Tag Archives: healthy muffins

Bananas N’ Bran Breakfast Muffins

Sshh! Don’t tell my kids that these delicious, carmel-y muffins are actually a good-for-you breakfast of whole grains and nutrients!

I invented this particular recipe after wondering what to do with some leftover bran cereal. Because bran flakes are so similar to Raisin Bran (which has more sugar than Fruit Loops!), I determined to make a healthy, wheat flour and oats muffin that also tastes good enough that the kids would eat it.

The secret: bananas! They are so sweet that I only needed a half cup of sugar. So I chose brown sugar, which always adds a hint of caramel flavoring to any baked good. Mmmm!

Here’s a great tip for saving brown bananas for future baking projects: Don’t EVER put them in containers, or they turn a nasty brackish brown. Instead, freeze bananas in the container mother nature originally gave them and just toss them into the freezer. Here are the frozen bananas I used for this recipe:

These were frozen solid, so I just microwaved them for a minute. Here’s what you see inside once they have thawed. They keep a nice, light color while frozen:

So here’s the recipe:

1 cup of bran flakes cereal

1 cup rolled oats (NOT instant oats)

1 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the following:

2 large eggs

2 bananas, mashed

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk w/ 1 tablespoon of vinegar, left to sit 5 min)

1/3 cup canola or sunflower oil (NOT vegetable oil, which is bad for kids’ health)

Whisk together, then fold into the bowl of dry ingredients

Drop into greased muffin tins, using a large ice cream scoop (to keep muffins uniform in shape). Bake at 400 degrees for 25-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Sugar-Free Apple Spice Muffins

Did you know that cinnamon is a calming spice? If your kids could use a little calming (and a little less hyperactivity-inducing sugar) after the holidays, give my Sugar-Free Apple Spice Muffins a try! These are healthy enough to be a meal at breakfast, hearty enough to curb the appetite at snack time, and sweet enough to be a dessert!

Here’s the recipe:

1 and 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 and 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup apple juice

2 cups diced apples (can substitute raisins or other diced fruits)

1/4 cup canola oil

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl; set aside. Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, then add apples. Pour entire mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Bake in greased mini muffin tins for 7-10 minutes at 400 degrees (or in regular-sized tins for 15-20 minutes).

Candycane & Cocoa Muffins

After Christmas, I invented a fun muffin that helped me get rid of all the leftover candy canes:

This muffin’s pock-marked surface was caused by all the candy cane bits in the batter that melted away as the muffins baked. For a smoother surface, you can substitute peppermint extract and still get the warm, cozy flavor of candy canes and hot cocoa! 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

1.5 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon baking powder

3-4 candy canes, crushed to very small bits (can substitute 1/2 tsp peppermint extract, added to liquid mixture)

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

6 tablespoons canola oil

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Combine wet ingredients, then pour them into the dry mixture. Mix until just combined, then bake in well-greased mini muffin cups at 400 degrees for 8-11 minutes. Top with candy cane powder (the residue you’ll find in your chopper/food processor after crushing the candy canes).

Sugar Free Summer Squash Muffins

With fresh vegetables and whole grain flour, these muffins are healthy enough to serve for breakfast, but yummy enough to taste like dessert!

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I invented these muffins last night, because my garden has produced quite the bumper crop of summer squash this year:

DSCN1446The resulting recipe turned out some very healthy, yet delicious muffins! In my pictures, you are seeing mini-muffins with mini chocolate chips (smaller muffins=less mess). But you could easily make them as regular-sized muffins with regular-sized chocolate chips, too!

Here’s the recipe:

Sugar Free Summer Squash Muffins

  • 3 cups grated/shredded summer squash
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs

Slice the summer squash and remove their seeded centers. Shred the squash on the fine setting of your cheese grater or food processor. Place the zucchini on a finely woven cotton towel like this:

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Next, close the towel around the squash and squeeze out excess liquid, like this:

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You should end up with a play-doughy ball of summer squash pulp that looks like this:

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Next, add honey, eggs, vanilla, and oil to the squash in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.

In a separate, larger bowl, combine the following:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips–which I use because otherwise my kids won’t eat muffins this healthy). Can also add chopped dates, craisins, or raisins.

Combine dry ingredients, then stir in the squash mixture. Next add:

  • 1 egg white, beaten until thick and foamy

(Note: this egg white is optional, but I like to add it because it makes the muffins lighter, fluffier, and they puff out more in the pan when I add it).

