Today was my first day back to real life.
The early morning alarm, a half-awake trip to the gym, and then that rush to shower, eat breakfast, pack lunch and basically race against the clock to get to the office on time.
I didn’t like it. Did I spend the last three weeks recovering from extreme burnout? Yes. But unfortunately that didn’t change the feeling of anxiety that weighed me down for the last precious hours of official vacation. The freedom that I felt through the end of the year with my email turned off and my responsibilities at the office on hold was incredible. There was definitely more smiling during that period of time than any other similar block of time over the last twelve months.
It isn’t that I’m not happy in general, it’s just that I usually put the stress of my job and even my company on my shoulders. I go home at night and think about the model that needs fixing, the capital that needs to be raised or the co-worker that doesn’t get their work done. I think about the meetings that need to be scheduled, the emails that have to be sent and the trips that need to be booked. My old boss once told me not to care so much. He said, “don’t take this the wrong way, but you care too much.” He reminded me that I can only do what I can do and everything else is out of my control. It is just a job.
So as I get back to the usual routine I’ll try to put aside that usual level of stress that I carry with me and just breathe. I’ll take each day as it comes and put forth the work that makes me feel good and know that everything else will play itself out. And in the moments where I feel that sharp pain in the back of my neck I’ll take a deep breathe, have a cup of tea and when all else fails eat some chocolate.
Oh right, that is what this blog is about! I made these muffins for my 15th (!!!) annual Christmas Eve brunch with my best friends from home and they were a huge hit. Chocolaty and moist like a muffin should be, but even better than that, they are on the lighter side, perfect for your New Years diet resolutions!
Triple Chocolate Muffins with a Peanut Butter Swirl
Makes 12 muffins
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water, warm
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
~1/4 cup chocolate peanut butter (such as PB & Co)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Line a regular sized muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside
In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flour through salt); set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (water through vinegar) and chocolate chips
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until combined (there should still be some small lumps in the batter)
Pour batter into prepared muffin tin
Drop a teaspoon of peanut butter onto each unbaked muffin; use a toothpick to lightly swirl peanut butter around top of muffin
Bake muffins 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and muffin tops are firm
Allow muffins to cool a few minutes before removing from pan
Adapted from Cooking Light
On a separate note, my posts may be a little less frequent over the next several weeks. Stick with me because good things are to come!
Ugh I dreaded going back to work so much that I decided to get a cold apparently. Yay extra day off? Meh not really. But these muffins look like the perfect way to ease back into the swing of things. Mostly because they contain peanut butter :-)
I hope you are feeling better by now! Peanut butter definitely helped me this week:-)
These look SO yummy. I want to make them right now. But I will refuse, as I just went to the gym for the first time in months. But I will make them. Someday. :)
Going back to work kept me up all night last night with dreaded thoughts of email and voice mails, and the day did not disappoint. I think we should just be off until Feb.
And you should send me these cupcakes. K <3
Off until February would be heaven!
Love the teaspoonful of peanut butter on top of each muffin. A perfect touch. :)
P.S. I didn’t sleep at all last night in anticipation/dread of the first day back at work. Can ya tell I’m one of those people who carries her stress with her, too?
Ugh, that stress is not fun. Hope your week was better than expected!
These look awesome! I can’t believe they’re on the lighter side.
triple chocolate? REALLY?!? that’s just delicious
I know how you feel about going back to work, it was hard not to let it overshadow the last couple of days of the holiday but I hope you managed to take a step back this year and make sure you have enough ‘you time’.
Love these muffins too – they look wonderfully moist and delicious.
Thanks for the nice note, Kathryn!
You’re killing me with these. Peanut butter and TRIPLE chocolate? Oh my..I think I just died and gone to chocolate heaven. I’ll miss your frequent posts but do what you need to do to get back in the swing of things! Going back to work is definitely hard..I was off for 10 days and man, I’m telling you, waking up at 545am instead of 1030am is definitely brutal! Haha :)
Thanks, Julie! Yes, getting up with my alarm was a little rough this week!
I love that you went straight for the chocolate. No veggies or fruits, just chocolate. Way to go!!!
Oh Lauren you don’t disappoint.
We get back from vacation and start a new year right with chocolate and peanut butter.
I am glad you brought out the sweets for us.
yum! this look delicious! I saw this recipe in Cooking Light and I have been wanting to try it, good to know it works out well!
These muffins look so moist and rich! They looks so much better than the oatmeal I had this morning! :)
Chocolate & peanut butter is one of the best combos ever, and you’ve done it perfectly! I’m drooling over these, but happy to hear they’re on the lighter side!
Thanks, Colleen. I agree!
I have the same anxiety when coming back from a few days off or even just on Sunday evenings :( I hate it. I too think I need to care less and not let it get to me! Can’t wait to see what things are to come…
Thanks, Rachel! Hope your week went by quickly!
