five things

Thing 1: multigrain
I made a double batch of this mix the other day. I would’ve made more, but I was running out of certain flours.

To answer all your questions (I hope):

a. I buy my flours from our local grocery store and Frankferd Farms, a Pennsylvania co-op that ships each month. I placed an order yesterday, and along with the cheeses, salt, and soy sauce, I ordered barley, kamut, corn flour, millet, soft winter wheat, raw wheat germ, quick oats, brown rice, and wild rice. There will be lots of baking in my near future. Brace yourself.

b. I grind my own wheat in my handy-dandy nutrimill electric grain mill. I also use it to grind up yellow popcorn for cornmeal. I have groats, millet, quinoa, and rye berries in the freezer. I can put all of these through the mill to make flour (I think), but haven’t yet.

yes, I’m aware that the bowl is too small

c. I’m beginning to get the hang of this multigrain mix. I’ve added it to waffles, pancakes, and bread. Both the color and texture are light, and the flavor is sweet. I suspect you could add a bit to most homey baked goods, like muffins, cookies, quick breads, and the like.

Having such a variety of grains in our diet makes me feel sophisticated. It’s invigorating.

Do you have a favorite multigrain blend that you use for baking? Please, share your secrets.

Thing 2: the matter with muffins
My husband and I are having a muffin war, and it’s not as cozy as it sounds.

He has recently announced that he doesn’t like—gasp!—the muffins I’ve been making for well over a year. They are my very favorite muffins, the ones I serve to everyone.

ginger, peach, and white chocolate

I think he’s beyond ridiculous—these babies are good—but then I start wondering if maybe I’m losing my taste buds.

Have you made these muffins? If so, what did you think? Should I disregard his cantankerous self, or should I find a new favorite muffin?

It’d be nice to have some reinforcements, not that I’m operating under the illusion that I’m going to win him over, or anything…

Thing 3: clothes
Last weekend, my husband and I sent our kids in four different directions and then went clothes shopping for five hours. He was out of everything—socks, work jeans, t-shirts, dress shirts, etc.—and the kids needed odds and ends.

We hit up the thrift stores first. Right off the bat, I landed a coat.

I’ve been idly looking for a coat for several years, so I was pretty pumped. My mother, the thrifting queen, found me a coat last week, a nice black one, but she’s in WV and I won’t see her before I head to NYC and that’s what I needed the coat for. Because you can’t really go north to the big city with just a brown vest. So I bought the brown leather coat, and then I went into another thrift store, found a super-soft, gray cape/shawl, and bought it right up.

So now I have three coats, my husband has clothes without holes, and there is no more money in the clothing envelope.

Thing 4: Ethiopian food
I made chicken wat and injera for supper last night.

It was fab, but I was the only one who thought so. I don’t know what’s wrong with my family.

Thing 5: published!
See the little “published!” button up top there under the header? Click on it and you’ll find a running list of my Kitchen Chronicles articles.

Bonus Thing: rice krispie treats
I made rice krispie treats and they turned out awful.

Last night, I sat at the kitchen table and watched while my husband gnawed on a block of failed marshmallow goo and ranted about my ineptitude.

“I can’t believe you screwed up rice krispie treats,” he said. “You write a cooking column for the paper and you can’t even make rice krispie treats. For crying out loud.”  


“Rice krispie treats are so basic they’re not even included in Cooking One-oh-One. They’re more like Cooking Point Zero Zero One.”  


“These really are terrible. You sure are something else, Jennifer. I’m impressed.”

This same time, years previous: corn tortillas, grumble, grumble, movie night


  • Lily Girl

    My husband grew up on boxed everything. He once asked me to make some flavored pasta from a box for nostalgia's sake when his best friend came for dinner. I reluctantly complied. And then proceeded to screw it up. They still won't let me forget it, and that was at least three years ago.
    If they had just let me make pasta from scratch everything would have been *fine*.

  • Roanna

    I absolutely love Ethiopian food! What injera recipe do you use? I/my mom have experimented with the one in "Extending the Table", with moderate success. At this point, I'm still partial to just purchasing the injera and making my own sauce. However, I haven't found an Ethiopian restaurant or store here in Morgantown.

  • Mavis

    It took my husband 12 years to tell me he hates it when I put chopped tomatoes in his tuna fish salad sandwich. So 1 year for the muffin hater isn't too bad in my book.

  • katie

    I'm with Jane on the pick and choose what you aren't good at making. I don't know how to make them so I'm sure I'd mess them up too.

    As for the injera … sigh. They have to want to like it, and if they don't want to, they never will. Maybe get some books about Ethiopia, talk about how crazy teff is (to grow, harvest, etc.), find lots of awesome pictures of Ethiopian women pouring injeras from 5 feet above the pan. (these are all things my husband is semi-obsessed with) Let each kid try pouring an injera so when they get one of yours they appreciate how well it came out! Make them just so irresistable that the new flavors and textures are a plus not a minus.

