It’s interesting that it never is what you intended to be. And by “it” I mean everything. Last year when I made the decision to leave my very comfortable (only in the financial sense of the word) job in pursuit of something other, out of a need to get my life back, I never envisioned that I’d be something like a COO. I thought I’d be generating big ideas, helping craft social media campaigns and consumer marketing strategies, and while I do that for some, for the most part companies of all sizes have invited me to come in and gut renovate. I build the floor, ceilings and windows for a house; I create the foundation. This role includes creating staff plans against various P+Ls (as well as role definition, job requirements and mentoring plans), creating process and infrasture so teams are set up for success and efficiency, defining a blueprint for the creation and deployment of strategic plans, identifying revenue streams (organic or inorganic) based on the business the company may be in, and setting up models for growth.
All of this is pretty antithetical to what I do outside the office, and I have to say, I REALLY LIKE IT. I’m using different parts of my brain in varying capacities, and my creative balance is in-tact, informing the non-creative work that I do.
This week I kicked off an assignment at a rather large and prominent agency that is part of a holding company, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with genuinely kind and smart people. The agency is larger than the one from which I recently left — larger portfolios, expansive departments, etc — so I was thrilled that the assignment would be a challenging one. And it is in all the best ways.
What I’m trying to suss out is a balanced schedule. The assignment requires me to work in an office three days a week and off-site (at home) for one day. This week I spent a great deal of time auditing the teams, processes and work products, so I came home last night pretty spent from the week. So instead of rushing to the gym this morning I decided to wake and make muffins.
I’m glad I did. Sometimes I crave silence and need it.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these muffins. I was also surprised to learn that the best muffins are made with chilled (WHAT??!) butter, whipped pretty intensely to cream in the stand mixer. While this recipe uses oil as the fattening agent, I definitely will try the others and report back.
In the meantime, have a muffin! xo
INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours
For the muffins
1 large seedless orange
⅔ cup canola oil
½ cup plus 1 tbsp whole milk
2 eggs, at room temperature
2¼ cups bread flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
For the streusel topping
6 tbsp unbleached white flour
1 tbsp cane sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
2½ tbsp butter, melted
¼ tsp vanilla
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400*. Line the muffin tin with muffin liners or brush the insides of the cups with butter.
Grate the zest of the orange and set it aside. Slice the orange in half and juice both sides. You should have about ⅓ cup of juice.
Whisk the oil, milk, orange juice, orange zest, and eggs together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the liquids and stir with a spoon, just until combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries.
Portion the batter out into the muffin cups, filling almost to the top.
To make the streusel topping, mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl, using your fingers, until well combined and crumbly.
Sprinkle the muffin tops with the streusel.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 375F* and continue to bake until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 15 minutes more. (If you are using frozen berries, allow for a few extra minutes.)
Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins to a baking rack and cool completely.