I broke the (birthday) rule…

I’m such a rebel (without a cause). Contrary to my mom’s pleas not to make my birthday treat, I decided to whip up some pecan cranberry muffins to (once again) celebrate my birthday. Since we were gone on the actual date, the opportunity never really presented itself to make a cake (guarantee Layne will make fun of me for that geeky-sounding sentence, but hey, I wasn’t the one balancing an egg on the counter last night…). After the cookie-filled holidays, I couldn’t even think of another cake/cookie/sugar-laden dessert, so I suggested my favorite homemade muffins for a nice morning treat.

I hadn’t had these muffins in a while, and I wanted them so bad that I actually set my alarm to get up and bake them in time for my family to devour them for breakfast.

Luckily, an amaryllis bloomed to brighten up the morning – man, I hadn’t gotten up at that hour in quite some time! (It may or may not have been 8 o’clock).


It’s a beeauuttiful day (in the neighborhood?)!

Alright, after I woke myself up a bit, I got to work. Ready, set, GO!

Pecan Cranberry Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (if using frozen, thaw beforehand)
  • 1 1/8 cup sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel

First, measure out the cranberries and make sure you pick out any of the gross, shriveled ones (if there are any!). We’re only using the best ingredients, yo. 🙂 In a bowl, toss cranberries with 1/8 cup sugar; set aside.

Next, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining sugar.

My mommy painted that picture in the background. She's got skills!

Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Combine eggs & milk; stir into flour mixture, just until moistened. (You don’t want to overmix the batter.)

Fold in pecans, lemon peel, and cranberries.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full (usually this would make 12 regular-sized muffins, but my mom wanted to make muffins that, in her words, “were on steroids,” so we made 10 instead.) They were basically the size of mini-planets.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until muffins test done.                       (Makes 1 – 1 1/2 dozen.)

BURSTING with cranberries

Now that your stomach is full, here’s a fun lil’ treat:

My mom’s before & after hair pictures.

Her hair had been getting pretty long (I told her that every time I saw her this past semester…kind of like, hint, hint, Ma 🙂 ), so I was so happy when she e-mailed us some pictures of hairstyles and asked Layne & I to vote on our favorite(s). (Humor runs in the family: included among pictures of Keira Knightley and Judy Dench was a punk-rock mohawk.)

Inspired by this morning’s Ambush makeovers on the Today show 4th hour (good treadmill-watching t.v.), Here’s the old Marilyn:

See the punk-rock mohawk? See it?!?

And now the new her:

You enjoyed that, didn’t you? 🙂

Well, off to celebrate and ring in the New Year – classy style. Have a fantastic end to 2010!! More easy but delish, I-don’t-know-if-I’ve-ever-eaten-anything-better recipes, photos of drool-worthy Italian food, and my fantastic sense of humor in the year to come! Tomorrow I’ll fill ya guys in on my own New Year’s Resolution (you’ll never guess!) and what I’m most looking forward to in 2011.


About ciaotochow

ciao to chow: initially created as a little spot on the web devoted to the "chow" I find while studying abroad in Rome. But really, ciao to chow is about my life: the day-to-day experiences, funny stories, moments of laughter, and the food...that continue to inspire me and make me grateful for each new day.
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4 Responses to I broke the (birthday) rule…

  1. Pingback: Playoff-Bound! (and corn bread to celebrate) | ciaotochow

  2. Julie says:

    Love the new hair! Hot mama 🙂

  3. Pingback: Pass the Cheese, Please. | ciaotochow

  4. These sound DELICIOUS! 😀


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