Sunday, September 9, 2012

Zen and the bran muffin


Unlike my days of global travel, this summer I've been finding my way through a great physical and emotional journey. Now I'm taking a little time to find center again, drawing on yoga practice and gentle music to ground me before passing into the great unknown of becoming a mother to two.

People have been telling me to nurture myself in this time. My interpretation of that advice meant cooking up a storm over the last two weeks.  I turned out tamale pie, shepherd's pie, southwestern corn and sweet potato soup, mushroom barley soup, beef stew, harvest pork stew, lentil soup and pasta sauce- all packaged, labeled and tucked neatly into the freezer.  My father baked mini-baguettes and we froze those too. I made granola bars, two batches of granola, four types of muffins, all for consumption after the baby comes.  These acts made me feel strong. Self-sufficient. Like the rock that I think I need to be.


Life, and giving life demands strength.  I've been able to find strength in order, in taking control of what can be controlled.  


If the heavily sleep deprived version of myself pulled these together at 6 a.m., I'm betting anyone can do it.  These muffins turned out to be a shining beacon of light this morning.  There is nothing dry or bland about them.  Even without a drop of oil or fat, the apple and carrot lend great moisture and flavor.  Be zen.  Be healthy. Seek inner peace and eat more bran. 


Apple Carrot Bran Muffins
Slightly adapted from Bob's Red Mill recipe
I omitted the raisins and nuts from this recipe, mostly to please my toddler. I didn't miss either ingredient.

Makes 15 muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
3/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup oat or wheat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
2 apples, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together the first nine ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir in the grated carrots and apple, add the raisins and nuts if desired.  Combine the milk, beaten eggs and vanilla.  Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until moistened.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 for at least 20 minutes.  (I left mine in for 30 and they came out perfectly done.)


  1. Wow, Nicole. You have been busy. Your freezer is filled with goodness while mine has rice and flour and such. And you seem quite happy and healthy. Cheers to the strength we find in our kitchens. Your muffins look delicious.

  2. Nicole: it's good to see you are taking care of your present (and future!) self. There will be time to travel later on. These muffins are so healthy yet they look hearty and delicious. R. and baby #2 are in good hands!!!

  3. Those muffins look lovely. Best wishes to you!

  4. All your comfort foods are stocked and ready to go, and you'll be so pleased when the baby comes to have them at the ready.I, too, take strength in order for however long it may last.Remember, just breathe.

  5. I hope everything goes well with the last weeks (?) of your pregnancy. Take good care of yourself dear Nicole.
    Your muffins are enticing!

  6. Good luck and best wishes...Will you change the name of your blog to And Baby Cakes Four?

  7. Nicole you have got yourself a die hard follower in me-with a picky eater like my 3 yr old, yr healthy and yummy recipes are godsend!!
    thank you!
    I met your husband for lunch today and he passed on yr blog address!
    and I love everything about it-the recipes, the travels and your writing...
    :-) take care and all the best for the coming new milestone!

  8. It looks like you have been preparing well. You are controlling what you can control, which is good. Just keep in mind that there are things you can't control and try to let yourself and your body just go with the flow, do not stress about them. Thinking of you these days, can't wait to hear the news!

  9. HI Nichole--I am so impressed with the bounty of delicious soups and stews that you have had the foresight to prepare and freeze. A great centering project that will provide comfort and enjoyment in the weeks to come. and those muffins look terrific--chock-full of good things that you wouldn't miss the nuts or raisins.
    Take good care, Nancy

  10. Right now I wish I had your freezer! You are so ready, so ready!!
    Those muffins look great, I just made a batch of spiced apple butter and am thinking it would go so well in these muffins!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...