Ah, the luxury of the weekend brunch! This is the first weekend we've been home in ages, so I wanted to celebrate by making a batch of blueberry muffins. This is my second attempt, the first attempt being during a ski trip to Bear Valley where I had 5 other testers. Making a muffin mix is surprisingly easy - I measured all the dry ingredients out ahead of time and dumped it into a bag. When morning came around, I mixed some vanilla extract, milk, and an egg together, poured the wet ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl, and gave the mixture a few stirs. The hardest part for me is to not over mix the batter and to be at peace with it in all its lumpy glory. The more you mix your quick bread batter, the tougher it will be. Pop your batter into a 400 °F oven, and in 20 minutes, muffins!
The silicone cupcake liners have given me so much use. They were an impulse purchase from the clearance rack at Sur La Table, made partly because I was really happy with my silicone baking pan.
If you'd like to make your own muffins, the basic recipe is simple. First, preheat your oven to 400 °F. In a medium bowl, whisk together in a medium bowl 2 cups of flour, 1 T of baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup (or less - I used 1/4 cup) of sugar. In another bowl (I use a large liquid measuring cup), mix together a cup of milk, one large egg, 3 T melted butter, and 1 T vanilla extract. Make a well in the bowl with your dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and fold the mixture a few times with a spatula. Throw in about a cup of blueberries, give another stir, and divide the mixture into muffin tins. Pop it into the oven, and 20 minutes later (or whenever a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean), you have golden muffins! (This post is reminding me of a Betty White skit on SNL...) There are tons of tweaks you can do to the basic recipe, and I think my next muffins will have sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and nutmeg in them.
Our weekend warrior ways have consisted of heading to the snow. I've had a blast cross country skiing, and I can confidently go downhill now without somersaulting to the bottom. The only downside to all this traveling is that, between the climbing and skiing, my hands are chapped to a point where even lotion doesn't really help.Paraffin dips have been keeping my skin from cracking. Although there are contraptions you can buy to heat the wax, I was determined to not buy another huge gadget mostly because we don't really have the space. My first attempt was to melt paraffin in a double boiler, but that was messy and it was really hard to wash the wax off my pan. By chance, I saw an ad for slow cooker liners, and although my first thought was "how lazy do you have to be to use a liner?", my second thought was "Hey! I can use liners in my slow cooker for melting paraffin wax!" So, that's what I did - totally perfect solution and I'm using something I already own. When the wax solidifies, I can lift out the liner and save the wax for another time. If you haven't done a paraffin wax treatment, it is luxurious! Dip your hands a few times in melted paraffin (be careful that the wax isn't too hot, though - it should be just barely melted), wrap your dipped hands in plastic bags and stuff them into mittens. Sit around and do nothing for 20 minutes, then peel off the bags. If you use your slow cooker, make sure you melt the wax on low and don't leave it unattended - there are tons of warnings on the paraffin boxes about paraffin catching on fire.
In crafting news, I'm knitting another long cardigan, mainly because I refuse to dish out the money to buy one and because I'm at the point where buying a machine knitted sweater would shame me (a little voice in my head says that I'll lose my knitter badge if I don't make my own sweaters). I'm knitting Aidez in Cascade Ecowool, and it's coming along at a nice clip. The cabling and textured pattern have slowed me down a bit, but I still hope to have it done in a couple of weeks. Cascade Ecowool smells incredibly sheepy, so I have to keep it out of reach from the animals because they think it smells like something they should kill. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to share when I post again.