Lately I've found myself in a bundle of contradictions. Or rather, variants of the same struggle, manifesting in all forms of my life. Simply put, I am a creature of habit who also itches for change and adventure. I text Andrew that I want to try all the new restaurants in the city, and as we drive I ask if we can just eat at our already established favorites. I tell myself I'll incorporate some yoga into my week, and end up going on another run. I want to bake something exotic and new (to me, at least), and end up going back to baking cake (jury's still out on whether that's a bad thing though).
What gives? Comfort. I like to be comfortable, who doesn't? It makes us feel at home, whether literally or just the home within your brain, one free of stress and worry. And once I find the things I'm familiar with, I repeat. I ingrain the practice into my head until it becomes second nature, a part of the daily rhythm of life. This formation of habits has its benefits - it makes you good at what you do. I do believe practice makes perfect, in so many aspects of life. And so, habits develop, because you know it works. And knowing it works makes you feel good.
Trying something new is a challenge, which consequently puts out of that comfort zone. The idea of doing something different is bold, attractive, sexy. But also terrifying because, who knows if you can actually pull it off? There's no way to fast forward through life. I get it. Trust me, I get it. I am one of those people - someone who thinks and dreams big, then gets scared when it's time to make the leap. A first time skydiver who becomes crippled with fear before making the jump off the edge of the plane. A bungee jumper with his feet on the bridge but can't convince themselves to tip over. Something like that.
I don't know if I can tell you how to make that leap. I've been thinking about it a lot this week. What makes out get out of our comfort zone? Is it a giant leap into the deep end of the pool? I'm hesitant to say yes. Maybe it's more like the baby steps into the pool from the shallow end. And once we become accustomed, we can steadily move forward. Like so many things in life, I'm coming to realize that it's different for each person, and I can't generalize towards one way or another. But I guess I can offer these ramblings, to get the conversation started.
What gets you to change your habits, to drift out of the norm? Some food for thought for your weekend.
I've been saving this post, and now that it's official, it feels less awkward to post a recipe that features an ingredient so heavily tied with autumn. And these celebrate autumn, most certainly. Cinnamon flavors, apple chunks, and toasty pepitas, putting you in that sweater wearing, mug holding mood in the mornings. I imagine you could add ginger, cloves, and nutmeg give you a slightly heftier "spice" in your muffin, but I personally love the simplicity of the cinnamon here. It gives the apples and pepitas a chance to really shine, as they should during this time of the year.
Happy fall baking in general, hope you've been having great fun with the apples and sweet potatoes and pumpkin so far. There will definitely be more of that in this little space, soon.
Pepita apple muffins, adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 medium-large apples, cored and chopped
- 1/3-1/2 cup pepitas (depending on how textured you like the muffins), plus more for topping
- Turbinado sugar for topping
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter and flour a cupcake tin and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer (if you have arm power, mixing by hand works here or a hand mixer works just as well), cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the buttermilk again and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until almost completely combined, there should be some flour streaks left.
- Add the apples and pepitas and fold into the batter. Scoop the batter into the cupcake tin about 3/4 full. Top with remaining pepitas and turbinado sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and place on a cooling rack and wait until completely cooled. Enjoy when you do fun fall things!