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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oat & Cranberry Muffins

I think maybe the reason I like muffins so much is because they are like cake, but without cake guilt.  My friend, Cori, has been teasing me about my muffin addiction. She claims that she went through a "muffin phase" when she had small children, and thinks that it is something that will pass for me.

I don't think so.

I do so adore muffins. Doesn't the word "muffin" itself make you think of happy times? (With the notable exception of "muffin-top", which is slightly more apt than "spare tire" or "love handles"). Muffins are pretty much the perfect food, and baking muffins is not only relaxing for me, it also makes my house smell like heaven. Plus, I can always hide a couple and save them for midnight forays.  Or freeze a whole bunch and have one or two every morning for a week with my oatmeal.

I realize I am waxing whimsical . . . but that's what delicious home-baked foodstuffs do to me.

{As part of her muffin-heckling, Cori sent me a link to a funny little muffin website called muffinfilms. Truman loves number 8: "Feed Me" the best, while I prefer the slightly macabre number 6: The Muffin Tree.}

If you know me, you know that gifts are my love language.  So when my Aunt Kristie sent me this book out of the blue (about four years ago) it was the most delightful surprise!  I think of her every time I use it and it is one of my all-time favorite gifts.

One of my favorite recipes from the book is my cream and spice muffins--especially on a cold day, they are delicious with hot cocoa.

But I just discovered this healthy gem: oat and cranberry muffins.  The first time I made them, I didn't have any dried cranberries, so I used one cup of my precious frozen huckleberries.  And I used five-grain cereal instead of plain rolled oats.  DELISH.  Even though they are healthy!

Cori may make fun, but she still gave me
my favorite SQUARE muffin pan
The five-grain makes the muffins nice and chewy, but they are still moist and flavorful thanks to the kefir and huckleberries.

I finally bought some dried cranberries, and the muffins turned out beautifully.  They taste great, too.  (TIP: If you have ever wondered how to get a muffin out of its wrapper without leaving half the muffin stuck, just let them cool--then the wrappers peel all the way off).

Before going into the oven
Out of the oven and ready to eat
My favorite way to have any muffin:
buttered and dipped in honey-sweetened Cream O' Wheat

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