A little girl sitting at a table with food

Muffins: The Perfect Solution

Mom was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You cannot afford to miss it for many reasons, but here are three which come from recent medical research:

A little girl sitting at a table with food, with Muffin and Whisk

1. People who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off are faithful members of the “breakfast club.” 

2. People who eat breakfast may be better equipped to fight off colds and flu. An impressive study found that those who developed more than one illness over the 10-week study were less likely to be breakfasters. The reasons why breakfast might be a protective factor are not entirely clear.

3. Skipping breakfast doesn’t reduce one’s daily calorie intake. The truth is if you skip you will more than make up for it later in the day. But those who eat breakfast find it easier to resist high fat foods during the day. It remains a well-known fact that breakfast boosts metabolism all day and fires up your brain cells for faster, clearer thinking. 

Breakfast Do’s:

2-hour rule. Eat when you can but within two hours of waking.

Eat what you enjoy. You are more likely to create a life-long habit if it’s something you enjoy.

Make it convenient. If breakfast is time consuming and complicated you are not likely to stick with it. Have on hand “grab and go” breakfast items that are both tasty and affordable. 

Resist drive-thrus. Fast food is expensive and typically unhealthy.

If you are tired of cereal, made-from-scratch healthy muffins are a perfect solution for your breakfast dilemma. 

Freezer trick. Generally, muffin batter needs to be baked as soon as mixed. Or, you can freeze the batter in the cups! Make up the batter and follow the instructions for filling the paper- or foil-lined cups with batter. Now pop the pans in the freezer. 

When the muffins are frozen hard, transfer them to a plastic bag or freezer container; write the baking temperature on the bag so you don’t have to search for the recipe again later. When you are ready to bake them, put the frozen muffins back in the muffin pans and place them in a preheated oven, increasing the baking time by only 5 or 6 minutes. You can bake all the muffins at once or one to two at a time in a toaster oven.

Whole Wheat Applesauce Date Muffins

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  1. Heat oven to 375 F. Grease muffin cups or use foil baking cups. Thoroughly mix four, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Break eggs into another bowl. Add brown sugar to eggs and beat until smooth. Add applesauce and oil. Whisk until well blended. Stir in dates. Pour over dry ingredients and fold in just until dry ingredients are moistened. Scoop batter into muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until brown and springy to the touch in the center. Remove to a rack to cool. Place in a plastic bag. These are best one day after baked.

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

Here’s a recipe that breaks all the rules about either baking or freezing muffins as soon as the batter is mixed. This batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six weeks and baked as needed! With a batch on hand you can enjoy the luxury of fresh-baked muffins every morning. This recipe makes 28 muffins for about 12 cents each. 

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup black coffee or water
  • 2 cups liquid buttermilk OR 6 tablespoons dried buttermilk and 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups Kellogg’s All-Bran, Bran Buds or other wheat bran cereal
  1. Put eggs, sugar and butter in a large bowl; whip with a wire whisk to mix. Whisk in liquids; mixture will look curdled. Add flour and baking soda. Whisk until just mixed. Stir in bran.
  2. Scrape batter into a refrigerator container. Cover and refrigerate. (If you want to bake batter without storing, let it stand 15 to 20 minutes for bran to soften.)
  3. To bake: Heat oven to 375 F. Grease muffin cups or use foil baking cups. Stir batter gently to mix. Scoop 1/4 cup into each muffin cup. For baking just a few, a toaster oven works fine. Bake about 20 minutes, or until springy to the touch in the center. Let cool 5 minutes before serving hot.

Question: How does breakfast look in your household? Please share because all of us need encouragement, support and fabulous ideas!

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12 replies
  1. Ron 'n Loni Oliver says:

    Mary, there’s controversy over the benefits of eating breakfast. I’ve personally never gotten any benefits from eating breakfast, no matter of what it was comprised (re: protein, fat, carb ratios). There is a new technique called “Intermittent Fasting,” which promotes cleansing, healing, reduces inflammation and increases hormone sensitivity. And, it does matter what you eat, and everybody is different as to their need for protein vs. carbs vs. fat. For instance, if I eat a breakfast of oatmeal, I had better use no sugars and add extra fiber and eat some protein and a good portion of fat with it to slow down the sugars hitting my blood stream, or I will end up far hungrier than if I’d eaten nothing. But, I’m with you on the concepts of preparedness and frugality. –Loni

    Reply
  2. AM says:

    Just made the bran coffee muffins. The coffee adds a great flavor! I am wondering if the recipe needed a little salt. I made a few adjustments, first added cinnamon and using 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce & 1/2 cup sugar instead of the cup of sugar. We need dairy free, so instead of buttermilk I used plain almond yogurt. Coconut or soy yogurt would work fine, too. I use vanilla non-dairy sometimes when baking, but since these are for breakfast & I was adding ingredients with sugarI wanted to decrease the sugar. For the first batch I added slivered almonds, chopped apricots, and dairy free chocolate chips. Yummy! Will enjoy adding different ingredients to suit our moods and based on what’s in season. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Mary says:

    I enjoy hummus and yogurt with fresh veggies in the morning – gets me going and is healthy and low cal. Usually holds me until a late lunch. Try fresh yellow, orange, or red peppers, carrots, eggplant and kale, tomatoes are super too. Once per week I add an egg fried from the iron skillet ’cause I need the added iron in my diet.

    Reply
  4. Janice says:

    Before school starts every year, we make big batches of whole wheat pancakes

    (some with blueberries!), french toast, waffles, and various muffins, all of which we freeze. I purchase eggos and bagels when on sale. Every week we have eggs twice, toast on Wednesdays, and oatmeal or grits once. We fill in the other days with the items above.

    Reply
  5. Lisa Ritchey says:

    Mary, a couple of years ago I sent you a recipe for no-rise yeast rolls, but forgot to include the liquid. This seems like a good time to correct that. Just make a basic muffin recipe and add a pack or two of yeast. No fuss, no muss, NO RISE. So quick, so easy, and sooooo good!!! OH! add garlic and rosemary? Tomatoe & basil? Sausage and cheese (see, breakfast!) I think I am on to something here! lololol Thanks for all. L

    Reply
      • Lisa Ritchey says:

        Kim, The yeast is purely for the flavor. The self rising flour, or baking soda, or baking powder cause them to “rise”, but I love fresh, warm, yeasty bread. And this way it is really quick!

  6. ewbryce says:

    I love muffins, too, Mary. My trick is to pre-measure multiple batches of the dry ingredients of our favorite muffin recipes, and store them in labeled plastic zip-top bags. On a sleepy morning, it is so much quicker, and easier, to just add the liquid ingredients, without all that other measuring.

    Reply

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