Drop muffins into tins sprayed with canola oil cooking spray, using an ice cream scoop to ensure uniform sizes (or use a large cookie scoop for regular-sized muffin tins, since in this picture, I was using mini muffin tins)

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Bake them at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes (remember: this is for mini muffins. You want 15-20 minutes for regular-sized). These tasty muffins hide the vegetables so well, that all you see is a hint of gold on the inside (unlike zucchini, which leaves green tints in baked goods, thereby alerting my children to their healthy content!)

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I made these muffins last night. Now that we have early church, I don’t have time to cook on Sunday mornings, so once the kids are up and dressed, I hand them each a baggie with 3 or 4 mini-muffins on our way out to the car. By the time we get to church, they eat them all gone! What a great way to have a quick–yet healthy!–breakfast.

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Pineapple Upsidedown Muffins

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With brown sugar in the batter and pineapple chunks in the center, these muffins taste so incredibly dessert-like that my kids devoured them without stopping to notice the coarse whole grain flour and precious little oil I used to make them! They gobbled them up so quickly that next time, I will have to double the batch if I want any leftovers to freeze for quick breakfasts on-the-run!

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Here’s the recipe:

Pineapple Upsidedown Muffins

2 cups  fresh-ground whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

2/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk mixed w/ 2 teaspoons vinegar and left to curdle for 5 min)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 tsp imitation)

1 egg white, beaten until stiff

1 cup pineapple chunks, drained.

dscn1296Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl ,whisk together all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the egg white. Add wet ingredients to the large bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in the egg white until just combined.

Drop batter into canola-sprayed mini muffin cups using a mini cookie scoop. Press one pineapple chunk into the center of each muffin, then top with another half scoop of batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Zesty Tamale Muffins

This is the perfect way to eat Mexican when you’re on-the-go!

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Don’t be fooled by the outside appearance of this muffin! It’s cornbread-like appearance can be deceiving, but the muffin base is definitely not the sweet-salty flavor of cornbread! Instead, is is straight-up true tamale saltiness!

Inside each salty cornmeal muffin you can use whatever tamale filling you like best (and I have some suggestions, too!)

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Here’s the recipe:

Zesty Tamale Muffins

1 and 1/2 cups fresh ground flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

Combine these ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the following:

1/3 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Stir wet mix into the dry ingredients above. Then add:

1 egg white, beaten until stiff

Fold the beaten egg white into batter, then drop one scoop of batter into greased muffins tins, using an ice cream scoop. Top batter with a smaller scoop of taco meat, tamale filling, or my mixture* idea below:

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You can also top this filling with chese, which I did not do in the photo, but which makes these much more kid-friendly.

Next, cover filling with a second ice cream scoop of the batter:

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Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes, then allow to cool for ten minuted before removing from tins (when they’re really hot and soft, they can fall apart if you try to remove them from the tins too soon!).

These taste great when spread with sour cream! 🙂

*For my filling, I sauteed six ounces of chorizo sausage with a diced onion and minced garlic clove, then drained the oil and dropped it into the center of the tamale batter. This is spicy and not very kid-friendly, but I sure liked it! 🙂

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins

I sure wish I could get my camera to do justice to these heavenly, delicious, meal-on-the-go muffins, but they look all bumpy because I use home-mashed potatoes (I live in Idaho–using instant potatoes is a felony here!). Those of you who do use instant potatoes will find that your muffins have a much smoother shape and texture–not the rocky surfaces seen here: 

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I invented this super-scrumptious muffin so that I could have some sort of grab-n-go lunches in my freezer for days when I was going to be running errands or working, and didn’t want to rely on fast food for me or my kids.tatermuff01 I always bake these as a mini muffin to help save on calories per serving, because they do have cheese and bacon in them, but I leave the skins on my potatoes and use wheat flour, so they are still healthier than any restaurant version.

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Oh yeah–they taste better, too!  Here’s the recipe:

Loaded Baked Potato Muffins

2 egg yolks

3 cups mashed potatoes (or 3 cups grated raw potatoes, squeezed dry in a dish towel)

1/4 cup grated oniontatermuff3

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 stiffly beaten egg whites

1 cup crumbled cooked bacon

3/4 cup shredded cheese

1/2 cup sliced chives (optional)

Stir the egg yolks into the potatoes and onion. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to potato mixture, then fold in the oil and beaten egg whites. Stir in bacon bits and cheese (along with chives, if using them). Spray mini-muffin tins with canola cooking spray, then drop muffins into tins using a regular-sized ice cream scoop. Batter must fill cups because muffins won’t rise much. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until edged are dark brown and crisp, insides resemble dry mashed potatoes. Garnish tops with extra shredded cheese and bake another couple of minutes.

