Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cranberry and Almond Maple Bran Muffins

Today was a wonderfully sunny spring day in Vermont. I started the day out early baking a batch of muffins for breakfast and for the rest of the week... a perfect way to start a relaxing Sunday.

Muffins are quick cooking and can be packed with lots of nutrition. It is almost impossible to find a regular sized muffin these days and most are calorie bombs (often between 300-600  calories a piece). Making them on your own allows you to control how much fat (usually saturated or trans fats) and sugar is in them. As a bonus, you can add in healthy fats (flax, nuts), fruits, and fiber (bran, oats, flax).

Cranberry Almond Bran Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 egg
1 cup skim milk
1/3 cup real maple syrup* (preferably VT)
1/2 cup grated carrots (optional)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries

*If you don't have maple syrup on hand another liquid sweetener will do (honey, agave).

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix dry wheat bran, flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Mix wet ingredients (oil, egg, milk, syrup) in a separate bowl. Add carrots, almonds, cranberries and mix well.
4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray and fill 3/4 of each cup with batter.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts: 1 muffin
130 calories, 25 g carbohydrates (9 g sugar), 5 g fiber, 5 g protein, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated)

Pairing one of these with a good source of protein makes for a filling breakfast. I'm a fan of having one with some Greek yogurt or a hard boiled egg to keep me energized until lunch! Even a glass of milk or soy milk would do! They are also great portable snacks. Pack one instead of a granola bar or piece of fruit!

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