Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins

Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins | A Sweet Spoonful

I sat down to write this Mother’s Day post a few weeks ago, and was so looking forward to sharing these strawberry muffins with you. I’d planned to write a simple enough post on motherhood, a dispatch of sorts, 18 months in. But as the days ticked on and I stared at my screen, I found myself constantly hedging and apologizing and acknowledging how hard this thing is for so many: to get pregnant, to stay pregnant, to find a community as a new mom, to continue feeling like yourself, or some semblance of the self you remember, to be the kind of mom you always thought you’d be, to be ok — periodically — with letting the kind of mom you’d always wanted to be … go. So today I’m sharing a bit of a messier glimpse into things over here and please know that you have my full permission to just scroll down to the bottom of this post if you just want to make yourself some damn muffins and get on with your weekend. I get it. They’re good muffins.

Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins | A Sweet SpoonfulI found out I was pregnant for the first time the same day I found out I was no longer pregnant. We’d been talking about having a baby for quite awhile and had been trying for a bit when I made the mistake of telling people we were trying. With friends and family now constantly asking how that was going, it wasn’t. Until it was. And I jumped into Sam’s arms to tell him and bought myself a fancy decaf latte and walked around our neighborhood feeling like, all of a sudden, everything was different. I stared at my belly in the shower wondering when it’d start to grow, googled pregnancy blogs, and picked up a book on pregnancy nutrition at the library. Later that afternoon, I started to have awful cramps but didn’t think much of it because, hey! Maybe this is what pregnancy is like! And then I started bleeding. A lot. The rest of that afternoon and evening is more of a blur than a memory, a doctor visit and bad news and a bottle of champagne sitting in the fridge that we didn’t end up touching. I sat in the car on the way home from the doctor wondering what was wrong with my body, why it wasn’t a hospitable home for this babe. Wondering how we would visit my mom’s house in California for Christmas a week and a half later and pretend like everything was just fine.

Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins | A Sweet Spoonful

My doctor assured me it was nothing I’d done wrong. As I gripped the referral for counseling, he told me this was actually a really good sign: we got pregnant! It worked. And it would work again. This was actually very common. I wondered why, if it was so common, no one seemed to talk about it. After taking a few months off, we started actively trying to get pregnant again and in very early spring, got good news: It worked (again). This time we didn’t tell anyone right away. Instead, I focused on staying really healthy, eating well, taking fish oil. All the things. I started to see an acupuncturist who, for some reason, told me I shouldn’t be running and that I needed to eat and drink lots of warming, nurturing, gentle foods and to keep my body in a “cocoon” state (I know now that this was insane advice, but boy did I spend weeks gently stepping off curbs and eating lots of sweet potatoes and broth, as if that baby could somehow get jarred right out of me with too boisterous a step).

Cocoon or not, this time around felt different and after three months, we told family. Time ticked on, yoga classes became cumbersome as my belly grew, and I started to realize that my acupuncturist was, well, full of it. I began running again and stepping off curbs with some verve — and I told you all here. I was lucky enough to have a really healthy and energetic pregnancy, and was fascinated by the whole thing. Bodies! Then on a very cold, bright day in mid-November Oliver was born in the late afternoon after a long morning mostly laboring at home. While I didn’t write his whole birth story here as, I guess, it felt a bit private, I shared him with you as soon as I had the chance.So many people talk about how they couldn’t wait to get home from the hospital with their new baby. Because I had some hemorrhaging, we ended up having to stay an extra night and I remember thinking, THANK GOD.  Let’s order another breakfast burrito and get some of that delicious tiny round ice to put in our apple juice! I was in no rush to start the motherhood thing without helpful nurses by my side. And as I suspected, it wasn’t all sunshine and unicorns when we got home. Much like miscarriage, people don’t talk enough about how hard breastfeeding is or how you may not feel like a complete natural the second you hold your baby. Looking back, I wish someone would’ve encouraged me to stop shuttling around to see lactation consultants and specialists and chill out a bit on the breastfeeding front. Or to stop all the late night googling. It was helping no one, and making me feel like we weren’t doing a good job.  I wish I could’ve seen the bigger picture of it all — that we were, in fact, doing a great job keeping our new baby alive and relatively healthy. And that was our only job at the moment. But when you’re in the thick of all that monumental newness, it’s impossible to see the daylight streaming in from all the windows; it often looks much more like a tunnel.

