Alien-Fighting Fuel: Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Husband and I hung out with our awesome friend Evan on Monday, and had a fantastic time.  We made baked goods, bowled in the living room, played Go Fish and flew to the moon.  Oh, did I fail to mention that Even is 4?

When I lived in LA, I was always nannying or babysitting for someone’s kids (and yes, there is a difference between the two). One thing I loved to do with my kiddos was bake and cook.  Cooking with children gives them an opportunity to make choices (chocolate chips or raisins?), be creative (of COURSE your shamrock cookie can be orange!) and teaches them dinner can be fun and delicious, not a battle for 5 straight meals of mac n cheese. By allowing kids to help tear lettuce or mash the sweet potatoes, they can feel a sense of control over their diet and will be introduced to new foods in a fun way. It’s a win win!

{“Evan, do you want to add cranberries or walnuts?” “BOTH!” Boy after my own heart.}

So, off to the kitchen Evan and I went to make vegan protein Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins.  They were easy to make together, me measuring and Even pouring and mixing.  Plus, they bake in less than 30 minutes. Evan loved seeing them come out of the oven – after all, he made them!!

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Makes 12

DRY INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (I use Body Fortress)
1 t salt
1 T baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C dried cranberries, set aside
1/4 C chopped walnuts, set aside

WET INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 Cups pumpkin puree (canned, unsweetened)
1/4 C almond milk
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C agave or maple syrup
1 “flax egg” (whisk together: 1/4 cup water + 1 tsp flax seeds). If you aren’t baking vegan, use a regular ol’ egg.
1/3 C apple sauce
3 T virgin coconut oil, melted (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or coat lightly with oil.
2. Combine the dry ingredients, minus craisins and nuts, in a large mixing bowl.
3. Fold in the wet. Tip: let the flax egg mixture stand for 2 minutes before folding in to plump the seeds.
4. Gently fold in the cranberries and nuts.
5. Pour the batter in the muffin tins – fill them high.
6. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the outside is toasty to touch and inside bakes through.
7. Allow to cool.
Serve and enjoy! Store muffins on counter for a day – covered. Or store in fridge for a few days. These muffins can also be frozen and reheated if needed.

{I built Husband and Evan a spaceship so they could protect me from aliens.
So nice of them.}

What is your favorite muffin “add-in”? Fruit, nuts, chocolate maybe?

Do you have an alien problem?  We seem to. Thank goodness Evan is also an astronaut and can go to space to ask the bay guys to be good guys.  Works every time.

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