Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
When the weather turns gray and the rain drums lightly on the roof, I want to bake. It just brings a sense of cozy into the home by wafting smells of cinnamon spice throughout the house. Perhaps I am constantly nostalgic for the Fall, but even with the rainy days of late Spring, these muffins do not disappoint. Since I am a mother of a toddler, whatever I bake needs to be quick and cannot dirty too many dishes. If Toren gives me a 30 minute window of self-play, then I am lucky.
So here is what I whipped up this time. APPLE BANANA BREAKFAST MUFFINS!! If you are a fan of apple, banana, and cinnamon, then this recipe is for you! Sweetened only with whole fruit, these muffins are naturally free of refined sugar. They are fluffy yet fiber rich, and an excellent alternative to otherwise sugar laden muffin recipes. I am not a fan of sugar replacements, and encourage the use of fruit, as nature intended, to sweeten recipes. Not only does this practice encourage the consumption of whole foods, it also increases the fiber and polyphenol content. Flaxseeds further boost the fiber content and provide a lot of health benefits including supporting healthy bowel movements, balancing hormones, and reducing inflammation. This little seed may be small, but it is mighty! Plus, the polyphenols in the oats, apple peel, and cinnamon support the growth of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus two groups of good gut bacteria known to support human health in a wide variety of ways.
Although these muffins are gluten free, they are not dairy or egg free. If you want to play around with these additions let me know how it turns out! Also, of importance, when grating the apple make sure to leave the skin on because most of the polyphenols are found directly beneath the skin. Don't let the skin go to waste. I also opted not to use muffin liners, because I feel the muffins rise better when placed directly into an oiled muffin tin. You can easily make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. These muffins taste just as good fresh out of the oven as they do reheated in the microwave or toasted in the toaster. With a pat of butter or nut butter they taste extra yummy too. And yes, my little toddler loves them as much as I do!
Apple Banana Breakfast Muffins
Makes 6 Muffins
1 cup rolled oats
1 medium banana
1 medium apple, grated with skin on
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (also known as flaxseed meal)
1/4 cup whole milk yogurt (I used plain Grace Harbor Farms yogurt)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile add all of the ingredients except the baking powder and baking soda to a high speed blender (I have a BlendTec). Blend until smooth, about 60 seconds or so. I am sure a good quality food processor would work well too. Then sprinkle in the baking powder and baking soda and blend for another 10 seconds, just until incorporated.
Oil six spots of a regular muffin tin with butter or olive oil and transfer the mixture evenly into all spots. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the muffins to cool in the muffin tin for 10-15 minutes undisturbed. Then gently remove the muffins and enjoy!
For a balanced breakfast consider pairing these muffins with a protein rich meal such as veggie scrambled eggs.
I would love to know what you think of these little gems! Share your adaptations below, so others can learn from you as well :)
It can often be a struggle to get babies and toddlers to eat their veggies for a variety of reasons. But mostly commonly what I see is that babies and toddlers are offered plain/bland veggies. Although some may like that, I find that most do not. Babies like flavor just as much as adults do. AND adding flavor encourages them to be a more adventurous eaters as they get older. That's where these little patties come in! They are flavorful, veggie rich and nutrient dense! The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor and an excellent source of B vitamins. The garbanzo flour adds protein and fiber, but most importantly acts as the binder to keep these veggie patties together. These patties can easily be adapted with different herbs/spices and cauliflower can be used in place of broccoli. Toren especially enjoys these patties with Karam's Garlic Sauce or hummus. I am sure pasta or marinara sauce would also be tasty.
Makes 12 patties
Time: <30 minutes
2 cloves garlic
1 small head of broccoli (florets only, ~15)
3-4 medium crimini mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup garbanzo/chickpea flour (Bob's Red Mill)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (I used large flaked)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
~3 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter/olive oil for frying
Place the garlic cloves into a food processor and process until finely minced. Add the broccoli florets, mushrooms, and oregano. Process until finely minced and sticking together. In a separate medium bowl mix together the garbanzo flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and baking soda. Stir in the broccoli mixture with a spatula. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture sticks together without being too wet, ~3 tablespoons.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter (or olive oil). Once melted and sizzling reduce heat to medium low. Using a tablespoon add the broccoli chickpea mixture to the pan, making ~ 12 patties. Flatten with spatula and cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes.
Serve warm (not too hot) or room temperature with Karam's Garlic Sauce or hummus.
Note: Store patties in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The patties also freeze well and can be briefly reheated in microwave (~15 seconds). Make sure to let them cool before serving.
Nutrition (for 2 patties): 57kcal, 2.3g fat, 6.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 3.3g protein.
Getting your little to eat greens can sometimes be difficult, especially early on when they do not have the pincer grasp down yet. This recipe combines two superstars broccoli and spinach carefully blended with naturally sweet onion and sweet potato to round out the slight bitterness of the greens. I love to make baby egg pancakes with this mixture. Toren absolutely loves them and is able to use his pincer grasp to eat them on his own. This way not only is he getting his veggies, but also his choline and active vitamin A from the egg yolk! Plus, for some reason Toren isn't a big fan of scrambled eggs lately, but total digs the egg pancakes (see below for instructions on making an egg pancake). Usually, Toren eats one egg pancake throughout the day.
Makes 10 Servings
Time: ~ 20 minutes
1/2 sweet potato (tan/white)
1 medium onion, peeled, and cut in halves
2 cloves garlic
10 florets broccoli
1 cup packed baby spinach
2 tablespoons salted grass-fed butter
2 tablespoons Great Lakes Hydrolyzed Collagen
Peel the sweet potato and coarsely chop. Add to steamer basket along with onion, garlic. Steam for 5 minutes and add the broccoli florets. Steam for another 10 minutes or until all the veggies are fork tender.
Meanwhile steam/cook the spinach in the microwave for 1 minute or until bright green and tender. Place the potato, onion, garlic, butter and collagen into food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Then add the broccoli and spinach and process until smooth. Add a little freshly ground pepper. Pulse to combine.
Transfer to a baby food freezer tray, cover, and freeze. Once frozen transfer to a silicone ziplock bag or glass mason jar and keep frozen.
To thaw simply remove one serving and leave in a bowl in the fridge overnight or quickly microwave for 15-30 seconds. Prior to serving make sure to test the temperature to make sure it is not too hot for baby.
Nutrition (per serving): 45kcal, 2.4g fat, 4.3g carbs, 1.2g fiber, 2.3g protein.
Baby Veggie Egg Pancake
This is a breakfast staple around our house and is great for older babies and toddlers. However, not all purees work because they have too much water. Avoid using the pre-made baby purees because the pancake will just stick and burn. Use the Broccoli Spinach Baby VEGGIE BLEND or the Apple Butternut VEGGIE BLEND for good results. Toren usually eats a couple slices of his egg pancake with a side of fruit like kiwi or berries. We refrigerate the leftovers for an easy protein throughout the day.
Makes 1 serving
Time: <5 minutes
1 cube of a VEGGIE BLEND, thawed (the Broccoli Spinach and Apple Butternut work well)
1 pasture-raised egg, beaten with a fork
Mix together the egg and the thawed single serving of a veggie blend of your choice. Meanwhile preheat a small cast iron pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of butter or ghee, and once hot add the egg mixture. Reduce heat to medium low, cover with a lid, and set timer for 3 minutes.
Remove lid, turn off heat, and let egg pancake sit another minute or two. Transfer to a plate, cut into slices, and serve once cooled.
Nutrition (per 1 egg pancake): 155kcal, 5g carbs, 1.2g fiber, 11.5g fat, 8.5g protein
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.