I am not a morning person. Never have been. I love the fantasy I have of it–getting up earlier than I have to so I can take my time, eat a leisurely involved breakfast, and sip coffee from a latte bowl while I stare out of a window at some lovely view, thinking calming thoughts about the day ahead. In reality, I push the moment I get out of bed as far back as I can and still make it to work (just) on time, and my breakfast is the opposite of leisurely and involved. All too frequently, I grab something on the run, and I almost always eat it at my desk. Instant oatmeal, semi gross protein drinks I have an inexplicable fondness for, a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and honey if I’ve allowed myself a few extra precious minutes. All of these do the trick, but none of them makes me feel exactly great about my domestic prowess. What does, tho, is a homemade muffin.
I love the idea of a healthy breakfast muffin, something low enough in sugar and high enough in other goodies that its less like cake and more, especially when paired with the glass of skim milk I have every morning (see above–Laura got me special cow glasses to better enjoy my morning milk), like a legit choice to keep me going til lunch. Out of all the healthy and supposedly delicious muffin I’ve tried so far, my hands down favorite is a whole wheat pumpkin muffin recipe I found through the Meatless Monday campaign, originally from A Life Less Sweet. They are quick and easy, coming together without even the need of a mixer (other than your arm and a spoon), and have enough of what feels healthy to totally justify the breakfast treat.
As the title suggests, these are full of whole wheat flour and pumpkin. They also use olive oil for the necessary fat, and I add a superfood-type seed–I’m on a chia kick but I’ve used flax in the past–to amp up the healthy factor. Over time I’ve decreased the sugar, and I’ll probably keep playing with cutting it down. The pumpkin pie spice offers more than enough sweetness, especially with the addition of vanilla. All together this makes for a dense and very moist muffin, with a nice little crunch from the seeds.
Given that they are so moist, I strongly recommend letting them really truly cool all the way down before you put them into any kind of storage, so you don’t invite in any condensation–all that pumpkin can turn iffy pretty quickly otherwise. You could also use one of my favorite kitchen tricks, learned from the lovely Sarah McColl–once the muffins are cooled, wrap each individually in plastic wrap, put them all in a ziploc and toss in the freezer. Then, just remove a muffin at night and by morning you’ll have a thawed out breakfast ready to run when you are. After your glass of milk, of course.
Confession: the muffin in the top picture is not actually one of these awesome pumpkin muffins. I think it’s a Trader Joe’s berry concoction, from a mix. The truth is, that while I do keep making these muffins I also just keep right on eating them, almost always at my less than picturesque desk at work. And because of that, I never remember to take the so necessary single muffin picture. They really are awesome, tho, so I decided to just go ahead and share, rather than waiting til I had the perfect muffin beauty shot. I think they’re worth it, and I hope you will too.
whole wheat pumpkin muffins
adapted from A Life Less Sweet
makes 12 (or sometimes mysteriously 13) muffins
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
almost all of one can pumpkin puree (the originally recipe called for 1 1/2 cups, i just tend to not be too zealous about scraping down the sides)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
2 tbs vanilla
2 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 scant cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chia or flax seeds
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, olive oil, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix together until smooth.
Stir together flours and baking powder. Add to wet ingredients, stirring together til just combined.
Add seeds and lightly stir to combine.
Pour mixture into muffin tin (lined with muffin wrappers, if that’s your preference–it certainly is mine) so that each cup is about 3/4 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, testing for done-ness with a toothpick or knife (does anyone actually have toothpicks in their house?).