Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Cranberry Sauce Muffins | Sarah J. Hauser

I meant to post these muffins around Thanksgiving when, if you’re like me, you’re swimming in leftovers. But as maybe you can relate, the holiday craziness seemed to appear out of nowhere and suddenly trips to the post office, last minute errands, and making cookies for my kids’ preschool party became both urgent and important tasks. Freshly baked muffins don’t usually qualify as urgent—but hey, still important, right?

Thankfully, cranberry sauce is simple to make even when leftovers are long gone. I’ve also made this muffin recipe using the good ‘ol store bought stuff from the can, although I recommend buying the “whole berry” cranberry sauce instead of the jellied version. (Did anyone else’s grandmother serve the jellied version on a serving dish in the exact shape of the can? I usually buy a can every year and serve it like that in her memory. It’s funny how the random quirks can make such an impression.)

Anyway, here you go: freshly baked muffins with warm spices and festive cranberry sauce. I also highly recommend a generous pat of butter for serving, for obvious reasons.

What are you baking this time of year?

Cranberry Sauce Muffins | Sarah J. Hauser
Cranberry Sauce Muffins | Sarah J. Hauser
Cranberry Sauce Muffins | Sarah J. Hauser
Cranberry Sauce Muffins | Sarah J. Hauser
Cranberry Sauce Muffins | Sarah J. Hauser
Cranberry Sauce Muffins | Sarah J. Hauser

Cranberry Sauce Muffins
Yields 12 regular-sized muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup whole milk
1 egg
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cup prepared cranberry sauce*
1 Tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a regular sized muffin tin, or use paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and butter.

Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. It’s okay if there are lumps. (If you overmix, the muffins get tough.)

Spoon about half the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Add a spoonful of cranberry sauce on top, distributing the sauce evenly between all the muffins. Top with the remaining batter and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with butter and enjoy!

*Note: I have also made these using jam, but in my opinion they turned out too sweet. I like the tartness the cranberry sauce brings. If you do use jam, I suggest decreasing the amount and skipping the turbinado sugar.


Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake [and finding solace in the village]

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser

I sit alone in bed, pillows propped behind me and books, dishes, and pumping supplies piled on the nightstand to my left. My youngest isn’t yet a month old. I hear the doorbell ring, but I don’t move. I know it’s my sister. My husband walks upstairs to check on me and let me know she’s there, and I mumble something about getting out of bed eventually. Then again, maybe I won’t. She won’t be offended. I know she gets it, and she’ll end up making us dinner or cleaning the kitchen or folding laundry without me having to ask.

I hear a soft knock on the bedroom door as she peeks her head in. I try to hold it together and say I’m fine, and I’ll come down to visit. But that’s an empty promise. She sits on the edge of the bed and my eyes begin to water. I mutter something about how there’s nothing actually wrong. I really am okay.

“It’s nothing, but it’s everything, isn’t it?” she says.

I nod. It’s nothing major, no “real” reason to complain or be sad or not be able to get out of bed. But it’s also everything. It’s the sleeplessness, c-section incision, whining toddlers, hormones, grief over my late mom, anxiety, burden of parenting, and even the news headlines that seem a heavier weight to carry than normal. I turn her words over in my mind. Nothing, but everything. Yes.  

I don’t have to justify my tears or explain away my emotions. I stay in bed, but the tightness in my heart releases, and I finally exhale.  

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser
Lemon-Basil Whole Wheat Coffee Cake - Sarah J. Hauser

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies [and the messy practice of eating together]

Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser

I handed my two-year-old twins their plastic plates—the purple ones with the three sections so no food touches another kind of food. To my son, mixing items would be on par with the zombie apocalypse. It’s also convenient they’re the same color. No fighting over who gets blue and who gets green. Everyone gets purple.

At least we sidestepped that crisis today.

