It’s official. Thursday marked the two-month anniversary of the day I hopped on a one-way flight to Boston and prayed. And prayed again for peace. And then I prayed again when we landed. This time it was a prayer of gratitude because, well, I had been watching Lost for the six hours that we were in the air and I was unbelievably grateful to be in Boston and not on an island.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for two months and hard to believe it hasn’t been longer. I got to catch up with a dear friend last night and she asked if I felt like I was settled in. I looked around my living room, all full of cute new (to me) stuff and thought, well, kind of.
I mean, when I walk into my apartment it kind of feels like home. When I walk into work it kind of feels normal. When I walk into Trader Joe’s it kind of feels…amazing. Isn’t Trader Joe’s amazing? And when I walk into class it kind of feels…um…well to be honest with you it still feels a bit odd but that’s because my brain seems to be taking its sweet time getting back into thinking this way. I beg it to pick up the pace. It begs me to get more sleep.
So, all in all, I’m feeling pretty settled in Boston. It’s a good feeling most days. I’m a bit of a home body and thrive on stability. Except, of course, when I get a wee bit antsy so decide to close up shop on one coast and move to the other.
Every day I think about how fast my time here could go by. I’m trying to make the most of each day, relishing being able to explore a new place, meet new people, see new things. I want to look back on my time in Boston, however long that may be, with a certain fondness and detailed memories. One of the ways I’m ensuring this can happen, as you know, is by taking my daily “Boston today.” pictures. This blog is also an amazing way to document my experiences. Thanks for hanging out with me while I do so. 🙂 I’m curious…what do you do to remember things that happen in your life that you don’t want to forget? Here are some of my favorite Boston moments and memories so far.
1. Waking up each morning for my first three weeks here to the pitter-patter of little G running up and down the hallway outside the room I was staying in. Toddler feet plus early morning energy plus hardwood floors make for a great natural alarm clock.
2. Walking out of the new student orientation for my program and thinking, “Wow. These people are normal and I like them!” And then calling Mom to tell her I made friends.
3. Waking up to my first snowfall. It really was magical.
4. Skype-ing (verb?) for the first time with Mom and Dad and asking immediately to see my dog.
5. Doing the first reading for my U.S. Food Policy and Culture class and thinking, “I get to read this for school?!”
6. Being proud of making an Ikea couch only to discover that it was the easiest piece of furniture we would have to build that day.
7. Sleeping in my own bed, in my own home, for the first time in two months.
8. Wearing flats for the first time instead of boots and realizing that winter isn’t forever.
9. Clicking “Publish” on my first blog post and thinking, “Here goes nothin’!”
10. Spending a quiet early morning baking these muffins to share with you.
Oh wait. You actually want the recipe for these muffins?! Okay!
These are some of my favorites. They’re hearty and satisfying without being overly filling. I imagine they’ll be delicious with blueberries once they’re back in season. Oh how I miss fresh berries. These muffins will last you for the morning until lunch which also makes them great on the go. The original recipe calls for making 8 muffins, but I made 6 in this last round and they’re the perfect size. So I say go with 6! If you’re not going to eat them all within a day or two of baking, I recommend wrapping each muffin in plastic wrap and freezing them. Just 30 seconds in the microwave and they’re hot and steamy and almost like they’re fresh out of the oven all over again. I promise.
Banana Cereal Muffins
Adapted from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood
Makes 6 muffins
Butter for muffin tin
1/2 cup cracked-multigrain hot cereal, such as Bob’s Red Mill
Pinch of salt
1 cup rye flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped or small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon
3 ounces (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar (note: original recipe calls for dark brown sugar; I used light/medium in my last batch and really liked them)
3 extra ripe (as in brown) bananas, about 1 1/4 pounds
2 tablespoons unsulphured (not blackstrap) molasses
- Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the grains and salt and stir to prevent any clumping. Cook on low, uncovered, stirring often, until the cereal is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Watch and taste closely as the cereal can cook faster than you expect and you may want to retain a little bit of chewiness. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cereal to cool for the muffins, saving the rest for another day.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the muffin tin thoroughly with butter, including inside the cups and around the rims.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the walnuts.
- Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer. Hug your standing mixer because it’s amazing and so good to you and makes life so much easier. Attach the paddle and mix on high speed until the butter and sugar are lighter in color and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the bananas, molasses, egg, and the 1/2 cup cooled cereal. Mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
- Scrape down the bowl again and add the dry ingredients and walnuts. Mix on low speed, blending until just combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon, though I highly recommend the former), scoop the batter into 6 muffin cups, alternating so the tops of the muffins will have room to expand. The batter should be domed above the rim of each cup.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Watch your oven. The muffins are ready to come out when their bottoms are dark golden in color (twist a muffin out of the pan to check).
- Twist each muffin out and place it on its side in the cup to cool. This ensures that the muffin stays crusty instead of getting soggy. I had not heard of this trick until I found this recipe and I promise it makes a difference.