Starting the Day off Right with Trail Mix Muffins

I have a confession to make…I don’t eat breakfast. Somewhat shocking info, given that I have touted breakfast as “the most important meal of the day” throughout my career as a registered dietitian (RD). And let’s be clear, there is no doubt that eating breakfast can help us concentrate, have better overall diets and maintain a healthy weight.
 
It’s not that I do not like breakfast foods, indeed that is simply not so. I adore French toast, muffins, biscuits and all the other carb-laden offerings just like anyone else. In fact it is not uncommon for us to have breakfast for dinner on occasion. My breakfast skipping stems from not being able to stomach foods in the early morn.  If I eat too early, I become terribly nauseated rather than comfortably full.  And that just takes all the fun out of eating!

To compensate for this missed opportunity to start my day off right, I try to sneak in a nutrition packed on-the-go snack before lunch. These Trail Mix Muffins are perfect! They are not too sweet when made with natural peanut butter, pack a protein punch with added quinoa and offer an antioxidant boost with added dried fruit and dark chocolate bits. (A little gremlin must have eaten my dark chocolate chips, so I improvised by using bits of this Mocha OMG bar from Patric Chocolate.)

These muffins can be made in large batches and stored in the freezer; then grabbed while racing out the door. Or better yet, start your day off the right way by sitting down and enjoying these lovelies with a big glass of milk!
 
Trail Mix Muffins (adapted from Family Fun Magazine, Oct '12)

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Terra Bella Farm, Auxvasse, MO)
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (the last of my Sappington Farmer's Market stash)
  • 1/4 cup salted butter softened
  • 2 eggs (from Happy Chickens, Warrenton, MO)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, or any dried berries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Patric Chocolate, Columbia, MO)
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, cinnamon until well blended.
  3. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, peanut butter and butter with a hand mixer for about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth then add quinoa.
  4. Reduce mixer to low and slowly mix in milk.
  5. Fold flour mixture into wet ingredients, then fold in berries and chocolate.
  6. Fill prepared muffin tins with scoops of batter to 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

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