Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spinach Muffins... Two Ways! Savory vs. Sweet

Did you know Spinach Is One of the Most Nutritious Foods Available?

"Low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence, according to Livestrong.com. One cup of the leafy green vegetable contains far more than your daily requirements of vitamin K and vitamin A, almost all the manganese and folate your body needs and nearly 40 percent of your magnesium requirement. It is a good, very good or excellent source of more than 20 different measurable nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium and protein."
Read more: Go to article


Health Benenfits of Spinach:
Supports Diet - One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
Anti-Cancer - Flavonoids -- a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties abundant in spinach -- have been shown to slow down cell division in human stomach and skin cancer cells. Furthermore, spinach has shown significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.
Anti-Inflammatory - Neoxanthin and violaxanthin are two anti-inflammatory epoxyxanthophylls that play an important role in regulation of inflammation and are present in unusual amounts in spinach.
Antioxidants -
The vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium present in spinach all serve as powerful antioxidants that combat the onset of osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.
Lowers Blood Pressure - By inhibiting the angiotensin I-converting enzyme, peptides within spinach have been shown to effectively lower blood pressure.
Supports Vision - Both antioxidants
lutein and zeaxanthin are especially plentiful in spinach and protect the eye from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Supports Immune System - One cup of spinach contains over 337% of the RDA of vitamin A that not only protects and strengthens "entry points" into the human body, such as mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts, but is also a key component of lymphocytes (or white blood cells) that fight infection.
Promotes Healthy Skin - The high amount of vitamin A in spinach also promotes healthy skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis, thus fighting psoriasis, keratinization, acne and even wrinkles.
Supports Bones - One cup of boiled spinach provides over 1000% of the RDA of vitamin K that can prevent excess activation of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bones), as well as promote the synthesis of osteocalcin, the protein that is essential for maintaining the strength and density of our bones.
Heart Healthy -
Vitamin K is a crucial component of the process called carboxylation, which produces the matrix Gla protein that directly prevents calcium from forming in tissue. Eating one cup of spinach contributes to this process that fights atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Supports Brain and Nervous Function - The abundance of vitamin K in spinach contributes greatly to a healthy nervous system and brain function by providing an essential part for the synthesis of sphingolipids, the crucial fat that makes up the Myelin sheath around our nerves.

Via http://www.organicfacts.net

A large and untouched bag of nutrient-rich baby spinach has been laying at the bottom of the vegetable drawer since my last grocery shop... looking more and more sad every day. I try to avoid throwing anything away, so I incorporate perishables into a recipe (or two) before they can go bad! I know this spinach's days are numbered... it's time for it to be transformed into something delicious before it becomes a slimey, smelly, un-edible mess.

I wanted to try a muffin recipe using the 'super-food' spinach, but couldn't decide between a savory or sweet version... so I made both! And since both versions are packed with lots of nutrients from the spinach (Vitamin K, Vitamin A, dietary fiber), both muffins would be great for a healthy grab-and-go breakfast!


Spinach, Bacon, & Cheese Egg Muffins (Gluten Free)
original recipe from thescienceofeating.com

Ingredients:
6 eggs/12 egg whites
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. onion, finely diced (I use 1/2 tsp. onion powder)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbs. bacon bits
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tbs. non fat plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. pepper (or to taste)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a pan, heat olive oil.
3. Add onion & garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 more minutes.
5. Mix in the bacon bits & set aside.
6. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs/egg whites, greek yogurt, & cheese. Season with the salt and pepper.
7. Add the spinach and bacon mixture and stir until well-combined.
8. Either use a silicone muffin pan or lightly spray some muffin liners in a muffin pan with non-stick spray.
9. Evenly distribute the egg mixture amongst each muffin tin, fill each about ¾ of the way full.
10. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops of the muffins have turned a very light golden brown.

Other Ingredient Options:
Mushrooms, Red or Green Peppers, Red pepper flakes


The great part about these muffins is that you could use so many different fillings in them... and you can make them in advance to grab on the go! Just warm a couple muffins up in the microwave for about 30 seconds and you’ll have a delicious, light and healthy breakfast to start your day.  These savory spinach muffins taste just as delicious as they look... you'd never know you were eating a nutrient-rich, low-carb, high-protein muffin! Good way to start the day :)



Here is the sweet spinach muffin recipe....


Spinach Cake Muffins
original recipe from weelicious.com

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and puree.
3. Place the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and combine.
4. Pour the spinach puree in a large mixing bowl.
5. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
6. Scoop batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 of the way.
7. Bake for 20 minutes.

These muffins should be called 'Grinch Muffins"... they turn out a fun, bright green color! But..... (yes, there's a but) I'm not sure how I feel about the taste. I do like them... however, I think they can be improved.  Maybe they need some more sugar?  A dash of nutmeg? Add some dried cranberries? I'm definitely going to have to play with this recipe some more!  On the up-side, these spinach muffins are light, fluffy, and cake-like. The texture is perfect!  You could eat one as a quick, nutrient-rich breakfast or dessert... they are a healthier option to satisfy a baked-good craving (I can't be the only one who has those?!).  I really like the idea of using spinach in a sweet bread... so PLEASE try this recipe, come back and comment with your thoughts, changes and possible ways to improve it.  I'd love thee feedback!


These are some muffins that would make Pop-Eye proud. ;)

Cheers to Superfood Spinach!
Xo,
Janel

1 comment:

  1. Calcium, Iron, Selenium, Vanadyl Sulfate, Boron, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Thiamin, Robofalvin, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Cyano-cobalmin, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid and Vitamin C
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