Still, they complained about the tiny pieces of cucumber I tried to sneak in. During the witching hour frenzy, I overcooked the burgers, and sad patties of meat were poked, prodded, and eventually ignored.They only ate a few pieces of potatoes. Potatoes are a plant, though, right? I count that as a dinnertime win.

My husband and I eventually sat down with our own plates, and before we could take a bite, the kids announced they were done. They squirmed in their chairs at the table for a few more minutes, although not by choice. I was determined to get everyone in their seats together at least long enough for us to say a quick mealtime prayer—a goal I used to think was realistic.

My daughter kept taking my husband’s fork and threw a tantrum when she couldn’t have it. Missing her nap earlier this afternoon only made her strong will stronger. She and my husband left the table. My six-month-old grabbed his bowl of puréed sweet potatoes while I wasn’t looking and slathered himself in them. I divvied out more food for my toddler son, the baby started screaming because he was still hungry, and I tried to hold back my own tears.

Keep reading and get the recipe at Coffee + Crumbs!

Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser
Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser
Sheet Pan Balsamic Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies - Sarah J. Hauser

Full post and recipe instructions can be found at Coffee + Crumbs!


Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon

Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon

“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on 'going it alone.' Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into 'those who offer help' and 'those who need help.' The truth is that we are both.”
-Brene Brown

You know those memes and prints that say phrases like, “You’ve got this!” and other motivational words? I think those are great, and can truly be motivating sometimes. Some days, I really do need a kick in the butt and someone to say, “You’ve got this!”

But other days, it is so abundantly clear that I don’t “got this.” I need a hand-lettered print that says, “You are completely falling apart today…and that’s OK.” Or “Maybe today you should ask for help – and not feel guilty about it.” Or “You’re not the only one who has massive meltdowns.”

I’m appreciative of the emphasis I’ve seen lately in social media and other places on encouraging others, embracing the messy, and not always trying to be perfect. Even so, those ideals seem nearly impossible for me to live out! I feel like I have to “handle it,” and in my head, asking for help is a signal of failure. Mama, it’s not. There’s a great deal of good in the idea of independence, but let’s remember that we were never actually created to be entirely independent.

I’m currently reading Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman, and one section stood out to me like a blinking neon sign. She writes, “Things that are part of our design – our need for others in community, our physical limitations, being embodied in an ‘earthly tent,’ and our lack of knowledge – are not failures…this is the way God designed us.”

That was a breath of fresh air to me. While I do fail in so many ways every day, my dependence is not one of them. Asking for help is a part of life – a beautiful part of life that so often I shove to the side for the sake of my independence. If I am created to be dependent, I don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed when I admit my need. (Can I get an “Amen?”) And to take it one step further, when we accept help freely, I think we're more likely to give it freely. As Brene Brown says, “Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”

We were not meant to do life alone. We were meant to depend on Christ and lift each other up in the good times and hard times. There is no more reward for the one who secludes herself from her community and attempts to “handle it” than the one who works hard and asks for the help and the guidance of others.

Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon

Over the last few months as I've been extra tired during this pregnancy and we were sick a good portion of the winter, we've been the recipients of extra hands to help and lots of meals from friends and family. We've been nourished in body and soul, and for that I am learning to not feel guilty, but be truly thankful.

If you're in a place to give to someone else right now, these baked oatmeal cups make a perfect quick breakfast or grab-and-go snack for someone who could use a break. (And since Mother's Day is around the corner, pair a batch with a copy of The Magic of Motherhood to encourage a mama's heart!)


Baked Oatmeal Cups with Raisins, Seeds + Cinnamon
Yields 12 oatmeal cups
Adapted from The Kitchn

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free oats if needed)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup flax seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted almond butter
2 Tablespoons honey
1 cup raisins
Yogurt, honey, or fresh fruit for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a regular-sized muffin tin or line with paper baking cups. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, almond butter, and honey.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in the raisins. Divide the oatmeal mixture evenly into the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 22-25 minutes.

Serve with yogurt, additional honey, or fresh fruit. These oatmeal cups can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days, or you can freeze them.