Then I need 1/2 cup of applesauce. This is a jar of applesauce I put up last summer from the apple tree in our backyard. Have I told you about our cool apple tree? It has 5 branches from 5 different apple varieties grafted onto the trunk, so in a given season, we enjoy granny smiths, fujis, red delicious, yellow delicious or gala apples. Home Depot! Who knew?
Then 1/2 cup of sugar. It seems like a lot. But this recipe makes 36 muffins, so it's tolerable.
This is agave nectar:
I like agave nectar. It's low on the glycemic index because it has a low glucose content. On the downside, it does have a ton of fructose in it, not unlike the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. In fact, I think I read that it's levels of fructose may exceed that of hfcs. You could possibly romanticize this product and think it is directly dripped into this bottle from a freshly-cracked organic agave core held by a Bohemian woman dressed in burlap in the middle of the Mexican desert and sent straight to market by way of a Prius. But it's not. It's processed and hydrolyzed, like other sugars. But I like it. (It's possible that I just like anything from Trader Joe's. I'd find something good to say about a bag of clipped toenails if it was sold at Trader Joe's). It's a nice substitute for granulated and brown sugar because it is so stinkin' sweet that a tablespoon or two will do for a lot of recipes. Here I'm adding 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) of agave nectar.
A teaspoon of vanilla.
Now I'm whisking it all together.
Wanna see how fast I can whisk?
Okay. 3 cups of flour. I'm using 100% whole wheat because you really can't tell the difference in this recipe.
2 teaspoons of baking soda.
Somehow, as I was uploading pictures, a happy little girl snuck her way in. Would you look at that hair??? 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Mix it all together. It's lumpy.
Look at these pretty zucchinis!
I cut the ends off and throw them into the compost container to dump later!
Then I shred the zucchinis using a box grater.
Look at how fresh! That's a lot of zucchini. I only need 2 cups, but I'll use all of this anyway.
Then a cup of raisins or any other favorite dried fruit. This is an antioxidant blend sold at Costco that has blueberries, cherries, cranberries and plums.
Okay. Here's the part where most of you are probably angling your mouse pointers up to the little red x. This is a puree of blueberries and collard greens (can also be made with spinach).
It's a puree from The Sneaky Chef cookbook. The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious cookbooks aim to help one add veggies into regular recipes without changing appearance, texture or taste with the use of veggie purees. I love these books. I rarely use any of the recipes, but mostly ideas and inspirations from them. Like adding this puree to these muffins. Or, for instance, I also add spinach purees to spaghetti sauce and broccoli purees to refried beans for burritos. It's an amazingly easy way to boost the nutrient/antioxidant levels of regular meals. I have no intentions of being "sneaky" or "deceptive" or hiding these purees. Bug cooks most meals with me, so there's no pullin' any fast ones. She still eats fresh whole vegetables at mealtimes. But this is a nice and easy extra boost that helps us fit in that challenging 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
A few months ago, I spent a day steaming and pureeing vegetables. I spooned the purees into zip-top freezer storage bags and tossed them into the freezer. I pull one out and thaw it in the fridge whenever I need one.
So if you're still with me, in goes the blueberry/collard green puree (about a cup to a cup and a half). Don't be grossed out.
If you're still grossed out, have a helper mix it up for you. You can stand back and breathe deeply into a paper bag.
Bug's favorite job is lining the cupcake tin. (Yes, good gracious, she is obsessed with winter clothes. I don't know why! I can't break her of it! And I figure in the grand scheme of choose-your-battles toddlerhood, it's an easy battle to surrender.) Usually we use silicone cupcake liners that my mother in law gave me. They are wonderful! In fact, I wish we had used them today so she can see them in action, and if I had thought about it, we would have. But instead, we decided to use paper liners for a change today.
Here I am filling the cups 1/2 to 3/4 full. I like to use my Pampered Chef scoop for stuff like this. It makes me feel important.
Here's a finished tray, waiting to bake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Okay, look. I know they look gross. They're kind of ugly if you stare too long. But try to think wholesome. Think organic bakery. Think San Francisco co-op. Think homegrown hippie who doesn't shave or shower. EW! No, don't think that! Dah! I just lost you again. Think tons of vitamin-rich vegetables wrapped up in a sweet batter and a cute muffin paper. Think life-extender!
See, they're not that bad. They're cute like how a pug is cute. They're so ugly, they're cute.
Well. The twins are up, and they seem to like 'em. The evidence is crumbled all over the place. (Muffin Drawback: swiffer vacs don't do sticky-crumb pick-up. And while we're on the subject-what in heaven's name would I do without my swiffer vac? Probably curl up into a trembling lump on the floor and whimper myself to sleep, while day by day, heaps of after-meal crumbs bury me.) (Rebuttal to the Muffin Drawback: I have a dog! Or, I could always ask Caleb to come over.)
How much do you love their new high chairs. Thank you Ikea! I think anyone who designed any other high chair that is sold in America should have to stand trial for crimes against homemakers. The blatant, flagrant, overt and incredibly confounding creation of nooks and crannies in high chairs is enough to make me scream, yell and question humanity. Just thinking about it, my head is starting to spin, exorcist-style. Why, oh why, would anyone put so many creases and crevices in a device that will be used to feed a child?! Do they think we'll like the aroma of 3 month old banana rotting in between the tray pieces? Do they think we'll enjoy the sound of crunchy pasta rattling around somewhere inside the seat? Do they think we relish the days we get to take the high chair outside and pressure wash it on the patio and then violently take a toothbrush to it? Someone tell me please!
Then dfK got this high chair from Ikea for her son. My head stopped spinning. My life, in an uncontrolled highchair-hating tailspin, became peaceful and recognizable once again. These high chairs have nary a nook, nor a cranny. God bless you Ikea. Here's that charming little girl again!
And this one. *sigh* What to do with this bald little boy?