They say that because of the psychological guilt of year-end festivities, which more often than not revolve around dining and sweet treats, a significant proportion of new year resolutions would typically pivot upon maintaining a healthy(-er) lifestyle. And the very same they in question here also say that most resolutions made at the beginning of a new year would realistically last no longer than the first month, tops.
Granted we didn’t exactly celebrate the turn of 2010 last weekend, nor is this my first post of the year, but interestingly enough, a quick flip through one of my first entries of 2009 saw me discussing the very same health issues. And one of the things that struck me in that post was mentioning about how “the little steps go a long way”.
Something apparently even I have forgotten.
As touched upon in the aforementioned entry, the steps I usually take in making healthier choices would be in reducing the amount of sugar (I automatically do this every single time), and substituting melted butter with canola/vegetable oil for some bakes. While these have become part of my baking lifestyle, I do realise that I have never actually taken a conscious step to baking healthier.
And with that, a recent trip to the supermarket saw me marching across the aisles, pointing into the air, saying to the mister “Organic section!”, to which he went “Huh? Is there one?”. (Aside: Can’t blame the mister, really; the horrid packaging of the food at the organic section made it look similar to the pet food section, I kid you not.)
I remember reading somewhere that an initial foray into the whole grains menu need not be an overnight drastic change, and that the best should be introducing it slowly into your diet. In this case, I know for a fact that the household, particularly my parents, have a self-imposed two-feet pole restraining order on the words “brown rice” and “wholemeal”. While I don’t think I could mask the appearance of brown rice, or pass it off as something less-healthy-more-appetising altogether, I reckoned I could escape unscathed sneaking just a little wholemeal flour into these strawberry muffins.
Personally, I’ve always wondered whether it would make a big difference in taste and/or texture, and I’m glad that for a first time, I took up the advice of only substituting half the amount of all-purpose flour with wholemeal flour. The muffins were definitely moist, and yet had a bit of denseness to them. I really enjoyed the hearty texture, and even had another two over the next day. While the mother wasn’t too convinced (“Wholemeal? It’s healthy! It’s not nice! Just stick to your usual muffins!”), I’m definitely still going to try sneaking more wholemeal into my future bakes.
A little step today, a better tomorrow.
Grated zest & juice of 1 lemon
about 3⁄4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp honey ¹
110g butter, melted and cooled
1⁄3 cup sugar
1 cup 100% wholemeal / wholewheat flour
1 cup plain flour
2 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄4 tsp baking soda
1 cup strawberries
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Pour the lemon juice into a large glass measuring cup, and pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup.
- Whisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter.
- In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until it appears well-mixed, and the fragrance of lemon is strong.
- Sift in the wholemeal flour, plain flour, baking powder and baking soda.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir gently but quickly with a spatula or whisk.
- Stir in the strawberries.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, and bake for 20-25 mins, or until the tops of the muffins become golden and springy to the touch.
¹ I omitted the honey, because the strawberries were sweet enough for my taste, but the parents felt that the muffins weren’t sweet, so you could play around with the amount of honey.