Easy Morning Raspberry Muffins

Easy Morning Raspberry Muffins, warm from the oven

Easy Morning Raspberry Muffins, warm from the oven

Last Friday was one of those lucky days when baking inspiration hit and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. Don’t you love when that happens? We had an early morning ahead of us so I decided to make some muffins for an easy breakfast that we could take with us on the road. These muffins came together quickly and turned out beautifully – the tart raspberries are a really nice balance to the sweet, lemon-scented cake. I opted for big, bakery-style muffins so I only got eight out of the batter, but this recipe could easily make twelve smaller muffins. Perfect for breakfast, snack, or even dessert. Of course you could use whatever fruit you like – I think blueberries or cranberries would also be fantastic.

Easy Morning Raspberry Muffins (adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking)

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ stick butter
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 half-pint basket fresh raspberries

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat the muffin tin with butter. Be sure to thoroughly butter the top of the muffin pan so the crowns don’t stick. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Melt the butter with the lemon zest in the microwave. Add the buttermilk to the melted butter and let the mixture sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the butter mixture into a medium bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and whisk until well blended.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the butter mixture into the well and stir gently with a rubber spatula. Mix until the batter looks fairly smooth, but a few small lumps are fine – they will disappear during baking. Gently fold in the raspberries until evenly distributed in the batter. (Be sure your raspberries are very dry or they will make the muffins soggy).

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until blended but not perfectly smooth

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until blended but not perfectly smooth

Fold in the raspberries. Mmm...

Fold in the raspberries. Mmm…

Spoon the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Stir together the remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the topping over the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

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Namaste from Sweetpea’s Home

The whole idea of yoga really draws me in. It’s such a natural and peaceful approach to life, which I think we could all use in one way or another. I’m obviously not the only one who feels this way, since yoga studios are popping up everywhere. I’ve tried a few different yoga classes in the past and while I enjoyed them, I just haven’t found one that has stuck. They can be a bit pricey, the class schedules don’t always work with mine, and a bad experience with hot yoga definitely turned me off for a few months. Anything that makes me feel that ill can’t possibly be good for me. Still, the benefits of a calm mind, a strong body, and that sense of inner balance are really appealing to me. Enter Yoga with Adriene, a YouTube channel full of really inspirational (and free!) yoga videos. I first stumbled across this channel last week while looking for a gentle, relaxing yoga practice to do at bedtime. Since then, I’ve done at least one of her videos every day. In fact, I think I’ll go do one right now. Back in a bit…

…Ok, so I just did the Morning Yoga and it’s a great way to wake up for the day. I know it’s lunchtime. Whatever.

Yoga with Adriene is by far the best series of yoga videos I have found on YouTube. The videos are well-produced (love the music) without being overly fancy and are really down to earth. Adriene is friendly and positive and extremely encouraging of just enjoying your own personal yoga experience. Most importantly, she explains each movement clearly which, for a beginner like me, is key. It’s like having your own personal yoga instructor right at home. The best part is that there are tons of different videos, from an easy introductory practice geared towards beginners to more challenging videos that really get your heart pumping and your muscles burning. Just in the span of a week, I’ve already sampled her sequences for morning, bedtime, complete beginners, and weight loss. It really couldn’t be easier – just throw on the video whenever it works for you and follow along. All you need is a mat – if that. I’m sure a towel would work in a pinch. From what I’ve seen so far, there’s enough variety in the videos to challenge me as I get stronger and more flexible without getting bored. Plus, she adds new content regularly.

It’s only been a few days but I’m already seeing some positive changes. I’m more aware of my posture. I’m more conscious of areas of my body that feel tight or in need of attention. My arms are maybe a teensy bit more toned. Or that might be wishful thinking. Either way, I feel happy. The message of being kind to yourself and kind to your body is a good one, and is one I’d like to incorporate more often into the way I live my life.

A new year dawning bright

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Another year gone and a new year dawning bright –  this takes on a special significance when your birthday happens to fall on New Year’s Day. As I kiss my twenties goodbye, I can’t help but reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. My twenties were good to me. Really good: I earned two degrees, got my first real job, bought a house, got married, and shared countless laughs with family and friends, both old and new. Now that I think about it, it’s actually a lot for this next decade to live up to. I’ve never really been one for New Year’s resolutions – any promises I make to myself to eat better or declutter my space usually end in immediate failure with a nice big slice of birthday cake and a bunch of crumpled gift wrapping on January 1st. Not that I’m complaining. So instead of traditional resolutions, maybe just a solid set of general guidelines to keep the good times rolling into my thirties.

1. Cherish friendship

The older I get, the more I value the friendships I have nurtured over the years. I love looking back at all the momentous occasions of my life so far and realizing that the friends who stood by me then are the same ones who continue to do so today. These friendships have shaped who I am and make me happy – no matter how busy life may get, I plan to keep my friends close.

2. Embrace change

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the best when it comes to handling change. I literally cried when I upgraded my iPhone to the newest software, didn’t like it, and found out there was no ‘undo’ button to go back to the old version (I’m fine with it now, by the way). Life moves quickly and is full of surprises – who knows what the years ahead will hold? But I really believe that when one door closes another one opens, and I am slowly learning to approach life with that belief in mind and accept change, both good and bad.

3. Be adventurous

I have absolutely no intention of going skydiving or running with the bulls. That kind of adrenaline rush doesn’t do anything for me except make me sick with terror. But I do want to feel confident that I am living life to the fullest and creating memories that I will look back on fondly. My Lululemon bag (and apparently Eleanor Roosevelt) says to “do one thing a day that scares you.” Since I’m currently not adventurous in the least, that sounds like overkill to me, but I think aiming for once a month is a good place to start. So perhaps this is a resolution of sorts, then: in the coming year, I will say yes to trying new things more often.

Happy New Year from Sweetpea’s Home and all the best in 2014!

I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures (however small) with all of you.