“Wake up, little rosebud. Time to rise and shine!”
So went my early morning wake-up routine with the kids ( Well, at least on the mornings that didn’t start with, ” Oh crap! The alarm didn’t go off. Get up NOW! You’ve got to be at school in 15 minutes!”)
Weekday breakfasts in a household with a single working parent and two teenagers were often a catch-as-catch-can affair; borderline nutrition, toaster pastries, fruit, cold cereal. But I tried. Really I did! Once in a while I’d make muffins and try to cram as much good stuff into them as possible. I was pretty good at sneaking vegetables into main courses so that my son and daughter grew up thinking tuna noodle casserole that wasn’t loaded with carrots, celery and peas was just weird. Muffins with extras though were just down-right delicious.
After they went off to college, I continued on my mission to see how much I could pack into a grab-and-go breakfast muffin. I finally settled on a basic recipe that was popular in the 70’s as we ” discovered” and popularized granola, sunflower seeds and carrot cake. Morning Glory or Good Morning Sunshine muffin recipes combined basic spice muffin ingredients with various nuts, seeds, dried and fresh or canned fruits to create a sweet, moist, deliciously nutritious treat that my kids (and co-workers) loved and that assuaged some of the guilt for not preparing a four course breakfast for them every day.
The fun thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever you have on hand as add-ins. No raisins? Any dried fruit will do. I’ve used dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, papaya, and dates. Mix it up. For the grated apple and carrot I have substituted grated zucchini, and canned crushed pineapple. Unsweetened coconut works as well as sweetened. I’ve even played with the flours; substituting oatmeal, whole wheat, even rye flour for up to a cup of the flour. Have fun with it!
Good Morning Sunshine Muffins
(Full disclosure: I used King Arthur Flour’s photo beccause theirs was so pretty – and because we ate all my photographer’s “models”)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pans and spray with a little oil.
In a small bowl, cover 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit with hot water, and set them aside to soak.
Grate 3 carrots and 1 whole cored Apple ( yes, you can include the peel) or any combination of grated or finely chopped moist fruit, zucchini, etc., about 3 cups total.
2 cups (8 ounces) Unbleached all purpose or White Whole Wheat Flour ( or combination of your choice)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Drain the 1/2 cup dried fruit and add it to the bowl, along with the grated/chopped apple and carrots, plus the following:
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or the nuts of your choice
1/3 cup sunflower seeds or wheat germ, optional
Whisk together the following:
3 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice ( milk or apple juice works fine too)
Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. You’ll have a fairly loose (though chunky) batter.
You can fill the muffin tin wells almost full as these don’t rise a whole lot. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. This will vary a little depending on the moisture content of your choice of fruits.
No butter needed! Sunshiney smiles guaranteed!