As I sit here now, it seems like forever ago that I was on the couch with Oliver, nursing him with my weird wraparound pillow, watching the neighborhood kids walk to and back home from school. Today things are very different. We’re all settling into a routine and getting to know each other as actual people. Oliver sleeps through the night and sits with us for meals. He’s developed a true passion for avocados and tortellini, loves to walk around the block and has a jaunty little swing with his right arm that helps propel his stride. He has a killer sense of humor, likes to shower with his papa, and make smoothies in the morning with me.

We have a pretty good thing going. It’s a very different kind of thing than it used to be, and in many ways it’s actually harder, but still good.  Right now, we’re in the toddler thick of it which, in short, means Oliver has FEELINGS about things and likes to express them. When I was pregnant, I read that book Bringing Up Bebe and remember thinking: Yes! There’s no need to change the cadence of our days and what our life looks like just because we have a baby! Kids need to learn to incorporate themselves into their family’s life — not the other way around. Well, clearly I need to read that book again  … or move to France, or even better: forget I ever read that book. Toddlers completely change the dynamic of a household; there’s just no way around it. We have more ugly plastic toys than I ever thought we would and make certain concessions that I remember judging other parents for way back when.

Eating has become a particular challenge these days. Whereas babies are so curious and often, at least in my experience, love trying new purees and flavors, toddlers develop opinions quickly and Oliver loves the ole’ headshake and head turn. No thanks. Nope, nope, nope. We’ve tried moving him from the highchair to a booster seat, incorporating all different foods, reading to him during dinner, even singing. We’re pulling out all the stops over here. And you know what we did this past Monday? We sat on the floor and ate hot dogs and popcorn because that’s the only thing Oliver wanted and the only way he’d stop losing his mind. And I really needed to have a night without Oliver losing his mind. And while part of me wants to teach him that we eat sitting in our chairs, another part thinks he’s still so small and there are bigger battles. I often turn to Sam and ask, wait, is this how we’re doing this? This isn’t what we’d thought or talked about or envisioned.

We change and rejigger, regroup and make concessions and occasionally don’t even recognize the person we become.  In many ways, writing about motherhood is really hard for me because I can just hear the judgement or muttering from family or from friends, some who have numerous kids or just different philosophies. What could you possibly have to offer after just 18 months? You only have one kid? Try three. But of course, we all have our own path through the tunnel. Some are darker. Some are full of roadblocks or even dead ends. Some catch some light streaming in from unseen windows. And maybe, for the lucky, there are hot dogs and popcorn on the other side. Preferably enjoyed sitting cross-legged on the floor.

Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins | A Sweet SpoonfulThese muffins are from Andrea Bemis’s book Dishing up the Dirt. They’re simple, naturally-sweetened, and besides the strawberries, I had everything I needed in the pantry to get them in the oven. Depending on the day, time of day, weather, current mood, temperature, or state of world affairs, they’re kid-approved. You feel me? I hope you all like them and enjoy your weekend, whatever that may bring.

Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins

Honey-Roasted Strawberry Muffins

  • Yield: 12 muffins
  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 45 mins
  • Inactive time: 10 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 10 mins

These muffins make for a stellar mid-morning snack, and while I loved them with roasted strawberries, I imagine you could use any berries you’d like here. I made a few tweaks to Andrea’s recipe based solely on what we had in the cupboards, and my changes are written in the recipe below. But just so you know, you can easily make these muffins dairy free: Andrea suggests using almond milk instead of milk; she also calls for walnut oil (but I opted for olive oil here instead).

Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Dishing up the Dirt

Ingredients

Roasted Strawberries:

2 cups strawberries, quartered (about 12 ounces)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons runny honey
pinch kosher salt

Muffins:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey

Instructions

To roast the berries:
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the berries with the oil, honey and salt. Place them on the baking sheet and roast until they’re juicy and reduced in size, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly. If the berries are still rather large, slice in half so you have large chunks and reserve 3/4 cup for the muffins (if you have extra, use them on your morning yogurt or atop ice cream).

To finish the muffins:
Increase the oven temperature to 400 F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners or generously coat the tin with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, vanilla and  honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the reserved strawberries and stir until they’re evenly incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake until muffins are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 18-20 minutes. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes before using a knife to gently remove them from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy within 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Comments

  1. Ashley Rodriguez

    Beautiful reflections friend. Happy Mother's Day.

