cranberry walnut muffins

Several months ago, Tuesday was invited to a work brunch. She wanted to bring along something crowd-pleasing, easy to make, and most importantly, delicious. She asked if I had any ideas for a muffin recipe. Yes, I did!

This recipe comes from the owner of a farm where I worked during college. It can be easily altered to meet a variety of needs — gluten-free, reduced sugar, pick-the-berry-of-your-choice, add nuts, etc. I bake these muffins quite a lot, and I usually add a heaping cup of mixed berries in place of the blueberries from the original recipe as well as a half cup of chopped hazelnuts. Also, instead of a crumb topping, I make a “sugary-y butter-y topping” that is less crumb and more goo. (That version, baked last summer, is pictured, somewhat poorly, below.) However, since cranberries are making their last stand in grocery stores and farmers markets (if you’re lucky!), I decided to experiment with those instead.

20150809_130753

I made these muffins on Sunday and was it ever the perfect day for standing near the oven. Here’s an image of a small forested area in my neighborhood from that afternoon.

20160110_165328

muffin batter ingredients:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 c. cranberries
  • 1/2 c. walnuts

sugar-y butter-y topping ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. butter

directions:

Heat oven to 400F and grease a muffin tin. Mix the dry ingredients (both flours, brown sugar, salt, baking powder) together in a bowl. In a second bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (egg, milk, oil.) Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to combine. Using a grater or (preferably) a microplane, zest the lemon directly into the mixing bowl. Cut and juice the lemon and add the juice to the bowl. Mix. Coarsely chop cranberries and toss with flour to prevent bleeding into the batter. Coarsely chop walnuts. Add both the cranberries and walnuts to the batter and mix gently with a rubber spatula to combine. Fill muffin tin with batter.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, whole wheat flour, and softened butter. Work ingredients together with hands until a smooth butter-sugar glob forms. Put a spoonful of the mixture into the center of each of the muffins. Bake for 22-25 mins. Check for done-ness with a knife or toothpick; the muffins are fully baked when the knife/toothpick comes out clean.

Yields 12 muffins. I am strange and like my muffins huge and exploding out of the tin, so I bake six instead of 12 with the same quantity of batter.

There are numerous appropriate methods to eat a muffin. On its own with a cup of tea or coffee is a pretty standard choice. My favorite method, however, is to eat these muffins for breakfast smashed into a bowl of yogurt with extra nuts on top. Enjoy!

20160111_084108

Advertisement

first week of 2016

The past week has been filled with many of my favorite things: Time spent with infrequently seen friends, days packed with hiking, exploring, reading, hours driving through beautiful countryside with my favorite co-pilot listening to CSNY’s greatest hits on repeat (2,400+ miles, 9 states + D.C.) I am thankful.

Here are some snapshots from our Midwest —> East Coast (and back) adventure. Next week I’m going to start this thing in earnest with a recipe for Tuesday on Tuesday and another post on Friday. Cheers to 2016!

201512269509450320151226_09594720151228_11165720151228_115644201512319511551320160101_15302320160101_15473620160104_16050120160104_142020

merry christmas

To all who are celebrating, I hope your day has been filled with peace, love, and joy. I’m counting my blessings to have been surrounded by special people for the last few days as well as  the coming days. Here are a few very merry snapshots from a very happy Christmas.

45+ Ohio temps called for a long hike with this sweet critter.

20151225_13243420151225_132848

Sugar cream (with exploded crust) and chocolate-pecan pie graced our table today. Also did some up-cycling with this newsprint wrapping paper.

20151224_15183220151225_20595320151224_211224

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

a bountiful harvest

20151103_150657

I’ve just arrived back in the chilly Midwest after three months in Hawaii. While there, I sowed a lot of seeds. I planted kale, chard, bok choy, black-eyed peas, broccoli, eggplant, peppers, and amaranth. I’m probably forgetting a few.

To thrive, these seedlings required my energy in various forms. First, they needed to be planted. Then they needed to be watered and weeded and fretted over. They needed to be hilled up. They needed heat. They needed fertilizer. They needed an XL dose of my best and fullest patience. (You may be realizing that these babies were some high-maintenance little punks).

Of course, these sprouted seeds will die if proper care is not taken. And if they don’t die, at the very least, neglect will cause them to shrivel. They will sit in their droopy-leaved discontent and wallow. But amazingly, when you go through the motions and put in all of the ingredients and think and consider and ponder and do it every day and waitwaitwait, one day you’ll walk out to the garden to take a peek after a time away and POW! There will be the fruits of your labor. Those sprouts will have become glorious! They will be craning their necks toward the shimmering sun. They will be stretching out their newly developed stems and branches as wide as they can reach. Like gems, there will be glittering flowers of pale pinks and yellows and creamy silky whites. And some of those flowers will have even turned into itty bitty versions of what will one day be an actual edible vegetable. And you’ll think to yourself, “Well holy shit! How in the world did this happen?” And then you’ll step back to think for a moment and the truth will come creeping into your consciousness, “Oh. I did this.”

That is, in a metaphor, what my nearly hundred days in Hawaii were. Not regarding the vegetables, (though everything is always a little bit about the vegetables) regarding me. It was about taking this confused and downtrodden and limping-along person that I had become out into the big world and sitting down with her. She and I had a lot to discuss. We planted our fears and insecurities and uncertainties and discontent and exhaustion. And then we tended to all of those things. And over time, just as in my garden, the uncanny happened. I grew and changed and blossomed. With hours spent listening to my own beating heart, practicing all the kindness I could conjure up, and daring to dig into and smooth out some murky and uneven terrain, the “seeds” that I planted turned into something else entirely.

Certainly this process is not finished yet. Just as I will each year go back out into the fields and till the earth and plant the seeds and care for them season after season, I will do the same with myself. It turns out that flourishing takes a lot of work! But it is certainly well worth the effort.