We’ve been having beautiful days lately, full of sunshine and flip flops, with long, drawn-out endings involving watermelon, hoses, and swimming suits. The evenings bring long walks or reading sessions, laying on our stomachs or flopped on our backs, accompanied by the comforting drone of fans.
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted anything here, I know. I’ve missed it terribly, but the ins and outs of our daily family routine just haven’t allowed for it, I’m afraid. Since I last posted, I took the Bar Exam (and passed—thank heavens!), my daughter started school, I worked part time at a wonderful job, we moved for a new job for Ryan, we had another baby (!), I started another part-time job, and now we are getting ready for another move across the state for another new job. It’s been busy, busy, busy. The other morning, though, as I got home from running, everything seemed still for a few minutes. My two-year-old had just woken up, and I took him outside—something we rarely have time to do in those rushed, get-ready-for-school hours. I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of the little things that are so fresh and inspire such wonder in the early morning hours—things which only a few hours later seem hot and tired and generally uninspiring. G found a snail and crouched down in glee to admire it. We watch him inch out of a pot of some long-neglected herb plant, which I have hopes of rejuvenating for an herb garden. We’ll see.
The morning was so fresh and so quiet, I felt energized to make a muffin recipe I’ve been experimenting with lately. And then I realized I already had my camera out. And then I thought how much I wanted to share this recipe, not to mention preserve it for myself in some more permanent form than a scribbled mess on a scrap of paper that will inevitably be lost. And then…well, I just couldn’t’ help myself. Maybe now things have shifted in a way that I’ll be able to carve out some time again for blogging. I have found that, as a mother, my life and schedule and abilities are constantly ebbing and flowing. Sometimes I can do this. Sometimes I can do that. I can never do everything, but I can always do something, and finding a way to do something that brings joy within the confines of naps and nursing and school schedules is so key to feeling happy and productive. I’m hoping that—as our youngest has transitioned into a more predictable schedule—that something can be blogging again.
In any case, I’m so excited to share this recipe. If you’ve been here before, you know I’m partial to muffins and am always trying to find recipes that are breakfast acceptable. If I wanted dessert, I’d have a full on slice of cake. When I want a muffin, I want a muffin, and I want to be able to eat it at 7am and not feel guilty. I’ve also been trying to incorporate a little more healthy protein into our diets, particularly since my kids would live off of bread if they had their way. So, in pursuit of all that, I’ve been experimenting with ways to use beans in breads. I’m sure all of you have seen black bean brownie recipes and such floating around the blogosphere, and I’ve tried some chickpea chocolate chip cookies that were very popular around here. If you haven’t been converted to bean-based breads, don’t write them off right away. They can be amazingly good, and particularly moist. (Although, I’ll warn you I’ve tried some rather bad ones as well). I’m not sure why black beans have been the bean of choice in popular recipes. You have to use a lot of sugar to disguise the flavor, and at some point, it just seems like adding some beans isn’t really going to make a sugar-laden, frosting-covered treat that much better for you. You might as well have the real thing, you know? Recently, I’ve tried using white beans more frequently and have been pleasantly surprised by the results. The taste is more mild, so you don’t need to disguise anything.
When I found this Culinary Institute of America recipe, I couldn’t resist tinkering with it. The result is nothing like the original (a chickpea-lemon muffin), but it’s delicious. The brilliant part of the recipe, which I kept, lies in beating the egg whites, something I never thought to do for a muffin recipe, despite countless egg-beating sessions for cakes and pancakes.
The muffin is ultra moist and light. The orange lends a bright, citrus hint and is a lovely contrast to the cardamom. We particularly liked them with marmalade and a dollop of greek yogurt.
I’m so looking forward to sharing this space again. Enjoy your breakfast!
Citrus Sunrise Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
These light and fluffy muffins are low in sugar and fat but high in flavor—the bright citrus and exotic cardamom add a bit of novelty and blend perfectly together. I prefer to use a mix of olive and canola oils, as the olive oil is a bit overbearing on its own. However, the recipe should work fine with any mild-flavored oil. If you warm the beans a bit before blending, you’ll get an extra-smooth texture, which is key to successfully incorporating beans into baked goods. This is important if you have a run-of-the-mill blender, but a high-quality food processor or blender will handle the job nicely without any pre-warming help. These are best eaten within a few hours. After a day, they become crumbly and less flavorful.
2 eggs, divided
1 3/4 C white beans (a 15-ounce can), drained and rinsed (and warmed slightly—see headnotes) Zest from one orange, about 2 T
1/4 C orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T canola oil
1/3 C granulated sugar
3/4 C whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground cardamom
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a standard muffin tin.
- Beat the egg whites until the hold stiff peaks. Set aside.
- Put the beans, orange zest, orange juice, oils, sugar, and egg yolks in a food processor or blender. Purée until smooth.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the bean mixture.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Scoop the batter into muffin tin.
- Bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.