    1. megang

      Thank you, Ashley. Happy Mother's Day to you, too! xox

  2. Emma

    As a newish mom, this was a comfort to read. Thank you for sharing!

    1. megang

      I'm so glad to hear that, Emma! Happy Mothers Day to you!

  3. Alesha

    I love this.! Everyone's mommy stories are different and I am inspired by what you wrote. You know my story and yes, things are challenging, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Love love xoxo

    1. megang

      Happy Mothers Day, Alesha! I DO know your story! You are an inspiration to so many. I hope you had a great Mother's Day! xoxo

  4. Mary

    Well, this was just wonderful to read (although I am so very sorry that you had a miscarriage). We have a two year old and I laughed out loud at your description of toddlers - they do indeed have FEELINGS and love to express them! I hope you have a beautiful Mother's Day, Megan.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Mary! So glad you liked the post. Happy Mothers Day to you!

  5. Amy

    Oh my toddlers and All.Their.Opinions. I mean, who gives a person that small such big opinions?? I identified with so much of this. An extra night in the hospital?? Yes please! (I had c-section.) My husband picked up burgers and we watched football! I wanted to take all the nurses home with me. Trouble with breastfeeding?? I basically gave up as soon as we got home. All I wanted was a fed baby and I didn't care how it happened.
    Of course, everything was different with my second! Different birth, ready to get home, no problem breastfeeding,
    And feeding toddlers??? My 3 year old eats like 5 things, total. Plain roasted chicken? Nope. Mac n'cheese? Nah. I have seriously become the foodie mom who makes dinner and then throws 3 frozen meatballs in the oven for my kid. I let him eat those and applesauce or yogurt more nights than I'd like to admit!
    Looks like you're doing great, though. Truly!

    1. megang

      AMY! I loved your comment. I literally read it on my phone as I was microwaving turkey meatballs and slicing string cheese for Oliver's dinner. Those are on heavy rotation around here :) And I hear you on ALL THE OPINIONS. Wow. Tiny dictators, they are! Good for you for deciding what was best for you and what wasn't working. I don't know why I was so hard on myself with breastfeeding - we eventually started supplementing which was SO GREAT because I could actually leave the house occasionally and not stress out so much about supply. You were smart - a fed baby is obviously the most important. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day with (or without) your crew! And thank you for taking the time to leave a sweet comment.

  6. Julie

    Great writing! Kudos to you. This made me recall my daughter's six month "birthday "--my husband and I cracked open champagne to celebrate having kept her alive and well! That baby recently turned 19. She, too, was a long-term bald baby, not that you'd ever guess it now. Keep up the great work and thanks for doing it.

    1. megang

      Aww, so great, Julie! YES! Keeping the baby alive is basically what it's all about :) I remember after a doctor's appointment (maybe it was the six week postpartum check up), my midwife said, "now just go home and feed that baby; that's the only thing you need to worry about." Which was good to hear. Anyway, I hope you had a great Mother's Day and so glad you enjoyed the post. 19! An exciting time to see her grow into her own, too, I'm sure.

  7. Nicole

    YUM! I'm making these with rhubarb too. So sorry you had a miscarriage but so happy you have your boy. The toddler stage is definitely interesting, but then each age has its beauties and challenges! I try very hard to not get emotionally attached to how much Sierra eats; I do my best to offer mostly healthy stuff and if she doesn't eat it then we try again tomorrow. And yes she does get the occasional lolly and loves cookie ;) Happy Mother's Day to you and the family!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Nicole! The toddler stage is ... interesting, isn't it? Thankfully Sam and I have a really good sense of humor about it. We often look at eachother in awe, like WHAAAAAT?! It is SO HARD for me not to get emotionally attached to what O is eating, but I know it's the best advice. He strangely just doesn't like to eat in his chair much these days and it feels so horribly dysfunctional for him to be grabbing food and eating it on the go all around the house but ... whatever for now, I suppose. I hope you guys had a wonderful Mother's Day. That cake looked gorgeous!

  8. Erika

    Thanks for writing this. I have a little one who is one month younger than your son, so I can relate to so much of what you say. Maybe I'm just noticing it now that I have a kid, but I feel like I have seen more honest writing about new motherhood lately. I certainly appreciate it.

