Treats On A Budget

We went through several very financially tight spots in the course of our marriage and raising children. To this day, I don’t think my grown children ever remember doing without during those times. It takes a little extra work but you can preserve the integrity of an imposed budget and still provide all the surprises and treats in life for your children.
My favorite surprise treats for my children, when they were young, was ‘cupcakes’ but the actual recipe was usually a bit healthier and easily accomplished from inexpensive items. To this day, they still enjoy surprises and with their current concern for healthy eating, like the fact that I watch the ingredients. What goes around comes around!

Nutty Pineapple muffins
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoon softened butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (approximately 8 oz. give or take an ounce!) crushed pineapple
1 cup chopped nuts, your choice

Grated zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers (recipe makes six to eight muffins)
Cream together the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend together the flour, baking powder, salt, soda, and spices. Add the flour, pineapple, and lemon zest and stir until just blended. Add the nuts and stir in.* Scoop into prepared cupcake papers filling to just a bit above halfway.
Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes but check after 30 in case your oven runs warmer. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake should come out clean.

After the cupcakes have cooled, a lemon icing is nice!

Lemon icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
Enough fresh lemon juice to form a spreadable icing
Sprinkles at this point would not go amiss!

*All the pineapple, juice and all, goes into the batter. If it seems still stiff, add bits of water to smooth out. If it is too loose, add teaspoons of flour to make it right.

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