Hearty Breakfast Muffins
I fail at making healthy family breakfasts. Most mornings, Neko has Nutella on white bread and a glass of chocolate milk for breakfast. Perhaps it’s a step up from Pop-Tarts, but not a big step. If I’m feeling bad about her sugary breakfast, I’ll give her a healthy cereal instead … or just put the Nutella on wheat bread. Still not a stellar morning meal.
On holidays I’ll sometimes make us all breakfast. Usually it’s waffles or pancakes. I’m really a fan of sweet breakfasts. I love eggs, but I just don’t have time for them in the mornings. Neko is impatient enough waiting for the toaster to prep her “chocolate toast” each day. I can’t imagine the whining that would ensure if she had to wait while I cooked her an egg.
I was recently feeling bad about how much chocolate hazelnut spread the girl goes through, so I thought I’d give some muffins a try. Neko loves the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books, and there’s one that focuses on a muffin-loving moose, so I thought I’d try baking some muffins to have on hand for a quick, healthier breakfast.
The moose in the book enjoys his muffins with jam, which was how Neko told me she would like to have some muffins. So, for her, I picked a simple wheat muffin sweetened with pureed banana. No nuts, no berries, no chunks. I also decided to make myself some muffins (my typical breakfast is no healthier than Neko’s, I’m afraid). I loaded my muffins with shredded carrot, chopped apple and walnuts.
I’m (futilely, it seems) avoiding dairy in an attempt to curb the new baby’s chronic digestive upset, so my muffins were devoid of butter or milk. When I pulled all of the muffins from the oven, Neko buried her nose into the ones I had baked for myself.
As soon as the muffins cooled, she tried one of each and declared the fruit, nut and vegetable-stuffed muffins the winners. She barely even took a bite of her plain banana muffin and instead consumed an entire one of my muffins.
I had only made eight of each muffin, but I was still happy to share my healthier muffins with Neko each morning until they were gone. The plain banana muffins I intended for her ended up in the garbage, although I suppose I could have enticed her into eating them by spreading them with Nutella.
These hearty muffins were especially good toasted and spread with my fake vegan butter alongside a cup of hot tea. I’ll certainly make them again, especially since they pack in a lot more fiber and nutrients than our standard breakfasts.
Hearty Breakfast Muffins
Adapted from a Whole Foods recipe
Makes 8 muffins
2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 small apple, cored, peeled and diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla, then add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add apple, cranberries, carrot and walnuts. Stir gently until combined. Spoon batter into 8 paper-lined muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.