I’ve made and failed at more muffins than I would like to admit. It’s tougher than you think to make a healthy muffin that doesn’t have all purpose flour and tons of sugar in it. Most of my attempts tasted and looked a lot like a hockey puck. Then I finally found a couple recipes that I thought had potential and came up with my own version that I am happy to say my five year old daughter declared was “awesome!”.
The key to these muffins I believe is the 1:1 ratio of whole wheat flour and oat flour. These muffins have just the right amount of sweetness from a touch of honey and coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is a great substitute to refined white sugar. It is a low glycemic sugar that doesn’t lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels. It is becoming easier to find in grocery stores and I highly suggest checking it out.
You will see that I use vinegar in this recipe – don’t let that scare you off. When you add vinegar to milk it is like adding buttermilk to a recipe. This way you don’t buy a big carton of buttermilk when you only need 1/2 cup!
Makes 12 muffins
1 1/4 C Whole wheat flour
1 1/4 C Oat flour
1/4 C Coconut sugar
1 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Baking soda
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 C Unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C Milk
1/2 TBS White vinegar
2 TBS Honey (raw local honey is best)
2 TBS coconut oil, melted
1 large egg, beaten
1 C blueberries, tossed with 1/2 T flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or rub the wells with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour through cinnamon). In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients (applesauce through the egg). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries. This batter should be filled nearly to the top of the cup. They won’t rise as much as traditional muffins do.
bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top gets lightly golden brown.
If you know me personally, it’s no secret that I LOVE chocolate. Thankfully, dark chocolate is a treat that I can feel good about eating because it contains healthy antioxidants. If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, eating dark chocolate (in moderation of course!) might actually help lower your blood cholesterol levels. When purchasing chocolate, try to look for organic chocolate that has a minimum of 70 percent cocoa content.
Another way to use chocolate is to add cocoa powder (also known as cacao powder) to sweet or savory recipes. Good quality cacao powder can be found in larger grocery or natural food stores. I found mine next to the protein powders in Whole Foods.
This recipe incorporates cocoa powder, cherries and dates to form a yummy raw bar that is reminiscent of Larabars. I added the quick cooking oats because I like the texture that they give to the bar. This is a great mid-morning or late afternoon snack that can help curb that sweet tooth and give you the healthy protein and fats that your body needs.
These will keep well in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze them and just defrost in the fridge overnight (or even eat frozen like I have done before!)
Makes 8 Bars
1 C Medjool Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 C Dried unsweetened bing cherries
1/3 C Quick cooking oats
1/2 C Raw almonds
1 TBS Coconut oil, melted
1 TBS Cocoa powder
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
Place dates and cherries into a food processor and blend until they are finely chopped (the mixture will come together to form a ball). Remove to a bowl.
Place oats and almonds into the processor (no need to clean it out first!) and process until finely chopped. Add the cherry and date mixture back in. Add the coconut oil, cocoa powder and cinnamon and process until combined.
Line a brownie pan with wax or parchment paper and press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom. Chill for 20 minutes and then cut into 8 bars.
As a vegetarian, there are a few staple sources of protein that I work into my daily diet. A typical day may include some kind of nut butter, beans, lentils, quinoa or chickpeas (just to name a few!). This recipe was born when I wanted to try and find a way to use up a half can of chickpeas that I had opened a few days earlier. I wrote the recipe for a whole can of chickpeas, but you can easily halve the recipe like I did today. I am not a big fan of relish (which was an ingredient in most of the recipes I found online), so I decided to add capers. I love the briny quality of capers and I found that they added a really nice flavor. I also adore whole grain mustard so I knew that had to be added as well. With the crunch of the celery and freshness of the scallions, I think this is a great vegetarian lunch.
1 15 oz Can of chickpeas, mashed
2 Tbs Mayonaise (I prefer one with an olive oil base OR Vegenaise would work well too)
3 Tsp Whole grain dijon mustard
3Tsp Capers, finely chopped
2 Tbs Scallions, chopped finely
2 Celery stalks, finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine chickpeas through celery in a medium size bowl. Add a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Taste to determine if it needs a pinch more salt.
Serving suggestion: Serve open faced on Rye Wasa crackers or your choice of toasted bread, topping with sliced tomato and baby spinach.