Golden Sunrise Muffins

I made it through my first semester of my Ph.D. but even though classes are done I'm still eyeball-deep in work. I'm really loving my field work, however. I get to spend most days in the vineyard. If you've ever been to West Texas, you'll know how windy it is, and that wind comes sweeping through the rows of grapes to provide a little natural air conditioning as I work away. I'm so grateful to be doing this research project. It allows me to be outdoors and merges my love of plants and food.

Needless to say, I need to keep fueling my body with nutritious food. Now that the semester is over, I don't get to grab quick lunches out; I have been cooking more on my own. I actually prefer to cook my own meals as opposed to eating out because I save money and I know what I am preparing is more nutritious and I stay within my calorie and macronutrient goals. I do miss dining with my friends, but it always seemed that no matter how choosy I was at a restaurant my meals would blow my calories goals.

One of my favorite breakfasts is muffins because I can eat them over several days and the recipe can be worked to make them very healthy. This morning, though it's not a work day, I woke up and made a muffin recipe based off the old Betty Crocker recipe my mom used. I changed a lot of ingredients to make this recipe more healthy. I reduced the flour slightly and added ground flax seeds, which you can get in the cereal or baking section in the regular supermarket. They are a great source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. While fish oil is the best source of omega-3's, some people can't take them because they can cause upset stomachs, acid reflux, and are not vegetarian. Therefore flax is a great substitute. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour as well. In the design of one of my favorite muffins from the coffee place in my hometown, I added carrots and apples to make "Sunrise Muffins." I added golden raisins instead of regular raisins because I happen to like them more, and because they were on sale at my local health food store. As you can see from the picture, they are great quality, too.

 Instead of buttering these muffins, I suggest smearing on a little low-fat cream cheese because it makes these reminiscent of carrot cake.

Golden Sunrise Muffins
Printable Recipe

1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1/2 cup grated apple, with the peel
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup unbleached granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, lightly beat egg, then blend in the ingredients up through the carrots.
3. Fold the dry ingredients (through the walnuts or pecans) into the wet ingredients until just combined. The batter should be lumpy. Fill each cup of the muffin tin about 2/3rds of the way full.
4. Bake the muffins 20-25 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove each muffin from the tin immediately.

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