Banana Flaxseed Muffins

muffins1At the beginning of each October, my university has a so-called “fall break” which is actually nothing more than a 3-day weekend. I’m totally on board with the idea of this mini-vacation, but its actual application seems pretty half-hearted. If you’re going to call it a break, make it a break! Three days was just long enough for me to make the 7-hour journey home, collapse into relaxing familiarity for 40-some hours, and then tear myself away to drive all the way back to school. It felt more like a teaser than anything else, especially for a homebody like myself. Still, I’m grateful for my brief recharge at home, and I need to keep reminding myself that relaxation often morphs into boredom after too many days. Okay, maybe not 2 measly days, but let’s stay positive!

One of my projects during my time at home was to re-stock the freezer with easy grab-and-go breakfasts for my mom. She’s not exactly a morning person, and I know for a fact that breakfast is virtually the last thing on her mind as she gets ready for work. You know someone like that, too? Good. Make them these muffins!muffins2

These Banana Flaxseed Muffins are perfect for a quick, healthy breakfast. I like to make a full batch ahead of time and store them in the freezer for those busy mornings. They can be made gluten-free, but you can also use a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour if gluten isn’t an issue. Unlike so many muffins that are basically frosting-less cupcakes, these are full of healthy ingredients to give you an energy boost without the crash. Bananas serve as the main sweetener, and they also lend the muffins a soft, moist texture. Flaxseed brings in some heart-healthy fat, and warm spices give the muffins extra flavor. You can even make them vegan by using agave nectar and soy or almond milk!

I love knowing that my mom now has a few weeks’ supply of muffins for breakfast, settled right next to the chili I made for my dad (which he will most likely not eat for breakfast, just so we’re clear). I’m sure they’re capable of fending for themselves (after all, they managed just fine until I came along) but I also know how much they miss my cooking and baking! Make your own friends and family happy by baking them a batch of these Banana Flaxseed Muffins. There’s nothing like a pre-made, homemade, healthy, on-hand breakfast to show them that you care!muffins4

Banana Flaxseed Muffins

Makes one dozen standard-size muffins

1 & 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (or all-purpose flour)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (if using gf flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup agave nectar or honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons ground flaxseed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line or grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, milk, oil, agave, vanilla, and flaxseed. Using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until no flour streaks remain. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tins.

Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 13-17 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

(Recipe adapted from Anecdotes and Apples)

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Flourless Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Muffins

IMG_0388First of all…Happy 2nd Anniversary to Emma’s Baking Addiction! I can’t believe that two years ago I sat down and created a WordPress account with no idea what I was doing. Sometimes I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s been fun 🙂

These muffins were made with my mother in mind. My poor gluten-free, dairy-free mother, who has to watch as piles of cookies, ice cream, brownies and other taboo treats fill our kitchen, knowing she can’t have them. She never complains, not once, but I try to make sure that I create a fair share of gluten-free, dairy-free baked goods as well.

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The last mom-friendly treats I made were these awesome little energy balls, but they were eaten up in approximately 12 seconds, give or take a couple days. The problem with gluten-free treats is that they are also accessible and perfectly acceptable to the gluten-eaters in the house, and unless I clearly label treats as being “FOR MOM” (or hide them), they disappear way too quickly. Which is why, after the last three blog posts centered around cookies and ice cream, it was time to make these muffins.

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What these muffins do have: peanut butter, chocolate, & banana (one of the ULTIMATE flavor trios), heart-healthy flaxseed, and a handful of other healthy ingredients. What these muffins do not have: FLOUR, gluten, dairy, or more than two tablespoons of refined sugar. What these muffins require: a bowl, a spoon, a muffin tin, and some measuring cups. That’s it! They don’t require worrying about over-mixing (which can create tough muffins, but ONLY if there’s gluten involved) or dirtying up a million little bowls and spoons. Easy as cake muffins!

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The best part is that, despite their considerably healthy list of ingredients and their lack of flour, these muffins are not lacking in flavor or texture! They have a wonderful soft, dense-yet-springy texture and are smooth and rich. The peanut butter/chocolate/banana flavors really shine through, and the muffins are full of flavor but not overly sweet. They were a huge hit in our house for both the gluten-free eater (my mom) and all the other eaters. They were so popular, in fact, that I had to take my mother aside and let her in on my little secret: I had snatched a few muffins from the communal container and hidden them away in a tupperware in the freezer. That way she could snack on them whenever she saw fit, safe from all other muffin-eaters. If you feel the need to hide away a few of these muffins for yourself, you won’t see me judging you!!

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Flourless Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Muffins

1 cup mashed banana (from about 2 medium-large bananas)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup honey or agave nectar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl until well-combined. Divide evenly among muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 5 minutes, then decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the muffin tops spring back when lightly touched and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the muffin tins for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of each muffin and carefully remove to a cooling rack. Store the muffins in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

(Recipe inspired by Averie Cooks and Detoxinista)

Oatmeal-Raisin Energy Balls (No-Bake!)

IMG_6974I’ve only been home from college for two weeks, but I’m already in full-on summer mode. The weather was particularly cooperative when I first got home, with sunny days and temperatures in the 70s, and although our island has now succumbed to its more usual May weather (overcast skies and temperatures in the low 60s) I’m still in a summery mood. I’ve started back up with my summer jobs, taken long runs in the (sometimes) sun, bought tons of fresh summer fruit that finally doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and carried out a considerably admirable attempt at purging my closet of STUFF. Since coming home I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed at the amount of STUFF cluttering up our entire house, and I’m trying to do a bit of summer cleaning. I can never decide which is stronger: the hatred I have of the actual cleaning, or the wonderful freeing feeling of a de-cluttered house. It’s an ongoing dilemma.

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One of my favorite parts of summer is more time for cooking and baking, and it’s been so nice to be back in a real kitchen. Ice cream sandwiches, Greek-themed dinners, chickpea curry, lemon-poppy seed bars and energy bites are just a few of the things that have emerged from my kitchen in the past two weeks. Today I’m sharing a recipe for some of the quickest, easiest, and healthiest little treats you can find. These Oatmeal-Raisin Energy Bites are gluten-free (if you use gf oats), dairy-free, low-sugar, and packed full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. They’re made in one bowl with one spoon, and you don’t even have to turn on your oven! Sounds pretty fool-proof to me.

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The other morning I woke up to an email from my mom (yes, we live in the same house and see each other multiple times a day yet she still gets a kick out of emailing me), saying that the little energy balls were so, so delicious and she hopes I’ll make them “again and again.” I just had to chuckle. Especially considering the fact that she was in the next room when I read it. I won’t even pretend to understand her logic, but there’s no doubt about it that these energy bites really do taste amazing! They’re full of flavor, are sweet but not too sweet, and have a wonderful chewy texture from the softened oats. I think the balls are quite reminiscent of oatmeal-peanut butter cookie dough, but they’re so much better for you!

This recipe is also super adaptable. Use whatever nut butter you like in place of the peanut butter, sub in maple syrup or agave nectar for the honey, use cocoa powder or oat flour instead of ground flaxseed, and use your favorite add-ins if you don’t like raisins. Chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or nuts would all be delicious. I promised my mom (via email, just to humor her) that I would be more than happy to make them again and again! I can’t wait to play around with other combos, and these simple balls are the perfect solution to an 8pm snack craving. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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No-Bake Oatmeal-Raisin Energy Balls

Yield: about 20-24 balls

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. If the mixture is too dry, add in an extra tablespoon or so of honey. If it’s too wet, add in a bit more oats.

Chill for 30 minutes, then form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls. The energy bites can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

(Recipe adapted from Smashed Peas and Carrots)