Sunday, March 15, 2009

Morning Glories

Louise has requested healthy muffin recipes. Muffins are a Reems staple. We grew up on chocolate chip banana muffins for our school snack. Oatmeal or wheat germ muffins were in the Sunday morning muffin rotation. If you pop by Joan and Bill's around 8:00 on any given Sunday, morning I can guarantee that my dad will be pulling a batch of oatmeal muffins from the fridge. Smothered in homemade blackberry or plum jam they always make me nostalgic, and also manage to get me through that Sunday morning-no snack, long-sermon haul.

Louise specifically mentioned Morning Glory muffins, which have been a long favourite of mine. I really got into making these a couple of years back when Mike came home with 5 pineapples leftover from the foodbank food run he did Fridays in Calgary, all almost over-ripe. I prepped and diced pineapple for the the freezer and made Morning Glory muffins all winter long. I did need to do a recipe overhaul - the recipe I had called for 1 cup of oil. I also cut back on sugar, switched to whole wheat flour and added some oatmeal. OK, I know that list sounds like a sure-fire dud, but trust me please! With these changes the muffins are now the perfect everyday breakfast muffin.

I do find all the grating a bit labour intensive. Too make things quicker I don't bother peeling the apple or carrots- you can't tell the difference in the final texture. If you don't always have pineapple on hand I would suggest upping the carrot and apple quantities, or maybe trying mashed bananas instead. I always double the recipe and then freeze most of the muffins by indiviually wrapping them in saran wrap for a ready-to-go snack or breakfast the next day.

Morning Glory Muffins

Combine moist ingredients-

1 cup carrot (2 large, 3 med), grated
1 med apple, grated
1 9 ounce tin crushed pineapple (undrained)
1/2 cup milk or yogourt
1/4 cup brown sugar (add more depending on how sweet your tooth is)
3 T oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Then add but don't stir until all the dry ingredients are in the bowl-

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Optional add-is: a T or so of ground flax seed or wheat germ; 1/2 cup coconut (this recipe is flexible, if it seems dry just add a bit more milk)

Mix together and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes

Stay tuned for my blueberry oatmeal muffin recipe - healthy breakfast muffins take 2..

Sunday, March 8, 2009


My mothers says whole grains are nutritious, an essential part of a healthy diet. She worries about white flour. It is refined. It's smooth airy texture comes at a price, millions of calories which form during the digestion process. The science remains beyond my grasp but my mother says white flour is equivalent sugar. She's also worried about sugar.

My husband refuses to worry about sugar. "I need sugar," he says, looking into the fridge, opening various cupboards. He moves a lot. His body is a small perpetually whirring machine. His out put of energy is extensive. Heat pours from him in waves. So perhaps he does need sugar. Or maybe he's addicted, which is how my mother would explain it. In her universe sugar is a drug, a bad drug.

Despite the conflicting world views, both my mother and my husband would agree that cookies constitute an essential food group. His are dense, sweet, and chewy. Hers are dry--nearly sugarless, void of fat. Between these two ideologies, I try to carve a niche, a safe space of equilibrium. My cookies are sweet, but not too; contain fat but far less then the average. Recently, while thumbing through King Arthur's Flour Whole Grain Cookbook, I came across a cookie recipe which uses only whole wheat flour. While King Arthur and co advocate whole grains, they are liberal in their use of butter and oil. I tinkered their recipe to create cookies neither my mother or my husband are wholly pleased with (him-- to fibrous, her-- is that sugar?), yet both consume these sweet, healthy nuggets with gusto. You won't be disappointed with these cookies, but be warned, they require an overnight rest in the fridge so you need to mix them up the evening before you plan to bake.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp instant coffee
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 TBsp corn or rice syrup
1/2 TBsp cider vinegar
1 large eff
1 + 1/2 + 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1-3/4 cups chocolate chips

In a saucepan, melt butter and add sugar and oil, heating the mixture until it is just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl and allow to cool to lukewarm.

Stir in vanilla, baking soda, instant coffee, baking powder, salt, corn syrup and vinegar. Add egg and beat. Then stir in flour, mixing until just combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

Refrigerate, covered, over night.

The next day...

Preheat oven to 350

Drop batter by spoonfuls onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. You should have just under 2 dozen, or less if you like big cookies. Flatten each cookie with your palm. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Don't over bake (remember, this is the cardinal sin of healthy baking). Once you've removed from the pan from the oven, wait 3-5 minutes before removing the cookie from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

These are tasty morsels. Despite the raised eyebrows you might receive for using whole wheat flour, they will disappear quickly,