Cavalier Pancakes

This summer, I told our son, who is moving into his first apartment as he goes to grad school, to check my blog for recipes of our old standbys. This morning, making pancakes, I realized that one recipe I’ve never written down is my pancake recipe.

Disclaimer: tread carefully. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty cavalier with my pancakes. Some of the best advice I’ve ever ignored has been to make things up when you’re cooking on the stove top (stir-fry, pasta sauce, etc. are pretty forgiving) but to follow a recipe carefully when baking. That is good advice, especially when learning to bake, so this recipe is certainly not for the faint of heart.

My pancake recipe started with a recipe in a cookbook that was geared towards cooking for one or two people. I followed it for years, but eventually had it memorized and got myself into situations where I didnt have the recipe or had to make adjustments for different numbers of people. I even made it for friends in Europe, where I didn’t have my usual measuring cups and spoons, so I had to make it up as I went along. Gradually, it became so rote, that now I hardly measure at all, though I do use a measuring cup for the flour and buttermilk: everything else is estimated by hand or sight.

For 2 people: I start with a slightly heaping 1/3 cup each of white and whole wheat flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Then I add about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt — I suppose. This will make approximately 10 pancakes, depending on what you put in for fruit or nuts. Adust the flour and buttermilk (added later) depending on your appetite and the amount of fruit or nuts. If using a whole banana, I would probably use level 1/3 cups, for instance. If I had no fruit to add, I might add a little more flour.

These measurements are done in my hand, so they may not be terribly accurate anymore, and they are actually fairly forgiving. Too little baking soda and the pancakes won’t rise very well; too much, and you will taste the soda. Salt and sugar are necessary, but the amounts can be pretty flexible as long as you don’t add too much salt. Leave out the salt entirely, and your pancakes will be bland.

For 3 people: I start with a heaping 1/2 cup each of wheat and whole wheat flour. I’m a bit more generous with the baking soda, sugar, and salt. Adjust the amounts according to the number of people you need to serve. For 1 person: I would probably start with a shy 1/4 cup of each flour and adjust as needed. For 4 people: I would use 2/3 cup of each kind of flour, maybe using heaping cups, depending on people’s appetites. When it’s three of us and a grandmother, I don’t use heaping 2/3 cups unless I’m trying to have a few leftovers.

Once you’ve mixed your dry ingredients well with a wire wisk or fork, then it’s time to add some oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in about 1 tablespoon of oil for every 2 people. I never measure this anymore, and the amount of oil is pretty forgiving. Use more for 3-4 people than for 1-2, obviously. I use canola oil, though olive oil will do in a pinch (though it may add a bit more olive flavor).

Crack 1 egg into the oil for every 2 people served. Usually I will use 1 egg for 3 people and it’s fine, though sometimes, esp. with smaller eggs, I’ll use 2 eggs for 3 people. For 4 people, I usually use 2 eggs, though I’ve gotten away with using 1 egg for that many pancakes if necessary. For 1 person, you will have to use 1 egg. The pancakes may be a little eggy, but they’ll be fine.

Add 3-4 measures of buttermilk to the well with the egg and oil. If I’ve used heaping 1/3 cups for flour, then I pour 3 or 4 1/3 cup measurements into the well; if I’ve used 1/2 cup for flour, then I pour 3 or 4 of those in. To be on the safe side, start with 3 measures. You can always add more buttermilk later. If you don’t have enough (or any) buttermilk, then regular milk can be substituted, though you won’t need as much. Start with 3 measures and see. You can also substitute a mixture of milk and plain yoghurt for buttermilk.

Add a 1/4 teaspoon or so of vanilla if you have it. (I’ve sometimes used port wine as a flavoring; it tends to make the pancakes rise well, too. Pure vanilla has the best flavor, though.)

Mix everything together with your whisk or fork. This is where you have to judge the consistency of the batter. Don’t beat it too much or too much gluten will form. For light pancakes, the batter should be just mixed up. Many recipes even say you should leave a few lumps. When mixing by hand, I don’t worry about that too much since it would be hard to over mix with a whisk or fork.

Mix in fruit (blueberries, banana, peach, fresh figs, are some of our favorites) and then check the consistency. Nuts like pecans or walnuts are great to add at this point. For decadent pancakes, add (mini) chocolate chips.

