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St. Hilary of Poitiers

Some days, it’s really hard to get out of bed in the morning.  First there’s the waking up, which is its own ordeal, and then after all that, you still have to pull yourself out of the warm and snugly nest of soft pillows and cozy blankets into the cold, cold world that waits to pounce on you the instant your feet hit the floor, like a two year old who’s been waiting all day for his older brother to get  home from kindergarten.  I don’t care how many hours of sleep you got the night before, this is still a challenge of epic proportions.

This time of year, the challenge gets harder.  It’s not just the winter that finally arrived with its snow and ice storms and sub-zero temperatures, or the after-Christmas slump.  For me, it’s also remembering the brother who left us on a cold January morning six years ago yesterday.  I miss him.  I always will.  The other day I saw something on Pinterest that I wanted to share with him – it was something from Tumblr about fruit snacks and Monsters, Inc. Jacob loved Monsters, Inc., and I know it would have made him at least chuckle. It was such a little thing, but it made me suddenly miss him so much my chest hurt.

Anyway, at times like these, it helps to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Big reasons, like The Love Of God or The Laughter of Children are important, of course, but they’re a little too big at 5:30 in the morning when your pillow is trying to hold on to your head.  Little reasons work better, like there happen to be chocolate muffins downstairs in the kitchen, and if you can get yourself down there, you can have some.  It’s just enough to help you break the inertia.  Once you get down there, with a little muffin in your belly and perhaps a hot mug of tea in your hand, your brain can start working enough to remember the other reasons why you want to be awake this morning.

These muffins are a particularly nice reason to get out of bed in the morning.  They are a dark chocolate lover’s dream, with both cocoa powder and chopped up bits of baking chocolate.  Since I don’t eat sugar, when I make them the only sweetness comes from the bananas.  To my mouth, it’s plenty, but others may want to add in the optional brown sugar, or use regular chocolate chips instead of the unsweetened bakers chocolate.  The oat flour adds fiber and an illusion of healthiness.  If you don’t care for it (or don’t have it on hand) feel free to substitute whole wheat or regular white flour.  My favorite add-in is walnuts, though any other kind of nuts or coconut are also good.  The recipe is endlessly adaptable, and always good.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Muffins To Get Out Of Bed For

makes 1 dozen

  • 4 lg bananas (400-500g)
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • 1/3 c. yogurt
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. oat flour (can also use wheat flour)
  • 1/2 c. white or whole wheat flour
  • (optional – 2 T. sugar)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped or equivalent amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl until they are smooth.  I use my stand Kitchen Aide, but a potato masher also works.  Mix in the oil, yogurt, vanilla and egg.  Mix in the sugar (if using).
  3. In a seperate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt.
  4. Combine the wet & dry ingredients, and mix just until combined.  Mix in the chocolate and nuts.
  5. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  The batter is sticky, so I like to spray the inside of the paper liners with spray grease in order to avoid having half my muffin coming away when I try to peel the liners off.  Use your 1/3 c. measure to spoon the batter into the liners.  You should have just enough for 12 muffins.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.
  7. Let cool, eat, enjoy.  These are especially good the next day (or the one after that) split in half, toasted, and topped with cold cream cheese.

Today I am praying for Na’omi Luka.