The other day I said something I have never said and have mocked others for saying, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” I had put on a pair of skinny jeans straight from the dryer and they were feeling a little…snug. Now, before those of you who know me say “give me a break” I will acknowledge that I know I am not fat and, considering the amount of baking and taste testing I do, I know that I am lucky that I am not fat. And it really is luck. As I say to a friend who has struggled with her weight for a lifetime, “Yes, but you have fabulous hair!” Which is totally true; it’s straight, thick and impervious to any weather condition. In other words, we all have our crosses to bear and mine is my hair-I may be thin but if I added up all the time and money I have spent beating my tresses into straight, highlighted submission….well, who knows where I might have ended up in life.
Back to snug jeans. After asking the question the response to which is always debated on Tyra (“embrace your booty!”) or The Today Show panel of marriage counselors (“explain to your partner that his response did not make you feel good about you.”) my friend said, “you could never look fat.” Right answer but had he really looked? I said, turning my posterior to him, “how about now?” There was a long pause. “Why aren’t you saying anything? You think I look fat!” And he quickly rushed to say, “no, no. Not fat. Just a little, well, you look a little boxy.”
“Boxy?! Like the kind of box that comes from Zappos?
Or the kind that comes from Tiffany?”“No, no! A small box! A very little box! I think it’s the pockets, they’re just in a funny place that makes you look boxy when you aren’t boxy at all.” Quick thinking pal but I was not convinced.
So, I had fat on the brain when I got ready to bake muffins for a neighbor who was returning from the hospital-I didn’t want the result to be muffin top for either of us. I adapted Ellie Krieger’s pretty healthy recipe, hoping the mini size would reinforce the mini-ness of me. You know, I think I’m feeling slightly less boxy already-or maybe my jeans have stretched.
No Muffin Top Low Fat Pumpkin Mini Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
¼ cup ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 24-cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray or line tin with paper liners. If you have two 24 cup mini muffin pans, great. If not you can just wait for the first batch to cool, spray pan again and reuse.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, ground flax seeds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and eggs until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Do not over-mix.
Scoop batter (using mini ice cream scoop or tablespoons) into the prepared muffin pan. Batter should fill 2/3 of each muffin cup. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Let pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.
Yield-42 mini muffins
These are great warmed up a bit and served with apple butter. Oh, who are we kidding? Smear them with real butter!