This recipe is by far my favourite banana muffin recipe, maybe even my favourite muffin recipe period. It was given to me by a former work colleague, who found it in a newspaper article almost a decade ago. I have yet to find a better tasting banana or bran muffin (healthy or otherwise!). I hope you’ll love them as much as I do – and as much as the wee ones did at this mornings visit to the Early Years Centre at my son’s school – seven children (ages 18 months – 5 years) devoured half a dozen of these healthy treats in under two minutes!

So what makes these muffins so healthy? Well, first of all they contain no butter or oil! AND, they contain wheat bran and ground flaxseed – both very beneficial to your diet. Stay tuned for a post about bran and flaxseed!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour (to make them extra healthy, I sometimes use spelt flour)

3/4 cup wheat bran

3/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (regular sized ones will work, too AND I sometimes toss in a few extra, though I do also make them without any chocolate chips and the kids still love them)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt (I generally omit salt from my baking)

1 and 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (I let the beater do the mashing!)

3/4 cup dark brown sugar (I often use less)

3/4 cup buttermilk (this morning I used 3/4 cup kefir instead and they were SENSATIONAL!)

1 egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients using a spoon.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the bananas until mashed.

Add the wet ingredients and beat until blended.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Let cool completely before removing paper liner, or the liner will not come off cleanly.

 

What’s your favourite healthy banana muffin or bran muffin recipe?

I just adore quinoa. Although it is referred to as a whole grain, it is actually a tiny seed, and it can also be ground into flour. Cooked whole quinoa has a slightly nutty flavour and a lovely crunchy texture. But what I love most about quinoa is that it cooks in just 15 minutes and is a complete protein! Oh, and it’s gluten free! I use it often instead of rice and prefer it over couscous, but it is even more versatile than that – you can add it to virtually any meal or snack. When I cook quinoa, I make sure to cook enough to last several days in an airtight container in the fridge. Please refer to a previous link for more information about quinoa.

Here are a couple of ideas for using cooked quinoa: Add 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa to the Greek Yogurt Delight recipe to boost it’s nutritional value and satiety. Or, you can add any array of roasted/grilled vegetables to some quinoa and drizzle it with some Honey Mustard Dressing and sprinkle some feta cheese over top (and some sliced almonds or chopped pecans are also a nice addition).

This afternoon, however, I decided to add some cooked quinoa to the “Carrot Spice Muffins” in Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming’s national bestselling cookbook, entitled “Quinoa 365 – The Everyday Superfood” . These muffins are kid-friendly, gluten-free, and of course, contain vegetables! And as an added bonus, they contain no oil or butter! Rather, they are moistened by the addition of plain yogurt. Serve these for breakfast, lunch or snack time!

Here is the recipe with some slight modifications.

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups quinoa flour (can be purchased at the “Bulk Barn”)

2 tbsp ground flaxseed (can also be purchased at the “Bulk Barn”)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (I usually omit salt from my recipes)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or omit these and replace them with an additional 1/3 cup raisins)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar – NOT packed (I always try to reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe!)

2/3 cup plain yogurt (I used PC’s Greek Yogurt, of course!)

2 1/4 cups finely grated carrots (you could reduce the amount of carrots and add grated zucchini instead to add more vegetable variety!)

1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I buy mine from Costco as it’s organic and pre-washed. The brand name is “truRoots”)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking oil. Combine the first eight ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until well blended. Mix in the raisins and nuts (if using) and set aside. Whisk the eggs, sugar and yogurt in a large bowl. Stir in the grated carrots.

Using a spatula, gently stir the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until just blended. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake on the centre oven rack for 20 – 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the pan. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month, but I doubt they’ll last very long – the batch I made this afternoon is already devoured!