with my name and kitchen and food graphics on them.

When my mom, Margie Barrett Bjork, gave me my first church cookbook, I realized that I had a hobby. I bought church cookbooks at garage sales and flea markets. Other people gave me church cookbooks as gifts. This was fun. Some of the cookbooks had sponsors that were local businesses. Some were so old that the business sponsors’ telephone numbers were only four digits and the businesses were defunct.

These were history books as well as cookbooks. I could read recipes submitted by former teachers, relatives, and mothers of friends. My cousin, Eileen Tienter Linden, actually complied family recipes for a Schwartz Family Cookbook.

True, some of these recipes required prior cooking experience since directions such as “put in pan and bake until done” left out specifics such as pan size, time and temperature. Perhaps they should have included phone numbers as well.

Soon an entire shelf in my generous pantry was filled with cookbooks and metal file boxes. Some flowed into file folders, too.

However I still had two shelves for food stuffs. I wanted more cookbooks. So I sought out more garage sales where the product was plentiful and the prices cheap. My best score was in LaCresent where I purchased twenty church cookbooks for 10 cents each. Only $2.00 for an entire box. I expected my husband to be so impressed by my frugal ways. Instead he started mumbling words like obsession and hoarding under his breath. Silly man, he even made me watch some reality show about “hoarders.” Instead of feeling shame, I felt pride. My stuff was so much better and so much better arranged.

I patiently explained that the woman in LaCrescent still had 300 cookbooks in her house. He said he hoped that I had forgotten her address. Still he likes to eat, so he dropped the subject for the time being. These muffins will remind you of fall and you don’t have to peel apples. The apple pie filling keeps these muffins moist so even if you always use fresh apples, please give these a try.

Bed and Breakfast Apple Muffins

1 can (21 oz.) apple pie filling

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt


1/2 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp. white sugar

1/4 cup butter

3 Tbsp. flour

1tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup nuts, chopped


For muffins, mix sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add apple pie filling. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add to apple pie mixture. Fill muffin tins half full. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Makes 2 dozen. These freeze really well.

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