Raspberry Jelly Muffin Recipe

raspberry filled muffin recipe

This recipe results in sweet yet filling wrap-and-go breakfast muffins that have the spread baked right in. Make a batch on Sunday, wrap them individually in plastic, and pop them in the freezer. Then just grab and go. By the time you get to work or school they should be defrosted enough to enjoy or you can pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds or more until defrosted.

tea party

Muffin Recipes and Tea for Two – or Three

This Monday I had a rare treat – two hours in my schedule for friends. Conversation. Women with similar interests. Friends. Let me say that again – friends!

One of the hardest aspects of moving from New York to Virginia was leaving behind four women who had shared my ups and downs, triumphs and failures, life and death events since literally the moment I was born. My older sister. Close friends from grammar school, high school, college and the work force. These were women with whom I had a regular open invitation to their homes. We scheduled Friday evening ‘girl’s night out’ dinners at bistros in Huntington and Northport. Conversation, shopping trips, family parties, the doors were always open to one another.

Then I moved, and while there were many friendly people locally, making friends took time. It still does. People who I thought were friends turned out not to be friends – shades of sixth grade all over again. But others, introduced to me by early acquaintances and friends in my new home, have began to blossom into those long-lasting women friendships that thrive over tea, conversation, and the occasional shopping trip. And if our shopping trips are now to local Amish grocery stores, garden centers and craft fairs, well, so much the better!

This past week, Helen and her daughter Serena came over for tea. About two years ago they came for tea with Serena’s sister, Abby, and I didn’t understand that ‘tea’ could mean more than a mug of hot water and a tea bag. I began exploring ‘high tea’ fueled by my love of Victoria magazine and old-fashioned elegance.  I decided that this year, I’d make my own version of ‘ high tea’ for my friends.

tea party

We had a delightful time (I’m in the red sweater on the far left) and Helen Brough pie. Pie! A woman after my own heart. More importantly, you know you’ve found a friend when someone brings you a bag of – gasp! treasure! – dried nettles. As in, herbal nettles for nettle tea! She has a supply from a friend in Pennsylvania. I bought garden seeds and plan to grow stinging nettles in pots on the deck for medicine tea. She must think I am crazy….but all herbalists and gardeners are to some extend, I think.

So while we sipped tea from my favorite brocante china, and my cats played tag and leaped on the table to steal pie crumbs, we nibbled on these muffins. They are perfect for tea, for snacks, and of course, for breakfast. Enjoy!

Raspberry Jelly Filled Muffins

You can substitute any flavor of jelly for the raspberry jelly – grape, strawberry, orange, apricot.

Do not use paper muffin cups to bake these muffins. Some of the jelly might leak out onto the bottom of the muffin cup. If you use paper, it sticks, and will tear the muffin apart leaving you with nothing but crumbs. Use old-fashioned shortening to grease the muffin tin thoroughly. I use a paper towel, swiped inside the shortening can and then rubbed inside each muffin cup on the metal tin to grease the pans.

muffin recipe
Grease the muffin tin by hand using shortening.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease one 12-cup muffin tin.

Mix by hand:

  • 1 and 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


In a separate bowl, mix:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, well beaten

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix by hand the wet ingredients into the dry. Then place about 1 tablespoon of muffin batter into each of the cups, filling it 1/3.

muffin recipe

raspberry muffins

Place one teaspoon of your favorite jelly on top of each 1/3 filled muffin cup.

Then place the remaining batter over the top of the jelly. Each muffin tin should be about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes then let cool for five minutes before removing them from the muffin tins. Serve warm.

final raspberry filled muffins


Enjoy and may you find friendship, tea, laughter, and nettles (if you want them) as medicinal as I do!

raspberry filled muffin recipe


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Winter Composting: Is It Too Cold to Start a Compost Pile?

Winter composting: is it too cold to start a compost pile? Compost, that rich mixture of organic materials added to garden soil that boosts plant growth and development, typically requires warmth for the bacteria to break down plant material. However, with some wintertime adjustments, you can indeed make compost during the colder months of the year.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. The information and images were provided by the Mantis Corporation. Home Garden Joy did NOT receive any compensation from Mantis for sharing this information. 

Is It Possible to Create Compost During the Winter?

Active composting requires a consistent  temperature of 40 degrees or more. When temperatures fall below freezing, the decomposition process comes to a stop. As  temperatures warm up in the spring, microbial activity resumes.

There’s no reason to stop adding to your compost pile in the wintertime. In fact, if you keep adding to it over the winter months, the bacteria will take advantage of any warm spells to begin working their microscopic magic on your garden and kitchen refuse.

If you live in an area with mild winters, the process may slow down a bit, but there is no reason for you to stop or change your method.

In parts of the country where winters are colder, the best composers are tumblers – enclosed composers.  They block out freezing elements such as rain and snow, and they store heat.

Continue reading “Winter Composting: Is It Too Cold to Start a Compost Pile?”

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What Is an Herbalist?

