Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blueberry muffins, hot chocolate and bird watching...

We woke up to even more snow this morning in New Jersey, and, even though it came over the top of my wellies, I was quite blase, declaring that, 'it's not too bad at all'... I guess I have been living here a while now. Nevertheless, the hubby got the day off work, and so, I had someone to share the parenting load with me.  While he cleared the snow outside, the girls and I whipped up a batch of blueberry muffins... a little mid-week treat to enjoy later in the day with a hot chocolate... I try to get the little ones really involved in the whole baking process... it makes it a bit more messy, but they get so much out of it... and, while the hubby was around to tag team with the kids, this endeavor appeared less daunting.

Anyhoo, early this morning, when the house was still, I brushed the sleep from eyes, pulled on my wellies, trekked across the snow in the garden, and cleared the bird bath so that I could add some much needed sustenance for the poor little birds that were sat in the trees with their little chests puffed out. By the time the girls woke up, the garden was alive with the chatter of birds. I managed to shoot these through the kitchen backdoor and I just had to share them with you...

As a child, my Mum would teach me the names of all the birds that frequented our garden... living here in the States, I've had to re-educate myself on the birds native to New Jersey, and it hasn't grown old... I still get just as much enjoyment out of watching these dart around our garden...

... but, best of all,  I think I've managed to pass this love of birds along to my little girls. They independently pushed a chair to the back door, just so they can watch our little visitors (although they still have to learn the art of being still and quiet, so as not to scare them off)... hopefully, this skill will come sooner rather than later...

Hope you are all having a great week.

Blueberry Muffin Recipe

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of milk
1 stick butter  (1/2 cup), melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
oats for topping

Preheat your oven to 400f and line 12 muffin pan cups with greaseproof muffin cases. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl or jug, using a fork, beat the milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla essence until blended. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture; stir just until the flour is moistened (don't worry, the batter will look lumpy).

Spoon the batter mixture into the prepared muffin-pan cups. (I use an ice-cream scoop to ensure nice even sized muffins). Sprinkle the muffins with oats and a little brown sugar.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of the muffin comes out clean. Approximately 20-25 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack...

I like to eat these why are still a little warm... Mmmmm...


  1. in my older age i have really become interested i bird watching in my own backyard as well, the kids really love watching the birds come to the feeders too. sounds like a good day at home...i love when my husband has an unexpected day's like a mini vacation for me! : )

  2. Thanks for sharing this delicious sounding recipe. What a beautiful photo of your little bird friends sitting amongst the snow.

  3. Hi Laura!
    I just bought a birds house for our birdies, but as the snow is gone here, they can find food themselves for now (although they come to check my table still to see if there is a treat...). Giving your girls these life lessons (baking and bird watching) is so sweet, they will have joy out of it later in life. My girls are baking when they are at grandma's house, their mum is not a reliable source to learn from.... although, now I tackled my first pie, your recipe reads (as in sounds) not too difficult, I will let you know if I will dare to try it! All the best sweetie!
    Maureen x

  4. gorgeous pictures ... i love the look of that yummy recipe and thank you for your kind words. we are very lucky...high and dry x

  5. We love watching and learning about the birds, too! In fact, we're just on our way out to restock the bird feeders, and sprinkle some seed on the snow.

  6. Thanks for the recipe Laura. Do let us know how you're getting on with the smiling resolution - does it make a difference to your day?

  7. Following too Laura!
    I don't recognise those little birds....are they a type of finch?
    Hope you get your "fix" of car boots, jumble sales, Antique Fairs in the UK soon.
    Julie x

  8. Hi Laura, thank you so much for visiting my blog and becoming a follower. Your photos are beautiful, the birds look so much more colourful than any we usually see in our garden apart from the robin of course. Thanks for sharing the muffin recipe they certainly look delicious.
    Ann x

  9. Yummy photos
    yummy recipes...
    All sounds very
    very cozy. You
    have more patience
    in the kitchen than
    I did when mine were
    little. I didn't
    really let them get
    very involved until
    they were closer to 8
    or 10!!
    Happy Day,
    xx Suzanne

  10. Hi Laura - just a quick visit to say can you please email me your address so I can send you your goodies... Lou xx

  11. Those muffins look amazing - could I just lick the spoon? I love your comment about the birds - we need to learn new ones here too! I got a bird identification book for Christmas :) I was surprised how different the robins are


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