Being a parent in today’s world can be a challenge in and of itself but being a parent in college has its very own set of challenges.
One of those challenges can be finding the time to make healthy home-cooked meals for your family.
Children, household chores, homework and the constant errands that need to be taken care of make it hard to find time to cook.
However, it is possible. Choosing home-cooked meals over fast food or take-out can give your family the nutrients and energy they need to get through their own busy days.
Let’s start with the most important meal of the day – breakfast.
A good, healthy breakfast can help your whole family start the day off right.
One of the simplest and most portable breakfasts out there are muffins.
Not all muffins are alike, however. Lots of muffins can be full of unhealthy fats, preservatives or artificial ingredients.
So how do you make sure your family is eating the right kind of muffins? Make them yourself!
Cinnamon Oatmeal muffins with golden acorn squash might make you raise an eyebrow in disbelief when you hear the name – squash in a muffin?
Maybe the name doesn’t make it sound very tasty but these muffins are lightly sweet, full of nutrients and delicious!
In addition, being able to sneak in some vegetables into something familiar sounding might be a great way to get more nutrients into picky eaters.
Golden acorn squash provides vitamins A, C, some folate and B vitamins, while the oats and whole wheat flour provide fiber. The longest part of this recipe is cooking the squash, so plan a weekend day when you will be home for a few hours to make these muffins.
To start with, buy a full, uncooked golden acorn squash. These can typically be found at any grocery store in the fall and winter.
Once you get home, wash the squash and cut it in half.
Place it in a baking dish and add some water -- enough to fill up the baking dish ¼ of the way full.
Bake the squash at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes. Once the squash is done, let it cool enough so you can handle it (about 20-25 minutes) and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit to cook the muffins.
While the squash is cooling, you can start mixing together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour to help add to the nutritious content of the muffins.
Whole wheat flour can be subbed for all-purpose flour in any recipe as long as you don’t mind a denser final product.
Otherwise, you can boost the nutrient quality of any dish by using replacing ½ of the all-purpose flour quantity with whole wheat flour. For example, a recipe that calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour could be changed to include ½ a cup of all-purpose flour and ½ a cup of whole wheat flour.
Once the squash has cooled, deseed the squash. Then, scoop out the soft yellow flesh of the squash to use in the muffin recipe – you will need 1 cup.
Now you can combine the squash and the remaining wet ingredients into a small bowl. Then add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and mix together.
Lightly oil a muffin tin and use a ¼ cup scoop and evenly distribute the muffin batter into all 12 muffin tin cups – each cup should be about ¾ of the way full. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes and let your family dig in!
To make these muffins go farther, make a double batch and freeze and store them for 2-3 months! You can defrost some frozen muffins on mornings your family needs a quick, healthy breakfast. Pair with some fruit, yogurt and some milk for a filling breakfast that is sure to give your family the energy boost they need to start the day off right!
http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Gold_Acorn_Squash_4141.phpGolden Acorn Squash Cinnamon Oat Muffins
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden acorn squash, baked and deseeded
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg