Valentine's Day round-up (and a bonus muffin makeover!)

As far as holiday shenanigans go, this year I've been more productive than last (what with baby #2 being less than two weeks old this time last year) but less productive than 2012, when the highlight of Valentine's Day festivities included heart-shaped scones I'd made the night before (I do love me some scones). I had ingredients to make blackberry chocolate chip scones but by the time both kids were in bed last night, having handled after-school time, dinner, and bedtime solo, that recipe seemed far too fussy. Instead, I threw the ingredients into Ina Garten's delicious but incredibly unhealthy strawberry muffin recipe (halved the recipe, subbing blackberries for the strawberries, obviously, and adding in about 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips, making them even less healthy) and baked them up in a heart-shaped pan.

This is the same pan I used for the heart-shaped crayons the 5 year old will distribute to his classmates this afternoon.

I'm pretty sure I got all the melted crayon residue out... Anyway, for the crayons we remelted a 4+ year supply of broken crayons - the 5 year old did all the color mixing in a 24 slot mini muffin pan first then I transferred each "pod" to the heart-shaped pan and popped them in a 250 degree oven for about 12 minutes.

They popped right out of the pan when completely cool. And they turned out really well, I'd say better than my first attempt at this kind of thing way back when the Makery was still "fresh on Mondays".

And that's about it, folks. Oh, wait, I am wearing the festive socks my mother-in-law gave me when she came up for the baby's birthday bash a couple of weeks ago. That's enough, right?

PS - want to make a slightly healthier version of Ina Garten's muffins? If you don't want to use two whole sticks of butter (TWO STICKS!), give this makeover a try (changes to the original recipe are in bold; follow cooking instructions here):

Instead of 3 cups AP flour, use 1 cup whole wheat flour + 2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted + 1 mixed fruit/veggie pouch (I used one of these)
2 cups diced fresh strawberries 
(this recipe makes a great base muffin recipe so any fruit will do - I used diced kiwi + blueberries for this makeover, because every once in awhile I forget that nobody in my house will eat kiwis but I buy them anyway)
3/4 cup sugar

The slightly healthier muffins turned out pretty well, all things considered, although my first thought was, "mmm, these would be good with a little butter!" Kind of defeats the purpose but if you can resist that addition, they were still light and moist and plenty sweet. Using a generous amount of baking powder, cinnamon, and adding the sugar at the end is indeed genius. But two sticks of butter is insane, Ina, just insane!

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