Cinnamon Muffins

How was everyone’s Super Bowl Sunday? Feisty and I went to my aunt, The Singer’s,  for a party, and I ate ALL. THE. JUNK. FOOD. It was glorious in that sick-feeling, but wings-and-pizza-stuffed way. She also sent us home with five heaping plates of goodness. Carrying that home, plus my purse, gifts for Feisty, toys for Feisty and actual Feisty was no joke, but now I am kinda counting down to today’s junk time.

I was going to start eating healthier or something, but with the five plates of tasties in the fridge and my upcoming birthday, that’s a resolution that’s best tabled for now.

Anyway. We’ve got meals pretty well figured out here, honestly, except lunch. We try, but never manage to get it together. Breakfast, though. I skipped it all through high school and undergrad, some of adulthood, but now actually enjoy it with the help of homemade granola on whole milk plain yogurt and making a batch of muffins to freeze in advance. Today, I adapted this recipe, and the results were good. As written, I found it good, but maybe too pared down without a lot of flavor. I also didn’t have time to make streusel topping because work and baby breakfast.

Cinnamon Whole Wheat Muffins

Makes 12 standard-size muffins.

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2. c. all-purpose flour
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. milk
1 egg
1/4 c. neutral oil
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. + 1T cinnamon sugar, reserved

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 standard muffin cups or line with cupcake papers.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients until well blended. Make a well in the center.

In another bowl, beat egg and add milk, oil and vanilla. Stir into well in center of dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fill greased muffin cups half to 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle 1/2 T. of reserved cinnamon sugar over each muffin.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin, cool for 5 mins, then remove from pan to cooling rack.

When the muffins are fully cooled, I put them on a baking sheet and freeze, then (ideally), when completely frozen, turn then out into a freezer bag. Store in freezer and warm for about 30 seconds in the microwave before serving.


Lazy Sunday

So we didn’t end up winterizing the spa, as it poured down rain during The Flyer’s lunch hour (well, during the part of his lunch hour where I convinced him to stop obsessing over weatherstripping the front door). The drain was also a no-go (thanks, Feisty).

But that’s okay, we’ll get to it this week. For today, I stuck a huge pork shoulder in my slow cooker, and the house is just stating to smell like delicious braised pork. It was supposed to be beef stew, but the local market where we buy our meat has been consistently out of stew beef. I’m pretty excited about eating this pork shoulder, though. I’ve been wanting to make one and freeze leftovers for ages. If it tastes as good as it smells, this will be a damn good evening. I’m also kinda tempted to throw this cake together, maybe dotted with lavender flowers, and make a batch of granola because food>unpacking boxes.

Braised Pork Shoulder

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
Half a bag of baby carrots
Small package of fresh mini portobello mushrooms, quartered
4 cloves crushed garlic or generous measure of garlic powder
3 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fennel and coriander seeds, to taste
1 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. dry sherry
3 T. olive oil, divided

Season meat on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Let it rest at room temperature while you prepare the vegetables.

In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 T of the olive oil, then add carrots and onions, sauté until just translucent, then add garlic, cooking for about 2 mins before adding mushrooms. Lower heat slightly and cook about 5 mins more, then transfer everything to a plate.

Heat remaining 1 T of oil in skillet, then add meat, searing on each side until a golden crust begins to form. Add seared meat to slow cooker, followed by vegetables.

Toast fennel and coriander in hot skillet, add to slow cooker.

Pour chicken stock and sherry over spices, meat and vegetables. Cook on high for 5-6 hours. Shred pork with two forks. Serve over thick noodles, polenta or boiled potatoes.* Invite me over.

*Update: I ended up serving this over white beans simmered with a drizzle of blood orange-infused olive oil, some smashed garlic and cracked black pepper. It was amazing – we all loved it, although Feisty ended up flinging it all over the hardwood floor.