Morning Glory Muffins

Please forgive the 

We are one week into our time on Kauai.  It wasn't difficult to adjust to "island time" and figure out a bit of a pattern for our days - reading and milk with Blythe, breakfast, beach or other outdoor activity, lunch, nap (for Blythe), reading/e-mail/errands (D & R), afternoon activity, dinner, and bed.  It's amazing how the days fill up, although I do still feel like we are on vacation instead of away for an indefinite period of time.  We've joined the Hawaii library system, found the closest playground, purchased a surfboard, and met a few neighbors.  Our friends from Boston have been staying at the adjacent hotel so we've actually been pretty social for the past week. 

During one of Blythe's naps, I decided to bake the Morning Glory Muffins that have been tempting me since the recipe arrived in my inbox from the NY Times.  I figured these would make for an easy beach snack and the ingredients reminded me of my all-time favorite Carrot & Quinoa Muffins.  Rob looked skeptically at the ingredients as I mixed these up, but both he and Blythe declared these "delicious" and we've been snacking on them for the last two days.  The coconut oil gives them a tropical flavor and the walnuts provide a nice crunch.  As you can see from the photos, these have indeed proved to make an excellent beach treat.

Our kitchen here is fine but isn't set up for someone who really enjoys cooking and baking.  I used disposable muffin tins and "shredded" the carrots in the blender.  The apples I julienned by hand.  Point being, you don't need to have a food processor or grater to make these (although it would be easier).   The original recipe states the yield is 12 muffins, but I ended up with 16 because I didn't want to overflow each cup.  From reviewing reader comments on the NYT, I also reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup (from 3/4 cup) as many reviewers recommended and the muffins are plenty sweet with less sugar.

Morning Glory Muffins
Adapted slightly from the NY Times
Yield = 16 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup/120 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup/85 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup/177 milliliters whole milk
  • ½ cup/106 grams packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup/90 grams shredded carrot (from 2 medium carrots)
  • ½ cup/77 grams shredded apple (from 1 medium apple)
  • ½ cup/57 grams unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • ¾ cup/90 grams finely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • ¾ cup/112 grams raisins
  • ½ cup/118 milliliters melted coconut oil

Preparation

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.  You may have extra batter - I found that I needed to fill 16 muffin cups to use the batter without overflowing the cups.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, dark brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir carrot, apple, coconut, 1/2 cup of the walnuts and 1/2 cup of the raisins into the wet mixture. Stir in the melted coconut oil.
  • With a large rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups.  Fill each cup to the top but not so that it overflows.  Sprinkle the remaining walnuts and raisins evenly over the tops of the muffins.
  • Bake until puffed and set and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer the muffins, in the tin, to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the tin and let cool completely on the rack. Once cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Blythe's snack of choice is either a rambutan or pineapple, but the muffins are a close second.

Blythe's snack of choice is either a rambutan or pineapple, but the muffins are a close second.

Aspen, Colorado and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Aspen, Colorado and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Our vacation last week kicked off in Aspen with an all-day trail run/hike around the Maroon Bells.  The views are dramatic and the peaks are steep... and we learned a lesson the hard way about winging it when trail running in the mountains and ended up on an adventure that lasted three times as long as we originally planned.

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Blueberry Muffins Two Ways

 

On our trip to Alaska earlier this summer, we made some wonderful new friends and were lucky enough to enjoy a few meals with them.  These friends are vegan and it was inspiring to see the amazing and delicious meals they have without including any animal products.  I've been trying to work in more vegetarian meals into our week and when I was perusing Gwenyth Paltrow's cookbook the other night I came across her two recipes for blueberry muffins.  She calls one "blythe's blueberry muffins" and the other "healthier version of the blueberry muffins".  Blythe's version contains the usual butter, eggs, sugar, milk and all-purpose flour whereas the healthier version includes spelt flour, soy milk, maple syrup and agave nectar.  I was intrigued... and I happened to have enough blueberries on hand to try both.  Taste test time!

