Training for an early spring race can be a long and trying process. The weather is unpredictable. The skies can be dreary and gray. And there’s the issue of the persistent, bone-chilling cold. That was especially the case in 2010, the year I trained with my closest running buddies for the April Boston Marathon through the winter craziness of Snowmageddon and the Snowpocalypse. We invested in heavy gloves and neck warmers. We discovered the secret of tucking shirts into pants to create more warmth. And, best of all, we discovered the joy of Jane’s muffins.
Jane would make a big batch of these before every weekend’s long run. After we finished, we would pile into one of our apartments, change into warm clothes, and dig our cold hands into the ziploc bag full of these delicious hunger-busters. They became an instant tradition, with quite a few variations over the many months of training (making them with chai tea concentrate was one of our favorites). The muffins are healthy, delicious, easy, quick, fun to experiment with, and the perfect winter snack. But most importantly, at least to me, they will always be a reminder of those cold, fun, crazy, long Saturday mornings running with my best friends.
Jane’s Long Run Muffins:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 12-well muffin tin.
In one bowl, mix dry ingredients:
3/4 c white flour
3/4 c wheat flour
~1/3 c flaxseed meal
3/4 oat bran
1 c brown sugar (I use less)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c slivered almonds
dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (optional)
1/3 c of coconut flakes (optional)
In another bowl, mix wet ingredients:
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c milk (can substitute vanilla soy milk or chai tea concentrate)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
~1/8 c oil
applesauce (optional, helps reduce need for sugar)
Add first (dry) bowl to second (wet) and stir enough to moisten all of the dry ingredients. Evenly distribute batter among the 12 wells.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, checking after eight. Be careful not to over-bake. You can avoid this by checking the muffins often until you get to know how your oven treats this recipe.