Thanksgiving is the season in which we are reminded to be grateful, and to express heart-felt thanks and appreciation for all of life’s gifts.
This is what I have learned about gratitude:
Abundance surrounds us – we just need to be aware of what it ‘looks like’ …
…a child’s hug, a friend’s smile, a bowl of soup, a quiet walk in the woods ….
If we choose, we can recognize abundance at every turn.
Acknowledging and appreciating gifts already received invites greater abundance.
Each time we choose to see the good … to look for the silver lining … to see what ‘is’, as opposed to what ‘is not’ … the door of abundance is opened to us.
The more gratitude that is experienced and expressed, the more that gifts just seem to ‘show up’ …it is a gift that just keeps on giving – something like the earth … it just keeps on providing what we need.
During this season of Thanksgiving, we are wise to take a moment to look inward and ensure that we have remembered to give ‘thanks’ for all that we have received.
So, in the spirit of choosing gratitude, I thought it fitting to offer a sort of ‘choose-your-own-muffin’ recipe. The list of ingredients offers many choices so that personal favourites, or whatever is in the pantry, can be used. A celebration of the earth’s bounty! Look to see what suits your fancy … and make an amazing muffin! …just keep the quantities and weights consistent, and change it up!
No doubt, muffins taste great straight out of the oven; however, because of the warm spices in these muffins, letting flavours develop overnight is not a mistake!
Our favourite is a white+whole wheat flour combo with grated carrots, crushed pineapple, golden raisins, walnuts, molasses, vegetable oil+walnut oil combo, and Chinese 5-spice. A close second choice is a buckwheat+whole wheat flour combo, grated apples and pears, dried apricots, walnuts, maple syrup, and cardamom.
Prep Time: 20 minutes Baking Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 6 large muffins; or 12 regular-size muffins
1/3 cup (85 mL) dried fruit – your choice of dark or golden raisins; dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries, mangoes, apricots; or dates
Vanilla-flavoured hot water
225g (1 ½ cups) flour – your choice of whole wheat, buckwheat, or all-purpose, or a combination
¾ cup (155 g) hard-packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons (30 mL) wheat germ, wheat bran, or ground flax seed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
1½ teaspoon (7.5 mL) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
2 teaspoons (10 mL) cinnamon
½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) other spice – your choice of ground cloves, Chinese 5-spice,
allspice, nutmeg or cardamom
1 ½ cups (750 mL) fruits and/or vegetables – a combination of at least two of your choice of:
finely grated carrots, zucchini, apples/pears (cored and peeled); crushed pineapple (well drained)
1/3 cup (85 mL) chopped nuts – your choice of walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts (lightly toasted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra sweetener – your choice of fancy molasses, honey, or maple syrup
1/3 cup (85 mL) vegetable oil, or a blend of vegetable oil, walnut, or hazelnut oil
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
Topping: Mix 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or sanding sugar with ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Lightly oil a 6-cup muffin pan (for large muffins) …or a 12-cup muffin pan (for regular muffins). Preheat oven to 3500F (1800 C).
- Place your choice of dried fruit in a small bowl and cover it with hot water that has been lightly flavoured with vanilla – approximately ½ teaspoon.
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine your choice of flour, brown sugar, wheat germ/flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and your choice of extra spice.
- Stir in your choice of grated fruits/vegetables and nuts into the flour mixture and gently mix together.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs, extra sweetener, your choice of oil, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir to thoroughly combine. Don’t over-mix, but ensure that all ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be thick.
- Drain the dried fruit and stir into the flour mixture.
- Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
- Sprinkle a little of the topping mixture on the tops of each muffin.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes (for large muffins); 15-20 minutes for smaller muffins…or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean to ensure that the muffins have completed baking.