Early Morning

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Early Morning

I love to awaken in the early morning while the rest of the household is still asleep.  I didn’t even wake the puppy this morning, as I slipped out of bed and went into the kitchen.  I whipped up a batch of  Streuseled Apple-Oatmeal-Cinnamon Chip Muffins (recipe below), put them in the oven to bake,  and made a nice pot of fresh coffee.

muffin Serves: 12

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softenedn (I use Earth Balance spread(
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs or egg substitute
  • 1 cup whole milk or non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, grated with a box grater and squeezed until most liquid is gone
  • lemon juice
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup steel cut oats

Directions

  • For the streusel topping, add all ingredients to a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or your hands to mash ingredients together into crumb-like pieces. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine flour,sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and oil. Combine with dry mixture until fully incorporated.
  • Sprinkle some lemon juice over the shredded and squeezed apple to keep it from turning brown. Add apple, cinnamon chips and oatmeal to the flour mixture and stir.
  • Add batter to a paper-lined muffin tin, about 2/3 full for each. Divide streusel evenly over the batter. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from the pan after a couple minutes. They taste amazing at room temp but warm they are crazy yummy too.

I went out for a walk as the muffins baked, up to Laurelhurst Park, one of Portland’s most beautiful parks.  The morning was cool and brisk.  I was greeted by a local ‘resident’ who chattered above my head as I passed.

squirrel

We used to live a couple of blocks from Laurelhurst.  However, now, getting there by foot takes time, so I wasn’t able to stick around for long, since I had muffins in the oven.  However, I was taken by this park’s beauty this morning.  The colors.  The huge trees.  The happy people out for their morning strolls.  It was all a magnificent treat!

color

As I walked, I thought about everything that I have to be thankful for in my life.   I whispered a prayer and sent it on the wind, to someone I love who isn’t feeling well.  I thought of our Maya in Seattle, of Ingrid, probably still asleep, of Kelley and Alex and of little Arlo in Texas.   I also smiled to think of my little puppy at home, who was just waking up when I walked back into the house.  Here she is with her favorite toy, “Baby”.  She sleeps with it every night and carries it around the house with her just like my 2 year old used to carry her blankie everywhere.

beebs and bear

The aroma of cinnamon and coffee greeted me when I got back.  The house felt welcoming, and I felt gratitude.  I certainly have much to be thankful for on this glorious Portland morning!

So now, I shall begin my day….with a statistics lesson, a songwriting class, a guitar class, a music theory class…a trip to the studio…a nice visit with John and with Sarah Beth, who is staying with us for awhile.  But I won’t do any of it until I’ve had a cuppa hot coffee and a muffin!

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