I kind of feel like I deserve a prize when I get out of bed in the morning.

The apartment is quiet and warm and Jamie and Parker Lee are blissfully snoozing, alternately dreaming about “pop pops” (lollipops), puppies and smoked pork belly.

I envy their quiet minds as I pour my first cup of coffee.

Between 5:30am and 7, I sip, I return work emails and I write. I go back and forth between banging out recipes and jotting down mommy stories. Oddly, composing one is just as satisfying as the other. And right here, in my moment, I want a treat–a little something that feels indulgent but actually gets my tired body off to a good start.

Whole-wheat raspberry muffins (with wheat germ!) are perfect; they’re a little sweet, kinda tangy (from the buttermilk and lemon juice) and totally healthful. When the snoozers finally wake up, they head straight for the cake dome to claim their own.

I adapted the recipe from Belle, incorporating a little regular flour into the whole-wheat to lighten the batter while baking. I also took out the slivered almonds because they just seemed to weight down the mixture. But have fun with this! Substitute strawberries or blueberries and cut down on the veggie oil if you’re feeling virtuous.

Pour a cup of coffee and bribe yourself with these whole-wheat beauties…

Whole-Wheat Raspberry Muffins

Adapted from my novel, Belle in the Big Apple (Scribner, ’09)

Makes one dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh raspberries
*2 tablespoons melted butter or cooking spray for greasing muffin tins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, sift together flour, wheat germ, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Put aside. In a separate bowl, combine oil, buttermilk and lemon juice. Gently stir raspberries into flour mixture. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk mixture. Stir until just blended. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes Allow muffins to cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes.