We’ve settled into a comfortable summer routine, everyone sleeping in beyond my dog Poppy’s internal alarm clock, which seems to be stubbornly set at around 6:30 a.m.
Poppy spends most nights on a tattered upholstered chair in our bedroom, blissfully asleep for the most part. Every once in a while she’ll emit a muffled little dream-bark, no doubt enacting a heart stopping, squirrel-chase scene.
She likes to start the awakening process with a good long head shake – tags rattling - which gets my eyes to open – unwillingly – a tiny sliver. Then she hops down out of the chair and transfers herself to my bed, whereupon she begins licking any exposed body parts she can find peeking out from under the sheet. That usually leads to her submitting to a five minute head scratch; my snooze button. Finally, impatience for her morning bowl of kibble wins over, and she treats me to a low, throaty growl. Okay, then! We’re up!
I have to admit I’ve been enjoying my peaceful mornings with the dog, before every one else gets up. It’s so unlike days during the school year, when the kitchen seems crowded and people are demanding and cranky.
I can make a pot of tea at my leisure rather than scurrying around filling lunch sacks, pouring cups of orange juice and bowls of cereal. Instead, I can pull out a few ingredients to make a quick batch of homemade muffins. By the time feet start pattering down the stairs, the blueberry muffins are done; warm and ready to eat.
My favorite aunt gave me this recipe for blueberry muffins, and it’s become a benchmark. I even tweaked it a bit a few years ago for a Quaker Oats recipe contest, resulting in my Italian Orange-Almond Muffins (and two thousand prize dollars – how nice is that?). Over the years, I’ve made the recipe even more wholesome and healthy by using whole-wheat pastry flour in place of regular all-purpose flour.
This recipe is simple, full of blueberry flavor and everything gets mixed in one bowl – all good. But the best part of these muffins might be the crunchy, sparkling shards of turbinado sugar sprinkled on top.
Blueberry Oat Muffins
1/ 2 cup whole rolled oats (quick-cooking works too)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup canola oil (I like to use organic canola oil since most non-organic canola is genetically modified)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup fresh blueberries, or 8 ounces frozen, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine oats and juice. Let sit 10 minutes. Add flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, oil and egg and mix well. Gently stir in berries.
Spoon into 12 paper baking cups or oiled muffin tin. Sprinkle the sugar over the tops. Bake 18-22 minutes until lightly golden.
Let muffins cool in the pan 10 minutes before turning them out.
Yield: 12 muffins