Buffet Betty
Ranting & Raving About Buffets, Gambling & Life

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Dru's Notes from Me

April 15th, 2013

New York Times Best Selling Author



Grandma Doris loved to play poker, so maybe gambling was in my blood. At the ripe old age of seven I began hanging out at her house on Saturday nights, listening to the sound of shuffling cards. She had a giant glass jug of pennies, and I used to lie on my stomach on the floor, feet in the air, and count her poker winnings, searching through the copper coins for anything unusual. Something that, to my untrained eye, might be worth more than one cent.

"Look for the year you were born," my grandmother would tell me as she fanned out the cards in her hand. "I'll bet that's a lucky penny. I'll bet the year you were born was a good year."

Now that I'm an adult, I realize that the counting and the sorting and the searching for that special penny was all about keeping me busy while my grandmother laughed it up and bet and had a good time. And maybe I even sensed that the pennies were a diversionary tactic, but I didn't care because I loved those nights. I loved the energy in the room, and I loved that sense of risk. Each dealt hand would restart the ride.

 Sometimes I stood behind my grandmother's shoulder and watched her cards. And sometimes she would point to a particularly good (or bad) hand and wink at me.  I hated to leave the room for even one second for fear I would miss something.

My grandmother died when I was nine. When I got older I played poker myself occasionally, but the magic was gone.

And then Betty came along and gave me a crash course in Casino 101. She taught me that casino gambling wasn't just about putting money into a slot machine and hitting that red button. There was a certain strategy to it. And as I played, a bit of that old feeling came back. The thrill of the unknown. The wink.

 I win a little and lose a little, but I always play the penny slots.

Oh, and the current value of a perfect penny minted the year I was born? $4.00.

(Theresa Weir (a.k.a. Anne Frasier) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of twenty-three books. Her first memoir, The Orchard, was an Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the October Indie Next List, a B+ featured title in Entertainment Weekly, a One Book One Community Read, Target Book Club Pick, and Books-A-Million Book Club Pick.   Coming in 2014: The much anticipated Play Dead sequel by Anne Frasier, and The Geek with the Cat Tattoo, a Theresa Weir romance and the second book in the Cool Cat series.  Visitt her at monkey with a pen.   Or buy one of my favorites, Girl with the Cat Tattoo at  Amazon, )


Author of the Snake Jones Mysteries

February 13, 2013

Oh those glorious casino buffets. Betty loves them, but I happen to know that Betty also likes to make breakfast in her room. Sometimes going as far as to lug a crockpot around in the back of the bus and using it to cook steel-cut oats in her room for a healthier start of her day.

That’s why I’m sharing my recipe for Morning Glory Muffins.  Which I now call Wake-Up Healthy Muffins. My first grade teacher once wrote on my report card, “Doesn’t follow directions.” My second grade teacher agreed with her. So did my third grade teacher.  I’m still having trouble with that concept, and it’s followed me right into the kitchen.  I’ve never been able to whip up a recipe as it is; I always have to make adjustments. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. It doesn’t always work, but these did.

The original recipe was developed in 1978 by Earthbound Farms, and is delicious – if you like coconut and walnuts. Which I don’t. So, I immediately took out those two ingredients.  I then dropped the sugar by ¼ cup. I learned a long time ago that you can use less sugar in most recipes without any discernible difference in the taste.  And that’s a good thing.  The next step was to increase the fiber. I substituted whole wheat flour, ground flax and wheat germ for a portion of the white flour.

So bake up a batch of these delicious and healthy muffins and take on your next casino trip, Betty. They’re much more portable than that old crockpot.

Wake Up Healthy Muffins

1 cup sugar
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup ground flax
½ cup wheat germ or wheat bran
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup Craisins
1 large apple, peeled and grated
1 cup (8 ounces) crushed pineapple,
   well drained
2 cups grated carrot
½ cup dates
3 large eggs
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the Craisins, apple, pineapple, carrots and dates and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl cream the butter with the eggs and vanilla (when short on time I sometimes just melt the butter, but let it cool before adding eggs). Add to the dry ingredients and blend well.

Spoon  batter into muffin tins lined with muffin liners, filling each to the brim (these muffins do not rise much). Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

These muffins are delicious warm out of the oven, but are even better the next day. As they are very moist be careful not to under bake.

Photo by Marilyn Victor Copyright 2013

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