27 June 2012

leftovers; or how blueberry wheat muffins keep me from throwing things away

breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, which is why I yell at people who skip it. Granted, there's all this science about breakfast being good for you and good for those who want to lose weight, so your body can get on with the burning of calories instead of just storing things because it's not actually getting fuel in the morning, but it's really all about how I get cranky when I don't eat. My sister can attest to this, as she is one of those people who doesn't always feel she has time for the morning meal and goes without. When we travel, if we get up late or end up on some jaunt that takes too long to get me to breakfast, she knows precisely when it's time to stop looking and instead start feeding.

Even with my love of a multi-step breakfast {runny egg yokes! espresso! fruit! waffles! homemade granola on yogurt! a pot of tea! oatmeal!} I do my fair share of cold cereal in the morning too. Sometimes it's just quicker, sometimes I don't want the bother, and sometimes it is so hot that anything beyond icy milk and frozen fruit on something grain-y sounds like a very bad idea. I also don't like super sweet things in the morning. Some honey on my yogurt or oatmeal is plenty. I like pancakes and waffles, but there had better be some tart fruit and bacon to balance that syrup.

Some of my dear friends will happily eat dessert for breakfast: cookies, cake, even ice cream. I can't do it. Pie, maybe a fruit variety, that's as close as I get. I'm especially bad when I've made plans with a friend to go walking once a week this summer...if we're going to be using calories, they should be good, filling ones like eggs and fruit or a homemade muffin or maybe yogurt & fruit or a good for you cereal.

For me, then, it is cereal like raisin bran, lightly frosted shredded wheat, those little oat squares. Nothing too sweet, something filling, even a little healthy. But there's a downside to my shredded wheat standby: all that extra frosted wheat bits in the bottom of the box. My sad little faux-fifties {actually, mid-eighties, early nineties, but who is quibbling?} era upbringing next door to Depression-era grandparents means that I can not stand the idea of throwing those bits away.

They might be useful! I could eat them instead of the squares for breakfast! There is nothing wrong with them! I'm also the girl who in law school froze milk in ice cube trays because it was a couple of days from going bad, and I couldn't drink it all, but could use milk cubes in my coffee instead of milk. So, I've got all these little bits of frosted mini-wheats hanging out in a container in my cupboard. I've also got a lovely Banana Bran Muffin recipe. Just no bananas. and no raisin bran. I do have frozen blueberries and Greek yogurt. A muffin marriage said its vows.

Raspberry Wheat Muffins
2 cups discarded frosted shredded wheat (or raisin bran)
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
1/2 cup unflavored or vanilla Greek yogurt

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup frozen blueberries or raspberries (still frozen)

Mix the wet ingredients with the shredded wheat and allow to stand for ten minutes. {If you substitute the raisin bran back in or use unfrosted shredded wheat bits, add 1/4 cup brown sugar. Since my shredded wheat was frosted, I needed no extra sugar.} Then add the dry ingredients and mix. Finally, gently mix in the fruit. Don't bother defrosting, as leaving them frozen will allow the berries to keep their shape better. Scoop into paper lined muffin tins and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes.
It's the perfect sort of timing to toss the muffins in the oven, hop in the shower, and have breakfast nearly ready when you've gotten back out. These are a somewhat chewy muffin, due to the yogurt. You could also always sway the 1/2 cup mashed bananas back in instead of the yogurt for a more traditional texture.

"Be well. Do good work. Keep in touch." - Garrison Keillor

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