Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lemon-Mulberry Muffins

This weekend, while at my parents' house for Father's Day, we were sitting out on the patio and Mom made a comment about the ugly purple stains that were everywhere all of the sudden. "I just can't figure out where they are coming from or what they are! They weren't here a few days ago!"

Dad just rolled his eyes. "It's bird poop, S. They eat the mulberries from that tree over there and it turns the poop purple!"

I was automatically at attention! Mulberries?! Where????? I usually buy my produce at the store, but I've really been into freshly picked produce lately. I've started an herb garden on our tiny apartment patio, and I'm really looking forward to the farmer's markets this summer. I looked to the tree line on Dad's property and da-da! A beautiful mulberry tree just overflowing with berries! I picked about 2 cups or so, all of the ones I could reach anyway. J. came out and helped me for all of 2 minutes before he got bored, I was mad because I needed his tallness!

It's really too hot in my apartment to bake, our A/C is NOT working (they are supposed to come fix it tomorrow), and it's about 85 degrees in here. But, I'm PMSing and needed to bake. Look at these beauties!

Lemon-Mulberry Muffins
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Orange Berry Muffins, from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
3 TBSP Honey
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 cups mulberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin pans.

Pour lemon juice into measuring cup and pour in enough milk to make 1 cup liquid. Whisk in eggs, honey, and melted butter (be careful not to scramble the eggs).

In large bowl, rub the sugar and zest through your fingertips until sugar is moist and you can smell the lemons. Mix in flour, bakign powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour liquid ingredients over dry and mix gently, until no dry flour remains (will still be lumpy). Fold in berries. Divide into muffin cups.

Bake for 22-25 minutes. Tops of muffins will be golden brown and springy to the touch. Cool for 5 minutes before stuffing still way too hot muffins in your face.

Note: Once muffins are all the way cool, I like to wrap them individually in saran wrap and store in my freezer. Then, on a busy morning all I have to do is grab one and stick it in my purse, then nuke it in the microwave at the office for about 45 seconds. Makes a really quick and easy breakfast on a shaky morning, when I need more than coffee (or lately, tea, trying to give up caffeine for my migraines).

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I have this new addiction. Storm Chasing. Now, if you know me at all, you're thinking, "Haley, you HATE storms!" But actually no, that's not true. I've always loved storms, Twister was one of my favorite movies when I was younger. But because I've always been interested in them, I've developed a very healthy respect for them. I know what damage they can cause and so when there's tornados predicted in my area, I try to seek shelter.

Recently though, because of Twitter, I've started watching streaming video from the storm chasers in the Plains States. I especially enjoy Michael Phelps, his audio commentary is always interesting and educational (he's a science teacher in real life, or so I'm told), and there's a chat feature so I can interact with other "home chasers."

It amuses me though, that I am able to stream video like this for hours at a time. I remember when videos and music first became available on line, my dad (the internet provider) would get so frustrated with us when we watched just a short clip online. I still hear his voice in my head every time I watch something. It's so unreal that technology now allows us to follow along live with chasers in Kansas, or watch a movie from Netflix, or have a "face to face" conversation with a soldier in Iraq. We can even do it on our phones now, which is just crazy. I'm in the generation that grew up with this stuff. I don't mean the teens now who grew up ALWAYS having a cell phone with text messaging. I mean we grew up right along side technology. I've really watched technology expand and grow. I remember playing Centipede (or snakes or something like that) on my dad's DOS. It was so awesome that he was able to get weather updates sent to his computer from who knows wear. now I have a live radar on my computer all the time and I can stream video and can SEE the weather! So incredible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Random Articles

There is an article in Real Simple Magazine this month about empty nesters sending random newspaper articles to their children. The consensus was that it's annoying, they'd rather just have their parents call or write a letter, instead of sending a random article about, say, the cat flu in Antarctica. My parents don't do this, but my grandmother does. It used to be just clippings from the local paper with a picture of me with the swim team, or if I made the honor roll, or something like that. Now, she's moved on to email forwards and things like that. As I was reading the article, I was chuckling to myself thinking about the last letter I got from her. Slightly annoying, but endearing at the same time.

Then I realized, I DO THIS TOO! If you don't believe me, look into the archives of this blog and look at all fo the random things I've posted here. When I started this blog, it was just a place for me to post the miscellaneous things I found interesting--cool products, weird news articles, etc. Then Facebook invented it's share function. I didn't use it much at first, until they provided us with a handy little button to put in our favorites bar. Now, when I see come across a handle to carry grocery sacks, I can post it to my facebook. Or say I see a comic that reminds me of my best friend. I can share directly with him! Now that I have Google Reader, I can share with my Reader too! My cousin made a comment to me a few weeks ago that she had blocked me in her Reader feed because I'm constantly sharing funny (to me anyway) lolcats. Unfortunately, I was also sharing vegetarian and vegan recipes I came across, for her specifically. Oops! Because it is just a click of a button, I don't realize how often I share the random things I come across.

But for me, they are conversation starters. I love seeing that little red box in the right hand corner of my facebook that tells me someone has commented on something I've posted. It's the same reason I tweet so much. I like the conversations that evolve from posting such things.

The moral of this story? I have very eclectic interests. I try to keep the shares focused on things that I think other people might be interested, and don't be surprised if I send you an article about your chosen occupation, or your favorite band. It means I was thinking about you, and most people like to know that they matter to someone. At least I do.

Just finished: Watership Down by Richard Adams--This book definitely took me by surprise, when I found out it was about rabbits, I almost put it down as a children's book. However, it's a fantastic adventure story from the meek creatures none of us pay much attention to.

Up next: Home by Julie Andrews

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Better Half

My ex's father once told me that the phrase "other half" was stupid and made no sense. You can't fall in love with someone else until you yourself are whole. Looking back, I know what he was getting at. He was telling an insecure teenager that she needed to love herself before she could expect anyone to love her.

However, I tend to disagree with him that the phrase is silly. Any Army wife knows EXACTLY what that phrase means. Maybe not so much when he is home. But his absence, whether it is one night, a week, a year, is felt so much more than his presence. I can't explain the feeling, other than to say it feels like a piece of you is missing. Something is off. I feel restless, uncomfortable, insecure. It's different from when he just works late. I know he's not coming home tonight, and because of that, I am so, so lonely.

I will not miss this chapter in our lives. I hate going somewhere and being asked by every single person, "Where's J.?" He was supposed to come with me to the wedding today but of course, it was drill weekend. There's nothing worse than attending a wedding alone. It's sort of fitting, because he was absent the entire time I lived with N. and was active in the Campus House. Still, I wanted him to be there.

Ok, I'm going to go to bed now and stop whining. Sorry for this little rant. He'll be home tomorrow night and I will feel so much more at ease.

3 more years...

Reading: Watership Down by Richard Adams