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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.


Rise and Shine Muffins

5 from 1 vote
Servings: 24 muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes



  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Place the raisins in a small bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside to plump.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
  • Stir in the carrots, zucchini, pecans, and pine nuts.
  • In another large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Drain the raisins and stir them into the batter.
  • Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tin 3/4 full with batter.
  • Bake 25 minutes (15 minutes for mini muffins) or until a wooden pick inserted into muffins comes out clean.
  • Serve.
  • *From The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland-reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books


Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 180mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g
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About the Author

Catherine is a 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. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. A peanut butter and jam sandwich the next day for a snack.. first meal was probably a few days later and I’m pretty sure it was chicken fajitas.

  2. It was over 10 years ago now, I can’t remember the exact meal, but I want to say it was either an apple pie or tortilla Espanola since we returned from our honeymoon in Spain and wanted to relive every wonderful bite.

  3. Sweet potato quesadillas from one of the Moosewood cookbooks. Everyone asks me to make that one!

  4. I don’t have the slightest idea. My husband and I have been together since our sophmore year of high school, which was 10 years ago, lol.

  5. I don’t remember our first meal at home after our honeymoon, but I do recall making my husband two cheeseburgers on a George Foreman grill in a friend’s apartment the day we met. We still joke that burgers are a way to a man’s heart. It worked for us, anyway 😉

  6. The first thing I made for my husband when we got married was homemade flour tortillas. He always raved about his grandma’s flour tortilla, how fun it was to make them and how incredibly delicious they were fresh. One day while he was at work, I went searching through town for the ingredients. I got home and got to work. What a disaster! By the time he got home the kitchen was a WRECK and I had made a ton of unsuccessful tortilla’s. I hate to throw anything out but these were inedible. I wouldn’t even let him try them! We still laugh about it to this day! I have come a long way in my cooking but I still have not tried my hand at flour tortilla’s since that day!

  7. I remember we poured over cookbooks together and came out with the spinach and rice dish. Which was cooked by my husband himself. 🙂

  8. The first thing I made for him was a Chinese 3 cup chicken. It’s called 3 cup chicken because it’s so simple- 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup soy sauce and chicken. I was a novice cook, but I thought this was a foolproof recipe. I brought it to my then boyfriend who was nursing a cold – it was not the most appropriate thing, a chicken soup would have been much better! He still chukles about it but he appreciated it very much!

  9. I don’t recall…but I know that I met him in a safety briefing in a theater eleven years before we married, and I shared chocolate chip cookies with him! That is how he tells everyone we first met.

  10. The first meal I made for my now fiance was in our first (and still current) apartment together after we moved out of my parents house. I made homemade mac and cheese 🙂

  11. The first thing I made my husband-to-be (we had just graduated high school and didn’t get married until after college) was a delicious oven baked chicken with a dijon cream sauce and green beans. I was quite proud of myself:)

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    […]Rise and Shine Muffins (and cookbook giveaway!) | Weelicious ™ – Fast, Easy & Fresh Homemade Home Made Baby Food Babyfood Recipes, Toddler Food and recipes for the entire family![…]…

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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