Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Power Muffins

Breakfast is a tricky meal, at least for me. I get up in the morning and manage to limit most of my routine to the upstairs. When I finally make it downstairs I usually have about 10 minutes left before I need to dash out the door. It seems the options for a fast healthy breakfast are pretty limited even without a 10 minute time limit.

One of the things I've been doing is to eat yogurt. I'm really weird about yogurt though. I eat it in phases and when I'm not in a phase I feel like I have to force-feed myself what's left. I'm also kind of picky. My favorite yogurt is the Brown Cow Maple or Blueberry greek yogurt. It has lots of protein and it's really creamy and rich.

Another thing I do is to make non-instant oatmeal. I'm not a fan of the texture and the chemical flavor of the sludge that comes in the little brown paper packets. My doctor told me the chunkier the oatmeal grain the better the benefits. I had been eating steel-cut oats, but they take at least half an hour to cook. So I started doing thick cut oatmeal from Bob's Red Mill.

I'd put it in a glass bowl mixed with chia seeds, flax meal, honey and sliced almonds or walnuts and add boiling water. Covered with a lid it was pretty much cooked by the time I got to school. The problem is the mad dash to actually consume it before I had to teach. I ended up finding myself eating my oatmeal for lunch more than once.

Now I know what to do with this canister!

And then there's the muffins. Muffins are compact, easy to transport, and require no extra work once they're done. They only take about 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes in the oven which means for 30 minutes of work I have breakfast for a week. Here's the link to the blog with the original recipe.

It is also a compact way to get lots of power foods. I adjusted the recipe to include more of them and I've been very pleased with the results. Chia seeds are high in protein and fatty acids not to mention an awesome chewy texture like poppy seeds, flax seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, coconut oil helps metabolism and lowers cholesterol, amaranth is high in protein and thick cut oats help me feel full longer. I want to try to experiment with honey instead of sugar because of the health benefits of eating local raw honey.

(I hope you check out all the links. They all contain information about each ingredient and why they're so good for you!)

I've made these muffins twice now and they're so good I felt the need to share my version of the recipe!

Apple Cinnamon Nut Muffins

Here's my version:

1/2 C Amaranth Flour
3/4 C Hard White Wheat Flour (All-Purpose or Whole Grain works too)
1 1/4 C Oats

1/4 C Chia Seeds
2 Tbsp Flax Meal

1/2 C Sugar in the Raw
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 C Coconut Oil (I melt it in the microwave, but I know this breaks down some of its nutrients)
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 C Buttermilk
1/2 C Milk (I've used whole milk and almond milk before)

Small apple chunks
Ground coffee or brewed coffee (omit the milk if using liquid)
Blueberries (I have used frozen that I thawed by rinsing them with warm water)
Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios, Hazelnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds etc...
Raspberries, Blackberries, Boysenberries, Marionberries
Peaches chopped
Chocolate Chips
Raisins or other dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries, gogi, etc..)
1/2 C cooked and pureed Pumpkin, Squash, or Sweet Potato
Bananas mashed or chopped
Honey (drizzle on top)

Preheat the oven to 357F. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or grease with coconut oil.
If you're using a mixer, use the paddle attachment. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients (in bold). Stir in the melted oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the buttermilk and the milk. Stir in the add-ins of your choice.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tin. Bake 18-20 minutes. Let cool before removing from muffin tin.

Makes a dozen muffins.

So far I've made them with blueberries, sliced almonds and chopped walnuts and then I made them with chopped apples, cinnamon, sliced almonds, chopped walnuts and pecans. I'm looking forward to making different versions like pumpkin in the fall and with fresh berries this summer!

I hope you try them and like them as much as I have!