Brown Sugar Wheat Muffins

Hang onto your hats and your little children because it's coming!!  The first Minnesota blizzard of the year arrives tomorrow and boy oh boy there's nothing quite like it.  Loads of snow, winds that will blow you all the way to Wisconsin and wind chills that should be illegal.  I'll never forget my dear sister's response when I first told her we were moving to Minnesota.  She paused politely for a moment and then proceeded to blurt out, "Are you CRAZY?!?!?  Didn't you read Little House on the Prairie when we were growing up???"

To my sister's credit, there is something a bit unsettling as you lie in bed, covered in a mountain of blankets and listen to your house creak and whistle as the blizzard winds roar outside.  Honestly though, I'm a bit stupid enough to find it somewhat romantic and comforting at the same time.  Then again, if my heat and electricity were to be taken out due to this wonder of nature, I'm sure my misaligned feelings would quickly reverse into horror!

These hearty muffins will be wonderful with a big pot of soup/stew during the big storm tomorrow.  Tender, nutty and slightly sweet.....the muffins, not me....
Brown Sugar Wheat Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 C whole wheat flour
1 C white flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 C brown sugar
1 C milk (I often use buttermilk)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 C oil

1.  Preheat oven to 425.  Grease your muffin tins or line with paper.
2.  Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add all the wet ingredients in the well.  Mix from the center of your bowl and work your way out.  Do not over mix or your muffins will be dense and flat.  Use an ice cream scoop to evenly portion the batter into the 12 tins.  
3.  Bake for 15 minutes and remove from the pan to cool slightly.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

There is a lot to love and a lot to hate about this time of year. This morning, I will tell you about one aspect I love even though I'm dying to go on for a few paragraphs about what drives me nuts!!!

Christmas music tops my "love" list.  I've created quite a collection over the years and I love to have it playing in the background as I go about my day.  It has the extraordinary power of creating a calm atmosphere in our home during the normal after-dinner craziness.  I like to turn on all the Christmas lights around the house, turn down the overhead lights and put on a CD.  It just makes everyone chill-out until bedtime!  My own little Christmas miracle!

We have a lot of favorite Christmas CD's but here are my top few:
2. Harry Connick Jr - Harry for the Holidays (Nobody does "Frosty the Snowman" better and my kids love to dance around to it!)
These muffins have quickly become a new breakfast favorite for our family.  This last time I made them, I added a simple glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar.  The kids were not in favor of the new addition, but my hubby and I really thought it added a lot of interest to the muffin.  Be your own judge and let me know what you think!

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
makes 12 muffins
2/3 C sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tb poppy seeds

1.  Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400˚.  Spray or line your muffin tins.
2.  In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is evenly moist and the lemon scent is strong.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.  In another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and butter together. 
3.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and quickly, but gently stir to blend.  Dont worry about getting every lump out or you will over mix!  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
4.  Bake for 18 minutes and transfer each muffin to a cooling rack.  If desired, dip each muffin in a mixture of fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar while they are hot.