Wednesday 24 February 2010

Be it ever so humble . . . and a new Giveaway!

Home . . . home . . . we've all read the old quips about it, probably even used them from time to time . . . you know the ones . . . like

home is a place you hang your hat, or the place you sign up for the family car, or wait for the allowance dole . . . grab a snack.

We all have a tendancy to take our old abode for granted sometimes. It's there, it's familiar . . . it's just home, that's all.

But is that all it really is?

Have you ever been away somewhere and been struck with a devouring longing for that place you call "Home?" It is then that you truly begin to realize that a home is much more than a roof over your head . . . and that it quite honestly takes a whole heap of living to make a house a home for you or for anyone else.

Home is where you can loll about on the floor and read the newspaper or your comics . . . where the smell of fresh bread baking or a tempting stew bubbling on top of the stove tantalizes your tastebuds, promising pleasures to come . . . where your grade school masterpiece still resides and the scratches of your first puppies claws still mark the back door.

It's after-school-snacks of your own choosing and where your horde of childhood books, snapshots, report cards and all those other important momentos of your youth are still stashed . . . it's birthday cakes and family reunions . . . it's the remembrances of leaf raking in the autumn and digging in the garden in the spring.

It's praying together and singing together . . . and sometimes even arguing together . . . but you can do it and not be afraid of judgement, or ridicule, or the fear of people abandoning you . . . because you know that everyone there loves you . . . even when you don't love yourself.

It's agreeing to disagree with your mom on your form of dress . . . and the tender, loving care when you're sick . . . the heap of understanding when you're blue . . . it's the place where you are loved most by those who know you best and where you've been.

Home is the welcome mat you put out for your friends . . . where you can pay back all their kindnesses to you . . . where you can share . . . where you can give . . . where you can care . . .

It's not unlike anyone else's home, and yet . . . it's different than all the others, because your things, your loves, your happy memories reside there. Home is really where you hang your heart

It's a lot of things . . . that's what a home is . . . and it's pretty special don't you think?

A friend of mine in church told me about this fabulous Muffin Cookbook. I looked it up on the internet and it did indeed sound wonderful and so I just had to have one for myself, only to discover after it arrived . . . doh!! I already had it. I didn't want to go to the trouble of sending it back so I thought to myself, this would make the perfect giveaway gift! So that is what I am doing in honor of passing the 200 mark on my followers list I am giving every follower of mine an opportunity to win this lovely Cookbook, "Mad About Muffins, by Dianna Bonaparte. Not only that, I am also throwing in a small set of kitchen scales as the recipes are all in British Measurements and I know you North Americans sometimes struggle with those! To be in on the fun you only have to sign up as one of my followers and leave a comment telling me you have done so, or that you are already on the list. I'll be picking a winner on March 1st. Good Luck Everyone!

Just to show you how very tasty the recipes are in this book, I baked the White Chocolate and Lavender Muffins from it's pages last night. Oh my, but they are very good! I was a bit afraid that the lavender would be somewhat overpowering, but it isn't. It's quite pleasant and so are the white chocolate chunks!!

*White chocolate and Lavender Muffins*
Makes 12
Printable Recipe

Deliciously different! The Lavender gives a subtle pleasant taste to these sweet muffins and goes so very well with the white chocolate.

For the batter
13 ounces flour
6 ounces caster sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried lavender (or 1 TBS fresh lavender florets)
6 3/4 ounces milk
3 1/2 ounces sunflower oil
2 eggs
7 ounces white chocolate, chopped
to top:
1 1/2 ounces demerara sugar or lavender sugar if you have it

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Grease and flour 12 medium muffin cups or line with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lavender together in a large bowl. Whisk together the milk, oil and eggs in a beaker. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once. Fold in with a large metal spoon, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the chocolate chunks to evenly disperse.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it equally amongst them. Sprinkle the tops with the demerara sugar. (or lavender sugar if using)

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until well risen and golden brown and the tops spring back when gently touched.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool a bit before eating.

If you like apples and blackberries, you'll love this delicious Apple and Blackberry Cobbler that I have posted today over on The English Kitchen.


  1. Good morning dear,
    I was just going to turn off the computer when I saw your blog light up again in my reader. I just had to stop by again tonight and say good morning to you.
    We had a wonderful new beginnings meeting at yw tonight. It was so touching and inspirational and fun at the same time. My talk went well and was well recieved. Everyone did their parts so well. It was a wonderful evening and well worth the work and planning. Now that I am home I am keyed up even though it is late. I have not felt like blogging because my heart has been with Lynell and I have been so busy. I am glad that I could catch up a bit tonight.

    I agree with you that home is the place we hang our heart. I love going on cruises and visiting beautiful places but most of all I love coming back home. My happiest moments in life are when my children come back home to visit and I can have them with me within these walls again.

    What a lovely giveaway. I am a follower of course.

