Hello friends. Things have been a little bare around here lately, haven’t they? I am having a hard time believing that April slipped by with only two posts on Bella Eats. Two posts? How did that happen? We’ve been cooking and eating, I assure you, and I have a long list of recipes that I was planning to share last month. The photographs are all edited, and most are even loaded into drafts in my WordPress dashboard. So what, you ask, is the deal?
I’ll spare you the list of excuses because really, what it comes down to, is that life is just plain busy. I’ve tried my best to become a very good juggler, to keep all of the plates soaring high above my head with a flick of my wrist and the occasional impressive behind-the-back catch but, alas, one of those plates fell.
The Bella Eats plate is a tough one to keep in the air when time is running short at the end of the day, mostly because of the words that accompany each meal that I share here. My time for writing comes after work, after running and yoga, after dinner and dishes, after free-lance photography edits and marketing projects. Lately when that time is upon me, the time to sit behind my computer and let the words seep from the well in my brain, down my arms and out through my finger tips…I find myself with an empty well.
And so I go to bed. I cuddle in next to Brian with the sheets wrapped around my shoulders and two dogs crowding my feet. The ceiling fan whirs overhead and I attempt to match my breath to its subtle rhythm, incorporating techniques from my yoga practice in an effort to fall asleep as quickly as possible. But my mind, the mind that failed me for an entire hour prior to my giving in and coming to bed is now racing. There are ‘to do’ lists and emails to write and recipes and workout plans swirling around on their own paths, making a terrible knot of jumbled thoughts that only the clarity of morning will untangle.
When sleep finally overtakes my body it is not without its own side effects. Suddenly my mind, not deterred by slumber, has all kinds of ideas about writing and work and life, weaving intricate stories through my dreams that are exciting and fascinating and inspiring. The scenes are so vivid that I find myself waking up multiple times in the night, tossing and turning as characters new and familiar wind their way in and out of predicaments that oh-so-loosely resemble my waking hours. I find myself hitting ‘snooze’ on the alarm multiple times each morning, trying to catch the tail-end of these thoughts before they fizzle out and leave me with only a hazy shadow of something that I think, maybe, if I could just remember, might have been good. It seems that this is the only time I have for creative wandering, the only time not bogged down by obligations and responsibility. I relish in it, until I realize the time and jump from bed in a panic, beginning the daily process all over again.
These extended ‘snooze’ sessions have caused me to rely heavily on grab-and-go breakfasts. The kind that, after hastily rising from bed and jumping in the shower, darting around the house looking for this shirt or that shoe, feeding dogs and packing a lunch allow me to simply reach into the freezer or pantry for a single item to stash in my bag and eat at the office. Gone are the mornings of leisurely breakfasts that involve turning on the oven and dirtying a pot, bowl and spoon. These days I am simply happy that I thought to freeze the leftover Carrot and Pineapple muffins I made weeks ago, and hopeful that soon, very very soon, my schedule will slow down to its normal pace. I am ready for that Bella Eats plate to soar again, to form high arcs above my head as words flow from my fingertips into this little space on the ‘net.
Until then, thanks for being here. I am so happy you’re reading.
These muffins are incredibly moist, even after a 3-week stay in the freezer. They have a hearty crumb fortified by the whole wheat flour, and a subtle sweetness provided by the pineapple and the agave nectar. I find them quite filling when paired with a piece of fruit or a cup of yogurt for breakfast.
Carrot Pineapple Muffins
makes 12 whole grain, no added fat, naturally-sweetened muffins
adapted from Sweet and Natural Baking, by Mani Niall
- 2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3 tbsp oat bran
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (I will bump this up to 1/2 tsp next time)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup light agave nectar
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1-1/3 cups grated carrots (I peeled the carrots into long ribbons first, then chopped them finely)
- 3/4 cup diced pineapple (I used canned, but will definitely use fresh next time)
- 12 chunks of fresh or canned pineapple, about 1 x 1 x 1/2 inch in size
- Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray.
- Sift together the flour, bran, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt into a medium bowl and make a well in the center.
- In another medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, beat the egg whites with all the agave nectar until soft peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the milk. Pour into the flour well and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined. Stir in the carrots and the diced pineapple.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Top each muffin with a pineapple chunk. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed with a finger, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes, run a knife around the inside of the cups to release the muffins, and remove from the cups. Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature.
To freeze, wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the muffins in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. They should keep for up to 3 months.