Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins

The routine of everyday life is a necessary evil. As much as I'd like to believe I enjoy spontaneity and the thrill of the unknown, when it comes down to it, I'd rather have my day planned out by the hour than have it be a complete mystery. This isn't to say I don't love to give into the occasional impulse or act on a whim—I do—but my life needs strong framework in which to build off the quiet improvisations of life.

As much as I may object to the idea of a life of routine, I need the structure and control it provides me. I like to know when I am going to wake or eat breakfast, what television shows I can look forward to watching, or when I can plan on tucking into bed for the evening. It may not often be an exciting life, but it is all my own.

I have been on a different routine the last two weeks and it has been a struggle to adjust. I mentioned it briefly before, but I never expected the transition to be this difficult. I've read that it can take a month or more to develop new habits, to adjust to a new schedule, and the thought makes me feel defeated. The good habits I kept up are dissolving before my eyes as bad ones are starting to take their place. I am fighting against it, struggling to stake my claim on a chaotic world, but some days I fear I am losing ground.

My body is used to waking up with the sun and eating a slow breakfast before heading off to the gym. My mornings are now rushed; I'm lucky to have five minutes to eat a makeshift breakfast. I only have time for the gym after a long day at work, when the last thing I want to do is climb onto an elliptical machine. It's a work in progress.

I am developing a new habit that makes me a bit worried, however. After suddenly gaining several more hours in the evening, I am not sure what to do with them. I can't resort to my traditional hobbies—it is often too late to bake and too dark to photograph—so I nibble on chocolate chips or munch on apple slices, snacking to make the time pass by quicker. As a previous non-snacker, this new pattern makes me nervous.

As I work to fit my routines around the new framework of my life, there are still a few constants (and baking is one of them). Last weekend I made a batch of muffins, trying to find a way to incorporate the ground flaxseed that has been taking up space in the cupboard. I didn't expect much from these muffins, but they took me by surprise and I found myself sincerely enjoying them. I made another batch and froze them to enjoy for a quick breakfast over the next week. As I work to find my footing in this new routine, these muffins have already redeemed many a rushed morning.

Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins are a simple, healthy breakfast muffin. Low in both fat and sugar, these morning treats really do deserve a stamp of approval. The nuttiness of ground flaxseed is wonderful against the sharp sweetness of dried cranberries and helps to keep you feeling full much longer. With a hot mug of black tea, this is a breakfast that is hard to beat on-the-go or savored slowly.

One Year Ago: Vanilla Bean Pudding
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Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins

Yields 1 dozen muffins

3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (90 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (53 grams) flax meal
1/3 cup (66 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (235 ml) milk
1 cup (120 grams) dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a muffin tin or line with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, flax meal, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the egg, vegetable oil, and milk, mixing until the batter is evenly incorporated. Stir in the dried cranberries.

Divide batter evenly between baking cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve with a small pat of butter or spread of jam.