Featured Stories

Start your day with a Maris Muffin and apples

Local woman creates a meal in a muffin


by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Mari Brooker of Lake Oswego has founded a new business featuring her deliciious and nutritious muffins. Each is the nutritional equivalent to an egg, a piece of whole wheat toast or an apple and half a glass of milk.Don’t you just love it when someone meets with success? I want to shout ‘bravo!” to my friend Mari Brooker of Lake Oswego. I’ve known her since our sons played lacrosse together in what seems like centuries ago, but I recently discovered she has a talent of which I was unaware. Brooker is dynamite baker. She is a nutritionist by profession and has put those talents together to create a pretty cool business for herself: Mari’s Power Muffins.

Mari’s Power Muffins are a meal in a muffin. She has crafted them to have the same nutrition as an egg, piece of whole-wheat toast, an apple and half a glass of milk. She said one would hold you all morning and she was absolutely right.

She currently bakes banana walnut, berry blend, carrot pineapple and molasses muffins and two gluten free varieties: banana walnut and berry blend. They are high in fiber and protein and are made from all natural ingredients.

Booker suggested I freeze the muffins and then reheat them in the microwave. The muffins were remarkably fresh and moist — even after freezing. My family couldn’t agree on a favorite because they all tasted great! Currently Mari’s Muffins are available only online, so visit marismuffins.com or Mari’s Muffins Facebook page. A warm muffin on a fall morning is a great beginning, and how about a little apple cider to go with it?

Apple Harvest Day is from 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Champoeg State Heritage Area. You can learn to press cider or just enjoy a cup of it. Costumed volunteers with the Friends of Historical Champoeg will serve Dutch-oven-baked apple desserts and hot cider. They will also teach people how to string apple circles for drying, bob for apples in the washtub and play snap apple.

The event is free with an annual Oregon Parks and Recreation Department parking pass, camping permit or with the purchase of a $5 day-use parking permit. For more information, contact Corinne Flake at 503-678-1649.

Our friends at Portland Nursery will also hold their 25th annual apple tasting from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 12 to 14 and Oct. 19 to 21 at the Stark Street location. This is always a fun event — you get to sample more than 50 varieties of apples and pears and purchase what you like best. Some varieties are priced as low as $.99 per pound.

Organizers expect more than 30,000 people to attend the apple tasting. Fridays are dedicated to tasting and Saturday and Sunday the party revs up. Festivities include live music, kids’ events, vendors, cooking demonstrations, fresh-pressed cider, a name-that-apple contest, photo contest and scarecrow contest, fresh apple strudel, gelato and Hot Lips Pizza for sale. Visit portlandnursery.com for details about the photo and scarecrow contest.

A special “Just for Elders” event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 17. Activities and music will be tailored to an older crowd and a percentage of all sales will be donated to Elders in Action.

For complete details on the happenings of the apple tasting visit portlandnursery.com or call Peggy Acott at 503-231-5050.

Our apple tree is laden with pretty red apples this year, so I need a few recipes to use them up. I want to try my hand at pressing cider and I can’t let fall pass without at least one batch of applesauce. Hope you will enjoy these recipes, too.

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Mulled Apple Cider with Orange and Ginger

Makes about 8 cups

8 cups apple cider

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

10 whole cloves

1 navel orange, peeled and sliced crosswise

1 2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices

In a large saucepan combine the cider, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange slices and ginger and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof pitcher and serve the mulled cider warm.

Cook’s note: You can also prepare this is a crock pot and serve directly from it.

Adapted from Gourmet, Oct. 1991

Autumn Apple Sauce

Makes 5 cups

Use several kinds of apples for a great tasting applesauce. If you prefer a chunky sauce, cook the apples for a shorter period of time and then mash them only slightly.

8 assorted apples (your choice of Rome, McIntosh, Royal Gala, Golden delicious, Granny Smith and red delicious)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup fresh apple cider

1 1/2 cup sugar (taste your apples first - you might want to use less sugar)

1 cinnamon stick (3 inches long)

Peel, core and cut the apples into large chunks, tossing them with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Place the apples and remaining ingredients in a large heavy pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially and cook until apples are very tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover the pot and cook 5 minutes more.

Remove the pot from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick. Coarsely mash the apples with the cooking juices. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered until ready to use, up to 5 days.

Adapted from Parade, Oct. 2000

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext 101 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..