Stealth Applesauce Muffins

Good morning!

I had a dream last night that (somehow) an ORCA — as in killer whale — was secretly put into my backyard in an above ground swimming pool. I woke up in a panic because in my dream I had let days go by without feeding it and as a result it came close to dying. We nursed it back to health with fish from the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s. Wierd? Could this be residual guilt over our fish failures? I don’t know what the hell it means but I can speculate.

We’re gearing up for a busy July around here — perhaps it’s the whale in my back yard. Lots of family coming into town, lots of birthdays, the 5K marathon and we’re in crunch-mode at the magazine in the face of our biggest issues of the year. Did I tell you that we’re also looking for a new house? The only way to head into this is with our eyes WIDE open, making sure we’re taking care of ourselves with exercise, good sleep and good eats.

Let’s kick it off, shall we?

Breakfast is an important meal, yet so easy to skip as the morning is also the most hectic. I end up taking something with me most times, so portable foods like yogurt or fruit smoothies usually do the trick. These muffins are deceptively healthy, made with applesauce and butternut squash and they’re delicious. Bryce excitedly told me that they were awesome and that she had never had them before! Well, they’ll have a place in her future now.

The lovely Ms. Jessica Seinfeld shall receive credit for this creation, as the recipe is from her cookbook Deceptively Delicious.

Applesauce Stealth Muffins

1 ½ c all-purpose flour
1 c old-fashioned oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
1 c unsweetened applesauce
½ c skim milk
½ c butternut squash puree (I used an organic canned version)
½ c firmly packed brown sugar
¼ c canola oil
1 large egg

Streusel Topping:
⅔ c old-fashioned oats
¼ c firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter or trans-fat free spread

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl mix the applesauce, milk, vegetable puree, sugar, oil and egg with a wooden spoon. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture slowly, stirring until just moistened. The batter will be lumpy.

To make the topping, mix all the ingredients together and set it aside.

Distribute the batter evenly between muffin cups and sprinkle with the topping. Bake until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. This should take about 18-20 minutes. You could bake a few of these fresh every morning if you make your batter ahead of time.

Yield: 12 muffins

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