01/06/2014 08:10 EST | Updated 03/08/2014 05:59 EST

Recipe: pumpkin raisin muffins a healthy snack for those trying to eat better

Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

One of these delicious muffins makes a good snack or an easy breakfast when served with juice or fruit and an egg. These muffins also freeze well and are high in vitamin A.

500 ml (2 cups) whole-wheat flour

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

250 ml (1 cup) granulated sugar

20 ml (4 tsp) baking powder

5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda

15 ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon

5 ml (1 tsp) ground nutmeg

5 ml (1 tsp) ground ginger

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) raisins

1 can (398 ml/14 oz) pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil

500 ml (2 cups) buttermilk or soured milk (see note)

3 eggs

Heat oven to 190 C (375 F) and grease two 12-cup muffin tins or line with paper.

In a large bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and raisins.

In a separate bowl, blend together pumpkin, oil, buttermilk and eggs.

Make a large well in centre of dry ingredients; pour in wet ingredients all at once and gently fold together until just combined.

Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 22 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Makes 24 muffins.

Note: Soured milk can be used instead of buttermilk. To prepare, combine 20 ml (4 tsp) lemon juice or vinegar with 500 ml (2 cups) milk and let stand for 5 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 191 calories; 6 g total fat (0.9 g saturated fat); 155 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 32 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre.

Source: "Cook Great Food" by Dietitians of Canada (Robert Rose Inc.,, 2001).


Apple Pie Shake

This sweet treat combines two food groups — milk and fruit — for a tasty after-school snack. It could even be taken to work in a vacuum flask.

500 ml (2 cups) chilled honey applesauce (recipe below)

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) frozen vanilla yogurt or ice cream

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) 1 per cent milk

1 ml (1/4 tsp) cinnamon

In a blender, combine applesauce, yogurt, milk and cinnamon. Process until smooth.

Makes 4 or 5 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 171 calories; 4 g protein; 3 g fat; 34 g carbohydrates; 1 g fibre; 70 ml sodium.


Honey Applesauce

Applesauce is a great staple to have around. It can be eaten on its own or spooned onto pancakes, waffles ... or even a grilled pork chop.

1.5 kg (3 lb) apples, peeled, cored and sliced

175 ml (3/4 cup) unsweetened apple juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) liquid honey

In a large saucepan, bring apples and apple juice to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes or until apples are very soft. Remove from heat.

Mash with a potato masher until smooth yet with small chunks remaining. Stir in honey to desired sweetness. Let cool. (Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.)

Makes about 1 l (4 cups) or 8 servings.

Nutritional information per 125 ml (1/2 cup): 90 calories; 24 g. carbohydrates; 3 g fibre.

Source: Foodland Ontario.


Breakfast Granola Bars

These homemade granola bars are good anytime you need a high-energy treat. Instead of nuts, substitute dried cranberries, coconut, chocolate or butterscotch chips.

500 ml (2 cups) quick-cooking rolled oats

250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour

250 ml (1 cup) grated carrots

125 ml (1/2 cup) diced apple (skin on)

75 ml (1/3 cup) each roasted unsalted sunflower seeds and toasted chopped walnuts

10 ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

1 egg

125 ml (1/2 cup) canola oil

75 ml (1/3 cup) each liquid honey and packed brown sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla

Heat oven to 190 C (375 C).

Line a 3.5-l (13-by-9-inch) baking pan with foil, leaving a 5-cm (2-inch) overhang at each end; grease foil.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, carrots, apple, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg, oil, honey, sugar and vanilla until blended. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

Spoon mixture into prepared pan, press firmly into an even layer with a spatula. Bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and firm to the touch.

Let cool completely in pan on rack. Using foil overhang as handles, remove from pan and transfer to cutting board. With large knife cut into 24 bars. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Note: Freeze wrapped bars in an air-tight container. Thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes or pack frozen into lunch box.

Makes 24 bars.

Nutritional information per 1 bar: 127 calories; 2 g protein; 7 g fat; 14 g carbohydrates; 1 g fibre; 60 mg sodium.

Source: Foodland Ontario.


Potato Red Pepper Tortilla Cubes

For a low-calorie veggie snack that is not sweet, try these little potato, pepper and onion cubes.

250 ml (1 cup) diced peeled Yukon Gold potato

250 ml (1 cup) diced peeled sweet potato

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil or vegetable oil

125 ml (1/2 cup) diced sweet red pepper

175 ml (3/4 cup) diced onion

Salt and pepper

4 eggs

50 ml (1/4 cup) 18 per cent cream

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Toss Yukon Gold and sweet potato with 10 ml (2 tsp) of oil. Bake on greased baking sheet for 15 minutes or until tender. Let cool.

In medium skillet, heat 10 ml (2 tsp) of oil over high heat; saute red pepper for 4 minutes or until tender. Remove from pan.

In the same skillet, heat 10 ml (2 tsp) of remaining oil over medium-high heat; cook onion until tender and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool.

In a bowl, combine all cooked vegetables; season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat eggs with cream. Add cooked vegetables and mix thoroughly. Pour into greased 2.4-l (9-inch) square baking dish. Bake in 180 C (350 F) oven for 25 minutes or until set. Let cool. Cut into small cubes.

Serves: Makes 24 to 30 cubes

Nutritional information for 1 when recipe makes 30: 32 calories; 1 g protein; 2 g fat; 3 g carbohydrates.

Source: Foodland Ontario.