Strawberry Banana Cream Cheese Muffins

Spring is here and that means it’s time for all things light, bright and juicy! It’s funny how our tastes change with the seasons…I don’t know about you, but as soon as the weather gets warm, all I want is grilled shrimp, salads and fresh fruit! (not necessarily in that order or combination). Once these juicy red strawberries came into my life this weekend, I knew I had to do something fun with them.

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Baked goods are usually not something I crave when its warm out because they’re often heavy and required heating up the house. But since temps are still in the 60’s I thought I would try to make a lighter, spring version of a morning muffin.

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This recipe features fresh strawberries and one of my all time favorite foods; cheese. Cream cheese to be exact. “But how did you put cream cheese in a muffin?” you ask. Well, you just drop a dollop right in the center before baking. Easy peasy! The end result was a little more savory than sweet and would be perfect paired with eggs or smothered in creamy peanut butter.

Strawberry Banana Cream Cheese Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tsp
  • 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 2 cups strawberries, diced
  • Cream cheese

Directions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Dice strawberries, sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar and set aside. In a medium bowl combine butter, egg, vanilla, mashed banana, maple syrup, sugar and yogurt. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix to thoroughly combine. Fold in strawberries. Spoon into muffin tins and drop a dollop of cream cheese in the center of each muffin. Bake for approximately 22 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.

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The greatest part about this recipe is that its lightened up by using yogurt instead of oil, whole wheat flour and a small amount of sugar. Feel free to add more sugar if you prefer a sweet muffin or leave it out all together for a cleaner muffin. The banana and maple syrup offer natural sweetness and valuable nutrients.

How adorable would these muffins be for a Mother’s Day breakfast or a ladies brunch?! Pass the champagne please 🙂

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Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Good morning! Yesterday we got hit with some thick, heavy snow so naturally we all cancelled everything we had planned (when I say we, I mean the entire state of New Hampshire) and hunkered down for the day.

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Dance was cancelled so that meant I had some extra time on my hands. For me extra time = baking time. I decided to experiment with my new favorite healthy food swap, pumpkin puree!

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Pumpkin is so versatile and full of essential vitamins and fiber. You can easily use pumpkin as a healthy alternative to ingredients like butter, oil and eggs in baking recipes! By swapping in pumpkin you will automatically reduce the calories and fat in the recipe and increase your veggie intake for the day. It’s a win-win!

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Today I replaced the butter that would normally go into these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with the same amount of pumpkin puree. The results = you don’t miss the butter for a second. Your baked goods may come out a little more orange tinted than normal, but who doesn’t like a little extra warm glow in their kitchen?

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Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coconut

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine pumpkin, sugars, egg and vanilla. In a smaller bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Mix in walnuts, chocolate chips and coconut. Drop 1.5 inch size cookies onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Yields about 18 cookies.

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These cookies are full of other healthy ingredients too like dark chocolate chips, which provide healthy antioxidants, walnuts and coconut for some healthy fats and whole wheat flour and oats for added fiber. The recipe title says cookies, but these could probably qualify as a power bar if you’re in a pinch. Enjoy!