Yes he is the muffin man

Having made yet another batch of muffins, only to have them rejected because there are drops of apricot preserves instead of raspberry, I was about ready to throw in the towel.  Not into the muffins, of course, although towels are about the only thing I have not yet tried to bake into muffins.

Zachary, you may recall, is a picky eater.  I use the term “picky” rather loosely, as it implies that he sometimes does pick something.  Most of the time, frankly, he seems to survive on air and carbohydrates.  Hence the muffins.  A clever mother can sneak a surprising amount of stuff into a muffin, disguised as yet another round of carbs.

This kid would give Dr. Atkins heart palpitations, assuming the good doctor’s steady diet of red meat and eggs hasn’t already done his ticker in.

The problem is that there’s something wrong with every muffin recipe I can find.  When muffins are the main source of one’s child’s caloric intake, one tries to make them as healthful as possible.  I want a recipe with no sugar, lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low saturated fats.

Zachary can detect any grated fruits and veggies, which was his reason for rejecting last week’s muffins, so I puree them, but that throws off the consistency.  For years I have been finding recipes and then tinkering with them, never fully satisfied with the results.  And it grows more complicated as I try to steer away from canned goods, due to my reluctance to feed my kids Bisphenol-A.   (If there’s a Bisphenol-B, I’m pretty sure I want to avoid that one, too.)  Not that I can put canned pumpkin in the muffins anyway, given Lilah’s squash-induced hives, which also rule out zucchini.

It becomes a problem worthy of Socrates after awhile.

And then it occurred to me: I have been making a batch of muffins every week for four-and-a-half years.  I am a reasonably intelligent woman.  I’ll bet that, with some trial and error, I could design my own pureed vegetable, honey sweetened, BPA-free, squashless, olive-oil moistened, whole grain muffins.  With no nuts.  Or raisins.  Or apricot preserves.

Hell, I’ll bet with some practice I could figure out how to get protein in there while still adhering to the school’s no-nut policy.  Especially since my kid is one of the children that policy is designed to protect.  But it’ll have to be beans, since I am trying to cut back on our processed soy and meat intake.  And because beef would be kind of weird in carrot-bran muffins…

I will be posting from time to time, letting you know our progress.  It may be deadly dull, and for that I apologize, but it may also yield some lovely recipes.  Feel free to contribute with ideas and suggestions.

We’re going to be going through a lot of honey around here.  In glass containers, of course.


Recipe one:

1 cup white flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

1 cup oatmeal, run through food processor

tablespoon baking powder

teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 carrots, pureed

1 peach pureed, with skin

½ cup honey

½ cup olive oil

1 cup milk

2 egg

At the last minute, Zachary asked me to put dollops of raspberry jam in, whereupon I extracted a promise from him that he would actually EAT the muffins if I put jam in.  Usually, such fancy-pants tinkering renders them unacceptable.

The muffins were pretty good but too moist, which he doesn’t mind too much but dissatisfies me. I need to realign the wet/dry balance.  Next time, I think less milk, as the pureed peach is very moist.  And perhaps a teaspoon of baking soda so they aren’t so dense.

Damned if he didn’t say he couldn’t eat them because of the fucking jam.  Next time, no godforsaken jam.

18 responses to “Yes he is the muffin man

  1. Wait. Is my kid living at your house?

  2. Your picky eater is our gain. I’m sorry he’s a tough eater, but damn this muffin recipe sounds awesome. Keep them coming.

  3. I’ll swap you my boy who will eat ANYTHING THAT IS NOT MOVING for your fella. It might be cheaper.

  4. Totally unrelated comment – at our old house, there was a driveway down the block that usually had a muffin delivery truck in the driveway (his job). I had the Muffin Man song stuck on a track in my head for months. We finally moved.

    Good luck with the muffins! I have rotten bananas just waiting to be turned into something…

  5. You haven’t lived until a child will scratch through his or her pizza, making sure they pull out miniscule pieces of tomato skins. And alternatively ask for the cheese to be taken off. But don’t make them without cheese (or sauce) because then they know.

    Here is a sugar-free, vegan recipe I use that my kids love.

    1 1/3 cup soymilk (yes, other milk is fine)
    1 tsp vinegar
    1 1/3 cup agave (you can use maple syrup or honey)
    2/3 cup oil
    1 tbsp vanilla (optional, depending on your ingredients)
    2 3/4 cup flour (I use half whole/half white; you can also substitute cornmeal for some of it, or ground oatmeal, etc.)
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt

    Mix wet ingredients until they emulsify. Separately mix dry ingredients, then combine with wet. This makes twelve Texas-sized muffins, or 24 regular sized muffins. Bake at 325 if you’re using agave, 350 if you’re using maple syrup or honey.

    You could add in up to 1 cup of dry ingredients (including whole fruit) without any adjustments. If you want to add in wet ingredients, such as a fruit puree, substitute up to a cup of it for an equal amount of oil. You could also use peanut butter or sunflower butter for some of the oil as well. But it’s better with some oil.

  6. 1) I’m pretty sure Atkins died a while back.

    2) Joseph was in food therapy for two years because he refused to eat pretty much everything outside of peanut butter sandwiches with a very specific type of bread. We never succeeded in sneaking food into his food (you know what I mean) but if you figure out a way to do it (and I’m sure you will) I and many other parents of picky eaters will bow to you.
    3)That recipe sounds yummy.

  7. If you need ideas try this book –

    I have it and also the cookie version of the same series. I think they are both great!

  8. I am intimidated by muffins. I don’t know why. I bake bread and make jam, but muffins scare me. Plus nobody will eat them except me, and I tire of them before I finish the dozen out.

    And I feel compelled to point out the muffins already contain protein in the form of eggs. So check that off the list, you’re home free.

  9. Sounds like a good recipe. I’ll be interested to follow your muffin progress. I’m getting interested in the muffin thing myself, wanting to make my kids better treats. Anyway as a suggestion for protein, Chinese buns are often made with sweet red bean paste and are delicious.

  10. I had the same baby epiphany while trying to find the kind of recipe I wanted for asparagus soup, i.e. somebody makes up the recipes: I frequently change the recipes quite a lot: why don’t I just try making up a recipe?

    Did you beat him senseless over the fucking jam? I might have. But I guess I probably wouldn’t blog about it, so just forget I asked. I have thrown up my hands over such inscrutable complaints as “the cheese is dry”, “this milk is hot” and “I don’t like the orange juice with the spikes in it”. Yes, we routinely put filings in the juice — isn’t that how we make sure they get enough iron? Yeesh.

  11. I was just in Japan and became the biggest fan of Red Bean flavored desserts– including, of course, red bean muffins. I googled a recipe which I am sure you can toy with for your needs

  12. you are raising my fiance, I swear.

  13. I sympathise – I have the exact same problem with my son. Over on Honeypiehorse’s site I saw she had a brownie recipe with hidden broccoli. And my best advice is chicken soup. You can get pureed onion, garlic, carrot, celery and even a little tomato in that with no one any the wiser….

  14. Those sound delicious to me! My only muffin recipe involves opening up a box and adding eggs and water!

  15. damn. i keep forgetting about the frigging Bisphenol-A in cans. and the processed soy. am sometimes amazed we’re not dead yet.

    i think the muffins sound great. but i’m with Allison on the jam. you are a temple of cool.

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  18. Applesauce is a great natural sweetener for muffins and cookies too. For the longest time Holden would only eat carbs too. Ugh.