Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Strawberry Muffins

This past weekend I was so thrilled to have one of my best friends, Cassie, visiting from Minnesota. Running the Gasparilla 15k was the main attraction, but my incessant need to plan a detailed schedule kept us busy (just the way I like it). Skyping our other friend a world away in Africa reminded me of how wonderful it is to have such fabulous friends. The kind of friend who knows everything about you and loves you anyway. The kind of friend that you haven't seen in a year and when you do reconnect, it's like you never missed a beat. Life gets ridiculously hectic and often times we don't cherish those sweet friendships enough. Needless to say, I was so grateful for this weekend.

On that note, during our ventures this weekend we scored a whole flat of strawberries at the Strawberry Festival! If the exclamation point doesn't describe my pure excitement for so much strawberry goodness, my bugged eyes will do the trick.

Still excited about the most strawberries I've taken home, my mind began racing with recipe ideas. Cassie rocked the temperature transition so well I was inspired to make a muffin that was "tropical." Looks like that will be in the future line up as I didn't have any of the typical tropical ingredients like coconut (put the lime in the coconut...) or pineapple.

Sweet, back to the drawing board. Ah! That's it...sweet strawberries and a weekend with sweet, fabulous friends. Muffins are my go to for any baked good. I'm not sure if it's just that eating a snack size mini muffin is so much fun, or that I can amp up the muffin nutrition. I usually pump up the fiber using whole wheat flour and flaxseeds. Applesauce or fruit add moisture without any added oils. That makes them healthier for you than most muffins, but just as delicious. They turned out dense, sweet and with a moist burst of strawberry sensation.

Strawberry Muffins

2 cups chopped strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 3-4 tablespoons water to get an "egg like" consistency
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour (1 cup whole wheat, 3/4 cup all purpose)
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Start you engines....preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
2. In a small bowl, combine chopped strawberries with an additional 2 tablespoons of sugar to pull the juices from the berries.
3. Blend sugar, applesauce, and flaxseed mixture in mixing bowl.
4. Stir dry ingredients together in separate bowl and then pour into mixing bowl.
5. Gently fold in the strawberries and any liquid. Pour batter into prepared full size or mini muffin tins.
6. Bake in preheated oven 12-15 minutes, or until tops are firm and bounce back when touched.

Serve warm or cool on wire rack for later and cherish the natural sweetness. :)

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