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Entries in cranberry (10)


Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Each year, just before the turn of the new year, marks the anniversary of the day I quit graduate school in physics. Though it has only been three years, it feels like a lifetime ago. I feel so much older than that bright eyed girl with high hopes and soaring dreams. The hopes are no less great, but a touch of experience has tethered me a little closer to earth. I feel as if it is difficult to keep track of all the changes since then, all the emotions—positive and negative, exciting and disappointing—that I have passed through. I’m older. Not just three years, but what feels like a decade in life and stress and growing.

I’m not the same person I was then, but I wouldn’t want to change the person I’ve become.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake Cranberry Upside Down Cake

The past year has been exhausting. I feel as if I have been running forward, so eager to get on my path, to find where I am supposed to be, that I’ve forgotten to stop and just breathe. I have been trying to do too much, a phrase which has become my unwanted motto for many, many months. Some lessons take longer to learn than others. Since I stopped baking professionally over a year ago, I went back to grad school for a masters in education, with the goal of becoming a high school physics teacher.

When I stopped pursuing physics, I swore up and down (and left and right) that I would never stray towards science again. I had convinced myself so thoroughly of this that I threw away every physics notebook I had kept all the way back to high school in a ceremonial sweep (a sin that I have since regretted).

Cranberry Upside Down Cake Cranberry Upside Down Cake

In August, I took on my first teaching job—you can call me Ms. Rosenau now. Teaching for the first time is a whirlwind. I feel as if I should have been a little more forewarned of the adventure ahead. Teaching is more overwhelming and challenging than I could have imagined, consuming all of my time and energy to create entire curriculums from scratch. Teaching is also extraordinarily rewarding. There truly is never a dull moment when surrounded by 80 sixteen and seventeen year olds both eager to learn and hungry to distract.

If you had told me three years ago that this is where I would have ended up, I may have very well laughed in your face. Life, I found, keeps me on my toes. Once I am certain I have everything figured out, it throws another curve in my path and sends me in a new direction. Even so, right now this is where I feel like I am meant to be. I just hope that life waits a few more years before sending me around the next bend.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Upside Down Cake is tart, textured, and colorful enough to impress your holiday guests. The cranberries are cooked on the stove until they "pop" and release their juices. Mixed with raspberries and a bit of orange zest, it forms the bottom (or "top") of the cake. A quick cake batter is mixed up, which is made with brown sugar and sliced almonds for a bit of texture and greater depth of flavor. The cake itself is on the tarter side, but will not make you wish for more sugar. Share with family and friends to bring out the holiday spirit.

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Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins

Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins

The routine of everyday life is a necessary evil. As much as I'd like to believe I enjoy spontaneity and the thrill of the unknown, when it comes down to it, I'd rather have my day planned out by the hour than have it be a complete mystery. This isn't to say I don't love to give into the occasional impulse or act on a whim—I do—but my life needs strong framework in which to build off the quiet improvisations of life.

As much as I may object to the idea of a life of routine, I need the structure and control it provides me. I like to know when I am going to wake or eat breakfast, what television shows I can look forward to watching, or when I can plan on tucking into bed for the evening. It may not often be an exciting life, but it is all my own.

Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins

I have been on a different routine the last two weeks and it has been a struggle to adjust. I mentioned it briefly before, but I never expected the transition to be this difficult. I've read that it can take a month or more to develop new habits, to adjust to a new schedule, and the thought makes me feel defeated. The good habits I kept up are dissolving before my eyes as bad ones are starting to take their place. I am fighting against it, struggling to stake my claim on a chaotic world, but some days I fear I am losing ground.

My body is used to waking up with the sun and eating a slow breakfast before heading off to the gym. My mornings are now rushed; I'm lucky to have five minutes to eat a makeshift breakfast. I only have time for the gym after a long day at work, when the last thing I want to do is climb onto an elliptical machine. It's a work in progress.

Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins

I am developing a new habit that makes me a bit worried, however. After suddenly gaining several more hours in the evening, I am not sure what to do with them. I can't resort to my traditional hobbies—it is often too late to bake and too dark to photograph—so I nibble on chocolate chips or munch on apple slices, snacking to make the time pass by quicker. As a previous non-snacker, this new pattern makes me nervous.

As I work to fit my routines around the new framework of my life, there are still a few constants (and baking is one of them). Last weekend I made a batch of muffins, trying to find a way to incorporate the ground flaxseed that has been taking up space in the cupboard. I didn't expect much from these muffins, but they took me by surprise and I found myself sincerely enjoying them. I made another batch and froze them to enjoy for a quick breakfast over the next week. As I work to find my footing in this new routine, these muffins have already redeemed many a rushed morning.

Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins

Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins are a simple, healthy breakfast muffin. Low in both fat and sugar, these morning treats really do deserve a stamp of approval. The nuttiness of ground flaxseed is wonderful against the sharp sweetness of dried cranberries and helps to keep you feeling full much longer. With a hot mug of black tea, this is a breakfast that is hard to beat on-the-go or savored slowly.

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Lemon Cranberry Scones

Cranberry Lemon Scones

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere (somehow) I developed a taste for tart foods. Traditionally, I'm a sweet and salty kind of gal, alternately loving the sweetness of a warm chocolate chip cookie and the crisp bite of a salty potato chip. These are the tastes I grew up with in the heart of the Midwest. Rarely a dinner table was without a half empty shaker of salt (the pepper stayed curiously optional), and the breakfast table looked scarce without a sugar bowl at the ready. Certainly sour and tart foods made an appearance, but they never stayed long enough to wash up at the sink and join me in the kitchen.

It is difficult to mess with tradition, but if you push against it hard enough, you can make space for new ones.

Cranberry Lemon Scones Cranberry Lemon Scones

Last winter, I had a quiet affair with grapefruits and sour Greek yogurt. This summer I simply couldn't get enough lemonade. My palate is evolving, expanding to embrace the sour and tart flavors I've neglected for so many years. While just two years ago, these Cranberry Lemon Scones would have been far out of my comfort zone, today they feel like a natural extension of my growing affection for new tastes. The marriage of lemons and cranberries makes for a sharp and charming flavor profile.

I like to imagine that my taste buds are finally growing up.

Cranberry Lemon Scones

The tartest of fruits reside in the winter months. In a way, I find it fitting. The berries have lost their allure, growing tarter with each passing day, and the bright flavors of fall have become subdued. It is time for the grapefruits, cranberries, and lemons to come out to play. The sharp taste of these fruits mimic the chill of the winter air, sweeping the taste buds like the rush of cool wind.

In the dead of winter, when the sweet fruits of long summer days are but a fading memory, the contrast of the tart fruits of winter remind us of the changing of the seasons.

Cranberry Lemon Scones

Lemon Cranberry Scones are delightfully tart. Scones are infused with lemon zest and riddled with cranberries. The dough is quite sweet, especially because the dough is sprinkled with sugar before baking. However, the bright, tart cranberries act as a strong contrast to the sweetness, rendering the scones both sweet and tart. A simple lemon glaze rounds the flavors together. Be warned, however. These scones are certainly not for everyone, but are wonderful for those with a tart palate.

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