Many of you know I used to be a supermarket dietitian. It was such an amazing experience, but I was ready to move on after three years, as I was offered the opportunity to start making a change in the lives of college students, my absolute favorite age group with whom to work. I still sometimes miss being in the aisles, helping customers read and understand food labels, and also handing out delicious samples of new unique foods. But it’s also fun now to be the customer and go into my old store to visit the dietitian. Sure, it’s bitter sweet (that was once me, is she doing a better job?! Do my favorite customers and team members have the same special bond with her now??) but I knew I had to move on eventually. One of my favorite things to do when I go in there is browse the new recipes. We were always sent new recipes, each month, from the corporate office to handout to customers and to display on our table. I always looked forward to the day we received the recipes in the mail because they were almost always fantastic. About a month ago I grabbed this recipe for Orange-Date Pumpkin Muffins. I was skeptical at first (orange, date, and pumpkin?!) but trust me when I say they were simply delicious (especially when pipping hot out of the oven!).
True story, I made these muffins once with prunes. You see, that’s all I had in the house and I didn’t want to go out and get dates. They were just as good with the prunes (or should I say, “dried plums”). So, dates, prunes, whatever you have, they will work in this recipe.
- 2 cups oat bran flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 large seedless orange, scrubbed and cut into 8 sections (peel left on)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- ⅔ cup canned, unseasoned pumpkin puree (look for one without BPA) **
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1.5 Tbsp. nonfat yogurt
- ⅔ cup chopped pitted dates **
- 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts (or almonds)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 12 standard 21/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Puree orange sections in a food processor. To the food processor add egg, egg white, pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup and yogurt; process until smooth. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and dates, and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and top with the walnuts.
- Bake the muffins until the tops spring back when touched lightly; 15-18 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Nutrition Highlights: Under 200 calories, good source of fiber and vitamin C (15% DV vitamin C), excellent source of vitamin A (44% DV).
I often get asked what kind of butter or margarine I use. I have a strong preference for Smart Balance products. I just really love the way they taste, and I like that they are functional foods; ie: they add omega-3, or flax, or olive oil, or….you get it. Now, I wouldn’t say it’s ever enough to really make a difference (because, it’s not), but I still like the idea that Nick and I are getting little extra omega-3 when we use their products. I also like their light margarines, and their margarine/butter blend baking sticks. And keep in mind all of their products are free of hydrogenated oils.
I think you will love these muffins as much as we did. Honestly, the margarine we smeared on top of these weren’t even necessary, they were so moist and flavorful already.
Stay tuned for Friday’s post, which will be all about how you can start changing your environment for weight loss and management success. Enjoy your Thursday!