Friday, April 18, 2014

Healthy Snacks for Healthy Kids

Many children start their day without much, if anything at all, to eat before heading off to school.  Schools offer breakfast to students but much of this is sugar laden cereals, muffins or other unhealthy options.  To add to the already nutrtient lacking morning, some families are not sending (or are not able to send) their child with a snack to eat.

Educational standards are set extremely high for children.  Some children can not think past their growling stomachs, never mind focus on the demands of their teachers and peers.  However, if you feed a brain with junk but expect excellence, you are going to receive the opposite result.

The school nurse at our local school tries her best to provide a snack for students who need it.  This is done voluntarily and with her own money.  Unfortunately, snacks such as crackers and pretzels are not ones that will fill little bellies with foods that will power their brains, keep their blood sugars at an optimum level and supply the nutrients that their bodies so desperately need.  

I've decided to make and bake snacks such as trail mix, granola and healthy muffins to be given to children who do not have a snack to eat.  These snacks will be full of protein, grains, fruits and/or veggies while being mindful of food allergies and sensitivities. These snacks will not contain any additives or preservatives, just real food!  Each snack will be packaged and labeled.

It's a small step toward what I believe to be a necessity. If healthy foods are not provided to them now, how do we expect them to excel later? Or, more likely, even function? All children deserve a healthy meal. At least a healthy snack to help. It has been my pleasure to provide this benefit to those who need it. 

Thank you for listening!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Apple Crumb Muffins

I recently came across a recipe for Apple Muffins. Delicious, tart Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, and a pumpkin seed topping are just a few favorite ingredients. I knew I wanted to make these for my kids but also new I had to modify it to suit our dietary needs. 

This is what I love about cooking. Seeing a recipe and changing it to make it my own! Whether it's sweet or savory you can personalize any recipe. Adding a bit of this, a touch of that or changing and/or eliminating an ingredient, the possibilities are endless!

As in the case with these heavenly muffins. Instead of buttermilk I used rice milk. I substituted butter for vegan butter. And wheat flour for gluten free all purpose flour. I also added the local honey for a bit of natural sweetness. The muffins are delicious and were a big hit with the kids at snack time!

Apple Crumb Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour ( I used Bob's Red Mills)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rice milk ( I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (I used Earth's Balance)
  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes, about 2 cups
  • crumble topping:
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, chilled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. 2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  3. 3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice milk,egg,honey vanilla, and melted butter.
  4. 4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. 5. Fold in the apples.
  6. 6. In a food processor, combine the oats, brown sugar, chilled butter, and pumpkin seeds. Pulse to combine and chop the pumpkin seeds.
  7. 7. Pour batter into greased mini-muffin cups, top each with 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin seed mixture, and bake 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

My daughter said these muffins are like eating apple pie! She loved the texture of the muffin; gooey with big chunks of apple and the crunchy topping was perfect. 

So next time you come upon a recipe you find enticing but doesn't quite "fit", change it! Throw your inhibitions out the window. Pour a glass of wine if you have to and just go for it! There's nothing stopping you. There is no food police. 

Just keep in mind baking is like math so make sure you follow the measurements.  Cooking on the other hand, go wild! Be creative! You can do it!

Happy Creating!