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:

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

What’s your favorite recent grocery store discovery?

Post-Thanksgiving Banana Bread Muffins

Hey there. Feelin’ a little sluggish today? Maybe like you need some raw veggies or a salad to cancel out the blood bath that hath taken place over the last 24 hours?

I know I sure do. We had a birthday FEAST for T-Man on Wednesday night, followed by 2 thanksgiving meals yesterday!

Well, I don’t have a salad for you today. But I do have some muffins that will ease you back into things. Because they are……healthy!

During GOTV weekend of T-Man’s campaign, I sent him to the office with a bag of healthified pumpkin muffins…as well as 25 reassurances of, “they’re healthy, remember, so ignore the fact that they taste like cardboard.”

I decided that, though using applesauce to eliminate most of the oil and sugar in a recipe makes it healthier, it really doesn’t help the taste factor at all. I even used delicious brown butter instead of the recommended 2 tablespoons of oil, and they still tasted way too healthy.

So these muffins are somewhere in between. They do contain oats, applesauce, and a combination of white and whole wheat flour — for health, obviously. But I left in some sugar and added another tablespoon of oil. Plus, the overripe bananas lend a lot more natural sweet flavor to the muffins than pumpkin puree does. They have the sweetness of banana bread, but aren’t as dense, and they come out to only about 150 calories each, if you make them without walnuts. (approximately 5 g of fat, 2 g of fiber, 8.5 g of sugar, and 3 g of protein)

But come on. Who can resist toasted walnuts?

Uh, by the way, having a nice camera again is totally changing my food photo game.

So make these for your post-Thanksgiving coma this morning…because they’re healthy! Or at least, they’re a comfortable transition back to normal food.

That is, until Christmas rolls around 😉

Banana Bread Muffins (with or without walnuts)

makes ~10 muffins

2 overripe bananas, about 1 cup
3 tbsp oil (I used a combination of coconut oil and sunflower oil)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plain unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats (Quick or Old Fashioned oats work)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or pinches of nutmeg, allspice, ginger & more cinnamon)
1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If desired, spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil, or if you’re using paper liners, spray those.

Meanwhile, combine wet ingredients. Mash bananas with a fork until mushy, then mix in oil, beaten egg, applesauce, and vanilla. This can be done with a hand mixer if you have one, but I usually just end up using a big fork.

Combine dry ingredients: baking soda, flours, oats, and spices. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in several batches, stirring to combine after each addition. This is where I usually use a fork or wooden spoon. If you’re using them, gently fold in about 3/4 of the walnuts, saving the rest to top the muffins with. Divide batter evenly between cups, it should make about 10, depending on how big you want your muffins. Sprinkle walnuts on top of muffins if desired.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Should keep in an airtight container for at least a week.

Since these are more or less “low fat”, they tend to stick to paper liners. I reheated them for breakfast for about 10 seconds, which made them perfectly moist and helped the paper liner not stick too much.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

So, fall is definitely here.

And with it comes fall decorations, lots of the color orange, and pumpkin beer, apparently.

No more biking in the rain (yet), but it is definitely wet and dreary outside…at least, for the time being. It’s forecast to be back up near 80 degrees this weekend; what the what?!

As you all know, I’ve been making buckets of pumpkin stuff in my ongoing effort to like pumpkin-flavored things more. I didn’t mean to post so many in a row, it’s just that I didn’t have time to edit the pictures of my other recent (non-pumpkin) recipes…so more pumpkin it is! (You’ll just have to wait a little longer for my apple and butternut squash recipes…. ;-))

These were actually my first experiment with pumpkin of the season a few weeks back, and I was surprised that they didn’t have very much pumpkin taste in them…They really take on the flavor of whichever spices you add. My mom doesn’t like nutmeg, so I omitted nutmeg and added ginger instead. I was wary of adding too much of a clovey flavor, so I added less. Tweak it to your liking!

I should also add that they aren’t completely healthy, what with 1/2 cup oil and a whole cup of sugar added. I really wanted to add some kind of delicious streusel topping, but I stopped myself at sprinkling a bit of brown sugar on top because I was planning on eating these for breakfasts and didn’t want to give myself an early morning sugar rush 🙂

I would love to hear any tips you all have for lightening up recipes! One that I use often is replacing eggs with Greek yogurt. It acts as a binder AND keeps baked goods moist! (hate that wordddd)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
makes about 1 dozen

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all purpose and 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
brown sugar, for topping

Adapted from Simply Recipes’ Pumpkin Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and spices together. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients just until combined. Fold in the nuts.

Line muffin tin with liners. Fill each until 2/3 full. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on the top before putting in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. These tasted the best when warm (muffins tend to dry out a bit as they cool down), but they lasted in an airtight container for a whole week!

Notes: adjust spices to your liking (most pumpkin recipes also include nutmeg). I didn’t have ground cloves, so I sort of infused the canola oil with whole cloves instead. Adjust water as needed — I didn’t add as much because my homemade pumpkin puree was pretty watery.