    It was nice to talk to you this morning even if it was a short visit. I love hearing your sweet voice. Have a good week. Hugs, Lura

  2. Hello, my friend! Such lovely thoughts on home today--I agree with every one of those thoughts--there IS no place like home!

    Right now the wind is howling something fierce all around my little home...the rose branches that need trimming are tapping madly on my kitchen window as I type this---looks like we're in for more storming tonight!

    Hope you're warm and cozy in your beautiful home...Love those muffins! I'm a fan of lavender in all forms--and having it in a muffin sounds lovely! I have lots of lavender around my house--English lavender, of course!

    I'll be back to see you tomorrow--have a wonderful day...I'm off to my warm & cozy bed! Much love being sent your way by this crazy wind!

  3. Happy Wednesday Marie. As much as I love going away on holidays I do always look forward to coming home as well. Homelessness makes me really sad, I can't imagine how difficult that must be. On a lighter cake filled note what a fantastic giveaway please can I join in too :-) xxx

  4. My mil recommended your blog to me after we moved here to England. I have loved 'getting to know you' through your blog and feeling like you are talking to me so personally. Thank you for putting so much effort into your blog and reaching out.

    I have yet to try any of your recipes, but I have a lot bookmarked :) I have been following your blog through my bloglines reader but have offically become one of your 'followers' on your toolbar.

    The cookbook looks like so much fun! A great one to have your children help out with!

    Thank you!

  5. Good morning Marie! I love this post, it's so true! As much as I like going away, I am always eager to return home. A week away is enough for me except when we travel to America then I'm happy to be there for three weeks THEN I'm longing for the comfort of my home!
    I think you know already that I'm an avid follower of your blog and have been since the old J-Land days (I have all the recipes to prove it, ha ha!) and guess what.... I don't have that muffin there's a surprise! Hope you, Todd and Jess are well. ~~~ Love, Pat x

  6. Good morning Marie!! I love this post... I have really become a home body this winter... I am so content to just stay at home... I would love to win your giveaway... wow- 200 followers is an amazing achievement! Congratulations and keep on baking and taking those amazing photos that we all enjoy so much! Blessings! Carolyn

  7. I am a major homebody! From January to end of March particularly, I am quite happy to never venture far from my own front door. And very happy I am too!

    Congratulations on 200! I'm not surprised, your posts are wonderful...

  8. There is no place I would rather be than home really. I just love the familiarity and the being surrounded with people and things I love. Home is where the heart is for sure.

    I love that homes have a distinct personality and reflect so much about the people that live there. Show me a person's home and I can tell you so much about them. Wath fun post and give away, Marie. I'm there on the followers list.

  9. I have always been a hombird Marie,maybe too much of one.Holidays whatever I always want to be home.I carn't imagine Lavendar in cakes or muffins at all.Still the proof is in the eating so I guess I shall have to try them one day.Count me in for the givaway please.Congratulations on so many followers,not a suprize at all.Have a lovely day.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  10. I am a muffin maniac! So, I'd love a chance to win this book and the pretty red scales.

    Home -- I love my home but I miss my other home; my Mom and Dad are still living, and I long to visit them. Thanks for your analagies, Marie.

  11. Your recipes always looks so good! is a lot of things and I am so thankful there is such a wonderful place! :D

  12. 'Home' - I wonder if there is ever a time when we stop thinking of our childhood home as 'home'? Though I can't reslly speak for everybody, I know that us 3 'kids' talk about '...when we were all at home....' as meaning not the place where we live now but that glowy place we were together in as kids. To this day, when I dream about being 'at home', that's which fireside I'm at.

    Thanks for a lovely, evocative post.

    love, Angie, xx

  13. By the way.........I would love it if I could be in the running for your giveaway (just forgot to mention!)

  14. Hello my friend! What a fun giveaway. That muffin book looks so fun. And the scales too! Do you mind if I put it on my sidebar?

    I hope this week is gong well for you! It is flying by here. Jeff is out of town and it seems like everything in the world is happening this week! I will be glad when it's over - lol!


  15. Hi, dear Marie! I'm late getting here... Very busy day, and not least as we had Charlie to the vet. Oh, nothing wrong--just had to take him in for his annual shots/check-up. For an old boy (he'll be 11 this year!) he's doing great! :o) Oh, but how sweet--another giveaway--you are lovely to share another book with us. This muffins book sounds fantastic. We love muffins. And these muffins you have here today look I'll take one with a cuppa now! ;o) Lovely thought on home today... "Home is where the heart can rest"--those are words to a song I heard once, and very true, I think. :o) Hope you're having a lovely day, my friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  16. That muffin cook book sounds very delicious! Sign me up...or rather pick me!!

  17. Marie,
    You blogs are beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I love the one about home. It is so true. Please sign me up for the giveaway.
    Have a good day. Karen

  18. Hello,
    I just found your blog this morning and am LOVIN' it! I hope to be reading it everyday and keeping up with your happenings and recipes. Please enter me in your giveaway. I have registered as one of your followers. Thank you!


