Happy New Year, Friends! Welcome Twenty Thirteen.
January is a month for taking stock of our lives, isn’t it? It’s palpable, the energy to improve ourselves, make changes, do better. Some years I’ve created detailed lists of everything I wanted to change about my life, about myself. This year I’m approaching change differently.
The truth is that I’m really happy. I’d like to lose a few pounds, exercise more, eat better, read more, be more productive – you know those vague goals that everyone seems to have. Instead of choosing a number on the scale or an arbitrary number of books that I want to read this year, I’m focusing on habits: an hour walk after lunch, serving myself a slightly smaller portion than usual, reading at night before I go to sleep, cross country skiing a couple of times a week, work bursts (90 minutes of work, 15 minute break). Easy. Fun.
It’s been months since I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, but if I had to tie this new attitude toward New Year’s Resolutions with one thing it would be this quote:
“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”
Does it resonate with you?
Okay, so the muffins.
These come to you from my friend Dale. When I first read her recipe I thought, “These are going to be little hockey pucks.” Not so! In fact, they’re the opposite. It must be the nut flour, which incidentally, makes these gluten free. When I’ve made similar muffins using traditional flour, they’re dense and chewy the next day. But cold from the fridge, these muffins are delicate and sweet – though they have no refined sugar, just bananas and dates. And at about 200 calories, they’re a light and filling breakfast or snack.
You’ll get about 18 generous muffins from this recipe. I like to cook them 6 at a time, freezing extra batter in muffin papers ready to bake (pictured below) – cover the unbaked muffins with foil, plastic wrap, or the baking pans lid if you happen to have one and freeze. I pop them into a muffin tin from the freezer, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning I bake them and store any leftover muffins in the refrigerator. They’re even better the next day.
These delicious muffins led to another recipe that I love for breakfast or a nutritious afternoon snack, Banana Oatmeal Cookies. You should check them out too!
Flourless Hazelnut Carrot and Date Muffins
- 2 cups hazelnut flour or almond flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 3 ripe bananas
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 large carrots shredded
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line standard size muffin tins with paper liners or generously grease.
Combine hazelnut flour, shredded coconut, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine; set aside.
Add dates, bananas, eggs, vinegar, and coconut oil to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
Add hazelnut flour mixture to date mixture in food processor and pulse just until combined.
Transfer batter to large mixing bowl and fold in shredded carrots and chopped walnuts.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until muffin tops are set. Cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy warm or cold. Store extra muffins covered in the refrigerator and enjoy within a few days.