Lemony Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

DSC_0001 DSC_0004

This recipe takes the well-known concept of the blueberry muffin to a whole new level. These muffins are extra special because they have a surprise inside: delicious, lemony cream cheese! They are great on their own, but the lemon cream cheese filling with the plump, juicy blueberries makes these muffins marvelous.

My son didn’t notice the cream cheese filling until the second bite when his “mmmm” escalated to “MMMM!” He loved the surprise filling.

A fresh blueberry muffin with lemony cheesecake flavors in the mix is the perfect way to start any morning. Surprise your loved ones with these muffins-they will love them (and you for baking them)!

DSC_0007 DSC_0015

Lemony Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins (makes 9)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, large
1/3 cup whole or skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Cream Cheese Filling:

3 Tbsp cream cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp sugar
turbinado sugar (for sprinkling on muffins before baking)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.
3. In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub sugar and zest together, until fragrant. Add to the flour mixture and whisk again.
4. In a separate medium bowl, mix canola oil, egg, milk, and vanilla.
5. Incorporate the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Add slowly and do not over mix. (The batter will be lumpy and thick.) Gently fold in the blueberries.
6. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, and sugar until smooth.
7. Fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Next, add about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese filling to each muffin cup. Cover each cup with remaining batter so you can’t see the cream cheese filling. Sprinkle each muffin with turbinado sugar.
8. Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let muffins cool on a cooking rack.

DSC_0014

 

Advertisements

Bowl of Oatmeal Muffins

DSC_0411 DSC_0429

Who has time to cook the old-fashioned way? A pot of oatmeal is just as comforting in the form of a moist oaty muffin.

DSC_0446 DSC_0453 DSC_0452 DSC_0449

This gluten-free recipe requires a single bowl. Whisk and add the most common ingredients, just staples you may have in your pantry. Include whatever toppings you want to use up: dried fruits, nuts, blueberries, chocolate chips. Walnut, raspberry, and chocolate is an amazing flavor combination.

With these muffins you can have chocolate in the morning and still be hearty and healthy. Muffinize™ this old-fashioned breakfast and stock your freezer.

DSC_0458  DSC_0406

Bowl of Oatmeal Muffins (makes 18)

2 eggs
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup applesauce
1½ cups milk (skim or whichever percentage of fat you prefer)
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
Optional: your favorite toppings (dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper or paper/foil muffin liners.*
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, butter, and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the applesauce, milk, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined. Stir in the oats and baking powder.
3. Fill the muffin tin with ¼ cup of the oat mixture in each muffin cup. Add your favorite toppings. With a spoon, push the toppings down into the oat mixture.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool completely in muffin pan before serving. Store in an airtight container or freeze in a zip top storage bag.

*Do not skip the muffin liners in this recipe.

Healthy, Easy Snacks For Fall

This article was featured in SMRT Parenting on October 21, 2014.

IMG_6141

With the arrival of Autumn, the crisp, cool air brings pumpkin-flavored everything and the end of watermelons and barbeques. Suddenly, lazy days of summer are replaced by schooldays and hectic schedules full of carpooling, sporting events, and extracurricular activities. There is a new kind of strain on the family as everyone is feeling rushed.

The Stash
Come Fall, sit-down meals become fantasy and the snack stash becomes reality. Busy Moms at the wheel are handing out breakfast, lunch and dinner from stashes on passenger seats. There are baggies of pretzels waiting in purses for opportune moments. Babysitters and grandparents are armed, ready to hand out raisins to younger siblings confined to observation decks at gymnastics meets.

But snacks are not just a way to give sustenance. By giving snacks, parents hope to nurture and give comfort. Even so, many agree that empty-calorie choices are more tempting and readily available (and also more embarrassing to be seen with in public!).

The Quest
Thus, parents are on the lookout for that protein-packed, portable, kid-friendly food that is healthy, but tasty, and does not require slaving in the kitchen.

Found it.

IMG_6140  IMG_6136

The Muffin is the all-in-one meal, simple to prepare, design, and eat. The muffin is delicious and healthful, not to mention, wholesome enough to ease any guilt over the sacrificed family meals of summer.

The Alternative Snack Stash
From my experience, having a stash of homemade muffins in the freezer, waiting to be toted to soccer practice, feels a million times better than the alternative bag/bar/box of empty carbs.

You don’t have to be Betty Crocker. Just whip up the ingredients and plop them into a bowl. Twenty minutes later, you are not only a “homemaker,” but your kitchen smells fabulous.

The muffin of today is the casserole of yesteryear and lessens the load of busy Moms everywhere who can rest assured that their kids are munching on nutrition. Choose from pumpkin cream cheese, turkey meatloaf, sweet potato, or corn dog muffins. There’s no more casually handing out fast foods! Instead, you have a chicken potpie muffin for the back of the minivan.

The Possibilities are Endless
If you like a certain food, muffinize. And while you’re at it, make it healthy!

Muffinize [muh-fin-ahyz] (v.) to make a muffin out of
If you don’t like banana, choose another fruit. If you don’t have raspberries, add blueberries. If you want fiber, bake with oats or bran. There is whole wheat, if you bake organic. If your child is allergic to nuts, leave them out. If you like pizza and tuna melts but don’t want the mess, start muffinizing!

Portability
Muffins fit neatly into little hands and perfectly into the on-the-go lifestyle of grownups. Freeze a batch over the weekend and you’re a microwave minute from breakfast during the week. Now, you’ve got a mess-free package that won’t ruin the upholstery. You’ve got a protein-packed pocket to eat anywhere, including the sidelines of older brother’s karate tournament.

A Fun Way to Enjoy Familiar Foods
Muffinizing inspires us to rejuvenate tired foods. The crunchy top of a multi-textured macaroni and cheese muffin urges the child to enjoy a new pasta experience. The tired PB & J sandwich comes alive in a peanut butter muffin with a surprise jelly center. Carrot muffins are loaded with nutrients from carrots, pineapple, and walnuts. Crustless quiche muffins are full of (loathed) vegetables but I have yet to find my son picking spinach from his. Use the abundance of Fall to make muffins from pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle dried cranberries into turkey meatloaf muffins for Thanksgiving dinner. Express yourself by thinking of new, different, tasty combinations.

Muffins bring smiles. In the car or as a gift, muffins are the epitome of snacks. A platter of muffins makes a unique impression, and eating muffins…goes without saying (yum).

For nutritious Fall muffin recipes, go to www.MuffinMama.org.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

DSC_0053

Instead of crying over the pantry full of baby food that my toddler had outgrown, I incorporated the “passé” puree into a sophisticated muffin.

I love giving sweet potato muffins to my family, guilt free. The Vitamin A in the sweet potato and the fiberous whole wheat flour compensate for the bursts of the delicious sweetness of the chocolate morsels. These speckled muffins are beautiful-looking and will complete the Halloween-inspired playdate.

DSC_0059

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 30)

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup (16 oz.) mashed or pureed sweet potato (without butter, salt, or milk)
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 – 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (1 12 oz. package)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, sweet potato, milk, and oil until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients, and stir just until combined.
5. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, until 3/4 full.
7. Bake 16 to 20 minutes.
8. Cool on wire rack.

DSC_0055  DSC_0058