I made it back from California and I'm ready to start the New Year, and, inspired by the beautiful produce I gazed upon (and subsequently gobbled) at Monterey Market in Berkeley, I am dedicating my first posts of the new year to vegetables.
I don't have much trouble eating plenty of fruit throughout the day, but vegetables are a different story. I definitely need a game plan to remind myself of my options; otherwise, my good intentions end up as slimy bits in the refrigerator produce drawer.
Moreover, I've long thought that starting healthy eating resolutions in January is a cruel trick: it's cold, we're all pooped from the holidays, supermarket produce looks lackluster, and the thought of vegetables is less than thrilling after a month-plus of chocolate.
But solutions abound, and I'll be writing all about them in the days and weeks to come, including ideas for stocking the pantry and freezer with superfood vegetables, as well as quick and easy recipes to incorporate vegetables in delicious, innovative, and even sneaky ways to energize you into 2008.
Since I'm still recovering from the combined effects of red-eye jetlag and baby wrestling through airport security (I think I can develop the latter into a new workout plan--I'm sore in places I haven't been sore in years), I'm keeping today's entry relatively brief.
I'll get right to the point with my first vegetable recipe, which offers a way to get your vegetables at the beginning of the day: moist, delicious carrot muffins loaded with feel-good ingredients and a sprinkling of chocolate too (to make the January transition easier). They are a snap to prepare--I was able to whip them up in no time, despite my semi-delirious, sleep-deprived state. They keep well in both the refrigerator and freezer, too (see my note below), perfect for on-the-go weekday breakfasts.
So why do I call these supermuffins? Because they are delicious as well as incredibly good for you: flaxseed for omega-3, eggs and milk for protein, white whole wheat flour for whole grain fiber, apples for fiber and potassium, oranges for vitamin C, chocolate for antioxidants, and carrots for dietary Fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Manganese.
For a variation, replace the chocolate chips with 2/3 cup of your favorite dried fruit—I love them with dried blueberries, dried cherries or dried cranberries.
2 cups white whole wheat flour (e.g., King Arthur brand; or use all purpose flour)
1 and 3/4 cups oat bran
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrot
2 cups chopped Granny Smith apple (no need to peel)
3 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate (or 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips)
1 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 thin-skinned navel orange, unpeeled and quartered
Preheat oven to 375F°. Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper liners; set aside.
In a large bowl whisk the flour, oat bran, brown sugar, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in carrot, apple, and chocolate.
In a blender or food processor, blend the milk, oil, vanilla, egg, egg whites, and orange until smooth. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist (do not overmix). Spoon batter into prepared cups.
Bake 20-24 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove the muffins from pans immediately, and cool on a wire rack. Makes 18 muffins.
Camilla’s Note: These muffins keep in the refrigerator (stored in zippered plastic bag) for up to 1 week. You can also freeze the muffins in freezer bags for up to 1 month; defrost in the microwave 1 minute (or just defrost on the countertop—they only take about 15 minutes to defrost).
(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)