A somewhat random picture of our new dining room table. Isn't it gorgeous?
Ahhh, I just deleted a post that had been going stale as a draft for several days. Obviously it wasn’t right. I was trying to convey such monumental good news that I was getting more than a little carried away. Rather than dance around the issue for paragraph upon paragraph, I’ll get right to it.
I got a job!
Last Friday I received a phone call from the latest (and greatest) museum where I’d put in an application. They wanted to hire me! This job is so perfect, I would have been pretty bewildered if I didn’t get it. I’ll be doing very similar work to what I did before leaving Denver more than two years ago. I’ll spare the details for now. All that matters is that it’s something I love doing, I’ll be using my education, and getting some intellectual stimulation 3 days a week starting in April. Woohoo!
I’ve been riding the high from that news all week, although it has been somewhat muted by a sad development in the family. Almost simultaneous to the job offer, I found out that my favorite aunt has cancer. Yes, I am not afraid to admit that I have a favorite aunt (and yes, I do have several to choose from). This happens to be the aunt I’ve been closest to growing up.
Lee and I visited her last weekend. I brought homemade Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies from a Back to Her Roots recipe via a Foodzie Baking Box (These were some seriously good cookies. Make them!). Of course, there was already a fresh-baked apple crisp on the counter when we arrived. I wonder where I got my penchant for baking?
No one knows much yet but we are all hopeful.
Focusing on the positive: you might wonder why my job doesn’t start until April. The delay allows Lee and I to take our boat relocation trip that we’ve been planning for a long time. We have to move Pirat out of the hurricane minefield and into a more secure boat yard. Here’s some quick stats on the trip, in case you’re curious, and you can always check out our sailing story and my eventual posts on this leg over at Pirat.
Starting Point: St. Kitt’s, the Caribbean
First Destination: Aruba
Eventual Destination: Curacao
Miles to Cover: about 500 to Aruba and another 30 or so to Curacao
Projected Wind and Sea Conditions: 15-25 knots of wind and 6-8 foot, steep or very steep seas, both from behind us.
As you can imagine, I’ve been very busy getting ready for our trip this week (we’re leaving next Tuesday). Among other things, I needed to use my sourdough starter! Isn’t that a high priority before going away for 3 weeks? I really didn’t have time for any elaborate bread baking so I threw together some sourdough muffins this morning. I am thrilled that something I totally made up finally came out well! It seems like I’ve produced more flops than successes in my kitchen of late.
This time, I wanted a comfort muffin. I wanted lots of whole grain heartiness that I know will be difficult to come by in the Caribbean (they are really into their fluffy, sweet bread down there). I also wanted to use up some of the perishable foods in my fridge. On all counts, these muffins were a success.
Just a little disclaimer: my measurements in this recipe are approximate, except when it comes to the bran and flour, which I weighed. Don’t ask me why I wasn’t as precise with everything else! I fed my sourdough started with 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup water the night before. In the morning I refilled my starter container and use what remained from the feeding for this recipe. It looked like between 1 and 1.5 cups of starter. More starter would probably just make the muffins more most and a little more sour.
Sourdough Applesauce Bran Muffins
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups active sourdough starter (fed the night before)
- 1.5 oz wheat bran
- 1.5 oz oat bran
- 2 oz whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- Generous dash of cinnamon (maybe 1 teaspoon)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped prunes or other dried fruit
- Mix the brans, flour, and salt in a medium bowl (I just add them to the same bowl on top of my food scale).
- Combine with the sourdough starter in a large bowl and stir until fully mixed. Cover bowl and allow to sit for an hour or two.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs, applesauce, sugar, oil, cinnamon, and baking powder.
- Stir in vanilla extract and prunes.
- Add liquid mixture to dough that has been sitting, stirring until fully combined. It comes together eventually even though the dough is kinda doughy and the liquid is liquidy...)
- Spoon batter into a prepared muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are firm.
- Remove from oven and cool muffins on a wire rack.