Saturday, March 21, 2009

muffins + mayhem

Some things just go well together. When I'm having a bad day (which, incidentally, happened a few days ago... it was a silly thing all from a misunderstanding and is happily fixed now) I find it very comforting to bake. And watch comedy. 
And this time, it was all blueberry muffins and Black Books.

First, the muffins! I'm crazy about muffins because they're SO easy + quick to make and only use one bowl.
I always use the old Betty Crocker recipe but doctor it up accordingly.

1 egg
1 cup milk (or soymilk)
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive... whatever you have on hand)
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar (I usually use brown)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400. Grease bottoms of 12 medium muffin cups. Beat egg; stir in milk & oil. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened.* Batter should be lumpy.
Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.
Makes 12 muffins.

*Here's the part where I thrown in random stuff... blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, cinnamon, apple pieces, etc. I also replace about 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds for extra heartiness.
They're so perfect to make when you don't want to run to the grocery store just for a little baking, 'cos you usually have all those ingredients on hand. Plus it's fun to get creative with the add-ins. It's like the mix-ins at the ice cream shop, but [usually] healthier!

I love you, muffins!

Second, but definitely not of lesser importance, is the mayhem. 
It's silly, it's British, and it has a perfect combination of wittiness, sarcasm, and slapstick... Black Books, of course!
I just finished the third (and final) season of this series and am so sad to see it end.

Dylan Moran plays Bernard Black, a hopelessly grouchy & mean-spirited bookstore owner who hates all his customers. Add in Manny, his good-natured assistant, and Fran, their loony neighbor, and you get the recipe for many, many hilarious shenanigans... this is one of the few sitcoms that actually makes me guffaw! I can watch the episodes over + over again and still be amused. In fact, there's one particular scene that had me laughing many hours later as I thought about it!

Here's a "Best Of" clip on Youtube. Not what I would consider to be the funniest bits, but it definitely gives you an idea of what the show's like.
(Just a little disclaimer if you decide to watch the entire series... this is a British show, and while for the most part it's PG-clean, there's some very random stuff that would not have made it on American television. It's much cleaner than, say, the British Office, but it's not perfect.)

oh, and yes, Dylan, I love you too!

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