Happy 2014! A new year is upon us, filled with boundless possibility!
When a new year approaches, I find myself thinking about what I want to accomplish, conquer, do in the upcoming year. I’m not a resolutions person. I just take time to reflect on how I want to enhance the upcoming year, make it better than the one that came before.
A new year shouldn’t be about making promises to yourself that you know you won’t keep. It should begin with a simple question: “What can I do to make this year the best one yet?”
And around this time, many of us find ourselves evaluating how we want to change our physique. I, for one, need to better utilize my gym membership, get off my duff, and get back in there! I also want to focus on incorporating more whole foods into my diet and less of the items you see behind the freezer doors at the grocery. Our bodies are our vehicles, our expression, our temples – and I, for one, need to be mindful of that in the choices I make.
It’s with that in mind that I’m sharing my recipe for carrot and oat muffins with dried fruit. I devised this recipe in 2011. I’d been on a baking spree, and my kitchen was covered in chocolate and coconut cupcakes. Stripes of frosting covered my counters; a light dusting of cocoa and coconut shavings littered the floor. As I looked around, I thought, “Wow. I need to take a break and bake something with a little health factor.” As a result, these muffins were born.
These muffins are perfect for breakfast or an anytime snack. They incorporate some delicious and nutritious elements – whole grain oats, carrots, banana, honey – that you can feel good about in a portable size. And unlike most muffins, you won’t find butter in these babies.
I love these muffins with a cup of tea in the morning or as a quick-to-grab afternoon munchie. They sure beat that vending machine down the hall. And the best part – these muffins are quick and easy to make!
Carrot and Oat Muffins with Dried Fruit
Makes 12 muffins
- Baking spray
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup dried cherries – or the dried fruit of your choice
- 10 baby carrots, shredded
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup 2% milk
- 1 medium banana, mashed
- 1/2 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare your carrots and banana. Shred your carrots; mash your banana. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine flour, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt until well blended. Stir in oats and dried fruit.
- Add oil, egg, milk, carrots, and banana to the dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer, mix until well blended.
- Using a 12-cavity muffin pan, spray each cavity with baking spray.
- Fill each cavity to 3/4 full.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center of a muffin and come out clean.
- Serve and enjoy – these muffins taste great warm or at room temperature.
This is not a terribly sweet muffin. It has sweetness from the honey, sugar, and cherries, but overall, not the pick for a sugar fix. If you want to amp up the sweetness, increase the dark brown sugar.