Oat Muffins With Cranberries and Pears

Oatmeal-Muffins-v2

I have a confession to make.

I am hooked on Downton Abbey. There is something about the intrigue that happens upstairs among the aristocratic family members, as well as downstairs among the servants. Last week a set my PVR to tape the show and it shut down half way through the episode. I tried searching the guide to see if I could get another chance to see it on time shifting, without any luck.

I am always entertained by period films like Downton because they take us back to a time in history when life was simple and predictable. Not that I would be comfortable living in an era where there was such a class distinction. I also would hate to be treated as a second class citizen because I am a woman.

So what is it that we find so interesting about these films?

I think for me, it is the beautiful estates, the wonderful costumes and the great acting. The series does a wonderful job of representing what life might have been like as we entered the 20th century. The characters are well-developed over the series to the point that you choose your favourites and watch faithfully to see what will happen to them next.

Perhaps I would not want to have lived at that time, but it is fun to imagine how others did.

These rich dark oat muffins are reminiscent of something that might have been enjoyed with a cup of tea and some homemade jam at Downton Abbey.

Oat Muffins With Cranberries and Pears

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups (330 ml) rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
1 ¼ cups (310 ml) Plain yogurt (not low-fat or fat-free)
½ cup (125 ml) fancy molasses
½ cup (125 ml) packed light brown sugar
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
½ cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 ml) whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp. (7.5 ml) baking powder
½ tsp. (2 ml) baking soda
½ tsp. (2 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground nutmeg
2/3 cup (160 ml) peeled and diced pears
1/3 cup (80 ml) dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375˚ F (190˚ C) and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Stir the oats and yogurt together in a large bowl. Stir in the molasses, brown sugar, melted butter, and egg.
In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in the flour mixture into the oat mixture until blended, then stir in the pears and cranberries and sprinkle with a few oats. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when gently pressed. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing to cool completely. The muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe from Back to Baking by Anna Olsen

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Summer Berry Muffins-Perfect for Mothers’ Day Brunch

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child” -Sophia Loren

This is the weekend that we celebrate our mothers, our grandmothers and our children. We celebrate the joy that unconditional love can bring. Our mothers are the ones who are there for us no matter what. They stand beside us in times of trouble; they encourage us to find our dreams; and they help us to face our fears. Mothers will sacrifice everything so their children can have what they need.

They are resourceful, thoughtful, loving, warm, strong, intelligent, wise and the centre of our worlds.

I come from a line of very strong women. After being widowed at a young age, my grandmother raised 8 children on her own. She managed to help them all become successful adults while maintaining a home, a business and a career as a nurse. She expressed her creativity through quilting and cooking.  My grandmother passed away when I was 6 years old. My fondest memory of her was hiding under her stretched quilts when I was about 4 years old and peeking up to watch her as she meticulously stitched each layer together by hand.

My mother was the rock in our family. She spent every day making sure that we would be well equipped to deal with the world on our own, while still offering a safe haven to learn. She taught us, cared for us when we were sick and loved us even when we didn’t love ourselves. My mother has also been an amazing grandmother to my children who adore her.

Now there is a new generation of moms in my family. My youngest daughter has an adorable son and a baby girl due this June. She has found her grounding and her passion in motherhood and is amazing with her son. I am so proud to see the mother that she has become.

“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.”- Jill Churchhill

I dedicate this muffin recipe to Moms everywhere.

Summer Berry Muffins

Makes 12 medium sized muffins

Ingredients

1 cup mixed summer berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. light brown sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases. Mix together berries. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk mixture, and add the mixed berries. Stir just until combined and divide among the muffin cases. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and well risen.

These muffins are best served warm or at room temperature in the day of baking.

Recipe from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook