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Rise and Shine Muffins (and cookbook giveaway!)

My midlife crisis arrived about twenty years too early. The year was 2001 and I had been working in the modeling industry for almost 15 years -- basically since I was a teenager. Modeling afforded me many wonderful opportunities for which I will always be grateful, but it didn't really fulfill me.

I had always dreamed of going to culinary school, yet the thought of simply abandoning what I had done for so long to start something completely new gave me great anxiety, no matter how determined as I was to find my true calling. I researched several culinary programs but never could commit to do anything more than take a tour. And so there I remained, lost, two years shy of my 30th birthday and entirely too young to be so confused about what I was doing with my life.

I was living in New York back then and had made an appointment one day to see yet another school, the Institute of Culinary Education. The tour date was September 11th and as you can probably figure out for yourself, I did not get to visit the school that day. As it did for many people I know, 9/11 forced me to reexamine my life. I decided within days of that unspeakable tragedy that if I was ever going to follow my dream, that was the moment.

I spent the next year as happy as I've ever been, working during the day and going to school at night. As hard as it was, I still romanticize that period of my life for the sumptuous meals (my schoolwork) that I would bring home from my classes for my future hubby and I to enjoy late at night after our long days of work and school.

This all finally brings me to the whole reason for the recipe below. While at I.C.E., I was blessed to meet one of the kindest, sweetest, most talented women I know. At a very young age, Sarah Copeland knew exactly what she wanted to be and she made it happen. A veteran of the Food Network, writer, food-expert, urban gardner and co-founder of Share Our Strength's Good Food Garden's Campaign, Sarah's most recent exploit is The Newlywed Cookbook. Not only is this amazing book rich in information and stories, it features tantalizing food photography and delectable recipes which are perfect for both the newbie and experienced cook. Below is one of my many favorites from the book. I made it for Kenya's snack one day and all the kids (and their moms) went nuts for it.

Sarah is offering one weelicious reader the chance to win The Newlywed Cookbook. For a chance to win, just tell me the first thing you made for your partner when you were a newlywed. The winner will be chosen at random and announced here next week. Good luck!

* Congratulations to Caroline Evans, the winner of The Newlywed Cookbook giveaway!

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Rise and Shine Muffins (and cookbook giveaway!) (24 regular-sized muffins)

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, grated (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Place the raisins in a small bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside to plump.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
4. Stir in the carrots, zucchini, pecans, and pine nuts.
5. In another large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla.
6. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
7. Drain the raisins and stir them into the batter.
8. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tin 3/4 full with batter.
9. Bake 25 minutes (15 minutes for mini muffins) or until a wooden pick inserted into muffins comes out clean.
10. Serve.
*From The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland-reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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580 comments

  • Meghna Grover

    The first thing i made was a full Indian meal. It was quite an undertaking and I was so proud of the accomplishment. My husband and I are both Indian-American and I wanted to show him just how culturally in-tune I was with our Indian roots....looking back, I am not that sure it was very good, at all....I am a way better Indian cook, 7 years down the road!

    leave a comment

    • Maria Balouris Handrinos

      The first thing I made was frozen tortellini with jarred sauce for my future husband . . . and he still married me! :). Eleven years later, both the meals I cook and our relationship get better each day. My husband is the one who has taught and encouraged me the most about cooking. Food is love!

      leave a comment

    • Kat

      I made SPANAKOPITA!!! I am German and he is Greek we live in Hong Kong and now our two kids were born here!!!!!

      leave a comment

    • Shauna Wilkins

      Fried chicken with mixed vegs! Chicken was pretty good, but vegs not so great.

      leave a comment

  • Amy Marantino

    lasagne

    leave a comment

  • Jess

    Spaghetti, and it was a hit!

    leave a comment

  • motherof6cuties

    Lasagna was the first dish I remember making for my then boyfriend. It was a mess but he ate it with a smile. That is why I love him so much.

    leave a comment

  • Viktorija

    I made melted cheese sandwich next morning! :)

    leave a comment

  • Mebrr

    I \"made\" him order pizza. Oh, that's not what you meant! He makes brocolli cheese soup with homemade bread bowls and I am known for blank casserole-- casserole with noodles cheeses spinach and creamy mushrooms, so I am betting it was that

    leave a comment

    • Tangie

      I was drawn by the hoensty of what you write

      leave a comment

  • Nicole

    Chicken picata... It was a hit!!

    leave a comment

  • Chase

    Chicken fajitas

    leave a comment

  • Amy

    breaded chicken cutlets... still his favorite!

    leave a comment

  • Kate Schwarz

    Salmon burgers...that were rather dry. Luckily he stuck with me anyway!

