I know I survived just fine before I had an iPod and iPhone, but I've recently really started to appreciate the benefits of portable music. I can listen to music while I'm getting ready in the morning, either from songs on my phone or through streaming my favorite local radio station. I've also been using the music options to get Brianna & Gillian moving when they're in the shower. It's like a timer--it's a race to see who can get done in fewer songs. Sometimes they just dance while they're drying off. This past week, I found a new use, once I remembered that I had headphones for my phone, too. Listening to music while I was in the kitchen baking was a great way to avoid listening to whatever Disney Channel show the girls were watching. I can only take so much of that most days (yet they never seem to tire of it). And hey, I figure I burned some extra calories as I was dancing around the kitchen. Fortunately B&G weren't paying any attention to me, so there wasn't any critique of my dance style. =)
I'm thinking that I may have to start using music as a way to get the girls moving a little better in the morning, too. Way too much time is spent arguing about clothing choices, or just lying on the floor complaining about how tired they are. Meanwhile, I'm trying to finish packing lunches or figuring out something portable for them to take for breakfast in the car. Some weeks I don't to a very good job of planning, and by Thursday or Friday I'm scrambling to find them something to eat. That would be why my girls end up eating cheese sticks (aka string cheese) and dried fruit (cherries for G, apricots or prunes for B) for breakfast.
We all really like it when we have scones or muffins or bagels available. (Which reminds me, I meant to make bagels this week, but didn't get to it. Coming soon!) If I bake on the weekend, I make enough that we're able to get through 2 or 3 days during the week as well. Occasionally I manage to bake in the morning before work on the other days. The secret to being able to have just-baked muffins for breakfast? Doing most of the prep the night before. A recent favorite for that treatment has been some great Apple Cinnamon Crumb Muffins that I found over at Two Peas and Their Pod. The streusel topping uses melted butter, and is quick to mix up. I store it in a container in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I just have to break it up into small clumps before putting it on top of the batter--and the crumbs hold their shape nicely in the oven, since the butter has had a chance to firm back up. I mix the dry ingredients together in the large bowl that I plan to use for the final batter, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. (I use white whole wheat flour, btw.) I even get out the muffin pan and fill the cups with paper liners. Then the first thing I do in the morning is turn the oven on to preheat while I'm doing other stuff (showering or packing lunches). I quickly dice up the apples, whisk together the wet ingredients (I've used plain yogurt instead of buttermilk with good results), and stir everything together. I use my #16 disher (which holds 1/4 cup of batter) to fill the muffin cups. In the 20 minutes or so that it takes for the muffins to bake, I take care of some more of my morning tasks.
The verdict? The girls liked these muffins quite a bit. I also shared a bunch of them with my co-workers, and they were a huge hit with everyone. It's always a good sign when baked goods are completely gone before lunch time. Everyone loved the fact that they're a little healthier than the average muffin, but still taste really good. I highly recommend that you try them for yourself--you can find the recipe here at Two Peas and Their Pod.