Not Settling for Sawdust [Coconut Red Quinoa Muffins with Sour Cherries and Pecans]

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I love breakfast. Love it like I love a glass of wine at the end of a long day (and that says a lot) and can’t bear the thought of getting out of bed without knowing there is something scrumptious waiting for me when I do. The thought of waking to the same bowl of plain old oatmeal or natural peanut butter on whole wheat toast every day makes my heart sink. I’m not getting up for that – I refuse to! I want something that tastes good, something that tames my ravenous morning hunger and nourishes my body as it does. 

I’ve been in the bad habit of grabbing a bagel or croissant sandwich (from Bread and Sons in Ottawa. Its a show-stopper. Go there immediately!) lately and it needs to end. So I decided to whip up a batch of breakfast muffins. Who says a muffin can’t be delicious as well as nutrient-packed, hunger-staving, and fibre-filled? Not me. I don’t say that, guys. It’s not true and I’m tired of hearing it. Muffins are not the bad guys – it’s the people who are loading them up with butter (tasty, tasty butter) and unrefined sugars who should bare the blame for their bad rap. If you trust me (I think we’ve been hanging out long enough to warrant a small to medium amount of trust between us, no?) then you’ll believe me when I tell you that these muffins are healthy (they have some brown sugar… but it’s brown so it’s ok…right?) and so full of flavour that you won’t even miss that whats-it-called muffin you’ve been spending your hard earned coins on each morning. Filled with wheat bran, flax seeds, toasted pecans and coconut, dried cherries and cinnamon and just enough brown sugar to keep things interesting, they are good enough to get me up in the morning and filling enough to tame that noisy beast that makes home in my gut from 7-8am each day. Don’t settle for saw-dusty bran muffins that taste like cardboard or butter-filled muffins that may as well be breakfast-hamburgers; these are better and will make your mornings bright and sun-shiny and happy (probably).  If you’re interested, I’ve calculated the nutritional information here

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Coconut Red Quinoa Muffins with Sour Cherries and Pecans
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 12 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cooked red quinoa
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/3 toasted pecans, crushed
1/4 cup flax, freshly ground
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cherries, rough-chopped
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce 
3/4 cup milk (I like 2% best)

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a dry skillet, toast the shredded coconut, wheat bran and crushed pecans over medium heat until golden and fragrant, 5 minutes. 

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cooked quinoa, toasted coconut/bran/pecans, cherries, ground flax, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. 

In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, applesauce and milk until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined. Divide among a lined-muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy! 

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