Pineapple Muffins

This recipe was the result of my attempt to use up a bunch of crushed pineapple I had leftover. I debated between a cake and a muffin. The more I considered the options, the more I was leaning towards a muffin. Ultimately, one has to think of the end users – in this case, primarily my kids.

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Muffins are a great grab ‘n go breakfast item – especially if they are homemade with some love added to it in the form of healthier ingredients. This was you don’t feel like your kids are eating cupcake for breakfast.

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This is a rather simple recipe that could be put together in a jiffy. I actually made these while also preparing dinner.

Pineapple Muffins

  • Servings: 12
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1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon ground flax
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 eggs
1/2 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, thaw and drain)
1 tablespoon flour

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Combine all dry ingredients from flour till baking powder in a large bowl.
3. Lightly whisk eggs and combine with crushed pineapple, oil, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl.
4. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir gently to combine.
5. Coat blueberries in a tablespoon of flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the muffins.
6. Slowly stir in the berries.
7. Scoop the batter and fill a 12-muffin pan almost to full. You can either use a paper liner or spray the pan with non stick spray. I went with latter to get a nice golden color.
8. Bake for about 18-20 minutes till muffin tests done (insert toothpick and see if it comes out clean).
9. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and remove for storage.

Coconut-Pineapple Flan

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My love for flan, crème brulee, caramel pudding – whatever you call it- dates all the way back to my childhood. It was one of those treats we kids devoured no matter what else was around. Those days, I grew up eating the version made with tons of whole eggs, condensed milk and sugar. Using all those eggs and condensed milk results in a delicious “pudding” that is firmer and “sliceable”. Growing up, I remember my mom making this caramel pudding and slicing it up to serve. It had the decadence of a crème brulee with the satisfaction of relishing on a slice of cake. Mmmmm….

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These days, since I am trying to cut down on carbs, especially sugar, I wanted to attempt a recipe that was not so calorific, yet satisfies the sweet tooth. I know I can NEVER give up on desserts. That to me is like depriving myself of oxygen – ok maybe not that desperate but close enough. Only thing that seems to work for me is finding lower calorie substitutes in my recipes. With that in mind, I attempted a flan recipe with low fat milk, lite coconut milk and some splenda. Since a light caramel sauce is a “must” for a good flan, I took the traditional route with regular refined sugar but reduced the overall amount of sauce.

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Lastly, instead of the traditional vanilla flavor, I opted for coconut pineapple combination for a tropical flair – to go with the balmy 50F in the middle of winter!

The resulting flan, crème brulee or caramel pudding – again whatever you want to call it- was velvety smooth, light and had a nice tropical flavor. Just what I was looking for!

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Coconut-Pineapple Flan

  • Servings: 4
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For Flan:
1/2 cup 1% or skim milk
7 oz unsweetened coconut milk, preferably the lite version
1/3 cup granulated Splenda
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons crushed pineapple, drained

For caramel glaze:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare caramel by heating the sugar and water till sugar starts to caramelize. Make sure you don’t scorch the sugar.
3. Transfer the cooked caramel to a 6″ baking pan and sprinkle with crushed pineapple. Set aside.
4. Simmer 1% milk and coconut milk till tiny bubbles start forming around the edges. Do not boil. Add the rum extract.
5. Beat the yolks and whole egg lightly. Slowly add the milk to temper the eggs, being careful to add the milk in a steady stream while continuously stirring the egg mixture.
6. Add Splenda to the egg-milk mixture and stir to dissolve.
7. Strain the mixture to remove any bits of solids and transfer the strained liquid to the prepared dish.
8. Place a wet kitchen towel in a large pan (13″x9″). Place the 6″ pan with the flan mixture on the towel and place in the preheated oven.
9. Slowly pour boiling water into the larger container, carefully avoiding the flan mixture.
10. Bake for about 45 minutes till the top looks set.
11. Once cooled to room temperature, carefully run a thin knife or spatula around the edges and invert the flan onto a plate.
12. Chill in refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.