New year's resolutions are really my thing. I've never thought that there's any point in setting yourself up for failure so early in the year.
I do, however, make resolutions fairly frequently. Sometimes it seems like I make them on a daily basis. The road to somewhere is most definitely paved with good intentions.
Perhaps 'better' is the wrong word. I resolve to eat more intelligently, to think more about what I'm eating (and when) and to make more informed choices.
I'm the first to admit though that it is much easier to talk about than to actually do.
Like last night when we mindlessly shared a pizza while glued to our laptops, occasionally stopping in between bite to discuss the how the sale of debt securities would be presented in consolidated financial statements (I bet you all are jealous of our exciting lives aren't you?).
Or last week when I got back to the office at 5pm after a 7 hour meeting and my manager and I decided that we probably wouldn't get through what we needed to do that night without cake.
Or when I get home from work and I know that I have a couple of hours before we can eat dinner together (because I insist that we eat dinner together) at which point anything in the fridge is fair game.
Having spent most of my life not seeing the point of breakfast, I have come to realise its importance. Even more so when, like at the moment, life is one long, breathless to-do list. When the rest of the choices in my day let me down, I like knowing that I've got one good meal in the tank.
I have come to accept and embrace the fact that I'm always going to want something sweet, and preferably involving chocolate, for breakfast. If I'm really going to start the day off right, I need to marry that fact with my new-found knowledge about the importance of a good breakfast.
If you're going to eat a muffin, then these have a lot going for them. Whole grains, healthy fats, unrefined sugars. Whether that good stuff excites you or makes you roll your eyes, what is far more important though is that these muffins are light and fluffy, slightly sweet from the honey and scattered with bites of buttery pistachio and rich dark chocolate. There's enough going on to capture your attention without feeling extravagant. They make it easy to eat better.
Pistachio, dark chocolate and olive oil muffins
Adapted from my spiced vanilla and pear muffins
Yield: Makes 6 muffins
- 115g (1 cup) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 35g (1/4 cup) roughly chopped pistachios, plus extra for scattering on top
- 50g (1/4 cup) dark chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 60ml (1/4 cup) honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75g (4 tablespoons) plain greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan-assisted) and line a 6-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Toss the pistachios and chocolate chips in the flour mixture and set aside.
- In a separate but also large bowl, mix together the olive oil, egg, honey, vanilla and yoghurt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold through a couple of times; add the pistachios and chocolate chips and fold a few times again. As ever with muffins, don't overmix; it doesn't matter if there are still streaks of flour.
- Spoon into the muffin cases, scatter with the extra pistachios and bake for 18 -20 minutes until golden brown and firm.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.