Mr. Confetti has been traveling for work these days, which means that I have had quite a number of days of what Mrs. Stroller describes perfectly as solo momma time. While I have the emotional and financial support that comes with a relationship, I spend many weekdays flying solo with Little C. Add the puppy’s needs into the mix, and I have very little time to fuss with cooking fancy meals. Plus, when I’m groggy in the morning, being a short-order cook at breakfast is the last thing I want to do. So when Mr. Confetti is traveling for the week, I will make a batch of these veggie muffins and a batch of mini-muffin frittatas (similar to Mrs. Bee’s), and C’s breakfasts are all set for the week ahead.
Mini-muffin tins make the perfect single servings for the youngest eaters among us. I have learned that when feeding an infant, making full sized muffins for anything, whether it’s a breakfast/snack muffin like this or my go-to frittata muffins, doesn't quite make sense. Infants (and toddlers) can be notoriously finicky, eating like garbage disposals one day and flinging all of their food on the ground the next.
As Little C creeps closer to his first birthday, he is eating nearly everything that I normally make. As his formula intake decreases, he seems like a bottomless pit for food. He eats three meals a day, along with 1-2 snacks. While he is still willing to try most foods, he is already a quirky eater. He will pick through the food on his tray, eating one thing at a time, starting with his favorite foods (fruit, cheese, meat), moving through the next foods (grains), and finally, resorting to eating a few vegetables if he has the patience and is still hungry.
While I am not dealing with a full-force picky eater, I know that veggies are important. I will resort to whatever means necessary to encourage Little C to eat his veggies – purees, pouches and even hiding veggies in unexpected places. A friend with a picky-eating toddler told me about a great base recipe at Weelicious for muffins. I made some substantial adaptations to make them healthier, subbing whole wheat flour, reducing the sugar, and experimenting with the veggie content. The original recipe calls for spinach – which were great - but I have successfully subbed grated zucchini so far, and I’m planning to try carrots next.
I am an amateur baker, so I warn you – you can be the WORST baker, and mess EVERYTHING up, and as long as you don’t let them burn to a crisp, these are pretty hard to mess up. I find that they are best when I am careful not to measure too much flour (it compresses in the measuring cup if you just stick the cup into the bag – using a spoon to scoop it into your measuring cup goes a long way). Also, they are great with all regular flour if you don’t have whole wheat, and if all you have at home is the self-rising flour, just skip the baking powder and soda.
Not only are these a healthy breakfast or snack for small children, but they are great to gift as a treat for a new mom - they're an excellent one-handed snack.
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I use one single-serve Mott’s Natural cup – perfectly pre-measured)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh spinach, packed (or 1 cup grated zucchini, or 1 cup vegetable of your choice)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 350º.
In your food processor, puree the vegetables with the applesauce, egg, vanilla, sugar and oil.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Make a pool in the middle and pour in the puree, and then mix the dry and wet ingredients until just combined.
Scoop batter into a greased mini muffin pan, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way.
Bake 10-12 minutes, cool and serve.