Jul 24, 2010

Pumpkin Muffin Blogging with Nolan & Braden

It's 73* here in Townsend, MA which feels like fall to me. Pumpkin muffins in July? Sure, why not. Since I got here on Tuesday, I've been staying at my aunt Jennifer's with her and her three boys: Jackson, Braden, and Nolan. Nolan pulled out a box of Pillsbury Pumpkin Quick Bread. I'm usually disturbed by baking anything out of a box, but Jennifer showed me how she "healthifies" this treat. 

Here is my 4-year-old assistant, Nolan, with the pumpkin mix:
Although they have no idea what a blog is, he and Braden wanted to take photos, too. Future bloggers?
Braden even took pictures of the muffin liners.
Nolan read the instructions while I pulled out ingredients for Jennifer's healthy version.
The boxed recipe has you combine the mix with 1 cup of milk, 1/3 cup of oil, and 2 eggs. We added skim milk, 1/3 cup canned pumpkin instead of oil,
and egg beaters instead of regular eggs. Nolan was shocked at how two minor tweaks could save so many calories!
He mixed up the batter and sampled it to make sure it was still tasty.
His "taste" was more like a muffin's worth of batter.
We threw in some Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips in half of the muffins to, um, balance out the flavor?
While the muffins baked, I calculated the difference in the Pillsbury version (with oil & eggs) versus Jennifer's version (with pumpkin & egg beaters). Here is the calorie/fat info for the muffins without chocolate chips.

Fat Grams
Pillsbury Version
Jennifer’s Version

Quite a difference! Not only do you save calories and a whole lot of fat, you add Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron by using the canned pumpkin. The muffins are moister and taste more pumpkiny! Nolan was very happy with the results!
Do you ever use packaged mixes for baked goods or do you prefer homemade treats? Have you ever made substitutions like we did? How did it affect the taste or texture? What's your favorite packaged dessert? Favorite homemade dessert?


  1. Glad you're having fun ;) What cute baking assistants you had! I'm not a big packaged fan- but they're great in a pinch. Love the adjustments.

  2. i love pumpkin ANYTHING! your little cousins are too cute! glad you're having tons o fun! enjoy the rest of your vacay! xo

  3. Definitely some future bloggers right there! Pumpkin muffins are probably my favorite kind of muffin. I typically decrease sugar, use egg beaters, and sub some applesauce for oil and my muffins turn out great! When it comes to cookies though, I usually need the real deal :)

  4. hahah those boys are so cute!! i love the "shocked face" about the egg beaters! thats hilarious! I love the looks of these PUMPKIN MUFFINS! yum!

  5. I love the canned muffin trick!

  6. Your helpers are adorable! Sounds like you're having fun :)

  7. Oh those look soo good! I wish I could have been there to "try" the batter. haha.

  8. I use a box of cake and 10 oz of diet soda instead of any of the oil, eggs, or water. It cuts down the fat and calories a lot and tastes the same.

  9. If 74 is like fall...I'd probably die down south in the summer. Today was HOT! haha. and - for the longest time, I had no idea that people went through the *incredibly grueling* process of making cake, brownies, etc from scratch. Seriously - I was brought up on boxed mixes...so when i first heard about someone making brownies from scratch i was incredibly impressed. Little did I know it was hardly more than flour, oil, eggs, etc! haha

  10. Aw those boys are adorable! They look like great little helpers. ;)

    I usually like to bake from scratch, but I recently tried out a nut-free muffin mix from a box and it was pretty good!

    For substitutions I usually cut down on sugar and use whole wheat flour. I used to cut down or replace the oil, but it always ruined my treats! Now I just suck it up and use the oil. :P

  11. I use substitutions all the time...but was not familiar with the pumpkin for oil...I think that's awesome! Thanks for the post. It's like a "semi-homemade" recipe! I've used bananas, applesauce, eggbeaters and probably others I can't think of at the moment!! I like Bonnie's idea above - gotta try that one too!

  12. I stock up on cake mixes when they go on crazy sales...they are certainly useful at times! I do think homemade tastes a bit different, but honestly, not much people can tell the difference, and cake mixes can be really delicious when done right! :-)

    cute little helpers! They are well on their way to becoming bloggers, too. lol.

  13. that's such a great thing to be teaching the boys! love it and love pumpkin!

  14. How fun! Your cousins are adorable!

    I occasionally use packaged mixes, but when I do, I almost always make modifications. Pumpkin and mashed banana are some of my favorite add-ins because they contribute a lot of moisture and flavor.

    My favorite homemade dessert is fruit pie/cobbler or cheesecake!

  15. The boys are to cute! Future heartbreakers and bloggers! I love making a recipe more healthy by subbing ingredients! Its a great thing! Sometimes though when I make the boys brownies I keep them the way they are, they dont like a healthy brownie or cookie! lol!

    Oh ANYTIME is see Chik-fil-a , your beautiful face pops in my mind, I should of dedicated that post to u! lol! love u!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Looks like you're having a blast with your family. I'm totally jealous of your great temperatures compared to the disgusting heat here. Enjoy the rest of your trip! Hope you can make it to dinner with us on Wednesday. It won't be the same without you!

  17. Looks like you had a lot of fun and were accompanied by the two cutest assistants. I have never thought of doing what you did to cut calories. I definitely need to try that out. Anywhere I can cut calories and flavor remains I am all about it!


  18. My mom is huge on the prepackaged stuff, but if I'm going to bake its going to be done right and from scratch.

  19. Aw, such cute little helpers (and they definitely look like future bloggers..hehe).

    I love boxed brownies! There is something about them (probably all that processed junk) that tastes so good to me. :-)

  20. I just made pumpkin bread recently...it's never too early for pumpkin :) I do use boxed mixes from time to time, but I always add extra stuff to people can't tell!

  21. Awh, your little guys are too cute... training them young to be futuristic bloggers! The muffins look amazing too

  22. pumpkin muffins are good anytime of the year :) especially over baked oats haha.

  23. GIRL. No lie. I went to the store today in search of pumpkin to make choco-chip pumpkin muffs. You stole my idea :)

  24. i.love.pumpkin.MUFFINS!!!!!!! You totally made me want some soo badly! haha
    I prefer homemade, but there are some all natural/organic mixes that are pretty good.
    and I TOTALLY do swaps- all the time!!
    Applesauce for oil, egg whites/egg beaters for eggs like you did, I also sometimes use stevia instead of sugar, but that takes some work as it isn't an even swap, and sometimes have to reduce liquids, etc.
    I really dont taste a difference when swapping applesauce for oil though- works for me!! :)

  25. they are the two cutest assistants, ever! i love the mario and luigi jammies. precious!

    pumpkin anything rocks.

  26. I've been making these pumpkin muffins for YEARS! Its a weight watchers recipe that rocks my face every time! Instead of using the pumpkin mix, I use a spice cake mix with a can of pumpkin, its wonderful!

  27. Wow - her version seems like a no-brainer! Chocolate chips. nom nom nom I could eat a bag - i'm so bad!

  28. and fyi, when i went to the store, they had no canned pumpkin. which ruined my life.