    1. megang

      Agreed, Erika. Love the more honest pieces about motherhood I've been seeing around online, too - it's so good for all of us to see some realistic glimpses into the early years, I think. I hope you had a wonderful restful-ish (ha) Mother's Day. And really happy you enjoyed the post.

  9. Kristin Nelson

    This was so lovely, thank you for sharing. And hey, those muffins sound pretty great, too. :)

    1. megang

      Thank you, Kristin!!!!

  10. Vanessa Burgess

    Happy Mother's Day Megan.
    I always said that going to work outside of the home and having
    Elsie was much easier in many ways. And guess what?
    Jill and Marjorie survived! I'm sure Grama had her doubts!
    Love Aunt V

    1. megang

      Thank you, Aunt V! Yes, both of your girls turned out just fine, didn't they :) All different ways to do this thing and gosh, I loved being around Elsie too. She was fantastic. Happy late Mothers Day to you!

  11. Debra

    Love that you posted this and of course you have much to say after 18 months,
    your whole world inverts itself after having a child (or 2 or 3) but no one wants to talk about the messy and complicated parts...and those are the parts I LOVE...it makes me feel like I am NOT the only one...thank you so much for not posting about how perfect everything is...it is way too common to log on and read about someone's Instagram perfect life....which makes me feel sad,...your post was beautiful...Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Debra! I agree! I'd really wanted to write a realistic motherhood post for awhile, but wasn't sure the blog was the right spot. But then I just dove in, and it seems it resonated with a lot of readers which makes me happy. So glad you enjoyed it, too. We could all use a little more non-Instagrammable motherhood stories in our lives. I hope you had a great Mothers Day yesterday!

  12. Suzanne

    I really related to your Mothers Day reflections as far as a miscarriage and not knowing enough about it before hand, as I had one too. Then like you I got pregnant again and had a healthy pregnancy and baby girl. My baby girl is turning 30 this year but it seems like yesterday that I had her as my memories are vivid about it all. I also had a terrible time breast feeding and went through much physical pain and quilt about it. I also had to go back to work 6 weeks to the day after I had her due to my boss and work. My husband and I worked it out as we had different schedules so our baby girl always had one of us looking after her so that was the blessing. However I missed her during the day and got little sleep at night for a while. Would I trade it all for a simpler life....a resounding NO! Having my child was the best thing I ever did in my life. I am grateful for the beautiful woman she has become and as a mom I am so proud of her. Thank you again for sharing your Mothers Day story so honestly as I sure could relate to it. Love your recipes too. Have a wonderful Mothers Day.

    1. megang

      Hi, Suzanne. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. And gosh, going back to work after 6 weeks must've been really, really hard but HOORAY for flexible schedules. That sounds like a really ideal situation. I hope you had a great Mothers Day yesterday, and am really glad that the blog post resonated with you; that means so much.

  13. Cara

    Thank you for your honesty. Im four months deep into it and I'm still not feeling quite like myself yet. I really wish I lived closer to you and could sit and talk with you more about your views on motherhood. I find it rare to encounter someone with the similar views as myself and I find myself actually trying to stay away as far as possible from the mommy groups around here because I feel lost among them. It also makes me sad that no matter where you are in the motherhood timeline, there are always people who say they know better, know more, oh just wait until x, etc. I'm finding the more I stop comparing, reading online, listening to that negativity, fearing the next stage, and actually take that energy into listening to my child and what HE needs, I'm much happier. Loved this post! Happy Mom's Day ❤️

    1. megang

      Cara! What a treat to see your name pop up here! Oh gosh, four months in: YES. That's the thick of it for sure and you really appear to be handling it beautifully but I hear you 100% on not feeling like yourself yet. I wish we lived closer, too, and could chat over coffee or ice cream. I think your instinct to stay away from groups that don't necessarily feel like 'you' or feel that helpful is really, really smart. There's all kinds of ways to mother or just TO BE and I found I didn't connect with a lot of them, too. Love what you said about listening to your baby - I commented back to another reader here, asking if she'd heard of that app The Wonder Weeks. Have you? Basically you can track your baby week by week and it gives you predictions on what the week will bring, behavior, temperment-wise etc etc. Well, we followed it religiously and I put so much stock into it and then I noticed after awhile it would say every week was going to be "stormy" and to expect this negative thing or that negative thing and finally i was like, FUCK YOU, WONDER WEEKS! So we stopped looking at a lot of online things and tried to just settle in and get to know our little guy. I hated all the 'it gets better' or 'wait until xxx month' but I will say that, as far as feeling like yourself, that really is likely to get a lot better! You will totally be able to calmly catch up with friends over coffee or get a pedicure or exercise or whatever makes you feel like you again ... it gets easier to leave the house, to sneak out solo etc etc. Anyway, I feel like we could chat forever. I hope you had a great Mother's Day and I'm sending you lots of good thoughts for the week ahead. xoxox

