our spartan kitchen: rosemary fig whole grain muffins

Three items:

1. WE GOT KITTENS! Rescue kittens, that is. They are both so lively that it is nearly impossible to get a well-focused picture of them facing the camera.

Easter, who we estimate is four weeks old, was dropped off in the back of someone’s truck on Easter Sunday.

Sherbet (shur-burt), who is six weeks old, was “owner surrendered,” as the people at the Humane Society say.

2. I burnt my thumb. I have no picture to prove it, but I do indeed have a nice, blistered second degree burn on the pad of my poor left thumb. The top of that pan really did not look that hot!

3. I finally made these muffins, the idea for which had been bouncing around in my brain for weeks. I just needed to acquire some figs. Thanks to my friend Anna and Whole Foods [cue heavenly music] in Raleigh, the other day I did just that.

Whole Foods actually offered two types of dried figs. In their apparent goal to bound above and beyond the limits and expectations placed on a single grocery store, Whole Foods actually offers two types of figs. And, in my enthusiasm at being inside a Whole Foods and discovering figs, I purchased both. For my muffins I somewhat arbitrarily decided to utilize the mission figs instead of the Turkish ones. The mission figs seemed a bit more moist, which I figured would render them easier to chop.

I made a sad and pathetic attempt to photograph the ingredients I used before I actually made the muffins. Of course, I left multiple ingredients out of the picture and added in cloves, which never enters the recipe scene. Oh well.

For me the most exciting part of the whole recipe was tasting and using brown rice syrup for the first time. Whole Foods provided me with that opportunity also. I cannot wait until one opens up here in town this summer! Oh my goodness. I will be able to spend hours wandering the aisles, drooling over the produce, and staring, enraptured by the array of bulk food dispensers. What a wonderful thought! My anticipation is great.

Brown rice syrup is so delightfully thick and sticky-sweet; it is like molasses but properly, purely sweet instead of nastily bitter.

Let it be known throughout the earth: I like batter. After scraping this bowl to a sufficient degree in my mind, I and one of my dear brothers – alas, I must sometimes compete for extra batter – used a spatula, a fork, and our fingers to clean it well. I presume that the “waste not, want not” saying applies to batter as well as to food one does not prefer.

 I must admit that just about the only clean item after I finish baking something is, in fact, the bowl that used to hold the batter. I make a mess, despite my constant cleaning up and putting away in the middle of things.

It was a miracle we had cupcake liners!

These are perfect breakfast or snack. I guess you could even eat one for dessert if you are strange and dislike properly sweet desserts. I cannot fathom people like that. It blows my mind. If it has lots of sugar, I will probably eat it.

Rosemary Fig Whole Grain Muffins


  • ½ cup barley flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • ½ cup oat flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup milk (dairy or otherwise)
  • 2  eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup, agave nectar, honey, or a combination
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup dried mission figs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry.

Briefly soak the figs in water to soften them. Cut off their hard stems. Coarsely chop the figs a size you like. Add the figs and rosemary to the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix until combined, but do not overmix.

If using them, place cupcake liners in a muffin pan, and spray with baking spray. If not using cupcake liners, simply grease the muffin pan well. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes, until they test done. Enjoy warm!



  1. Aw-w-w-w-w-w! That goes for the two cute kittens, the delicious sounding and very different muffin recipe and un poquito triste for the hurt of your burnt thumb. Looking forward to seeing especially the kittens soon. Love, Grandma L.

  2. Kittens are cute! What I want to know is–has Dad tried these on his GE folks on Wednesday morning yet? That should be the real taste test. Love, Grandma M.

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