Monday, March 10, 2014

Pineapple Carrot Breakfast Muffins

As you probably know by now, my family loves a good bagel for breakfast. But bagels are calorie laden and usually filled with either high fat or high sodium things (cream cheese, sausage, bacon...). I'm always looking for healthy breakfast alternatives to introduce to my parents, so recently I've been making my olive oil banana bread and these great muffins.

I've been volunteering at Cooking Matters for the past year as a nutrition educator. Each healthy cooking and nutrition course runs for 2 hours a week for 6 weeks, and participants get some hands-on food prep experience, nutrition advice, and grocery shopping tips. As an educator, I receive an instructor guide which includes lesson plans, worksheets, and a lot of healthy recipes. One of my favorites that is used pretty much every class I've observed, managed, or taught for is this great muffin recipe. It's quick, easy to follow, and can be altered in so many ways to make even healthier or to incorporate ingredients that you enjoy. Also, these muffins come out moist, fluffy, and only slightly sweet, making them perfect for breakfast. Give it a try and let me know what your favorite mix-ins are!

Who doesn't love waking up to a full jar of muffins? 
Pineapple Carrot Breakfast Muffins (~18 muffins)
3 carrots, grated (about 1-1.25 cup) *
1 cup canned crushed pineapple with juice
5 tbs canola oil
1/4 cup cold water
1 tbs white distilled vinegar
1 cup oats *
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour *
1/2 cup light brown sugar *
1/3 cup raisins *
1/3 cup walnuts, crushed *
2 tbs ground flax seed *
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

*Walnuts and raisins were listed as optional ingredients in the original recipe. I added the oats for fiber and flax seed for omega 3's. You can choose to include or omit these when you're making your muffins. In this recipe, I also used 1/4 cup less sugar, 1/2 cup more carrot, and substituted half the flour with whole wheat flour.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: flours, sugar, oats, raisins, walnuts, flax seed, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together all wet ingredients: carrot, pineapple, water, canola oil, and vinegar.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Either coat the muffin tin with canola oil or line it with paper muffin cups.
6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with the batter.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

✓ whole grains
✓ fiber
✓ fruit/vegetables
✓ omega 3's
✓ unsaturated fats

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