  19. Hi Marie,
    Hope Tod and Jess are well.and you of course ! I am not sure about the lavender in muffins...might make them a funny smell...but then again maybe not...I will try them out once the lavender comes into bloom again...that will be a wee while I think as this winter seems to go on and on...
    You know I have always been a great folower and now friend I hope of you and the family...for a long time now back to AOL days...these were the days..still greatly missed.
    Love sybil xx

  20. Ok Marie I really need to win this giveaway because I love muffins and I have lavender! Oh, and I've been a follower for a very long time. blessings, marlene

  21. What a lovely post! There is truly no place like home. I am at my happiest when my entire family is here. :)
    I'm a follower!

  22. That cookbook looks wonderful! I love your recipes too. They are real comfort food, like my Mom used to make.

  23. I love your thoughts about home! Sometimes I feel like home is the place where I follow behind my children wiping up messes, but then we all sit down with a storybook. Then I remember what it's all for!

    The muffin cookbook looks scrumptious! How thoughtful to add kitchen scales for those of us easily confused by conversions!

  24. Marie,

    I loved this post and it made me long to run into the door after school and enjoy a thick slice of my mom's homemade bread smothered in butter and her homemade raspberry jam. Oh yum. I miss my childhood home and hope my own children feel the same.
    I was surprised I wasn't a follower as I watch for you on my bloglist!
    You are a smart cookie to add the scales for all of us North Americans! You know us well!
    I hope your week is beautiful.~♥

  25. hello,
    those muffins look yummy - what a great giveaway prize. i am a follower :)

    ive never been one for travelling really - i love being at home all cozy and i always feel a bit out of my depth in places i dont know. i'm not yet in 'the house i will always live in' but our next move probably this year should result in that and then i can really settle and think, yep, this is home :)

  26. I'm following. Thanks for the great giveaway!!


    zekks at yahoo dot com

  27. Hi Marie,your recipe for lavender flavoured muffins sound delicious, never tasted lavender in deserts before, but I am really intrigued about this one. Thanks for your lovely chatty posts. I too became a follower, as I read your posts every day.MCcanada

  28. I have been following you for quite a while and have been impressed with your ability to mesh Gospel principles into your blog without sounding "preachy." I have recommended you to friends.

    As for Home, this is something that RS is working on, creating an eternal family and home. Although I am 52 years old I still think of home as where I grew up rather than the home that I have created for my husband and children. Looking back I see all the mistakes tht I have made raising my children but I can't remember any that my parents made, I know they must have but they must not have been "life-altering" mistakes since I don't even remember them.

    Thanks for your blogs they really do help me a lot.

    Carlene Sanchez
    Easton, Pennsylvania

  29. I've been a follower for a long time and I've been busy cooking my way through your delicious recipes.

  30. I normally check out your English cooking blog, but today I followed the link to this one and I'm so glad I did. Wonderful post...Be it ever so humble...home is where it's at! I am a follower now...would love to be in on the muffin book giveaway. :)

  31. I love your thought about home. I love that cobbler even more.

  32. So kind of you to host a giveaway. I cannot believe I wasn't following your other blog, it is just beautiful. Lucie :)xxx

  33. I just discovered your blog today and LOVE it! I will be an everyday reader with a shortcut on my desktop. Thank you so much for such a generous give away and please put my name in the hat.
    Thank you, Barbara

  34. I Love this post on the Home. I know everytime Joe and I travel abroad or just up the road a bit when we return I always love the smell of our home. Not a bad one but the one of the antiques that are in the home and the orange oil and and all that makes up those all so familiar aromas of home. I remember Joey once saying as he opened my spice cupboards and took in a deep breath........ahhhhh this is what I remember about home.... the smells of all the spices. Interesting and yet true.

    I'm a follower of your blog but I don't have a blog so I don't know how all that works but those muffins sure look YUM. Take care sweet friend and know we love you and look forward to your posts and your kind words.

  35. You are so sweet and kind to do a giveaway again!! The cookbook sounds wonderful.....I think EVERYONE loves a good muffin. The recipe you made sounds interesting as I have never heard of lavender sugar. I will be looking for it soon! Thanks again for your most interesting blog.

  36. I love your Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Coconut Cookies. (found the recipe on another site). I wonder if you've ever posted them here? If not, you should!

  37. I follow your blog and have been really into baking muffins lately, this cookbook would be perfect!

  38. hi marie,
    sweet giveaway! muffins are one of my favorite things to bake and most importantly-EAT! :) and of course i'm a follower, i've been for quite a long time now! gotta have my daily dose of marie:) love ya!

  39. hey! I came over from Tatertots &Jello. I followed because I am, indeed, Mad About Muffins!!!!! Your blog is darling.

  40. a couple of friends baked some yummy muffins today and i thought to myslf i need to bake more muffins. and then i see your giveaway... what timing. :) Congrats on 200 followers.


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