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I am not much of a cook or a baker, for that matter, but I recently had results from a blood test that my cholesterol is high, so I turned to my mother-in-law.

“I seem to remember you made Papa muffins to help Jerry reduce his cholesterol,” I said.

“Yes, he’s the only person I know who reduced his cholesterol through diet,” she replied.

“Can I have the recipe?” Minga (that’s her grandma name) sent me a text with a picture of her recipe card.

Papa died in 2004, so it’d been a while since she had made his muffins, but my daughters all remember them fondly as a treat when they stayed at Minga and Papa’s house.

My first attempt was severely lacking. Once I found the Oat Bran cereal, I wasn’t sure what package meant. Was it like oatmeal that can be bought in individual packets? Thank goodness, Minga is only a text away for consultation.

“No, package means the whole box.”

The liquid to dry parts seemed uneven to me, but I followed the recipe. The muffins were dry and crumbly and difficult to eat.

Around the holiday season, I love pumpkin flavor, so I wondered how they would taste with pumpkin rather than bananas. Moister? I hoped.

A batch around Thanksgiving was good with the added pumpkin, but it wasn’t until Christmas Eve that I perfected the recipe. I only added 1 cup of flour, rather than 2 cups.

Today, New Year’s Eve, the batch is even better. I cut down on cooking time and added vanilla to the wet part. Yum! Yum!

Papa muffins will be a traditional holiday treat!

Recipe for Perfect Papa Pumpkin Muffins

1 box oat bran cereal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 T baking powder
1 T baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
pinch of salt

Mix together

4 eggs
2 cups skim milk
1/3 cup oil
4 heavy squirts of honey
2 ripe bananas or 1 can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix wet parts and add to dry. Stir. Do not beat.
Line and spray muffin tins.
Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes or until brown.

Makes 24-28 muffins.

Anne Simon and Margaret Simon

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