Hello again! It's that time of year that we've all come to dread. The holidays are over; there's no more excuses for baking endless amounts of cookies, gym membership commercials are starting to take over my television, and the effects of massive food consumption during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and all the days in between are finally starting to take their toll. I've been feeling rather lethargic lately, and have seriously fallen off the wagon with working out in the past three weeks: finals week, a thrown back, two back to back colds (or I guess, one really long one?), and baking marathons have left little time/ability for exercise, and it's all starting to catch up to me. It's time for some healthy eating!
I love knowing that I'm eating healthy, and I actually don't find it to be that difficult, since I am a huge fan of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. I'll take whole wheat or multigrain bread over white bread any day of the week, and a bowl of fresh fruit is always hard to turn down. While I am a huge fan of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, the problem is that I'm also a huge fan of butter and flour, and all of their derivatives, whether they are in the form of cookies, cakes, bread, muffins, scones, pies...you get the picture. I am also NOT a fan of completely cutting out anything from my diet, but prefer to instead learn how to take everything in moderation and incorporate healthy items into my everyday foods. I mean seriously, I don't think I'll ever be able to eliminate chocolate and bread from my diet...that's just absurd, really. Fortunately, there are ways of going around the healthy aspect! Raisin bran muffins are one of my favorite ways of doing this.
Raisin bran muffins have always been one of my favorite types of muffins, and I have no idea why. I was the weird little kid who would sometimes pick a bran muffin over a blueberry or chocolate chip muffin, and be totally and completely satisfied. There's something about bran muffins that I've always found delicious. Maybe it's the raisins? I tend to like things with raisins in them. The fact that they're also good for you makes me like them even more!
Now, I'm not going to pretend like these are the "BEST" muffins out there for you. They're not fat-free, but they ARE made with oat-bran (which is super good for you), they DO have whole wheat flour in them, and they're ONLY sweetened with honey (no white sugar in sight in these!). In my mind, the presence of whole grains and the absence of white sugar is enough to convince me that these muffins are in fact, pretty good for me. The fact that they're also delicious is just a bonus. These bran muffins were super simple to make, taking only a few minutes and a couple of bowls and a wooden spoon to prepare. The muffins were light, and not very sweet (perfect for me!), so they worked perfectly with the raisins that were scattered throughout. The muffins were delicious when eaten slightly warm from the oven, or when toasted in the toaster oven for a few minutes. Now, my only problem is actually being able to stop at just one muffin...I think I've had more bran muffins than I should have in one day. Self-restraint is unfortunately not included in this recipe!
These raisin bran muffins are a perfect way to start off the new year in a healthy and delicious way. Enjoy!
Raisin Bran Muffins
recipe from The Moveable Feasts
1 cup oat bran
1 cup buttermilk (I used low-fat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raisins
Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Position a rack in the middle of the oven.
In a large bowl, combine the oat bran, buttermilk, and baking sida. The mixture will bubble slightly from the baking soda. Allow the oat bran to soak in this mixture while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, combine the egg, vegetable oil, molasses, honey, and vanilla, mixing well. Add this mixture to the oat bran mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, salt, and raisins (make sure the rasins are well coated in flour, so that they won't sink into the bottom of the muffin batter). Stir the flour mixture into the bran mixture, stirring only until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Take care not to overmix! Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way.
Bake the muffins in the preheated oven until the tops are a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of each muffin comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan slightly and serve warm, or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Makes 12-13 muffins