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It was such a pleasure to welcome Wendy and Phil from CitiScapes Magazine into my home and kitchen, both so lovely, gracious and fun! We spent a wonderful afternoon centered around food – cooking, tasting, talking and photographing. 
I wanted to feel confident during the interview, so chose a recipe that I have made many times before, always with great results. The Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins came together quickly and easily, and are always delicious. I was able to make the Butternut Squash muffins and Rosemary Orange shortbread in advance, so if they didn’t turn out, it was ok, and it really just came down to the fact that I was so excited and privileged to spend time with these two fabulous people.


1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 cup flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin
1/4 cup chopped canned green chiles

Heat oven to 400F.
To prepare the streusel, combine butter and flour with your fingers or a pastry blender, until crumbly. Add cheese, brown sugar and cayenne. Stir in pumpkin seeds if using.
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Combine egg, buttermilk, sugar, butter and pumpkin, whisk well. Stir into flour mixture. Add green chiles and stir gently. Spoon into muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel topping over each muffin.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Relish Magazine

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 pound butternut squash, roasted, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 chocolate kisses, unwrapped
12 ounces chocolate, chopped
14 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add sugar, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With mixer on low, beat in eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl between additions. Add butternut squash, milk and vanilla. Beat on low just until combined.
Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full with batter. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Gently press kisses about halfway into each cup. Bake 14 minutes more or until tops spring back when touched. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove and cool completely on wire rack.
For frosting, melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes, with an electric mixer on low, beat chocolate for 30 seconds. Beat in butter 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Add sugar, beat until smooth. Spread over tops of cupcakes.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, November 2011


1 cup butter, chilled
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 egg white
sugar for sprinkling

Combine butter, rosemary, orange zest and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until ingredients are combined and butter is very smooth.
Add salt and flour until a cohesive dough forms, but do not over mix.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured board, and press it into a smooth rectangle.
Roll dough into a 1/2 inch high rectangle, and cut into bars.
Transfer bars to as cookie sheet. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Brush bars with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Heat oven to 350F.
Bake bars until they are light brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from The Morning News, July 2002