Lately, work/life balance for me has been more like all work/no life, so I’m trying to get a little better about getting away from my computer for an hour or two every day. So Son and I have started running (*snort*) and taking yoga classes at a nearby studio. You’d think, as a former ballet dancer, yoga would totally be my kind of thing. Yeah… no. Unlike ballet, yoga actually requires upper-body strength. o_0
So I’m in a yoga class (because I know it’s good for me, and I know I should be working on my upper body strength, but seriously why do we have to stay in downward dog for so freaking long?!), and we’re doing the thing where you go into downward dog, and then into plank position, and you sloooooowly lower yourself to the floor (don’t ask me what the fancy yoga name is, I have absolutely no clue)… and I’m sweating, and my arms are shaking, and about a third of the way down my muscles are just like, NOPE. NOT GOING ANY FURTHER. And I crash to the ground.
Did I mention I have no upper body strength?
As I’m laying on the mat, face-down, trying not to burst out laughing, the entire class goes silent. It wasn’t exactly a quiet crash. I’m pretty sure the teacher was worried I’d hurt myself. So I reassure everyone, “I’m okay!” Except it came out as more of a strained squeak than a self-assured statement.
… which is why I go to the class called “gentle yoga”, and not the “serious yoga for people who actually know what they’re doing” class. I don’t try to be disruptive (honest!) but I’m really good at falling on my face. Also, downward dog is my nemesis.
Oh, and I hate kale.
I pretty much fail at being a Californian.
Another thing that is helping me keep my head on straight (more or less) is trying to be more efficient in places where it makes sense for me. Like buying pre-cut fruit at the grocery store (I KNOW, but let’s be honest, I am SO not going to be able to find the time to cut up a whole pineapple at home, and then it’s just going to go bad and be a waste and make me sad).
Or making breakfast ahead of time… which brings me to these muffins! Oh, these muffins. They’re so wonderfully delicious. I make a huge batch of them about once a month, freeze them, and then all I have to do is roll out of bed, pop a couple of them in the microwave, and voila! Breakfast! A hot, filling, fairly healthy breakfast!
Because I’m the kind of person who neeeeds breakfast (boy, do I get hangry if I don’t) but cooking first thing in the morning is so not a thing that happens here, especially on the mornings when I have to go directly from bed to computer for early morning conference calls. Morning person, I am not.
On a side note, I went to a food blogging conference! … almost four months ago. … and I didn’t take a single picture while I was there.
(If there were an award for worst food blogger, I’d definitely have won at least a few times in the last five years.)
Conferences usually aren’t my jam, mostly because I’m the worst networker ever (I’m that quiet chick hanging out in the corner, because she doesn’t know how to go up to people and introduce herself without being super awkward), SEO makes me grumpy, and I always feel kind of dumb being like, “Have you heard of Fridgg [the app, not the blog]? It’s super awesome and you should totally use it! (Please check it out?)”
So I’ve more or less sworn off conferences. Except for Big Traveling Potluck, which I’ve gone to the past two years, and is a lot more fun because it’s not a “learn about SEO and pass out business cards” conference, it’s more of a “let’s be awesome and eat good food and make great friends” conference.
In which I lost my voice on the bus in the middle of a conversation with Aran (*facepalm* way to be suuuuper awkward, Allison), didn’t get to talk to Fabiola nearly enough (why do we always do this?!), promised to hang out with Aimee (seriously, we live like five minutes from each other, why do we only ever see each other at a conference that’s two hours away?), and got to hang out with so many old and new friends. And I was only awkward, like, half the time!
Oh, and I won a thing! Which was cool, and unexpected, and holy cow what am I going to do with a year’s worth of coupons for free Earthbound Farms products? (Plus a salad bowl and three cookbooks… it was a pretty freaking awesome prize.)
So after the conference (and subsequent Europe trip, which will definitely be blogged about sooner or later!), I made another batch of these muffins. (That was the third time I’ve made them, and I think I’ve made them another two times since then.) Lo and behold – the spinach, THAT I WAS GOING TO BUY ANYWAYS, was Earthbound Farms brand! (Holy free spinach, Batman!) And the maple honey ham that I had also been buying for previous muffin batches was from Fork in the Road – another brand that had been at BTP2.
It’s the little things that make me smile.
The original muffin recipe is from The Kitchn, and uses prosciutto and chives. Which I’m sure is delicious, but I subbed in bacon when I made it the first time, which is DEFINITELY delicious. (Best eaten with Tobasco sauce – you can thank me later.)
Since I feel like I should be maybe a little healthier with something I’m eating every morning for breakfast, all my subsequent batches have used ham and spinach. Also very delicious. (And reminds me of Easter every time I eat it.) I recommend both substitutions, or you can totally mix it up with whatever you want to add in.
For the original measurements, see the recipe at The Kitchn. I’m sharing the recipe I use, which makes ~48 muffins.
Also, I’ve found that these muffins stick REALLY badly to baking cups. I’ve tried both the foil ones and paper ones, and both times the bottom of the muffin was inedible (and I may have eaten a little paper in the process). I bought these silicone baking cups (I have them in both colors now) (yes, that’s an affiliate link), and they work really, really well. No more sticking! Although I find that the bottoms of the muffins still burn just a tiny bit, although that’s very probably just my stupid oven.
- 2 lbs (~3.5 cups) cottage cheese
- ~5 oz grated parmesan cheese
- 16 large eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 lb (4 cups) almond meal
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb maple honey ham, chopped
- 1 lb spinach, wilted
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. If using silicone cups, lightly coat them with cooking oil if they’re not seasoned yet, and place them on a baking sheet. Otherwise, line a muffin pan with paper baking cups and spray them lightly with baking spray.
- Mix the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, and water together in a (very) large bowl. Add the flour, almond meal, baking powder, smoked paprika, and salt, and whisk until there are no more lumps. Fold in the ham and spinach, making sure to mix them in as you go so you don’t get big clumps of spinach. (Trust me, an all-spinach muffin is no fun.)
- Fill the muffin cups with batter until they’re about 3/4 of the way full, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
- The muffins refrigerate and freeze well. I wouldn’t keep them in the fridge any longer than a week, but I’ve frozen them for up to one month (they’ve never lasted longer than that, so I’m not sure how long they’d stay good in the freezer).
- Reheat them in the microwave for one minute on HIGH when refrigerated, or 90 seconds to two minutes on HIGH from the freezer.