recipes for healthy living

Tag: muffins

Great breakfast options…

There are differing views to the value of breakfast from ‘Never miss it’ ranging to ‘Let your body decide’. I need my engine started in the morning and can’t function without it- I get narky,really really narky for a start and secondly, if i took my supplements on an empty stomach, I’d be feeling sick all day – not great when you are trying to do a day’s work. When I’m at work, it’s quick, usually at the desk, the main requisite being a really good coffee and a flapjack brought in from home filled with nuts and seeds – great for keeping me going for a while. At the weekend when there is more time, we love a leisurely breakkie, read the papers, cook something substantial with eggs and have some homemade granola and muffins as an option too. This is my most favourite recipe for granola – full of good nutritious ingredients and if you don’t have everything, just substitute something else in. The muffins are a bit different and are a great option for using left over butternut squash. They are such a sweet veggie that they make a great option for putting into breakfast muffins. A couple of handfuls of blueberries make a great antioxidant boost also if you have them, serve on the side with the muffins.

Crunchy Oat Granola
4 tablespoons honey
100 gr rolled oats
225 oat flakes
100g barley flakes
50 gr rye flakes
25 gr toasted pumpkin seeds
25gr linseed
100 ml coconut oil
40 gr millet flakes / wheat germ
50 gr chopped dates, figs, dried bananas,
80 gr toasted hazelnuts
50gr your choice of pine nuts, almonds, pecans,

Preheat oven to 170deg
Combine first 7 ingredients along with the coconut oil
Spread out in a roasting tray and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes to prevent uneven browning.
Allow to cool and then combine with the millet, fruit and nuts
Store in an airtight tin (this will keep for several weeks)
Serve with yoghurt, honey fruit compote for a delicious sunshine brunch

Breakfast Muffins with Butternut Squash Puree, Apple and Hazelnuts
1 ¾ cups flours – you can use all gluten free white mix or a mix of almond, hazelnut, brown rice, jowar flours.
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon zest
1 sweet apple grated
½ cup butternut squash pureed
½ tsp salt, baking powder, bread soda and zanthan gum
½ tsp ginger and mixed spice
3 eggs
½ cup coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
Mix the flours, salt, soda, baking powder and spices together
Whisk the eggs with the coconut oil, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest
Stir in the puree and add the wet to the dry and mix gently but ensure they are fully combined
Stir in the grated apple and pour into muffin cases .
Top with chopped hazelnuts and bake at 170 for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm with a fresh brew of organic coffee and some delicious fruit.

Gluten Free Pesto and Parmesan Muffins

I’m still experimenting with flour mixes looking for success in the gluten free stakes. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve thrown a few hockey pucks in the bin since I started and that hasn’t changed…still trying though!. I’m amazed at the amount of recipes out there with a picture of the ‘result’ which does not match the ingredients at all… A lovely light risen cake with delicate crumb and the only ingredient is rice flour..don’t think so!. These work thought, the amount of eggs and liquid mean they stay pretty light. The milk powder adds texture, though I have left it out on occasion and only noticed a slight difference. These make a great lunch accompaniment, a plate of delicious meats and some good olive oil and you are good to go. Pop some into the much box for the next day,even better a decent lunch at the desk instead of over paying for a poor excuse of a sandwich…And much better nutrition too. I used tomato pesto, but regular will be lovely too, I’m thinking even tapenade and feta would make a lovely combination. Just sub out the Parmesan for feta and the tapenade instead of the pesto. Which ever you try, let me know if you have discovered any secrets to gluten free baking.

Makes about 15. Oven at 180C.
7oz Polenta
3 1/2 oz Rice flour
2oz Dried milk powder
2 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar
7gr pack dried instant Yeast
3 Eggs
3/4 pint tepid Water
1 tbsp chopped fresh Herbs or 1 tsp of your choice dried (I used herbs de Provence)
2 tbsp Pesto smoked tomato
2 oz Parmesan and a little over for sprinkling on top

Lightly oil the muffin tin
Sift the flours, milk powder and salt in a bowl and stir well to combine.
Add the yeast sugar and xanthan gum.
Lightly whisk the eggs, add the water and herbs and stir to combine.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mix and combine until smooth.
Beat for about 5 minutes, stir in the Parmesan and pesto.
Spoon into the muffin tins and cover with a damp clean towel. Leave in a warm place until they have risen to the top
of the muffin tins.
Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes – check after 15. They are done when they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the underneath.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.. they are delicious when still warm!.

Cranberry muffins with natural yoghurt and treacle

We dont buy many (if any) baked goods in our house. If you bake them yourself, at least you can guarantee the quality of the ingredients you use and be aware of how much sugar has gone into something and therefore when to stop eating (after 1!) Its also a great way to pass a morning with my little one as she recites ‘eggs come from chickens’,’flour comes from the farmer’ and so on while making a big mess and having lots of fun

This Gluten free flour muffin works really well, they rise, the result is nice and soft not like some of my former bullet experiments and they are lovely and moist and dark from the treacle.

70gr unrefined dark brown sugar
4oz unsalted butter
1 egg beaten
350ml Natural Yoghurt
4oz gluten free white flour mix
1/2 tsp bread soda
1/4 tsp salt
4oz dried cranberries (or raisins)
3 tbsp treacle or 2 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp mixed milled seeds

Preheat oven to 200C (180 fan)
Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy

Add egg, yoghurt and treacle and beat until incorporated
In separate bowl mix flour, salt, soda, cranberries and milled seeds

Pour batter into the dry ingredients and mix gently until incorporated.
Try not overmix as it will be quite thick but you dont want to work it very much
Pour into muffin or bun cases.
Makes about 20 bun case size or 12 muffin size
Bake for 15-20 minutes until they spring back under the touch

Blueberry Oat Muffins with a Oat Shortie Topping …. Gluten Free

Blueberry Oat Muffins
I love to bake and I’m quite ok at it, turning out nice pastry or cakes as the occasion demands it. This gluten free business is a whole different ball game though. I’ve been experimenting a bit lately with all the different flour mixes available and with mixed results I have to say… I have thrown a few bullets in the bin in recent weeks and discovered it helps to have a sense of humour when your daughter asks ‘What is that?’.

Quite simply you can’t just substitute the wheat flour in your favourite recipe with a gluten free flour. The raising process for one is not the same and the amounts of baking powder and baking soda need to be increased. That in itself can be problematic as you don’t want a green bun from too much baking soda… I’ve been there!.

You also need to choose your recipes wisely. Recipes with lots of liquid, pureed fruit, yoghurt etc will translate well but Mary Berry’s ultimate Cake recipes are not yet a runner for me anyhow.

While for this recipe I have used a Dove white flour mix (perfectly good) my next intention is to develop a flour mix which I like. I have the brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and am just waiting for Jowar flour to arrive so that I can experiment and see if I can come up with a few flour mixes suitable for different baking types from more refined through to a nice nutty brown bread.  Unless you are really interested in baking I would suggest taking an easier route and buying the prepackaged Dove’s formula.
Blueberry Muffin

I hope you enjoy this sweet muffin recipe – let me know what you think…
This makes 16 -18 buns or 12 bigger muffins

Blueberry Muffins with an Oat Shortie Topping
8 oz gluten free rolled oats
8 Fl oz rice or almond milk or water or even yoghurt
2 oz butter
4 oz golden brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (Use good quality and check for additives)
2 tbsp raw agave nectar (available in health stores) or honey
8 oz Doves gluten and wheat free white flour blend (Available at all health food stores)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp gound cinnamon or mixed spice
1 pack of blueberries (about 6 oz)
2 eggs beaten
Oat topping
2 tbsp oats
1 tbsp sugar
1 oz butter
Pinch cinnamon or mixed spice

Soak the oats in the milk or water for 20 minutes.
Beat the butter sugar vanilla and nectar or honey together till light and fluffy
Sieve the dry ingredients together (flour, salt, soda, baking powder, cinnamon)
Stir the soaked oats into the butter sugar mix and combine well
Mix into the dry ingredients and combine well
Beat the 2 eggs and stir into the mix to form a thick batter
Add the blueberries
Place paper cases into muffin tins
Fill cases with mixture 2/3s up
For oat topping rub the butter sugar spice and oats together and sprinkle over the uncooked mixture
Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes for bun size or 25 for larger
If you use frozen blueberries you will probable need 5 more minutes
Take out of the muffin tins and leave to cool in their paper cases so they don’t go soggy and enjoy while still warm or later if you can wait!

Breakfast on the go?… Stuck for a health lunchbox snack for the kids…Try these Mediterranean Muffins

I got several cake and dessert cook books over Christmas and was looking at all the muffin recipes. I always shudder when I am passing a particular muffin outlet at a large shopping centre near me as you can see them pouring huge amounts of oil into their muffin mix just before putting them in the oven. I’m willing to bet that oil is a horrible low grade just above toxic product but sadly the queues at the counter are still long. I always make them with butter and while looking through a baking cookbook I started thinking about more nutritious savoury muffin options. I had just made a load of semi sundried tomatoes and since they are such a Mediterranean staple decided to match them with the Parma and feta I had in the fridge. I’m sure it has been done before but I’m very proud of these delicious little beauties… I just had one and dipped it in a puddle of extra virgin olive oil and I’m hooked. These are made with a gluten free flour (I used rice flour) but any gluten free white flour blend will work. The added fats and protein have reduced their GI and above all made these much more nutritious than anything for sale in that outlet I mentioned above…..

10 oz gluten free flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp baking powder

3 oz butter – melted
9fl oz milk
2 eggs – beaten with the milk

2 oz parma ham chopped into small pieces
2 oz feta crumbled
2 oz semi sundried tomatoes chopped
2 tbsp chopped chives

Sieve the first 4 ingredients into your mixing bowl
Beat the milk and eggs in to form a thick batter
Beat in the melted butter, scraping down the mixture

Take bowl out and manually fold in the ham, feta, tomatoes and chives to ensure an even distribution
Full your muffin cases about 2/3’s full and bake at 190C for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown

They will be delicious either just out of the oven with a big salad or bowl of soup or in a lunchbox to take to work or school. They will freeze perfectly and you can heat them from frozen.

Enjoy !

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