Lately I’ve been working hard at getting more whole grains into my diet. As much as I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, you’d think I would be really good at getting lots of variety in my diet. Not so. This is a constant struggle for me. If left to my own devices, I’d live off of apples, cottage cheese, spinach, pecans, ice cream, and a good grilled chicken salad with lots of fresh veggies drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Going gluten free and sugar free was hard. In 2003 there weren’t as many options as there are today. Also, I was battling my addictive eating and really had to make a clean break so I could develop a new way of taking care of myself. For a while, I ate the same old thing all of the time. It worked for me then. Today, though, I need much more variety to keep myself feeling good and my digestive system working.
But you know me – if it doesn’t taste good I don’t want to eat it.
I saw Barefoot Contessa make her Chunky Banana Bran Muffins on t.v. a few weeks ago and decided that I’d re-work her recipe using flax instead of bran. I’ve been eating flax for years. It has a distinctive nutty, earthy flavor that I just love.
You can buy ground flax meal at somewhere like Whole Foods or Central Market. Flax has a higher fat content and will quickly go rancid if left out of the refrigerator. To avoid waste, I buy whole flax seeds in the bulk and grind them in my food processor as needed. I keep the whole flax seeds in my pantry in glass mason jar and store any extra flax meal in a seperate mason jar in the refrigerator. You can also freeze ground flax seed if you need to store it for several months.
Here’s what flax seed looks like:
And this is what you want it to look like when you make flax meal. Notice that it has a mealy texutre.
One of my favorite readers, Barbara, asked for a good breakfast dish recently. This is a great choice.
I have never been a muffin person in terms of a breakfast dish because I need something that will satisfy me and keep me going until lunch. This muffin is much healthier because of the flax, banana, and nuts so it does the trick. I’ve been eating one for breakfast every day for the last 5 days along with a little bowl of fresh fruit. My energy has been great and I’ve not been hungry between meals.
These muffins will stay good for days if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so and breakfast is ready.
A couple of helpful tips:
- Spray paper muffin liners very lightly with baking spray to keep the muffins from sticking to the papers. Gluten-free flour doesn’t release as nicely as traditional flour.
- Use an ice cream scoop with a push-button release to put muffin mix into the paper liners. This non-messy method gives muffins a nice, professional appearance.
- Remove baked muffins from the tins after 3 -5 minutes and place on a wire rack. Letting them cool in the tins can cause them to be soggy.
If you’re looking for another way to use flax, stop by and see Ali and Tom at Whole Life Nutrition and try their Dark Teff Sandwich Bread.
This post is part of the following blog carnivals:
- What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free? hosted by Linda The Gluten-Free Homemaker
- Real Food Wednesday hosted byKelly the Kitchen Kop
The recipe is adapted from The Barefoot Contessa.
- ½ cup flax meal
- 1 cup buttermilk (shaken)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup raw agave nectar
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose gluten free flour blend
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup large-diced bananas
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners into 1 (10 or 12-cup) muffin tin. Spray the paper liners lightly with cooking spray to keep the muffins from sticking to the papers.
- Combine the flax and buttermilk and set aside. (This mixture is supposed to get thick.)
- Cream the butter and agave in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with an electric beater for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- With the mixer on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time. Scrape the bowl and then add the brown rice syrup, orange zest, and vanilla. (The mixture will look curdled.) Add the flax/buttermilk mixture and combine.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter just until combined. Don’t overmix it! Fold in the raisins, bananas and walnuts with a rubber spatula.
- With an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.