Mornings and I are frenemies, at best, and it’s been a difficult transition shifting my schedule from going to sleep at 5 a.m. to waking up around that same time. It’s necessitated a nightly cocktail of melatonin and warm milk and a carefully devised morning ritual. My ritual isn’t for empowerment, productivity, or getting my blood pumping; it’s mainly about gentle pampering and self-care that tells my soul, “See, pre-dawn mornings aren’t so bad.” Softly, softly, the morning and I meet.
I sleep in a freezing-cold bedroom with windows open wide to the night air – perfect for a sound sleep, not ideal for throwing the covers off each morning. The chilly temperature makes me covet a deeper snuggle under the duvet, not put my feet on chilly wood floors, so I make sure the heater in the rest of the house kicks on about 15 minutes before my alarm. Knowing there’s warm coziness on the other side of the bedroom door helps get me moving (not to mention two cats impatiently crying behind the locked door).
Once I’m padding around the kitchen, I feed the beasts, brew a cappuccino (Nespresso, I love you. You have no idea the crap I used to drink each morning), warm a homemade baked good-o-the-week, and snuggle onto the couch. For half an hour, I simultaneously read the news and play fetch with kitty Mochi and the often elusive “Mr. Mousy,” an eviscerated blob of plastic and fur that, at one time, resembled a mouse. During this contented couch time, the sun slowly peeps in the window and I willingly greet another day.
I don’t wait until the very last moment to spring from bed to shower. I don’t scroll through work emails and stress about my day. I don’t red-line the latest contract while absentmindedly gulping down a cup of brown liquid that barely resembles coffee. Instead, I pause…and enjoy.
My morning pause would be incomplete without a home-baked treat to accompany my cappuccino. These past two weeks (and probably next week as well), it’s been muffins. I’ve cracked the perfect morning muffin code – not too big, not too sweet, packed with good stuff, with a tender crumb and loaded with flavor. I thought I couldn’t outdo last week’s banana-cherry muffins, but I’ve done just that with this carrot-raspberry version.
Carrot Raspberry Breakfast Muffins
The perfect morning muffin – not too big, not too sweet, packed with good stuff, with a tender crumb and loaded with flavor.
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- ⅓ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg plus 1 yolk
- ½ cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
- ½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, yogurt, vinegar, vanilla, egg, and yolk. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until just blended. Fold in walnuts, raspberries and carrot.
- Spoon batter into muffin cups. Top with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts. Bake 25-30 minutes until muffins are brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool slightly and enjoy.