Chocolate Flax Muffins

As much as I know you all love lurking on my weekend fun…I did not have it in me to bust out a weekend recap post this week! I knew that I probably wouldn’t have time to put up my normal post yesterday, because I have been insanely.busy at work. I was hoping to bring back Meatless Mondays, but didn’t get a chance to work out a shareable recipe in time…

However, if you really must know what I did this weekend… 😉 We had a couple of GORGEOUS 75-80 degree days and I took full advantage!

If you follow me on Facebook then you already know that, even though I’m no longer in half marathon training mode, I still did my usual long Saturday morning run:

8point5miler

It was weird — but GOOD — to be running less than 10 miles. I got in a great workout, but didn’t feel like I was suffering the rest of the day, which was nice!

And if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that I followed up that run with some frisbee:

frisbee

I’m hanging up the Thursday night dodgeball knee socks for a season or two and putting together an Ultimate Frisbee team…Chris is pretty much a pro (he played competitively in college) and spent over an hour imparting his knowledge and showing me all his tricks. It was lots of fun! Slightly draining though, and much harder than it looks 😉

Moving on….I am happy to report that even though I don’t have a Meatless Monday recipe, I do have a recipe to share!! It’s been a while, eh?

It all started last week when I went to my beloved Grocery Outlet and snagged a boatload of good deals for less than $30.

As if finding that 6 pack of Luna bars for like $2.99, Greek yogurt for .60c a pop and a bottle of wine for $5 wasn’t enough, I was extremely excited to find a bag of organic milled flaxseed (aka flaxseed meal) for $2.99. Generally, healthy living blogger ‘essentials’ like flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp, and other such random gluten free shtuff cost a fortune! So I snagged the bag and looked for ways to incorporate it into a healthy, yet yummy, girl-on-the-go recipe.

IMG_4949

ENTER: chocolate muffins.

Every flax muffin recipe I found had some kind of weird combination of gluten free flours/meals, xanthan gum, non-sugar sweeteners, or other various products that most regular people on a budget don’t keep in their pantry. So I was largely on my own testing out this recipe and, after a few months of very little baking, was thrilled to realize that not only were these not terrible

IMG_4948

They’re actually really frickin good. Although I can’t call them “skinny” like my nearly fat free lemon poppyseed muffins…They do have less added fat than your standard muffin recipe (the majority of the fat comes from the Omega 3-rich flaxseed), not too much sugar (1/3 cup), and have a texture that’s not only incredibly moist, but has a little bit of chew in it from the flaxseed meal.

IMG_4950

I’ve been eating 1-2 in the morning with Chobani for a breakfast that’s packed with both protein and fiber. They are actually pretty healthy, at about 160 calories a pop. They have 8 grams of healthy fat (from the flax!), 3.5 grams of fiber, and almost 5 grams of protein.

But I won’t tell anyone if you slather peanut butter all over them.

IMG_4954

Chocolate Flax Muffins
Makes 9 muffins

1/3 cup (white) whole wheat flour
2/3 cup flax seed meal (or just grind up flaxseed in a food processor/coffee grinder/etc)
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (chocolate chips/chocolate square/whatever you can find!)
1 extra ripe banana
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons oil

Preheat oven to 325F and grease a muffin pan. Don’t use paper liners- these guys are low enough in fat that they will stick to them!

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour through baking powder). In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals (or over a double boiler), being careful not to burn it. When it’s done, vigorously mix in the banana and mash until it’s fully incorporated. Add in sugar, eggs and oil and mix to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry and distribute into ~9 muffin tins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are set and a toothpick comes out clean. Use a butter knife to help release the muffins from the tin.

Eat fresh out of the oven or soon after. If you can’t, keep muffins in the fridge. Heat ’em up in the microwave briefly before eating if desired!

.

Have you ever cooked or baked with flaxseed? What’s your favorite use for it?

What’s your favorite recent grocery store discovery?

Advertisements

Muesli Protein Bars

***Muesli Fusion chose these Protein Bars as a finalist in their recipe contest!! If you like what you see, PLEASE head over to Facebook and click on my recipe – Muesli Protein Bars (Blonde Ambition Blog)…all you have to do is click! Voting closes this FRIDAY, June 21st! THANK YOU!!!***

I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I have been really into overnight oats lately. This is in large part due to the fact that I acquired a bag of Muesli Fusion at Blend, and I l-o-v-e it.

When I heard Muesli Fusion would be sponsoring one of our breakfasts, I was actually pretty skeptical about the whole idea of muesli. I thought, “It has no added sugar, so it’s not crunchy like granola…it’s basically just oats and fruit??” whyyy would you eat raw oats and fruit?

Fortunately, Muesli Fusion totally proved me wrong. One beef I’ve always had with overnight oats is that it’s too mushy. I am a texture freak, I need to have SOME kind of crunch or chew in my oatmeal/overnight oats. And Muesli Fusion’s An-Ox totally provides that. It has walnuts, dried goji berries & blueberries, and cacao nibs. Perfect solution!

I’ve all but decided to eliminate plain oats from my grocery-staple list and replace them with muesli. Seriously, I love the stuff.

Last week, as I was approaching the end of my bag of An-Ox, I remembered that Muesli Fusion is hosting a recipe contest. The challenge: to create a recipe featuring Muesli Fusion cereal.

Challenge accepted!

