Monday, November 17, 2008

What to do with all this leftover butternut squash??

There's nothing more I dislike than wasted food, especially with the economy being the way it is. I really want the kids to start eating more veggies and fruits but I hesitate to buy something new at the store, out of fear that it will go to waste. Like avocados, navel oranges, honeydew melon, papayas, kiwis, eggplant and kale. However, they did like plums, pears, cauliflower and mushrooms. So not too much money wasted I suppose.
Last time I went shopping, I took Cole and Bella with me and I asked them to pick out something new that they would like to try. They decided on a nice, firm butternut squash. I happen to love squash...all kinds of squash....but since I'm the only one who generally eats it, I end up eating squash for days on end and then even I get a little sick of it. So it turns out that neither of them like butternut squash and I was left with a whole bunch of squash....what to do? what to do? I threw some of it in some macaroni and cheese, which the kids raved about. Made me laugh in an evil kind of way..."hahahaha, I put butternut squash in the mac-n-cheese and you all are eating it...hahaaaa". But that left me with another cup of squash.
That got me to thinking..."hmmmm, butternut squash kinda reminds me of pumpkin" so what about making butternut squash muffins. I figured the kids would totally go for that. What kid doesn't like muffins? But, at the same time, I wanted to make healthy muffins, if there is such a thing. And if the kids wanted to help me, would they turn their noses up at all the healthy substitutions? I guess there was only one way to find out.

I gathered up all the ingredients and placed them on the counter....and yelled out to the kids, "who wants to help me make some really yummy muffins?"

So we had skim milk, oat bran, flour, baking powder, eggs (only the whites), pureed butternut squash, sugar, salt, canola oil, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. The Wellbutrin in the medicine bottle in the background is not included in the recipe, though I suspect if I crushed up a few and threw them in, I'd be feeling mighty fine after about 2 muffins.

Oh and two 4-year olds who had obviously started to play with the flour....

After preheating the oven to 400 degrees and spraying some Pam in the muffin pan, we got started. First we mixed all the dry ingredients into one bowl (used half oat bran and half regular white flour....could probably use whole wheat flour instead but I wasn't sure if it would make the texture too heavy) and mixed well, as demonstrated by one of my lovely assistants.

Then we mixed all the wet ingredients (used 2 egg whites as substitution for 1 whole egg, and used canola oil instead of butter) in a separate bowl, as demonstrated by my other lovely assistant.

Once all those ingredients are mixed together, we put in the pureed butternut squash. Cole asked, "yuck, what is that stuff?" and I said "it's my secret makes the muffins really sweet". Bella asked, "what's it called?" and I said "it's a secret...that's the whole point of a not tell anyone". I knew at any mention of squash, they'd run for the hills and even if the muffins did look delicious, they would refuse to touch them so I had to come up with something. When they had questioned me about the ground flaxseed, I explained to them that it's something that helps them grow taller. They were okay with that so I told them that the secret ingredient not only would make the muffins extra sweet but it would also help them grow. They gave me their approval, as I dumped the squash into the bowl of wet ingredients.

Then we mixed the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. While it smelled heavenly, it looked pretty nasty. This is when Cole pretended to gag over the bowl, as he said, "Hey Bella, watch this...." and then he pointed to the contents of the bowl and said "I puked...hahahaha". Nice. Boys will be boys.

Then we poured the mix into the muffin pan and my lovely assistants coerced me into sprinkling the tops of the muffins with some brown sugar and cinnamon. I did have to admit it sounded pretty good.

And then my lovely assistants dug their fingers into the empty bowl and scooped up whatever batter they could find left and licked their fingers cleaned. The mom in me wanted to scream out "NOOOO, don't do that....there's raw egg in there, you could die of salmonella poisoning" but the kid in me said "oh, what the hell....they're little kids" and I prayed like a crazy woman that I wouldn't be visiting the ER later this evening with 2 sick kids.

The muffins baked for 20 minutes and they were done. The house smelled so wonderful, like a combination of pumpkin pie and cinammon. Once they were semi-cooled down, I cut one in half for them and put a dab of Promise Active spread on it because what is a warm muffin without the melted butter??

