OMG we’re like a month away from Fall…and all the pumpkin-y deliciousness that comes with it. Spoiler…I’ve already started baking pumpkin things. But I can’t share just yet…that would mean I have a problem. Either way, I still need baked goods in my life that I CAN brag about, so here ya go.
What the heck is a summer berry? Um…all of them. Seriously, go crazy. I used cherries (my FAVE), blueberries, and raspberries. Just go with whatever you like. Oh, and remember strawberries aren’t really berries sooooo you’re out of luck there. But apparently bananas and tomatoes and avocados are. Huh. These could potentially get really gross. Don’t be TOOcreative, mmk?
Does it still retain “cupcake” status if you eat it for breakfast?
So if you follow me on Facebook at all you know I’m about knee-deep in a 21-Day Sugar Detox right now. It’s my third one ever and definitely easier by now. This summer…and a cross-country move…and my first semester of pre-med…and these…and these…kinda left me with a donut around my middle. Plus sugar just isn’t very good for you. Even though it knows just how to make me feel so good. Sugar’s a jerk.
I ended up with these kind of by accident. I was playing around with muffin recipes (again) because they’re just the easiest thing to toss in a baggie for breakfast when I have a morning lecture…and then I got these, which despite having ZERO sugar (natural or otherwise), taste just like carrot cake. Seriously, I think these will give my best carrot cake recipe a run for its money. Or maybe it’s just that I’m at that point where I haven’t had any sugar in a week and EVERYTHING tastes sweet. I dunno. I still can’t get enough of ‘em, though.
My interest is usually piqued when I see an muffin named after a pie. I mean, how do you DO that without making a mini pie? Or just a muffin with fruit in it? Fun fact: these muffins taste like apple pie with all the softness and moist crumbliness of a muffin. The secret is to keep your apple chunks juuuuuuuust the right size. Not so tiny that you’re just making an apple muffin but not so huge that they don’t cook through. I actually sliced mine on a mandolin (on the 1/8 inch setting) and then gave ‘em a rough chop after that so that they looked like shards of glass. That’s a horrible metaphor…but really, think shards of glass.
The result is a warm, soft muffin with ooey-gooey pockets of that apple-cinnamon goop that makes actual apple pies so awesome. But without the effort of making an actual pie. How efficient of me
They’re the perfect breakfast to toss in my backpack to eat in morning lecture. And they don’t take up much space since that’s a valid concern for someone who bikes 7 miles each way through city traffic to get to school. It’s awesome. I’m saving cash from gas, doing my part to save the environment, and getting a free workout. If you’ve ever been to Baltimore you know there are some HILLS here. I wish I had the time to keep up with O-lifting full time but I just don’t anymore. I still get a good lift in at Dumbarton on Saturday morning and *maybe* another one at some point in the week, but frankly, a 40-minute commute by bike each way makes me feel pretty good about staying in shape. Just wish it wasn’t so damn hot…seriously, what’s up with this summer?! Pretty sure my classmates think I look like a drowned rat every morning. Or at least smell like one.
OMG I shouldn’t be talking about nasty stuff when these muffins were such a slam dunk. Banana nut muffins aren’t exactly original but I really wanted a Paleo muffin that tasted like those awesome ones you could get on a giant platter from Costco. If you don’t know what I’m talking about I pity you. I mean, these aren’t jumbo since I don’t have a good jumbo muffin pan…just my sissy little ones. And by little I mean normal muffin size, but I REALLY have a thing for jumbo muffins. But little muffins can be delicious, too. I guess.
I’ve made like a hundred different banana breads. (This, this, this, and this). I mean, I love it and it’s easy and makes good meals and snack on the go and is the best possible air freshener for the kitchen. Duh. But now my basic recipe has been revised. Again.
Why? Well, last time you’ll recall I had a change of heart about the excessive use of nut flours in baking, especially in something that had become a breakfast staple of mine. This time, it’s the flax. I have decided to quit using flax meal in my recipes since, well, it doesn’t agree with me. By process of elimination I realized it irritates my system, makes me gassy, and all that jazz.
I did a little reading, and it turns out that flax oil is really unstable (like many nut and seed oils). When you grind up the seeds, it goes rancid when exposed to heat or if not properly stored. If you want to use raw flax, you’re good as long as you buy the whole seeds and grind them yourself. If you’re like me and buy the packs or flax meal and store and use them like any other flour, then you’re doing way more harm than good. Oops.
