For this Christmas week, I’m grateful to have a post from my friend Kristen, of Birthing Beautiful Ideas. On her blog, you’ll find spirited musings about breastfeeding, feminism and philosophy. Her blog is foodie-friendly, too: Kristen loves eating, sharing, and the occasional tryst with an elusive, erotic lobster tail.
When my husband, Tim, and I were expecting our first child, we lived far away from our respective families. We were a day’s travel from their warm and inviting homes, from impromptu morning coffees and family dinners and holiday celebrations, and (in the forefront of our minds as our son’s birth approached) from the very people whose parenting we hoped to emulate.
Wanting to have our family a bit closer as we began a family of our own, we invited both of our mothers to stay with us for the first two weeks following the birth of our son:
Tim’s mom, the night owl, to help us on what we anticipated would be many sleepless nights of newborn care.
And my mother, the inimitable cook, to help us ensure that we didn’t collapse into a life of take-out meals and boxed food and cold cereal as we adjusted to parenthood.
Thanks to her, we dined on crab cakes and roasted chicken and gargantuan green salads and cheeses and fresh fruit and chocolate cake in the days after our baby was born. She would bring our meals to our bedroom if I was nursing our son. She would set a magnificent dining room table that made me forget that I was still in my pajamas at six in the evening.
And each morning, she would fill a tray with coffee, tea, juice, and two scrumptious muffins and set it outside our bedroom door.
These muffins were her “famous” raisin bran muffins. Warm, slightly crunchy, cinnamonly mild, and chock full of tangy cranberries in those first wintry days of our son’s infancy.
The first two weeks of my son’s life passed with tender moments and insomnia and many delicious meals, and it was soon time for my mother to return to her own home. (But not before she stocked our freezer with over a dozen meals!)
Before she left, she made sure to whisper in my ear that “the muffin batter makes nearly five to six dozen muffins, so there should be enough batter in the fridge for you and Tim to have muffins for at least the next three or four weeks.”
During those next few weeks, after many sleepless nights, on the days when Tim and I could barely muster up enough energy to pour milk over our cold cereal, it didn’t take that much more effort to scoop some batter into our muffin tray and bake a couple of delicious additions to our morning meal.
And it made Mom feel not so far away after all.
Raisin Bran Muffins
Makes 5 to 6 dozen
1 qt. buttermilk
1 cup oil
5 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) box Raisin Bran cereal
2 T cinnamon
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1-2 cups seasonal berries or fruit (e.g. blueberries in summer, cranberries in winter, etc.)
- Mix together eggs, buttermilk, and oil until well-blended. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
- Stir in salt, cereal, cinnamon, coconut, and pecans. Refrigerate mix for 24 hours in an airtight container. (Batter may be stored in refrigerator up to six weeks.)
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Add desired berries (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, etc.) to each individual muffin, making sure to push some of the berries into the batter.
- Sprinkle muffin tops with sugar and cinnamon before baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes.