They say having a baby is expensive.
They would be correct.
There are of course the diapers, the wipes, the rash cream, the endless supply of clothes, laundry blah blah blah but more seriously there is my new coffee addiction. Now that Charlie is here and the cute kicks I once felt in the wee morning hours have been replaced by wailing, tight fists and a bright red face that coffee is no longer just appealing but absolutely necessary. I pay $3.50 for my morning brew. I know, i know…it’s a ridiculous price to pay for a coffee, especially now that I’m unemployed and have a baby but I just can’t help it. My morning mezzo with the most beautiful creamy heart-patterned foam on top is my reward for no longer getting eight consecutive hours of sleep a night. The fact that he slept twelve hours straight last night is completely irrelevant because I was up every hour to check he was still breathing. Please, somebody tell me when I will stop feeling the need to do this?
So the coffee sets me back $3.50; $4 if I feel generous enough to tip. But then there’s the pastry case. Oh my. The pastry case. The most amazing flakey and buttery biscuits…the kind where you find yourself saying things like: they are so rich I could only eat half… but really you could eat one and a half. Or two.
And and a half.
Almond croissants, ham and cheese croissants and if that wasn’t enough now they sell muffins. The kind of muffins with descriptions that make you feel like you are doing yourself a favor by eating one. Whole wheat flour, carrots, flax….you know the kind. Deceptive muffins. Muffins are the perfect new-mother breakfast- you can eat with one hand, whilst pushing a stroller because lets face it it’s hard to find time to sit down to eat with a newborn. But at $4 a pop I knew I had to start and end my order with the coffee and make the muffins myself. That or Charlie was going to have to learn elimination communication pretty darn quick.
These are based on one of the muffins they have sold in the past (the fact that they have different combinations each day makes them all the harder to resist). I wanted something a little heavier, that might actually hold my hunger pangs at bay for a couple of hours and not just satisfy a temporary sweet craving. When I say heavy, these are by no means rocks but they have a little protein in the form of quinoa which makes them feel more substantial to an empty belly. I didn’t want to go the inside out carrot cake route- I didn’t really want them to taste like carrot cake at all in fact. Perhaps I should have called them raspberry and cream cheese muffins because those are the ingredients that really come through. The cream cheese is unaltered and helps to balance out the lightly sweetened muffins. The quinoa and pecans add a welcome crunch and the raspberries a burst of tart fruit leaving me feeling entirely satisfied without needing to dig deeper into your overdraft. Coffee not included.
Carrot, raspberry & pecan muffins
60g/ 1/3 cup quinoa
5 fl oz/ 2/3 cup water
150g/ 3/4 cup light brown sugar
200g/ 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup corn or sunflower oil
120g/ 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 large carrot, grated (around 140g or 1 1/2 cups grated)
175g/1 cup raspberries
55g/ 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
100g/2 oz cream cheese or rindless goats cheese (optional)
• First cook your quinoa. Heat a medium-sized saucepan over a medium high heat. Add your quinoa and toast until golden, tossing the pan regularly. About 1-2 minutes. Add the water and immediately cover the pot. Turn the heat down so that the water is barely simmering. After most of the water has been absorbed, remove the pot from the heat, fluff with a fork and put the lid back on allowing the quinoa to continue absorbing the liquid until cool.
• Once the quinoa is cool, heat your oven to 170C/375F/Gas 5 and toast your pecan nuts.Spray a 12 hole muffin tin, or grease well with oil or butter.
• Mix together your cooled quinoa, sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together your oil, sour cream and eggs. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry a couple of times then add the carrots, raspberries and pecans and fold through again until just combined.
• Divide mixture between your 12 muffin holes. If using, stick a small cube of cream cheese in the top of each of the muffins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.