Discovering the benefits of an anti-inflammation, "real food" life!
Morning Glory Muffins
A few weeks ago, I went on a church women's retreat at the Jersey shore. If you think this sounds like a nice quiet time with sweet calm ladies...you've never been on a church women's retreat before. Women get CRAZY when they're on these things!
And they eat tons of junk food.
So, in self defense against the piles of cookies and brownies and candy that I knew would be there, just taunting me with their easy accessibility, I made these muffins to bring along. I knew they were a) delicious, b) something I could eat besides the piles of junk food I knew would be there, and c) something others would enjoy too. They're naturally sweet with shredded apples and dates, and satiating with the fats from almond flour and coconut oil. They're also really nutritious because of all of those things plus shredded carrots! So I made a triple batch and packed them up, putting a note on the container explaining that they were grain/gluten/dairy/sugar free (with just a tiny bit of honey) for those who would care about that. I knew there would be others there who couldn't eat gluten, and that they would be glad to know these were safe.
If you ever wanted to know what happens when you put a note like that on a container of perfectly good muffins, I'll tell you: It sends people running for the hills. Seriously. I witnessed people reading that note and scrunching up their noses as though they were confronted with a tub of grubs or something. Some people even physically recoiled! I overheard one woman say, "Are those supposed to be healthy or something? Anything that's healthy can NOT be good!" The other women laughed appreciably and emerged with fist fulls of brownies instead.
Isn't that so sad? It's horrible that we've been conditioned to believe that healthy food tastes bad, and that we can't both be satisfied with tasty goodies AND be nice to our bodies at the same time!
I blame the low-fat craze. (Really. It's all their fault.)
The few gluten intolerant people there loved them though. LOVED them. Because they are, in fact, delicious. And so they talked about them to other people (who looked at them like they were crazy) and said, "No, really! You need to try them, they're great!"
And so, one by one, people started to try them out. And one by one people were astounded that - yes! - these healthy things actually tasted good! Wonder of wonders!
By the end of the second day the entire triple batch was gone. Every single one.
(But the woman I overheard saying that healthy food can never be good? She never did try one and stuck to the cookies and brownies. I guess you can't win them all!)
I have no idea why these are named Morning Glory Muffins. I didn't make it up. This is a recipe that anyone in the Paleo crowd will be very familiar with, as they seem to be something of a darling in the Paleo world. There are probably a hundred different variations on the recipe. I took a couple and combined elements I liked from each of them to make the ones that got so eagerly gobbled (after the initial reluctance) on the retreat.
There's a lot of shredding that happens in this recipe. Because of that, it really helps if you have a food processor so that you don't have to do all of it by hand. But you could do it by hand if you wanted. You needed the workout anyway, right?
Put the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Then dump in the shredded carrots and apples. If you're using raisins, put them in now too.
In the food processor, combine the dates, coconut oil, eggs, extracts, and honey (if using) and process until the dates are coarsely chopped and the other ingredients combined. You don't need to soak the dates for this! You kind of want some chunks of dates left. These muffins taste fine without the honey. They're not very sweet, but have an interesting orange aftertaste and are surprisingly good. However, just a few tablespoons of honey punches this up from "fine" to "really good," so if you're okay having a bit of sweetener I recommend it.
Mix to combine. It makes a really thick batter - you can see how it looks more like cookie dough than cake batter.
Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers, or grease the cups completely, and spoon the batter in!
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
These are the perfect quick-grab snack - and those kinds of things are hard to find on this diet! You can make a big batch and freeze them for the future. Late getting out the door in the morning and need to grab a breakfast? This is your answer. Feeling munchy in the mid afternoon and need a fix? Here you go.
Trust me, these are great! Hey, if even a bunch of junk-food-crazed women at the shore end up loving them, you know they pass the test. But if you make these for a crowd and want them to actually eat them? Maybe you can keep the fact that they're perfectly healthy to yourself until they've already discovered how good they really are.
Shred the carrots and apples with a food processor (with the grating attachment) or by hand.
Combine the almond meal, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, coconut, shredded carrots, and shredded apples in a large bowl.
Put the chopping blade in the food processor and process the dates together with the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, orange extract, and honey (if using) until the dates are coarsely pureed. It should still be a little chunky.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. It will be a thick batter, more like a cookie dough in consistency.
Grease the cups of a muffin tin, or line it with cupcake papers. Spoon the batter into the cups, filling ⅔ full.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.