What is an herbalist?

How do you define an herbalist?

Given that there are no licensing requirements, no state board examinations or tests to ascertain knowledge, how do you define an herbalist and, more importantly, who do you trust for knowledge?

What Is an Herbalist?

For many years, I defined an herbalist by what I knew: one who had credentials in the field of medicine and herbalism. And by credentials, I meant someone who had a degree, who had the fancy letter after the name to support the lofty title of herbalist.

Then I read Nancy Philllips’ book, The Herbalist’s Way, and became convinced of an important truth:


I am an herbalist.

How can I make that claim? I, who have neither studied herbalism “officially” at an accredited school nor taken one science class beyond college biology?

Continue reading “What Is an Herbalist?”

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Backyard Gardening for Beginners – How to Start a Vegetable Garden

Welcome to the first post in what I hope will be a nice series of posts on how to start a vegetable garden. These posts are intended for beginners, or those new to backyard gardening. I hope that even seasoned gardeners will find something of value in them.

raised bed vegetable garden

Backyard Gardening for Beginners: Where Should I Plant a Vegetable Garden?

The first question many new gardeners ask is where they should plant a vegetable garden. They look around their backyard, which may already have plants from a previous tenant or may simply be grass or dirt. Where should you locate your vegetable garden?

There are a few things to consider before you choose a spot for your vegetable garden.

  • How many vegetables do you want to grow? How much time do you have?You may have visions of a lush vegetable garden that feeds your family, a first step into homesteading that produces an abundance of fresh, healthy produce. The reality is that you work, your spouse works, and your children aren’t all that interested helping out. If that’s the case, start small. Your children may become interested in gardening once they see what’s going on in the yard. You can begin with pots or containers on the deck or in the backyard or a small raised bed garden. That’s plenty for someone new to gardening who just wants a few fresh tomatoes for a salad.
  • How much sunlight do you have? Sunlight is one of the few non-negotiable elements that you need to grow healthy veggies. Most vegetable plants need six or more hours each day of bright, direct sunlight. Direct sunlight means that the rays of the sun touch the plants. Look around your yard and think back to the summertime. Where in the yard do you get bright, direct sunlight?

Look at photos taken of your yard May through September, the prime months for growing vegetables. This shows the light quality available during the months when you need it the most. Some yards appear sunny in the wintertime because deciduous trees in neighboring yards have dropped their leaves. When the oaks, maples and other deciduous trees grow their leaves again in the spring, the light quality drops considerably. That’s why you need to assess what you have available May through September, not necessarily January or February.

  • Where is the nearest water source? Yes, rain will provide water for your garden, but during times of drought you will need to supplement what nature provides with water from a garden hose or watering can. Where is the nearest hose or spigot? If you don’t have a hose in the backyard and plan to carry water in a big watering can to your garden, consider how far away the water source is from the plants. What seems like a short distance now may seem like miles on a hot summer day when all you want to do is sit in your air-conditioned living room watching reruns.
  • Soil quality: Get your soil tested in the spot where you plant to grow vegetables. In America, soil tests are conducted by the local County Cooperative Extension offices. They have a kit and instructions to help you take accurate samples (it’s easy). They charge a small fee, which varies according to location, but which covers the cost of the test and the results. The extension agent or a master gardener will review the results with you and help you understand which amendments if any you need to apply to make the soil just right to grow vegetables. If you plan to grow vegetables in pots, containers or a raised bed garden, you can skip the soil test since you will add bagged potting soil to these containers or beds.
Cracks like this make it easy for

Don’t Limit Garden Ideas to the Backyard – Consider the Front, Too

If you do not have abundant sunshine in your backyard but you do have it in the front yard, why not grow a few vegetables there? Unless you have zoning laws or home owner association laws that forbid growing vegetables on your front lawn, turn your front lawn into your vegetable garden.

Container Gardens

For those who decide they do not want a large vegetable garden, container gardens are a great choice. You can place them on a patio, deck, or another area the receives abundant sunshine. I have a series on container vegetable gardening here on Home Garden Joy that you may find helpful.

What About Fancy Equipment?

Forget all that you read in glossy magazines and other websites about all the fancy equipment you need. You need a hose or watering can, a sturdy trowel and a good pair of gardening gloves. For tomatoes, you need stakes or cages to help them stand upright. That’s it. The rest is all nice to have, but unnecessary for beginners.

I have grown vegetables in a tiny near-New York City backyard, on an apartment patio on Long Island New York and now in raised beds in Virginia. We harvested plentiful vegetables from that tiny plot because of the abundant sunshine, water and great soil; okay vegetables in containers; and now, abundant vegetables once again from my raised bed garden.

No matter what your goals or desires, even growing one tomato plant in a pot on the deck provides such a sense of satisfaction that you’ll never want a store bought one again.

Happy gardening, keep growing, and check back again on Tuesdays and Thursdays for more great backyard gardening tips for beginners in this new winter series from Home Garden Joy.

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