Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve.  That magical night when one year ends and another begins.  A night when kids can't wait to stay up late, young adults can't wait to party, parents can't wait to get the kids to bed so they can go to sleep, and older adults just want to go to sleep and welcome the new year in the morning.

When we were little, staying up till midnight on New Year's Eve meant drinking Shirley Temples, watching Guy Lombardo with the family,  and banging pots and pans at midnight outside the front door (our Wisconsin neighbors never appreciated this much, and I think they thought we were crazy).  As a young adult, I spent many a New Year's Eve partying with friends, especially New Year's baby, Julie Murphy, at Phoenix Hill Tavern, welcoming the New Year with a headache and yawns.  Once I got married and had kids, I just wanted quiet New Year's celebrations at home, not wanting to be out on the roads with all the crazy drunks. Now our celebrations mean family movies and games and just spending time together.  And often a special meal is involved. Today we're having leftover hamburgers and brats that Vince did on the grill last night. Yummy.

New Year's is more than celebration though. It also means making resolutions involving how you will make the new year better than the last. I've never thought much of resolutions, because most are so lofty or involved  that after about a month, no one remembers them anyway.  Someone once said, ""Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits."   And then they never change those habits. I ,also, am guilty as charged. So, I  believe in making a list or map of not only things I want to change or improve in my life, but specific things I can do  to make those changes happen. Then as I perform each change, I can knock them off the list or map. Then at the end of the year, I can see what changes I actually have made, and where I still need work (if those changes are still important to me).  So, today, I will be making my road map to change.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Best Apple Oatmeal Muffins Ever!

I made some yummy muffins today. The whole house smelled wonderful when they were cooking, and everyone likes them. Woo hoo...a real coup in my house! I started out today with 2 different recipes from and then decided to combine some parts and change some things totally to make it a healthier recipe and this is what I cam up with. The topping is like a streusel topping and gives flavor and crunch to the muffins. They wouldn't be the same without it. Vince said it tasted like apple pie, and Josh wanted seconds. I'll take that.

Best Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Muffins:•rolled oats pulsed in the food processor so they resemble quick oats - need 1 1/2 cups (I do this now instead of using quick oats and pre-packaged packets of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal)
• 1 1/4 cups flour (I use only whole wheat pastry flour)
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 egg white
• 1 cup applesauce
* diced apple
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/4 cup pulsed oats andwhole wheat pastry flour (equal amounts)
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Preheat an oven to 400. Grease a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk 1/2 cup brown sugar, egg white, applesauce, diced apples, and milk together in a mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture till moistened. Pour the batter into the muffin pan. Stir the 1/4 cup oatmeal/flour mix, 1/4 cup brown sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, and the melted butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle this mixture over the muffins.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle, about 20 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes and then remove from muffin pan. Best served slightly warm with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea.