gluten free baking

Mini Muffins

More zucchini…zucchini…zucchini! Everywhere! Recently Michael and I received a wedding gift from a very lovely friend who sadly can’t make it to the wedding. One of the items was a mini muffin baking pan. I was really excited to use it (and I was also doing some research on making some “dog” muffins that Bella can eat). But I had so much zucchini I decided to make some human muffins first and use up some zucchini. Here is the recipe:

Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Adapted From: http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/07/banana-zucchini-chocolate-chip-muffins.html

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (vegetable or canola oil may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk (coconut, soy, rice, cow's milk may be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup ripe mashed bananas (about 2 small/medium bananas)
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini, measured loosely laid in cup (not packed in or squeezed; about 1 medium zucchini, I didn't peel it)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • about 11 teaspoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips divided, about 1 teaspoon for each muffin (regular-sized chips may be substituted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan very well with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the bananas and whisk to combine.
  4. Before adding the zucchini, put it in a paper towel and squeeze tightly for about 10 seconds to remove some moisture. After squeezing, you should have about 3/4 cup of compacted shreds. Add zucchini to bowl and stir.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, optional salt and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop turn batter out into prepared pan. Each cavity should be filled to about 3/4 full, but not exceeding or batter could overflow.
  7. Sprinkle the top of each muffin generously with mini chocolate chips, about 1 teaspoon each.
  8. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes (for mini muffins) or until muffins are set, domed, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  9. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until they've firmed up and are cool enough to handle. It's normal for muffin tops to be flatten as they cool.
  10. Muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=43945

I used the recipe as a base and adapted it. So the changes I made…

I used real milk (1%) instead of almond. I also used the Trader Joe’s gluten free flour. To make this a little healthier and reduce the amount of sugar,  I made another substitute. When you bake with Splenda it’s a 50-50 mix. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you use 1/2 cup of Splenda instead. For this recipe I halved the sugar and used splenda and I also included 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. I probably could have skipped the Splenda/Sugar altogether honestly.

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I wanted to use the mini muffin tray, which was 24 mini muffins but I had a ton of extra batter after filling those so I did a few regular sized muffins as well. Because of that it kind of made the calorie count impossible to calculate but I’d say that the mini muffins are probably around 75 calories each and the regular muffins are around 100 calories, maybe a little less.

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These muffins were awesome! And addicting! And because they are so tiny, bitesize really, it’s easy to just keep popping them in your mouth. The muffins were definitely DIFFERENT than any I’ve ever done. They were very moist and gooey which I attribute to the addition of the applesauce. I think maybe using the melted coconut oil also did that. I’ve never baked with coconut oil before. It gave it a richer flavor I think. Each muffin had maybe 2-3 chocolate chips in it and so the chocolate flavor wasn’t overpowering at all. Just the perfect amount of sweetness.

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I would say that these tasted more like banana muffins than zucchini. Every once in awhile I’d get a bite of zucchini and really taste it but the most dominant flavor was the banana. These were great and I will make them again for parties. I ended up taking a bunch to my book club group and then I took some to a friend’s house the next day when Michael and I went over for dinner.

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The muffins were a hit at the book club. I really, really liked them, too. They had such a different texture than I’m used to with muffins but it was pleasant. I think this is a great “base” muffin recipe. You could make some really interesting alterations…like maybe shredded carrots instead of zucchini or maybe dried cranberries instead of chocolate chips. I think the mini muffins were too small for nuts, but maybe with bigger muffins it would work well. Depending on how you end up changing the ingredients in the recipe, these muffins could be dessert or could easily be a breakfast treat.

I’ve never baked with coconut oil before and I have to say, I kind of love it! Will definitely be using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil in more future baking experiments.

Box Jumps, Burgers and Brownies

I would rate my weekend food as a solid “C”. I did okay with my calories but nutritionally? Not as great as I could have. It started with a night out with my friend Erika. We grabbed a quick dinner at Pizza Schmizza (it’s so cool that they have my favorite beer on tap! Boneyard!)  and a beer and then we got to see the movie Labor Day with free tickets. It was a pre-release screening and we both really enjoyed the movie. There were parts that were totally cheesy chick-flick type moments, but overall the movie was good and it made me want to read the book. I felt like the pacing of the movie was a little off, but perhaps the book is better at that.

Saturday morning I made it to the Warrior Room for the 90 minute Warrior Workout class. It’s a great class, but the 90 minutes is a bit long for me. I think ideally the perfect length for that class would be like 75 minutes long. It’s a good class because everything is broken up into stations usually, there’s running involved, and so much variety you do not get bored.

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There were box jumps. I kind of hate box jumps. Mostly because the boxes at the Warrior Room are pretty large for what I’m used to. With my knee issues it turns into more of a step up as opposed to a jump. I’m okay with that modification–it’s still a good workout. It was another great class with a high calorie burn:

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Afterward Michael wanted to get burgers for lunch. It’s been ages since we’ve been out for burgers. I can’t remember the last time, perhaps back in October maybe? We went to Foster Burger, one of his favorites. We split an order of small fries and I got the “mini” Foster Burger. It’s a smaller patty. It comes with their special sauce (basically ketchup and mayo), lettuce and pickles, and I added sauteed onion and pepperjack cheese to mine.

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I love that they offer a smaller option. I just wish that the bun was also smaller. Of course, I could have cut off part of the bun to make it smaller like the patty but….I didn’t. The bun is outstanding, too. It’s made from a Vietnamese bakery right next door to Foster Burger. One of these days I’ll go to the bakery and get one of their sandwiches…So my portion was smaller but it still sat heavy.

It was a movie weekend! Michael and I watched two movies–the second Hunger Games movie (which was really, really good) and “American Hustle,” which was also a fun watch. Loved the costumes in both movies. I’m especially excited for part 1 of the Hunger Games finale that comes out this November. Seems so far away! We have a few more Oscar movies to watch now before the event!

We were so full from our burger from lunch that by the time dinner came around, neither of us wanted much. I could have made a good choice–a salad or maybe a snack of an apple sliced up with some raisins and cheese. All things I considered when we talked about dinner. Instead, I conceded to Michael’s suggestion that we just have popcorn for dinner. Not the best, most nutritional choice but at least it was homemade and healthier than microwave popcorn with a bunch or preservatives (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Michael makes the best homemade popcorn on the stove. I’ve never had better! I add a little bit of salt, melted butter and a little nutritional yeast for a very yummy, savory snack.

I also made brownies, at Michael’s request, gluten free to be exact. I picked up a box of gluten free brownie mix at the grocery store that was on sale. The last time I attempted to make gf brownies from scratch they were so terrible that I tossed them in the garbage pretty much immediately. They were so bad. It kind of turned me off to gf baking to be quite honest, hence the box mix. I’m happy that these were actually delicious!

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The brownies were plump and thick, at the same time kind of gooey. Definitely not your traditional gluten-free baked item that feels super dry and dense. It was just like a REAL brownie! I was shocked. Even though it came from a box, I was so happy with the results I will most definitely stick with this brand in the future.

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Yes the brownies tasted just as amazing as they look. I’m really happy with this grocery store find! The package says that there’s 16 servings for 130 calories. When I cut the brownies I got about 13 servings instead making the brownies closer to 200 calories each instead. Still a decent number.

On Sunday I went to yoga (which is a nice recovery workout after the Warrior Room ass-kicking) and then prepped food for the week. Michael made queso for a superbowl snack (which I ended up eating way too much of as well). All in all I could have done better this weekend. I need to tighten things up, stop with the indulging and get back on track!