I’ve been holding onto this muffin recipe — my very favorite muffin recipe — for months now, waiting until I had a little free time to put a post together. And here I am! At 4 am, standing in my living room with my laptop propped open on the mantel, bouncing a sleeping Will in one arm and typing this one-fingered with the other. Yup, this is what free time looks like with a 12 week old.
These muffins are one of the things I can pretty safely start making when I’m not sure how much time I have before Will wakes up and needs my undivided attention, because mixing everything up is so quick and unfussy. And let me tell you, the time spent making these is SO worth it! They’re fluffy, moist and flavorful — no matter how many I bake, they’re gone within a day or two. They’re kind of magical like that. And you can feel somewhat okay about eating them because they’re made with olive oil and yogurt! If you want to make them a little healthier and that much easier to make, leave off the glaze. That’s what I’ve done recently and they’re still addictive – it’s the tender, tasty insides that make them so good.
I’m not a natural breakfast eater. I think it’s because I’m not a morning person, and I’d rather sleep an extra 15 minutes than spend that time eating. So in order for me to actually eat breakfast, my breakfast food has to 1. Be made in advance; and 2. Be tasty enough that it’s worth making time for. I’m happy to say these healthy (vegan and refined sugar-free!) and versatile (fill them with whatever you like!) oatmeal chocolate chip cookie cups tick both those requirements. Before I get to the recipe, though, some life updates!
In case you missed my Insta-announcement, I’m having a baby!!! I’m officially going to be a mama next February, and I’m pretty darn excited. I’m not someone who always knew they wanted to raise kids. I’ve been back and forth and on the fence, and at times I’ve really felt content with a husband and super cool cat. But now that my little one is on the way, having a kiddo feels like it’s absolutely the right choice and four months into my pregnancy, I can’t imagine not doing this right now!
When I found out I was pregnant, I naively thought, “This is great! Ponny and I will have one last summer, just the two of us, before we’re parents.” I imagined happy hours, impromptu trips to the coast and lots of hiking. About five minutes after having that thought, morning sickness hit and is just letting up now. I thought morning sickness was a trivial pregnancy rite of passage that wouldn’t interfere much with daily life and I think that’s because of its cutesy name. After nearly four months of mostly round the clock “morning” sickness all I can say is this: it really needs to be called what it is. All. Day. Nausea. And vomiting! It kept me from leaving the house, from socializing, from eating, let alone blogging about yummy summer foods. That’s why it’s been so quiet here this summer.
But I’m starting to feel a little more like my old self again, and I think it’s time to dust off the blog. Now that I can eat more than saltines, my biggest priority is eating lots of filling, nutrient packed foods, but without compromising on flavor. If the healthy food I’m eating also tastes good, the chances of me breaking down and eating a tub of ice cream are lower, know what I mean?
So in the coming months, expect some tasty, healthy(ish) recipes along with some make-ahead meals. I’ll want to have some of those under my belt in preparation for baby’s arrival! I have some mama- and baby-friendly DIYs I hope to get to soon, too.
Earlier this year P and I took a trip to the Oregon desert. Neither of us had ever been out to central Oregon and as we drove east, we were blown away to see a landscape unfolding before us that was a total contrast to the evergreen forests of the northwestern part of the state. Central Oregon was beautiful – if you can make it to the Painted Hills, it’s like stepping into another bizarre, breathtaking dimension – but for a homebody like me, the best part of traveling is heading back home. Do you ever get that feeling when you’re nearing home after a trip, a mix of comfort and something like nostalgia? That feeling began to sink in when the pale flats of the desert began to turn back to hills of lush greens around Hood River, a small town known for its many breweries, not far from Mt. Hood. The many rolling orchards in the region were barren in early spring but promised to be beautiful when flush with fruit, so we vowed to go back in the fall.
Last weekend we made good on that promise and drove out to Mt. Hood at the peak of apple picking season. We came home with boxes full of heirloom apples and Asian pears I’d never seen before, including the Mt. Rose apples I used in this baked oatmeal. They are, without question, my favorite of all those we brought home; they have a light green peel with a stunning bright pink flesh I didn’t know existed in nature. Could an apple be any more gorgeous? Most importantly (since not even apples can get by on looks alone!), they are super crisp and have a lovely sweet-tart flavor that was nice and fruity even when baked. Baked oatmeal is a perfect make-ahead breakfast if you’re like me and have trouble making time for breakfast on busy weekday mornings. I made it Sunday and it’s come in handy this particularly hectic week (a roof replacement + getting Bisou out of the house before the roofers start work + also getting P to work on time + sharing one car = eeeeuuuuggghh!), but it would also make a cozy and not-too-messy breakfast in bed on a weekend.
This baked oatmeal is decidedly non-fussy; everything is mixed together in one big bowl before going into the oven, so you get a satisfying breakfast without creating a whole day’s worth of clean up in the kitchen. It’s sweetened with a combination of brown sugar and honey, so it’s just sweet enough without being sugary. An egg gently binds it all together, while a splash of a milk of your choice makes it moist and chewy. It’s tasty right out of the oven but I’ve also been eating it cold throughout the week and can say that either way, it’s hearty, flavorful and satisfies the butter and sugar cravings I get when the weather turns cold without being too unhealthy. It’s hard to go wrong with apples, cinnamon and roasted pecan bits, but you could switch up those flavors with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand and I’m betting it will turn out just as tasty. Read on for the recipe!