Nothing-To-Do-Ness

December 28, 2007

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Ahhh, winter break. I don’t have to go back to school for my final semester of law school until January 22. That’s right, January 22. That means I’ve got almost four weeks of nothing to do. So, how do I spend my first day of said nothing-to-do-ness? Why, I scrub our apartment from ceiling to floor, of course. And I particularly reveled in scrubbing every nook and cranny of the kitchen. I’m pretty sure our kitchen hasn’t gleamed in this way since the day we moved in. Or, at the very least, since I made the wedding cupcakes.

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So what do I do with this sparkly, gleamingness? Why, I desecrate it, of course. When I had finally tucked away the broom and mop and stashed the cleaners under the sink, I had almost an entire afternoon ahead of me. And I knew that the dinner we had on tap was one I’d already blogged about. So, I couldn’t even do some prep work and snap a few photos. Well, I certainly wasn’t going to waste a practically-spit-shined kitchen and a free afternoon doing nothing.

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Naturally, I headed to the grocery store. I mentioned our post-holiday need for nutrients yesterday and it was this health kick that had me thinking of bran muffins, a breakfast choice I’ve long enjoyed but never baked. I think I know the main reason for that. You see, every time I order a bran muffin at a coffee shop, I feel virtuous. But every time I peruse a recipe for bran muffins, I’m shocked by the amount of sugar, all-purpose flour and butter listed among the ingredients. Yesterday, I found a recipe that promised both a nutty, moist, hearty muffin and a breakfast that didn’t have me halfway to my daily intake of calories (less than 125 calories per muffin) and fat (3 grams per muffin) but did come loaded with fiber (more than 2 grams per muffin). I sampled the muffins yesterday afternoon and, I’ve got to admit, that small taste had me excited to get out of bed this morning.

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Buttermilk Bran Muffins
The Healthy Oven Baking Book via Epicurious

Nonstick canola oil spray

1 cup unprocessed (miller’s) wheat bran
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into a measuring cup and level top)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (spoon into a measuring cup and level top)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup raw sugar crystals (such as Sugar in the Raw) or granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°.

Lightly spray twelve 2 1/4 x 1 1/2-inch nonstick muffin cups with oil. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk the bran, flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, using a handheld eletric mixer set at high speed, beat the buttermilk, sugar, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla until frothy, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a spoon, stir just until combined. Do not overmix.

4. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Bake unti the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Serve warm or cool completely on the rack.

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