I pack Son his snack every single day. His preschool gives a snack, but I can't read every single label of every single thing offered, so I simply find it easier to pack his lunch. He doesn't seem to mind it, happily carrying his box of snack and water daily and skips out from his classroom holding it. He loves his school and going every single day. He has two phenomenal teachers, who are sensitive to his allergies, and care deeply about his progress and his growth as a student.
I was very happy, when Teacher M approached me and said that they were having a Thanksgiving party at school and that some of the parents were bringing food. She asked if perhaps I might want to bring something for Son to share with his mates and I said that I would bring some pumpkin muffins that Son could eat and also share with the class. The rest of the offerings would not be safe for Son to eat, so the muffins would be one thing that he could share and partake in with his class.
I had Son help me make the muffins and he was pretty excited about it. He kept on asking me when we would bring them to his class, what he would do with them and how he would carry them. He was a great helper, mashing bananas and mixing all the ingredients for his friends.
I sent him to school the next day with the muffins, which he proudly presented to the teacher. At pickup, his face was beaming and he excitedly asked me, "Can I make more muffins for the class tomorrow?"
"No. Only today."
"But I want to bring them again tomorrow and share with my friends."
"No, sweetie. It's a special treat for today."
He looked a little crest-fallen and I didn't really understand why. Until I asked him about it later in the day. "Why do you want to keep bringing muffins to the class?"
"Because, I like to eat with my friends. I like to give them food." And then it hit me. It was the first time he ate the same thing as all of his friends at school. It was the first time he passed something out, and shared it with his friends and his friends enjoyed it. (They did, I was assured by the teachers. They told me they were a huge hit.) It was probably the first time he felt included, in terms of food, in school.
Fortunately for me, Son has a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks and I have already made arrangements for him to bring a snack for his class. It'll be another great experience of having him pass out muffins and feeling that same feeling of pride.
These muffins are very similar to the other pumpkin muffins I made, but I played around with a few ingredients to make it more friendly for children (namely reducing spices and sugar) and still maintain its deliciousness. They are moist, warm, and not too sweet. As a note, these taste better the day AFTER you make them (making them perfect muffins to bring to school.)
Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 regular, 24 mini
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
¼ white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree (can)
2 bananas (riper the better) mashed well
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together 1 cup pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, mashed bananas and water. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.