What's For Breakfast?

Triple Ginger Pseudo-Superhero Muffins, with a nod to Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky

Happy Monday! What's for breakfast?

This morning, as most mornings, I'm having a homemade muffin. I'm having a muffin for my first breakfast and then another for my second breakfast.

I have embraced the second breakfast since I began powerlifting — twice a week at 8am — in the summer of 2021. I needed to eat before I went to the gym. And when I got home, I was ravenous; I needed to eat breakfast again.

Muffins are the perfect meal, I found. I can bake a dozen every week and have breakfast (and second breakfast) ready. Not only do muffins freeze well, but they're pretty easy to make. You just need one bowl — it’s not necessary to pull the stand mixer out of the cupboard (sometimes, I will use the food processor). The only special equipment: the muffin tin (and even then, you can bake the batter in a bread pan or 8"x8" if need be) and, if you choose, paper liners. Muffins come in a zillion varieties, and any recipe is ridiculously customizable: you can experiment with any flour, any sweetener, any fat, any fruits or vegetables or nuts. And they're a pretty forgiving bake. I've made hundreds and hundreds of muffins — I've followed all sorts of recipes and tried all sorts of variations and have only made two batches that were truly inedible.

Funnily enough, I can probably trace my love of running to my love of muffins, as I picked up Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan's Rise and Run cookbook after seeing how many muffin recipes — they call theirs “superhero muffins” — it contained. I'd never run before, and the cookbook inspired me to give it a try. (I started with Couch to 5K, not the Olympian Flanagan's marathon training schedule.)

The recipe below is a riff on their classic superhero muffin, with a nod to Sally's Baking Addiction's "healthy apple muffin" recipe as well.

But here, as with all the recipes I'll share on Second Breakfast, I am avoiding the word "healthy." It's not just that I am loathe to make any claims to this end; it's that I don't think that the adjective is at all helpful or even meaningful. Are homemade muffins healthy? Compared to what? Compared to those giant ones you can buy at Costco? Compared to cupcakes? Compared to bacon and eggs? Compared to avocado toast? Compared to donuts? Compared to Cheerios? Compared to an Egg McMuffin? Compared to not eating breakfast at all, particularly if you're too busy or you can't afford it?

For the month of June, I'll be sharing muffin recipes. (The theme of the Monday recipes will change monthly.) These muffins work for me — like I said, I eat them before I workout; I eat them afterwards. They've got plenty of carbohydrates — carbs are a necessary fuel for your brain and muscles; they've got plenty of fat; they've got a decent amount of protein. I typically make my muffins gluten-free — not because I can't eat gluten, but because I have found that wheat sits rather heavy in my gut if I eat it before a run. If you want to make these with wheat, you can substitute regular, all-purpose flour for some or all of the alternative flours that I use. (Same goes for sugars. Same goes for fats. You do you.)

These muffins have a lot of ginger in them. I love ginger. Bonus: it can aid with gastrointestinal issues (see: science), and I like to eat these before a race, when my nerves, and by extension, my guts, are shot to hell. Adjust the ginger to suit your own tastes.

As I said in my launch newsletter, I am not a food blogger. I will someday figure out how to take decent food pictures to share with you here. For now, a photo of my countertop and the three kinds of ginger in these delicious muffins...

Triple Ginger Pseudo-Superhero Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (you can buy this or just zap some rolled oats in a food processor for a minute or so)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup oil or melted butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c crystallized ginger


Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients: the applesauce, the eggs, the melted butter (or oil, but I promise you, it’s okay to eat butter), the maple syrup, and the yogurt. Add the dry ingredients: the flours, baking soda and powder, salt, powdered ginger, and freshly grated ginger. Stir until just combined, then mix in the crystallized ginger. Fill the tins.

Bake for 20-30 min or until a sharp knife comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for a couple of minutes and then remove from the muffin tin and cool completely before freezing.