You guys, I keep trying to make breakfast happen for my family. My kids, if given their druthers (they’re usually not because “Ugh Mom why do you hafta make us like HEALTHY STUFF??”), would much rather wolf down a couple of bowls of Lucky Charms …
This isn’t really a recipe, you guys. And I know any good nutritionist will tell you that a proper breakfast has green things (heretofore called “vegetables”) in it, but…well, it’s still my breakfast. Every. single. day. I’ll double up on the green things at lunch, …
My girls take a snack to school every day, and it’s turned into a struggle. If they had their druthers, they’d happily eat nothing but yogurt-in-a-tube or Swedish fish every day of their lives, but, unfortunately for them, they don’t have their druthers. They have mine.
(And at this point I don’t even know what a druther is. But let’s carry on.)
They’ll take fruit to school, but only if they don’t have to bite into it (“We don’t have time for all that!” they wail).
They’ll ask for a bag of Doritos, and I just laugh and laugh (“But [insert classmate’s name here] [and here] [and here] always gets to pack Doritos! Why can’t we?” they weep).
And then finally I give up and throw some pretzels at them and tell them if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it, but that’s a waste of food and sorry, no, I don’t think your teachers would really appreciate if I gave you a Snickers bar before your spelling test.
My children love me.
I’ve made these recently, and the kiddos like them, especially once I subbed in a topping of a little cinnamon and brown sugar for the oats the original recipe suggested (picking my battles, friends). I call them healthy-ish pumpkin muffins because there’s still enough sugar in these suckers (via honey or maple syrup) to pass as your standard, good ol’-fashioned, no-kids-honestly-they’re-junk-food muffins.
Trust me. If I can fool ’em, you can, too.
Healthy-ish Pumpkin Muffins
(adapted from Cookie and Kate), makes 12
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin purée*
- ¼ cup milk of choice**
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp plus 2 Tbs ground cinnamon, divided
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground allspice or cloves
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats
- 3 Tbs brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease cups of a muffin tin or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well. Whisk in the pumpkin purée and milk. Whisk in the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. You should be able to fill each cup at least three-fourths full.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and remaining cinnamon together. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on the tops of the muffins. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
Keep muffins at room temperature for 2 days, or in the freezer for up to three months. Distribute freely among children for school snacks and parents for afternoon coffee breaks.
* This recipe is easily doubled–just use one entire can of pumpkin purée.
** I used whole, but coconut milk would work well, here, too. You can also try almond or cashew milk if you’re dairy-free.
*** Consider mixing some add-ins to change things up. Try 3/4-1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips, or chopped walnuts or pecans. Any of these would be a nice substitute for the brown sugar/cinnamon topping, too.
I make food all the time, right? And, exactly the way I am with books, I have a bad habit of finding a really great recipe, making that great recipe, having it turn out really, really well, and then promptly forgetting where I found said recipe …
A few minor events happened today. For one, I caught the girls’ horrendous summer cold, which rendered me face down on the dining table this morning during breakfast, trying my best to answer my daughters’ usual rapid-fire questioning by mumbling through the tablecloth. Also, I started clearing out Saoirse’s room in preparation for Quinn’s big sleeping quarters switcheroo. We ordered the little one’s new bed this weekend, so it should be here in a couple of weeks. I’m not too worried anymore about the girls themselves sharing the room–at bedtime, Quinn and Saoirse have been climbing under SK’s covers together to read books, and it takes the two of us to tear them apart–but actually trying to figure out how to stick all this furniture into one small room with baseboard heaters is like playing the world’s worst Tetris game, only with expensive wood. Seriously, I may have teared up a little. Twice. Keep in mind a few months ago we thought we’d be in a larger house by now, but we all know how that worked out, which is fine, but still. THE WORLD’S WORST TETRIS GAME. In my house. Also, don’t try to move a bed with a trundle around a room by yourself when you’re pregnant, especially if you’re so impatient you don’t actually remove the rug from under said bed and trundle first, because you’ll pull something in your side and your back will hurt and you may or may not break the headboard a little in the process.
Yeah. It was one of those days. And because it was one of those days, and because our outdoor thermometer read 101 degrees at one point this afternoon, and did I mention I’m pregnant and instantly wilt into cellophane when the temperature climbs above a balmy 78, when SK told me she didn’t want to go anywhere, that she wanted to stay inside and have a “nice and cozy day,” as it’s called around here, I may have jumped on it. I mean, as quickly as a sick woman with a weird belly that pokes out can do.
- Furniture moving. And breaking, a little. Yes, David, I should’ve waited for you.
- Little Einsteins, the Safari episode, looped twice by request, the fifth time in three days. If I have to hear those little kids singing (the ones in the TV, not mine. Mine are cute when they sing) again I may punch that favorite rocket ship in its nose.
- One On Demand exercise program with kickboxing, which is really hard to do with a) short lower level ceilings, 2) two small children who enjoy doing jumping jacks in between your legs, and c) no one around, two small children notwithstanding, to keep you motivated (i.e., women in better shape than you). Also, heart rate monitors are stupid. Or rather, trying to keep my gestating heart rate under 140 beats per minute is stupid. Well, maybe not stupid. But frustrating as all get out.
- Twenty minutes of “Anderson” after I turned annoying exercise program off, despite small child nagging me to turn on Einsteins.
- The selection of seventeen stuffed animals by both of our daughters from their collections to be given to charity, thereby decreasing their menagerie to a mere 752 furry inanimate pets. Small steps, you guys. Small steps.
- Me finally–finally!–conquering the Green Monster I was telling you about, because you know I bought another club pack of spinach like an obstinate fool (see aforementioned “furniture moving” and “pulled muscles”). But I just ate another cheeseburger, and it’s 9:28 p.m., so at least I start my day off well, and the girls have taken a liking to them (the smoothies, not the cheeseburgers), so yes, whee, I tried one again, and I figured out how to do it well. I finally got it, and I’m seriously so excited to try it again tomorrow (it’s the small victories around here, anymore, as you can see…). You may thank me, and ignore the other recipes I posted for the green monster. Just do this one. Trust me, it’ll even help you ignore the spinach.
Fruit Cobbler Green Monster
- 1/2 cup organic or Greek yogurt (vanilla or “banilla” flavored)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbs. flaxseed
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
- 2 handfulls spinach, rinsed
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup frozen fruit (peaches work well)
Layer all ingredients in the blender in the order listed. Puree until very well blended. Make sure you can’t see any large pieces of spinach or flax seed, because if you can see them, you can taste them. Pour a big glass for yourself and divy up the rest between your children, who will be circling your ankles. You know, because “I like dis geen monstah!”