Remember the Boxed Brownies vs. Homemade Brownies experiment I did? And the Boxed Mac and Cheese vs. Homemade Creamy Mac and Cheese experiment I did? How about my Sunday Dinner Challenge, which took a whopping one minute, forty eight point nine seconds to make? My boys love that I keep making them bring the stop watch into the kitchen for these “races”. It’s that male competition thing they have going on.
I finally got around to completing another “boxed vs. homemade” experiment in an effort to prove that making homemade food from healthy ingredients doesn’t take a lot of time. I figure that some might still be having a difficult time believing me when I say that it truly doesn’t take a long time to prepare healthy foods. So I’m having fun trying to “prove” my case, and my family is having fun eating the results of my experiments. ;)
This time, I decided to see which took longer to prepare: boxed muffins…or muffins made from scratch. I found some great looking “healthier” boxed muffin mixes from Vitacost. While these were organic, they were still made from white flour and white sugar, although at least I could control the oil I put into them. None of that has anything to do with the experiment necessarily, except just to say that these muffins really didn’t hold much in the way of nutrition. Anyway, back to the point, which I know that those of you who haven’t fallen asleep while reading this post are waiting on pins and needles to hear…
From the time I opened the boxes, to the time I put the muffin pans into the oven, 6.25 minutes had passed.
A few weeks later, I mixed up my Applesauce Bread recipe and made the batter into muffins. How long did it take? Right at 7 minutes. And these had whole wheat flour, honey, and real, unsweetened applesauce in them. Nutrients! For my family for breakfast! What a concept. This, because I spent about 45 seconds longer making muffins from scratch.
What other thoughts do you have about what I could experiment with? My boys are waiting with their stop watch…
Shredded carrot would probably be awesome in those muffins. Maybe some macadamias/ flax seeds? :O Drizzle of dark chocolate… Switch out the applesauce for pureed pumpkin. O.o Swoons- – serve hot w/ cream cheese. Nom.
I found an amazing muffin recipe a while back (which I tweaked to be healthier- thank you Laura for teaching us that!) that starts with the basic batter, then you add what you want. I usually use it to do blueberry muffins, but have added diced apples and cinnamon, banana, plain cinnamon, peaches, pears, pumpkin, pretty much whatever fruit I have handy at the time. And it takes no time to make and costs less to make waaay more than the boxed recipe. Which is good in a family of 6! The only thing I haven’t gotten in the habit of making from scratch yet is bread/buns, and I hate to admit this- spaghetti sauce. So the spaghetti sauce is my next goal, cause $5 a jar for organic is a little much to pay!
Bobbie Czajka says
Could you post your muffin recipe?
Brandette W. says
Yes, I second this request. Would you mind
sharing the recipe with us all?
I think she just used the apple bread recipe (referred to in the article) and modified to make muffins.
DaNelle Wolford says
Love! Do you ever premix your muffin mix, freeze it and then just add the liquids? I’ve been thinking of doing that. Anyway, I have had to go gluten free for a while and I’m a little lost so once I figure out a GF mix, I am all there!
DaNelle recently posted…Copycat PF Changs Lettuce Wraps Recipe
How do you adjust the time/temperature on your applesauce bread to make applesauce muffins?
I bake them at 400 for 20 minutes.
Brandette W. says
Thank you, I was wondering this too!
I already make this, but it might be worth it to show others… Homemade tomato soup.
Rebecca Bahl says
Yours even look better. I am going to make those muffins next week. This week we are eating your pumpkin muffins. Yum!
Do you do bread from scratch?
Sure do! https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-to-make-whole-wheat-bread-tutorial
Shaela Haney says
I was thinking homemade pudding. The cook n’ serve versus a from scratch version.
I’ll second this request!
Never did understand why someone would ever buy a muffin mix. The ingredients are always scary and the “fruit” often comes from artificial flavor. What good is a “fast” boxed mix if the quality is sub par? I’d much rather spend the extra time to achieve a superior finished product. I just got a windfall of fresh pears from my friend and am planning to make pear, ginger and walnut muffins, yum! I think I’ll make 1 tin as mini muffins to freeze for my daughter’s school lunch.
As for ideas to try…how about pancakes. As long as you choose a boxed mix that calls for egg, milk and oil, it would be a fair fight, since you would have to bring the egg and milk to room temperature for use with coconut oil in both recipes. I think you might lose on waffles, since you have to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them into the batter.
Unless you’re lazy like me and don’t separate the eggs or beat them. ;)
I have a Belgium waffle iron as we did growing up. My Mom always swore that folding in the egg whites at the end led to a lighter waffle. I think the extra lift is especially needed when using white whole wheat flour.
Though I’m a foodie and a perfectionist to boot, so I’m not one to skimp on extra steps when it comes to food :) Last night, I spent 45 minutes making eggs (fried potatoes and smoothies)! Well ok, it was a veggie scramble (zucchini, spinach, onion, tomato and munster cheese). I had to rinse and chop everything. Sautee the zuchinni, onion and spinach, grate the cheese, cook the potatoes and onions, make the smoothies and cook the eggs. Sure I could have made regular scrambled eggs, but this was so much healthier and tastier. Sadly, I spend WAY too much time in the kitchen, since I refuse to settle for mediocre food.
Settle??? HA! Great food is a wonderful trade off in exchange for spending mere moments in the kitchen creating un-memorable, un-nutritious “stuff”. As the wonderful Julia Child said, “Noncooks think it’s silly to invest two hours’ work in two minutes’ enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet.” I quite agree;)
I would make more muffins, but I don’t want to grind the wheat! Or heat the honey since it’s solidifying, and the coconut oil, so it is liquid… Really, it’s the dishes that it all creates, so it’s double/triple batches when I do make things at least! I think I should time it; it’s probably all in my head as to how long it really takes! I’m momentarily inspired to make something yummy, but morning sickness may decrease that rapidly :)
Oh, I thought of another challenge. Homemade (vinaigrette) pasta salad vs Suddenly Salad or some other boxed pasta salad. I’ve seen a lot of Suddenly Salad adds lately and it really irks me because homemade pasta salad is such an easy thing to make, even with homemade Italian vinaigrette.
I can’t fathom why people make muffins or pancakes from a box homemade are so much tastier and so easy. we do pancakes once or twice a week.It takes no time at all and lasts so much longer than cereal, especially when you sub syrup for cream cheese and homemade jam.