When Life Gives You Temperamental Weather, Cook

Maine weather tends to be—ahem—temperamental, but for the past two days, it’s been a real whiplash. On Saturday, the temperature soared to 50°F. In Maine in February that, my friends, is akin to a heatwave.

For the first time in a long while, there were puddles in the driveway, and patches of tar peeked through the ice. (The stripes across the driveway are tree shadows.)

Dreaming of spring, Little Miss Watson stared out the window.

However,  despite the warmer weather, none of us—including Little Miss Watson—were tempted to go outside where the dirty snow was piled high and the sides of the road were mucky. Instead, we stayed in and cooked.

Now, the food we make would never be considered restaurant quality or bakery ready. Often, our creations look a little wonky, off center even. Simply put, we are home cooks.

Our pizza wasn’t exactly round.

And our Valentine’s peanut butter cups? Well, judge for yourselves.

But both the pizza and the peanut butter hearts tasted better than their rough looks might otherwise indicate. What we lack in finesse we usually make up for in taste.

The chocolate muffins, on the other hand, had a pleasing muffiny shape. These muffins are egg free and dairy free, but judging from the flavor, you’d never know it. I’ve developed the recipe on my own, and for those who feel daring, I have included it at the end of this post.

Along with food, throw in board games as well as movies and that was our weekend.

And this morning—Monday—when I got up, the temperature had dropped from its high of 50° to a brisk 10°. In two days’ time, the temperature had dropped 40°.

Time to make some more muffins, I think.


Cocoa Muffins, Egg Free and Dairy Free


  • Three tablespoons water mixed with 1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder  
  • 1 cup almond milk (oat milk or soy milk would work fine, too.)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus a little more for sprinkling on top
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips or chocolate chips (optional)


  1.  Preheat over to 400°F.
  2. Grease or spray muffin tin.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk powder with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it set a minute or two until it jells.
  4. Into the jelled psyllium husk powder whisk in the 1 cup of almond milk, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  5. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar.
  6. Sift together the 2 cups flour, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt, and mix into the sugar/psyllium mixture just until flour is moistened. Note: The batter will be very thick. The muffins come out fine this way, but a tablespoon or two of additional milk can be added for a thinner, batter, which also makes good muffins.
  7. Fold in peanut butter chips or chocolate chips, if using.
  8. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle sugar on top.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out with a few sticky crumbs.

Makes 6 large muffins or 12 medium muffins.

73 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Temperamental Weather, Cook”

  1. What a shock to get such a change in weather. We have had a very unusual summer, with temperatures lower than usual, but no complaints, cooler is better.
    A great photo of Little Miss Watson, perfectly framed in the window with a pile of books, cute as pie.
    As for your cooking, I would love your peanut butter hearts, that would be my pick every time!

    1. Yes, a big shock! Glad you liked the picture of Little Miss framed by books and games. As for those peanut butter hearts…pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. 😉

  2. Yummy treats. Our roads are more or less clean now but we are expecting snow tomorrow 😀. I have decided not to notice the dirty pile of snow.

  3. Who needs to go out when you’ve got good looking food right there? Breakfast, lunch and dessert – makes sense and sounds good to me. Now, that 40 degree drop causes my gardener’s heart to beat just a little too fast. That’s not good.

    1. Thanks, Judy! No, the drop is not good but fortunately all the gardens have a good amount of snow covering. And I don’t think the warm spell lasted long enough to encourage the trees.

  4. I feel ya! We must have been in the same weather pattern. On Saturday it was 60 (and, there being very little snow / mud we were outside all day). Today it was 18 when we woke up. But that warm day was a treat!

  5. Looks like you have a lot of fun in your house! I’m thinking about the muffins, and how fab they might be. Usually I cut the sugar down by half in any baking I do. What do think? Would it still work?
    Happy V-Day!

  6. Allan made brownies today…from a mix…after our weather turned cold and rainy.

    Catching up, kind of out of order, just read the one about cleaning snow off the roof. We had raccoons tearing holes in our shake roof on our previous house, got a metal roof, and the first night it was satisfying to hear a raccoon slide off it (on the side with a short drop).

  7. Elegant cooking is over-rated – its the taste that counts! Those muffins do look good. I wonder what they’d be like with gluten-free flour too…and then they’d suit everyone I know with special dietary needs (I have a friend who can’t do eggs or gluten).

  8. That all looks delicious. I know that a meal should look nice rather than be thrown on the plate (Shades of school dinners – Shudder!) but we seem to have become obsessed with presentation. Wht really matters is how it tastes.

    1. Yes, and we all have to keep in mind that there’s a difference between home cooks and chefs and professional bakers. Once, I went to a lecture given by Judith Jones, Julia Child’s editor, and she made that distinction,something that’s easy to forget with all the cooking shows on television. The chefs and professional bakers have high standards, as they should. But for most of us, if we produce something tasty and nutritious, that is good enough.

  9. We’re about to take another ride on the weather-coaster here: 70s on Thursday, and then back down to freezing. The ride might be wild, but as real spring approaches, things even out a bit; I’m ready for that! I’m trying to avoid food as recreation, but I must say those muffins look good. I’d have a hard time with them at breakfast, since anything with chocolate seems to fit better with dinner or dessert, but that’s just my little quirk!

  10. Sorry Laurie, but I think 50 sounds wonderful!! I know you Mainers are enamored of snow and cold, but that’s the way I roll. And it sounds as if your weekend was delightful. By the way, I don’t remember meeting your kitty before — she’s very pretty.

    1. Thanks, Debbie! I’m not sure “enamored” is the right word. 😉 Cold weather is normal for Maine in deep winter, and weather that warm feels weird in February.

  11. Love the photo of Little Miss Watson and the wonderful weekend menu looks and sounds delicious!!🙂 We’re sharing your weather pattern and our road is now a sheet of ice with more rain, warm and cold temps and snow on the way in the next two days.

  12. Your Maine weather sounds similar to our Colorado weather, Laurie. We had snow last week, 50- to 60-degree days since the weekend, and are expecting our next snowfall tomorrow.
    Your culinary creations look delicious.

  13. I feel your post so much, Laurie – as you know, the kitchen is my playground, even when it’s not mucky outside. Thank you for the recipe that you worked so hard on – it is perfect for a vegan friends of mine.

    Love that pensive capture of Miss Watson ….

  14. You are not getting job at The Other Green Door any time soon! I’m sure all the love that you cooked/baked into your delights is delicious, and confirms that love is blind. Anyway, when you get around to reading my post today, you will know that I am drinking a lot of Chamomile tea and up to about page 127. The silver lining to my current situation is that I have lots of time to wait around for the staff at Tsar Healthcare Empire to get around to seeing me about my mother’s care (usually their chaffing that I am only allowed to visit for one hour per day because of Covid restrictions on visitors turns into four to six hours of waiting, not my account but for the staff who were informed of what hour I was permitted to arrive). Arrrrrrrh. More will be post about the Tsar later. – Oscar

    1. Tee-hee! Most of the time, what we make tastes pretty good, even if it doesn’t look polished. Yes, read your post and was so sorry to learn about the sad times you are going through.

      1. But, ran “Out of Time” this morning, you might say. That’s some cliff-hanger you dropped us over. OBVIOUSLY, there better be another volume in the works. Hopefully, I will not procrastinate reading Book 4 for a year and half. Review to follow as I have time to write it (Mom gets up from her nap in 45 minutes, then 30 minutes to get to the bathroom and stage for a long time friend to visit). I’m having Lady Grey right now, as it goes better in the morning with honey and milk. Chamomile after dinner.

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