Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nine to Five

Ok, more like noon to five, but whatever.  I'm a working girl now, and even though I'm only teaching two days a week, it is amazing to me how much that has cut into my cooking time.  (I do have essays to set, and articles to read and papers to grade... so there!) My wonderful mother, bless her heart, has brought us dinner about once a week from this amazing Italian deli somewhere near her.  My family is addicted to the chicken marsala - (Smith and I recently got into a brief but intense tiff over who would get the leftovers for lunch the next day) - but I still have to make dinner 5-6 nights a week and lunch for the kids & husband the next day.  (I know, they should all be making their own lunches, and sometimes they do, but I also admit to feeling so thoroughly OUT of their lives at school and work, I actually kind of enjoy it.)  And then there are those last minute things your children like to spring on you.

For instance, last Wednesday.   A good friend's son was in town to visit colleges in the area, I had student conferences starting at noon, my class to teach and another student conference directly after class.  Then I had to drive down to Center City to pick up my friend's son.  (I know I'm being particularly parenthetical in this post, but I just want to say, that though I do have friends who have college-aged children, those friends had their kids when they were 12.  12, I tell you.  We are all still very young.  That's all I'm going to say on this matter right now.)

As I'm driving home, Em calls to tell me she volunteered that I'd bring muffins or cupcakes to school the next day for a bake sale.

It's 5:30pm.  We have a guest for the night.  I'VE ALREADY GOT DINNER MADE (you read that right - yes I was that organized.)  All I need to do when I get home is warm it up and cook some pasta.  I even have fresh bread waiting to be baked (more on this in my next post).  Halloween candy for dessert.

And, of course, I haven't been to the grocery story in quite some time, because, if I don't have time to cook (something I like to do), I most certainly don't have time to get to the store (something I HATE).

But because I'm the kind of mom who says how high when her children say jump, I spent the whole car ride home thinking about ingredients I may or may not have in the pantry.  Flour?  Only cake flour.  Canola oil?  Not likely, there's unsalted butter though... Chocolate chips?  Nope.  Turns out several grubby little hands had demolished those by the fistful over the past few weeks.  Lots of apples.  Lots and lots of apples.  So, apple muffins.

I got home, and put dinner together, and had fun talking with my friend's son (who, unlike my own children, helped me tidy the kitchen) (although if my kids were at someone else's house they'd probably help there) and made apple muffins.  I started with a recipe from Nigella Lawson's cookbook, Nigella Express for bananna butterscotch muffins.  And then I used what I had.

I have no idea whether the muffins sold well because Em got a stomach ache and came home early the next day.

As Alanis Morrisette would say, isn't that ironic. *

These are not the Applesauce muffins.  These are chocolate chip muffins I made a different day.  I sent the apple ones to school before photographing them.  However, this post was looking so sad and blank, I decided to post this picture hoping it the chocolate chips wouldn't be noticeable.  They are.  I'm just going to keep it up anyway.

Applesauce Muffins

1 cup of cake flour
2/3 cup of all purpose, or white whole wheat flour (which is what I used)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp of cinnamon - or apple pie spice
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs beaten up with a fork
1 1/4 cups applesauce
1 cup of diced skinned apples

1tsp cinnamon
1TBLSP granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 and line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners.  (You will hate yourself if you don't use a liner.  No matter how much you butter or oil your tin, the muffins will stick - if you don't have liners use parchment cut into little squares. If you haven't got parchment then aluminum foil will do,  if you haven't got foil, well then God bless you.) (Holidays are around the corner, but my family will not allow me to play anything from my vast collection of Holiday music until Thanksgiving.  Sigh.) (moving on.)

Dump all the dry ingredients into a big bowl and stir them around a bit.  Add the eggs and melted butter. Stir.  Fold the applesauce and diced apples into this mixture.

Divide equal quantities into the muffin tin (I use an ice cream scooper) and bake for 20 minutes - or so.  Mix the cinnamon with the sugar and sprinkle on the muffins the moment they come out of the oven so it has a chance to melt in a bit.

* I know full well many believe Alanis Morrissette used "ironic" incorrectly.  However does allow this definition of irony:  an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might havebeen,

In my case, I believe this use of "ironic" holds up...

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