Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Midterm Muffins

Well, it's the week before Spring Break here at Wesleyan, and you know what that means: MIDTERMS. (Ominous music plays in the background.)

Being the studious folk that we are, Wesleyan students usually tend to freak out at this time.  Professors assign us an overwhelming number of papers and exams, on top of the regular assignments, which we normally don't have time to finish as it is.

In previous semesters, I have been a wreck during exam week.  I can become so overwhelmed by the anxiety knowing that I have so much work to do, that I am physically unable to do it.  You can normally find me locked in my room, playing lullaby-type emo music, rocking in my chair and singing to myself, while eating copious amounts of chocolate chips or vegan ice cream.  My coping strategies were almost as destructive as exam week itself.

This semester, however, is going to be different.  This semester, I told myself NO.  I posted signs all over my room and computer for motivation.  I wrote "NO" on my hand so that any time I try to reach for the jar of Nutella, I will be reminded that binging on chocolate, hazelnutty goodness will not solve anything.  And finally, my favorite coping mechanism, I decided to bake something.

Now, since we're leaving school on Friday, I'm doing what I like to call "the Refrigerator Project."  Essentially, I have forbidden myself from buying more food until I go home for break in an attempt to clean out my fridge so that nothing goes to waste.  Of course, the second I vow to take on this task, I realize I am out of apples.  What?!  No breakfast?!  What will I do?!  No, I must stay calm.  That's the theme this week.  So, I decided to make muffins, and not just any kind of muffins, healthy, brain-food muffins to help us concentrate (and low in sugar so that I won't try to eat 6 of at once).

All the recipes I looked at would have required me to buy something, so, I invented my own.  Dangerous, I know.  Here's how it went:

These are all the ingredients I pulled out of the cupboard that I thought I could put into a muffin
Here's a rough approximation of what went into my ridiculously healthy Pumpkin-Oatmeal-Coconut muffins:
Dry Ingredients:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup freshly ground flax seeds (I used a coffee grinder)
1/3 cup freshly ground hemp seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
*You could also add dried fruit, like raisins or dried cranberries.  I was really tempted to throw some raisins in there, but one of my roommates HATES raisins, so I resisted the temptation.*

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup almond milk (I used Silk Original)
1/4 cup raw honey
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Add each group together separately, then create a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet all at once.  Stir just until combined.
Waiting to go in the oven
The most adorable brain-food I've ever seen
I think they turned out great.  They have no refined sugar, and only natural fats from the coconut, hemp, and flax.  They have that "healthy muffin" texture, but that's to be expected.  If you aren't a hemp person, you might want to add a little less because you can certainly taste it.

I baked these off before I went to the Connecticut Valley Hospital dance where I volunteer each week, so I got a double-dose of therapy today.  I made muffins.  I played Apples to Apples and danced the Cha-Cha Slide with General Psych patients.  I made progress on the Refrigerator Project.  The raisin-hater is happy.  We have breakfast for the rest of the week.  I am calm.  Show us what you've got, midterm week.

Love and cookies,

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