Almond butter quinoa muffins

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What these muffins have: Good fats, protein, Omega-3s, deliciousness.

What these muffins don't have: Gluten, dairy, refined sugar, wheat, eggs, soy.

Bonus feature: The muffins only require one bowl!

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The new school year already started for lots of the country, but here in CT, M's preschool starts again on Monday. I've been thinking about quick ways to begin our day with protein that don't require cooking in the morning. These muffins are the answer!

Half of the flour is ground quinoa, which has lots of protein. The other half is oatmeal. I originally made these muffins with almond flour instead of oats for even more protein, but the almond flour was so dense that the muffins stuck to the roof of your mouth. You could just feed your kid a spoonful of almond butter and save yourself the trouble.

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With the oatmeal, the muffins are still substantial, but they're no longer dense. They're actually a smidge crumbly because I omitted eggs and any other binding agent. I wanted them to stay vegan and I don't always have the patience to make a flax egg. Letting them cool completely before eating them made them sturdier too. 

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For the first day of school, I thought it might be nice to add some blueberry chia jam and a quick icing to make the muffins more special. (I also called them breakfast cupcakes, which went over VERY WELL.) The jam is simple and free of any added sugar. I used cream cheese and maple syrup for my frosting, but you could also use coconut cream or a pre-made dairy-free topping.

You could also mix the chia jam with some yogurt for a delicious breakfast for the younger set (or the parental set, if I'm honest).

If you're avoiding nuts, substitute coconut or rice milk for the almond milk and use sunflower seed butter in place of the almond butter. Still delicious!

Important note: These muffins are best when fresh, so I recommend freezing 3/4 of the batch and then either defrosting a serving at night for breakfast the next morning, or toasting a frozen one right before eating it.

 

Almond butter quinoa muffins

2 large mashed banana
1 cup creamy natural almond butter, well mixed (or nut butter or seed butter of your choice)
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or rice, coconut, or other non-dairy milk of choice)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup quick oats
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pie spice (or cinnamon)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla extract and mix well.

Add the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Mix well. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix again. Let the mixture sit while you prep the muffin tin and prepare the jam and icing (if using).

When ready, spoon the mixture into your muffin tin until each opening is half full.

Bake for 12-14 mins or until the tops turn golden brown and the muffins are firm to the touch.

Let cool completely in the muffin tin before serving.

Yield: 18 muffins

 

For the Blueberry chia jam:
1 pint blueberries
1 ½ Tbsp chia seeds

Put the blueberries into a small sauce pan and cook over a medium low flame until the berries have broken down and become syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes and add the chia seeds. Mix well.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or until ready to use.

Yield: 1 Tbsp per muffin

 

For the frosting (optional):
2 ¼ cups whipped cream cheese
6 Tbsp maple syrup

Mix the cream cheese and maple syrup well with a spatula. The mixture will look curdled at first. Continue mixing until the two ingredients have come together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 2 Tbsp per muffin

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Blueberry and beet popsicles

Whooooeeeey, what a week. I completely missed popsicle week last week, interestingly, because I was busy making popsicles for my very sick child. Have any of you dealt with Coxsackie? I had never heard of it before having children, but apparently it's a virus that's been around forever and we've all had it.

Also, it's terrible. Thanks to a really sore throat and a high fever, M basically ate nothing for two days, so we tried lots of different frozen treats. Aside from these blueberry and beet-sicles, we made carrot, apple, and coconut treats using carrot juice, apple juice, and coconut milk; Orange coconut creamsicles using orange juice and coconut milk; and a roasted mango concoction that I'm still working on. I'll be honest, the ones with vegetables didn't go over as well while M was sick, but when he's healthy, he gobbles them up. 

Can I confess something? I don't really like beets. I also HATE cooking them myself, though everyone claims that it's sooooo easy. Whelp, I bought the beets in this photo because they were cheap and pretty at the farmer's market, but I fully used the organic pre-cooked ones you can buy at the grocery store that are vacuum sealed in plastic. I refuse to ruin my cutting board for a vegetable I don't even like.

However, I DO like beets when they're mixed with other things; chocolate, goat cheese, blueberries, etc.

