My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, November 30, 2012

SkyWatch Friday: Frosty Daybreak & Festive Delight...

Our week began with frigid 5ºF temps and this golden sunrise, made eerie by the freezing fog...
After Monday's frozen sunrise, we wanted a warm and festive treat. So I made these yummy muffins...

(©Susan Voisin & reprinted with permission; my changes in red italics)


~ 2/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries* (if using sweetened, omit agave nectar & reduce sugar to 1/2 cup)
~ 1/2 cup hot water
~ 1 TBSP agave nectar (omit if using sweetened dried cranberries)
~ 1 cup whole wheat flour
~ 1 cup unbleached white flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
~ 1 TBSP ground flax seeds
~ 3/4 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup of sucanat)
~ 1/2 TBSP egg replacer powder (Ener-G brand or homemade)
~ 1 teaspoon baking powder (I use reduced sodium)
~ 1 teaspoon baking soda
~ 1/2 teaspoon salt (I reduce to 1/4 tsp)
~ 1/2 cup orange juice (I use juice of zested orange + 2-3 mandarins)
~ 1/2 cup soy or rice milk (I use plain, unsweetened organic soy milk)
~ 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla
~ 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
~ 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional) (I use 'em!)

* I've also used regular frozen cranberries, thawed - halving the larger ones and soaking them in the hot water. They work just as well though you'll probably want to use the agave or increase the sugar.


1. Put the cranberries in a bowl and pour the hot water and agave nectar over them. Stir and set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the cranberries to plump up. 

2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spray the muffin pan with non-stick spray or use a silicone muffin pan or silicone muffin liners (which is what I do).

3. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flours, flax seeds, sugar, egg replacer, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, stir together orange juice, plant-milk, applesauce, vanilla, and orange zest. Strain the liquid from the cranberries into the liquid ingredients. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add liquid. Stir just until all flour is moistened; don't over-stir. Gently fold in cranberries and nuts.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups (at least 3/4 full). Sprinkle tops with a little Demerara sugar, if desired. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one muffin comes out clean. 

5. Remove muffin pan to a wire rack. Cool for 5-10 minutes before carefully removing muffins from cups. Makes about 14-16 regular-sized muffins. 

As with most fat-free baked goods, the texture of these will benefit from being allowed to sit awhile. Overnight is in a covered (more or less!) container is best.

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes
Number of servings: 14-16
Nutritional information for the original recipe is posted on Susan's blog
Muffins this festive deserve a festive beverage to accompany them... 
So I enjoy my muffins with a delicious cup of hot hibiscus tea... whose beautiful red color goes so nicely with the cranberries (as well as with my silicone muffin cups and holiday dishes), but whose beauty is more than skin deep...

Happy SkyWatching and bon appétit! :-)


  1. Oh - such gorgeous shots! And those muffins look delicious.

  2. Guess what I'm going to make!
    Jane xx

  3. ladyfi ~ Thank you! And those muffins don't just look delicious, they taste delicious, too! :-)

    Jane ~ Yay, our own little muffin exchange! :-) I bought coconut, but the store was out of organic bananas! So now I have to wait till they get some in, and wait for them to over-ripen (while keeping BW's grabby mitts off them), before I can make your yummy coconut muffins! :-(

  4. Beautiful sunset! And no doubt these muffins are delicious and healthy (cranberry anything are on my recipe list:) ) Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Those shots are stunningly beautiful. You should frame them.

    The muffins look delish too, and I love your holiday plates. Interesting about the hibiscus tea, and it looks so festive too, especially when he added the mint foam on top. Thanks for passing the info along!

  6. Wonderful photos and even nicer-looking muffins ;-).

  7. 5˚? 5˚? Ouch. You certainly made the best of it, though. I'm starting to crave muffins.

  8. That sunrise looks like something we'd see here, only prettier! We get a lot of foggy mornings with Lake Michigan so close.

    I love hibiscus tea and am going to pick some up this weekend. Great video! Have you ever had the iced tea from Native Foods. Best cold drink I've ever had in my life.

    Yummy looking muffins. I could go for one!

  9. That sunrise looked so beautiful - and I am a little jealous of your temperatures. The muffins looked really nice too - thank you for the recipe.

  10. Emille ~ I feel the same way about cranberries. :-)

    Rose ~ Thank you! And I'm glad you like my holiday dishes (which actually consist of that single plate and that single mug, lol) I love Marjolein Bastin's art. And I'm glad you watched the video! I haven't tried his "hibiscus punch" recipe yet, but intend to.

    Spud ~ Yes of course they are, but what do you think about my baked goods? ROTFL

    Andrea ~ Ouch is right. Our temps stayed very cold for a couple of days, but have moderated since. Supposed to be in the 50s this weekend. I always crave muffins, they're my favorite dessert to make! So easy to "McDougallize." :-)

    Molly ~ I'll bet you do! I'm not sure where our fog comes from, given our dry climate, but I always love it. The sun made this fog such a weird color!

    Nope, I've never had iced tea from Native Foods! What makes it so special, do you know? Can you purchase it to take home and make yourself?

    Ellie C ~ I'd be happy to share (those temps, as well as some muffins!) ;-)

  11. Loving that fog! That bottom pic is stunning - such a great colour. The muffins looks gorgeous - I think you should immediately come up with a gluten free version for me :O)

  12. always have to go there, don't you ;-p....LOL!

  13. Hi there, thanks so much for the recipe. I can't wait to make these muffins. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  14. Barbara ~ Isn't that color remarkable? When BW yelled to me from the back of the house to come look at the awesome sunrise through the fog, I grabbed my camera (which is usually beside me at the computer, fresh from downloading photos) and set a new time record for mad dashes through the house. :-)

    The muffins are great, but I know it's often not as simple as subbing all-purpose GF flour for regular flour, and the array (and prices!) of the various GF flours in our health food store make my head hurt. So I'm afraid you're on your own for a GF version, there, sweetheart! :-)

    Spud ~ Not always, but you have to admit you created the perfect set-up for that one. :-)

    Chris ~ Thank you for stopping by and for following my humble blog! You're most welcome for the recipe and I hope you enjoy them and will check out all the other great recipes on Susan's blog!

  15. That is a beautiful sunrise!

  16. Regarding the Native Foods tea- I don't think there's anything in it that's special & have no idea if you can purchase it to take home. They have it as a fountain drink, but I'm pretty sure they make it there. I've got to try to recreate it!

    Oh! Also, I came down with a head cold yesterday (thanks to all of my sick co-workers) and have been drinking a ton of raspberry zinger. I'm feeling better already!

  17. Molly ~ What's up with head colds this year? I had my first one in over a decade last month, Rose had her first in many years, and you got yours about the same time she did! I'm glad all that Raspberry Zinger helped! :-)

    I made a batch of white and hibiscus refrigerator tea a couple days ago (as we do routinely), but last night I poured some Mango-Orange juice into a glass of it. Delicious!!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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