Love at first bite

It’s August of 2000, at the end of a weeklong family reunion.

First thing in the morning, a little girl with long braids bounds out of bed.

As the awkward middle between eight older boy cousins and three younger, cuter girls, the girl with the braids often feels lost in the crowd.

Now is her chance to shine.

With her is a carefully squirreled away box of “Jiffy Corn Muffin” mix. She’s sure her family will be impressed…

Bursting with excitement, she makes it down to the kitchen. She isn’t the first one there, however. At the counter her uncle has just cracked some eggs and poured some salsa in a bowl to make scrambled eggs.

These aren’t just any eggs. They are the last eggs. And, being 10 miles from civilization on the last day in town, no one is inclined to go buy another half-dozen.

The girl with the braids is crushed. Her moment, stripped away.

Then her uncle, with a keen sense of awareness, notices her sadness.

“I haven’t mixed the eggs together yet,” he says. “See, the yolk isn’t even broken.”

“But there’s already salsa mixed in,” the girl with braids dispassionately replies.

“Just give it a try,” her uncle urges.

Having nothing to lose, the girl carefully scoops out the necessary eggs. The salsa was unavoidable, so she ends up with a jalepeno-speckled corn muffin mix.

Still a little down, she puts the spicy batter in the oven and waits.

Before long, the scent of fresh corn muffins wafts through the air. Her aunts, uncles and even teenage cousins (who usually sleep well into the day) are lured down the stairs.

The buzzer goes off and the little girl with braids takes the muffins out of the oven. Her family gathers around.

“They’re messed up,” she tries to explain.

It’s no use; her family is already digging in.

The little girl wonders if they are just being nice. How could a recipe that went wrong end up so right? Still skeptical, she samples a muffin for herself.


Finally, she cracks a smile. Maybe she can do something right, after all.

Here’s the kicker: That little girl was me (I bet no one caught on to that!) and that moment was when I fell in love with cooking.

My kitchen blunder-turned-success boosted my confidence and taught me it’s good to roll with the punches, both in and out of the kitchen.

Since that time, I’ve developed plenty more recipes.

But, those “fiesta corn muffins” still hold a special place in my heart. I’ve since moved on from boxed Jiffy mix (although it is still good). I’ve done some trial-and-error, but the fun part about the recipe is that it’s constantly evolving.

On that note, here is the latest development:

Fiesta Corn Muffins


  • 3/4 C corn meal
  • 1 1/4 C WW flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1 C skim milk
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/4 C apple sauce
  • 1/4 C salsa
  • 2 T low-fat cream cheese


  • Mix corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt in medium-sized bowl.
  • Mix honey, milk, “egg” and apple sauce in large-sized mixing bowl. Slowly add the corn meal-mixture while mixing. Combine thoroughly, but be careful not to over-beat.
  • In small-sized bowl, combine salsa and cream cheese.
  • Spoon approximately 1 T of corn batter into each section of a greased muffin tin. Top approximately 1 t of cheese mixture to each muffin cup. Evenly top with remaining corn batter.
  • Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the tops are browned and muffins are firm to the touch.

Questions: Do you enjoy cooking or baking? Do you remember when you first fell in love with it?


7 responses to “Love at first bite

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