Nicole MacPherson: Meatless Mummy Con Carne


High Five to High Fibre: Cranberry Blueberry Bran Muffins


It all started, many years ago, with an obsession with Tim Hortons' cranberry blueberry bran muffins. My soon-to-be husband and I were cross country skiing and we stopped in Canmore to refuel and get lunch; I looked at all the baskets of baked goods and chose a cranberry blueberry bran muffin, not knowing that one bite later I would be hopelessly hooked. I thought about that muffin for days, and after that I would go out of my way to obtain another. I would stop at nothing, it seemed, to get my muffin fix.

Vegan Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

Fast forward a couple of years, and I found myself with two babies under 18 months. I could barely find my way to the mailbox — and I get door-to-door delivery — and so the likelihood of me packing the babies up to head out in the dead of winter just to get a muffin seemed frivolous somehow. Also impossibly daunting, given that my newborn was colicky and screamed whenever he was in a car seat. How, then, was I to manage with my muffin addiction?

In the face of adversity, one needs to be resilient. One needs to summon inner strength. In these trying times, one needs to grab the mixing bowls, preheat the oven, and make one's own muffins.

The Perfect Combo of Tart and Sweet: Sugared Cranberries

And so this recipe for cranberry blueberry bran muffins was born. It is easy to throw together — it can be in the oven inside fifteen minutes — and is tasty, healthy, and vegan. The muffins are best served warm, but also make a wonderful addition to school lunches. My nine year old son would like me to mention that these are his favourite muffins in the whole world, so apparently the addiction is hereditary.


2 tablespoons ground flax
6 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
350 mL jar unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups bran flake cereal
2/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup frozen cranberries
  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax and water; set in refrigerator.
  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  In a large bowl, whisk together applesauce, sugar, oil, and flax/ water mixture. Add bran cereal and stir well.
  Add dry ingredients to the large bowl and stir until just combined. Gently fold in frozen berries.
  Divide batter among 18 greased or sprayed muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the muffin tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Yield: 18 muffins
Want more ideas for great recipes to start your day right? Try my Easy Tropical Green Smoothie or my Maple Coconut Granola. Need a little kick start after a crazy night on the town? Soothe your body with my Hangover Cure.
Adapted from Crazy Plates
Nutritional Information, per muffin (approximate): Calories 126, Total Carbohydrates 22 grams, Fibre 2.5 grams, Protein 2 grams, Fat 3 grams