Blueberries….Using blueberries right now feels like clasping the hand of summer one last time before saying goodbye. These blueberry muffins are delicious, satisfying, and full of nutrients. Oats, pecans, flaxseed, Greek yogurt, and applesauce give them a deep, rich flavor, and more vitamins and minerals than the average blueberry muffin. Mornings can be a bit rushed. Actually, so can afternoons. It is nice to be able to grab something (or give something) you know will be full of good stuff to carry yourself or someone you love through a busy part of the day.
This fall, among other things, I will be looking for quick, healthy, filling foods that can be eaten on the run. My kids have extremely busy schedules right now, and are burning a lot of calories with running, soccer, and marching band. They need lots of food, but I want it to be fueling their active bodies in a healthy way. (My husband and I are pretty busy and active too!) These blueberry muffins fit the bill. This recipe is based on a few different muffin recipes I have played around with over the years, and it produces moist, tasty muffins that are healthy but don’t taste too “healthy,” meaning my kids enjoy eating them.
This week mother nature has given us quintessential end-of-summer weather, with such beautiful sunrises and sunsets, cool mornings and evenings, and warm, drowsy afternoons. Although fall is my favorite season, I will miss this summer and all it has given us. We are probably seeing the last of the fresh Michigan blueberries, and they don’t taste as sweet as they did earlier in the season (that is why I put them in muffins!). However, as fall and winter come, you can also use frozen blueberries in this recipe.
Cooking and baking and preparing food day in and day out can get tough once in awhile. My family would be the first to tell you I am not always inspired about being in the kitchen. (Luckily, my husband and kids do help out too). But sometimes, cooking, baking, and preparing food feels like so much more than just a chore. Sometimes, it is elevated to a higher level. There is a kind of alchemy that occurs, where food can bridge gaps, fill empty spaces, or give meaning to chaotic feelings. In the kitchen, sometimes I feel I am creating something beautiful and transformative out of very ordinary ingredients.
For whatever reason, I felt that way with these muffins. I felt like they were helping us navigate the passage from summer to fall, from relaxation mode to work/school mode, from spending lots of time with family to spending more time with friends and classmates, new teachers, co-workers, and learning new things. I felt like making these muffins allowed me to grasp the most of what remains of the summer. I was able to turn a pint of rather sour blueberries into a dozen healthy muffins bursting with tartly sweet blueberry flavor. And in giving these muffins to my family I was giving them not only nutrition, but all those other things as well: energy to face new challenges, memories of our good times together this summer, strength to grow.
I may not be able to change to world, or solve large-scale problems from the kitchen, but I can contribute in my way. According to the Dalai Lama, “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into the water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” Blueberry muffins are only a little pebble dropped into the water, but they are also part of something larger.
That is one of the things that keeps drawing me back to the kitchen: the alchemy that I often feel there, the ordinary becoming extraordinary, the making sense of intangible feelings through tangible food, and the feeling that what I do there is important. Whether a muffin is just a muffin, or the poet in you sees the symbolic in food the way I do, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I am taking a plate of these of to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Judi at Cooking with Aunt Juju and Quinn at Dad What’s for Dinner.
Wholesome Blueberry Muffins
- 1 and 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (you can also use whole wheat flour if you prefer)
- 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal (if you have whole flaxseeds, just grind them in a coffee grinder to make the meal)
- 1/4 cup of pecans
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt (either plain or flavored–I use whatever I have on hand)
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup of applesauce
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh blueberries (or about 8 ounces of frozen blueberries)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin with butter (or line it with paper liners).
In a blender or food processor, chop/mix the flour, oats, flaxseed meal, pecans, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Process until the mixture is finely ground and combined.
In a large mixing bowl, briskly stir together the butter, yogurt, brown sugar, egg, applesauce, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are absorbed into the wet–be careful not to overmix it. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool in the tray for a few minutes, then remove them to a plate or cooling rack. Enjoy!