Monster Muffins (Spinach, Kale, and Banana Muffins)

One of the main reasons that our family decided to practice baby led weaning was the hope that the twins will learn to enjoy all different types of food. We started offering them real food at 6 months, and have never looked back. Baby led weaning has been a really great fit for our family, but we will have to wait awhile to see if it helps us avoid having picky eaters! They are 11 months now, and will devour almost anything we put in front of them. They are not, however, the neatest eaters. As almost any baby led weaning family will tell you, letting the baby feed herself is MESSY. When you have twins, that mess is multiplied by two. Now that they are eating three meals a day, that adds up to a ton of cleaning. This recipe was really an attempt to alleviate the mess a little bit, at least at breakfast. However, what was designed as a way to make my life easier turned out to be a pretty awesome breakfast. Packed with good for you greens and lightly sweetened, these muffins are both delicious and nutritious. Although our twins are currently fabulous eaters, I have plenty of family and friends who struggle to get their kids to eat enough vegetables. This is the perfect recipe to trick your littles into eating their leafy greens. When they ask why they are green, just tell them they are “Monster muffins!”

The following recipe is adapted from a recipe I found at Tribe Magazine. I have altered it to make it vegan, added a few more greens, and decreased the sugar and salt. The original recipe can be found here…Spinach + Banana Healthy Breakfast Muffins for Toddlers

Ingredients:

  • 1 flax egg ( Combine 1 tbsp of ground flax seed with 3 tbsp of water. Allow to sit for a few minutes to thicken)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 medium to large banana
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 2 cups of baby kale (or your greens of choice)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

 

Make It:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly grease a standard or mini muffin pan

In a food processor, combine:

1 flax egg

1 banana

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1tsp vanilla

2 tbsp coconut oil

Roughly 2 cups raw spinach

Roughly 2 cups baby kale ( or whatever greens you want)

Blend above ingredients until smooth, then add:

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Blend for about 30 seconds then add:

1.5 cups of whole wheat flour

Blend until mixture is like a thick batter. Spoon into a greased muffin tin or mini muffin tin. One batch of dough should make 9 regular sized muffins.

Bake at 350. 17 minutes for regular muffins, 10 for minis.

 

 

Diving in

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Mom. The job title is short, but the job is infinitely huge. Unlike other jobs I have had in the past, this one does not come with a job description, annual review, Monday planning meeting, or even a good old mission statement. There is no lunch break, heck there isn’t even a potty break. Also, you use words like potty. In fact, potty is actually a pretty big part of your life, and I have not even started potty training yet. Despite all that, I wake up each day honored and blessed to be Mom to my 10 month old boy/girl twins.

Having the twins changed the way I looked at a lot of things. (It also just plain changed the way I looked.) I started caring a lot more about the example that I would be providing my babies, and the lifestyle I would be teaching them to lead. I have always loved to cook, and to eat. In fact, I would consider myself a foodie to the extent that my budget would allow it. While most of my friends would splurge on handbags or new shoes, my idea of a shopping spree was heading to the closest gourmet market and filling my cart.

Then came the twins. Suddenly, I wasn’t just cooking for myself and my husbands enjoyment. I was cooking to nourish and grow two precious babies. The struggle between my heart (I loooooove meats and cheese) and my brain (plant based is best) raged strong and loud. What was a food loving wannabe chef to do?

Then two things happened. First, my Mom sent me THE BOOK. It seemed innocent enough. “How nice,” I thought “My Mom sent me a present.” Wrong. What my Mom had actually sent was a bomb, just waiting to blow my old way of thinking to pieces. THE BOOK is actually titled How Not to Die and is authored by Dr. Michael Greger. Everyone should read this book.   I could go on forever describing the how THE BOOK opened my eyes, but suffice it to say by the time I read the conclusion I was well on my way to a plant based diet.

The second life altering moment occurred during a friendly game of cards at my in-laws. I had just finished telling my mother-in-law about my plans to lead a more plant based lifestyle. “Well you know,” she said “My father had two open heart surgeries before 60.” Hold up WHAT!!!!??  Now let me pause here to let you in on a little something about my husband. He   has spent the last five years teasing me about the superiority of his genetics. Allergies, not in his family. Sick days, nope not needed. Cavities, never a single one. Above all, he points to the sheer longevity of his relatives to highlight the complete lack of necessity to change his diet from the way he was raised. So imagine my shock at learning this new information. I knew instantly, in that moment,  that my decision to go plant based was the best one to protect the health of my family.

So, how to go about it? How does a self-proclaimed foodie swear off at least 50 percent of the food options out there? I pondered this question. My husband and I discussed it. We thought long and hard about how our decision would affect our children. In the end, we concluded that we did not want to limit the twins to a 100 percent plant based diet. We wanted them to be able to travel and try new cuisines without fear. I wanted them to know the taste of a fresh oyster on the half shell, and my husband wanted to share the recipes and foods of his youth. So we made the decision to be 95.23% plant based. You may be wondering, why 95.23%? We calculated that we eat 21 meals a week. Of these 21, we would eat one meal a week that was not plant based. It is, in effect, our “cheat meal.” We  throw caution to the wind and pull out all the stops. The rest of the time, we follow a plant based diet.

I am excited to share this journey with my readers. In addition to sharing recipes, meal ideas, and cooking techniques, I hope to use this platform to discuss parenting, and life in general. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit!