Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

I hope that everyone had a great weekend! Sorry that I didn't get a post up yesterday, but I was enjoying a day off from...everything! On Saturday and Sunday, Shaun and I did lots of work around the apartment, including a complete makeover of our entryway coat closet. A few trips to Home Depot, a coat of BM's Stonington Gray, some new shelves, and we're in business for a sweet and spacious closet. Hurrah! But by Monday morn, I was pretty spent. Meanwhile, though I took the day off from life (and may have spent much of the afternoon catching up on Parenthood), I still managed to get myself in the kitchen to cook up a few things to share.

With a bag of blueberries in my freezer (I bought them fresh and then realized that I don't actually like them unless in the form of a baked good), I had a jonesing for some blueberry muffins. And to make these healthy, I changed out a slew of ingredients. While these aren't exactly a dessert muffin, they are perfect for breakfast or on-the-go and are guilt-free to boot. Oh and I almost forgot to tell you that they are virtually sugar free too!

Although we woke up to an inch of snow, I just had summer on the brain, so I brought out my sweet yellow baking cups which were not only cheery, but also mimicked the fresh lemon in the muffins. And I just love how the blueberries burst to make a pretty pattern seeping through. There's just something about lemon and berry that just reminds me of warm weather! Oh and I should mention that I'd never worked with whole wheat pastry flour before, but, while a bit grainy, they kept these muffins nice and light, rather than dense as regular ol' whole wheat flour would have.

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Muffins
*Adapted heavily from Betty Crocker
1 tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend
3/4 C almond milk
1/4 C applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 C blueberries

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line your muffin tin. I also like to set out all of my ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk the milk (I used almond, but any of your choice will do!), Splenda, applesauce, honey, egg, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.

With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix until just combined. Measure out and fold in the blueberries.

Fill 12 muffin cups equally, about 3/4 full.

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

Serve and enjoy immediately (or cool on a wire rack). These are great warm with a tiny bit of light butter and/or cinnamon sugar. Though these aren't sweet in the slightest (these are healthy muffins people!), the blueberries give a burst of juicy flavor that I simply love. For a sweeter muffin, I recommend adding more Splenda blend or even a sugar topping. And to make this more decadent, substitute whole milk and oil for the almond milk and applesauce.

So there you have it. A healthy muffin that couldn't be easier to throw together. I will undoubtedly be enjoying one of these for breakfast tomorrow! So what do you think? What foods or flavors remind you of warm weather?

Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

This past weekend, Shaun and I had a major jonesing to deviate from our usual scrambled eggs breakfast. Instead of our usual weekend fare, we decided that pancakes were in order. After an exhausting week, there's really nothing quite like homemade pancakes on a Sunday morning. Though I have certainly tackled hot cakes of the boxed variety, I had yet to make my very own. I decided to add a little twist to the basic buttermilk, making them even more special with some fresh additions that made the pancakes go from 'eh' to 'mmmm'. Let's get down to the goods...

Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
2 C all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 C buttermilk
1/4 C melted butter
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries (I used the frozen kind)

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix the eggs and buttermilk together. Melt the butter and let cool for a few seconds. Add to the buttermilk and eggs (Note: beware when adding hot anything to eggs - it tends to make them scramble. Make sure it sits for at least a few seconds before combining). Add vanilla and lemon zest. Combine this with the flour mixture and mix just until combined. The batter will still be lumpy, but overmixing will cause tough, unfabulous pancakes. In a skillet or griddle, heat butter. Add batter and sprinkle the tops with blueberries (as many as you like). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until desired goldenness is reached. Serve with maple syrup and garnish with blueberries.
Oh, and since I still had buttermilk taking up space in my fridge from my Easter Pink Coconut Cupcakes, this was the perfect solution to using up almost the entire carton of leftovers. Though my cakes turned out a little more browned than I typically enjoy, the taste was perfection. Crispy on the outside, yet fluffy and cakelike on the inside, these pancakes are one for the permanent collection. Just a hint of lemon and vanilla gave these pancakes the extra oompffh they needed to really sing.

And if you just aren't into fruit in your pancakes (after all, I'm only a recent convert), something tells me that they'd be completely fabulous by replacing the lemon and blueberry with chocolate chips or even just a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and some chopped pecans.

So there you have it. A basic yet decadent Sunday breakfast. But what I really want to know is, how do you like your pancakes?