I baked muffins today. Due to years of practice, I am a fairly confident cook. I am not too intimidated by very many recipes, yet muffins give me pause.

Every time I make an attempt to bake muffins, I recall the voice of my high school Home Economics teacher. She announced, “These muffins have TUNNELS!” as she surveyed my efforts after the muffin lesson. I was mortified. Though I had conscientiously stirred the batter gently, apparently I had over stirred, resulting in the dreaded tunnels. I could feel the eyes of the other students upon me, judging my inferior muffins.

Even though this particular incident occurred decades ago, it still carries a sting.

I don’t think that my teacher had any idea that her judgement would cause unreasonable muffin trauma for the rest of my life.

Words have immense power, which we do well to heed. They can be hurtful, heartfelt, biting, uplifting, cruel, inspiring, tasteless, insightful, sarcastic, silly. Words can cut to the quick or heal and restore. Who knows how long our words might linger? How might our speech affect those to whom we direct our message?

Many in my circle of family and friends relate stories in which another person’s offhand comment adversely affected them. Sometimes these friends never again attempted a particular task, sport, hobby, or occupation. These words destroyed.

Yet others relate incidents in which someone’s thoughtful and perceptive comments enabled and inspired, creating momentum, direction, and enthusiasm. These friends were motivated to achieve, to persevere, to work hard and become all they could be. These words built up.

Viewing my freshly baked muffins, all is not lost. The muffins taste great, tunnels or no tunnels. And I have learned valuable lessons. I will make a greater effort to pause and think before I speak, and to choose my words carefully, so that they will build up and not tear down.

Have you ever been affected enough by the comments of another to change direction or take action or even give something up?



Carrot-Pumpkin Muffins

3 c. whole wheat flour
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 c. canned pumpkin
1-1/2 c. honey
4 T. applesauce
2 T. canola oil
2 c. shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 12 cup muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix flour, spice, baking soda and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin, honey, applesauce and oil until smooth. Add to flour mixture and stir just until combined; do not over mix. Fold in carrots.

Spoon into muffin pans. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

Yields 24.

Notes: I ran out of honey and substituted corn syrup. I didn’t have applesauce on hand so I diced up a peach. I didn’t have pumpkin pie spice so I used nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

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