Tag Archives: low sugar

Butternut Squash and Apple Muffins with Pumpkin Seed Streusel

I have received one butternut squash and one dozen eggs every Tuesday for the last three weeks from my CSA.  Up until yesterday, I had exactly three butternut squashes on my counter and three dozen eggs in my refrigerator.  I always like to kid myself and say things like “When fall gets here and the kids are back in school, I will finally organize their baby books.  Or clean out the storage area.  Or have that yard sale I’ve been meaning to do since June.”  Instead, I am confronted with back to school nights, violin shopping, supply acquisition, homework helping, pick ups and drop offs, driving, soccer, snacks, and maintaining some level of personal hygiene.

(Memo to my kids: I really have tried with your baby books.  Although I am very sentimental and keep things like your baby teeth and dried up belly button stubs, I am very poor at organizing these items into beautiful volumes for you to treasure one day.  I really hope it is OK that everything is crammed into a baby book with a cracked spine, papers falling out, and notes written in any color pen (or pencil) I had handy.  I do love you.  But not enough to scrapbook.)

And this entire month has been consumed by the Bloomsburg Floods.  We have the luxury of not being in the epicenter of the destruction and our busy schedule is pretty trivial compared to what the residents are going through.  But it has meant a lot of back and forth travel — which means bags that don’t have a chance to get unpacked before they are being packed again. Whirlwind is how some describe it, I think.  But as I talk with friends who are having their homes condemned, I am pretty sure a whirlwind would be a welcome feeling.  Never mind the “problem” of having all of your children’s baby book items in a box, rather than in a muddy heap never to be looked at again.

This whirlwind seems to blow cooking and eating rules out the window.  The grown ups have eaten a lot of Thai takeout. The kids have eaten way too many pasta dinners and lots of dessert.  It was the boy’s 5th birthday too, which seemed to provide an endless supply of cookies, rice krispy treats, cakes, and cupcakes.  But no more!

I turned on the oven yesterday (and it still worked!) and I made these muffins in an attempt to make a relatively healthy treat or breakfast that the kids would enjoy.  They are whole grain, quite low in sugar and fat, and filled with both butternut squash and apples.  They were a nice fall treat and used up one whole squash and 4 eggs.

Only two squash and 32 eggs to go.

Butternut Squash and Apple Muffins with Pumpkin Seed Streusel

Makes about 18 full size muffins

Muffins:
1 1/2 cups of cooked butternut squash (I like to halve mine, scoop out seeds, and slow roast for about an hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit)
4 eggs
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar (can use more — up to 3/4 cup for a sweeter muffin)
1/3 cup applesauce
6 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 medium apple, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

Streusel:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (can use more here too if you like)
1 t cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped and toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients by whisking together cooked squash, eggs, dark brown sugar, applesauce, and vegetable oil.

3. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients by combining salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and whole wheat pastry flour.

4.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Stir in chopped apples.  Spoon into greased muffin tins about 2/3 of the way full. (You can use cupcake papers if you like.)

5.  Combine streusel ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin seeds) and sprinkle a nice spoonful over top of each muffin before baking.

6.  Bake muffins for about 15 minutes until just done and a tester comes out basically clean.  Let cool a few minutes in tins and then remove muffins to a cooling rack.  (I had to use a knife to loosen them before removing.)

 

 

 

 

Honey Strawberry Freezer Jam

I’ll start this by blaming the alcohol and the heat.  And my family.  Last week we were on vacation with my parents, siblings/spouses, and kids/cousins in Orlando.  And it was hot.  Like 100 degrees hot with stifling humidity.  We went to Sea World and I nearly melted.  Don’t believe me?  Ask my husband.  I have no tolerance for discomfort.  And dropping hundreds of dollars to walk around a crowded theme park in 100 degree heat is pretty much my idea of pure pain.  And at the end of the theme park days, my siblings and I all agreed that our kids were much happier at the pool with their cousins.  I am pretty sure they will have better memories of swimming for hours on end (with their best buds in the whole world) than they will of trudging around theme parks and waiting in lines in practically dangerous heat.  Or that is how we justified it.

My memories, however, will be a little dimmed.  Because we sat around the pool in the heat, and my goodness, how could we not have a cold drink?  It was HOT, remember?  OK, maybe one cold beer with lunch.  Or a frozen layered daiquiri with a rum floater.  Or a mojito.  Or three mojitos.  Once it hits the lips, you know?

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We had an absolutely fantastic time and I am sad today thinking of how hard it is to get the whole family together any more — as the kids get older and the distances get further and the schedules get busier, I realized that this was an almost once in a lifetime opportunity.  So you will forgive me for not feeling like writing up recipes while I was away, won’t you?

And I realize that most of us are now past strawberry season.  Frankly, I was lucky to get any jam made in the flurry of the last week of school, packing, and getting ready to go.  So, if you have some strawberries left, give it a whirl.  Otherwise, wait for raspberries or blueberries.  I bet they would work equally well.  I set out to create a batch of jam that used honey — because the standard recipe for strawberry freezer jam requires four cups of sugar.  FOUR CUPS.  Are you kidding me?  That scared me off right away and I can’t believe I hadn’t given it a second thought before.

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And I do freezer jam because I am still too scared to can.  I am pretty convinced I’ll give my family botulism and everyone will make fun of me on my deathbed.  “I can’t believe she didn’t sterilize the jars for 10.2 minutes.  What was she thinking?  It’s just so sad.”

So, here’s the recipe.  Now I am off to take a run and detox from excessive alcohol and french fries.

Honey Strawberry Freezer Jam

Makes about six 8-10 oz. jars

4 pints of strawberries (about three pounds of berries)
1 cup of apple juice
1/2 cup of water
1 package of No Sugar Needed Pectin
1 T lemon juice
1 cup of honey

1.  Clean and stem berries.  Mash one layer of berries at a time in a large bowl until all berries are mashed.

2.  In a small saucepan, whisk together apple juice, water, and pectin.  Bring to a hard boil and boil for one minute.

3.  Add honey and lemon juice to berries and stir well.  Add in hot pectin mixture and stir well again to make sure everything is combined.

4.  Ladle into clean jars (glass is fine) and screw on lids.  Let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to set up and then transfer to the freezer to store.

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