Healthier Hummingbird Muffins

There’s this divine, mouth-watering cupcake place not too far from my office that first turned me onto “hummingbird” baked goods. Their scrumptious hummingbird cupcakes are filled with fresh banana, pineapple chunks, and vanilla – three of my favorite flavors. For the sake of my skinny jeans, I only allow myself to pass through this cupcake place very rarely and let myself have a hummingbird cupcake as a treat. So when I saw a recipe for hummingbird muffins in one of my running magazines, I jumped at the opportunity of making a more figure-friendly version of one of my favorite indulgences (in fact, I went to the grocery store at 7:00 a.m. the next morning to get a couple ingredients I didn’t have just so I could make them that day).

These hummingbird muffins absolutely fill the craving for a sweet, delicious treat without any of the guilt. I swap sugar for Splenda in this recipe, and I top them with oats and nuts instead of frosting like their cupcake counterparts. Healthier honey and fruits ratchet the sweetness factor up many notches, so it’s an easy swap for a tempting donut or danish. Plus, baking these in cupcake tins makes this the perfect breakfast to go. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee and get your morning off to a delicious, healthy start!

Delicious, sweet, and much better for you than any donut!

Delicious, sweet, and much better for you than any donut!

What you’ll need:

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup crushed, drained pineapple
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the crumble:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour

What you’ll need to do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and honey in a large bowl, microwave at 50% power for about 45 seconds and then stir.

This is what your honey-sugar mixture should look like after it's heated and combined.

This is what your honey-sugar mixture should look like after it’s heated and combined.

Whisk in eggs one at a time until smooth. Add oil and applesauce and whisk. Add fruits and vanilla and whisk again. The mixture should be mostly smooth with only small chunks of banana and pineapple. Set this mixture aside.

In another mixing bowl, combing flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pecans.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly.

In a separate bowl, combine all the crumble ingredients and set aside.

This is what your crumble should look like.

This is what your crumble should look like.

Prep two cupcake trays with nonstick spray or liners (I used liners). Lesson learned when I made these – they’re really sticky so if you decide to go the spray route, make sure you spray the pan really well! Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.

I like cooking these in cupcake tins so that I can have 1, or even 2 if I'm extra hungry, without feeling guilty.

I like cooking these in cupcake tins so that I can have 1, or even 2 if I’m extra hungry, without feeling guilty.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

**Need to do something else with those steel-cut oats? Try out my Perfect Oatmeal or my Overnight Oatmeal with Bananas and Coconut Milk.

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Overnight Oatmeal with Bananas and Coconut Milk

Recently, I have become obsessed with coconut milk. Not only is it super healthy because it’s high in Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and Magnesium (and surprisingly low-calorie, too!),but it’s also a great dairy-alternative. Coconut milk is creamy with a hint of sweetness, so it tastes like an indulgent treat. I can’t help but gulp down glass after glass of this stuff. I drink it plain, put it in my coffee, and even bake with it. So when I came across a slow cooker oatmeal recipe that uses coconut milk, I knew I had to try it.

The best part about this recipe (aside from the use of coconut milk): It takes about 5 minutes to prep before you to go to sleep, and then you have a hot, tasty breakfast waiting for you when you wake up in the morning. This oatmeal is perfect for an easy weekend breakfast if you have a busy day ahead of you, it’s great for a lazy day off of work, or it’s easy to take to work for a yummy breakfast on the run. Another perk? It’s another way to use up extra bananas that I always seem to have in my kitchen.  So eat up and enjoy this guilt-free indulgent treat.

Surprisingly, this is very filling, too! A little bit goes a long way, and it helps curb my typical mid-morning cravings.

What you’ll need:
2 ripe bananas, sliced
3 1/2 cups coconut milk (my favorite is So Delicious Coconut Milk, Original)
1/2 cup water
1 cup oats, not instant (Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, for example)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

What you’ll need to do:

Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray so the oatmeal doesn’t stick. Add all your ingredients and stir. Set your slow cooker on low and go enjoy a long, restful night of sleep – the oatmeal takes at least 7-8 hours.

I was a little worried about it being too runny at first, but my fears were assuaged when I woke up to creamy oatmeal.

When you wake up in the morning, your oatmeal will be ready to go.

Look at those caramelized bananas. Such a sweet morning treat!

Scoop into a bowl, add any toppings that suit your fancy (but don’t add sugar or syrup, this is already really sweet), and enjoy! All for about 250 calories.

I added walnuts to the top of my oatmeal for a little texture (and because I had extras in my cupboard!). Pecans or raisins would also be a delicious addition.

Easy, Yummy Banana Bread

I always buy a big bunch of bananas with the best intentions of eating all of them. But I always forget that I like bananas best when they’re bright yellow with a slight twinge of green. And by day 7, whatever bananas I have left are slightly brown and spotted. While these are not my ideal bananas to eat individually, these bananas are prime for banana bread.

So, after years of buying big bunches of bananas with the best intentions, I always inevitably end up with at least 2 bananas left to make a loaf banana bread.

Banana bread is such a delicious, easy way to use up ripe bananas before they go bad. Plus, you've just made an extra-special breakfast for the week!

What you’ll need (for 1 loaf):
2 very ripe bananas – the browner and more spotted, the better
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda (I actually use Splenda for a healthier twist)
1  teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

See those spotty bananas? Those are perfect banana bread bananas.

What you’ll need to do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together your eggs and sugar (meaning, beat those eggs and sugar on high for a couple minutes with an electric beater; or if you don’t have an electric beater then use a whisk to whip them together until thoroughly combined). Stir in mashed bananas (or, you could add them in and mash them as you go), vanilla, vegetable oil, and cinnamon. I like to leave my bananas a little chunky in the wet mixture because it gives you a little pop of pure, yummy banana flavor when you bite into the bread.

Those chunks of bananas are what make your banana bread extra special!

Slowly stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture, adding 1/3 of the dry mixture at a time. Combine the two mixtures until just combined – don’t over-mix, you want to leave some chunks of banana! Lastly, stir in your chopped walnuts.

Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Then, use the toothpick trick to check if your bread is done (if the toothpick comes out smoothly, it’s done; if it comes out wet, stick your loaf back in the oven for a few minutes and then re-test).

The dough is ready to go in the pan. You can see little chunks of banana, chopped walnuts, and speckled with cinnamon. It's definitely a long 45 minute wait!

After the bread is finished, I cut it up in slices, cover the pieces with plastic wrap, and then enjoy all week for an easy breakfast on the go!