If your batter is too runny at this point, then add a little flour. (Sometimes juice from the fruit can cause it to get too runny.) If it’s too thick, then add buttermilk. You want a thick enough batter that will still pour off the spoon onto your griddle. It shouldn’t doughy and shouldn’t be too liquid. I like it if the batter is thick enough that it will be about 1/4 inch thick (or a little less maybe) when it first pours out and before it begins to rise.

Your griddle should be hot and lightly oiled. We use a Miro oil sprayer, but Pam or another commercial oil spray will work fine. Let the pancakes cook until they bubble up in the middle and the outsides begin to get firm. When they’re ready, the bubbles will also stay open because the batter has firmed up. Flip the pancakes to cook the other side. Both sides should be golden brown but not too dark, and the pancake should be cooked through (no runny batter on the inside). Adjust the heat of the griddle to avoid too much smoking (of the hot oil) yet to cook relatively quickly.

Serve hot off the griddle (or keep warm in a warmer or 170-degree oven) with pure maple syrup or your favorite commercial syrup or molasses. We have sometimes made a fruit syrup if we were out of maple, but we try not to be out of maple syrup. Extra fruit on top can also be great. Enjoy!

Notice for SubTracker Users

LibreOffice Base now prompts me to install Java JDK (developer’s kit) instead of Java RTE (run-time engine) that most users have. They seem to have an issue with locating RTE on Macs, though this issue just developed. On the error message you receive, there is a link to a page at LibreOffice that explains (a little) and has a link to Oracle, where you can download Java JDK. This only became an issue for me in the last day or so, though the bug seems to have been around a bit. Maybe an update caused my system to report the error. If you use my SubTracker database and run into the same error, get JDK and it will all work again.

Returning to Pinterest Anyone?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about which social media is best to be on. With Elon Musk buying Twitter (or trying to) and with Facebook and Instagram plagued by misinformation and ads while turning into Meta whatever that will mean, there are days when I’m disgusted with all the old social media platforms, but I’m also not ready for TikTok, nor do I know if I will ever be.

Looking for an alternative, I turned my attention back to Pinterest. It’s a platform I had tried to get into for awhile, but then didn’t find a great way to participate. Pinning things on boards didn’t necessarily resonnate with me, especially since I use social media primarily to promote our MFA program, our undergraduate writing and literature department (plus languages; philosophy; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; etc.—what can I say, we’re eclectic), and the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium. I’m looking for a place or places to have a presence in case the big three, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, become unbearable.

One thing I noticed about Pinterest that caught my eye is that it is still privately owned. Meta hasn’t gobbled them up. Neither has Google or YouTube. Though they now have some business features that I need to explore, it still operates about the same as it always did: you need an image from a site (or your own), and then you can pin it to a board. This will actually work fairly well for collecting links to the many magazines our MFA students and faculty publish work in. I don’t get to write a post about them, but I also only have to use the Pin It bookmark to create one, so that’s fairly easy. I can have another board with pins for MFA program news, and another one for writing advice, etc. It will take a little rethinking, but it could become a decent place to collect information and links that will be of interest to people who have left Facebook or flown away from Twitter. It probably won’t be enough all on its own, but could certainly be the escape pod I’ve been looking for.

Ages ago, we also started a presence on Tumblr. Who knows, maybe soon I’ll need to explore going back there as well. Or maybe I’ll have to make the leap to TikTok after all or find another social media platform to meet our needs. Yes, we do have something of a presence on LinkedIn, though we’re not terribly active there either. Where do you plan to go if there’s a mass exodus from Facebook and Twitter?

Oleada Follow-Up

Last month, I sent a submission to Oyez Review on a new submission platform, Oleada. Today, I’m following up on that submission, since I was just informed that one of my poems has been accepted for their next issue. That’s great news, and always something to celebrate, though I’m also writing this to follow up on the submission process with Oleada.

As you might expect, the notification came in the form of an email from with the subject “Oleada | Oyez Review sent you a messsage regarding [your submission].” The actual subject listed the title I had given my submission, and the email had specifics abou the accepted poem, the issue it would be in and when/how it will be released, etc. All from the editors at Oyez Review.

Because I was curious how things would look, I went back to Oleada to view my submission there. It did take me a minute to get there. When I first logged in, I could see My Account / Profile and Settings on the left and Publications on the right-hand side. The Publications column is blank, which was a little confusing. I’ll be curious to see what happens there.

