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:

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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?

Skinny Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins

Yup, I went there.

Two lemon recipes in one week.

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I actually made these muffins a couple of weeks ago, when I was on this muffin + yogurt for breakfast kick. But I really don’t have a huge appetite for breakfast, and I was feeling like a 140 calorie yogurt and a high fat 200+ calorie muffin was a bit much for breakfast.

So I set out to make the lowest possible calorie muffin I could. And guess what? These puppies are not only virtually fat free, and only 112 calories a pop…but they’re also delicious. Whaaaaaat?

That’s right. You didn’t think I could possibly post two lemon recipes in one week without mentioning my favorite Lemon, did I? Much love, LL.

Anyway, back to these muffins.

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I think it was last spring or summer that I bought these poppyseeds – I was seeing so many lemon poppyseed recipes and I needed to make something of my own RIGHTTHISMINUTE. And then they sat in my cupboard for half a year.

I used the same white whole wheat flour that I used in the braided lemon bread, except this time I used it exclusively – no all purpose. (Healthier source of carbs/fiber? Check!) Instead of oil or butter, I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt. (Replacing fat with healthy protein? Check!) Add in some lemon zest & juice, poppy seeds, blueberries, and vanilla, and you’ve got your flavor factor.

I was super scared when I put these in the oven. I was looking at 2-3 different “skinny” muffin recipes to guide me, all of which included bananas or apple sauce, which I didn’t plan on adding. So I was really winging it.

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me when I took these muffins out of the oven

Apparently I did something right! The texture was as close as you can get to a traditional full-fat muffin. These puppies are light and fluffy, lemony and fresh, and they’re perfectly moist inside! They’ve got about 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein per muffin. Not too shabby.

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Not too shabby at all!

Skinny Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour {or combination of all purpose and regular whole wheat flour}
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp poppyseeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup nonfat plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
juice and zest of one lemon {about 3 tbsp of juice and 1 tbsp of zest}
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/3 cup milk {start with 1/4 cup and add more as needed}
1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen-then-thawed

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. I don’t recommend using paper liners, as these muffins have very little fat and will stick to the paper.

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and poppyseeds). Set aside. In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients (brown sugar through milk) and mix with a fork, whisk, or handmixer until thoroughly combined. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing only until combined – do not over mix. Fold in blueberries. If the mixture seems too thick/dry, add a tablespoon or 2 of milk as needed. It will be rather thick though, so don’t add more than 2 tablespoons.

Scoop spoonfuls of batter into the muffin tins and place in the oven to bake for 12-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out mostly clean.

Let muffins cool in tins for about 5-7 minutes, then remove and place on cooling rack. Store in an airtight container. Mine kept best when refrigerated (then reheated for a few second in the microwave).

Final step: eat one of these muffins fresh out of the oven and you’ll feel like this:

LEMON OUT!

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.