This puree is great on its own or when mixed with yogurt, cooked grains, or pureed proteins for more advanced eaters. I personally love eating these as popsicles and would one day like to spike them with some sort of alcohol. For M, I mixed the blueberry/beet puree with a yogurt, almond butter, and honey combo that cut the fruit and veggies with something a little creamier. I also encourage you to make popsicles using just the yogurt mixture because they. are. great. Even my sick,-as-a-dog child ate the frozen yogurt. 

A couple of notes: If you have the temerity to cook the beets yourself, here's how. Otherwise, do what I do and use the precooked ones. Be sure to roast the blueberries (don't skip this step!) because raw ones in frozen treats don't have a strong flavor. Does anyone else notice that frozen raw fruit tastes blander? Anyway, I also recommend eating these only while wearing dark colors and/or when you can immediately dunk your child in water to clean up because they're a little messy. But isn't that half the fun of a popsicle?

Beet and blueberry puree and popsicles  

For the puree:
1.5 cups fresh blueberries (about 1 pint, minus whatever is filched by your toddler)
¾ cup chopped beets (about 3 very small)
¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the blueberries on a foil- or parchment-covered baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until the berries are soft and fragrant, but haven't burst. Place the blueberries and beets in the blender, add the cinnamon, and puree until you've reached your desired consistency. 

Yield: 1.5 cups or 12 oz of puree

For the pops:
1 cup full fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp almond butter (preferably salted)

Fill the popsicle molds 1/2 way with the blueberry and beet mixture and freeze for at least 30 minutes or until the mixture begins to set. Fill the rest of the molds with the yogurt mixture and freeze solid, at least 5-6 hours.

Yield: 4 large ice pops

Cheers!

Cheers!

Zucchini and blueberry waffles and puree

Zucchini and blueberry waffles | Me & The Moose. These naturally sweet bread-y pastries are a great way to get some veggies into your kiddos first thing in the morning, as an afternoon snack, or anytime really. #meandthemoose #waffles #blueberries #zucchini

Late summer/early fall usually means a glut of zucchini and it's one of M's favorites. Don't get me wrong: If I put a piece of zucchini in front of him (steamed, roasted, covered in chocolate), he would NOT eat it. But in a waffle with sweet blueberries and toasty whole wheat and flax, he doesn't even notice that he's eating vegetables for breakfast. I don't use syrup because the blueberries and tiny amount of sugar in the batter make them sweet enough, but a spread of almond butter on top is perfect.

Zucchini and blueberry waffles | Me & The Moose. Flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, spices, buttermilk, flaxseed, and a little butter. #meandthemoose #waffles #blueberries #zucchini #ingredients

Zucchini blueberry waffles

1 cup shredded zucchini (1/2 large zucchini)
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping Tbsp flax seed meal
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the microwave. Set aside.

Shred the zucchini with a box grater and gently press the excess water out, but don’t go crazy. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until frothy. Your arm should hurt a little. Do it a little more. Add the melted and cooled butter, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Whisk until combined and give a few extra turns to recreate some froth.

Add the flours, flax seed meal, baking powder, spices, and salt and fold to combine. Fold in the zucchini and blueberries.

Depending on the size of your waffle maker, spoon about ¼ cup of batter onto the hot surface and follow your appliance’s instructions.

Zucchini, spinach, blueberry, and apple puree | Me & The Moose. A whole lot of greens, plus mildly sweet apples, and superfood blueberries are a delicious and healthy baby puree. #meandthemoose #puree #babyfood #blueberries #zucchini #spinach #apple

Alternatively, zucchini and blueberry makes a tasty puree with some apples and spinach thrown in for good measure. This one is particularly good when combined with some plain yogurt. I would also use this as a sweet dip for a steak, onion, and goat cheese quesadilla.

Zucchini and blueberry puree

½ large zucchini or whole medium zucchini (about 2 cups), chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 large apples or 3 small apples, peeled and chopped
6 oz blueberries (about 1 cup)
2 cups spinach
olive oil or coconut oil

Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a steamer. Add zucchini and cook for 10 minutes. Add the apples and continue cooking until fork tender, about 5 minutes. Add blueberries and spinach and cook for 3 minutes. Put everything in a blender with a glug of olive oil or coconut oil and whizz until desired texture.

Zucchini, spinach, blueberry, and apple puree | Me & The Moose. A whole lot of greens, plus mildly sweet apples, and superfood blueberries are a delicious and healthy baby puree. #meandthemoose #puree #babyfood #blueberries #zucchini #spinach #apple