Featured Kitchen

Pumpkin Muffins and Apple Cider

Written by Ranae Aspen

 Autumn! My favorite time of the year! The colors are vibrant, the food, well I am a foodie at heart. It is truly Autumn when there are apples galore and pumpkins too! Here are two of my favorite comfort foods for fall!


Ingredients  (Makes approximately 15 muffins)

1 (18.5 ounce) spice cake mix (you can use a white or yellow mix, just add 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1 tsp. cinnamon)

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin

1/2 cup water


1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease 2 muffin tins or 10×15 inch square pan. Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, Combine all ingredients until well blended.
3.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.


Hot Apple Cider


6 cups apple cider or 100% apple juice

1/2 tsp. whole cloves

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon


In 3 quart sauce pan, bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes. In slow cooker, heat ingredients on high for 45 minutes or 1 hour until very hot, reduce to simmer.
Before serving, strain cider mixture to remove the spices. You can avoid this step by placing spices in cheese cloth or coffee filter and tying bag shut. Simply remove bag before serving.
Refrigerate any left over cider and simply reheat. Will stay safely for 4 days. You could then freeze the remaining cider if you have more leftover. Simply thaw and reheat.


About the author

Ranae Aspen

Ranae Aspen graduated from UNL/UNO with her BS in Consumer Science and Education in 1991and with her Masters of Applied Science in Ag Leadership and Community Nutrition from UNL in December of 2012. Ranae has enjoyed careers in the Health Food industry and in the field of Human Services assisting low-income families with self-sufficiency and nutrition.
She and her husband Dan have two children, Daniel, 15 and Leslie 13. Ranae and family live on a small acreage and they are establishing a fruit orchard, they garden. They share their acreage with their dog Sampson, numerous cats and chickens. Life is busy and Ranae’s passion for sustainable agriculture and nutrition is evident with her blog, Eating Healthy in a Tough Economy, hhttps://raspen2.wordpress.com/ and in her daily life. Julia Child once said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” This describes Ranae, her passion runs deep and she loves to share it with the community.