Friday, September 20, 2013

And now for something completely different...

I know.

It's been such a long time since I last posted on my blog, something I never thought would come to pass. And yet as the days stretched on it became harder and harder to post. Once again there are a thousand half-written posts in my queue, ten thousand in my head.

But today, finally, I have pushed through the quicksand to bring you....

A recipe.

Wait... What? Have I lost my mind and suddenly turned into another person?


I know you're thinking "What about the end of summer and Ethan's camp and Jacob's camp and the annual family vacation in the Berkshires and my mother's birthday and back-to-school haircuts and back-to-school and the whole middle school transition thing and school bus nightmares and... and... and...?"

Well, yeah. I have all those stories, too. And maybe some of them will get to spill out here. But I can't keep going backwards, I can only slog forwards right now.

And I have to start somewhere, and so that's today...

And so here's my recipe for Banana-Cranberry-Panic Muffins:

Wake up at 5:30 AM

Try to clean up as much of the kitchen as possible, unloading the dishwasher and reloading it, making a neat pile in the sink of everything that doesn't fit in, so that there's room to wash the strawberries and fill the filtered water pitcher.

Wash the strawberries and fill the pitcher.

6:00 AM Wake up your autistic son for school, who is, thank goodness, in a very happy mood this morning, bouncing around and wanting to to talk to you about everything. Wonder if this is because you ran out of one of his medications and so he didn't get it yesterday.

Consider whether there is a viable trade off here -- he is definitely more hyper/bouncy/distractable. Yet also happier and more related, talking and pointing and wanting you involved in everything he is thinking and doing. Great eye contact.

Make note to call psychopharmacologist to discuss. Also his teachers to see if he drives them crazy today or not.

Get your son dressed, fed, packed-up and on the bus.

6:55 AM As you go over the morning schedule for you other son in your mind - early school day, as its the "Back-to-School-Meet-the-Class" breakfast in his homeroom this morning - PANIC as you realize that you are supposed to contribute baked goods to this breakfast and you forgot to buy anything.

Calculate that there is no way you can get to the store and back and still be on time today. Also understand that there is no time to pick stuff up "on the way" and that there is no great bagel & coffee place right around the corner from his new middle school like there was at his old elementary school. Silently curse change again.

Have a brilliant idea: it only takes 10 minutes to whip up muffins and they can bake while you get your son up/make his lunch/get him ready/get husband up/get yourself dressed.  And so maybe you'll be on time and with still-warm home-baked muffins in hand, and so his homeroom teacher will continue to like your son, and you will not fail the Mom-game today.

Remember you have some frozen over-ripe bananas, so banana muffins it is!  When you open up the freezer to get them, a bag of frozen cranberries falls out and misses your foot by and inch. Kismet! Banana-cranberry muffins then.

And begin.
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As is usual with my cooking, I looked up a coupla-three recipes to see what the basic ratios were, what they had in common and any interesting variations, and then I winged it with what I had on hand.

We arrived (nearly) on time. The muffins were a big hit. Ethan said: "Mom the sourness of the cranberries goes great with the sweetness of the muffins!" And he ate two. Win!

And so here, finally, is the actual recipe:

Varda's Banana-Cranberry-Panic Muffins:
(you can skip the panic if you prefer)

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 really ripe bananas, pulverized
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk - Buttermilk would be nice, too. Or almond/soy/rice milk if you want them dairy-free.
1/3 cup liquid shortening - I used coconut oil. You can use melted butter if you like.
1/2 cup sugar - white or brown or combo is fine. I used raw turbinado sugar.
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 cup cranberries

Mix dry ingredients together & set aside. (Most recipes say "sift" and you can if you want to. Me, I'm too lazy for that and besides, I lost my sifter two moves ago.)
Mix everything else except the cranberries together, well.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined (don't over-mix).
Stir in the cranberries.

Fill lined or greased muffin tins to just under the top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes.
Note: I made full size muffins. You can make minis or a loaf if you want. Bake time for mini-muffins is probably10-15 minutes, for a small loaf I'm guessing 35-40. You'll figure it out.

When my bananas get over-ripe I just pop them in the freezer, skin and all. To use, I microwave for 30 seconds, peel off the skins, remove any yucky bits and then microwave for another minute or so in a bowl until completely thawed.

I used frozen cranberries that were a bit old and wrinkly - to restore them I just filled a bowl with hot water at the start and popped the berries in for the 5 minutes while I mixed the rest of the muffins up. When it was time to add them they were plump and thawed.

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Hey, that was fun! Maybe more recipes with stories to follow... maybe not. No promises, but let's see what the future will hold.

(And its nice to be back.)