Thursday, March 1, 2012

For Jenn...Sneaky Good {For You} Muffins

When Jenn and I were growing up, there 3 things that I remember hearing my dad say a lot. 1) Never spend more money than you make. 2) A moment on your lips, forever on your hips (by the way he said this in a teasing way, not a don't eat that or you will get fat, kind of way. and 3) You don't have to be like everybody else. It was the 3rd one that I remember hearing the most and is the one that has really had the most impact on me. Although I also try really hard to avoid any type of debt. Anyway, the point is that because of my dad's advice, I'm generally always late to the party so to speak when it comes to trends. I try to avoid doing anything that everyone else is doing. Of course, when I decide that I actually do like something, it's usually about the time that it's going out of style. So, of course when everyone started talking about green smoothies, naturally I was determined not to try it. Then, my mom came out to visit when Laila was born and started telling me that she makes them all the time. After she left I decided I might a well give them a try, and now I'm hooked. I make them for breakfast at least 4 times a week and my oldest two kids also really love them.

Are you wondering yet what the point is? So, a couple weeks ago, Jenn called me worried, because she had been to the doctor's office and found out that her iron was really low. It was so low that the nurse told her that if she didn't get it up, they would not let her leave the hospital after she has the baby. We talked about how we both really don't love red meat, which has tons of iron, so I suggested drinking a green smoothie every morning.

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I could hear the disappointment in her voice as she said "You do green smoothies too!?" It's like I had broken our unspoken pact.

After we hung up I decided to find a way for her to incorporate spinach into her breakfast in a non smoothie form. So what did I do? I followed a different trend. Baking with Greek Yogurt. At least it's not a smoothie recipe!

I actually came up with two different muffin recipes, but I'm still tweaking the chocolate banana one, so today I'm just going to share my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. Yes, I realize that most people only bake with pumpkin in the fall, but this about not following trends, remember.

I'm actually pretty proud of these muffins, because as I've mentioned before, bread and I don't usually get along and these don't just taste good, they are packed full of good for you stuff. Including spinach!

You are going to start by throwing some canned pumpkin, pureed carrots, or more pumpkin if your not in the mood to cook and puree your own carrots, spinach, Greek yogurt, and skim milk into a blender. It will look something like this.

PS. I'll tell you a secret that my kids do not know. I didn't actually puree my own carrots. I accidentally bought the chunky carrot baby food and my picky selective baby won't eat them, so they got thrown in the muffins.

Now, if you are making these for yourself or you happen to not have children who don't mind if they don't look quite as orange as the "normal" ones, than continue on. I know my children though, so I added a few drops of yellow and red food coloring to the mix, and the world was right again.

Dump this mixture into a mixing bowl and add some eggs, agave nectar, oil, sugar, spices, whole wheat flour (I actually used white whole wheat), and chocolate chips. Mix just until blended and divide into muffin cups. Bake and enjoy!

And If your wondering what in the world Agave nectar is and why I would use it, click here. Don't worry, it's not some obscure ingredient that you will have to drive all over town for. You can find it at most grocery stores on the top shelf of the sugar isle. I actually use it mostly to sweeten my smoothies, but I've started using it more in baking. The only reason I even use white sugar at all in this recipe is because agave nectar costs quite a bit more than sugar.

What's great about these is that they can be either naughty or nice. I've obviously given you the very nice version, but you could easily make them very naughty by leaving out the veggies, using white flour, and adding more sugar.

Sneaky Good For You Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins 

In a blender combine:
1 C canned pumpkin
1/2 C pureed carrots
1 C raw spinach
6 oz plain non fat greek yogurt
1/4 C skim milk

Pour into a mixing bowl and add:
2 eggs
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/2 C agave nectar
1/2 C white sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cloves
2 C whole wheat flour

Yields 24 muffins

Mix until just blended. Bake @ 350 for 18-20 min. (I've found that my oven cooks way different than most modern ovens, so check them around 15 minutes to asses how long you will need)

My kids have been loving these for breakfast and they have no clue how good for them they really are.(compared to the muffins I usually make!) Each muffin has 4.6 grams of fat, 135 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 4.6 % of the daily recommended amount of iron, and tons of vitamins.

If anyone tries these, I would love to know what you think. And I am definitely open to suggestions of improvement.


Jenn said...

Aaawww shucks! What a good a sister. Making up recipe's to help me. Pumpkin chocolate chip sounds delicious!

I'm still not over the fact that you eat green smoothies, by the way.

And dad, if you are reading this I once told someone that you used to say "a moment on the lips, forever on the hips" to us girls and they were shocked. It was hard to back track and explain that it was a joke and not intended as verbal abuse in anyway. :)

Krista Johnson said...

So almost two years later Sally just wanted to let you know that I made these muffins for a party and they were great. I ended up using a sweet potato, carrot, and apple puree instead of just straight carrot. I used whole milk instead of skim cause that is what we have and vanilla instead of plain yogurt cause I didn't read the recipe well enough before sending Ken to the store to buy stuff. And I used honey and coconut sugar instead of agave nectar, so there you go, tons of tweaks but still your basic recipe and I loved them. I made two batches and the first ones I totally over blended and they collapsed after coming out of the oven but the second round did well. Thanks again for sharing this great recipe!

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