I hope this holiday season has been a wonderful one for you, your family and friends. As you have probably already surmised if you’ve read any of my posts or seen any of my YouTube videos, I just love this time of year!!! Yes, I’m that person who would love for the Christmas season to continue on and on for just a little bit longer….like, maybe, ALL YEAR! OK, I may not actually encourage that extreme because too much of a good thing diminishes its enjoyment…but the Christmas tree WILL be up for another week! It’s all about balance and moderation.
With the holidays comes a lot of heavy eating…a lot of big portions. Definitely no balance or moderation there. This year, though, I actually did pretty good. With the exception of the incredible turkey dinner that my brother-in-law made last night, I have made sure not to overstuff myself at every meal this year…and to forego the little sweet treats that seem to be lurking around the house at every turn.
The question I asked myself this year before habitually just grabbing the food in front of me is:
“Would I actually buy this right now if I was out?”
And it worked!
That one question pretty much knocked out about 75% of the subconscious holiday eating. You know what I’m talking about…you grab the food just because it’s in front of you. You eat it…and you really don’t remember eating it or the enjoyment you got from it. My little question helped to change that instinctual grab.
Let me clarify just a touch…it’s not that I wouldn’t buy the food because it’s not tasty or good. To the contrary…the little goodies are fantastic! But…would I shell out $3 bucks here, $5 bucks there for whatever is in front of me because I am actually craving that item…or am I just eating because I’m bored or because it’s there? Especially if you’re on a budget, that one question will help determine whether or not you’re eating just because it’s in front of you…or if you’re eating because you’re actually hungry and craving that item.
Truth be told, one thing that I do love spending money on when I’m out are muffins. I love all sorts of muffins, from chocolate chip to blueberry to one of my all-time favorites, Orange Cranberry.
Otis Spunkmeyer has some really good muffins. Dunkin Donuts too. I used to get an Otis Spunkmeyer muffin every single day while I was in college at Auburn University. I would just casually stroll down from the Student Government Office (where I was working every afternoon) to the Dining Hall for a little afternoon O.S. indulgence. But, hey, that was college…they don’t call it the “freshman fifteen” for nothing.
These days, I try to watch what I eat just a little bit more than I did in college. But even these days, there is definitely a time and place to indulge in foods you love…like these muffins. (Note: I’m not one of those people who says don’t have certain foods. I think you just need to be balanced in what you’re eating and eat in moderation. BUT, I’m talking real balance and real moderation…and that’s not always easy.)
Unfortunately, balanced means you can’t have these store bought muffins every day as many of them are loaded with calories and fat.
But don’t let that mean that you can’t have things you enjoy, just think about some alternatives, like their reduced-fat alternatives or, even better, whipping up a batch of homemade muffins where you can control what you put in them…and how big the muffins are. And as an added bonus, they’ll be fresh and warm right from the oven….you can’t get that from the store bought.
That’s where this incredible Orange Cranberry muffin recipe comes in. They are great tasting! I can’t deny that! They will satisfy you because they still have some fat in them from the butter and egg yolk. But a little fat in food helps the body feel satisfied by what you’re eating…even more so, I think, than eliminating all the fat from the recipe. But you can do that, too, if you want…just substitute apple sauce for the butter and egg whites for the eggs. You won’t get that great, light crunch when biting into the top of the muffin…but they will be fat-free.
Again, though, I think it’s all about balance. I remember I used to be a huge fan of eating fat-free. The problem was that many of the foods that eliminate the fats actually increase the sugar, so it’s a tradeoff. Also, in my mind, since it was fat-free, I could eat more. FALSE. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, I probably would have gotten more satisfaction and taken in fewer calories by not eating fat-free.
Thankfully, while balanced, these muffins have enough fat in them to be satisfying! Like anything though, the first bite or first taste is the most satisfying. Thus, by making the mini-muffins instead of the jumbo sized, I think you get the same enjoyment as the jumbo with net calorie savings.
And what makes them even better is that you can whip up a batch for just pennies and in about 20 minutes. Yep! Yummy homemade muffins in less than a half hour. That’s less time that it would take for you to go out and wait in line to get a muffin. And you can do it for a lot less money. Which means, you can start saving that $3 here and $5 there for something you really want. Essentially, you can have your cake (er, muffin) and eat it too!
I can’t wait for you to give these muffins a try. They are one of my favorite family recipes. And I think they’re just perfect this time of year!
Orange Cranberry Muffins
Yield 12 mini muffins (6 regular size muffins)
Lighter than muffins you buy at the store, these little gems are perfectly orange, perfectly cranberry and perfectly yum…without all the guilt!
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- (1) cup Flour: Available Here
- (1/2) cup Orange Juice: Available Here
- (1/2) cup Dried Cranberries (Fresh Cranberries can be used when in season): Available Here
- (1/2) cup Sugar: Available Here
- (2) Tablespoons Butter: Available Here
- (1) large Egg: Available Here
- (3/4) teaspoon Baking Powder: Available Here
- (1/4) teaspoon Baking Soda: Available Here
- (1/2) teaspoon Salt: Available Here
YOU'LL ALSO NEED:
- Mini Muffin Pan: Available Here
- Mixing Bowl: Available Here
- Silicone Spatula: Available Here
- Measuring Cups: Available Here
- Measuring Spoon: Available Here
- Mini Muffin Cups: Available Here
- Combine the dry ingredients: Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt. Lightly stir.
- Melt butter in microwave and beat Egg.
- To dry ingredients, add melted Butter, beaten Egg, Orange Juice and Cranberries. (If using Fresh Cranberries, just a little more Sugar)
- Thoroughly mix with Silicone Spatula until batter is well-incorporated.
- Line Muffin Pan with Muffin Cups.
- Fill each Muffin Cup about 2/3 full of batter.
- Bake at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes or until the tops start to darken and a toothpick comes out clean. (If cooking full-size muffins, increase cooking temperature to about 25 minutes.)
When cooled, I like to lightly dust with Powdered Sugar, but they’re great without Powdered Sugar too!