Wednesday, January 15

Oatmeal Blueberry Bread/Muffins

I'm lucky to have a mid-week break from the office today.  I'm not a fan of how infrequently this occurs, though-- just so much pressure to accomplish my to-do list prior to the weekend.  So while I had a list a mile long pre-made last night, an early rising of my two-year-old put a halt to all things productive today.  Not because she's so bad that I have to monitor her constantly, but because I intended on finishing my chores before she woke up.  Because I am making an intention to balance my time with her this year.  So instead of pushing her aside, she became my focus today.  The floors?  Not so much.  The studying for my newest certification- set aside.

It was a day of coloring, reading and playing with dolls.  She requested "shopping!" earlier, but as you may know, I'm nowhere near a mall.  But I did have a couple of errands to run in town, so we stopped at the only option around- the thrift store.  Twenty minutes later, two happy ladies and their bags (mine: 89 cent red/black buffalo check shirt, hers: 99 cent barbie "truck") headed home to bath (clean) their new toys.  I'm not usually in for much luck with used stuff, but I'm feeling a bit more motivated after today's short trip.

And just before nap, we repeated our most favorite together project- baking.
But I'm over cookies for a while, and we can't have cake in this house (exhibit A, B, and C), so we glanced through my pins to find something light and reasonable.
Whole wheat oatmeal blueberry muffins- spot on.

I used this recipe.  For some reason I yielded twelve muffins and one mini loaf.  Works for us!

Now I've had some inquiry about baking with a toddler.  (Rather- "are you crazy?!", "how can you handle the mess?!" and "when do you have time to bake?")  So here's the short and sweet.  My Mom's Mom (my maternal Grandma) passed away when my Mom was just 14 years old.  While she does have many fond memories of her Mother, what she doesn't have is memories of learning to cook or bake.  Her Mom was sick many months before she died, and didn't get the chance to teach my Mom any kitchen basics.  So when my parents married, she was a terrible cook (my Dad was skiiiiinnny).  And I remember so well as I was growing up her desire to teach us how to cook.  She would pull us away from playing/tv watching or whatever we were doing to show us how she made a meatloaf.  Or force us to hold the mixer while she made homemade frosting.  And I clearly remember helping chop/prep the ingredients for big dinners.  But my fondest memory- the gravy lessons.   Either way, I came out of that household knowing a thing or two about cooking and baking.  And I think that's where my love of food developed.  But I want to share it with my daughter, because I love it so much.  And because I appreciated that time with my Mom.

But of course I still get frustrated sometimes.   But here are my tips.  First- mentally prep yourself:  "It's just a mess".  I tell myself that before, during and after baking with my toddler.  It's so easy to clean, and really, it doesn't matter.  I always remind myself of the lessons and memories she's about to learn.  Sure, I could easily wait until nap time to bake.  But I wouldn't get to show her what happens when you add vinegar to milk (for those of us who can't remember to buy buttermilk)- "ewww yucky Mummy!".  Or watch her face as she tastes that muffin she helped create.  It's worth it, mess and all.  Besides, it's a good time to teach her about cleaning up, because baking is fun, but it requires some clean up, too.

I always give Molly her own baking bowl and put a smaller amount of each ingredient in it, so she can make the recipe alongside me (and not interfere with the final product).  Here's a little idea of how well hers typically

turns out (that's Molly's on the left).     :)

By the way, we chose to use blueberries today because we've still got some frozen from our summer picking, but feel free to substitute whatever fruit you've got on hand.

Here's to a weekday off, and a speedy end of the week ;)