Honey Wheat Bran Muffins w/ Blood Orange Glaze

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I frequently recall my college days and remember how I always yearned for a break in my studies long enough to get into the kitchen. I rarely had time for anything that wasn’t school, soccer, or work related. In those days, my life was hectic. I used to imagine the day when I would graduate and finally get to sit down and read a book of my choice, sleep until 10am, and completely embrace the feeling of having nothing on my to-do list. My cousin, Danielle, and I both went to the University of California, Irvine. It was here that we would lay on the Aldrich park lawn to study but instead would dream of what our lives would be like in the future, once we finished with the chaos and stress. We had some great times there and I never thought I would say this, but I really do miss that school.

One of our favorite mid-afternoon, get-out-of-the-slump snacks were these incredible honey bran muffins from a restaurant slightly off campus. They were sweet enough to give us the slight sugar rush we craved and were substantial enough to tide us over until soccer practice. When I thought I wanted to recreate these at home I came across a recipe that seemed to fit the bill. I tweaked it a bit; adding whole wheat flour, some warming spices, and some incredibly beautiful blood oranges that had just arrived in my farm box delivery. These muffins turned out perfectly; utterly sticky and moist and brightly flavored with citrus.

Danielle, this recipe is for you. I love you so much, cousin. I hope these inspire you to reminisce in our college days, like they did for me!

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Honey Wheat Bran Muffins w/ Blood Orange Glaze {Vegetarian} 

Makes 12 muffins 
(Prep time: 10 min, Bake time: 20 min)
 
Adapted from The Lazy Wife's Guide, Honey Bran Muffins 

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup wheat bran

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp cardamom

1/2  tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking powder, aluminum free

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup Muscovado (or brown sugar)

1/4 cup honey

2 TBSP molasses

1/2 cup water

1 egg

1/4 coconut oil

1 TBSP blood orange zest (about 2 small oranges)

Glaze: 

3 TBSP sugar

3 TBSP butter, melted

3 TBSP Muscovado

2 TBSP honey

2 TBSP blood orange juice, freshly squeezed

1.Preheat oven to 350º. Evenly distribute the glaze into each of the muffin wells (about 1 TBSP in each). Be sure  coat all sides of each well. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate, medium sized bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened and combined.
2. Using an ice cream scoop (for even distribution), scoop mixture into glazed muffin wells. Make sure that you do not fill the wells up more than 2/3 of the way full (the rise quite a bit, spilling over the top). Bake the muffins for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately invert onto parchment paper.

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Minty Moscow Mules + Video

One thing I can pride myself on making is a good (and sometimes stiff) cocktail. I have been a bartender since the day I turned 21 years old. I can remember that I begged the manager at my work to promote me to bartender, from my server position, for months before I was of legal age. I argued that I already knew the entire wine list, I could recite all the ingredients in our signature cocktails and I could account for every garnish we prepared daily. Whether it was my insistent desire for the job or management’s desire to fill our much needed position, I got the job. I became a bartender the day after I turned 21. My new found occupation was one of the most exciting to happen to me. There was something about being behind a bar filled with hundreds of bottles of liquors, spirits, wines, and beers…the possibilities were endless and the combinations limitless. Once I had enough experience, I  was able to exercise my own creativity and was hired to create signature drink menus. I felt alive and exhilarated. I felt like I could do ANYTHING!

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One of my best co-workers, Sara, was ALWAYS my partner-in-crime behind the bar. We worked at three different restaurants together and  I don’t wanna brag but we had this amazing work chemistry. It was like an elegant dance, really; working around each other in a 5 foot cubic space with a line out the door. We could run a bar together with our eyes closed. Now, let me explain one thing. She was more than my co-worker. She was my maid-of-honor in my wedding and has been my best friend since high school. This could possibly explain that “amazing work chemistry” aforementioned. We know each other so well and working together was such a fun and crazy bonus in our lives. I often think back on how lucky we were to share in so many memories. She recently moved away from our small beach town and I miss her dearly everyday…

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Sara called last week and said she would be coming home for the weekend…Yay! I knew I wanted to have her over for dinner so I racked my brain on what I would make and finally conjured up the idea that her and I would make a cocktail for Honeyed Home! We decided to do a short film on how to create one of our favorite drinks, the Moscow Mule, but with a home-made spin. Sara and I got to get “behind the bar” together again and I have to say that it was one of the best times we’ve had. We hope that you enjoy the video and the cocktails as much as we did.

Xoxo,

Meesh & Samps

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Minty Moscow Mules {Gluten Free} 

Makes 4 Cocktails
(Prep Time: 45 minutes, Assembly time: 2 minutes)
 
Ginger Simple Syrup: 

1 cup fresh ginger, pulsed in the food processor until finely minced)

1 cup Turbinado sugar

2.5 cups water

1 lemon, zest and juice

Minty Moscow Mules:

1 bottle of vodka (good quality is important: Tito’s from Trader Joe’s, Ketel One, or Belvedere)

A few mint sprigs

2 limes, sliced into 8 wedges each

1 bottle sparkling water (or club soda)

Ice

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1. Peal the ginger, and chop in 1″-2″ cubes. Add the cubes to the food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds to mince. Add the ginger to a large saucepan with the turbinado sugar and the zest and juice of one lemon and simmer for 15 minutes. Once cooled, strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Add all the strained liquid back into the saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat until it has reduced to half and becomes a syrup. Let cool and store in an airtight jar for up to a week.

2. To make the mules; add two slices of lime and 4 mint leaves to the bottom of a pint glass. Muddle the mint and lime until the juices come out. Add the ice to the glass. Add about 1/4 cup of the ginger simple syrup and 1/4- 1/2 cup vodka. Pour into a cocktail shaker and shake all ingredients together vigorously. Pour into copper mugs (traditionally Moscow Mules are served in these, but any glass will do), top with soda water and more ice (if needed) and garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy!

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