Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

The Phantom of the Opera by The Original London Cast of "Phantom of the Opera"
This post is taking me back to mornings in my home as a fully-nested mother.  These delicious and quick muffins were a big hit with my Fab 5.  But why the Phantom reference?  Because this was also part of the era where this Broadway musical was very popular.  My kids were interested in it because they found out that their beloved Condorman (Michael Crawford) was, in fact, The Phantom.  Although our allegiances still stayed with "Les Miserables" as the family favorite, the Phantom music provided for great breakfast comedy performances.  You see, my kids thought it hilarious that, when this song came on, I'd stop what I was doing on my inner side of the kitchen counter, and start to play the "counter" organ along with the music.  Of course I was theatrical about it.  Of COURSE, I sang along, in my finest operatic voice (tee hee)!  And, of course, it was an almost daily request - at least by my youngest, who hadn't quite perfected the art of rolling their eyes - yet.  I can hardly eat these muffins without remembering those mornings and the joy at getting them to laugh to start their day.

Facebook sure has a way of getting things passed around.
The enlightening, the gross, the spiritual, the tearful,
the helpful, the happy, the informing,
and the infuriating.

This past week, a young man who is a fairly new husband and a
brand-new over-the-moon daddy, shared a post and asked for feedback.
It was by a woman who spewed vitriol towards both married women
and stay-at-home moms.
It rankled me, to say the least.
Then I perused her other articles, also filled with venom
towards the likes of myself.
And, where I was once fuming,
I started to feel sad - and wondered what
could make someone so incredibly bitter
that she would lash out at her "sisters" in such a way.
Equality is hard enough without us attacking each other, right?
My oldest daughter, Becca, and I were texting last night about the article.
I shared the negative one, along with a brilliant young mother's response.
The negative post basically wiped away any value whatsoever
from being a married woman and/or a stay-at-home mom.
Miss Tapper's response answered each barb with humor and grace.

My daughter and I discussed how 
Miss Tapper shows how
difficult it would be for one to place value on 
anyone's contribution to society.
Becca pointed out how ethnocentric the  negative 
author's comments were and said,
"It doesn't take into account ... the myriad of the entirety of 
 the rest of the human condition/experience."

I love my discussions with Becca.
Mostly because, through them, I often
discover revealing things about myself.

As I've mentioned before,
after my children were grown and gone,
I enrolled in culinary school.
I spent two years studying a newly discovered
passion and had a fabulous time.
I met some really great people
and did some really brave things (for me.)
I started writing this blog and absolutely 
love our weekly visits and all the planning
that goes into them.
I love how it keeps me alert and focused 
on discovering new things.

But, underneath this new age of discovery and  
post-stay-at-home mom phase,
I struggle inside to feel as worthwhile
and valuable as I did while I was raising my family.
I've been out doing the things that
"the world" accepts as legitimate contribution and self-fulfillment,
yet I feel a little hollow.
I know it's a popular theme nowadays to say
that a college education is wasted on 
the stay-at-home woman.
However, when I started college when my
youngest was five years old, 
it amazed me how much of the new education 
I was receiving enriched my role as 
a wife and mother.
Everything from Physics to Music Appreciation
came home to bless my family in one way or another.
Definitely not a waste!
I return to that most fulfilling part of my life
through these Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins.
They were a regular and popular offering
as I corralled my brood out the door each day.
I no sooner popped them out of the pan
and they were disappearing before my very eyes!
The size makes them easy to palm, pocket, or
throw in a baggie.
And, somehow, eating three just makes
you feel like you're having more than when you
only eat one, although it's basically the same amount!

I've modified this recipe over the years,
trying to add healthy elements here and there.
This is where I'm at with it now!

Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 30 minis
1 c. all-purpose flour (125 g)
1 c. whole wheat flour (125 g)
2 T. flaxseed meal
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
1 egg
3/4 c. skim milk or any substitute such as almond, soy, coconut
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. greek vanilla yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1 c. mini chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray enough mini muffin pans for 30 muffins.

Whisk the flours, flaxseed meal, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.  

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a spoon until almost fully blended.  Add the oatmeal and chocolate chips and finish stirring just until ingredients become blended.  Place about 2 T. of mixture to each muffin cup.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool for about 5 minutes then pop out to cool completely.

I believe the original recipe called for all all-purpose flour (2 cups) and all vegetable oil (1/2 cup) instead of adding the wheat flour and yogurt.  The flaxseed meal is also my addition.  The recipe lends well to meddling.  See what you can come up with!

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