Rob is my opinionated taster who lacks a filter, which I appreciate in the kitchen.  He sampled both of the batters for the muffins, as well as doing a taste test this morning.  I wish I could say that the healthier muffins won, but they didn't... that said, they were quite tasty and had they not been sampled before or after the full-fat version, I don't know that you would think they were anything but delicious!

I've made minor adjustments to both recipes.  For blythe's muffins, I used low fat buttermilk in lieu of 2% or whole milk.  In the healthier version, GP called for 1 cup whole spelt flour and 1 cup white spelt flour - I only had white so I used 2 cups of white.  Aside from a difference in taste, the major difference I noticed between the muffins was that the blythe muffins rose considerably more (and therefore were larger) than the healthier muffins... that is about it!  The Blythe muffins are pictured on the left above and the healthier version is on the right.

Blythe's Blueberry Muffins
Yield = 1 dozen muffins
Active time = 15 minutes; Total time = 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs (preferably organic)
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preparation

 Heat your oven to 375°.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.  Whisk butter, eggs and buttermilk in a bowl.  Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in another bowl.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in blueberries.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Healthier Version of the Blueberry Muffins

Yield = 1 dozen muffins
Active time = 15 minutes; Total time = 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light agave nectar
  • cups white spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.  Whisk oil, soymilk, maple syrup and agave nectar in a bowl.  Combine spelt flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in blueberries.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Colorado Wildflowers & Baked Oatmeal Cups

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I've written before about my inability to sit down at home to eat breakfast and it isn't something I am working to change.  It is what it is.  I strongly prefer to sleep an extra fifteen minutes instead of eating sitting down or making breakfast in the morning, but it is next to impossible to find healthy breakfast options on-the-go.  I always love eating oatmeal, but then you have to microwave it, get out the milk, find something yummy to mix into it.... you get the point.  I am lazy in the morning!  Enter this recipe for baked oatmeal cups!  Oatmeal on the go, pre-flavored and with fruit baked in?  Yes, please!

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These couldn't be simpler to make.  Everything can be mixed in one bowl and you can adapt the recipe to include whatever fruit you have on hand and sweeten the oatmeal to your preference.  The oatmeal cups definitely taste healthy (like oatmeal does), but a quick 30 seconds in the microwave and you have a healthy breakfast that you can eat on the move.

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We went on a beautiful hike today up Rosalie Peak in the Mt. Evans Wilderness west of Denver.  The wildflowers were spectacular, as were the views from the top of the peak.  We both started our day with an oatmeal cup... and both wished we had a few more on-hand as the hike dragged into its fifth hour and we were out of food and water!  We saw wild strawberries and roses, a marmot, white-tailed ptarmigan and a jack rabbit... and I managed to fall twice!  This is what we get for running where most people walk (and, let's be honest, I am klutzy).

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A few thoughts about the recipe... first, definitely use paper liners for ease of eating and easy clean up.  Second, you can use any fruit you have available.  I bet these would also be great with slivered or sliced almonds or walnuts as well.  Third, substitute the milk for whatever type you like best - I used soy milk because we were out of skim milk and the oatmeal cups were great.   Fourth, I used only ⅓ cup of brown sugar... but if you've read any of my other recipes, we are a "less sweet is better" family.  Definitely increase the amount of sugar you use if you like a lot of sugar in your oatmeal.  Finally, these don't rise or increase in size during baking so feel free to fill the cups to the brim.

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Baked Oatmeal Cups

Adapted from Door-to-Door Organics

Yield = 14 cups 

Ingredients

  • 1⅓ cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 fresh peach, diced into ½ pieces
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (without any fruit).  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined.  Fold in the fruit.  Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or insert a paper liner (recommended) into each cup.  Fill each cup 2/3 full (or a bit more if you'd like).  Bake the cups at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and no longer wet from the egg mixture.  Cool for at least 10 minutes, particularly if you do not use paper liners.

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