Early Morning Applesauce Muffins

5:30 AM: I hear one of the kids get up and use the bathroom. I give thanks for independent children and roll back over to sleep.

5:40 AM: Whispering. Groaning. Louder whispering. I haul myself out of bed and head down the hall to find Ben’s buddy standing at the foot of his bed. “Ben? Ben! Ben? Are you awake?” Ben answers with a groan and rolls over.

5:43 AM: I take M’s hand and lead him downstairs, where he proceeds to tidy up. “Hey?! What’s this train doing here? It doesn’t go here! Hey, that’s silly! There’s a book on the floor!” I watch him, stunned. My children ease into the day slowly, like ovens warming to temperature. This one’s ready to party. Also, my children don’t clean. I wonder what will happen if I leave; will he just clean my whole house?

5:45 AM: M tires of tidying, and rejects my offers of books and TV. Clearly, it’s time to make muffins:

1 c. old fashioned oatmeal
1 c. applesauce
1 lg. egg, beaten
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. double acting baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. milk, orange or apple juice
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 sugar (optional, depending on whether your applesauce is sweetened)
1/2 c. cranberries, dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
Butter 12 (3 inch) muffin cups or use muffin liners.

Preheat oven to 375°F degrees.

Stir together the oatmeal, applesauce, juice or milk, egg, and oil. Set aside.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon. Make a well in the center, and add the applesauce mixture. Stir until well combined, but do not over beat.

Add raisins or cranberries if desired. Pour into the muffin tin. Each cup should be 2/3 full.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing muffins.

Makes 12 muffins.

Variation: Substitute 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for the cinnamon.

By the time the muffins were out of the oven, the rest of the kids were up and ready to eat. Not a bad way to start the day.

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