27 October 2010

Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Bran Muffins*

*adapted from this recipe

Yield: 18 muffins
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1 T molasses
1T brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 cup bran flakes, lightly crushed
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves1/3 cup very hot water
1 tsp baking soda

-Line muffin tin with 18 baking cups.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for convection oven).
-Prepare muffin tin by
-In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, molasses, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, pumpkin and salt. Mix well. Stir in bran flakes.
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
-Stir dry ingredients into wet until just combined.
-Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then gently stir into batter.
-Divide mixture evenly into 18 muffin cups, filling each cup to about 3/4 full.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean.
-Enjoy warm or at room temp. with cream cheese or butter.

     Summer has finally decided to give up the fight and let fall arrive this week.  Cooler temperatures, leaf gathering, costume wearing and fall baking has replaced the warm sunshine, outside playtime and cool drinks.  The evening light disappears a few minutes earlier each evening and the mornings now feel cold and dark. 

     As with every year, I'm sad to see the warmth and light disappear.  It's not so much that I dislike fall.  It's such a beautiful time of year, especially when we are lucky to have one in our state.  (Sometimes winter blows in too early and the leaves literally get snowed off of the trees.)  But it's mostly that I don't love winter.  I'm not a fan of cold, snow, ice, or layers of clothes.  I much prefer the lightness of flip-flops and longer days.

     However, with the onset of colder, darker mornings we have been spending a few more minutes snuggling under the covers together as a family.  The littlest one nestles in for an early morning snack before dozing off for a bit while longer.  My daughter chats and giggles, cooing over her baby brother before giving all of us our character names for the day (today we were named members of "The Backyardigans," Uniqua, Pablo, Tasha Tyrone).  Daddy (or "Tyrone") gets a few extra minutes of much needed sleep.  And I get to sneak downstairs to let the dog out, make a cup of coffee and spend 10 minutes alone before starting my day of juggling the needs of two littles and a never-ending To Do list. 

    With my husband's work schedule and my new-to-two learning curve, it can feel like we don't often get time to catch our breath before putting out the next fire.  These slow moving mornings are an unexpected blessing during a time of year I don't always feel so thrilled about, and for that I'm grateful. 

What could be better than having a snack with a good friend?  Laughing HYSTERICALLY while having a snack with a good friend. 

Sibling bonds are the longest relationships a person can have and arguably, some of the most important. Someday their father and I won't be around.  Hopefully they'll still have each other.  I feel so blessed that I get to watch them learn how to love one another.

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