Monday, March 24, 2014

Muffin Monday

I started a fun little tradition with my family on Mondays that I thought would be fun to share with others...Muffin Monday. It's the simple things of life really. When I ask my kids what they like about each day of the week, there is always a resounding "Muffins!" for Monday. I try a lot of things with my family and not all of them stick or are a hit like I hoped, so it's really rewarding when something works (and it's actually sustainable)!

Yummm!!!! Apple Cinnamon Muffins

It all started last year after having been on a journey of healthier eating for sometime and thus desserts and other sweet treats had become few and far between (which is a good thing), but one does still crave a special treat here or there. So I found muffins to be a good middle-ground of somewhat healthy but also a bit of a sweet treat too! Also, though I would love to be a good baker, especially homemade bread like my Mom, I'm just not (yet). However, muffins and I get along so it's the one baked item that doesn't overwhelm me and turns out great almost every time.

I made muffins once in awhile and my family always enjoyed them, but I didn't make them on a regular basis until my oldest started school in the fall and I wanted to try to have a regular snack routine for when he got home. I experimented with a different kind of snack for each day of the week and so that's when I stumbled upon making muffins on Monday and it has stuck. Everyone has come to expect them, so if I don't make them, it's just not Monday! In fact this week my 4 year old, Kayli, was already asking me on Saturday what kind of muffin we were making today. I asked her what kind she wanted and she came up with the idea of Apple muffins and so that's what we did. I found a fabulous sounding recipe and it turned delicious. Kayli is very proud that it was her idea. I will post the recipe at the bottom.

My little muffin helpers

Some muffin tips: 

  1. Make according to the recipe the first time and then experiment with substitutes, additions, etc. the next time (unless you're confident the first time around...sometimes I am and it has worked out okay). For example you will see the recipe below isn't totally healthy, so I did use whole wheat flour and next time I will even experiment with the applesauce substitute for butter and oil.
  2. Definitely use cupcake liners...These are my favorite from amazon. That makes for less mess all around and easier transportation. My other favorite new tool is the pampered chef large cookie scoop. I've always used the medium one but the large is perfect size. Other than that, the tools are pretty obvious...cupcake pans (2), cooling rack (1-2), mixing bowl, etc.
  3. Once you find a favorite recipe, make a big batch and freeze half for using later so you don't have to bake every week if you don't want too. I can post a few of my favorites later.
  4. Plan your recipe ahead of time to make sure you have the ingredients on hand, although my go-to recipes are things I almost always have on hand.
  5. Make sure to save some back for your husband or for the freezer...otherwise they just might all get consumed right away and that would be a sad sad day for the spouse who might not say so, but they too get really excited about muffin Monday!
  6. If you have kids, get them involved! It's hard to mess up muffins and there are some perfect kid jobs to do (lining the muffin pans, pouring, stirring or scooping...of course taste testing too).
My favorite tools

Easy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
"A really easy apple cinnamon muffin recipe."
Yield: 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 Tbl. all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat)
1/4 cup butter, soft (or applesauce)
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
Stir together 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix in oil, egg and milk. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, stir together the topping with a fork and sprinkle over unbaked muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wish you could smell them...