Thankfully, the recipe was easy to fix and the result is just a nice, tender, rich flavored banana bread that is lovely on its own or slathered with raw almond butter and honey. Bonus that it’s oil and sugar free, so it’s cool for daily consumption
Right now it’s saving breakfast for me since I can just toss a few slices into a baggie and take them to class. Next step is to start making some serious Banana Bread French Toast…
Good. I know real Texas Toast is only available in a plastic bag and is probably made of sawdust, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t the perfect ingredient for grilled cheese, french toast, or…well…anything that needs bread. I did a quick Wikipedia search, though, and found that traditionally, a” “Texas Toast” really is is thick slices of white bread slathered in garlic butter and grilled. Um, ok. I can do that.
I hate that bit of conventional dieting wisdom that says you should “go to bed hungry.” Look, if I’m hungry, then as far as I’m concerned, relaxing enough to get to sleep is the last thing I’m going to be able to do–when I’m hungry, my eyes glaze over and I want to kill everyone and everything withing reach. So, yeah, Bob Harper? Go to bed hungry? Not on your life.
Getting back into the “competitive” routine, though, means that once again I’m eating more frequent and smaller meals. During the day this is great, since I’m always full and my workouts are better, I’m more awake, yadda yadda. But around bedtime? The 3-4 ounces of protein at Meal 5, aka “Dinner” is all gone and my tummy is rumbling. Last week I made a quick habit of these (Vanilla Maple? F**K YES!)…buuuuuut even I can’t delude myself into thinking that this is a sustainable addiction. Maybe just every other day…?
These muffins, besides being super convenient as a single-serve recipe deal, are super filling (thanks to the coconut flour!) and HUGE. Honestly, half with a schmear of almond butter is enough. Well, it should be, but I eat with my eyes, so I need the whole thing. But it fills me up without making me feel like I ate a brick the next morning. If you wanna get meathead-y like me, you can also take note of the protein content…perfect for overnight recovery! Add into the mix a very high fiber source of carbs and healthy monounsaturated fat from all that coconut. What’s not to like?
Aren’t these just so gosh darned CUTE? I feel like Lady Mary Crawley at tea time…which is sooooooo much better than sending your resume to a bajillion places and being reminded over and over and over again how much you suck at life. I mean…look, my dream since I was like, 10, has been to go to culinary school. For real. Or at least in between bouts of wanting to be an astronaut or a professional bodybuilder. I floated the idea again to my friend the other day, and out of the goodness of her heart, she reminded me that I’d probably only be a second rate chef. And as much as I was suddenly overcome with a desire to kick her in the teeth (I’m so sweet), it’s probably true. I don;t like staying up past 8pm on weekdays, I don’t much care for being told how to make…well, ANYTHING, and I had enough of being yelled all the time in basic training. Guess it’s time to give Space Camp another shot.
There’s something about the ease and convenience of just throwing some meat on bread for a quick lunch (or with eggs for breakfast in the car), but I think we all know that Paleo breads–especially those with the fortitude to support meat and condiments–are a tough nut to crack. A while back I checked into Paleo Bread, which is fine but frankly I’ve had 2 episodes of moldy bread coming in the mail and the fact that there’s been some controversy surrounding the company and its products has me wary (it also contains psyllium, which can be problematic for some). Look, just like anything else, the best thing to do is just to make the damn stuff yourself. And I did, and I was satisfied for the time being.
Then I made this stuff…and completely by accident it had the PERFECT texture for a sandwich bread. So I tweaked it a bit (i.e. made it less pumpkin-y and cinnamon-y) and came up with easily the most perfect Paleo bread I’ve ever had. Hands down. There are waaaaaaay too many Paleo breads out there that are crumbly and cake-y, not to mention that are mostly nut-based (and we all know nut-based baked goods aren’t all that great for you)…this one is light, porous (critical in the buttering of toast), and really high in protein. It doesn’t overwhelm the deliciousness spread on top of sandwiched within. It bends, it twists…yeah, you get it.
Remember when I tried to make these a while back and they were…um…green? Well, after a little more trial and error I firgured I’d re-vamp the recipe completely. And by “completely,” I mean just steal an idea from Cat’s delicious Carmelised Plantain Bread.
I love–LOVE–fried plantains, so why not toss them into my pumpkin bars? The carmel-y, toffee-y flavors meld sooooooo well with pumpkin. I mean, EVERYTHING goes well with pumpkin, but it’s a little extra special here. It’s perfect with butter and a smattering of honey and steaming cup of coffee (what isn’t?!) and has saved my ass this week since I’ve fallen victim to a stream of early meetings that require me to have my breakfast in the car…I’m such a public health risk. If you happen to see someone swerving like a maniac down I-25, it’s probably just me trying to keep all that warm, drippy honey off myself. And failing. Whatever.