Once upon a time not so very long ago, I lived in the frozen arctic tundra known as Michigan. This was not so very bad because I lived in a magical house known as The Ramp with 3 perfect roommates. The house was old and drafty, probably infested with mice, inhabited briefly by a raccoon, frequented by deer that we illegally fed with a salt block, and full of perfect nooks and crannies for reading and thinking. My roommates and I were like a family. We took first day of school pictures, Christmas card pictures, and graduation pictures, launching ourselves from the blue namesake of our house. There was Bethany, who could fix anything and owned an impressive number of BBC miniseries, Jaimi who bestowed our house with great kleos (for those who didn’t go to a crazy classical college, kleos is the Greek idea of glory and honor) from her many campus honors and provided the puzzles and games, me, who cleaned and stacked everyone’s shoes on the stairs, and Little Elyse who strolled about with her violin and whose diminutive size provided her as the unit by which we measured snowfall and icicles. That winter the snow rested .5 Elyse almost the entire winter and sometimes icicles would reach 1 Elyse. But inside our snug little house we were happy.
This winter Kentucky has not gotten the memo about not being Michigan. We have had one snow and ice storm after another. The other day I looked out my window and found that an icicle that was at least .5 Elyse hung from the roof. I have continued running, despite the slick roads, and it feels a lot like college runs, only lacking in Bethany’s bitter presence beside me, griping about why she has been dragged out of bed to run in the snow. Maybe it is this weather that has me missing that perfect senior year, but whatever the case, I have been reliving some of our best moments and some of our best recipes.
The ladies of the Ramp were constantly cooking and entertaining, as there really isn’t much else to do in Hillsdale Michigan during the winter. We were avid readers of Real Simple and would get on kicks where we would make the same thing over and over. For a while it as homemade popcorn, then black beans, then there was a long stretch of coconut macaroons and seven layer bars, with a brief stint over Christmas of white chocolate gingerbread and sour cream cranberry scones. A plate of one of these things would be made, a BBC miniseries turned on, and an evening spent in peace.
One of our best recipes, one that we revisited over and over, was Bethany’s Pumpkin Muffins. The perfect treat for a winter or fall evening, these are the easiest thing ever to make. So over Christmas break, make up a batch of these muffins, turn on a period miniseries, and enjoy winter.
-1 box spice cake mix
-1 can pumpkin
- Pour into greased or paper lined muffin tins.
- Bake at 350 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- We never got around to it, but in theory you could add chocolate chips or peeled cubed apples for something extra.
This makes me glow! It was so good. I wonder sometimes if any four people could live so happily together? It was magic!
“Magic” is definitely the correct word choice, Bethany . . .
Falling asleep tonight with dear memories of The Ramp Christmas Party, Hannah’s special cider, Zach’s festive contribution hanging in the archway, automatic snow-shoveling that I *completely* took for granted, the war of attrition perpetually being waged on some puzzle in the living room, and the most Crazy-Awesome House Christmas Pictures Ever . . . Merry Christmas, my dear Rampmates . . . Merry Christmas.
For what it’s worth, I’m in The Ramp now with three more perfect people (how uncanny), so have no fear; it’s in good hands, some of them SAI-ans.
I appreciate that people are filling it who love it!
This makes me glow, too, Bethany! What a perfect year. I miss us! Can we please have a Ramp reunion?? Love to all!
Aaron demands a taste… I’m excited to try them!!
Tonight is the night! Will try it with some shredded apple!
Let me know how they turn out!
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It’s sort of like you were the March sisters for a little while! Or at least… your own version of them. I love it!!! Had a similar brood of cohorts with whom many adventures were had (and muffins consumed)…
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It’s that time of year again! Yay! What size can do you use for this?
I just use the standard smaller size… I think it’s 16 oz?
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