Cupcakes. Food Carts. Bacon. A bacon cupcake foodcart? Snooze ya lose.

(I have never toasted bran before. If you recall from this post, a baker I am not. Don't know if it made a difference...I like to think the smoke my oven produced made the effort worthwhile) I'm actually not kidding about the bacon and the cupcake and the cart. Maybe more of a kiosk - and more banana bread and gelato but I'm sure a cupcake is on their radar.  Personally, I think cupcakes are on their way out.  My sources tell me whoopie pies are the next biggie but for what reason, I have NO idea. Food carts are probably peaking and well Bacon...gotta hope that one never dies.  Right now, I am very intrigued by the next "thing"...

(I got this muffin tin from Ikea and, of course, the muffin paper cups, because the always gorgeous people from Sweden have their own definition of 'universal'.) I'm so curious as to the next phase...or trend...or just thing that becomes all the rage. I, naively, believe if I think hard enough, I may be able to figure it out and tap into it. Entrepreneurialism  - a real word spellcheck - fascinates me. Always has. I'm not sure if its my fifteen years in commercial and small business banking, or the fact that I am unemployed (ya ya, I'm a mom but you know what I mean) or my not so secret inside voice that always tells me I would be a great boss...of me. But I'm fascinated and might be ready...

(as a non-baker I always just stirred in a cup of raisins at the end of a muffin as a BAKER ...insert laughter here...I boiled the raisins, then pureed them before adding to the batter...gotta say...its a nice touch) Entrepreneurs are fascinating. They also get my never ending admiration. I stand up and applaud the individual who says I will directly correlate my efforts and abilities with the want, and need, to put food on my familys' table. As an employee of a financial institution I was always afforded the luxury of an "off" day. That is, I could have many a day when maybe I started a little later, took a long coffee break, lunch was a bit leisurely, happy hour came early...I can say these things now that I am unemployed. My point being, on a day to day basis, my paycheque was the same on an "off" day as it was on a 12 hour day. Entrepreneurs don't have that luxury.

(My Dirty Dozen. I crack me up. I've been waiting to type that since I snapped this photo. Thank you worlds greatest sister for bringing me this literally, fresh off the farm, carton of eggs. I LOVE that the eggs are dirty. Some may recall my dollar egg post. Dear sister, you rock.) Over the course of the last 16 months as my business card reads MOM, I think I have gotten a taste of what its like to have to give it everything you have, 7 days a week. Its exhausting, its grating, its challenging, but it reaps rewards like none I have ever known. Pay is still crappy though.   It's pretty much no time off, 12 hour+ days, coming up with new ideas, view points and ways of pleasing your most valuable asset - your customer. My best customer is still in diapers, grunts a LOT, but has a laugh that brings tears to my eyes.

(what I do know for sure is that bran muffins are NOT the next great thing. truthfully I am not usually a fan of the bran muffin, but the worlds greatest gramma was visiting and if her house was on fire I think she would grab her photos and her muffins, not necessarily in that order. this was an attempt to make ones that even I would enjoy. mission accomplished.) So as a result, I find myself contemplating what the next best thing is, and wondering if I could make/bake/invent it? Although I am not sure how you top bacon and cupcakes and food carts. The previously mentioned worlds greatest sister and I entered a recipe competiton earlier this year...we were not selected, not even shortlisted but the process was exhilerating. I think it was a first of many many many steps down a new path....

(the jury is still out on these muffin tins, they may work better with a white cupcake. right now all I see is a what looks like a tree trunk made of bran) I believe the saying is those that can't do, teach. Well, I think I am ready to stop preaching teaching and maybe start following my own business advice. I don't know what or where or when it will be, but I feel like for the first time in a long time I am open to the possibility. Its exciting and scary but so was becoming a mom....

and look how perfect that turned out.

Not Your Gramma's Bran Muffins

(adapted from Broma Bakery)

2 cup wheat bran
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup, plus 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
a few swipes of fresh orange zest
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Spread the wheat bran on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times so it cooks evenly. Let cool.

While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup of the raisins with 1/2 cup of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a food processor or blender until smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, yogurt, 1 cup water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, and brown sugar.

Stir in the oil, and eggs.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one. Because muffin tins can very in size, if your tins are larger, make fewer muffins.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.