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What do you do when a favorite neighbor hands you a lemon? Why, make lemon muffins, of course — you didn’t think I’d say “make lemonade,” did you?

Our neighborhood is filled with generous givers. When my doorbell rings there’s most likely a treat waiting on the other side delivered by a talented baker, meat smoker or soup maker. We’ve been the lucky recipients of smoked salmon and brisket, pecan rolls, zucchini bread, cookies, Middle Eastern pastries and German chocolate cake. I throw my diet plans out the window and dig in. The gift doesn’t need an occasion or a reason other than we all like each other a lot.

My most recent food treat was a beautiful, golden Meyer lemon produced from the pocket of Kathy. Kathy always carries treats in her pocket to bestow on her beloved dog, Lulu’s, friends when they’re encountered on their walk. But on this occasion, I got a treat, too and I was as happy as my dog, Dylan, was with his Milk-Bone.

Kathy had returned from her annual monthlong visit to California only to be greeted with a weeklong power outage along with bitter cold temps and a dumping of snow. So from the airport she headed to her daughter’s home to hunker down until power was restored. Her son-in-law has a Meyer lemon tree in full fruit and Kathy decided to pluck a few for friends. Thankfully, I was on her gift list. I, too, have a Meyer lemon tree but the tiny green nubs are far from becoming ripe for several weeks, so of course I was elated.

I’d remembered that Kathy loves rhubarb so these lemon rhubarb muffins seemed the perfect thank you for my sunny gift. Turns out I was right, she loved them. See what happens when life gives you lemons?

Kate Lawson is the retired Detroit News food writer. Reach her at katecook@comcast.net.

Rhubarb Lemon Muffins

Recipe adapted from tasteofhome.com

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

13/4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb (See Note)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and ginger. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil and lemon peel. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before

Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Per serving: 203 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 36mg cholesterol, 221mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (18g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

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