Rise 'n Shine

We all have busy lives. And while the holidays tend to make them more extreme, it's right about this time of the year that many of us feel overwhelmed with the "normal" day to day operations of our lives. It's now when we stop watching what we eat, avoid the gym and skip breakfast.

Well, this month, we begin a series devoted to making sure you're fueled for the day with recipes that are easy to make and travel well. Armed with them, you won't have to wonder if you can fit in a healthy breakfast or if you'll end up trying to call a cup of coffee at 9am your breakfast.

This month, we start with a simple muffin recipe that's packed with fruit, nuts and fiber ... all things doctors have been telling us for years to get more of! If you can't find whole wheat pastry flour, you can opt for regular whole wheat flour, although the result will be a heavier muffin instead of the light, fluffy ones produced here. You can also vary the fruit, although I recommend a combination of one "juicy" fruit (think peaches or pineapple) and one "dried" fruit (think raisins or dates). Finally, you can tweak the kind of nut used in the recipe and even toast them if you're feeling adventuresome!

So, the next time you find yourself rushed ... like now ... take a little time to whip up a batch of muffins and enjoy them when the morning doesn't give you enough time to make something from scratch. By the way, this recipe makes two dozen muffins, so feel free to freeze them and pull them out one by one when you need them. It only takes about a minute in the microwave to get the job done and have you out the door with breakfast in hand!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at .

Pear-Cranberry Breakfast Muffins

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. evaporated skim milk
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2/3 c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. diced, peeled pears
  • 2/3 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Combine all the dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry flour through salt) in a large bowl. Set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla extract) in a medium bowl and whisk briskly to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until just combined. Stir in the pears, cranberries and almonds and fill lightly greased muffin tins about 2/3 full and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow the muffins to rest for 10 minutes in their tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Yields: 2 dozen muffins
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes