My mom had knee replacement surgery recently which, come to find out, is not as easy as it sounds. I know, I know. It doesn’t sound that easy, but the words come out without much difficulty. Knee Replacement. No big deal, right? After her surgery we learned that knee replacement is more painful than most joint replacement surgeries. We’ll put that in the list of things people don’t tell you until afterwards. Kind of like how you might want to wear Depends when skydiving the first time. Anyway, the problem with painkillers is that they can have troublesome side effects. I’m not going to spell it out for you, but let’s just say that these Orange Ginger Bran Muffins came in handy.
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. According to the Institute of Medicine, women should strive for 20 – 25 grams and men should be getting between 30 – 40 grams of fiber a day. To put that in perspective, an apple has roughly 4 grams of fiber.
So when you see these dietary recommendations that suggest 5 – 7 servings of fruits and veggies per day, one of the goals is to help get that fiber packed in your day.
Come to find out, dietary fiber is more important than we realized. According to the Mayo Clinic, getting enough fiber in your diet can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, and can even help in maintaining a healthy weight.
So with all these positives of a high fiber diet, why don’t we get more of it in our diet?
I can answer that with one word: flavor.
High fiber foods have become the nemesis of all things tasty. Whole wheat pasta. Brown rice. Yes, even bran muffins. Most people think of these options as a necessary evil rather than a tasty and healthy choice.
I’m a big believer that just because something is “healthy” doesn’t mean that it has to taste like cardboard.
That’s why when my mom asked for bran muffins, I came to the rescue with these little treats. She requested “plane jane” bran muffins, but that’s not really my style. I mean, the woman was doing daily rounds of physical therapy. And I felt like I owed it to her since she did go through labor to have me. That’s a mother’s trump card on everything!
Delicate hints of ginger and bursts of orange zest combine to make each bite a reason to look forward to the next one.
Orange Ginger Bran Muffins
- ½ cup chopped dates
- ½ cup hot water
- ½ cup soy buttermilk (soy milk combined with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
- 1 cup roughly chopped carrots
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 apple, cored and chopped
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ - ½ cup brown sugar (depending on your preference for sweetness)
- Zest of one orange
- 2 cups bran
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Warm your oven to 350F and prepare muffin tins by either spraying them with vegetable spray or use muffin tins. This recipe should make about 2 dozen muffins, depending on their size.
- In a small bowl combine the hot water and dates. Set this bowl aside to allow the dates to soak in the water.
- In a food processor, combine the soy buttermilk, chopped carrots, ginger, apple, oil and sugar. Pulse a few times. I don’t mind leaving some of the texture of the carrots and the apple because they bake nicely in these muffins.
- Next add the dates (and any water they’ve been soaking in). Pulse for a few seconds and then add the orange zest and pulse one more second or two to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients. Stir well.
- Pour the orange zest mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into your prepared muffin tins. Be sure not to fill any of them more than 3/4 full so they won’t overflow. This is a fairly dense muffin recipe so there’s not as much of that as with some, but it’s something to keep in mind. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the muffins get a nice, golden hue about them. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool a few minutes before serving. These are delicious served warm, but they are great the day after as well.
You don’t need major surgery to try these muffins – they can be part of your regularly-consumed healthy breakfast. Enjoy!