Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cranberry Bran Muffins

Many years ago, I sat at a kitchen counter as my friend Autumn effortlessly juggled a visit with me while feeding and caring for her 2 small girls. Autumn never let you go hungry at her house. On this day, she introduced me to something that became a go to recipe of mine. Bran muffins with cheddar cheese sliced on top. So today I thought I would give it a try with B. That kid is going through a picky phase food wise. If its not in noodle form or cheese form she really isn't interested in it. So, here's the recipe. It's basically the Bob's Redmill recipe from the wheat bran bag but tweaked.
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup flax meal
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cranberries
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2 bananas mashed up
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbs oil
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat to 400(unless you have my stupid oven where you put it up as high as it goes for 30 minutes and mayyyybe it will get above 350)
Mix the dry stuff.... mix the wet stuff.... then mix it all together must til its all properly wet and mixed. I put about 1/3 cup of batter in each muffin cup. Bake for 15-20(or if you have my stupid oven.... 25 or 30 *sigh*) As far as the cranberries go, you could do dates, raisins, dried apple chunks. whatever you have hanging around. And the mushed bananas could easily be 3/4 cup of applesauce like the Bob's redmill recipe states. But I had no applesauce. Pretty much any fruit puree will do the trick.
And there you go... a perfect go to breakfast, snack, lunch, etc. Cut one in half and top with a piece of good cheddar cheese. If I'm not feeling lazy, I pop it under the broiler so its all melty and wonderful. That mixture of lightly sweet muffin and salty cheese is perfect and its filling cuz of the bran. I like to sneak flax meal into anything possible. The added fiber and ultra happy omega 3 make me feel even better about having this for a whole meal. I pop it into my green smoothies when I'm a good girl and making those regularly. If B continues to refuse veggies, I think spinach smoothies will be coming back soon.
Ignore the look on her face.... she liked em. She is sitting criss cross applesauce in the middle of the floor munching on one and watching Nemo. It is helping that I called them cake and not muffin. Sometimes you gotta lie to yer kids. Don't you judge me!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lunch with the ladies

The snow has melted. The daffodils are popping up. And Bridget enjoyed her first brunch with the ladies. As her 2nd birthday was approaching, I had to admit that I really didn't relish the idea of throwing a big party full of kids and adults. I'm a bit of a recluse and I get weirded out in situations where I am expected to mingle. Which is funny cuz I LOVE cooking for people and I do a pretty good job at a fancy spread of good food. I realized that if I could shrink the party down to a couple of people, I was on board. Lisa and Marcy have been speacial friends of mine for several years from work. Marcy and I hold dear the memory of crying by the office coffee machine when I told her I was finally pregnant(making several strangers a little uncomfortable but we didn't care.) So I invited them to come have brunch at a little cafe called the Mustard Seed. We swapped excited emails and instant messages about flowery dresses, floppy hats, and the possibility of gloves as THIS was gonna be a very big girl brunch. Did we turn some heads? Totally. But it was awesome. I am so lucky to have friends willing to get all Steel Magnolias for a two year old.
Speaking of Steel Magnolias, here's my girls sharing a drop of tea.
And just before we left, the woman from the wedding decor shop next door popped in with a tray of mini chocolate cupcakes with key lime frosting and red velvet mini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting... all done up with glitter sugar. She brought the tray out for the birthday girl to pick out her favorite. I think B was overwhelmed by the amazing array of frosting topped cuties.
If I ever had a doubt that all the baby has disappeared from my baby girl, these pictures seal the deal. Look at how she carries on like she's been "doing lunch" for years.
"Now I'm not one to gossip, but have you heard who Silvie has been seen with?"
Bridget even obliged me and wore the feather hair clip I made her. It stayed in for about 10 minutes which is pretty good when it comes to this kid. Scruffy hair in her eyes is kind of her preferred state. In fact, she refused to wear the brand new Easter hat I picked up this morning until she saw the girls sporting theirs in the parking lot. Suddenly she was the hat kind of girl.

The chef even came out to wish her a happy birthday. I am beyond blessed to have these women in my life. Lisa and Seth painted B this gorgeous letter B that is exactly what her new big girl room needed. Marcy bought her a magenta camping chair, polka dot sleeping bag, flash light and flash cards. She's all ready for festival season to start. She insisted on eating her dinner in the camp chair and drags it behind her everywhere she goes.
So I just wanted to send up another thanks to you guys from B for the presents, the laughs, and the wonderful day that we will always remember. You guys beat a dora the explorer pinata party any day!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I feel like I'm being watched

So, how does one survive in a customer service job in the insurance industry? You sneak as much wimsy and happiness as you can. I seriously questioned if I should drop $3 for the pack of googly eyes. But the reaction was all worth it. These were just a couple of the new characters that showed up at work yesterday.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

life on water

There was a brief period in our childless days where we were semi serious about living on a house boat. I scanned the classifieds for something doable in the Key West region. But then Key West went on the back burner and I turned my attention toward more child friendly locations. Over the last few years, I've studied cob, hay bale, yurt, campers and pole barns..... ANYTHING that would be small and that we could do cheap enough to make major changes in our careers. I had completely forgotten about houseboats!! I adore the house boats of Seattle!!! So I thought I'd share some eye candy while I day dream some more. The following picture was my dream home. I think I fell in love with tug boats growing up in countless marinas with my family. The crusty hermit boats intrigued me.