This base oatmeal muffin mix offers endless variations and can be paired with fresh fruits and berries. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

This base oatmeal muffin mix offers endless variations and can be paired with fresh fruits and berries. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

A muffin for all seasons

Accompany the summer berry bounty with this all-purpose oatmeal muffin.

All week long our family has kept the berry bowl full.

At any convenient moment I have strapped my son into his bike seat and whisked us both down the long dirt road to the berry patch. The rainy summer gave us a seemingly endless bounty of blue and black berries, more than we could ever pick, but the prospect of a year’s worth of jam and pies has kept us coming back with buckets in hand. Each time we go I am amazed by the scale of it. The mossy buffet stretches as far as we can see and back into the woods beyond, and the berries are thick over it all. Each of our trips last barely half an hour, nonetheless we have amassed gallons over the course of the week.

A portion of each day’s bucket went into the fridge, intended for pancakes and salad dressing, but has mostly been eaten in handfuls. The sensation of a mouth full of firm little berries popping like caviar is beyond luxurious, and with a practically inexhaustible supply, we have been indulging with abandon. The sight of the full bowl of black jewels is equally decadent, and I have been reveling in my tribute to the luxury of plenty.

My little one has little stamina for picking, so I tried one morning (regrettably, in vain) to appease his boredom with a warm oatmeal muffin. These not-too-sweet muffins are quickly made and hearty, ideal for an impromptu outing on a foggy morning.

This recipe is for the base oatmeal muffin mix, but the variations are endless. Raisin and cinnamon or rehydrated apple with ginger are classic choices, but you could try some dried cherries and chocolate chips for a sweeter version. Adding chia and flax seed will increase the nutritional value and add to the texture. These can also be made in bulk and frozen for quick breakfasts. Thaw overnight and microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel to revive. Best served on a mossy hillock with a handful of fresh berries and a thermos of black coffee (or milk).

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup instant oats

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and completely cooled

½ cup milk

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 12-muffin tin with butter or line with paper liners. Baking without liners will produce a crispy edge around the entire muffin, which I enjoy, but if you want a soft muffin, I suggest using liners.

Combine your flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly to aerate.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your eggs, yogurt, vanilla, milk and cooled melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine.

If you want to add any berries, dried fruits, or nuts, this is the time.

Portion out into your muffin tin, filling to just under the top of each cup.

Bake immediately for 14-18 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are firm and springy, rotating the pan at the halfway point.

De-pan as soon as you can handle them and store as soon as they are cool.

Tressa Dale is a U.S. Navy veteran and culinary and pastry school graduate from Anchorage. She currently lives in Nikiski with her husband, 1-year-old son and two black cats.

More in Life

Sheryl Maree Reily speaks last Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, about the Homer Drawdown Peatland exhibit showing at the Pratt Museum & Park in Homer, Alaska. Reily was a Bunnell Street Arts Center Artist in Residence who did an installation and video for the exhbit. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Peatlands exhibit at Pratt merges art and conservation

The exhibit caps a yearslong effort to identify a locally sustainable way to reduce or capture carbon emissions

Seasoned spinach, sauteed mushrooms and onion, acorn jelly, seasoned mung bean sprouts, stir-fried dried anchovies and peanuts, pickled radish, fried zucchini, fried shrimp pancakes, and beef and radish soup were featured in the author’s celebration of Chuseok. The traditional Korean harvest festival dates to antiquity and pays homage to Korea’s ancient farming roots and was celebrated Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Sharing a harvest feast

Chuseok, a traditional Korean harvest festival, dates to antiquity and pays homage to Korea’s ancient farming roots.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Forever young

I have sometimes wondered if I did, in fact, squander my youth.

A still from "Fantastic Fungi," showing at the 17th annual Homer Documentary Film Festival. (Photo provided)
Roll ‘em: DocFest returns for 17th year

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns with COVID-19 precautions and a solid line up of films.

Cooked by a combination of pan frying and steaming, delicate tofu and vegetable dumplings require a delicate hand and patience. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Chubby bites of goodness

Pan-fried and steamed tofu and vegetable dumplings take patience and practice.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: The inside story regarding moose

Moose derive their name from the Native American word, “Moswa,” meaning “twig eater.”

File
Minister’s Message: The myth of ‘success’

Take time to consider what really matters.

“Reimagine,” the 17th annual Burning Basket, catches fire in a field on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, near Homer. Artist Mavis Muller intended to broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube the burning of the basket, but because of technical difficulties that didn’t happen. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Recover’ brings Burning Basket back to Spit

Basket in a time of pandemic will seek to rebuild community, organizer says.

Homemade lemon curd and fruit are an easy way to fill puff pastry tart shells on the fly. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: When life gives you puff pastry … make lemon curd

By my own necessity I have become resourceful, adaptable and a creative problem-solver.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: The final frontier

I never once even considered that in my lifetime it might be possible to exist in outer space …

Alaska felt artist Ruthie Ost Towner is pictured in this undated photo. Towner’s work is on display at the Soldotna Visitor Center through September. (Photo courtesy Naomi Gaede-Penner)
Alaska felt artist Ruthie Ost Towner is pictured in this undated photo. Towner’s work is on display at the Soldotna Visitor Center through September. (Photo courtesy Naomi Gaede-Penner)
Preserving the past with felt: Ruth Ost Towner

Ruthie untwists her thread, straightens her shoulders, reaches for a cup of coffee, and calculates her felt-making outcome.

The “Reindeer Man” exhibit featuring work by Kenai Art Center Executive Director Alex Rydlinski can be seen on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alex Rydlinski)
From birth to slaughter

Kenai Art Center exhibit chronicles a reindeer’s life