Have you noticed more sniffling lately? On Sunday at church I couldn’t help but notice a plentiful chorus of coughs and sneezes mixed in with the music. Along with washing my hands just a little more carefully these days (and insisting my kids do the same), I’m searching my kitchen for ideas to ward off colds.

My favorite cold-buster: rich-in-vitamin-C oranges. Juiced. Zested. Peeled. My guess is you’re already a master of all those methods of serving oranges. So I tried brainstorming new ways to add more vitamin C to my kids’ snack times. Along with other good-for-them ingredients (any excuse to use ground flax, seriously I’m glad its good for you because I love the nutty flavor it gives anything you put it in).

I remembered a few weeks back after reading Cooking for Geeks I tried out brownies baked in an orange shell. I wondered if I could do the same, only with something a bit, well, healthier.

My first batch of muffins al a orange failed. Miserably. Think gooey gobs of half baked batter in a nearly burnt orange shell. Ew, just ew. I figured maybe brownies was the only batter meant for oranges (man, I would have liked that excuse to keep making exclusively chocolate-filled oranges:).

I tried to remember what I’d done with the brownies that I might be missing here. I thought of it: my husband. See, before, he’d been the one to clean out the oranges. This time I’d done it myself leaving plenty of orange meat inside thinking, Eh, it’ll bake in. Not quite.

Once I passed over the orange shelling duty, the problem of gooey batter disappeared. I also decided to put the orange rinds right into the muffin pan instead of balancing them on a cookie sheet. As you can see, properly shelling the oranges did the trick. And my kids snacked on the leftover orange sections while the muffins cooked (I mixed in regular paper wrappers too).

Here’s the recipe:

2 Oranges (or however many you want to shell)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1.2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 rolled oats

1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional, but good)

1 tablespoon ground flax (again, opt. but good)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup milk

2/3 cup apple sauce

1/2 Tablespoon fresh orange juice

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut the oranges in half and then remove the orange sections from the rind carefully (I suggest using a grapefruit spoon although a regular spoon will work too).
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients in a regular-sized baking bowl. (I like to pulse my old-fashioned oatmeal a few times in a food processor before adding it in.)
  • Mix all of the liquid ingredients in a smaller baking bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir just until moistened.
  • Fill each muffin cup (or orange shell) about 2/3 of the way up. DO NOT overfill.
  • Top with whole oatmeal, if desired.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until just browned.
  • Note: I’d suggest serving the orange-shelled muffins within a day or so of baking for the best flavor.

But I’m not stopping at vitamin C, there’s a few more tricks I’m trying out this year to keep colds away. For a slideshow of up-to-date research on what you can do at home, look through these suggestions. (I like the idea of mushrooms as cold-busters.) I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.

How about you? Any family recipes or tips for keeping running noses from, well, running?

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