Monday, October 20, 2014

Baking Muffins with the Muffin Man

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but sometimes I really do step it up in the mothering department.  Sure most of the time I'm pretty much phoning it in, but once and awhile I manage to come up with an activity that both occupies the Muffin Man and is not mind-numbingly boring for me. 

Case in point: last week we made pumpkin muffins together.  He had a great time, the baked goods were delicious, and it occupied an hour of our day during that period of the afternoon when I usually find myself counting the minutes before wine o'clock. 

It turns out that Noah is skilled with a whisk.  All I can hope is that this doesn't foreshadow his wanting to pursue a dead-end career in the restaurant business.  Shudder.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins
These are some of the best gluten free, dairy free, sugar free muffins that I've ever made.  They keep at room temperature for 3-4 days, and they are moist and crumbly just like a normal muffin.  The Muffin Man himself couldn't get enough of them!

1 1/4 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix (see below)
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs
1/4 cup almond milk (or soy or whatever you prefer)
1/3 cup plus 2 Tblsp. coconut oil
2 Tblsp. Yakon syrup or molasses
1 can pumpkin puree

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Position rack in center of oven.  Have your kiddo line a muffin tin with baking cups.

2. Mix flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves together in the bowl of an electric mixer.

3. Combine eggs, milk, oil, yakon or molasses, and pumpkin in a separate bowl.  Hand your toddler a whisk and put him to good use mixing up the wet ingredients.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well-blended.  Do not over-beat.

5. Hand your little one an ice cream scoop and have him help you evenly fill each muffin cup.  Yes, this will probably get messy.

6. Bake about 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

7. Remove muffins from pan immediately and allow to cool on a baking rack.
Makes twelve muffins.

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 cups finely ground brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca flour
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Old Clothes, New Life

I suck at bathroom selfies, but I love my Splendid dress!
Every time I have a baby I get the urge to clean out my closet.  It begins with a compulsion to cast out every single piece of maternity clothing that ever touched my body over the past nine months, and ends with me standing in front of a row of empty hangers sobbing about how I have nothing to wear.  I suspect that it has to do with the crazy postpartum hormones combined with the fact that none of my pre baby clothes ever fit my post baby figure, but whatever the case it's truly a sight to behold to walk into my bedroom and find me sitting in a pile of clothing, crying.  Dramatic, much?

After I gave birth to the Muffin Man I spent an entire day going through all the closets in my house and getting rid of any item of clothing I found offensive, including old coats from 15 years ago, dowdy skirts, torn t-shirts and ill-fitting blazers left over from my (failed) former career.  I must have filled up at least 10 bags and hauled them to the Goodwill.

I love donating to good causes; in fact, I highly recommend it.  But if the urge strikes you to get rid of every single piece of clothing you own and you don't have the budget to purchase an entirely new wardrobe for yourself, it can be a problem.  Unless, of course, you live at, or are planning to relocate to, a nudist colony.  Since I have no plans to bare my private parts to anyone other than my spouse (and, unintentionally, the drug dealer at the park), I needed to find a way to satisfy my urge to purge while simultaneously refilling my closet with unoffensive clothing.

Enter Thred UP

I'm not exactly sure how I found this wonderful service, but I can tell you this: I am OBSESSED. They send you a giant polka dot bag, you fill it with all the clothing you no longer want, send it back to them, and then they sort through everything and either purchase it from you outright, take it on consignment, or donate whatever doesn't make the final cut to a worthy cause.  Once they've totaled up your items you can either ask them to send you a check, or you can use your newfound wealth to purchase items from the Thred Up site.  I personally always choose the second option for several reasons:

1. I don't have time to shop.  Unless Bloomingdale's has changed their store hours and now stays open until midnight, the chances of my finding time to drive there, park, pick out clothes and try them on during daylight hours is slim to none.

2. The stuff for sale on Thred Up is really good stuff.  Like things I could never afford were I to purchase them new, but that are in excellent condition and completely affordable because they are gently used.

3. I can try on my purchases at home and send back whatever doesn't fit free of charge.  I literally just hand the box to my postal carrier and once Thred Up receives the returns they credit my account.

4. Kids clothes!  I've gotten really cute stuff for Noah and all are brands that I would never shell out for normally because I refuse to spend $40 on a t-shirt that my toddler is going to inevitably get paint on.

So far, in exchange for a bag full of maternity clothes that I NEVER WANT TO SEE AGAIN, I have gotten:

  • Paper, Denim & Cloth shorts
  • Splendid t-shirt
  • Splendid dress
  • Petit Bateau shirt for Noah
  • Guess heels

and I still have $36 left to spend!

I guess this means that I won't have to move to a nudist colony after all.  Thank goodness, because the people who live in those places never seem to be individuals I'd actually want to see naked.

This is totally not a sponsored post.  I just like to let you know when I discover nifty stuff that makes life easier & more stylish.