Well, I've broken every one of my New Year's resolutions, with the exception of the one about eating more chocolate. Sigh. I know it's been a long time since I've posted, but I'm drowning in work and family stuff, and there's really no end in sight. But I knocked off a couple big items on my to-do list this morning, so I'm rewarding myself by spending my lunch break with a quick post.
Every weekend for the last month (maybe more, I've lost track) we've had crappy weather here. Snow, rain, freezing rain, sleet, hail, thunderstorms, you name it -- but none of it nice. So this weekend, I decided to cheer myself up with food (only a little chocolate though) and a bunch of my other favorite things. The table above, waiting for my sleepy family (though how they can sleep through so many delicious smells is beyond me), is set with lots of things that always make me chipper: a torn but super soft vintage tablecloth from a yard sale, embroidered napkins my parents brought back from a trip to Eastern Europe, an antique bowl that was obviously well loved even before it ended up in my hands, my sunny yellow teapot from my friend Julie, the oh-so-thin teacups that belonged to my husband's grandmother "Big" (and given to me by my kind mother-in-law Macky), cheery orange clementines in a turquoise glass bowl I got for $3 at Marshalls (the color combo makes me shiver, it's that beautiful, plus knowing what a great bargain I got on the bowl is so satisfying), and the banana nut oatmeal muffins I'm going to give you the recipe for! These muffins are fantastic, even though I vary the recipe a bit each time, depending on whether I actually have the ingredients I should and whether I remember how I've made them before (they're based on a mishmosh of several different muffin recipes). In fact, part of the reason I'm putting this up today was that they came out particularly well this week, and I still remember how I made them - so I thought I'd get the recipe on the internet for posterity so I can duplicate them when my memory deserts me again.
Banana Nut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease 12 muffin cups (or prepare paper and foil cups)
1 1/4 cups flour (whole wheat white flour works great -- can substitute oat bran for the 1/4 cup)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar (I've used brown sugar on occasion and that's good too, but the texture's different)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (try one of the excellent cinnamons from Penzey's Spices)
1 cup mashed bananas (could probably substitute apple sauce or canned pumpkin too)
1/3 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped or ground walnuts
1/2 cup (or maybe a little more...) dark chocolate chips and/or dried cranberries or raisins (yuck, I say, especially compared to chocolate chips)
Combine the first 7 dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix the bananas, egg, oil and milk in another. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ones, mixing just until combined. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips (or whatever), divide among the muffin cups (sometimes I stretch to make a few extras I can hide away for my elevenses on another day). Bake at 375 for 18 to 20 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and smell heavenly.
While they're baking make up some special coffee or tea and set the table with things that make you happy. Maybe some flowers too. Then share the muffins while they're still warm with nice people who won't mind if you whine a bit about the weather and how much you have to doooooo! (But first hide the ones you're saving - because any left on the table will get eaten.)