Sep 29, 2011

Pumpkin-Banana Muffins

I love Fall. It's the perfect excuse to drink hot chocolate, wear comfy sweaters and wrap yourself in a cozy blanket. Too bad it's been about 90 degrees here and that blanket was replaced with an ever-so-thin bedsheet. Still, it's September and Fall is begging me to bake something with pumpkin or apple regardless of this crazy weather. 

In our house, most baked goods fall into the "rarely" category because they are high in sugar and calories. So, naturally I had to find ways to make healthier versions of our favorite treats so we could enjoy them a bit more often. My secret weapon? Fruit purees!

Pumpkin and other such fruit purees (like apple, banana or sweet potato) are great for adding to baked goods because it gives a moist texture and natural sweetness without adding fat. Plus, they're loaded with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins to keep your body healthy.

Today I combined my two favorite Fall-things: pumpkin spice cake and banana bread. I used pumpkin and banana puree, cut the sugar a bit and added ground flax seed for extra fiber and heart-healthy fats. 

It turned out so yummy, I had to share. I baked the mix in a muffin tin so I could store them in the freezer and pull them out the night before for a quick breakfast or mid-day snack. These are really yummy with a spread of reduced-fat cream cheese or even peanut butter. 

Here is the recipe I used:

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, banana, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla until blended. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour mixture into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

A bonus of making muffins is the instant no-brainer portion control. So do like I did today: brew a cup of coffee, have one yummy muffin and enjoy the tastes of Fall. Happy eating!