Your Story Matters Interviews

My name is Randi (The Muffin Lady) and I will be your guide for baking and cooking scrumptious, everyday treats and foods in higher elevations.

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I first developed an appreciation for fresh baked goods as a little girl in my Grandmother’s kitchen just on the county line of Philadelphia. I used to climb up on her counter and watch her add and mix ingredients, taste a little and then add a few extra spoonfuls of this or that. As the years went by, I continued in her tradition and would often be requested to bake up cookies and treats by my Mother’s friends and family.

Upon graduating from high school, I moved to Colorado for college. Upon moving out of the dorms and into a house with friends, I soon found that I had to make adjustments to many treasured recipes, for they never seemed to work right up here. My cookies would be flat, muffins would sink and be raw in the middle, some cakes came out of the oven looking like a pool sucking out all the from the center. Still a teenager myself, and in school, I asked a science professor WHY. That was the day I learned that in higher elevations, the air pressure is much lower, the air is much drier, and that in bake goods the hot air balloon effect takes over. By this I mean that many baked goods will rise rapidly and then sink just as rapidly as a hot balloon does if the heat is turned off. So I began playing around, calling my Grandmother regularly and finally figured out what adjustments needed to be added or decreased to get the desired shape and height of my treats

I continued to bake and come up with new recipes while finishing college and earning 2 graduate degrees. My degrees are in Education and Psychology. I taught and counseled at-risk and mentally ill kids for almost 2 decades; helping them and sometimes their parents overcome obstacles on their path to a better life. I always bribed my students with fresh baked goods to get their work completed. Life was good, until one day in 1991 when it sort of changed.

Without going into much detail, I was informed that my body was shutting down rapidly; I had a rare disease and brain tumor. Well there went my days as a teacher and counselor, due to liability issues. So on advice from a friend, I began baking and selling my goods around Evergreen, Colorado. To my delight all really like this, even the experiments and it was an employee at the local Post Office that began calling me The Muffin Lady, so I went legal with the name.

I have won 2 awards for my book, a First Place EVVY Award though Colorado Independent Publishers Association and the next was quite an incredible shock.I had no idea what contest I had entered my book into, just that it was a good and helpful book. In February 2005, my book was awarded, Best First Cookbook in the World by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. This award is the Oscar of the cookbook industry. Isn’t it amazing what your heart can do when put to use, I think so, for that is how I bake and write, straight from the heart? Ok the palette comes in a bit too, for it must taste good too.
Upon receiving these awards, I continued to receive recipe requests from my former customers. They wanted my Meatloaf and Chunky Tomato Sauce recipes, that good chicken recipe, my soups and salad recipes, and much, much more. So I sat down and wrote the Sharing Mountain Recipes Cookbook, which is bursting with 472 recipes. Some of the recipes are mine, some are family and friends and even a few recipes are friend’s mother’s recipes. I do believe that sharing is a great gift, which is why I wrote these books—to share the goodness and means for kitchen success when located in higher elevations. Food is what gives us life, and when you know how to prepare good food, it should be shared for the benefit of all.

I have combined my past skills, trainings and experiences in both the mental health and culinary worlds into one new cookbook. Although my specialty may be high altitude cooking and baking, I will always be a child advocate and thus offer guidance and help to those in need. I trust that my latest cookbook will enhance the lives and health of many of our children, especially those who are a bit overweight or obese. This book will guide parents toward raising healthier children simply by getting back to the basics of good homemade foods at minimal costs.

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