Once upon a time not so very long ago, I lived in the frozen arctic tundra known as Michigan. This was not so very bad because I lived in a magical house known as The Ramp with 3 perfect roommates. The house was old and drafty, probably infested with mice, inhabited briefly by a raccoon, frequented by deer that we illegally fed with a salt block, and full of perfect nooks and crannies for reading and thinking. My roommates and I were like a family. We took first day of school pictures, Christmas card pictures, and graduation pictures, launching ourselves from the blue namesake of our house. There was Bethany, who could fix anything and owned an impressive number of BBC miniseries, Jaimi who bestowed our house with great kleos (for those who didn’t go to a crazy classical college, kleos is the Greek idea of glory and honor) from her many campus honors and provided the puzzles and games, me, who cleaned and stacked everyone’s shoes on the stairs, and Little Elyse who strolled about with her violin and whose diminutive size provided her as the unit by which we measured snowfall and icicles. That winter the snow rested .5 Elyse almost the entire winter and sometimes icicles would reach 1 Elyse. But inside our snug little house we were happy.
This winter Kentucky has not gotten the memo about not being Michigan. We have had one snow and ice storm after another. The other day I looked out my window and found that an icicle that was at least .5 Elyse hung from the roof. I have continued running, despite the slick roads, and it feels a lot like college runs, only lacking in Bethany’s bitter presence beside me, griping about why she has been dragged out of bed to run in the snow. Maybe it is this weather that has me missing that perfect senior year, but whatever the case, I have been reliving some of our best moments and some of our best recipes.
The ladies of the Ramp were constantly cooking and entertaining, as there really isn’t much else to do in Hillsdale Michigan during the winter. We were avid readers of Real Simple and would get on kicks where we would make the same thing over and over. For a while it as homemade popcorn, then black beans, then there was a long stretch of coconut macaroons and seven layer bars, with a brief stint over Christmas of white chocolate gingerbread and sour cream cranberry scones. A plate of one of these things would be made, a BBC miniseries turned on, and an evening spent in peace.
One of our best recipes, one that we revisited over and over, was Bethany’s Pumpkin Muffins. The perfect treat for a winter or fall evening, these are the easiest thing ever to make. So over Christmas break, make up a batch of these muffins, turn on a period miniseries, and enjoy winter.
-1 box spice cake mix
-1 can pumpkin
- Pour into greased or paper lined muffin tins.
- Bake at 350 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- We never got around to it, but in theory you could add chocolate chips or peeled cubed apples for something extra.