Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sassy and Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Here is the real story about these muffins. My mother found the recipe in the American Institute for Cancer Research Newsletter. We love this newsletter because it's usually packed with great recipe ideas. 

We had been jonesing for some yummy pumpkin muffins and my parents were expecting guests for dinner.

We did our usual "Hot Messing" to the recipe further eliminating fat, calories, and sugar (this is the number one culprit we find in recipes.. no one uses SPLENDA!)

Well, the truth is the original muffin recipe was pretty good really. It is the American Cancer Research newsletter after all. But in the end we ended up saving you 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, over 13 carbohydrates, and increasing the fiber and protein by at least a half a gram! 
As a result, we are feeling pretty good and sassy here... hence the name for the Sassy Pumpkin Muffins! And aren't they just so pretty? I sure think so!

You might want to know how we do it, right? Take a healthy recipe and make it even better?

It's easy.. we substituted sugar free maple syrup for the brown sugar, reduced the oil and increased the pumpkin and yogurt and we made them slightly smaller. Their recipe called for 15 servings, we made 20 smaller muffins instead.
And they are completely delicious! Especially with a tall glass of milk!

Enjoy these treats this winter season and stay warm. It might be cold outside, but baby, it's warm in here!

Sassy Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use pastry flour too)
1/2 cup milled flax seed
1 1//2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 eggs; beaten
3/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup Smart Balance Vegetable oil
1 cup non fat vanilla yogurt

For topping:
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. coconut (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large sized bowl combine the whole wheat flour, milled flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix together to combine all the dry ingredients.
3. In a medium bowl combine the eggs, pumpkin, apple sauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla yogurt. Stir to combine all the wet ingredients.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Then spray two muffin tins with cooking spray and fill each one 3/4 of the way full.
5. Next, for the topping, lightly chop the peanuts and place in a skillet with the vanilla and cinnamon.
6. Roast over medium heat for 8-10 minutes making sure to swirl the pan often so they don't burn.
7. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of the roasted peanuts and a pinch of coconut. This makes them just pretty in my opinion. Plus it will balance out the buttery flavor of the pumpkin!

8. Bake for 20 minutes. I rotated the muffin tins halfway to make sure they were cooked evenly throughout. They smelled so good when I turned them that I wanted to take them out and eat them half cooked! 

8. When a toothpick comes out clean when inserted they are done! Take them out and let them cool for about 20 minutes. They smell like sweet cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg heaven and the toasted coconut on top makes them almost irresistible. The house smelled good all night.. 
Well until we started making Pesto Cream Lasagna.. Stay tuned for that recipe coming soon!

Servings: 20

Nutritional Skinny:

77 calories / 4 g fat / 10.6 carbohydrates / 3 g fiber / 3.5 g protein 

Mental Health Benefit: These dense and delicious little muffins are loaded with vitamins.. Don't look at me like that! I'm serious! They are packed with nutrient dense pumpkin! It's another wonder food backed with beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, potassium, fiber, and magnesium just to name a few. What that means for you and me is it protects us from sun damage (keeping our skin baby smooth) and I need that more and more as I stare down the barrel at 30. The anti oxidants that come from the beta-carotene also protect our hearts and immune system. So eat up and keep yourself strong, healthy, and your skin glowing! 

Sounds pretty good to me.. excuse me while I eat a muffin... or two.. or .. whatever.  Oh stop judging.. I do what I want.

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