Clicking on the My Account menu in the upper right (not the My Account heading over Profile and Settings), let me select My Submissions. That’s where I could see the submission to Oyez Review marked Accepted, and the text of the email with all the specifics about the accepted poem was there when I clicked on the submission in the Messages column.

Everything works as expected and is nicely laid out on the site. It will take a little getting used to where to go to find certain information, but that is true on any site. I will definitely keep coming back to see what calls for submission are open on Oleada.

Solidarity for Ukraine

I do not pretend to have answers about the senseless and unnecessary war that Putin has instigated in Ukraine, but my heart goes out to its people. Once, for many years actually, a good colleague, George Pinchuk did his best to educate us all on the political situation and the culture of Ukraine. He was an unending advocate of his native country, and thanks to him, I have a much better appreciation for it than I would have. Unfortunately, he succumbed to health issues a few years ago. If he were alive, I know he would be heartbroken today, even more than we all are.

It is impossible to watch news coverage of the fighting, to see casualties and destruction in the cities, or to hear the stories of those who for now are surviving, and not feel for their plight. It is impossible to think of the the many refugees who have fled the country or those who are staying behind to fight in a resistance without images of World War II flashing through your head. Does it make a difference that this war is in Europe? Definitely. Especially since the danger exists that Europe and the U.S. could be drawn in. Yet it also makes a difference that this war was begun without any provocation. It shows the fragile nature of the world peace we have all come to rely on, which has brought the world such prosperity and security. Ukrainians have long lived under the threat of Russian domination and are better prepared to react to it than those of us in the U.S. Their resistance is fierce.

Here in the U.S., public opinion seems to be mostly with Ukraine. Those few polititians who vocally support Vladimir Putin’s ugly war ought to become pariahs. Anyone who would support the naked aggression of a dictator who invades a sovereign nation on a whim is clearly unfit for public office in a democracy. I can’t imagine what self-interest or insanity would cause someone to call Putin a genius for invading Ukraine, but I hope we can agree that it is clearly beyond the pale.

As I said at the start of this post, I do not have answers. I support the sanctions that have been placed on Russia, I stand in awe of Ukraine and its people, and I grieve for the loss of life and the damage being done every hour. I know the sanctions will cause some minor hardships in the countries that impose them, yet those inconveniences must always be weighed against the true tragedy of what is going on in Ukraine.

Writers: How to Find and Track Submissions

I’ve been submitting to literary magazines for over thirty years, and in that time, I hope I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping track of my submissions and finding good opportunities for submitting. One thing, I’m continually thankful for is how much easier it has become to submit. When I started, it took subscribing to magazines like Poets & Writers and buying books like Poet’s Market or the Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses to even know where to send your work, then you had to mail everything with a self-addressed stamped envelope. Now, most of the work can be done online, and though it’s simpler, the number of writers submitting, especially when most everyone does simultaneous submissions has also made it more complicated.

I thought it was time to provide a round-up of some of the places you can find opportunities and track your submissions. Of course, some of the old stand-bys are still the best places to start. Poets & Writers maintains a list of magazine and book publishers, as does the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses [CLMP] whose Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses was my bible back in the early days. New Pages has stepped in with their guide to magazines, and New Pages, CLMP, and Poets & Writers all offer classifieds with calls for submission. One of the newest kids on the block offering a listing of magazines and publishers is Chill Subs. I won’t get into all of the Facebook groups or Twitter accounts that post calls for submissions, since you can search for some of those. Following any of these organizations on Twitter or Facebook will also show you their social media content, which often includes calls as well.

One of the main places writers have gone for finding places to submit, though, is Submittable, which has become the most ubiquitous electronic submission platform. Their Discover feature lets you see upcoming submission deadlines. Submittable’s days as a monopoly may be numbered, though. More magazines seem to be moving away from it, and gravitating to its major competitor Duosuma, the offspring of Duotrope, a service for researching magazines and tracking submissions. And as I wrote awhile back, there is now a new kid on the block for online submissions, [Oleada]

Let’s stop for a minute and review how magazines accept your submissions. Though many are using Submittable, some use Duosuma, some Oleada, and some use a submission database on their websites (provided by CLMP). You might even still find a few using Green Submissions, and quite a few still take submissions by email. There are even a few stallwarts who only take submissions by good old snail mail. This is why it’s getting more complicated (not less) to keep track of your submissions.

