By Rose Reisman

PEAR CINNAMON STREUSAL MUFFINS

Both the pears and the applesauce keep these muffins moist without using any excess fat. You can try flavored applesauce as long as there's no added sugar.

Streusal Topping
· 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
· 3 Tbsp large rolled oats
· 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
· Pinch of cinnamon
· 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
· 1 1/2 tsp water

Muffins
· 1/4 cup vegetable oil
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· 1 large egg
· 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
· 3 Tbsp low-fat sour cream
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
· 1 tsp baking powder
· 2 tsp baking soda
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· Pinch of salt
· 3/4 cup peeled and finely chopped diced ripe pears

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. To make the streusel topping, combine the brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, oil and water in a bowl. Mix together with a fork and set aside.
3. To make the muffins, combine the oil, sugar, egg, applesauce and sour cream in a large bowl and beat with a whisk or electric mixer until well combined.
4. In another bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry mixture into the applesauce mixture until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not overmix. Add the pears and fold in.
5. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the tops. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (1 muffin) 
Calories 199
Protein 3 g
Fat 6.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Carbohydrates 34 g
Cholesterol 19 mg
Sodium 132 mg
Fiber 1.3 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12

Make Ahead: Can be baked a day in advance, or baked and kept frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Watch: Pears are a good source of vitamin C and copper. Both of these nutrients can be thought of as antioxidants that help protect cells in the body from oxygen-related damage due to free radicals. The fiber in pears helps prevent constipation and ensure regularity.


BANANA AND DATE MUFFINS

I like to use bananas in my baking because they add volume and moisture, which allows me to use far less oil or butter. They also give muffins a deliciously distinct flavor. Buy your dates in bulk and keep them in the freezer . . . forever! Use scissors lightly coated with cooking spray to chop them.

· 1/4 cup vegetable oil
· 2/3 cup granulated sugar
· 1 large ripe banana, mash (about 1/2 cup)
· 1 large egg
· 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
· 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
· 1 tsp baking soda
· Pinch of salt
· 3/4 cup chopped dried dates

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugar, banana, egg, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk together until well combined.
3. In another bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and dates. Stir well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for about 14 minutes, or until the tops are firm and a tester inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (1 muffin) 

Calories 176
Protein 2 g
Fat 5.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 30 g
Cholesterol 18 mg
Sodium 209 mg
Fiber 1.6 g

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 14 minutes
Serves: 12

Make Ahead: Bake up to a day in advance or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Watch: Fresh dates are a premium source of vitamin C. They are fat free, cholesterol free and a good source of fiber. Dates have a number of other vitamins including A1, B1, B2, B3 and B5, and more than 20 different amino acids, which help us to digest carbohydrates more easily and control blood-sugar levels and the content of fatty acids in our bodies.


ROSE REISMAN
is an entrepreneur whose strength lies in recognizing the ever-changing needs of the wellness marketplace. She is an author, health and wellness consultant, caterer, public speaker, media personality, and mother of four children. For more articles like this one, please visit http://www.artoflivingwell.ca/



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