When the weather turns gray and the rain drums lightly on the roof, I want to bake. It just brings a sense of cozy into the home by wafting smells of cinnamon spice throughout the house. Perhaps I am constantly nostalgic for the Fall, but even with the rainy days of late Spring, these muffins do not disappoint. Since I am a mother of a toddler, whatever I bake needs to be quick and cannot dirty too many dishes. If Toren gives me a 30 minute window of self-play, then I am lucky.
So here is what I whipped up this time. APPLE BANANA BREAKFAST MUFFINS!! If you are a fan of apple, banana, and cinnamon, then this recipe is for you! Sweetened only with whole fruit, these muffins are naturally free of refined sugar. They are fluffy yet fiber rich, and an excellent alternative to otherwise sugar laden muffin recipes. I am not a fan of sugar replacements, and encourage the use of fruit, as nature intended, to sweeten recipes. Not only does this practice encourage the consumption of whole foods, it also increases the fiber and polyphenol content. Flaxseeds further boost the fiber content and provide a lot of health benefits including supporting healthy bowel movements, balancing hormones, and reducing inflammation. This little seed may be small, but it is mighty! Plus, the polyphenols in the oats, apple peel, and cinnamon support the growth of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus two groups of good gut bacteria known to support human health in a wide variety of ways.
Although these muffins are gluten free, they are not dairy or egg free. If you want to play around with these additions let me know how it turns out! Also, of importance, when grating the apple make sure to leave the skin on because most of the polyphenols are found directly beneath the skin. Don't let the skin go to waste. I also opted not to use muffin liners, because I feel the muffins rise better when placed directly into an oiled muffin tin. You can easily make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. These muffins taste just as good fresh out of the oven as they do reheated in the microwave or toasted in the toaster. With a pat of butter or nut butter they taste extra yummy too. And yes, my little toddler loves them as much as I do!
Apple Banana Breakfast Muffins
Makes 6 Muffins
1 cup rolled oats
1 medium banana
1 medium apple, grated with skin on
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (also known as flaxseed meal)
1/4 cup whole milk yogurt (I used plain Grace Harbor Farms yogurt)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile add all of the ingredients except the baking powder and baking soda to a high speed blender (I have a BlendTec). Blend until smooth, about 60 seconds or so. I am sure a good quality food processor would work well too. Then sprinkle in the baking powder and baking soda and blend for another 10 seconds, just until incorporated.
Oil six spots of a regular muffin tin with butter or olive oil and transfer the mixture evenly into all spots. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the muffins to cool in the muffin tin for 10-15 minutes undisturbed. Then gently remove the muffins and enjoy!
For a balanced breakfast consider pairing these muffins with a protein rich meal such as veggie scrambled eggs.
I would love to know what you think of these little gems! Share your adaptations below, so others can learn from you as well :)
Unfortunately many kiddos struggle with food allergies. This recipe is dedicated to a sweet patient of mine who has multiple food allergies (nuts, soy, egg, wheat, strawberries, and fish) and seems to also have a latex food syndrome. A latex allergy can cause cross reactivity to certain plant proteins, most commonly banana, avocado, and kiwi. However, there are many more plant foods that can trigger a reaction. In my patient’s case it also includes common fruits and vegetables often used in muffin recipes. Typical symptoms include swelling of the lips/face, itchy throat, rashes and hives. So in order to create a little muffin that this kiddo can enjoy on the road or at home, I decided to get busy in the kitchen. I wanted it to keep it as simple as possible with minimal kitchen tools required. I used Neat Egg for this recipe, which I found at my local Fred Meyers for $5, but you can also use a pasture-raised egg if egg allergies are not an issue. I like the Neat Egg because it contains only two ingredients; chia seeds and chickpeas. Other egg replacers often use refined starches and gums. The optional add in’s allow you to modify the recipe to accommodate your child’s preference and/or tolerance. If you add more dried/freeze dried fruit, it adds a little bit more sweetness. If you add chopped nuts, it makes it more nutrient dense and filling. You can also sneak in some greens using a greens powder. It’s up to you and your little one! I often make multiple variations in a single batch by splitting the mixture into two or three and adding the extra fixin's to each separate bowl. Sometimes I just keep it simple and leave the batch plain. Whatever makes your little kiddo happy :)
Servings: about 14 little muffins (or 12 little muffins and 1 regular muffin for mama)
OR about 6 regular muffins
