Imagine an adorable child, gazing with eyes full of light at the dude dressed as Santa beneath the giant fake Christmas tree in the mall. You regard this child with a bittersweet smile on your face, enjoying his cute innocence while knowing it is not to last. In a year or two, he will reach the age where he will no longer believe in that plump, red-suited guy letting kids sit in his lap…for the child will know that the real Santa lives at the North Pole, of course, and doesn’t usually grace a temperate-region shopping center with his presence. But we try to keep the truth from him as long as possible, for his own happiness.
I was once that innocent child, full of faith in magic and goodness of all kinds. But no one seemed to care to protect me from the harsh realities of the world. Quite to the contrary, it seems the adults of the world had a conspiracy to ruin stuff for me.
For instance, I never could play “Ring Around the Rosy” with the other children after I discovered what we were really saying was “we’re all poor Medieval serfs destined to contract the Plague and die!” Years later, when my mom told me how Island of the Blue Dolphins ended in real life, I couldn’t bring myself to finish reading the book. (Spoiler alert: the girl dies.) And when I found out Pocahontas fell ill and passed away soon after embarking on the voyage to England, that Disney movie began to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth: it ends on such an optimistic note, the girl gazing across the sunlit ocean with her lover…but that optimism was now clouded over with cynicism for me. Until last Thursday, I still had a soft spot in my heart for the book The BFG by Road Dahl. But somebody informed me that Dahl was an anti-semite, and now my love for those books of his that I read a billion times is tainted with regret. I’m surprised my blissful ignorance of that fact survived as long as it did.
With all this spoiling of what was good in the world for me, it’s no surprise I turned out to be an eternal pessimist. I try not to be, but it’s like a puppy trying not to be cute – not happening. Every time I pull a new recipe I’ve whipped up out of the oven, my first thought is “this is probably going to taste terrible.” I warn interested parties in the kitchen not to get their hopes up when tasting my freshly baked fare. And yet I’m pleased to report that there are a significant number of times where I’m pleasantly surprised, and the recipe is good enough to make it on this blog. For example, yesterday I baked some yam muffins as a side dish for our family dinner. Spoiler alert: they turned out beautifully. Just sweet enough,but not too sugary, and infused with the flavorful spices of the season, these deliciously moist muffins are topped with chopped pecans for maximum delight. Everyone at the family dinner enjoyed them. They did stick to the paper liners a bit, but other than that I had no complaints. In the health department, these muffins truly shine, with the yam providing vitamin C and B6, as well as fiber found in the currants, whole wheat flour, and of course the yam. The muffins are low in fat and use low-glycemic index agave and the natural sweetness of the yams as their principal sweetener, making them truly guilt-free!
Like a child’s sweet innocence, these yam muffins won’t last forever. So snap one up before they’re all devoured by the masses!
based on recipe from Will Cook For Smiles
Makes 12 regular sized muffins
- 3 eggs
- 1 container Almond Dream plain non-dairy yogurt
- 1 container Tree Top No Sugar Added Natural Applesauce
- 1/2 cup organic light agave syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 medium yam, baked and mashed
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- dash cinnamon
- generous splash nutmeg
- 1/4 cup Sun Maid brand dried California Zante Currants
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- pinch cinnamon
Muffin batter: Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or spray with non stick spray.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, almond yogurt, applesauce, agave, vanilla, and mashed yam. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix with a spoon. Stir in currants.
Distribute batter evenly among muffin cups. They will be full almost to the brim.
Pecan topping: Toss together the chopped pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. I recommend adding a tiny bit of liquid, such as vanilla or agave, to infuse the pecans more with sweetness.
Sprinkle this mixture over each muffin before placing muffins in prepared oven. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
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Sources: nutrition info from http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/the-nutrition-of-yams.html#b