I’m pretty sure I like triple chocolate ANYTHING!
Wow, that looks so rich and sinfully tasty! I could just keep staring at that swirl :) Can I pleeease have one?
If I had some for you I’d send them your way!
First, I thought you were joking about these muffins being light ;) But they are!
Also, the only thing I can tell you about how to avoid letting work stress come into your regular life is to keep busy doing the things you like to do. Keep baking, keep reading, playing, planning vacations, etc. About a year ago, I was in a bad place at work and all I could think about was the problems & stress. The Mr about left me because all I could think or talk about was work. I made the decision to post more frequently on my blog, picked up my yoga mat, and ordered 10 books from Amazon that I’d been wanting to read for fun. I also booked a fun vacation with my girlfriends. Fill your brain with wonderful things that you love, and the bad things won’t have room. :)
You are the best, Tina! Thank you for those great suggestions.
Aw, Lauren, I can totally see you taking the stress of your company onto your own shoulders. Just try to let it go, at least some of the time. And these muffins ought to help. How delicious!
These look SO yummy, I love all things chocolate and peanut butter!
I can totally relate to your work stress, I’m the same way. Though I stress about every.single.thing in life, not just work. Chocolate helps though :)
You had me at triple chocolate and then when I saw “peanut butter swirl”!! I want one!
Going back to work is always difficult, especially if you put your heart and soul into it like you obviously do. These chocolate muffins look like a wonderful reason to take a break during the day.
Thanks, Dara! And happy birthday to you today!
Chocolate cures all. That’s my life motto.
I know what you mean about caring too much…I’m the same way. It’s a blessing and a curse.
But until I can get a handle on that…there’s always chocolate peanut butter muffins. Swoon!
Congratulations on being in the Top 9!
How delicious! Chocolate and peanut butter rock. I hope it cures all for you!
I think about 12 of these muffins would help me alleviate any stress I was having!
I have been told the same thing several times. I don’t know how you cannot care though? Ah work! It is nice to have something like this to come home to, it certainly distracts you for a bit.
My favorite combination!! I have to go make these, like right now. :) Thank you so much for sharing and congrats on Top 9.
No wonder these made the Foodbuzz Top 9! Wow!! I would love one now for a snack :). Great job Lauren!
Mmmmm…wonderful muffins!! Congrats on the Top 9!
Wow – there is everything wonderful and delicious about these muffins. The peanut butter swirl takes it a step further. Nice job!
i’m totally with you on the whole getting back into the swing of things, thing… to say it nicely, my alarm and i are no longer friends. on a totally different note, those muffins look super yummy! Those would definitely motivate me to get up in the morning :)
How fabulous! Triple chocolate & peanut butter? Two basic food groups :-)
What a creative take on muffins! Sound to die for! Great guest post with Chef Dennis too btw =)
Lauren – awesome muffins. I love PB anytime anywhere. It is the best food on the planet! I am so happy I found your blog through Chef Dennis – you are so talented.
Thanks so much, Dara!
Can’t believe these are low fat! Wow, great recipe.
I hope your transition has gone better than anticipated, Lauren! I know how hard it is to get back to a routine. I was totally in that mode on Tuesday this week. It’s so hard to get back to ‘real’ life sometimes. Especially when you’re having so much fun doing other things!
The peanut swirl is a total WIN!
These look so fantastic! I love the peanut butter swirl! And congrats on you Top 9 post for Chef Dennis!
These look amazing! Anything with chocolate and peanut butter is amazing!
PB & Co. makes some of the best spread out there, so I’m sure these are phenomenal!
I love your honesty in this post. My job causes me anxiety on a daily basis and, well, you know how misery loves company. So, thanks for joining me down here. ;-)
These muffins look delightful and I love that they are chocolatey yet not too heavy. And anything with peanut butter and chocolate is a winner to me!
Ooh, I can’t wait to try these! These look like a muffin that could make any day better.
I have just found your blog, and wanted to say hi. I really enjoyed reading a couple of your recent posts, and this one especially touched me because I recently went through a period of feeling incredibly stressed at work, and that made it impossible for me to fully enjoy my life outside of work. I am now in the middle of a career transition, which I know isn’t possible for everyone…but I hope the work stress is a bit better with your new outlook on it, but I totally understand that it can be too much at times.
Hang in there, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog soon. :-)
Thanks for such a nice comment, Emily! I’m working on my own transition so hopefully good things will come very soon:-)
oooh, what a great recipe! I love cooking light magazine and i can’t give up my sweet tooth so I’m always trying to lower the fat. Love that this recipe only takes a 1/4 cup of oil. well done.. and peanut butter fat doesn’t count :-) Thanks girl!