Both Submittable and Duotrope offer systems for tracking submisssions both on their site and using other means. This is fairly new for Submittable, though that is what Duotrope was doing long before they created a submissions platform for publishers. Poets & Writers, though you need to have an account and be logged in to access the My Submissions feature. That is true for any online submission tracker, of course, since they have to know who you are to keep track of where you submit. Other options include The Submission Grinder and Literarium, though I haven’t tried using either yet.

If you are only submitting your work through one service, such as Submittable, it’s fairly easy to keep track of what is out, what is accepted, and what is in. It gets a little more complicated to keep track of everything you’ve sent to one magazine over time, though, and it gets quite complicated to keep track of submissions through several different methods, as I described above. That’s why Duotrope and now Submittable allow you to record submissions by other means than their own service. To be honest, though, I haven’t tried them much. I did set up a Duotrope account once, and I’ve looked at Submittable’s and Poets & Writers’, but I’ve found it clunky to add all my titles in an online form (I’m a poet, so I have hundreds). Many writers I know keep spreadsheets or index cards with this information. I’ve used my own relational database for years. I recently moved it over to LibreOffice Base. It’s called SubTracker, and if anyone is interested, I’ve posted a blank copy here that anyone can use.

A database acts like a spreadsheet, but is more powerful; it is essentially several connected spreadsheets. In one, I list all the magazines and book publishers I have submitted to, and in antoher, I list all of my titles. A third database holds a record of every submission and the response I get. There are forms that make it easier to read the data and enter new information, and there are queries that show me what titles are in, out, accepted, etc. That’s what the submission trackers at Poets and Writers, Submittable, and Duotrope (and maybe eventually at Chill Subs) are supposed to do. I prefer to have my own setup on my own computer (with good backups!) than to host it all online, but there are advantages to using an online service, such as being able to access them from a mobile device or form remote locations.

However you choose to submit, I hope you will keep good records. As a magazine editor, I can confirm that nothing is more annoying than accepting a great poem only to find out that it had been accepted elsewhere and the writer didn’t bother to tell us. Keeping up with your submissions is your responsibility. It’s part of the work of finding opportunities to publish and getting your work out there. And it’s not so hard once you find a good way to manage submissions and get used to it.

Advice on Writing Letters of Recommendation for the MFA in Creative Writing

Recently, I commented on a post in the Creative Writing Pedagogy Facebook group about writing letters of recommendation, and I thought I might elaborate on that advice here. The original post was asking about what adjectives were good to use to describe the applicant and which ones might send the wrong signal. I get it, we all probably second-guess what we’re writing and worry we might say the wrong thing when we’re trying to be nice. The original question was whether hard-working was a good attribute or might make the applicant sound like they had to work too hard to achieve. My initial advice was to worry less about the adjectives you use and to try to be specific about the applicant.

One of my earliest posts about the MFA application process was about who to ask for letters of recommendation, which can be especially challenging when applying to a low-res program like ours since applicants may have been out of school for a long time and may be switching careers. I think that’s still good advice, but it doesn’t help the recommender know how to pitch a letter. I’ve written many letters over my career, and I’ve received hundreds of them for applicants to our program, so I think I have a pretty decent idea of what to do and what to avoid.

I’d like to follow Ezra Pound’s advice for writing poetry and say to avoid adjectives altogether, though I know from writing letters that isn’t always possible. So what I would say is not to rely on adjectives, adverbs, or stock phrases to describe the writer you’re recommending. What really impresses me is specificity. If you describe a poem or story that the student wrote for you, I’ll be impressed that the writer made an impression and you remember it well. If you describe the way they interact with other students in class or comment on their participation in workshop, that gives me a better sense of the kind of student they will be in our program than if you give them one superlative adjective (though a few adjectives will probably also be part of your description).

A letter of recommendation can tell me a number of things. It can tell me that the student really went to your school and made a good impression. It can tell me they are a decent human being who is able to work well with others and won’t be a pain in the rear. It can tell me that someone else believes in the student and has seen their potential. And a letter of recommendation can fill in some background, especially when the recommender knows why the applicant may have had a bad semester or why their early academic career is less impressive than their later ones.