  14. Lori

    Megan! As always, I so love your blog (and recipes! Your recipes!). I especially love your words about the craziness that is parenthood. Thanks for being courageous and sharing your journey. It helps all of us mamas far more than you can ever know. Xoxo

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Lori. I really, really appreciate you taking the time to comment and it means so much the motherhood posts are resonating with folks. Have a wonderful week and happy (late) Mother's Day! I hope you had a restful one. xox

  15. Susan

    That was a great story and if you look at ALL the mothers across time and how differently they/we did everything and the kiddos survived, then you and yours will also! Happy Mother's Day........here's to Hot Dogs and Popcorn!!

    1. megang

      Totally, Susan. My mom said to me once, when I was expressing concern that maybe Oliver was going to walk very late: "Everyone walks to the Junior Prom." Much like you said. So glad you're enjoying the blog! Have a great week.

  16. Wendy

    I wish I had read your post 10 years ago--just days before my first was born. Having lost my mom many years ago, I didn't have her voice of comfort or counsel. She wasn't there to tell me: don't worry about it! Or, do what's right for YOU and your family, not what this website says or that book. Lessons we must learn on our own. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, your family, and your table with all of us. Our family enjoys so many of your treats--both savory and sweet--and I wish you a wonderful day with your wonderful guys.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Wendy. Your comment means so much. I'm so glad the post resonated with you and sorry to hear about you losing your mom. Yes I think the websites are both helpful (information!) and also harmful (information!) -- in sometimes equal measure. Did you ever hear of The Wonder Weeks? It's an app and website that gives you updates on your baby every week and we would obsessively follow it and then decided to throw it out the window because basically every week would have the little cloud icon next to it (indicating a stormy week) and we were like, NO! We're going to have a good week for once! Anyway, I hear you and I'm really glad you're enjoying reading the site and cooking from it every now and again. Hope you had a great Mother's Day!

  17. Eve

    I wondered too, when I miscarried twice before having a perfectly healthy baby, why no one seemed to talk about something beforehand that, afterwards, EVERYONE seemed to tell me about. Miscarriage is not only common... it turned out that probably the majority of women I knew had had one. But no one mentioned it until after I'd had one too. It's more common to talk about it now, 15 years later. But there is still that weird taboo ("don't tell anyone you're pregnant before 3 months, so as to avoid having to tell them you're un-pregnant!"... Why? What's wrong with telling them that?). I know that, after my first miscarriage, I felt a kind of shame as well as sadness-- as though I had made a big deal over nothing. I'd said I was pregnant but I was just... exaggerating. Making this a normal part of life that we can discuss would be freeing for many women, I imagine.

    1. megang

      Agreed, Eve! I learned that so many women had miscarried too, and I was like, let's normalize this a bit here! Sorry to hear it happened to you as well, but really glad to hear you went on to have a healthy baby. Happy (late) Mother's Day!

  18. Kelly

    I have five and I don't have as many good words as you to describe it all. This left me in tears. It's all so beautiful and so trying and we're all just doing the best we can.

    1. megang

      Ahh, thank you so much Kelly. I really appreciate you saying so and am so glad you enjoyed the post. Happy Mother's Day to you!

