Pink cupcakes made with beets

Beets are a good source of antioxidants to protect healthy cells, folic acid to promote healthy growth and potassium for healthy hearts. This week, I've been adding beet puree to just about everything we eat ... pizza sauce, grilled cheese and waffles to name just a few things. I'm borrowing the cookbook Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld from a friend, and it has inspired me to be puree-happy. The premise of the cookbook is to add vegetable or fruit puree to increase the nutritional value of a meal without having to coax your kids to eat one more vegetable. Although I don't agree with the idea of being 'deceptive' (I want Monkey to know and learn about the foods he eats), I do like the idea of incorporating extra nutrients in each meal. So, that is how we came to have a lot of beet puree this week.

Beets also give food a fun colour -- bright pink -- just in time for Valentine's Day! I modified the recipe for Angel Food Cupcakes for a festive (the original recipe called for yellow squash puree), low-sugar alternative for little ones. Monkey is a big fan.

5 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup beet puree
1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Frosting ingredients:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/3 cup beet puree
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate

Preheat oven to 325◦F, and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups.

Combine egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with an electric mixer, and beat until egg whites double in volume and stiff peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour, agave nectar, beet puree, lemon juice and zest to the egg white mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until the tops are lightly browned and spring back to touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cupcakes cool.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, beet puree, orange juice concentrate in a medium bowl until smooth. Spread the frosting over the cooled cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes. Enjoy!

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