Muffin Base Recipe

I have a great recipe for you today. It is the base for endless muffin creations.  We went blueberry picking on our field trip this last week and I set out to find a great blueberry muffin recipe and ended up making a bunch of different kinds of muffins from one base. This so easy. I often will buy those pre made packs from the store but I won’t be any more.

Master-Muffin-Mix-2-2MUFFIN BASE

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (can substate with brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Master-Muffin-Mix-3ADD-IN IDEAS

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 3/4 cup bananas and 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • zest of 1 orange and 3/4 cup frozen or fresh pineapple

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until all dry ingredients are combined.

eliblueIn a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Whisk in milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Mixture will be pale and yellow. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix everything together by hand. *Do not over-mix,* which will result in tough, dense muffins. The batter will be extremely thick and a little lumpy.

Very gently fold in  3/4 to 1 cup of mix-in. This time I split my batter in half and made half blueberry and half chocolate chip muffins.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling all the way to the top. I only make 10  muffins so they are all extra full. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 425F degrees for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 375F and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Muffins taste best fresh the same day. We had them as an afternoon snack and they were kid approved.

Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days or they freeze well for up to 3 months.

If you are looking for a fun weekend adventure the whole family can enjoy, I strongly encourage blueberry picking. We found this great place just outside of Rolla, MO where you can pick your own berries for $2 a pound. Brandywine Farms is closed for the season but you can like their Facebook page and will then be notified when they have berries ready for picking next spring.

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This was our first berry picking adventure. so we got a crash course in berry picking. When picking blueberries, the bigger the sweeter. We also learned that you want the berries to almost fall off in your hand while running your hand through the bush. We were also told that for every berry that went in our bucket two were to go into our mouth.
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Their were rows and rows of berry filled bushes. Eli thought it was great running down and then back again.

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Eden was all business about picking her berries. She remember strawberry picking a couple months ago and was all about finding the biggest bluest berries. She was also very concerned that she be “winning” the who picked the most berries contest that she decided we were playing. IMG_5771

She ate very few of her prized treasures.

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But did take a break every now and then to feed her brother. IMG_5753

Once Eli figured out that the rows of bushes contained juicy treats, his interest went from running to sitting near a bucket or bush and eating. IMG_5759

He really wanted to eat Eden’s berries but finally settled for my bucket.
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It is probably a good thing that the rest of us weren’t eating too many because I think Eli ate way more than his share. IMG_5761

Of course we picked one of the hottest days of the year to going picking; next year I will know to go earlier in the year and to get their first thing in the morning. Eden said it was back sweeting hot out.IMG_5775

I think Eden could have stayed all day and picked berries but we finally convinced her that we had enough to last us awhile. I don’t think I mentioned that blueberries are one of her favorite fruits. We ended up with just over two pounds of berries to take home.

G is for Goat

G is for Goat FeatureWe continue through our phonics sounds with the letter Gg. Our theme for the week was Goats.

3goatsWe read several versions of the 3 Billy Goats Gruff and had a blast acting out the story. I found a cool free printable stage (and directions to make it using a tissue box), puppets, and a silly script. Eden loved playing the part of the troll. This was great practice for her retelling the story.

goat game

To practice our sight words this week I made up a small 3 Billy Goats Bridge game. Eden colored the dry field, river, and green pasture while I created a 3-D bridge with card stock and popsicle sticks for the slates. Each popsicle had one of the sight words we have been working on written on it. Those, ones with the word goat, and a picture of a troll went into the bag. She would pull a stick out of the bag; and if she could read the word, she could stick it on to the bridge. If she couldn’t read it, then I will tell her what it was and it would go back in the bag. Goat sticks were free spaces, and if she pulled the troll, she had to start all over by putting all the sticks back in the bag.  This has been a big hit, and will be one that we will keep pulling out to play and practice. We even reused the goat and troll puppets from the activity before.

IMG_2135While in Saint Louis, we made a quick stop at the Saint Louis Zoo to visit the children’s petting zoo. Again she prepared her questions ahead of time. Once we got there and she saw the goats climbing on the rock ledges, she came up with a few more.

I think I am going to try and incorporate time into each field trip for questions. I think it will be a nice way for Eden to learn from other adults and also to practice speaking clearly and planning what she wants to say.

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One cool part of homeschooling is the number of people that get to be part of our children’s education. I have a few ladies at church and lots of family and friends that are so sweet to come up with field trip ideas, activities, and lesson extensions.

IMG_5689Thanks you to Helen and Robin for organizing our Friday Field Trip to a neighbor’s farm to see their goats and other animals (I will stick to goat pictures for this post).

IMG_5710Both the kids loved the baby goat. He was playful but sweet to the kids. Eden loved that baby goats were called kids and would laugh when I would say, “Hey kids lets go” as she joked that I wanted the kid goat to come home too.

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Eden loved letting him suckle on her finger and petting him. On the way home she asked if we could have goats someday.

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Eli enjoyed standing at the gate and calling the goats toward him. The baby loved licking on Eli and “cleaning” his ears. He must have thought it was okay as he didn’t cry or try to get away.

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After learning about dairy goats, we made a special trip to Trader Joe’s where they have a large selection of goat cheese. With some help, we selected a honey goat cheese and a French baguette for an afternoon snack and tasting event. Unfortunately none of us cared for it. We will have to try a different kind again soon.

Happy Birthday Eli – Cookie and Milk Party

IMG_5320This past weekend we celebrated Eli’s first birthday with a gathering of family and friends in our backyard. We had so much fun with a milk and cookies theme. Thanks to Aunt Laura for capturing the fun to keep and share.

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The day was made extra special by all of Eli’s family making a different kind of cookie for the cookie buffet. We skipped the traditional cake and enjoyed 12 different kinds of cookies, chocolate and white milk and cookies and cream ice-cream.

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I don’t think Eli understood unwrapping packages, but he got the concept of new toys and wanted to play with each thing that came out of the bag or box.

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Eli lost interest in opening gifts after the first few so we took a short break to play a few games. We played how well do you know Eli with questions like: “What is Eli’s favorite food?” and “What does Eli like to play with?”. Guest also made predictions as to what Eli would be like when he grew up. These are now in his baby box to keep and look at when he gets older. We also had jars of candies that guests could guess the amount and the closest without going over won the jar.

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My favorite part of the evening was the cake smash. Eli has had cake a few times before but without icing. I was expecting him to dig right in and love making a mess (he has painted many times and loved smearing things around).

IMG_5507Eli put his finger in the cake but mostly just start looking at everyone as if not really sure what to do. I gave him a taste hoping that would get things started.

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But he still didn’t seem to interested, so I put his whole hand in the cake.

IMG_5511And he just sat there. For a long time; as if his hand was glued down.

IMG_5515He finally took a little taste. But that was it for a long while again. Maybe he ate too many cookies like the rest of us.

IMG_5529But he was cute either way.

IMG_5534I gave it one last try digging in and getting just cake; thinking that maybe he didn’t understand that this was something he was suppose to eat.

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That did the trick. There was no stopping him now.

IMG_5564Mmm. Icing mustache instead of a milk mustache. Anyone want a kiss?

IMG_5596He ate a lot more than I expected and surprisingly he didn’t get sick later that night.

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Happy Birthday Eli.