I’ve written letters like this, where I maybe didn’t know or didn’t feel comfortable revealing all the details of the personal issues that caused an academic issue, but I could speak to how my student had turned their lives around and/or persevered, and why I knew their GPA was not the best indicator of their potential for success in grad school.

Most letters only confirm what I already know from reading the applicant’s application and writing sample. Nothing you say in your letter will likely change my opinion of their writing sample, but your letter can fill in some blanks and help me see the whole person better.

Things I like to see in a recommendation letter (and things I try to include when I write mine) are: That the student gives insightful comments in workshop. That the student takes constructive criticism well and also responds to it creatively (not just doing what they’re told to do, but finding creative solutions). That the student is easy to work with. That the student has good analytical skills. That they’re a good student — and back to the original question: hard-working is a sign of a good student in my book. That you actually know the student and care about their success in grad school.

Probably the only adjective I really care about is the one that precedes recommend: do you highly recommend, do you give your highest recommendation, etc. Even then, I will take this with a grain of salt.

What if you’re a literature professor recommending someone to a writing program. We see this all the time, and I’m always glad to see it. Our program includes literature and forms classes, so we will require students to do literary and other kinds of research. The applicant’s skills in a lit class are important, in other words. You can also describe what the student is like as a student, and tell about their analytical writing. It’s fine to say that you can’t judge their creative work — we will do that with their writing sample anyway — and to concentrate on the other aspects of their academic preparation for graduate school.

And what if you’re not an academic at all? We always recommend to applicants that they have some recommenders who teach, if at all possible, but we get plenty of recommendations from non-academics. The reason we recommend academics as recommenders is simply because most academic write recommendations for grad school all the time, so we assume they will have a pretty good idea of what to write, and they will have seen the applicant in an academic setting. But for many low-residency MFA applicants, that’s simply not an option.

We treat non-academic recommenders a little differently. We know you’re not used to the language of a grad school recommendation letter, and we know you may not have seen the applicant in a professional writing situation. We are looking for your insight into the applicant’s character, work ethic, and goals for their degree. We don’t want you to write like an academic, in other words, but we do want you to describe the experience you’ve had with the applicant in as much detail as you can.

A letter of recommendation is usually 1-2 single-spaced pages, with 2 pages being the target length. It should be written like a business letter on official letterhead, if at all possible. Try to be as specific as possible about your experience with the applicant, and remember that what you don’t say can be as enlightening as what you do say. Take some time with it, in other words. Don’t just dash of a note that confirms that the applicant worked for you; tell us about the applicant, even if you can’t evaluate them as a writer.

I’ve seen some pretty underwhelming recommendation letters over the years, but most of the ones I see are thoughtful and informative. I try not be influenced by the ones that were dashed off or seemed not to have a clue about how to write a decent letter. But the fact of the matter is, though those letters don’t hurt the applicant, they don’t help them much either. I love the letter that makes me feel more confident in my decision to accept someone, and I don’t believe I’ve ever turned someone down solely because of their letters. But I do think there are times when a strong letter has made me take a closer look at an applicant who I might have overlooked otherwise.

Our program is not terribly cut-throat. We also don’t offer a lot of funding. We can accept most applicants who we believe are ready and will be a good match for our program. We read and evaluate the applicant’s letter of intent and writing sample before we ever request letters of recommendation, so there’s a good chance the person you’re writing for will be accepted. Your letter confirms our initial opinion, and along with the transcripts, helps us decide whether the applicant has what they will need to be successful in our program.

More competitive programs, such as those with full funding, may put more weight on the recommendation letter by necessity. Then the reputation of the recommender and the kinds of things they say in the letter may have a greater impact. My advice is to concentrate on the things you can have an effect on. You can’t change whether your reputation will help the applicant or whether your school will be impressive, but you can write a conscientious, detailed letter that speaks with specificity about your experience with the applicant. If you do this, you will have done your best to help them on their way. In my experience both as a letter writer and a reader, this will be enough.

Oleada: A New Submission Platform

Tonight, I was happy to see a tweet from Oyez Review saying that they were accepting poetry submissions. When I clicked on the link, I was taken to a new site called {Oleada}. A little digging on the site revealed it to be a beta version of a new submission platform for publishers. I also noticed that the poetry submission window was about to close, so I quickly pulled together a submission of three poems, created an account on Oleada, and made my submission. I published two poems in Oyez Review before, so I was comfortable submitting on such short notice.