So yummy!!! The kids loved them....even the little twins, who are pickier than the older two, believe it or not. I had to laugh as Cole said, in between bites, "I think it's the secret ingredient that makes them so good" and Bella agreed. I laughed to myself, thinking these were the same kids who last night swore up and down that butternut squash had to have been created by the devil, it was THAT horrible tasting to them. Here's Bella, eating a muffin after dinner, giving me the "thumbs up"....she approves. Tim ate one after dinner, too, and agreed that they were pretty darn good. High-five for Mom for not letting any butternut squash go to waste!!

Here's the recipe in case anyone wants to give it a whirl:
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar (I normally would use Splenda but I didn't have any left)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cinammon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 cup pureed butternut squash
3/4 cup milk (I used skim milk but you could use soy milk or rice milk)
2 egg whites
1 tbsp canola oil
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin pan.
2) In a large bowl, mix together flour, oat bran, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmet and flaxseed.
3) In separate bowl, mix together milk, canola oil and egg whites. Stir in squash. Then pour this in with the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened (don't just want to make sure all the ingredients are combined well)
4) Pour the batter into the greased muffin pan. You can sprinkle the tops with a light mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon if you'd like. And then bake for 20 minutes and test for doneness by sticking a knife in the middle of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, the muffins are done. Let them cool and then snack away....yum! This is a fun baking project to do with the kids, especially on a rainy day!


Joy said...

That's so cute, way to go on getting them to eat it!
PS-my girls have that same shirt that Bella is wearing :)

Chatabox Girl said...

Wow those sound delicious. Bravo on hiding the squash so well! And even better that the whole family loved them.

I never think twice about licking the bowl out. It is the best part! But we have to keep our eggs refrigerated here so they don’t go off. Im hoping that’s the reason why I haven’t been poisoned. Because it seriously is the best part of making a cake. Especially chocolate :)

Tabbatha Rose said...

Good thinking! I bet you could even try it with sweet potato.

There is a Blogger patch for you on my blog. *wink*

mrsbear said...

Pure genius. EVIL genius that is. They sound yum. I have a recipe for butternut squash soup that is lovely. I'm glad my kids are not the only finicky ones. I'll have to try the mac n' cheese idea.

Anonymous said...

Great job! I love all kinds of squashes also. your little assistants are too cute. Good idea mommy!

Hajar said...

Butternut squash is my secret ingredient in a lot of food. I put mashed squash in polenta, I thicken soup broths with it, I mix it with my boiled oat bran in the morning... It's a fairly easy one to sneak in and no one is the wiser. Butternut squash is creamier and slightly sweeter than pumpkin, so it can be a really 'sly devil.' Mwa-ha-ha-haaaa! You rock with the 'Mama tricks'!

Hajar said...

By the way... a peeled and sliced or diced eggplant cooks down so well it can actually disappear into a tomato-based sauce or soup!

ParentingPink said...

Wow! I'm not a big "squash" fan, but I have to say those muffins look yummy! And your children look like wonderful little helpers :-)

barb said...

What a great idea....they just sound so yummy!

Creative Junkie said...

wow - what a great mom you are, to take the time and effort to make these, and they're healthy too!

and you have two sets of twins

and a clean pantry.

I am so not worthy.

Tara @ Feels like home said...

They look like such great helpers! I am going to include this post in my weekly Things to Write Home About.

And, I also gave you an award on my blog. :)

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Thanks for the recipe. Sounds good & loved the pictures!

Anonymous said...

I have just discovered your blog and I am stunned. You are (as we say in new zealand) a bloody legend!!!. 2 sets of twins and the energy and motivation to come up with exciting and healthy ways of feeding your children. I have 2 children both singletons and I am a lazy slob in comparison. I take my hat off to you.

If you wanted more squash recipes theres that book called deceptively delicious or something like that, its has alot of recipes that hide veges like squash a spinach etc... one being chocolate brownie.

thanks for your recipe
keep up the good mummy work

Doré said...

way to get one over on them mom!! You are always full of such good ideas!

twinmama said...

I will do might be a Thanksgiving contribution.

You are awesome.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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