  • Beth Brubaker

    As for the rice crispy treats, I have a solution. If the treats turned out that hard, you just pressed them too much. The secrets to good treats are:
    Pre-measure the cereal and spray your pan with non-stick or coat it with butter before you start.
    Stir, stir, stir. Make the marshmallows smooth as cream, and do NOT stop stirring- don't let the marshmallows simmer either- this makes for a hard, unelastic candy- another reason it might have been hard to eat. Take the pot off the heat!
    Dump the cereal in as soon as the marshmallows have smoothed out, then stir, stir stir to completely coat all the crispies- use a really stiff spoon to do this!
    Dump it all into the pan as fast as possible, then butter up your hands and gently press (about the same amount of pressure as you would give bread dough) into the pan. You might have to butter them up once more if cereal starts to stick to your hands. Let cool, and these should be better than the store bought ones!

  • Margo

    rice krispy treats aren't food and they're not cooking, in my opinion (I'm not a fan of them AT ALL – ate too many once as a child and threw up). But if it makes you feel better, at one of my jobs I was asked to make jello and I didn't know how. I was 24 years old and I'd never made jello. I read the box super super carefully and it did get ok.

    I would not be able to bear winter without a coat (and a cape, and a dress coat, and an Irish wool sweater).

    I eyed the flours today at the Amish store and decided to grind my own. . . in my blender. I'm going to do such a small amount first to make the bread recipe, so I thought what can it hurt. When I grind grains in my blender to make hot cereal it sure LOOKS powdery enough.

  • Peggy

    OH man you crack me up! The muffins… I absolutely adore them!! But my family…not so much. They are guys so what do they know, right? And the nasty rice krispy treats which use marshmallows… absolutely NO love loss there! I think they are perfectly NASTY! We make ours with PB, Karo syrup, and sugar topped with a mixture of butterscotch and chocolate chips (more chocolate than butterscotch!)

    I am looking through the freezer/cabinets to track down my grains. Would you like a report back on how the various grains mill? I have the same grain mill. We've used it to produce rice flour, wheat flour, rye flour and corn "meal" so far.

    And the injera and wat… once again I like it, the family not so much. Maybe its because I've moved a lot and was exposed to different foods as a young child. But you know they have too… hmm maybe it has more to do with the fact that they are teenage boys. And my husband, well he had never even had Chinese food (and we are talking American Chinese) until after we met. HIs tastes really have broadened in 20 years so I figure there is still hope for him!

    Love you new coat! Enjoy the trip to the city!!

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    The coat is so perfectly you. I'm glad you found it. And, let me just say…if you're going to stink at making something, let it be rice crispy treats! You kick butt at making all the important stuff so don't sweat it. Ask him if he'd rather you stunk at making sour dough bread or granola or tortillas or pesto torte. Yeh. I thought so.

    (No offense, HH, but someone needed to say it:-))

    • Jennifer Jo

      Jess, I have a fairly heavy, everyday jacket. But nothing dressy. I just layer up real good. (I'm allergic to the bulky coat feeling.)

  • Christy Joy

    I LOVE injera and wat! A lot of my family has been or currently lives in Ethiopia (No, we're not ethiopian) so we're kinda biased. The neat thing about Ethiopian food is that it's great for vegetarians. You can make a great wat and shiro with just veggies and lentils 🙂

  • Zoë

    I don't like injera, either. Blech.

    I can't wait to get some of the grains for that flour mix. I'll have to wait until mid-February for the one. Buuummmmeeerrrr.

    I've failed at making rice krispie treats, too. It's either because your marshmallows are too old or you heated them too long. I'm guilty of both.

    The basic muffin recipe is good, though I've never tried the add-in combo you speak of.

  • Poppy

    I just found your blog so I've not tried your muffins yet, however, they look and sound wonderful! Don't feel bad, I make an awesome bread pudding that EVERYONE loves and my husband never eats it!

    I just assumed he didn't like bread pudding until we went to a cafeteria a few weeks ago. He was slurping down a slimy watery bread pudding type of thing and said, "Now THIS is good bread pudding!" I thought about dumping it into his lap but instead calmly replied, "I thought you didn't like bread pudding" To which he responded, "No, I just don't like yours!" THE NERVE!!!! Oh well, I guess he's not going to like everything I make.

    Glad to find your blog Jennifer and I'm looking forward to following you!

    Have a great day!


    • Jennifer Jo

      Welcome, RaShell, I'm glad you're here. (My husband and I have a VERY similar bread pudding story. He totally dug your comment.)

  • Amy

    Well, I think you're cooking for all the wrong people. 🙂

    I love peach muffins, but the white chocolate…notsomuch. Maybe blueberries instead of the white chocolate? Orrr…..candied lemon peel?

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