Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nesting and Rhubarb Cinnamon Muffins

Yesterday, my sweet friend Sarah gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and this afternoon J and I headed to the hospital for cuddles! They gave birth in the same hospital where we plan to have our son in only 10 (or so) weeks. It was fun and terrifying to walk the halls and wonder what our birth experience would be like there.

Baby Henry Kai was beautiful, and he had a profound effect on my darling husband. As soon as we walked back through the door, he set to work clearing out all the extra junk from the nursery, and setting down  drop cloths to start painting. We are painting the room light blue and cream, and he got a coat of each colour on the walls today. It is already looking more like a room for a baby boy :)

I also think that nesting has begun in earnest. I know that once school is done, and even before that when my Mum is here visiting the belly I will get to make some good progress but until then every urge I get, I simply write on my list. It's not the same as being able to get on and do it, but it allows me to continue to focus on life in the way I need to, to get through classes and finish strong - without distraction!

One area that I have allowed my nesting urge to take over in the mean time is the kitchen. If you have read my blog you know I love to cook and bake but honestly with the first trimester nausea and fatigue I got out of the habit of menu planning and shopping list writing and have only picked up that task again for the past few weeks.We have just been making do in the between time. We would shop but just get a bunch of general grocery items and hope that they could be pulled together to make enough meals. This method is not good for the budget or stress levels. Trying to come up with meal ideas on the spot every night is a stresser for me, and I hate to throw away produce that's gone bad before it could be eaten but that was happening week after week. I just didn't seem to have the energy to think and plan.

In the past month that has changed. My list loving self has re emerged, and my menu planning and shopping list writing has resumed! I have been trying to use as many dry ingredients as possible from our pantry and just get the produce to supplement. It's working well so far and we are eating extremely well too.

This afternoon, when we got back from our visit and J was painting, I felt like baking and I gave into my urge. Our rhubarb has been growing out of control in the yard and I wanted to harvest some of it before it rotted. I am a huge rhubarb crumble fan, but today's offering was not in crumble form. I had been sent a recipe for Rhubarb and Cinnamon muffins by a friend and was eager to try them out.

They were amazing. I wasn't sure if the raw rhubarb would cook in the batter within the time but it did and these muffins turned out to be truly delicious. If you too are a rhubarb fan like me, or simply a rhubarb like-er, like my hubby, these muffins will shoot and score with you, trust me.

Here is the recipe, (originally from Karen Barker at [My observations and edits in italics.]

9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups 1/4-inch-diced rhubarb (7-1/4 oz.)
For the topping:
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.(I didn't use paper or cups, I made them straight in the muffin tin, greased with cooking spray. When I made them I filled a 12 muffin pan, and then made another 4 in a second pan)

Make the muffin batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and whisk to blend.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Lightly stir the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until the batter just comes together; do not overmix. Gently stir in the diced rhubarb. The batter will be thick.(It took me a while to mix all the dry ingredients in, and I wasn't sure if it would but after more mixing it all came together)
Divide the batter among the muffin cups, using the back of a spoon or a small spatula to settle the batter into the cups. The batter should mound a bit higher than the tops of the cups.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Sprinkle a generous 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over each muffin.

Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown, spring back most of the way when gently pressed, and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift the muffins out of the pan—if necessary, loosen them with the tip of a paring knife—and let them cool somewhat. Serve warm.

(These muffins are best when freshly baked, but they’re still good the second day. Just reheat them in a 350°F oven for 3 to 4 minutes to refresh them.)

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