Perfectly Imperfect

Dear Friends,
I climbed a mountain this morning. I found my kitchen counter. Well, part of it, anyway. This required a celebration. Nothing else to be done but make a mess of muffins and make a mess making muffins. This is entertainment around here, people. Please don't focus on the patheticness of my life. Is patheticness even a word? Let's focus on the muffins please.

I found a recipe a while back I wanted to adjust to my taste and since my counters hadn't yet been discovered, I filed it away in that stack of papers I like to call my filing system. Piling is a system. Having a system makes me feel more organized.
I call these,

Rae of Sunshine Maple Muffins.
Why? Several reasons. I am Rae, the sun is shining, the recipe calls for maple syrup, and they are muffins. So there you go.
I should tell you, if you are one of those people who never lick their fingers, cook fancy food for a living, or label their leftovers with names and dates you may want to just stop reading now. Don't you raise your eyebrows at me. I'm just warning you.
For the rest of you, here's how you do it:

Step right up ladies and gentleman. Come lovers of muffins one and all! Here are the makin's for the muffins. Oops! Not pictured: The egg

First, plop the children in their rooms for "quiet-time". Ahhhhh! This is your moment! With that, christen your brand new (or not so new) muffin pan with cooking spray. Try to delight in the simple things in life and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Add the milk to the oatmeal. Personally, I found it is interesting trying to shoot pictures in my kitchen that include natural light but not the dirty dishes in my sink. Let the milky oatmeal sit five minutes (more like fifteen because the baby will wake up and need fed).

Melt the butter just long enough to let you get distracted by non-quiet children and have it explode all over the clean microwave. Laugh. Consider it another christening.

Measure a cup of flour. Spill a good amount on your counter. Then realize you have barely enough left in the bag. Brush counter spillage into measuring cup. Laugh again. Give thanks for your luck.

Toss the Baking powder and salt into a bowl with the flour. Actually, really throw it in. I've found it is a good tension reliever. But maybe that's just me. You can be more gentle if you'd prefer. I don't want to make you uncomfortable or anything. Notice the baby has started to cry.

Stir in the cinnamon quickly. Hmmm, the baby's voice seems to be getting closer! Rescue the baby from the five-year-old's arms. Send her back to her room.

Start chopping nuts and chocolate. Discover this is impossible while holding a baby. Go change baby and put him in the swing. Rescue chopper from the three-year-old. Send him back to his room. Finish chopping. Another tension reliever, by the way.

Pour syrup and butter in with Oatmeal mixture while listening for the plunk of the baby's toys on the floor.

Add the egg. PLUNK! Wait for it... Waaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Come on, you only need a second to stir this. Lucky for you that's all it takes. Quiet time is getting less and less, well, quiet. Run pick up the toys. Head back to the kitchen. PLUNK! There it goes again!

Make the five-year-old, who is back in the kitchen again, make a 'well' in the flour mixture. Go settle the baby on the floor with the toys. Add wet mixture to dry mixture. There is something satisfying about sending something to the bottom of a well... What? am I disturbing you? Sorry! I'm just sayin'... Oh, never mind!

Blend 'til moistened. As in, not very much.
Making muffins always reminds me of my little brother, Jax when he was about three. His favorite joke went like this,
So, there were these two muffins in the oven and one muffin said to the other, "It's hot in here." and the other muffin said, "Ahhhhhhh, a talking muffin!". He would laugh himself silly every time he told it. Which was every time anybody else had a joke to share. We all laughed even though we had heard it a hundred times. His laughter was infectious...

Uh-oh! I think you over-stirred a tad! Sorry, I'm distracting you. A talking muffin will do that to a person.

Fold in half the nuts and chocolate. Please try to avoid the reminder that you need to fold laundry. This is supposed to be a celebration, after all. Lick off the spoon to make yourself feel better. Count yourself lucky that there are no children in the kitchen to fight over it.

Put the dough in the muffin pan. Some of the cups won't be too full due to the spoon and finger licking. It's OK. Call those the mini-muffins and pretend you did it on purpose.

Sprinkle the rest of the nutty-chocolate mixture on the tops of the dough. Sigh a huge sigh of relief when the muffins are ensconced safely in the oven for seventeen minutes. Go do something therapeutic. I made a list. I don't remember what it was about. It felt good at the time though.
Pull the muffins out seventeen minutes later and realize they seem kinda dry. Re-read the recipe you adapted and conclude you did not add enough syrup. Getting lucky three times in one day was too much to hope for. All that laughing got you off track.
But there they are. Hot, smelling awesome. What to do?

Ta-da! Drizzle syrup over the muffin. Add butter. Eat. Savor. Enjoy.
I love muffins. They are prone to imperfection. They lack complexity. They are lumpy... and it's okay.
In fact, They remind me of me. Especially the lumpy bit. That's okay too.

Recipe Card:

Rae of Sunshine Maple Muffins
1 cup quick-cooking or regular oatmeal
1/2 cup milk
1 Cup all-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 oz chocolate (chopped)
Grease 12 2-1/2" muffin cups; set aside. In a small bowl combine chopped nuts and chopped chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine oats and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside. Stir syrup, melted butter and egg into oats mixture. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold half of the nutty-chocolate mixture into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Bake in a 400 degree oven 15 - 18 minutes, or until tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12.


  1. You tell it very well. I've decided I don't read PW blog enough, that's why I have dry posts :D

  2. They look very yummy!!!
    What lens do you have on your camera? Specifically, what is the aperture on it? (If you don't know and the lens doesn't say, dig out the manual from your organized pile and it will say there! :D )

  3. And now I will be expecting a smart review of the new car seat, complete with pictures! :)

  4. Mmmm... maybe I should make these for breakfast this morning. They sound yummy. Minus the crying baby, of course. Probably won't be able to avoid the exploding butter, though... distracted or not. You should start a cooking blog called Reality Bites. Ha. Or maybe it could be Rae-lity Bites. Creative, aren't I?

  5. oh.. good one Lani! i like that! 'rae-lity' :)

    your post describes cooking in our house perfectly to a T! i'm so happy we have the same cooking methods :)

  6. would you be tryin' to find recipes using 'pure Vermont Maple syrup'??
    (You just MAY be rememberin' the SIZE of that new jug Jeffrey has comin'...)

    I'm jus'wonderin'....

    I will make the muffins, they do sound good!

  7. mmm sounds great, just one questions, what do I do if I don't have a baby to feed, comfort, change diaper and put in swing along with waiting to hear the plunk of the toy on the floor?? I don't think this is gonna turn out the same with out these things and oh I just realized I'm also missing the 5 yr old. Please help signed Betty Crocker.

  8. Rae,that was rae-lly GOOOOOOOOOOD!
    it was sooooooooooo good,I could die.love jax

    I lo ve them 8)
    P.S.XOXO to you all!
    P.P.S.(and yes I rae-lly DID type this!) Mom just made your muffins and I could just fall off my chair with "goodness"
    P.P.P.S.Love the pix!

  10. sounds good. has anyone made them without the chocolate chips? just wondering.....

  11. I have forgotten, but reading your post brought some of it back. I forgot how making a simple muffin recipe could qualify as a three ring circus. No wonder I stayed in shape back then. You burned more calories making your muffins than you consumed when you ate them. They look yummy, by the way, but I'm not sure I could follow your recipe. :P

  12. haha! i love your directions and photos! they look and sound amazingly yummy! :D


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