Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chocolate Cranberry Muffins and The Gift Project

Harvey's gift

I am a morning person. I have fought this notion for a long time because it just didn’t seem possible but it’s true. If I manage to sleep in I am up at 9 am and if I make it past the midnight mark I am bound to get cranky and irrational by 2 am. This morning at 6:30 I bounded out of bed, woken by the dinging of my phone’s alarm and wandered downstairs. The coffee was soon perking as I looked around for something to do and then it dawned on me: I should bake the muffins for The Gift Project. I have been obsessing over my first recipient; I wanted someone special in our lives and who deserves a little appreciation and it was not long before I thought of Harvey, our school crossing guard.

Harvey is there every single day and now that the weather has turned from quaint cool to frigidly cold he is still there, protecting my daughter along with numerous other children without so much as a muttered complaint. I attempted to cajole Miss N into handing over the brightly coloured gift bag but she comes by her shyness naturally and so it was left to me to hand over the bag with a quiet, “Morning Harvey. Just because”. My stomach was in a few knots; I think I’ll learn as much about myself as others with this project and I think I might be looking forward to that most of all. My personality is so evident in Miss N’s, her reticence and downcast eyes when in public then jumping on the bed and laugh-screaming at home.

I am terribly excited for this and after the jitters of putting myself out there had passed I felt inspired. Harvey’s smile and surprise, he blushed when I had to walk past on the way home, was worth it. It took very little time to put these tasty muffins together this morning and I even had enough shredded carrot leftover to make a quick carrot slaw for Miss N’s lunch.

I am so pleased to say that Merry of Merry Makes has just contacted me to let me know about her Luscious Lentil Soup, her contribution to The Gift Project. You should definitely head over to Merry's blog to check out this delectable and perfectly warming recipe. This is the spirit of The Gift Project, finding inspiration from one another to not only develop our recipes but to share them beyond our computer screens and dining room table and into the lives of people in our real life. My biggest heartfelt thanks to Merry for participating!

It is at this point that I will invited you to join me in this handmade project and the chance to spontaneously spread some kindness in your life. If you feel limited by the not having a blog, send me the link to your flickr page! I have established a public flickr group for this project entitled The Gift Project (how appropriate). Now that the administration stuff is over, onto the recipe:

choco cran muffins

The Muffins

Adapted from The Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook: Versatile Muffins.

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole-wheat flour

3-½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ granulated sugar

1 tbsp. crushed flax seeds

3 tbsp. water

1 ¼ cup soymilk

¼ sunflower oil

½ cup shredded carrot

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400°.

1. In a bowl mix the crushed flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water, set aside.

2. Combine the dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate.

3. In a liquid measuring cup combine the soymilk, oil and flax mix. Beat with a fork. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to a smooth consistency.

4. Add the carrot, cranberries and chocolate chips. Transfer to muffin tins. I fill mine to the top so that they rise. Bake for 20-23 minutes.

Incidentally, I make the ugly muffins but they always taste delicious. It’s like a backwards skill.


  1. I just "liked" your facebook and network blog!

  2. Hi, Joy. I like how much your blog has evolved, and your post reminds me that I have the Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook, just sitting on my shelf. Great butternut squash (one of my favourite ingredients!) recipes of late, too!



  3. What a nice way to bring some sunshine and smiles into others' lives. Good for you for putting yourself out there. I bet you made Harvey's week.

  4. Oh, I love your blog! I've poked around a bit, enjoying all your butternut squash recipes. We're swimming in winter squash now, I will have to give the quiche a try.

    Those muffins look out of control; I'll have to give those a try this weekend!

  5. Oh this warmed my heart. I love giving gifts to people...it is one of my favorite things to do, and I think you picked such a worthy recipient. Thank you also for sharing another creative and beautiful recipe. I hope you have a great Thursday...the week is almost done!

  6. Hi Ms. F! I am visiting you from feed me, tweet me follow me home friday. I am now following your blog with blogger and also networked blogs. I tried to follow you with twitter, but your button leads to a twitter name that I am not sure is yours so I didn't follow you there. This whole project is awesome! doesn't it feel good? I am all about giving back the love and I belong to a group called Moms of Love who have a network of home cooks that cook for those in need in times of illness and loss of loved ones. We ease the pain and feed the belly at very difficult times and it feels so good just to be there for others. I also do my best to cook at a homeless shelter a few times each winter. It is so nice to get to know you and I hope you visit me at a moderate life and say hi! All the best, Alex