Monday, September 5, 2011

Muffins and Math

Carson and I made muffins the other day. We had so much fun cooking together, and besides having yummy, healthy muffins to enjoy, we had a few great math lessons along the way. It just sort of happened that way. I am not even sure Carson knew he was learning some new stuff! Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

So, we started with the ingredients. As we added them, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, Carson smelled them--he is a very sensory oriented kid--and measured them. We talked about how big a tablespoon is compared to a teaspoon, and a half a cup compared to a whole cup. Carson did the measuring, the counting, and the mixing. We decided to make some mini muffins and some regular sized muffins. When it was time to pour the muffin mixture into the muffin pans, we estimated how many muffins each muffin pan would make. Then we counted how many muffins each pan would make, and since we had three pans, how many muffins we would make all together. We got ready to put the muffins in the oven and discussed why the regular sized muffins would take more time to cook than the mini muffins.

While the muffins were baking, Carson asked me where his blue bandana was, and that led to a fun game to play while we were waiting. I lined up the spices we had used for the muffins: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves; and threw in a couple extras: garlic salt and sugar, and we played a guessing game. I put the bandana around Carson's eyes, and put each container under his nose so he could guess what he was smelling. He knew all of them! I was so impressed. He did inherit his good sniffer from me. :) Then he wanted me to guess, so I put on the bandana and had a turn. It was fun!

When the muffins were finished, we had a tasty snack. I added a secret ingredient this time--pomegranate craisins (we were out of raisins) and they added a yummy kick! I have posted the recipe for the Bran Muffins at the end of this post. I have to give credit to my good friend, Amber Butler's mom, Rachel Goodgame, for this wonderful recipe. I enjoy these muffins every time I make them. The great thing is, you can mix up a bunch and then keep the mix in the refrigerator. When you want to make them, just pour the batter in muffin cups and bake. Then you have fresh baked muffins. The batter is good in the fridge for three weeks.

Happy baking!

Recipe for Refrigerator Bran Muffins:

Beat together:
5 eggs
1 cup oil ( I substitute 1 cup of applesauce.)
1 qt. buttermilk ( I use lowfat buttermilk.)
2 tsps. vanilla

Stir the following into the above mixture:
20 oz. raisin bran cereal ( I use the cheapest brand I can find because it won’t make a difference.)
3 cups brown sugar
5 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. cloves (I use less.)
1 tsp. salt (I use less.)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1½ tsps. cinnamon
3 cups flour

Pour into prepared small muffin pans.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

You can make regular sized muffins, just adjust the baking time.

The batter may be refrigerated up to 3 weeks, and bake as needed. Because it makes such a large amount, I sometimes make half a recipe. I can get about 7 dozen of the small muffins from half the recipe.

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