As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we were reminded of our trip to Plymouth,
Massachusetts back in July, 2005. Abigail was six months pregnant with William
and we took advantage of the chance to travel to New England before the baby
arrived. We chose to go to Plymouth because we wanted to visit the site where
the Pilgrims first settled and learn about their history. We were so impressed
by the courage of the Pilgrims in the face of many hardships that we were
inspired to name our son, William, after William Bradford the second governor of
the Plymouth Colony. During their arduous 60 day sea crossing Bradford wrote in
his journal, “All great and
honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and must be both
enterprised and overcome with answerable courages“. Their
Christian faith enabled them to perservere in the midst of great adversity and
establish a community where they were free to worship God according to His Word.
While in Plymouth we stayed at the Governor Bradford Inn. It overlooks the
historic Plymouth Harbor where the Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II are located.
The Mayflower II is a reproduction of the original Mayflower vessel. It has been
recreated to give a sense of what the original 17th century ship was like.
Seeing the inside of this very small vessel meant to carry only about 50-60
passengers, (there were about 104 on board), we were amazed at how the Pilgrims
managed to survive the journey. We also saw the cramped passengers’ quarters,
the “hold” where they stored food, clothing and other items needed to start the
colony, and the very crude tools used in 17th century navigation. The photo below
shows the Mayflower II journeying from Plymouth, England to Plymouth,
Massachussets in 1957.
On board the Mayflower II, you will meet actors dressed in period costumes
speaking in 17th century English who will share with you what life was like
during the voyage. We met Captain Myles Standish, the military
advisor for the Plymouth Colony. He shared with us his experiences while on
board and the death of his wife Rose upon arrival at Plymouth.
A monument to the Pilgrims who died during the first year in the Plymouth Colony.
Over all, it was a very successful trip and we’re glad we went. It is a
trip that is a highly recommended.
Now to a lighter note, here’s a lovely recipe that’s great for the holidays – Cranberry Banana Muffins.
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp sugar (I use white)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs (room temp)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup banana, mashed (about 1 1/2 bananas – you can use 2 bananas if you prefer)
1/4 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips or pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Mix all dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs and beat lightly just until combined. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients (yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla) and continue to beat in medium speed until it’s smooth and there are no big banana lumps roughly 1-2 minutes.
Adjust the speed to low and then slowly pour in the flour mixture. I try to do this in three parts to prevent the flour from splattering all over the place. Scrape the sides with a spatula after adding each flour. When everything is just combined, stop the the mixer. Fold in the cranberries and the chocolate chips/pieces, if using.
Divide evenly into a 12-cup muffin pan with liners. Bake at 400 for about 18-22 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Oven heating/temperatures vary so adjust the time accordingly. I use a Demarle Flexipan – the muffin cooks faster here so you may have to adjust the time a bit if using a regular muffin pan. Let this serve as a guide. A friend of mine who made this recipe said it took about 22 minutes for her muffin to fully cook.
Leave it to cool a bit in the pan for about 7-10 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. The muffins may feel soft when you lift them up but don’t worry they will harden as they cool down.
I love that this is just a balance of sweet-tart flavors and comes out really moist even after you have left it standing for a few hours. On occasion when I am feeling rather indulgent, I add 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips! Moist and delicious cranberry muffins!
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