Thursday, July 11, 2013

Advice, and Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins

Yesterday, my friend Kathy hosted her monthly Time Warp Tuesday blog hop.  I missed the hop, but I loved the theme for this month, which was Advice.

I tend to give a lot of advice, I suspect, not even under the guise of opinion; I probably offer it up as fact.  Though I was trained in advising, and when I'm working with students I'm careful not to give advice so much as facilitate their own inner dialogue, there are plenty of times outside of my professional duties when I offer up my own ideas about someone else's dilemmas.

I ask for advice a lot, too, but I don't take advice very well; more often than not I am--even subconsciously--looking for verification of an opinion I've already arrived at, and would like confirmation of my choice.

But the tables were turned on me a bit this week, on Sunday, when I was sitting with my son for a while before he went to sleep.

"I'm nervous about my first day," I confided.

"It's OK, Mom," he told me, "I was nervous about my first day of school, too."

"You were?" I asked, both amused and genuinely surprised.  "But you looked so confident when you waved good bye to me on the bus.  What were you most nervous about?  Meeting new people?  Having someone ask you something you didn't know the answer to?"

"Yes, not knowing the answer," he agreed. 

"Well, that's what I'm most afraid of," I said.  "That I won't know the things they want me to know."

"Well," he said, thoughtfully, "just remember, that if they ask you something you don't know, it's OK to tell them you don't know, and then ask them questions, so they can help you out."

Wow, I thought. Pretty fabulous advice for a six year old.  Better, even, than "eat your vegetables so you can grow up big and strong."

I followed his advice, and told my new boss what he'd told me that night.  "How old did you say he was?" she asked.

"Six," I said.

"He is wise beyond his years," she marveled.

Yes, I agreed.  Except when he really does act like a six year old, and thinks that poop jokes are the funniest thing ever.  And I couldn't be more grateful for both elements.

Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins
Eat your vegetables and grow up big and strong.  I made these with our CSA share to take to the Cape for the week we spent before my first day, and I told everyone right up front that they were made with beets.  That didn't seem to matter, and they were gone in less than two days.

1 c. beet puree (use about 3 good-sized beets; see below)
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. ground flax seed
1/2 c. Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. butter
2/3 c. Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. espresso powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap beets in foil. Place on a baking sheet; bake until beets are slightly soft to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on their size. Cool beets in packets, then rub off skins under cold running water (use a paring knife for tough spots).  Puree one at a time until you get 1 c. (you can set aside the unpureed parts, if there are any, for a salad).  Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flax until well combined.  Stir in the half cup chocolate chips; set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the other 2/3 cup chocolate chips and butter over very low heat.  Stir to combine and set aside to cool until lukewarm.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, beet puree, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t overmix. Immediately spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  The batter will almost completely fill the cups.

Place muffin pan in a preheated 375 oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. Muffins are done when they spring back when touched lightly in the center (or when a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean). Cool muffins for 10 minutes in pan then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
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  1. Completely fabulous advice from a 6 year old! And I am the same way with advice, I'm afraid, subconsciously looking for verification on my already formed opinion! I hope work is going well!

  2. I think I might need to make those muffins. I'm always looking for ways to hide vegetables in chocolate!

    Yeah, I love the combo of extremely wise and completely little kid. LG's still that way at 9.

    Hope the first week is going well!

  3. Clearly you don't understand that poop jokes ARE the funniest thing ever!

    Such a sweet vignette, seeing how wise and compassionate a son you are raising. I bet that didn't happen by accident.

  4. Lovely. He's following in his mother's footsteps.


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