The process was quite simple, and the site was easy to navigate. I was impressed that I could include formatted text, adding titles in italics to my bio and cover letter, for instance. Uploading a file was also simple, and Oleada immediatly showed me the submission I had made with its current status.

Since I edit Poetry South and help with Ponder Review, I was immediately interested in the new platform. Both magazines are currently accepting submissions on Submittable, and though we’re happy with the way that platform works, we also run into limits to the number of forms, the number of team members, not to mention the cost. Our CLMP membership helps keep the cost within our budget, but comes with limits to the number of forms we can use. Oleada promises an unlimited number of forms and unlimited team members. They offer five different ways to set up a submission form, and they promise it will be affordable for publishers (no specifics on costs are listed yet).

Because of the low cost, they also say they don’t allow submission fees, which could be a deal breaker for some magazines. Currently, we use Submittable to manage subscriptions and take donations in addition to accepting submissions (with a fee for Ponder Review). Duosuma (from Duotrope), another competitor to Submittable, does allow publications to collect fees and could be used to sell subscriptions. As an alternative, a shopping cart could be set up on the publisher’s website, using a service such as Square. As long as a publication doesn’t rely on submission fees for part of its revenue, Oleada seems like a promising alternative to Submittable and Duosuma, if the experience for editors is anywhere near as well-designed as the experience for submitters, and if the pricing really is affordable.

No matter what the response is to my submission, I’m happy to have had the chance to try out Oleada and to send something to Oyez Review. Currently, there are 21 publishers using the system, and they are a mix of magazines and book publishers. I may have to give some of them a closer look!

Oh, and on a side note for users of SubTracker, when I recorded my submission, I also updated the submission method. To do this, I first opened my form “xlist Manage Lists” and then went to the table for “Publisher: Submission Method.” There I added Oleada under Duosuma and saved. Going back to the “Places” form, I found Oyez Review and selected Oleada from the options list in the field “Submission Method.” There’s a more detailed explanation on how to manage these parts of the databas here.

Whole Wheat Cranberry Eggnog Muffins

Our holiday travels are finally over, so I can post about a recipe I modified to use some Christmas leftovers. These muffins used some ingredients we needed to finish up, and turned out great, though I had to modify the recipe a bit, and I apologize in advance that I didn’t measure what I did! You’ll just have to guess like I did if you want to try to duplicate them.

I started with this recipe I found for Whole Wheat Muffins at the New York Times. If you can’t access that: here are the basics: 2.5 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup sugar (I used white sugar, but light brown sugar would be good, too — 3/4 cup might be enough with eggnog, but I didn’t know I would add that when I started), 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt. I added a little cinamon and nutmeg or cardamom to spice it up, which is good if you have any. Mix the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle of the bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil or melted butter (the recipe calls for melted butter, but I substituted oil), 1/2 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg, and 1 cup (or more) of fresh cranberried cut in half. I also added about 1/4 cup of leftover cranberry sauce to increase the liquid a little and to use that up. The recipe calls for 1 cup of fruit or vegetables like zuccini, so I figured it would need a little more liquid than fresh cranberries would provide.

This is where I felt I should alter the recipe. I mixed the ingredients together, and the batter was very dry. That may be what it’s supposed to be like or it may be that my cranberries and sauce still didn’t provide enough moisture. So I began adding a little eggnog (since I was out of buttermilk at that point) to get the consistency I wanted. I estimate that I added between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of eggnog until the batter was thick (not runny) but would just begin to pour: thicker than pancake or waffle batter, but not as thick as bread dough. This is where the guesswork cam in — use your best judgement about how much eggnog to add.

Using a spoon, I ladled the batter into greased muffin tins, filling each a little over 3/4 full. I greased my pan with a little oil brushed into them and around the sides. This yielded 21 muffins, whereas the recipe says it makes 12, so I assume my batter was thinner than the recipe intended. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until done.

My muffins are lighter and fluffier than the pictures on the recipe indicate. The eggnog gives them a spiced flavor, and they were quite sweet, so I might reduce the sugar if I try this again, though they’re not too sweet, since the cranberries add a bit of tartness. It was a great way to use up our whole wheat flour, leftover buttermilk, cranberried, and even eggnog!