    leave a comment

  • Elizabeth

    My husband and I have dated since college so the first meal I made for him was monte crisco sandwiches from my on campus apartment.

    leave a comment

  • Valerie

    Stuffed peppers. I make them very healthy with a grain; brown rice or bulgar or barley. Add loads of veggies, tomato sauce. He loved it and still does!

    leave a comment

  • Kalee Wolf

    Cooking together was one of the ways my now husband and I saved money on date night. One of our favorites was a modified recipe from Alton Brown's Good Eats show--Baked chicken nachos. Each chip gets some seasoned, shredded chicken and cheese then bake until bubbly. We then add toppings that we each like--salsa, sour cream, onions, etc. Still a favorite at our house.

    leave a comment

  • Natalie

    Hi there. I have a small request. I was wondering if you could possibly state the measures in the metric system too? We don't use cups or Farenheit in Europe and it would have so much more of a broad appeal internationally if you could put them in brackets following the US measures as the whole appeal is that your recipes are quick and easy. I often give up on an \"off the cuff\" recipe of yours as with noisy kids around etc. I can't face factoring in the calculations which occasionally change the recipe so that it fails. Many many thanks!

    leave a comment

    • Heidi

      I think Google has conversion charts for weighing and metric. I used them when I was in Europe. I am sorry I can't say more. I do know that at most temperatures that one bakes at,you just take half of Farenheit to use Celsius. Good luck. :)

      leave a comment

  • Sara

    Since he does most of the cooking, I'm pretty sure my first meal cooked for him was along the lines of a bologna sandwich! But DH makes a meatloaf that knocks my socks off and I love acting as his sous chef in the kitchen!

    leave a comment

  • Marissa Marcantonio

    Meatloaf !

    leave a comment

  • Lauren

    I made him baked ziti.

    leave a comment

  • Jolene

    ~Stuffed Peppers~ I had never made them before so I had NO clue what I was doing and it turned out amazing! Since then I have messed up very very few things and even if it doesn't turn out just how *I* want it the dish always seem to garner rave reviews.

    It was always my dream to attend Culinary school and took every single business and cooking course in my high school (and eventually took college business courses while in high school still). I never attended a Culinary secondary education, though, my children (all 4 going on 7 of them!) do call me a Chef!

    leave a comment

  • Karyn Blass

    baked chicken and rice.......but he cooked for me first---stuffed turkey--with meat stuffing,veggie rice,hot and spicey pineapple......

    leave a comment

  • Erin

    I made my husband french onion soup, homemade caesar salad served with baguette and white wine!

    leave a comment

  • Katie

    Cooking for my husband has always been one of the ways that I have been able to show him love. I made him his favorite spaghetti and meatballs.

    leave a comment

  • Rosalind

    I believe I made my hubby baked salmon with roasted veggies

    leave a comment

  • Jeannie

    Chili!

    leave a comment

  • Christina

    This first thing that I made was breakfast tacos. He loved them and i still make them for him to this day.

    leave a comment

  • Heather Kids In The Sink

    I think one of the first meals I cooked was shepards pie. My husband loves shepards pie and is very specific about how it's made!

    leave a comment

  • Leanna

    Some kind of pasta casserole :)

    leave a comment

  • Mikki

    The first thing I made was a pan of lasagna.

    leave a comment

  • Ruth Anne

    My first meal for my husband was French Onion Soup, made just the way my father likes it... I found out much later, that the way my dad likes it is just too \"French\" for my darling husband...nevertheless, he suffered through 2 bowls of it (I suffered too, I am allergic to onions so I had to take precautions when making it...LOL).

    leave a comment

  • Elicia

    I don't remember from when we were newly wed, but I do remember he talked me into making gallons of plum preserves the day of our ceremony at the courtroom. We had our wedding a week later, but had a good friend perform the ceremony. It was easier to do it that way than to get him legalized for ceremonies.

    I imagine it was something with plum chutney or sauce.

    leave a comment

  • Melissa

    Grilled skirt steak, steamed brussel sprouts and quinoa! Still one of our favorite meals!

    leave a comment

  • Laura Degnan

    A ham and cheese sandwich! I remember packing his lunch for the first time after our honeymoon.

    leave a comment

  • Marie

    Hrm. I have no idea, but I do recall making chocolate chip cookies with him. He had never made cookies before!

    leave a comment

  • Carolina K.

    Brunch: home fries, eggs over easy, bacon, toast, freshly squeezed OJ.

    leave a comment

  • Leah

    Chocolate chip cookies-a study pick-me-up when he was still in school.

    leave a comment

  • Bethany Hutchinson

    Shortly after we got married, my husband had to work late. Usually he made dinner, but we'd be eating way to late if he had to do it after getting home. It was my first time making a full meal on my own! (I'm more of a baker!) I made sautéed pepper, chicken breasts, and mashed potatoes. The chicken was a tiny bit dry, but everything was very tasty and I became more confident in my cooking skills!

    leave a comment

  • Ana

    Chocolate mousse

    leave a comment

  • Amanda

    A full breakfast with eggs, pancakes and bacon!

    leave a comment

  • Steph

    Stuffed peppers!

    leave a comment

  • Rebecca Woods

    The first thing I made for my husband was homemade chicken ettuccine alfredo. It was his favorite meal and I had never made it before. I had always bought the pasta and sauce, but I decided I was going to make it from scratch. The pasta was like lead and the sauce was like glue, but he ate it anyway! What a guy.

    leave a comment

  • Daiga

    He did all the cooking back then:) I LOVE his bacon and eggs:)

    leave a comment

  • Amy J

    Chinese fried rice :)

    leave a comment

  • Sue

    It has been so long I can barely remember. But it must have been something Italian like baked ziti....

    leave a comment

  • Christina

    The first meal I made was spaghetti with shrimp and crab.

    leave a comment

  • Heather

    Well funny story..we met at the grocery store when he asked me what I am going to make with the leeks I was buying. Months later coincidentally my first meal I cooked for him was chicken with leeks! He also ended up proposing at that same store years later:)

    leave a comment

  • Jem

    His favorite pork chops.

    leave a comment

  • Lilit

    I remember my husband - boyfriend back then, was sick and i made him a chicken soup...

    leave a comment

  • Rebecca Selway

    Too long ago to remember!!! But most likely stuffed peppers. Can't mess that meal up too bad!!

    leave a comment

  • Jaime L.

    Penne alla vodka

    leave a comment

  • Kay

    Hamburger helper - I didn't know how to cook anything else!

    leave a comment

  • Deanna

    Turkey spaghetti

    leave a comment

  • Jenny G

    I'm pretty sure it was lasagna. The first thing he cooked for me was chicken parmesan ...so good!

    leave a comment

  • Kristin

    Osso bucco and polenta.

    leave a comment

  • Chrissy

    What a special memory to think about! The first thing I made my husband was an omelet with a side of bacon and toast on our honeymoon. We have pictures of us enjoying our breakfast looking out over the Rocky Mountians from the deck of our cabin. Oh how I wish we could relive all life's special moments like that :)

    leave a comment

  • Dorothy

    Cream puffs - after 31 years he still talks about them. A wonderful memory <3

    leave a comment

  • Kathy

    My husband loved breakfast so i made him scrambled eggs, toast & coffee...he loved it!

    leave a comment

  • MichelleJ

    I made a pot roast, one of my mom's recipes she shared with me.

    leave a comment

  • Jennifer

    I made my husband lasagna. At the young age of 20 I ended up burning the entire thing! So he ended up taking us out for dinner! 13 years later I do make a much better lasagna!

    leave a comment

  • Anna

    Pierogies

    leave a comment

  • Meredith

    Pretty sure it was lasagna. Thanks for taking me back in time :)

    leave a comment

  • Laura

    My family recipe for Lentils and pasta! SO easy and SO yummy. We still eat it often and the kids love it (most of the time).

    leave a comment

  • Katherine

    Tamales oaxaquenos for his birthday. He's Mexican and had never had this kid of tamale. He loves them, and I make them every year for his birthday (except this year because we just moved and I don't know where to get banana leaves).

    leave a comment

  • Bridget

    Steak, baked potato and asparagus. His favorites!

    leave a comment

  • Melissa

    I'm not exactly sure, but I do know that lasagna is his favorite. Being that his birthday wasn't long after we got married, I probably made him that.

    leave a comment

  • Jamie Jones

    I made him a lasagna!

    leave a comment

  • Rhiana Wackenhuth

    We were already living together before we were engaged. I didn't know how to cook then...at all, so I am sure that I made a ton of those wonderful frozen heat and eat meals *blush*

    leave a comment

    • Almi

      Thank you incredibly slatsantibluy for your exciting text. I have been looking for these types of message to get a definitely very long time. Thank you.

      leave a comment

  • Amber

    Mac and cheese, straight out of the box :).

    leave a comment

  • Charlotte

    Steak with a blackberry butter sauce. It was his recipe and we made it together. We could have made anything and it would not have mattered. We were just so happy to be together.

    leave a comment

  • Marta Howard

    crepes.

    leave a comment

  • Kate

    Spaghetti squash with homemade marinara - he was impressed and we've had it many times since!

    leave a comment

  • Betsy

    Honestly racking my brain to remember but I am clueless! Probably some type of pasta and if I was going all out, a pot roast and gravy, one of his favorites.

    leave a comment

  • Karen

    Don't remember the first thing I made for him, but I remember clearly the first thing he made for me! It was quesadillas. The recipe came from a cookbook called: \"A Man, A Can, And A Plan\". I sooooooo need to win this cookbook!

    leave a comment

  • Melissa

    Definitely a stirfry - I was the queen of stirfrys when we first started cooking for each other. Luckily we have expanded our recipes after 10 years together!

    leave a comment

  • Nikki

    i think the 1st thing i made for my hubby after we got married was fish tacos :) we still have them today; but he cooks the fish now...

    leave a comment

  • Danielle

    Pot roast, twice baked potatoes, homemade bread, roasted carrots, onions and parsnips. Seems so long ago! :)

    leave a comment

  • Nichole

    turkey sausage and peppers!

    leave a comment

  • Amanda

    I think the first thing I ever made was salsa, my family's recipe. It was delicious enough to win him over.

    leave a comment

  • Skymommy

    Mussels. He loved it and still asks for it but claims it is never quite the same. It was 10 yrs ago - I am not the same dish either lol.

    leave a comment

  • Jeannette

    My husband is the cook and has been since day one :). I can't remember but he probably made our first meal together. The first thing I made for him, however, was potato leek soup.

    leave a comment

  • Holly

    Wow...I am thinking it might have been a big pasta dinner. Yummy!

    leave a comment

  • Dena

    Not married, yet, but my first meal as an engaged couple was a shrimp, feta, and tomato pasta dish we both love.

    leave a comment

  • Tara

    I have no idea! We eloped after already having a one year old and living together. Plus he works evenings so he's rarely home for dinner!

    leave a comment

  • Sunni

    I introduced my hubby to many new foods when we were newlyweds. I think a homemade basil pesto over tortellini was there first and his favorite.

    leave a comment

  • manin76

    wow !! I guess Im in the same situation as you in 2001, let's see what happens !! :)

    I made some blueberry muffins (he LOVES blueberry) .. but they turned out all purple !!!! I used frozen blueberry and they colored the whole dough! But he said they were good :)

    leave a comment

  • Molly

    this recipe looks great!!
    regarding the first recipe i made my husband, i have no idea. however, i do remember that when we were dating, i planned a dinner that i was going to cook for him. i was so nervous that i would mess up that i ended up ordering carry-out and tried to pass it as my own. that lasted about 5 minutes, then i told him what i did :)

    leave a comment

  • Amy

    pasta with shrimp and homemade garlic toast. i still make it, 7 years later.

    leave a comment

  • Serena

    Chicken coconut curry!

    leave a comment

  • Dawn

    Tator Tot Casserole...We make it all the time now!

    leave a comment

  • Michelle DSouza

    When I was pregnant with my daughter (started thinking about all the stuff I would make for her), I developed an interest in cooking. I used to watch Food Network all the time and from there started my passionate relationship with food. I love to cook, it gives me such peace and joy. I owe it all to my darling daughter.

    leave a comment

  • Dana

    Since I'm not a cook, I'm assuming it was pasta and jar sauce! We're still married! It's pretty obvioius I need some help!! :)

    leave a comment

  • Laura

    I can't remember the first meal I made him as a newlywed, but I do remember making him chicken parmesan that he absolutely loved!

    leave a comment

  • Lynn Morejon

    Been married for 9 years this year and we cook together on a rare occasion. ONly b/c we end up wanting to kill each other in the kitchen :)

    leave a comment

  • Jessica

    chocolate chip cookies. :) the only thing i could really make at the time. :)

    leave a comment

  • Brenda

    The first real thing from scratch was one of his Mom's Bar-B-Q sauce recipes. Of course he failed to tell me not to put my face over it when I took the lid off and it about knocked me down from the steam of the vinegar in it, LOL. It was awesome if I do say so myself. That was 31 years ago.

    leave a comment

  • Kristin Gideon

    I can't remember the *first* thing I cooked, but the first thing I made at his request that I was excited about as beef stroganoff. Yum!! This cookbook looks great, thanks for the opportunity!

    leave a comment

  • April

    Chicken tacos. He still asks for them weekly!

    leave a comment

  • Stacy Grogg

    No idea what the very first was. But...the very first thing we cooked together as a couple was crab stuffed trout for our first married Valentines Day. Delicious.

    leave a comment

  • Jaime

    Do mimosa's count? :) But seriously, the first thing I probably made him after we tied the knot was a sandwich (not very labor intensive at all!), BUT we love a good sammy!

    leave a comment

  • Monica

    Chicken parmesan

    leave a comment

  • Kim

    His mom's lasagne.

    leave a comment

  • Megan Fluetsch

    Pancakes! Breakfast has always been our favorite meal of the day.

    leave a comment