Before I go on with the recipe, a quick word about our recent travels. Desi and I rarely visit the same place twice because there is so much world to see and so little vacation time, not to mention money, to see it. But when we planned our second trip to Las Vegas this fall (our first was nearly a decade ago), it was chiefly with the goal of making Sin City our base and then traveling around to the many breathtaking wonders that the area has to offer: Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and the Valley of Fire. We had a hectic trip, but it couldn’t have been more fun. I have some photographs from Desi for you– they follow the recipe post.
Back to the recipe, these Butternut Squash Muffins are great breakfast material. Or pre-breakfast material, or even brunch material. They are made with whole wheat, include a veggie, and pack a protein punch with the tofu. How much more can you ask of a muffin?
I am going to run now, but there’s a lot to follow, so read on. Hope everyone’s enjoying the warm glow of the holiday season!
Butternut Squash Muffins:
(Makes 6 large muffins or 12 regular-sized ones)
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (if you don’t have this, substitute with 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour plus 1 cup all-purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butternut squash puree (recipe for making the puree here)
1/2 firm extra-firm tofu blended into a smooth mixture with 1/4 cup of nondairy milk
1 tbsp canola or other flavorless vegetable oil
2 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1 cup turbinado or unprocessed vegan cane sugar
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl, mix the butternut squash puree, blended tofu, flax meal, oil, and sugar.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed– do not overmix. A few lumps are okay.
Spray a muffin pan with oil or line with paper liners. I used a large muffin pan that makes six huge muffins, but you can bake these in the regular-sized muffin pans that will make 12.
Bake the muffins for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. If you are using the large muffin tins, you will need to add 3-4 more minutes to the baking time. To ensure your muffins are baked through, insert a toothpick in the center. The toothpick should come out dry or with a few crumbs sticking to it. If it comes out with moist batter clinging to it, bake the muffins for a couple of minutes more and try the toothpick test again.
Cool the muffin tin on a rack for 10 minutes, then pop out the muffins and continue cooling them on a rack.
And now for those promised pictures from our visit to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and the Valley of Fire, with some Las Vegas thrown into the mix:
Timeless Land: In Nevada’s Valley of Fire, about an hour’s drive northeast from Las Vegas, breathtaking sandstone formations take you back to an era when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
There must be few sights on Earth as stunning as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Carved by the Colorado River, the canyon is a World Heritage Site. Its awe-inspiring and timeless beauty is a reminder of just how fleeting our lifetimes are in the scheme of things– and how important it is to preserve our beautiful Earth.
The wild denizens of Grand Canyon show up, as if to let us know we are intruding. This handsome Elk and her herd stepped calmly out on the road, stopping traffic for a good while. No one complained, of course, because everyone was busy taking pictures.
A raven enjoys his extra-special view of the Canyon from a treetop.
And a deer grazes with his partner close-by, quite oblivious to the humans around.
I am no fan of dams because of their environmental impact, but it is hard not to be fascinated enough by the famous Hoover Dam to go have a look-see. Built during the Depression in record time, the sweeping, arching dam straddles the states of Nevada and Arizona and was quite an engineering feat. It harnessed the wild flow of the Colorado River and generates enough electricity to power Nevada, Arizona, and California.
Lake Mead, one of the world’s largest manmade lakes and quite a spectacular one at that, was created when engineers tamed the Colorado River for the Hoover Dam project.
Tourists clamor for photo ops at Las Vegas’s welcome sign– a world-famous icon in its own right.
We had a long stopover in Salt Lake City on our way home, but we had a great time browsing the spectacular paintings and photographs of local themes by local artists that hang all around the bright and airy airport. What a great idea!