Chocolate Cranberry Muffins and The Gift Project

by Ms. Joy



Harvey's gift
I am a morning person. I have fought this notion for a long time because it just didn’t seem possible but it’s true. If I manage to sleep in I am up at 9 am and if I make it past the midnight mark I am bound to get cranky and irrational by 2 am. This morning at 6:30 I bounded out of bed, woken by the dinging of my phone’s alarm and wandered downstairs. The coffee was soon perking as I looked around for something to do and then it dawned on me: I should bake the muffins for The Gift Project. I have been obsessing over my first recipient; I wanted someone special in our lives and who deserves a little appreciation and it was not long before I thought of Harvey, our school crossing guard.

Harvey is there every single day and now that the weather has turned from quaint cool to frigidly cold he is still there, protecting my daughter along with numerous other children without so much as a muttered complaint. I attempted to cajole Miss N into handing over the brightly coloured gift bag but she comes by her shyness naturally and so it was left to me to hand over the bag with a quiet, “Morning Harvey. Just because”. My stomach was in a few knots; I think I’ll learn as much about myself as others with this project and I think I might be looking forward to that most of all. My personality is so evident in Miss N’s, her reticence and downcast eyes when in public then jumping on the bed and laugh-screaming at home.

I am terribly excited for this and after the jitters of putting myself out there had passed I felt inspired. Harvey’s smile and surprise, he blushed when I had to walk past on the way home, was worth it. It took very little time to put these tasty muffins together this morning and I even had enough shredded carrot leftover to make a quick carrot slaw for Miss N’s lunch.

I am so pleased to say that Merry of Merry Makes has just contacted me to let me know about her Luscious Lentil Soup, her contribution to The Gift Project. You should definitely head over to Merry’s blog to check out this delectable and perfectly warming recipe. This is the spirit of The Gift Project, finding inspiration from one another to not only develop our recipes but to share them beyond our computer screens and dining room table and into the lives of people in our real life. My biggest heartfelt thanks to Merry for participating!

It is at this point that I will invited you to join me in this handmade project and the chance to spontaneously spread some kindness in your life. If you feel limited by the not having a blog, send me the link to your flickr page! I have established a public flickr group for this project entitled The Gift Project (how appropriate). Now that the administration stuff is over, onto the recipe:


choco cran muffins

The Muffins

Adapted from The Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook: Versatile Muffins.

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole-wheat flour

3-½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ granulated sugar

1 tbsp. crushed flax seeds

3 tbsp. water

1 ¼ cup soymilk

¼ sunflower oil

½ cup shredded carrot

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400°.

1. In a bowl mix the crushed flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water, set aside.

2. Combine the dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate.

3. In a liquid measuring cup combine the soymilk, oil and flax mix. Beat with a fork. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to a smooth consistency.

4. Add the carrot, cranberries and chocolate chips. Transfer to muffin tins. I fill mine to the top so that they rise. Bake for 20-23 minutes.

Incidentally, I make the ugly muffins but they always taste delicious. It’s like a backwards skill.