DSC_0554

I really wanted to make homemade granola muesli bars, but every recipe I found used at least 1/2 cup and usually closer to 1 cup of sugar/maple syrup/honey/etc. One of the most advertised characteristics about Muesli Fusion cereals is that they have no added sugar, except that which comes from the added fruit, and I really wanted to keep a somewhat low level of sugar in my recipe.

What I ended up with not only has less sugar than a store-bought granola bar, but also, thanks to a few scoops of protein powder and crunchy quinoa, packs a good 8 grams of protein per serving!

Instead of tons of sugar, this recipe uses only 3 tablespoons of honey, as well as the natural sweetness of banana.

DSC_0553

Though An-Ox already has a bunch of good add ins, my inner texture freak came out and I added a few crunchy ingredients: chia seeds, quinoa, and almonds.

I maaaaay have also used chocolate protein powder and added chocolate chips…but doesn’t everyone love feeling like they’re eating dessert for breakfast?

These aren’t your typical crunchy granola bars, but I love them all the same. The version with chocolate chips that I made clocks in at around 200 calories, only 5g of fat, a whopping 7 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. This version has about 11.5g of sugar, which would be a fair amount lower if you omit chocolate chips.

DSC_0551

So will you join me in eating dessert for breakfast?

DSC_0555

PS. If these sound like something you’d like to try making yourself, please re-pin this post on Pinterest! I could get a prize if I get the most pinned recipe! Click this link to re-pin 🙂

PPS. If you aren’t feeling up to the challenge of creating a new recipe…try entering Muesli Fusion’s summer giveaway! No purchase necessary, no blog post needed. Just like their Facebook page!

(Chocolate) Muesli Protein Bars
makes 8 bars
pin this!

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (you can also use skim milk or any unsweetened non-dairy milk)
3 tbsp honey
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Muesli Fusion An-Ox
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Onnit Hemp Force, but you can use any kind! Doesn’t have to be chocolate!)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, or full almonds roughly chopped (measure after chopping)
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (or cooked. depends on what consistency you’re going for! i kinda par-cooked mine, haha)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional, will increase amount of sugar in bars)
1 tbsp flour (optional, if needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium-large bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside. Mix remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl. When evenly mixed throughout, slowly add dry ingredients to bowl of wet ingredients, making sure everything gets evenly incorporated. Mixture should be pretty wet, but if you think it looks too wet, feel free to add about a tablespoon of flour.

Ideally you will use an 8×8 or 9×9 pan for these bars. Spray your pan with oil and press the batter tightly into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking at the 20 minute mark to see how done they are. You will want them to be firm in the middle, and to look dry. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit before removing from pan. Let cool completely to room temperature before cutting into bars…it should make about 8!

Keep in an airtight container, or individually wrap the bars in saran wrap, and keep in fridge. Should keep for about a week.

Friday Faves

With the shocking news my family got just over a week ago, I thought it fitting to focus on some positive things this morning. Here’s what has been keeping me happy this past week!

1) Space Jump!!

Did any of you guys watch this? I didn’t know about it until the day before when my brother (the one sitting on the floor watching in awe) told me about it. We streamed it on YouTube for the last 30 minutes of our drive home from the Bay Area and made it back just in time to see him jump! That dude broke so many records!

2) This sink.

After a couple of the BEST.G&Ts.EVER at happy hour, it was totally the coolest thing ever. Cool enough to take a picture with, even. Obviously.

3) Lacey’s Cookies

I went to my grandparents’ house a couple of times last week and my grandma seemed to have a never-ending supply of these puppies in her kitchen. They are LIKE CRACK. Go to Costco right now and buy them. Your soul will thank you, your thighs will not.

4) The SF Giants!! ….or not.

 

My family (and a lot of my friends) is all pulling for the Giants, buuuuut with 2 straight losses, it’s not looking great. Still lots of fun to watch!

5) Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-tarts

Would you believe me if I told you that I had to get them cause they were the healthiest that CVS had? (They had the smallest amount of fat, and 3 whole grams of fiber?! What!?)

Also, I’d like to point out that I went to CVS to buy Drano…So when I went to the register, Drano and Pop Tarts in hand, and said, “Oh ya know, Drano and Pop Tarts….the essentials….” I felt pretty hilarious when the cashier gave me a sympathy chuckle.

6) Pumpkin errythang.

So far, I’ve roasted three pumpkins and made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, a dozen pumpkin muffins, pumpkin curry, and a tray of roasted pumpkin seeds. Oh and drank at least 3 of my parents’ pumpkin beers. I guess I like pumpkin now…

7) This crew neck “I” made for my Papa

So I should totally wear it to his memorial, right? Sweater dress chic? No?

8) This friggin ginormous veggie sandwich I had for lunch yesterday!!!!

From top: mashed avocado, sprouts, red onion, more sprouts, roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, cucumber, feta & kalamata olives! All on wheat walnut bread.

.

Have a great weekend everyone! I’ve got a YMCA auction and a Haunted Corn Maze on my agenda. I’m not gonna lie…..I’m nervous about the corn maze. Wish me luck!!

Holiday Baking: Butter, Sugar & Love

After about a week of baking (and a passing reference to my work in the previous Christmas themed blog), I’ve decided to dedicate an entire entry to this year’s beloved creations.  All of my recipes came from the Food Network Christmas Cookie website, but I did end up tweaking them a bit.  Read on for photos and recipes of Peppermint Graham Bark, Mexican Hot Chocolate Spiced Cookies, and my absolute favorite Lemon Shortbread Squares!

Continue reading