April is a complicated month. Sure, it’s beautiful and brimming with promise for warm, outdoorsy months ahead. But let’s not pretend it isn’t a shock to the system.

Spring seems to be a stressful time for a lot of people, and I am certainly not exempt from this seasonal madness. All of a sudden, it’s harder to stay indoors and accomplish the things that need to get done, which leads to all sorts of panicky “what am I accomplishing with myself?” anxiety and fears of time wasted—a kind of self-evaluation mode that seems to become existential really fast. It’s also a time of transition as we emerge from the cozy, womb-y hibernation of winter to the super-intense social exposure of patio season. Plus, for the double-X’ers among us, there’s that whole “shit-I-have-six-weeks-to-fit-into-my-bikini” complex (I would pretend that I am above this pressure, but I totally just signed up for a pink camouflage instrument of demoralization called “Booty Camp“, so really who am I to judge?).

Anyway, apart from some daytime walks around my neighbourhood, I decided to stay in this weekend to give myself some thinking time. I saved some cash, rested up my lungs (another bronchial infection has befallen me), put Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps on an iTunes loop, and got to baking. I could have opted to make something light and springy, but I was in the mood for the more robust flavours of autumn. Plus, I had a gigantic can of pumpkin puree in my cupboard just begging to be brought to life. So I made pumpkin-banana-oat muffins.

These guys are light and healthy enough for spring (no oil! no butter! no sugar!), yet made interesting with some autumnal spice. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to the Quebec treat that is Liberté yogurt, I highly recommend topping these muffins with a dollop of the Méditerranée style in Dulce de Leche. However, a schmear  of all-natural peanut butter also works magic. Then, sit back, take a sip of coffee, and look out your window.

Fake Fall Muffins

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 2 ripe, mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk or milk substitute
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup flax meal (e.g. flax seeds+ coffee grinder)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Sift the dry into the wet and mix. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes.