‘Love Bites’ Beet Muffins

Our toddler teacher’s request for Valentine’s Day themed snacks seemed like the perfect time to experiment with a chocolate-free version of Simply In Season’s Secret Chocolate Cake, which, by the way, I made for my husband’s birthday (which is conveniently less than a week before Valentine’s Day). For these muffins, I removed the cocoa, added a bit of ground flax and ginger, increased the proportion of whole wheat flour, and skimped a little on both the oil and honey (which replaces sugar in the original cake recipe from Simply in Season). Just as a note, honey can replace sugar in most recipes, though you only need 2/3 the volume when you use honey. It’s potent!

I love beets, and they seem an underexplored ingredient in healthy baked goods. Full of Vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, and manganese (see full nutritional profile here). Mmmm. Manganese.

Throughout the fall and winter months, I eat steamed beets with yogurt every morning, along with a hard-boiled egg and some homemade granola. A close second to the fresh berries of summer, which I have already raided from the freezer-stash by February.

As with nearly all vegetables, I do not peel my beets. I grow my own or buy organic when possible, and simple soak them in cold water and lightly scrub the surface before chopping and tossing in the steamer.

These muffins are moist, cakey, and even earned an “It’s yummy?” from my son, which is pretty high praise from him. I regret that my final product did not retain that same beautiful magenta of the batter, so I am recommending a little lemon or orange juice in the recipe here, hoping that the acid might help you yield a brighter-colored muffin. I used mini-muffins, but the recipe below would yield at least 18 full-size muffins. More detailed nutritional information is available here, courtesy of Self Nutrition Data.

'Love Bites' Beet Muffins
Yields 28
A honey-sweetened muffin that is moist, gingery, and worthy of the cupcake genre.
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111 calories
17 g
20 g
4 g
2 g
3 g
47 g
128 g
9 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
47g
Yields
28
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111
Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
7%
Saturated Fat 3g
13%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 20mg
7%
Sodium 128mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 17g
6%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
2%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups beets, chopped and steamed
  2. 1/2 cup applesauce
  3. 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 3/4 cup raw honey
  5. 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  6. 1/2 cup plain whole yogurt
  7. 3 eggs
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1 cup unbleached white flour
  10. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  11. 2 tablespoons golden flax meal
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  14. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  15. 1 teaspoon ginger
  16. 1/4 cup sunflower or pepita seeds
Instructions
  1. Puree beets and applesauce in blender with the 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. Set aside. I never keep applesauce handy, so I just steamed a quartered Granny Smith and crammed two or three of the gooey softened quarters into a 1/2 cup measure, carefully adding water to fill in the crevices until it came to the top of the measuring cup.
  2. Sift flours, baking soda, flax seed meal, salt, ginger, and cinnamon into a medium bowl.
  3. Combine honey, oil, yogurt and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, along with pureed beets blend; beat another minute.
  5. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing them in with a spoon, but stirring only until blended.
  6. Spoon into greased lined mini-muffin tins. Place two sunflower seeds in the shape of a heart on top. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees (about 16 minutes for mini-muffins and 20-22 minutes for regular sized muffins).
Notes
  1. This will make 57 or so mini-muffins or at least 18 regular sized muffins. Nutritional info assumes that a toddler serving is about 2 mini-muffins.
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calories
111
fat
4g
protein
2g
carbs
17g
more
Adapted from Secret Chocolate Cake
http://goodphytefoods.com/

Seedy Apricot Saucers (with Spinach)

Have you been duped in the confusing profusion of “energy bars”? Well, I decided I had been duped for the last time a few days ago, trying to choose the “least bad” option for my little guy at the at the store, as he Go-Go-Gadgetted his arms toward everything within view of the shopping cart. Even the best of commercially available ones (those without some kind of rice syrup or other liquid sweetener) are still composed mostly of dried fruits, with some seeds thrown in for texture. Of course they will give you “energy” if they are mostly sugar! This recipe is better for two reasons: Even by weight, seeds predominate, lending a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and minerals. Secondly, I managed to sneak a decent amount of spinach in there. In retrospect, I laughingly admit that these would be much prettier with some goji berries.  See my post on Seedy Superfood Saucers regarding goji berries. Go ahead and add about 1/2 cup of them to the recipe below if you fancy.

Note: There are two options with this recipe. The traditional bar size is made in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, while the saucers use a 24 cup mini muffin tin, which might require two batches. Alternatively, you could have it both ways by using a square 9 by 9 inch baking dish and simply use the remaining mixture for the muffin tin.

Seedy Apricot Saucers (with Spinach)
Yields 20
Not too sweet, these "space saucers" are mostly seeds, with just enough dried fruit to hold them together. Your little one will never guess they also contain spinach!
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
134 calories
12 g
0 g
9 g
3 g
2 g
29 g
36 g
3 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 134
Calories from Fat 77
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 36mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 3g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
8%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 medjool dates
  2. 8 dried Turkish apricots
  3. 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1 1/2 cup (about 3-4 ounces) fresh spinach leaves, packed down (this should equal at least 1/2 cup purée)
  7. ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
  10. 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  11. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  12. 1/2 cup chia seeds
  13. ½ cup whole brown flax seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F and line a 9” x 13” metal cake pan with parchment paper, OR grease the cups of a 24 cup mini muffin tin with coconut oil.
  2. Put the pitted dates and apricots in a metal or glass 1 cup measuring cup and pack down. Add about 3 tablespoons hot water and let soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the soaked dates and apricots (along with the liquid) to a food processor. (I use a Nutribullet). Add the spinach and blend to a smooth purée.
  4. In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk together the coconut oil, vanilla, and puree mixture, mixing till well combined for just a minute or two. Do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the ginger,cinnamon, and salt.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir the pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, flax seeds, and chia together.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir together thoroughly.
  7. For bars: spread the mixture into the parchment paper-lined metal pan and press down until you have an even thickness.
  8. For saucers: Spoon the mixture onto the greased mini muffin tin and press into each well, patting down firmly so that the mixture comes flush with the top in each one.
  9. Bake at 300 F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let it cool completely on the counter, and then transfer to the refrigerator for one hour (or overnight, if it's late!) before moving onto the next step.
  10. For bars: Cut into 20 rectangles.
  11. For saucers: place a cookie sheet on top of the muffin tin and gently flip it over, setting the sheet on a counter before lifting the upside-down muffin tin.
  12. Store bars/saucers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (though they will probably last much longer if you let them!)
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calories
134
fat
9g
protein
3g
carbs
12g
more
http://goodphytefoods.com/