Woohoo! Summer Break is finally here. I feel like I’ve spent the last ten months waiting for this….oh wait, I have.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my job…I really do. Teaching preschool-and exceptional education-is the kind of work that you don’t keep doing if you don’t love it. It’s super physically and emotionally exhausting, though, and during the school year I spend nights and weekends thinking about tantrums, unmastered IEP goals, behaviors I didn’t “fix”, activities that went awry, what books I need to read, lesson plans, how to increase communication, how to increase social interactions….and so on, and so on, and so on.
That’s not to say I don’t think about those things on summer break. I write lesson plans. I work in my classroom. I read work-related books. I make materials. It’s just that….it’s not so pressing when it’s not right in front of you. Summer break provides a reprieve from the urgency of day-to-day with four-year-olds, or ten-year-olds, or seventeen-year-olds. Every age group, every ability level provides its own pressing issues. People often criticize teachers for the breaks that they get, often asserting that we do it for the breaks. I argue that those people have never been teachers. Summer break provides two months of mental break, two months that I can actually rest my brain, something that is virtually impossible between August and the end of May.
Sorry, that got a little heavy. I didn’t mean for it to; I simply wanted to provide my perspective on why I so look forward to summer break. It’s funny, though….the second summer break begins, the blogging bonanza begins as well. I’ve done more work on my blog since Friday afternoon than I have in the entire last month, starting with an impromptu post about how much money I spend on groceries and including some delicious soda and some fantastic muffins.
I’ve been cooking with quinoa lately. I made it several years ago and haven’t made it since. I had a jar of it in my pantry that I had bought not that long ago and kept meaning to use it. I made quinoa “fried rice” last week and after looking at some oatmeal muffins that someone had posted somewhere (so descriptive, right?) I thought that quinoa sounded like a pretty good fit for a muffin too. Of course, Martha Stewart came through for me with a recipe for quinoa muffins with raisins. I did a little adaptation to the recipe and came up with these whole-wheat cranberry-almond quinoa muffins. They’re heavy (in weight, that is) but surprisingly not overly dense. And since quinoa is a complete protein (making it a vegetarian’s dream) these cranberry-almond quinoa muffins are more filling that your average muffin.
These cranberry-almond quinoa muffins are breakfast perfection.
Whole-Wheat Cranberry-Almond Quinoa Muffins
|Prep time||25 minutes|
|Cook time||30 minutes|
|Total time||55 minutes|
|Allergy||Egg, Milk, Tree Nuts, Wheat|
|Meal type||Bread, Breakfast, Snack|
|Website||Adapted from Martha Stewart|
- 1 cup quinoa (rinsed-don't skip the rinsing!!)
- 2 cups white whole-wheat flour-you could also use all-purpose (plus more for flouring pan)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil-I used melted coconut oil (plus more for oiling pan)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups brown sugar (preferably dark brown, but light will work as well)
- 3/4 cups buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, use whole milk)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 Large egg
- 1/4-1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (you can also use vanilla or orange extract if you don't like almond)
You can substitute any dried fruit or extract in this recipe. You can also substitute other types of nuts, or omit the nuts altogether.
|Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-13 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking, brush the cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with oil and lightly flour, tapping out excess.|
|Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. In another container, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, extract, and brown sugar. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry then add 2 cups of the quinoa (if you have extra, set aside for another use. I had just over 2 cups), the oil, and the cranberries (if you don't use coconut oil, you can just whisk it with the liquid ingredients. I didn't want my coconut oil to solidify in the cold buttermilk). Mix with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened, but don't overmix.|
|Divide the muffin batter among the cups of the prepared muffin pan. They will be very full. Top with the chopped almonds. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.|
|Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. They are also great for freezing!|