Bakery Blues

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One of my main sorrows in leaving the city is the lack of a good sit-down bakery to enjoy delicious baked goods for breakfast (I’m not talking about cupcakes).  Ever since our first daughter was born, we made a ritual of going out to breakfast on the week-ends.  I would bring my daughter to one of the various coffee/ bakery shops around us and we would enjoy some quality mommy-daughter time.  It was always such a pleasant way to begin the week-end.  In moving to the suburbs, I had a hard time finding the perfect breakfast spot that had the ambiance and the the quality of baked goods.  One of our favorite places to frequent in Brooklyn was a wonderful little bakery called Blue Sky Bakery.  They make the most delicious muffins.  All of them are fresh-made daily and incorporate seasonal ingredients, such as fresh pumpkin or apple in the fall, peaches in the summer, and so on.  On any given day, they have at least 10 varieties to choose from.  My daughter loved to eat all of the fruit out of my muffins and we thoroughly enjoyed the varieties offered each day.

I wondered if I could find the recipe for these muffins, as the shop only had two base recipes, one bran and one non-bran, with different fruit mixtures for variety.  I was in luck and thank you Google for helping me find it!  These are seriously the best bran muffins I have had and I was so excited to find the recipe out there.  I found out that it was published in a cookbook “Table of Contents“.  You can use any combination of fruit in these muffins and they are always amazing.  I made these as my two year old sat on the kitchen counter watching me create these wonders and when they were done, she dug in, eating all the fruit out of the center, just like her sister used to do.  It’s like they’re related!  You should try these muffins out.  Not too sweet, very easy and fast, extremely delicious!

Blue Sky Bakery Bran Muffin (makes 2 dozen)

  • 2 and 2/3 c buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c vegetable oil
  • 3 c. wheat bran
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cup fruit (I used raspberries and peaches)

Preheat oven to 425 and coat muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.

Mix buttermilk, eggs and oil in a medium bowl.

In seperate bowl combine wheat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt.

Pour wet mixture into dry one and mix until just combined.

Place about 2 tbsp of batter in each muffin tin (the batter will expand to fill about 1/2 the cup).  Place a generous layer of fruit  (about 2 heaping teaspoons) into each cup.  Measure 2 tsp of the sugar in a small bowl, taking pinches with your fingers, sprinkle the sugar over the fruit.  Divide remaining batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Place remaining 2 tspn of sugar into bowl and pinch and sprinkle the sugar over the top!

Bake for 5 minutes.  Rotate muffin tins front to bake to ensure even cooking and bake for another 11-13 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it.  Do NOT overbake.

Cook on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from tin.

 

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The Bright Spot

Owning a home takes a lot of patience. I keep wanting everything to be done immediately, but it takes time to figure out how the house is going to reflect the personalities that live within it. I have spent countless hours trolling websites looking at images of things I like and don’t like to try and figure out how I want our home to look.

The previous owner had hired an interior designer. While it was not exactly to my taste, it did possess a “put together” feel. One of the countless items that they had installed were a number of light fixtures throughout the house. The owners were mostly trying to align with the “Victorian” style. The fixtures are mostly heavier and hung lower than I am accustomed to seeing. Not to say that some of the fixtures aren’t lovely, but the wall sconces in the living room are especially not my taste. The moment I walked in the room, I thought the wall sconces and the pendant were extremely heavy and much too large a scale for the room.

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Old Fixture – too ornate and very heavy

I spent a lot of time thinking about and looking for fixtures that I felt would be properly scaled in the space as well as something that would align with my family’s and the house’s “style”. I finally landed on these cool industrial looking fixtures featuring a bare Edison bulb in an oil-rubbed bronze finish. I was lucky enough to find these on sale for half the price of retail at an end of the year sale so I snapped them up and they proceeded to sit around the house for a good two weeks before my husband and I got around to pulling off the old fixtures and wiring up the new ones.

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New Fixture – oh so pretty!

For those of you who aren’t afraid of simple electrical work, this was easy as pie. To remove the fixture, you just turn off the circuit to the light, pull off the old fixtures by untwisting the caps and disengaging the wires, and removing the old mounting plate that screws into the electrical back box (which is secured to a stud in the wall). Then, you mount the new mounting plate w/ the proper mounting screws (we ended up having to get new ones from the hardware store because the ones the fixture came with were way too long), twist the black wires together and cap them, twist the white wires together and cap them, screw the ground wire to the mounting plate, and then attach the fixture.

I am much happier with these new fixtures. Not only do they seem much more appropriately scaled, I feel that their aesthetic just fits the space more nicely. What do you think?

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I think I’m in love….

Home Sweet Home

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So I did mention that we purchased a house!  This is quite exciting because up until now, I have only lived in apartments since graduating from college.  Owning a home with a yard and a garage is a new experience, for sure!  Our search for the perfect house was a year in the making.  I think we must have looked at upwards of fifty houses before we found this one!

A little about this house, which is an architect’s dream:  It’s a Victorian house built in the 1870’s.  It’s located in the historic district of the town we’re moving to.  There is a lovely porch extending the full length of the front of the house.  Inside, some of the rooms have the original wood plank floors (widths from 8″-12″, and some running up to 13′-0″ in length) and there are two fireplaces, one is the original wood-burning fireplace and the other is a newer, gas fireplace.  There is a nice-sized rear yard and the front is terraced.  It was love at first sight.

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Photo of ceiling in main living area

 

 

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Photo of original floorboards

We are slowly settling in and figuring out what we want to do with the house, but it has lovely bones and lots of possibilities!