Historically, my kids are not really big snackers. That is, unless we have apples, oranges, or any other sort of fruit in the house. Then, they continuously eat piece after piece of fruit until not a single one is left in the fruit bowl. Only then are they seemingly satisfied.
I love that my kids enjoy fruit so much, but during these winter months the price of most fruit skyrockets. Plus, since our grocery store relies on local markets, the types of fruit we enjoy most as a family can be often difficult to find or of really poor quality (small, bruised, or underwhelming in taste). Thus, I have begun relying on frozen, canned, and bottle fruit to curb the kids' cravings. I recently been buying applesauce - simple, unsweetened, applesauce. We'll add cinnamon, nutmeg, and sometimes a touch of maple syrup to it or just eat it plain. The kids love it. However, they do have a caveat. Their applesauce must be chunky or else they consider it unworthy of their delicate palates.
|I had just come downstairs with Emma and Matthew wanted a picture. |
It must be because his outfit is so stylish. And yes, Emma is wearing my shoes.
Well, they're technically my shoes. Everything is Emma's, according to Emma.
The other day, I made the fatal mistake of purchasing a large bottle of smooth applesauce. I simply grabbed the wrong one and did not notice my mistake until I was spooning it out for the picky ones. Of course, many groans ensued and they did not touch it. This left me with a rather huge bottle of applesauce that they were not going to eat. And I wasn't going to eat it either because, just between you and me, I agree with them. Chunky applesauce is where it's at.
So, I pulled this oldie of a recipe out of my archives and made a batch one evening after the kids had gone to bed. I left them out on the table in a Rubbermaid so that Matthew could help himself if he was hungry in the morning. He's been waking up around 5:00 AM lately and has been gracious enough to simply color or paint until Paul and I wake up.
The kids adored the muffins. They snacked on them all day - and the first batch disappeared very quickly. Then, they begged me to make more. I used the rest of that applesauce up in no time on batch after batch of these muffins. They are very healthy - including whole grains from the oats and whole wheat flour - and are very lightly sweetened. Of course, you can add in nuts, dried fruit, chopped fresh apples (whenever they FINALLY are affordable again), or pears to put your twist on them. They really are very humble, underwhelming-looking little muffins but they pack a tasty nutritional punch.
Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter or oil (I used walnut oil - yum!)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, nuts, finely diced fruit - or a blend!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oatmeal, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, butter and sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (and cranberries or raisins if using). Make a well in the center and pour in the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix the batter or else the muffins will come on the dense side.
Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touch. Be careful not to overbake or else they will dry out!
Remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely. In all honesty, these taste the most fantastic when they are slightly warm with a smear of apple butter.