  19. Jessica

    This is perfection, words and recipe. Bravo and Happy Mother's Day to you!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Jessica! A belated Happy Mother's Day to you as well! xox

  20. Kelly

    Thank you so much for this Megan! Ugh, this parenting thing is hard. And just when you think you have something figured out, they change their mind. I totally wanted to stay in the hospital as long as I could—and the second time around we were actually excited to have hospital food (they serve jook, a warm ginger, chicken porridge). All this is to say, we're all just trying to figure this out and if you find something that works, sweet baby j, run with it!!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Kelly! Strange that I saw this the day you posted and am only replying now (ahhhh, motherhood). Your hospital food sounds better than ours! Ours was pretty basic, but gosh I didn't care and was so thankful for it. I would've eaten that rice pudding + breakfast burritos + apple juice for a long time, I think :) Yes I'd love to talk with you sometime about how different it is with 2; I imagine it's way, way different. Loving your photos of the kids lately AND art! Hope you guys are all having a great week, xox

  21. Emma

    Ugh! Bringing up Bebe!! Misleading pregnant ladies everywhere. Haha.
    Thanks for writing honestly about motherhood-- the good and hard!

    1. megang

      Ha, Emma! RIGHT?!?!

  22. Tara

    French kids eat everything is the book I read and realized after my kids became toddlers that it was a waste of time. My kids like ketchup, and a lot of it. Three kids, they all have different appetites and are different eaters. One super picky, one that loves everything and one that loves salads (weird). I've decided it's the kid and not the parenting. And besides, hot dogs are downright delicious.

    1. megang

      Ok, Tara, so honestly after reading your comment I thought to myself: KETCHUP! Let's try that with our edamame tonight. And sure enough, it's a new fave. So thanks for the tip :) And I totally agree: a hot dog now and then never killed anyone. Thank you!

  23. Tina

    Long time reader (pre-children on either side) first time commenting, while my two months old is sleeping next to me with a pacifier FOR THE FIRST TIME. Your post resonated with me when looking back at when I had my first, second time around is still hard but you are already more used to it except that each child is different....
    Plus I also miscarried in-between but never felt properly pregnant so that I was not too discouraged rather impressed - again - by how my body knew how to deal with it.
    I remember a few days after giving birth for the first time, getting SO frustrated with the internet, yelling at my husband: There are always two opposing suggestions to every dilemma. Duh.... Now I have 1-2 credible websites I occasionally refer to (not the chats though!) but other than that I try to rely on my instincts and fortunately my midwife (bless the German health system).
    During parental leave for my first, I even considered writing a book about combining work and motherhood since all the advice I found was bull****. In this, I also wanted to include the experiences from other countries since with my international friends I noticed that what is the strict rule in one country is considered very differently in another (vaccinations, vitamin D, fluoride, breastfeeding and especially staying at home vs. child care to name but a few). Never found the time though....
    So thank you very much for putting yourself out there!

    1. megang

      Hi, Tina! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment and CONGRATS on your new little one. Also: that's huge (sleeping next to you) - small victories! And you're so right about the internet being helpful / harmful: I remember lots of late night googling and frustration (oh yes, gotta stay off those chatboards), trying to figure out the perfect schedule or solution, only to eventually learn it all just changes the next day anyway! LOVE your book idea! Do it! I think it'd be so reassuring for new moms, and really rich insight (perhaps a blog as a way to dip a toe in?). Thanks again, and hope you're all having a good week so far!

  24. Tegan

    You are amazing. I love the way you write about motherhood and found your blog when I was pregnant. Now our little guy is almost a year. Thank you for sharing.

    1. megang

      Aww that makes me so happy. Thank you for saying so! And congratulations on the first year - a big deal!!

  25. NIshta

    These are delicious! My son (who is almost 5) & I made them together this morning--his friend is home sick and he wanted to make something to cheer her up :) I loved how simple they were--always on the lookout for wholesome treats that don't require softening any butter or bringing eggs to room temp! And since they're nut-free, I can send them with him to school as a snack. Thank you for sharing and happy belated Mother's Day--it's not for the faint of heart, parenting, is it??

    1. megang

      Thanks, Nishta! So glad you guys enjoyed the muffins. Yes I love how fuss free they are, too! Keep meaning to make them with blueberries or raspberries (or both). Have a great weekend!

  26. Megan

    Thank you so much for sharing your parenting stories in such an open, honest, and thoughtful way. Please, continue, because you are filling a void. I'm fed up with the fact that diluted and one-dimensional perspectives on parenthood remain prevalent in main-stream media. You dig deeper, and for that, I am grateful. As for Bringing Up Bebe...I, too, read that book during my first pregnancy. And now I laugh and tell my husband we probably shouldn't visit France anytime soon, as I watch my 3 year-old loudly slurp carrots straight off the table "like a bunny." I'm just happy he's eating vegetables-we can learn French table manners another day.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Megan, and I apologize for my delay in getting back to you. So glad the motherhood posts are resonating with you - I was feeling the same way ... that the pleasant, beautiful sheen across so many parenthood articles could dig in a little deeper. And Yes re: Bringing up Bebe. I'm just glad I checked it out from the library instead of buying it! That's too funny about the carrots - we're just over here dipping everything in ketchup :) (very un French). Hope you have a great weekend!

  27. Pavla

    Oh my gosh. I could write a comment as long as your post. I'm so sorry to hear about the miscarriage.. I lost one at the end of my third trimester and because they are so common and nobody talks about them, I thought that surely it must be no big deal, and that's the farthest thing from the truth. And parenting.... Parenting, I've decided, is really hard in this day and age. There's so much freaking advice out there, and so many examples of what you "should" do, it's dizzying. And it's so easy to feel like you're failing at the whole darn thing. Sometimes I wonder, where are these docile, accommodating children that people speak of? My son is a somewhat picky eater as well, which has been hard for me as a cook and a person who has spent so much time learning about healing with food. But his BIG challenge has been sleep. And if I see one more sleep book with a "guaranteed method" to teach your child to sleep through the night, I'm going to throw is out the window. Your feeding concessions are my sleeping concessions, I totally get it. But I believe that we as parents need our happiness and sanity first and foremost, however we can get it.

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Winter Comfort Food

Winter Morning Porridge

Winter Morning Porridge

I intended on baking holiday cookies to share with you today, but when I sat down to brainstorm all I could think about, truly, was the morning porridge I've been making and how that's really what I wanted to send you away with. The holiday season always seems to zoom on by at its own clip with little regard for how most of us wish it would just slow down, and this year feels like no exception. We got our tree last week and I've been making a point to sit in the living room and admire the twinkle as much as possible. I have lofty goals of snowflakes and gingerbread men and stringing cranberries and popcorn, but I'm also trying to get comfortable with the fact that everything may not get done, and that sitting amongst the twinkle is really the most important. That and a warm breakfast before the day spins into gear. This multi-grain porridge has proved to be a saving grace on busy weekday mornings, and it reheats beautifully so I've been making a big pot and bringing it to work with some extra chopped almonds and fresh pomegranate seeds. While cookies are certainly on the horizon, I think I'll have this recipe to thank for getting us through the busy days ahead. 

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Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine).  Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).

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Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard

Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard

If I asked you about what you like to cook at home when the week gets busy, I'm willing to bet it might be something simple. While there are countless websites and blogs and innumerable resources to find any kind of recipe we may crave, it's often the simple, repetitive dishes that we've either grown up with or come to love that call to us when cooking (or life in general) seems overwhelming or when we're feeling depleted. While my go-to is typically breakfast burritos or whole grain bowls, this Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard would make one very fine, very doable house meal on rotation. The adaptations are endless, and its made from largely pantry ingredients. I never thought I'd hop on the cauliflower "rice" bandwagon, but I have to say after making it a few times, I get the hype. 

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Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.

Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.

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Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Tart with a Cornmeal Millet Crust

Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Tart with a Cornmeal Millet Crust

It's been a uniformly gray and rainy week in Seattle, and I'd planned on making a big pot of salmon chowder to have for the weekend, but then the new issue of Bon Appetit landed on my doorstep with that inviting "Pies for Dinner" cover, and I started to think about how long it's been since I made my very favorite recipe from my cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings. I'm often asked at book events which recipe I love most, and it's a tough one to answer because I have favorites for different moods or occasions, but I'd say that this savory tart is right up there. The cornmeal millet crust is one of my party tricks; when we need a quick brunch recipe, this is what I pull out of my back pocket because it's so simple and delicious. This is a no-roll, no fuss crust with a slightly sandy, crumbly texture thanks to the cornmeal, and a delightful crunch from the millet. In the past, I've used the crust and custard recipe as the base for any number of fillings: on The Kitchn last year, I did a version with greens and gruyere, and I teach cooking classes that often include a version heavy on local mushrooms and shallot. So if you are not keen on salmon or have some vegetables you're looking to use up this week, feel free to fold in whatever is inspiring you right now. Sometimes at this point in winter that can be hard, so hopefully this recipe may help a little. 

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