The days have been getting longer and longer since the winter solstice back in December, when we saw only a few hours of daylight. Today we have roughly 15 hours of daylight, which will steadily increase until the summer solstice where the sun will only disappear for a couple of hours. These are wild extremes that we live, way up here.
With winter in the rear view mirror, the landscape has changed slightly each day that the temperatures has risen above freezing. South-facing rooftops have little to no snow remaining, main roads are as clear as they were before the snow fell, and the deep snow drifts that covered our yards all winter are now slowly receding; all signs of the coming Summer. The temperatures weren’t what bothered me most about our first Fairbanks winter — it was the lack of daylight. Now that the sun is shining brightly I feel compelled to wear sandals and skirts, and drink iced green tea, even though the temperatures still hover in the mid-thirties. The rest of the town is in the same mood. Pedestrians in shorts, kids on bikes, men scraping the last bits of ice from their driveways; these are all elements of the slushy spring break-up I’ve been hearing all about.
It’s a coincidence, too, just as I exit the first trimester of pregnancy that the sun should be shining so brightly. My food aversions are nearly all gone, and I’m back to eating healthier foods. The gloomy cloud of winter was prolonged by my first trimester, and now that the sun has broken through, things are looking up.
We’re heading to Anchorage this weekend for a Maternity photo session (a client’s, not mine), then off to Las Vegas and OKC for some shopping, eating, and family time. Later this month we find out if we’re having a boy or a girl, then it will practically be summer! Picnics, hikes, dog walks, cook outs — I’ve missed all these things while the snow has inundated our world.
We’re going to try to make the most of this summer, mosquitoes be damned.
These muffins are the perfect embodiment of my current mood and circumstance. They’re zesty, sweet and tart; their flavors swarm and whelm you, just like the warm spring after a long, tedious winter. I’ll keep this recipe on-call until the height of summer pulls me into another culinary direction.
- 2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- ⅔ cups greek vanilla yogurt or one six ounce container
- ⅓ canola oil
- 2-3 teaspoons grated orange zest, from about one orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 6oz box of fresh raspberries
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Line a muffin tin with paper cups, or grease with baking spray.
- Stir together dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl until no brown sugar clumps remain.
- Combine egg, orange juice, greek vanilla yogurt, canola oil, and vanilla in large mixing bowl on low speed. Slowly add in the flour mixture until incorporated. Add raspberries and mix until the raspberries have broken up, do not over mix.
- Divide batter evenly between muffin cups, filing each until ¾ full.
- Bake 20-22 minutes until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test (comes out clean).
- Cool in pan for several minutes, serve warm or cooled completely.
I threw in extra sugar for this recipe since the first batch ended up a little too acidic from the orange juice and zest. If you prefer to cut back, you can get by with ⅔ cup brown sugar instead.
Recipe adapted from Driscoll's.