Friday, February 21, 2014

Power Muffins

Last Year's Post: Sloppy Joes for Grownups
Two Years Ago:  Very Lemon Chicken and Fruited Couscous

Everybody likes muffins, and you might even be fooled into thinking that they're better for you than, say, a breakfast sandwich when faced with the choice at your favorite coffee shop.  But the culprits in muffins are calories and fat, even if the name sounds healthy.  For example, a Dunkin' Donuts Honey Bran Raisin Muffin has 500 calories and 14 grams of fat.

This recipe is different - packed with carrots, apples, flax seed and oat bran, it's good for you and delicious. Think of it as a healthy version of a Morning Glory muffin. Really, how can anything be bad when it starts with fresh foods like this?

When made in a medium size (remember medium-sized food?) each muffin has about 220 calories, 9 fat grams, 5 grams of protein and a bunch of great vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and vitamin A.  One muffin makes a healthy breakfast with some yogurt, or a perfect mid-morning or after-school snack for kids. It's filling but not heavy, moist and flavorful with the heady scent of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  If you need an energy boost after a hard workout this would be a good choice to keep you on track and energized.  One recipe makes about 16 muffins which keep perfectly in the freezer so it's easy to grab one on the go.

The recipe calls for peeled and cored apples, which has always caused me some trauma because apples are so round.  My grandmother was one of those people who could peel an apple with a paring knife in one long continuous peel, but then again she had apple trees in her back yard and made zillions of apple pies in her lifetime.  I not only can't peel an apple that way, I really don't want to learn so I have my own peculiar way of peeling apples.  I start by cutting the apple down the middle and then each half again to make four quarters using a big chef's knife.  Then I switch to a smaller knife to cut out the core part from each quarter and cut each quarter yet again into two pieces.  I lay each piece on its nice flat side and use the small knife to cut the peel off.  It's probably more time-consuming, but I'm not going to cut myself and it works.

After peeling and shredding the apples and carrots, it's really just a matter of measuring, mixing and baking.  I sprinkled some coarse sugar on the top for a little crunch and sparkle, but that's up to you.  One last thought - you can find ground flax seed and oat bran at your local health food store.

printable recipe
Power Muffins
Makes approximately 16 medium muffins

Note:  Each muffin has about 220 calories, 9 grams of fat, 35 carbohydrate grams and 5 grams of protein.  They’re nutrient-packed and a particularly good source of potassium and vitamin A along with other vitamins and minerals.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup ground flax seed
¾ cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup skim milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
½ cup raisins
2 apples, peeled, cored and shredded
1 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
Sparkling (coarse) sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350d.  Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Add the milk, eggs, vanilla and oil and mix until blended.  Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts.  Fill prepared muffin cups ¾ full, or paper liners to just under the top of the paper.  Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar, optional.

Bake at 350d for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool before removing from the pan.

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