Erin’s professional background and formal training is in graphic design, but for the majority of her Hallmark career she has supported the Creative Division as a Recruiter. In her current role, she facilitates ongoing craft and leadership training and development opportunities for our creative community. Outside of work she is a gardener, crafter, wife, and a mom to two sweet girls.
The holidays have come and gone. The days are cold and short. My kids come home from school with rosy cheeks and runny noses. This is the time of year when homemade comfort food becomes the cure-all for winter blues, chilly nights, and the common cold.
It is also the time of year when I am so grateful for the tasty, homemade treasures I have tucked away in my basement.
During the summer months my family tends a 250-square-foot vegetable garden in our backyard in the suburbs of Kansas City. Our weeknights are spent watering, weeding, and harvesting more than a dozen vegetable and fruit crops. It is rare that a weekend passes without cleaning dirt from under our fingernails.
I love the lessons a garden teaches our family: faith, joy, hard work, patience, kindness, and togetherness. I’m grateful that our garden nourishes us in the summer – and during the cold winter months, too.
When the need for comfort food arises, I duck down to our basement and come up to the kitchen with an array of frozen or canned goods preserved with the flavor and memories of summer: peaches, conserves, jams and jellies, green beans, strawberries, pickles, salsa, zucchini relish, tomato juice, vegetable soup mix, jalapeños, squash, applesauce…
Whether working from family recipes, trying a Pinterest-find, or inventing something totally new, I am most content and grateful when my family is gathered at our kitchen table enjoying the healing powers of homemade comfort food. One of my favorite combinations? Chili and cornbread muffins!
Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins with Honey Butter
- 2 large jalapeños (I use frozen from our garden)
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (freshly shredded works best)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tsp honey
Mince one jalapeño and slice the other in narrow, round discs (remove the seeds and membrane for milder flavor). Set aside. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, then stir in minced jalapeño, milk, egg, and melted butter. Gently stir in cheese. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and divide the batter equally between cups. Top with round jalapeño slices and bake at 400°F for 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan. This is a great recipe to double so you can keep a stash on hand in the freezer!
Bring butter to room temperature in small bowl. Add honey and stir vigorously. You can double this recipe for freezing: just shape into a log after stirring, roll in plastic wrap, and slice with a sharp knife as you need it.
ROEBUCK FARMS CHILI
- 2 qts tomato juice (I use homemade/home canned)
- 1 pint salsa (I use homemade/home canned)
- 1-2 lbs ground beef, browned with minced onion and drained
- 1 can chili beans
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- Other spices to taste (black pepper, cumin, etc.)
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours (or combine in a stock pot and cook on medium heat for 1-2 hours, or until flavors are blended). Top with shredded cheddar cheese and corn chips before serving. This is also a great recipe for freezing, if you have any leftovers!
If you’re as inspired by Erin’s kitchen skills as we are, you can follow her family’s gardening adventures @roebuckfarms on Instagram.
Illustrations by Hallmark artist Mirna S.