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Yummy Breakfast Muffins (Easy Too!)

Updated on January 18, 2015

Making Breakfast Faster and Easier

If you are anything like me, breakfast isn't optional. But with four kids under the age of 8, it isn't always easy either. Last year was the year of the hearty pancake. This year, I'm doing muffins. They are faster to make and to clean up, and when I can get 100 muffin liners at the Dollar Store, I'm not sure I'll ever clean a muffin tin again.

Starting with a box of cake mix (any kind will do and I always buy whatever is cheapest), I've been dabbling in adding different things to combine flavor and a nutritional kick. So far, my kids have been happy with the results.

All of these are pretty cheap, pretty easy, and great to make in big batches. From start to finish (excluding baking and cooling time) this is about a half an hour job. I use my biggest mixing bowl for the batter. It has an airtight lid, so while the last batch bakes, I rinse it out and then use it to store the muffins, which will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Truthfully, I'm not an exact measurer of anything anymore, so I don't even take the time to dirty up any measuring spoons or cups. I just eyeball everything and add more according to the consistency of the batter. So far this technique has worked out just fine.

The following are all the combinations I've tried. Some are better than others. Read my notes for helpful tips and reviews. Have fun, and enjoy.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chia Muffins

Ingredients

  • box of chocolate cake mix
  • oil or butter (amt. on box)
  • water or milk (amt. on box)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2c. chia seeds (optional: let soak in water for 30 minutes)

Notes

Combine all ingredients and cook according to the directions on the back of the box. Do a knife test and add to cook time as necessary.

These muffins were very moist, almost under-cooked, even though I added 6 minutes to the very top of the suggested cook time. It is the pumpkin. It simply stays a little mushy. We had to eat them quickly because after a few days they just seemed a little gross. The pumpkin flavor is mild and almost cuts into the sweetness of the chocolate. Recommended if you aren't a huge fan of sweets.

Combine all ingredients in one bowl.
Combine all ingredients in one bowl.
Use an electric mixer to save even more time.
Use an electric mixer to save even more time.

Citrus Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • box of white or yellow cake mix
  • water or milk (amt. on box)
  • butter or oil (amt. on box)
  • 3 eggs
  • orange, lemon, or grapefruit zest
  • 2T orange or lemon juice
  • 3/4 bag fresh cranberries

Notes

Combine all ingredients and bake according to temperature and time on the back of the box. Do a knife check and add time as needed.

Right after Christmas I found fresh cranberries on sale for a quarter a bag (twenty-five cents!). I promptly bought four bags. I know I love fresh cranberries, but I wasn't sure how my kids would react to them. I should have bought ten bags.

**I want to make a quick note on cranberries versus Craisins. Whoever is selling Craisins as a super-food, or even a suitable fresh cranberry substitute, is a genius. The thing is, Craisins are delicious - by themselves, on top of oatmeal, or baked in to just about anything. But they are not healthy. Honestly, they are mostly sugar. Fresh cranberries, on the other hand, are packed with all the anti-oxidant vitamin goodness that Dr. Oz promotes weekly on his show. And when baked into something already a bit sweet, their natural tartness is balanced beautifully.

I used only 3/4 of a bag of cranberries, but truthfully, the entire bag would have been fine. I would have used the zest of an orange but all I had that day was a grapefruit, which was great, but not citrus-y enough for my taste, so I added a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Orange juice would have worked too, and I think it could have been used in place of the liquid on the recipe.

I soaked my chia seeds in the almond/coconut milk first, to let them absorb the liquid and expand. I've also decided to substitute real butter in place of oil from now on. It adds good fat and even better flavor.

So far, this has been the best muffin I've made. My kids loved them. I loved them. My husband, who isn't a big fan of sweets, even loved them.

This kid.
This kid.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • chocolate cake mix
  • milk or water (amt. on box)
  • butter or oil (amt. on box)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1c quick cook oats (steel cut or regular)
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 bag fresh cranberries

Notes

Combine ingredients and bake according to directions on box. Do a knife test and add time as needed. I increased top baking time by 6 minutes and my muffins were not dry nor burnt.

These muffins are hearty, sweet, and tart. The chocolate cranberry combination is exactly as good as I hoped it would be. This time I threw in a dash of oatmeal right at the end to help dry up some of the pumpkin and it totally worked, also makes these muffins just a bit heartier. I decreased the pumpkin to reduce the moisture and in this muffin, you almost cannot taste it at all. This is fine for me because I add it just for nutritional value, but if you like pumpkin, you might want to go for the entire can.

Fresh out of the oven, these sink a little when completely cooled.
Fresh out of the oven, these sink a little when completely cooled.

Other Ideas

I plan to continue updating this Hub as I try out different muffins, but for now, I'll leave you with some ideas for additions and substitutions to combine with cake mix for some different varieties:

  • nuts of any kind but especially pecans, almonds, or walnuts
  • over-ripe bananas
  • blueberries
  • protein powder
  • brewer's yeast (great for breastfeeding moms)
  • wheat germ
  • flax seeds (ground or whole)
  • chocolate or butterscotch chips
  • peanut butter

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