Refrigerate in air-tight container within 2 hours of baking.

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Sugar-Free Pumpkin-Chocolate Muffins

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The pumpkin in this batter helps hide the gritty texture of your wheat flour, so you can grind your wheat as coarse as you want (within reason) and your kids will still devour these scrumptious yet healthy muffins. Mine sure do! 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Muffins

1 and 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup water

3/4 cup raisins or coconut (I prefer sugar-free or regular miniature semisweet chocolate chips–NOT milk chocolate which is too sugary.  The raisins just weren’t as kid-friendly)

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then mix together until combined.  Bake in muffin cups at 350 for 20-25 minutes for regular size muffins or 8-12 minutes for mini muffins.

Raspberries N’ Cream Muffins (Whole Grain)

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The cream cheese batter for these muffins makes such a smooth-textured muffin that kids will never notice the whole grain flour!

Instead of white flour, I used a cracked, seven-grain cereal:

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You can buy Bob’s Red Mill seven grain cereal at most grocery stores (cereal and baking aisles) or you can buy it here. You can then grind this cereal in your home blender, if the grains are already cracked, like this:

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Just toss it in the blender and blend until it looks like flour!

Here’s the recipe:

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2/3 cup cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup canola oil

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

2 egg whites

1 egg

1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups fresh-ground, 7-grain flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup regular milk with 1.5 tsp vinegar; let sit 5 minutes)

1/2 cup Raspberry Nuggets*

Beat cream cheese, oil, and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg whites, egg, and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients separately, then fold into cream cheese mixture with buttermilk and raspberry nuggets.

Bake in canola-sprayed muffin tins at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (mini-muffins) or 18-24 minutes (regular muffins).

These muffins are more of a dessert because they contain cream cheese and sugar and taste like cheesecake! But as far as desserts go, they’re ultra-healthy—how many cheesecakes have *you* eaten that are made from whole grains? 🙂

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dscn1200*I used raspberry nuggets for the mini-muffins pictured here because I make them in large batches to freeze. Whenever I’m going on the road with the kids, I just grab a bag and go, and I can’t have real raspberries thawing and getting raspberry juice all over my kids’ clothes. You can use real raspberries, instead, though.

Sausage-Maple Pancake Muffins

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I invented these super-yummy breakfast muffins for my son, who refuses to eat meat. The sausage is hidden inside a scrumptious maple/whole-grain batter and tastes soooo good that even my little meat-hater devoured them!

You can make these two ways. The first is a regular muffin with the sausage patty inside :dscn1187The second is a mini-muffin with cooked sausage bits inside:

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Either way, these taste SO good that you’ll never want to buy prepackaged breakfast foods again. Best of all, they’re super healthy, with two different grains and no oil or butter!

 Here’s the recipe:

Maple Sausage Pancake Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tsp salt

1 tsp soda

1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 cups buttermilk (or 3 cups milk w/ 3 tablespoons vinegar, let sit for 5 min. to curdle)

2 large eggs, beaten

1 and 1/2 tsp maple extract

**Prepare and set aside: one 12-ounce roll of sausage (flavored according to your preference) and cook it in patties, or crumbled, or half of both styles.

Combine flours, salt, soda, and brown sugar. Whisk egg and maple extract in the buttermilk, then add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened–batter will be slightly lumpy.

dscn1178For mini-muffins, fold the  pre-cooked, crumbled sausage into the batter until combined.

 

 

 

 

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Spray mini-muffin tins with canola oil cooking spray. Drop batter into the pan using a mini cookie scoop.

 Bake at 400 for 8 minutes (mini muffins) or 18 minutes (regular-sized)

 

 

 

dscn1181Before removing muffins from the pan, trace around their edges with a toothpick to loosen them without tearing or shredding.

Store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

 

 

 

 dscn1177For regular-sized muffins, spray muffin pan with canola oil cooking spray. Drop one ice cream scooper full of batter into tin, add sausage patty, then top with a second scoop of batter.

When I bake these muffins, I usually divide the sausage roll in half; I make one half into patties, the other into crumbled sausage. Then I divide the batter in half and make big muffins for the older kids, minis for the little tykes.

These muffins freeze well, too, so you can double up, make a bunch, and freeze them for quick breakfasts! Just grab ’em, nuke ’em, and kids can pop them into their mouths for a quick and tasty sausage and pancake breakfast on the run! Who needs fast food when you’ve got tasty, healthy, and cost-effective meals like this??