Years ago when I worked at a major university, I spent a lot of time with researchers and data geeks. They made me feel really dumb a lot of the time. Not on purpose. They were just SO SMART… in math, science, sociology. I was just a writer.

Then one of the women I worked with named Beth found out her dad was seriously ill. He would have to change his entire lifestyle—including his eating habits—to regain his health. Salt, fat and (according to Beth) flavor were no-goes. Fiber was king. Suddenly, this capable researcher was scrambling to help her father, to whom she was incredibly close. True to her calling, she consulted a nutritionist—another research expert–because Beth couldn’t cook a lick. Together they devised a muffin that met all the necessary criteria for her dad’s new diet but offered at least some good taste. Some. Beth was so proud to make these for her father and see him smile. I knew these muffins were not county fair winners, but I also knew they were special.

I asked for the recipe. I just had to have it because it was so full of love. Other niceties like butter were, perhaps, missing, but love and care were baked into every bite. And over the years, I’ve kept this basic recipe, which started out as a sort of zucchini-canned apple pie filling muffin, and turned it every which way but unhealthy. It remains a “clean” muffin, very high in fiber and low in sugar, but, as the views of wholesome ingredients such as farm-fresh eggs and hand-harvested sea salt have changed, the muffin has regained a lot of flavor.

So here is Beth’s Love Muffin recipe, altered to be less austere and supplemented with variations I’ve come up with over the years, but still big on love. Make them for those close to you and watch your loved ones smile.

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muffin ingredients

Use the best ingredients you can: organic, fresh, local whenever possible and love always.

These muffins are great for breakfast, wonderful with tea in the afternoon and can even wear the title “dessert” with pride. They store covered on your counter for several days and freeze well when tightly wrapped.

There is nothing “sweeter” than baking for those you love, especially when what you bake is as healthy as it is tasty. Quality ingredients make all the difference, here.

So, what’s in your muffin… besides love, of course?