Monday, March 31, 2008

A Baker's Dozen

I've not made many muffins in my lifetime but when I have, I've mostly been underwhelmed with the result. So when it became my job to bring the muffins to my family's Easter brunch, I was on a mission to find a muffin recipe that would change my luck. Sure, I could have purchased them at a bakery but what fun would that be? I ended up making three different types and I thought I'd pass along the two that won the best-muffins-i've-ever-made award.

The first is for these Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins that I found at, a website I really enjoy. The picture above is of the mini-muffins but I made the full-four-raspberry-sized muffins. Be careful of the cooking time, it suggests 35 min. but mine took less, maybe 27 min. These were my favorite, tasty and lovely!

The second recipe is the To Die For Blueberry Muffin recipe I located at The only adjustments I made were to substitute buttermilk for milk since I was already using it in the other muffins and while I made two batches of batter, I only made one batch of the crumb topping and that worked well. Everyone loves blueberry muffins but it's hard to find a recipe that lives up to what you might find in your favorite coffee shop. This is as close as it gets, at least for me!

Happy baking!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why On God's Green Earth

Global warming. We've all heard arguments on either side, it's a fact, it's a hoax. If you fall into the fact category, then you are likely doing things to reduce your carbon footprint and to encourage others to do the same. You may be more conscious of the food you buy, gravitating towards natural, fresh and local ingredients instead of packaged and processed foods full of ingredients you can't pronounce that have flown across oceans in order to be available at your local supermarket. You may use public transportation and/or drive a hybrid vehicle to reduce the amount of oil you consume. You may live by the motto of "reduce, reuse, recycle" and even compost your food waste. You may bring your own reusable shopping bags for groceries or other items to avoid adding to the size or our landfills. You may have made changes to your homes like unplugging appliances not in use, turning out lights when the room it is unoccupied, switching to energy efficient light bulbs and programmable thermostats to reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas necessary to run your household, even allowing you to save money. Of course, this is a small sampling of the things people are doing in an effort to take better care of the earth.

The thing is, whether you believe global warming is a problem or not, what harm is there is consuming less of the world's resources? Why is being more responsible with the gifts we've been given a bad idea? Why on God's green earth wouldn't we want to keep God's earth green?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mad About Color

I discovered the Mad Baker's blog today and it is filled with the most vibrant colors and spectacular cookies, cakes, and pastries! The above Lemon Meringue Tart was one of my favorite photos. Have you ever seen meringue like that? I have never made meringue of any kind but this makes me want to try! On the other hand, it makes me happy just to look at Karen's works of art.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

For All You Parents

I read a list of beautiful lies that one parent confesses to have told his little one recently. I think these are the kinds of lies I would tell if I were a parent or even better, the kinds of lies I would hope to hear if I were a child.

Heading East: Lies I've Told My 3 Year Old Recently

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No One Is Alone. Truly.

Last night, I came across this blog entry written by Nicole J. Butler and I think it's a topic that most of us can relate to, no matter our occupation. Here are a few excerpts:

No matter what words follow "I am the only one", the subtext is the same: "There is something wrong with me." This pattern of thought isolates us. Causes us to withdraw from one another for fear of being exposed.

Last year was a record year for my acting career, and at the beginning of this year (when auditions were especially slow) I was asking myself "what if?" Y'all know the drill (all together now) "What if I never get another gig?" "What if last year was a fluke?" "What if they* discover I'm really just winging it all?" In my head I knew that trying to find answers to these questions was a fool's errand, but in my gut, I really wondered. In my efforts to shake these thoughts, I started painting more, reading more, writing, listening to music, planning travel...indulging my other interests. My rationale was that living a more well-rounded life would actually serve my acting, and if I never acted again, at least I'd have a well-rounded life.

Many of the other actors (some big names, some not) in the interviews and articles were saying the same things: "What if I never get another job?" "What if they find out I'm a fraud?" And then there were several who had reached the same conclusion that I have: That it's important to have other interests, other options, and people in your life that help you keep it all in perspective. I was relieved to realized that I am not the only one who had these thoughts, and that asking these questions doesn't mean I'm faithless, it means I'm human. And I'm really glad to know I'm not the only one.

Thanks, Nicole.