Clueless Mornings

Krista and Ann share their solutions for breakfast on the go.

Now that Ann's on the food staff, she's seen a whole new side of Krista. Take the other morning, for example. As the rest of the foodies sat patiently waiting for Krista to show up for an 8:30 meeting, some began to worry about her well-being. All of a sudden, Krista blew in, took a seat, and got down to business. Ann discreetly tried to get her attention from across the table to let her know that, well, the nut had powder residue on her forehead. After the meeting, Krista filled Ann in on her crazy morning and mad dash to work: She woke up at 8:24 (keep in mind she had an 8:30 meeting), and since there was no time to shower, she had to sprinkle powder on her hair to keep it from looking oily. Nice, huh? Of course, she had not a minute to spare for breakfast and simply hit the snack machine at work. And as we all know, most snack machine offerings aren't exactly nutritious. So for those times when you're having a day like Krista's―when you absolutely can't stop for breakfast―it's best to keep some make-ahead breakfast solutions on hand. Make a batch of these muffins (both recipes tuck fruity fillings inside for a nice surprise), and keep them in a zip-top plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week. Or freeze them for up to a month; just pop them into the microwave for a few seconds to thaw.

Tips for Strawberry-and-Cream Cheese-Filled Muffins

Feel free to substitute any other fruit preserves for the strawberry.

Make sure that you're not scooping your flour. Follow our directions to lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and then level off the excess with a knife. If you scoop, you can get up to twice as much flour as intended.

Store baking powder in a cool, dry place. If you haven't used it for six months, combine 1 teaspoon with 1/3 cup hot water (to make sure it still works). If the mixture bubbles, then your baking powder is still potent.

Poppy seeds have a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. Look for them on the spice aisle. Because of their high oil content, poppy seeds are prone to rancidity. They should therefore be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Baking soda is perishable and should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to six months. To test the potency of baking soda, mix 1/4 teaspoon of it with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. If it bubbles, then your baking soda is still active.

If you can't find buttermilk at your grocery store, you can make your own. Just add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of 1 percent or 2 percent milk (this doesn't work very well with skim milk), and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

Tips for White Chocolate-Apricot Muffins

Make sure that you're not scooping your flour. Follow our directions to lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and then level off the excess with a knife. If you scoop, you can get up to twice as much flour as intended.

Crystallized ginger is fresh ginger that has been cooked and coated with coarse sugar to preserve it. It's generally found in supermarket spice sections or in produce departments' specialty areas. Before chopping crystallized ginger, coat your knife with cooking spray to keep the ginger from sticking to the blade.

If you prefer to omit the crystallized ginger, these muffins are also good without it. Store baking powder in a cool, dry place. If you haven't used it for six months, combine 1 teaspoon with 1/3 cup hot water (to make sure it still works). If the mixture bubbles, then your baking powder is still potent.

Feel free to substitute any other fruit preserves for the apricot.

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