Time: 30-45 minutes (depending on the total baking time)
1 ¼ cup gluten free rolled oats
¼ cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar/lemon juice
1/3 cup maple syrup (see note)
1 Neat Egg (1 tablespoon Neat Egg mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
2 tablespoons olive oil (or any oil/melted butter)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8th teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Optional Add Ins:
Crushed freeze dried fruit (Trader Joes carries blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries)
Dried fruit (craisins, raisins, dried currants, dried blueberries, dried cherries, etc)
Cinnamon, cocoa powder, etc
Dried coconut flakes
Supergreens powder (no more than 1 tsp)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix together the oats, non-dairy milk, and 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Stir well and let sit 5 minutes, and then stir vigorously until oats break up and soften. Add the maple syrup, olive oil, ground flaxseed, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Stir vigorously until well combined and resembles more of a "batter". The oats shouldn't resemble whole oats that much anymore. You may need to add 1 tablespoon extra non-dairy milk to make sure the batter is “wet” enough if you are using the Neat Egg or using less maple syrup (see note below). Mix together the baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl and sprinkle small amounts into the batter, while stirring. Continue to gradually incorporate the leaveners evenly. DO NOT ADD THEM IN ALL AT ONCE. Make sure your baking soda is fresh, because old baking soda will not give the rise you are looking for.
Finally, stir in any optional add ins. Place muffin liners into your muffin tin and transfer your mixture. I like to keep half the batch plain. So I transfer half of the mixture into the lined muffin tins. Then I add a handful of crushed freeze dried blueberries from TJ's or whatever else I think would be good and transfer the remaining mixture into the the leftover muffin tins. I only have a 12 muffin tin for small muffins, so I always have enough leftover to fill 1 regular muffin (mom's treat). Bake the small muffins for about 18-20 minutes. For regular muffins bake for 25-30 minutes, or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the muffin from the oven, and allow them to cool in muffin tin for at least 15 minutes if not an hour. Patience is a virtue :)
Toren likes the muffin broken up into small bite sized pieces. For older toddlers, you can give it to them whole. Also, you can easily freeze the muffins, and thaw in the microwave when needed. They taste great on their own, or warmed up and topped with butter, nut/seed butter, cream cheese, or for a fancy birthday, top with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
Note: I like to use less maple syrup (1/4 cup) when I want to add extra dried/freeze dried fruit because they will add extra sweetness. I use more maple syrup (1/3 cup) when I am not adding in more fruit and instead adding in extra nuts/veggies or when I am keeping it plain. When you are using less maple syrup, then you may need an extra tablespoon of the non-dairy milk to make up the liquid factor.
Nutrition (small muffin): 70kcal, 2.7g fat, 10.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 1.2g protein
Nutrition (regular muffin): 160kcal, 6.4g fat, 24g carbs, 2.4g fiber 2.7g protein
1) You may replace the Neat Egg with 1 regular pasture-raised egg.
2) You can replace the olive oil with any kind of oil, melted butter, etc
3) You can replace the maple syrup with honey, but I suggest using only 1/4 cup as honey is much sweeter than maple syrup.
Savory Oatmeal with Grated Zucchini & Eggplant
Savory oatmeal is a great alternative to traditional oatmeal because it is rich in protein, quality fat, and provides a serving of veggies! You can use whatever veggies you like in place of zucchini and eggplant. I highly recommend choosing pasture-raised eggs because they contain more nutrients, especially vitamin A and E, compared to conventional alternatives.
Makes 1 serving
Time: 5-10 minutes
½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup + water
1 cup grated zucchini and eggplant (or any other chopped/grated veggie)
Dulse granules to taste
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Grass-fed butter or olive oil
Optional Toppings: avocado slices, basil, grated cheese, hot sauce, etc
In a medium sauce pan add the rolled oats, water, your choice of veggies and cook until the veggies are tender. You may need to add more water during the cooking process. Season with salt and pepper and your choice of spices. Smoked paprika or curry powder go really well with zucchini and eggplant.
Meanwhile in a cast iron skillet, add your choice of fat, and heat over medium. Fry up two pasture raised eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the oatmeal into a bowl, top with fried eggs, and top with your choices of toppings.
Note: To keep recipe low FODMAP choose veggies that are safe per the Monash University Low FODMAP app. Do not add onions or garlic.
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.