My husband and I recently became empty-nesters. Years ago when our eldest daughter left for college it felt as though a hole had ripped through our hearts leaving an ache that may never heal. Likewise, as each of our remaining daughters marched toward the independence and endless possibilities college would offer them, our world closed in around us.  The house is too silent and feels oddly vacant.

When our children were living at home, meal time always presented a challenge of precise likes and dislikes which seldom seemed to harmonize. I adapted to cooking for reluctant eaters with legendary culinary demands (most of which persevere to this day). Coupled with long, tiring work hours and busy children the availability of time presented another tricky issue.  Recipes for healthy and convenient food proved key in gathering everyone to the table.

In particular, one recipe that worked for my family was the Six Week Bran Muffin. Its unique name is obtained from the batter which, after preparation, can be left in the fridge for up to six weeks. I have yet to test that claim, however, since mine never lasted that long. I also doubt I could leave any food in my refrigerator that long. Even my pickiest eater took an unenthusiastic bite, dissected the muffin by taking out the raisins and ate her muffin. When she was three her interactive experience with her food was tolerable. As a young adult it mystifies us that she can pop a handful of yogurt covered raisins in her mouth without contemplation but won’t eat her raisin riddled muffin intact.

Here is the recipe I use for my bran muffins. This is a basic recipe that can be changed as you prefer. I don’t know the origin of the original recipe and I change it to the likes and dietary needs of my family. I mix white and whole wheat flour, add ground flax seed, use artificial sweeteners, and egg substitutes at times. Grated carrots can be added as well as dried fruits and nuts.  If you don’t want raisins in your muffins simply use bran flakes instead of raisin bran.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Six Week Bran Muffins

1  15 oz box raisin bran cereal
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 quart buttermilk
5 cups flour
5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

*Option ingredients, use ½ cup. Cracked wheat, sunflower seeds, millet, ground flax seed

Mix flour, soda, and salt together. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well in large bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to use, bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Whether you are cooking for six or only two, enjoy.