Fruit and Veggie Muffin Fun

or how to feed a fickle toddler who wants to live on carbs and fruit

Everyone goes through phases when they enjoy certain foods more than others, but none are so passionate in this as the average toddler.  They may go from an all fruit diet one week to all green beans all the time the next week with no rhyme or reason that we can identify.  Is it because the food has somehow offended them?  Is there a tiny warning siren going off in their ear when they consume too many nutritious foods in one day?  We have made so many efforts to keep healthy foods in our child's diet but it isn't always easy and they won't always like the pure version no matter how young you start or how hard you try.  So what do you do?  Make sure the nutrients are finding their way in somehow!  Enter the veggie infusions.

I wanted to find a painless way to add more veggies to our daughter's diet, and it doesn't hurt to add them to our own as well, so I looked up some recipes that would appeal to a toddler.  What I decided to try first was the inevitable vegetable muffin.  These recipes are all over the internet so one would be hard pressed to claim complete ingenuity, but I did put a few special spins on my recipe that make it stand out.
First, most recipes shred the veggies.  This would be a no go for our little one as she would carefully pull each one of those shreds out.  Instead we steam and then puree.  Add in some unsweetened applesauce for the fruity component and you are well on your way to a tasty treat.  You can cut back on the sugar if you want, we will be in an ongoing basis, but I wanted to ensure that the initial experiences were positive so I tossed a little extra in for good measure.  The flavor is well balanced, nothing is overpowering and it isn't terribly sweet.  I could eat these all day, and so could both my husband and toddler, so I count this as a big win!  Here's how we tackled the toddler snack -

1 medium zucchini
1/2 cup carrots
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon & nutmeg combined

Hardware: food processor, mixer (I use a stand mixer, but you could use a hand mixer), muffin pans (either mini, regular, or a combination of both)

Preheat oven to 375 F

1. Peel and dive the carrots and zucchini.  Steam either on the stove or in the microwave until soft.  Add to the food processor along with the applesauce and pulse until well blended and consistently the texture of applesauce throughout.

2. Beat together the butter and sugar(s).  Beat the egg and add to the bowl along with the fruit and vegetable mixture and vanilla extract.  Stir until well combined.

3. Combine the remaining ingredients and gradually stir them into the bowl.  Once the texture is consistent throughout it is ready to bake.

4. Grease the muffin pans before adding the batter.  Fill each cup 2/3 of the way up for standard muffins, if using the mini muffin tins I fill each cup to the top.  Bake for 15 minutes for mini muffins and 18 minutes for standard muffins, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

5. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 12 mini + 12 regular sized muffins, not sure of the quantity if you did all of one type since I like to put everything in the oven at once and this is the breakdown of my available pans....