Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Apple Muffin {Breaking Bland Eats}

It’s that time of year again, the leaves are changing colour and pumpkin is making an appearance everywhere.  I can’t help but jump on the pumpkin bandwagon every Fall.  But I’m not talking about pumpkin flavoured products, I’m taking about 100% pure pumpkin.  It’s one of my favourite Fall flavours and it is so versatile, especially if you keep cans of pumpkin purée in your cupboard. I love adding it into my morning oatmeal, or mixed into macaroni and cheese to add vegetables and a wonderful orange hue.   But, you can’t beat the flavour that pumpkin brings to baked goods.

These muffins combine the irresistible  flavours of pumpkin and cinnamon along with another of my Fall favourites, apples.  I had a bag of Honeycrisp apples on hand so that’s what I used today when the baking urge struck me, but feel free to substitute your own favourite apple variety in this recipe.    Grated apple helps to provide a touch of sweetness and moisture which keeps these muffins light and fluffy.  When I’m cooking or baking with apples I prefer to keep the peel on the apple because one, I hate waste, and two, it provides additional fibre and texture.  Plus, it saves time, who doesn’t love that?

Fall Colours

This photo was taken on a stroll around our neighbourhood this afternoon.  I can’t get over how pretty this time of year is or how wonderful my kitchen smells after baking a batch of these muffins!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Recipe by Kirsten, makes 12 muffins.

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin purée (either canned or homemade)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 medium sized apple, grated (~1/2 cup grated)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

optional add ins: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts/pecans or pumpkin seeds.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, set aside.
  3. Combine wet ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and stir until well combined.  If using optional add ins you can mix them into the wet ingredients now.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients  and then add the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined, it’s ok to have some streaks of flour.
  5. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the centre of the muffin springs back when lightly touched.
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Whole Grain Zucchini Bread Pancakes with Blueberries

Whole Grain Zucchini Bread Pancakes with Blueberries | Breaking Bland Eats

Breaking Bland Eats turns 2 years old today! I’m so thankful to everyone who reads these posts and for all the positive feedback I have received.  This blog was a way for me to keep and share my favourite recipes, and the fact that anyone actually reads, let alone makes, the recipes still amazes me.  So, thank you.

This past summer I’ve had to get creative with zucchini recipes since both my parents and in-laws have supplied us with an almost endless supply of zucchinis.   After making zucchini bread one day I thought the flavours would be perfect as a pancake.  So, I took my standby buttermilk pancake recipe and added grated zucchini and cinnamon. Then decided to add blueberries – because blueberries make everything better.

When making blueberry pancakes I like to add the blueberries individually to each pancake once they are on the griddle.  This way you get an even amount of blueberries in each pancake, and avoid those blue streaks that often result when you mix blueberries into a batter.  This technique also works well with bananas, chocolate chips, or any other addition you want in your pancakes.

Placing a cookie sheet in a preheated oven (~200F) will keep the cooked pancakes warm until the rest of the pancakes are ready.  This is especially helpful if you are doubling the recipe and serving a large crowd.   These pancakes retain their moisture and keep in the fridge for a few days, or you can freeze the pancakes and reheat in a toaster or toaster oven for a quick weekday breakfast option.

It can be confusing when looking at different flours or breads, what’s the difference between whole wheat, whole grain, and multigrain? First off be wary of anything that says “multigrain”.  Simply put, it means that more than one grain was used and often these grains are refined and have been stripped of their fibre and vitamins/minerals.  Make sure to look at the ingredient list, you want to see the word “whole grain”.  Whole grains are exactly as they sounds, the whole grain has been milled down to make flour, leaving all the nutrients intact.  Nutrition lesson over, time to celebrate with some pancakes!

Whole Grain Zucchini Bread Pancakes with Blueberries | Breaking Bland Eats

Don’t have zucchini on hand?  Grated apples make a great addition, simply replace the 2 cups of zucchini with 2 cups of grated apple.  Yum.

Whole Grain Zucchini Bread Pancakes with Blueberries

Makes 12 pancakes

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups of 100% whole grain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 cups of grated zucchini, ~1 large zucchini or 2 medium.
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter or oil
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla

1-2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate medium-sized bowl beat the eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  Then stir in the grated zucchini.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined, lumps are ok!
  4. Ladle ~1/3 cup of batter per pancake onto a preheated skillet or cast iron pan, sprinkle blueberries on top, and allow the pancakes to cook until small bubbles are visible all over the surface of each pancake. Flip and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the centre of the pancake springs back to a light touch.
  5. Serve with maple syrup, a dollop of greek yogurt, and fresh blueberries.

*Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for each cup of milk you need.

Don’t have zucchini on hand?  Grated apples make a great addition, simply replace the 2 cups of zucchini with 2 cups of grated apple.  Yum.

Maple Coconut Granola

Maple Coconut GranolaI love granola and I used to make it all the time. But as with my homemade yogurt making, it fell to the wayside over this past crazy year. One of my favourite weekday breakfasts includes this homemade granola, Greek yogurt, and some seasonal fruit.  And a coffee, don’t forget the coffee.

Sure, there are hundreds of varieties of granola in the store you can buy – but trust me this homemade version is way better and it’s really simple to make.  Also, have you ever looked at how much sugar is in some of those store bought granolas? I like my granola less sweet and with a lot more extras. This recipe is extremely customizable; use whatever nuts or seeds, dried fruit, or whole grain flakes you like. When I was in my granola making heyday, I made sure my cupboard was stocked with different kinds of whole grain flakes, from my trusty oatmeal, to barley, quinoa, or spelt flakes.

In this latest batch I added shredded coconut, maple syrup, and some unsweetened dried cranberries for something a little tart. Walnuts, ground flax seeds, and my latest obsession, hemp hearts, provide a triple punch of Omega-3’s. Most of us don’t get enough of these essential fatty acids in our diet. If you are using flax seeds make sure to buy the ground flax seeds, otherwise your body won’t absorb those beneficial Omega-3’s.

The grains, nuts, and seeds become slightly candied in the oven and are deliciously addictive. I suggest adding the dried fruit at the end, once the granola has had a chance to bake; otherwise you’ll end up with very hard, potentially bitter pieces in your granola. No one wants that. If you like your granola with lots of granola clusters don’t stir it as often, or if you like it broken-up, stir it more often.

Maple Coconut Granola 2

Maple Coconut Granola

Ingredients: 

4 cups of rolled oats or mixture of whole grain flakes.
½ cup unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)
½ cup shelled hemp hearts
¼ cup ground flax seeds
½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds
½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup chopped or slivered almonds
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup chopped cashews

½ cup of your favourite oil*
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup dried unsweetened cranberries (a little harder to find but I love the tartness these add)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. In a large bowl mix together all ingredients, except the vanilla and dried cranberries. Mix well.
3. Line two rimmed cookie sheets or 9×13 pans with parchment paper. Split granola between the two pans.
4. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring the granola every 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy.
5. Remove from oven and sprinkle vanilla over the warm granola, this will add a wonderful scent to the granola. Set aside to cool.
6. Once cooled, mix in dried cranberries and seal in an airtight container.

* note if using coconut oil you may need to heat the oil briefly so that it becomes liquid.

Blueberry Banana Bran Muffins

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I originally posted this recipe when I did a guest spot on my sister-in-law’s blog (click here for all your cloth diapering needs). She was nice enough to let me practice blogging, but now that I have my own site this muffin recipe deserves a repost. Not only is this recipe quick and easy to make but it’s also a great way to use up ripe bananas.  If you are anything like me, by the end of the week you likely have some bananas that are well past their prime. One handy tip, instead of throwing the whole banana into the freezer, try peeling and cutting them into bite sized pieces first.  Once cut they can be individually frozen on a cookie sheet then placed into freezer bags. This way you have frozen bananas on hand for banana bread, smoothies or these wonderful, not too sweet, blueberry banana bran muffins.
This recipe can be easily doubled (or tripled), so save yourself some time and make a large batch. They freeze well and can be defrosted quickly in the microwave. For an extra special treat I like to throw in some dark chocolate chips.
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Blueberry Banana Bran Muffins

makes 12 muffins.  Recipe by Kirsten

Ingredients:
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of natural bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup of brown sugar
1 cup of mashed bananas (2-3 depending on size)
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, bran, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together brown sugar, mashed bananas, oil, and egg.  Beat until smooth.
  4. Toss the blueberries with the flour mixture, then make a well and add the banana mixture. Stir 10-12 times until flour is just combined – it’s ok if there are a few lumps.
  5.  Portion batter into muffin tins and place one blueberry on top of each muffin for decoration.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.
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