Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Banana Bran Date Muffins

Let's back up a bit. Once a long, long time ago (actually 4 1/2 years) I picked up an moved across the country. Following a tearful goodbye with my college friends, I packed all I had and held dear and got into a moving truck and drove (with my father) from sea (San Diego) to shining sea (Boston). There was anticipation in that transition - naive excitement for what was to come - what new adventures grad school held in store (yes, I even laugh at myself now). At the other end of the journey was a beautiful ivy covered brownstone, my roomate then (and blogmate now) Anna and the beginning of a new chapter of my life (a long chapter).
However, situations change (and change). I've moved four times, including my arrival in Boston, and within a month I'll be making that five. I have been in my current home for almost two years and have enjoyed my space immensely. Yet, problems keep cropping up - having to use the oven as a heat source in the winter being relatively minor. The newest and, by far the most aggravating, is a complete lack of hot water one or two mornings a week. I usually make the best of the annoyance imagining that it is just a sign that I need more sleep - about 30 more minutes - while the water heater revives itself and gets ready for me.
This morning was a bit different. The same frustration (and profanities) when I discovered that there was no shower for me in the near future was present, yet when I returned for my extended shower-snooze I realized I was hungry - really hungry. I love a big breakfast - lots of eggs, cheese and oven-roasted potatoes - but those are weekend treats, best kept that way. Usually on a weekday morning I have a simple bowl of cereal or some fruit. Today, with my extra water-warming time, I baked muffins. Banana Bran Date Muffins, specifically. Sounds like work, but oh no - it was deceptively simple.
Due to the upcoming move, I've been trying to eat my way through my (very) overstocked pantry and refrigerator. I've been using my Boston Organics box as the source of fresh produce and challenging my creative culinary side to use up the excess groceries I've accumulated over time to supplement most of my meals. This has a two-fold benefit: not buying additional groceries saves money to pay the movers (I love my giant red couch, but I do want to keep my friends after I move) and consuming the pantry leaves me with less stuff to move in the end.

Believe me, my kitchen boxes will be stuffed enough with gadgets and cookbooks. In this vein, my banana bran date muffins used up bananas I'd been saving in the freezer for just such a baked goods occasion and two boxes of Jiffy bran-date muffin mix - four things down, 1024 food items to go (approximately). Again, ridiculously simple - but all in all, surprisingly tasty... and by the time I took them out of the oven, there was hot water for the shower while I let them cool!

Banana Bran Date Muffins (I doubled the recipe because I took the rest to lab - they will consume any and all baked goods left for them)

1 box Jiffy bran-date muffin mix
1 egg
1 very ripe banana

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease or add muffin cups to a muffin pan. Mix all ingredients together, the batter will be a bit lumpy. Add 1/4 c. batter to each cup. Bake 15-17 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are golden and an inserted toothpick/knife comes out clean. Let cool for at least 5 minutes (or you will burn your tounge - I know). Will make 8-10 muffins.

Take to lab and watch hungry scientists devour 20 muffins in less than an hour (all that thinking burns a lot of calories, right?).
Lesson learned today? Eating a warm, cozy breakfast out the oven puts a smile on my face - so much better than cold cereal! ~ Lissa

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