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When we lost our house in a fire almost 11 years ago, we bought everything new. My now-late husband, Guy, looked at me shortly after we moved into our new home and asked, "You do realize everything in the house is going to need repairs or replacing at the same time down the line?"

And, as much I hate to admit it, he was right. With the exception of me, some jewelry and some Christmas ornaments, everything in the house is now 10 years old — including the dog. So, it came as no surprise that a huge puddle on the kitchen floor was the result of the ice maker on the refrigerator failing. Since I rely heavily on ice packs for my long-term Achilles tendonitis, I opted to have it repaired. Life was good for a few weeks — and then a gasket on the door failed and I was faced with another large repair. This time, I bought a new refrigerator.

The new fridge was finally delivered five weeks after I had bought it. On delivery day, before the designated four-hour delivery window of 8 a.m. to noon, I took everything out of the old unit. I'm ashamed by some of my discoveries, including a slab of beef with a sell-by date of 2016, a bottle of salad dressing from 2013 and at least four plastic containers with what looked like batches of penicillin — or very moldy cheese. I threw out bottles of old, crusty jam; a jar of sun-dried tomatoes that were more than just sun-dried at that point and half a bottle of red wine that was closer to vinegar.

There is a bright side to this tale: The new refrigerator is considerably smaller than the old, so I won't be able to "lose" things in the back of the freezer or the bottom shelf of the refrigerator portion. And it does have a door shelf that is tall enough to hold bottles of wine upright.

And speaking of keeping things for a while in the refrigerator, a coworker told me about some raisin bran muffins her mom used to make. She would make the batter and it could be used as needed for muffins — up to six weeks if there was any batter left. What could be better than a hot muffin or two every day?


(Courtesy of Taste of Home)

YEILD: Makes 5 to 6 dozen


4 eggs

3 cups sugar

1 quart buttermilk

6 cups bran cereal with raisins

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup vegetable oil

5 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until well combined. Stir in buttermilk, cereal, flour, oil, baking soda and salt; mix well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before using. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Batter may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

Nutrition facts: 1 each — 139 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 202mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.

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