Let’s begin with breakfast. I mean after all, it is my favorite meal of the day, and not to mention the most important one! Pancakes, waffles, eggs…mmmm I love me some breakfast. I relish the days where I can lazily cook myself a stack of flapjacks, standing in my PJs over the griddle dropping blueberries in one-by-one. But sadly, there are five other days of the week where my alarm goes off at the crack of dawn and there just isn’t time to cook something hearty and wholesome, and still make it to where I need to be on time. But I tell you, I won’t hit up the drive-thru for an egg McMuffin, or worse, resort to skipping out on breakfast altogether. Oh no…I’ve got a plan. Enter the muffin.
But not one of those carb-loaded, sugar-bomb things the size of a softball that the coffee shop sells. Sure, the “bran muffin” over the egg sandwich is a no brainer….right? Yeeeaaah, I don’t think so. You see a standard bran bakery muffin, let’s take Dunkin Donuts’ Honey Bran Raisin Muffin for example, packs 440 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 40 grams of sugar! That “healthy” choice, doesn’t seem so healthy now, eh? You’d be better off with that Egg McMuffin – seriously. The point here is that you can’t judge a book by its cover muffin by its name or appearance, or any food for that matter. Restaurants and manufacturers know that consumers are looking for healthy options and often market their products as such, despite their true nutritional value. So what can you do? You can know what you’re eating. And the easiest way to do that? Make it yourself!
By cooking or baking something at home yourself, you have control over what you eat, control over what you are fueling your body with. By doing-it-yourself, you know every single ingredient used in the recipe and don’t have to spend your time decoding a food label that’s a bajillion words long or trying to figure out what in the world dimetylpolysiloxane is. But nonetheless, we all, even I, have those times when the corner Kwik Trip or Starbucks must do. In that case, make sure to read the food labels and check out your best options online – most establishments post nutritional information on their websites, or ask for the information up front, in the store or restaurant itself. But anyways, back to those muffins! Morning Glory Muffins, or Monday Morning Glory Muffins as I like to call them as they have saved me from the Monday morning blues multiple times. Packed with whole grains, nuts, fruit, and veggies – yes veggies – these muffins are the perfect way to start your busy day. Easy to make, quick to bake, and perfect to grab as you’re running out the door. I like to whip up a batch over the weekend to enjoy throughout the week – they also make the perfect afternoon snack, especially with a smear of peanut butter! Another great option: when you’ve got some spare time bake up a batch (or two) and throw them in the freezer – they’ll keep for up to 3 months and thaw easily overnight on the counter or with a quick 30-second spin in the microwave.
[Monday] Morning Glory Muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes – Cook Time: 25 minutes – Yields: 16 muffins
Recipe adapted from The Healthy Maven Morning Glory Muffins.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour*
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large, ripe banana, mashed
- 1 cup low-fat or skim milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup grated carrot (about 2 large carrots)
- 1 cup diced apple (about 1 large apple)
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup chopped pistachios, pecans, etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and coat muffin pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, whole-wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix together mashed banana, milk, egg, and vanilla. Stir in grated carrot, diced apple, raisins, and nuts.
- Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.
- Fill muffin cups ¾ full with batter.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack for ten minutes.
- Enjoy for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert!
Oh and one last thing – this recipe is substitution friendly! Out of apples? Try diced pears or sub in ½ cup of chopped dried fruit such as apricots or dates. No carrots? Shred up some zucchini! Only have green bananas? Sub in ½ cup of canned pumpkin or mashed sweet potato. So go make some muffins – they’ll make your mornings easier and trust me, you won’t be disappointed!