I’m in a band. Not your typical band – we aren’t a trendy rock or punk or whatever band – but we do play all the above kinds of music. We also dance. And have a ton of fun. You might liken us to a marching band that isn’t so serious. We definitely don’t march. We are serious about what we do though – as serious as a group of people can get while pretending to ride the Venga Bus all the while performing a piece of music on our concert band instruments.
We spend a lot of time together, as we rehearse every week, we do several weekends at our local university basketball games, and go to band camp a few times a year. We also spend a total of 12 or so days together every July. We do about 100 performances during the Calgary Stampede at various events around the Stampede Park. Performances range from the Calgary Stampede Parade, to around the fair grounds, to the Enmax Grandstand Show. Our audiences range from several dozen to several thousand. This past summer as we warmed up the crowd for the arrival of the Royal Couple, we performed for several million people whether at the parade or watching from their little corners of the world.
One thing that we (and I’m sure I can speak for the group here) all do every year at Stampede is loosen the belt buckles and spend a significant amount of time sampling the fair food. We usually take stock of what to choose from during our performances, and then once out of uniform we head to the vendors we kept in mind. Our choices have ranged from the typical beef on a bun, to Hot Wisconsin cheese, to the wild deep-fried Snicker bars or Oreos. This sampling is not an activity I can take part in anymore unfortunately. Most food on the fair grounds are filled with cheese, butter or milk. There are a few choices, namely beef on a bun at one particular vendor, but they get old pretty fast.
An old fair classic that I absolutely love and wish that I could have even just once during the week of Stampede is Cinnamon Sugar Mini-Donuts. These stands are on almost every corner of the fair grounds, and their smell penetrates the entire park. The first summer that I was lactose-intolerant and in the band was tough. I bought a bag even though I knew I wouldn’t feel well after. Turns out it’s just not worth it to eat it, no matter how good they smell or how badly I want it. The second summer I didn’t get a bag, but felt like I’d really missed out on something special.
This summer, I stumbled upon a recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Mini-Donut Muffins. I tried them right away, and they didn’t disappoint. They taste almost like the ones at Stampede, but without the lactose and without all the fat! I read somewhere once that there are almost 2000 calories in a bag at the fair! These come in at significantly less. I’m pretty sure I win at the mini-donut eating now, because I won’t feel sick and I won’t ruin my diet. I also didn’t miss eating mini-donuts at the Stampede this year either.
Lactose-Free Cinnamon Sugar Mini Donuts
Yield: 24 Mini-Muffins
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 15 minutes
- ¼ cup lactose-free butter or vegan margarine, softened
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 2/3 cups flour
- 1 cup lactose-free milk (or soy milk)
- 3 tbsp melted lactose-free butter or vegan margarine
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin, or line with 12 paper cups. (I prefer to not use a muffin liner, as you get a better sugar to muffin ratio)
2. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars.
3. Add the eggs, beating to combine.
4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
5. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Fill cups to almost full. (I used a 1 tbsp ice-cream scoop so each cup had equal amounts of batter)
7. Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle them.
8. Melt the butter for the Sugar topping in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.
9. Roll a muffin in the melted butter, and then in the cinnamon sugar. Repeat for the remaining muffins.
10. These are best served warm. Enjoy! (If you can’t eat the immediately, store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.)
(Adapted from Mini-Donut Muffins at http://bakememore.com/2010/11/06/mini-doughnut-muffins/)