Monday, March 10, 2014

Blueberry Muffins with Spinach - Perfect for St. Patrick's Day

Happy Monday to you all!

To get my blog up and going again I decided to spice it up a bit and added a few more sections.  One section that I was really excited about was the holiday recipes.  I have two little boys, 5 and 2 years old, and they love it when a holiday rolls around and they wake up to red and green cereal, or blue and orange pancakes (we are Denver Bronco fans in this house, or at least they are).  I am always trying to figure out ways to incorporate whatever holiday or special occasion it is into my cooking.  With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner I figured it was the best holiday to start my holiday recipe section with.  Now we could make this really easy and just have, say GREEN pancakes

or GREEN waffles
(click on picture for credit)

But then I thought about what kind of mom would I consider myself if all I did was whip up some Bisquick (yes, some mornings I'm too tired to make pancakes or waffles from scratch!) and added green food coloring.  Not that there is anything wrong with doing that, but I blog about food for crying out loud, I need to be a little more creative than that!  So after doing a little research online (and by that I mean looking through Pinterest) I found that I could easily make my food green by adding some pureed spinach.  I know what you are kids will never eat anything that has spinach in it!  My advice...DON'T TELL THEM!  Do you hate me now for giving you that advice?  Tell a little while lie if you have to, "no sweetie, it's just a little green food coloring!"  You might feel awful about telling your children this little white lie, but think of how good you'll feel knowing you got your kids to eat spinach instead of artificial food coloring!  Personally, I don't have to do that with my kids.  They have been drinking my green smoothies since they were about 8 months old, they know spinach is what makes them green and they still love drinking them.  Plus, I ate one of these beauties this morning and there is absolutely no taste of spinach in them.  The directions for the recipe are a tiny bit labor intensive, compared to opening a pouch of blueberry muffin mix, adding some milk and eggs and baking.  But it's so worth it.  These will be perfect for your St. Patrick's Day breakfast!

Blueberry-Spinach Muffins
adapted from: Inspired Taste

**Note:  I live in an area that is close to 6,000' above sea level so I altered this recipe slightly.  I have marked these alterations in red.

1 1/2 cups of All-Purpose flour (I added 2T)
3/4 cup of sugar (I subtracted 1T)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder (I cut this in half, only 1t)
Large handful of fresh spinach
1/3 cup of oil (recipe called for vegetable oil, but I used melted coconut oil instead)
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 - 1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw out if using frozen berries)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare muffin cups.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with a whisk.  Make sure baking powder and salt have evenly dispersed throughout the flour and sugar.
2. To puree the spinach, you could either juice it, if you have a juicer.  Or, what I did, was added my melted coconut oil to my blender with my spinach and about a tablespoon of very hot water (because coconut oil hardens up if it gets cold and my spinach was cold).  Once the spinach is pureed either through a juicer or in the blender, use a measuring cup that holds at least 1 cup of liquid, add the pureed spinach, oil, and egg.  Add as much milk as you need to equal 1 cup of liquid total (this should be about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of milk).  Add vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
3.  Add milk mixture to the bowl with the flour and sugar then use a fork to combine.  Do not over mix, the mixture should be very thick.
4. Add blueberries and use a spatula or spoon to gently fold the blueberries into the muffin batter.
5. Fill the muffin cups FULL.  This is the best way to get the big rounded tops instead of flat tops like cupcakes.
6. Bake muffins at 425 for 4 minutes, after 4 minutes reduce baking temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. This way of cooking the muffins also helps in getting the big round tops.

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