Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Excuse me? Is it Muffin:30? I thought so.

Breakfast. Such a wonderful meal when you have the time. I think Saturdays exist simply so you have plently of time to glide around your kitchen, scrambling eggs, roasting sweet potatoes, and juicing an orange as to enjoy a slow and delicious breakfast. But many of us do not get several hours each day to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the morning. Most of us have a general plan for the morning grub, which often consists of whatever we can shove in our mouths the quickest, or possibly just coffee. Everyone has heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it makes sense, it's the first thing we put in our bodies, which often dictates how we will feel by lunch. If we eat nothing or crap for breakfast, by lunch we feel awful, beginning a cycle of sluggish energy the whole day through.
I wanted to find something simple I could make on Sunday and have a week of breakfasts that were healthy, filling and required no thought. BOOM, healthy muffins to the rescue! These puppies are quick, simple and full of healthy stuff for those beautiful bodies we are so fond of. Wheat germ, chia seeds, and walnuts, to keep you full and energized, along with raisins and a blend of spices certain to entertain your palate.  I tried two variations so far, but really these are a great base for whatever you like. Last week I made them Sunday, then just grabbed one each morning on my way out the door. When I had a little more time I would slice one in half, toast it and throw a dab of butter on it for a delicious variation on the same ole treat. Hope yall enjoy them!
Wet Mixture
Combine Wet and Dry. Then fold in nuts and fruit
Spoon into muffin tin and sprinkle topping

Spicy Pumpkin Muffins 
Adapted from "Quick Vegetarian Pleasures"

This is a healthy base for many muffin varieties. I think I liked the banana blueberry the best, but try different ingredients. Other additions could include flaxseeds, prunes, lemon zest, and pecans. 
The Goods: Makes 12 muffins
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 tablespoons chia seeds
1 large egg
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (any flavorless oil will do)
1/2 cup 2 % milk
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Topping (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For a DELICIOUS variation try Banana Blueberry Muffins:
Omit the pumpkin and raisins. Add 1 cup ripe bananas, mashed but not pureed when you would normally add the pumpkin. Also add zest from one orange at this step. Sub 3/4 cup fresh blueberries for the raisins, GENTLY folding into the dough last.

The Deal: 
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a regular sized muffin pan. In a large bowl throughly combine the first 10 ingredients. If using the topping, in a small bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar together.

2. In a medium bowl beat the egg. Beat in the brown sugar then stir in pumpkin puree, oil, and milk until well mixed.

3. Gently add the wet pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, until just combined. Don't overmix. Stir in the raisins and all but 2 tablespoons of the walnuts. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, then sprinkle remaining walnuts on top on the muffins. If desired sprinkle the topping over each muffin. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let sit for 2 minutes before removing from the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature. These can be kept in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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