pumpkin muffins with fresh cranberries

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happiest Holidays, friends!

Please don't tell me if I missed the pumpkin/cranberry boat. My heart can't take it. These days I have way too much on my plate and if you tell me these muffins are currently irrelevant, I will cry real and giant tears. I finally whipped them up after getting inspired weeks (and weeks) ago and haven't gotten them posted here until now. Sigh. I keep making lists upon lists and for every one thing that gets crossed off, 637 more things get added. How the FRACK do you moms/parents do it? And at Christmastime no less?! I recently read an article called How To Cross Everything Off Your To-Do List! (#mydream), and it basically involved a lot of perspective-changing trickery like: "Add some things to the list you've already done and cross them off!" and my favorite gem: "Let your house remain a complete shithole!". 

My December included lots of extra (and sometimes surprising) things to do like:

1. Wash 75,385 loads of laundry.
PRAY GOD, FROM WHENCE DOES IT COME??? It doesn't help that our thirteen-year-old dryer sounds like a dying pachyderm riding on a big, rusty freight train.

2. Read Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? 238,590,823 times.
Spoiler alert: RED BIRD.

3. Chase a scooting monkey around in circles interminably.
'Tis a full time job keeping him from eating ripped magazine covers and finding hidden TV remotes and iPhones as I steal head sniffs and cheek smooches.

4. Clean the floor around the highchair 97 times daily.
I have nothing pithy to say about this. It sucks rocks.

5. Try to remember the Zen quote involving chopping wood and carrying water.
Realize, ironically, that all this trying to remember takes me out of the present moment which probably means I am not yet enlightened. Shit.

6. (Barely) survive getting your eye (almost) poked out.
I was reading Louis a book (bet you can't guess which one) when a rogue baby fingernail wildly flailed into my cornea. MY LORD did it hurt. I literally screamed, "My eye!" and couldn't open it for 36 hours. All the while freaking out since I had a television job beginning in a couple days. And also of course because vision.

7. Have you ever been dropped off at the ER?
It's super hard not to feel sorry for yourself going in there solo. Even though my loving husband lovingly let me out at the front door (we didn't want to expose baby to ER germs), I couldn't help thinking how in the movies, some guilt-ridden criminal barely slows the car enough to kick out some poor sap who needs dire emergency care. Then they just lie alone on the ground bleeding, in a big, wide shot until some paramedic on a smoke break runs over to help.

8. Act like your eye is normal at the table-read for your television job even despite unaccounted-for chunk of cornea.
I couldn't wear makeup on the bum eye (Doctor's orders) but went whole hog on the good one. In hindsight (boo), this was a terrible mistake. Only donning mascara on one eye is extremely disconcerting to the viewer (see: A Clockwork Orange). And draws way more attention to your problem than you want drawn to it. At your television job. Where everyone is looking at you. Because you're going to be on television.

9. Take to your bed around 8pm for a few nights and listen to podcasts in the dark.
It takes a LOT of freaking eye energy to act normal when you're not. Your husband will realize the gravity of the situation when you cannot watch TV. Try and get a back rub out of it.

10. Finally start to feel better. 
When eye doctor extraordinaire Staci Sumner (818-789-3311) found out the hospital didn't insert a protective contact, she came in after hours to hook me up special. I could immediately blink without pain and it was all I could do to not kiss that magical woman on the mouth.

11. Enjoy adult conversations at work. 
"Can you believe a few days ago I was nearly blind and in the ER!? And now here I am on TV! Hahaha!"

12. Look at iPhone without sneaking it. 

13. Drink a hot beverage from top to bottom with zero microwaving. 

14. Clean the floor under a highchair zero times for two days straight.

15. Praise the Lord Almighty when, on first day of filming, you are blessed with the makeup artist to beat all makeup artists.
Admire beauty in mirror. Feel excited that co-workers will not believe you to be a Clockwork-Orange-freak after all. Profusely compliment makeup artist. Ask (half-teasing) how in the hell he made you so beautiful and try not to flinch when he explains (not at all teasing) that he's an expert in "corrective beauty".

16. Squat on dressing room floor so breast pump can reach boobs and electrical outlet simultaneously.
Wonder how long you'll continue to nurse. Cry about stopping. Cry about continuing. Cry about missing kid something awful. Realize crying is probably good for your healing cornea but bad for your corrective makeup.

17. Long for the long days of brown bears and loud laundry and head sniffs.
Text babysitter 836 times demanding mundane updates and bi-hourly photos.

18. Finish TV show. Go home. Smooch child profusely until he scoots away, most likely terrified. Enjoy him for 12 hours solid and then begin missing adult conversations and hot beverages and corrective makeup.

19. Wonder how any mother works. Wonder how any mother doesn't work.
Still figuring this one out. Stay tuned forever.

20-26. Somehow cram in Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, Holiday cards, meal preparation, blog writing, muffin making and personal hygiene.

27. Trim baby's nails.

I wish you a belated yet heartfelt Happy Holidays, dear friends. We have so many blessings to celebrate over here with our dude turning ONE on New Year's Eve! It's been quite a year. More on that later.

In the meantime, I wish you deep peace and love from the bottom of my heart. We have to cultivate all that goodness so we can spread it around this crazy world we're living in.


P.S. These muffins are really good.
Low-Sugar Pumpkin Muffins With Fresh Cranberries
makes 12
adapted slightly from The New York Times

These are nice and pumpkin-spice-y without being too sweet. And the fresh cranberries prove the perfect tart foil. Bonus: babies love the squishy inside part and you could probably use even less sugar and they'd taste amazing to a clueless baby.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 t ground cinnamon
3/8 t ground allspice
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and halved

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flours, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, baking powder, salt. Whisk together well and set aside. In another bowl, mix the butter, pumpkin puree and egg. Add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined. Mix in the cranberries. Divide the batter amongst the 12 muffin cups and bake about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
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