Empty out your fridge breakfast muffins

A few weeks before Passover, I was home with Squeaker, trying to make the most of the last of my maternity leave. Apparently, 3 months is shorter when you are living it than when you think about it beforehand. One of my projects during my maternity leave was to clean the apartment for Passover – i.e. removing any and all crumbs and food droppings from anywhere in the house and cleaning all the appliances and other surfaces more extensively than is done all year.  Usually, Rocker Dude does most of the cleaning as he has vacation for a week and a half before Passover starts (don’t hate, teachers work super hard!), so this year I decided to give him the year off. Part of this process is finishing up all the not-kosher-for-Passover food that is in the house.

Muffins for breakfast.
Muffins for breakfast.

So one day, while searching through the freezer and cabinets, I found 1 cup of frozen pumpkin puree and a few dates left over from Purim, and a ton of self-raising flour that needed to be finished up.  I used the wonderful tool that is Google and I searched those ingredients and got to this recipe. At the time I even had a couple of bananas so I could have made the muffins as they were supposed to be made, but those bananas soon disappeared. I was super excited to make this recipe for breakfasts because due to Squeaker’s sensitivities, I can’t have dairy or coffee (!) as long as I nurse her, which has made breakfast a particular challenge for me.

In an amazing bit of foresight (totally by chance) I had asked my parents to bring a whole Cosco-sized box full of Quaker Instant Oatmeal.  You know, the oatmeal that you just have to pour hot water on it and it comes in maple and brown sugar, apple and cinnamon, cinnamon and spice and original flavors? That stuff seriously made breakfasting much easier, especially as Squeaker usually fell asleep in the sling while I took the Little Rocker to nursery and I didn’t want to move her. So pour packet into a bowl, pour boiling water on top, cover and wait five minutes. Done. Healthy (mostly) breakfast. And, as it was the winter, warm and yummy. The best was one stormy morning when Squeaker was about a month old.  It was the first day of a week long rainstorm. (Something that rarely happens in Israel, and contributed to a major rise in the level of water reserves in the country, ending a seven-year-long drought.) I had taken the Little Rocker to nursery and we got soaked on our way back home. Squeaker didn’t even notice and slept through it all. I walked home, made me some oatmeal, and oh did I enjoy it! So worth it.

Have a bite!
Have a bite!

Either way, back to muffins for breakfast. When I was ready to make these muffins, there were no more bananas, so we had to modify the recipe a bit. I also substituted ingredients that I had for the rice bran oil and oat milk. The batter is really quick to mix up (Imma this is for you) – just pour everything into a bowl and mix well.  It also does not have a lot of sugar in it – a lot of the sweetness comes from the bananas (if you are using them) and the dates.

Unfortunately, these muffins are not so low calorie if you eat more than two in a day :(. Ooops.  Well, in my defense, we had to finish all the flour before Passover started…

Pumpkin Date Muffins
Pumpkin Date Muffins

Enjoy!

Recipe (based on the recipe on food.baby.life):

2 cups self-raising flour, regular or whole wheat
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk or soymilk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (optional)1/2 cup dried date

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper liners and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the milk, oil and egg. Mix well until just combined.  Fold through the pumpkin and dates being careful not to overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tray and bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked. Let the muffins rest for 5 minutes before cooling them on a wire rack.

It’s a girl!!

Well, now you all know why I have neglected this blog so horribly.  A month ago we welcomed Squeaker into our family and that has kind of taken over our lives.  Until the birth I was working extra hard so that people at work wouldn’t suffer too much while I was gone, and since Squeaker sleeps best while being held, there hasn’t been a lot of baking or much of anything that requires two hands going on.  For anyone who is curious as to why her nickname is Squeaker, it’s because when she starts crying, it starts out as a bunch of squeaks, but don’t worry, when she gets going, it’s a full blown scream :).

Squeaker spending about five minutes in her bouncer before she squeaks to be held.
Squeaker spending about five minutes in her bouncer before she squeaks to be held.

As I have not had time to bake recently, I am posting a few older recipes that I made a while ago that I have been horribly bad about posting.  Today we will indulge in Julia Child’s Blueberry Muffins.  This recipe comes to us from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking with Julia which is based on Julia Child’s cooking show.  I picked up this book, along with a few others, while we were in America this summer.  As we were in America, I really wanted to take advantage of the fresh berries that we can’t get in Israel.  I decided on blueberry muffins, because they are awesome all the time, and I have missed them so much.  So here we are.

Julia Child's Blueberry Muffins
Julia Child’s Blueberry Muffins

They were quite delicious, as I recall, I didn’t manage to actually store them as they were quickly eaten up by everyone in the house (there were a lot of people around). Definitely worth making again, the next time I can get fresh blueberries. Oh Costco – how wonderful you are!

Rocker Dude grabs a muffin.
Rocker Dude grabs a muffin.

Recipe (From Baking with Julia):
1 3/4 cup cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. salt
1 pint fresh blueberries
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream (or milk with a little vinegar)
1 stick unsalted margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift the cake flour, baking soda, cream of tarter and salt together. Toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, stir the milk and sour cream together.  In a mixer, beat the margarine until white and pale, about 3 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat until the mixture no longer feels grainy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and yolk and beat until the mixture is fluffy.

Sift half the dry ingredients into the margarine/sugar/egg mixture.  Add half of the milk/sour cream mixture and delicately fold the ingredients together, stopping when just barely combined.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle the blueberries over the mixture and mix until just barely incorporated.

Fill each muffin cup at least 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops (which will be flat) are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.  Allow the muffins to cool for 10-15 minutes on a rack before serving.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Coffee-Break Muffins

So as not to pull another last minute TWD baking, I decided to make these muffins on Thursday night.  Conveniently, our friends A. and E. came back from the US on Wednesday so they were able to join us and watch Empire Records together.  That is a classic movie that deserves to be watched every few months so that you always remember how to rock out.  I love the song at the end when Renee Zellweger sings “Sugarhigh”!  It’s probably my favorite part.  So while watching we had some of these muffins and fruit – you know, so that we wouldn’t starve before the Yom Kippur fast that started Friday night (I swear, what is it with Jews and food, either you’re eating too much or you’re not eating at all!!).

Batter - mixed up by hand!

The Little Rocker saw me pulling them out of the oven as she was about to go to bed, so I had to promise her that she could have one in the morning.  I know that I shouldn’t give her caffeine, but I have to be honest, I don’t feel a difference when I have coffee in food, and I don’t notice a difference in her either.

Filling the muffin cups.

Either way, this week’s recipe was hosted by Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous.  She chose these muffins, actually a recipe that I skipped over a few times because it didn’t seem my style, not sweet enough I think.  But for Tuesdays with Dorie – I will try anything.  These muffins mixed up in about five minutes (in between bathing the Little Rocker and getting her into pjs) and baked really quickly.  When we tried them, there were mixed reviews.  Everyone said that they tasted good, though Rocker Dude did say that they were a bit bitter.  Rocker Dude’s comment was that it was missing something sweet.  I told him that they didn’t have soymilk which is what I normally bake with, which adds a lot of richness to the end product.  So he said that next time I should add the soymilk, after all, who likes coffee without milk?

Coffee-Break Muffins

For the recipe, check out Rhiani’s blog here and see what other TWD bakers did here.

Baking with the Baby: Banana Muffins

A couple of months ago (you can tell ’cause we were wearing sweatshirts – I would never dream of even putting on a long-sleeved shirt with the weather we have now), my 17 month old daughter, the Little Rocker, was going nuts and I needed to entertain her.  According to the baby book that we have, the period between 12 months and 18 months is the most trying for parents because the toddler thinks they can do everything and really can’t and they need the most one-on-one attention from parents.  Now the Little Rocker  is really active and precocious and thinks that all buttons in the world are meant to be pressed.  When the hubby, Rocker Dude, was trying to get his radio show ready (check out www.Rock4Rookies.com – weekly rock awesomeness) the Little Rocker decided that the computer was fair game.  In order to distract her and to push off putting her to bed (she goes to bed at 8:00 and we don’t want her waking up any earlier – 6:00 is early enough), I decided to make her favorite banana muffins with her.  Conveniently we had three bananas on the counter turning all nice and brown just waiting to be used.  When I told the Little Rocker that we were going to be mushing bananas together she got very excited.  I started mashing them with a fork (I like having chunks of banana in my muffins) and she “helped”.  She loved mixing in the flour and pouring in the eggs.  When I mixed the batter she even tried to follow my hand moving with her head – it was really funny to watch.

Because, like most of the world, I have to work all day and often don’t get home until 6:00 or 6:30, it is important for me to focus on my daughter while she is still awake, then I can put the house back together and clean up all the toys that were taken out.  Sometimes I think that we have toys just so the Little Rocker can take them off the shelves – she doesn’t do much else with them.  She most loves reading her books and listening to music – she is definitely her father’s child.

Of course, like most people who work, when I get home I am exhausted and don’t have a lot of patience.  I am trying to work on this and whenever the Little Rocker starts whining or demanding that I pick her up when I am holding a pot of boiling water, I stop, take a deep breath and think, “She’s only a toddler once –  make the most of it.”  Now, mind you, this doesn’t always work and it doesn’t always calm her down when I have to tell her that I can’t pick her up right now, but it makes me feel like a better parent.  My new plan is to bake with her and allow her to participate because it lets her get involved and i am really focusing on her.

Here she is trying to cream the margarine and sugar.

Trying to get toddlers to look at the camera is a nightmare!.   We had a lot of fun together. The Little Rocker especially loved putting the paper liners into the cupcake pan, she carefully judged which hole needed a liner first:).  As soon as they came out of the oven she was there, ready to test her handiwork.  The muffin disappeared so fast that I knew she loved them.

Baby entertained: Check!

Made it to her bedtime: Check!

Quality time spent one on one: Check!

Banana Muffins

Recipe:

1 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup sour cream or soy milk

1  cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Cream the sugar and margarine together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla, salt and baking powder.  Then add the soy milk and the bananas.  Add the flour in three additions and mix only until combined.  Fill each liner 3/4 of the way full with batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned on top.