Raisin-Banana-Bran Muffins

The title has a catchy ring to it, doesn't it? Or is it just me? The other day when I should have been doing homework I decided to make muffins instead. Lately, it has been so challenging for me to get work done at home. However, I would say that these muffins are worth the procrastination.

The recipe that I made is an adaptation from a cookbook that I have, The Runner's Wold Cookbook (Sayago Golub, 2013). I altered their Hearty Whole Grain Muffin recipe quite a bit, but appreciated the general outline to follow for a nutrient-dense muffin.

This was another attempt to use up more of the wheat bran that I have on hand from making meatloaf a few weeks back. I also have leftover steel cut oats that I need to use up. Steel cut oats take so much time to cook...and dishes...and I'm too hungry in the morning to deal with that. Another inspiration for the muffins was the rapidly browning bananas on the top of my refrigerator. I don't like freezing bananas because they taste differently to me so I knew I had to make use of them. I ended up substituting the bananas for the applesauce in the recipe, which worked out perfectly.

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Raisin-Banana-Bran Muffins
Makes 12 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons - 1 tablespoon of spice of choice (cinnamon, pumpkin spice, etc.)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup honey or alternative sweetener
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1/3 cup Optional mix-ins (raisins, nuts, seeds, etc.)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and get mixing!
  2. Mix the first 7 ingredients (the dry ingredients) together in a large bowl. For the spice, I used Speculaas spice from King Arthur Flour. It tastes similar to gingerbread.
  3. Whisk two eggs in a medium sized bowl and mash the bananas into the egg mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients to the egg mixture as well. If the honey doesn't mix in, that's okay, it will combine evenly when you stir everything together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir only just until combined. Over-mixing will give you tougher muffins.
  5. Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray (Pam to the rescue). Using a 1/4 measuring cup pour the batter into the muffin tin. This should perfectly make 12 muffins.
  6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, check after 10 minutes as every oven is different (my gas oven cooks very fast).
  7. Allow to cool before removing from the muffin tin and cooling some more on an iron rack.

Enjoy crumbled with some yogurt and fruit in the morning, as a snack or however your heart desires!

I had these muffins taste-tested by two of my close soon-to-be-RD friends. They both commented on how these muffins are not too sweet. I cut back on the amount of sweetener that I added thinking that the banana and the raisins would add a natural sweetness. Try them for yourself and let me know what you think. 

Happy eating.

 

References:

Sayago Golub J. The runner's world cookbook. New York, New York: Rodale, 2013. Print.

"Date-less" Energy Bites

Energy balls. Energy bites. They are everywhere you look on Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, etc. I've tried a few recipes here and there and like the general idea of a nutrient-dense snack. However, like with most cooking and baking I am still trying to find an easy, versatile recipe that I can make over and over again in a tiny space. In the fall, I had been making my own granola bars to take with me to my rotations. After buying a mini food processor (I can't fit a large one in my kitchen, nor do I need one too big) I have been looking for new recipes to try. It started with energy balls which I adapted into granola bars. I also realized that you can use raisins as a substitute for dates as long as you soak them for a bit to make them easier to grind up. I generally follow the method outlined by Laura Fuentes, but just soaked and drained the raisins without saving any of the water. After a few months, my granola bar recipe needed a makeover. Something simple. Something versatile. Something nutrient-dense and delicious.

I had a general idea of what is needed for an energy ball recipe. You need a binder like dates or raisins in my case. You need something sticky with protein and healthy fat - choose any nut butter you like. I also think nut butter should be in any snack recipe for the added nutrition! And you need a fine grain to pull it all together so that it's not overly sticky.

img_5379 Any recipe that I come up with usually is inspired from another recipe, which I then adapt. The recipe that inspired these energy balls is from Well Plated. Follow the hyperlink to her recipe for Fig Almond Energy Bites.

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My version of energy balls are "date-less" because... well I can't be the only single girl out there that thinks it's a funny pun.

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"Date-less" Coconut Walnut Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup nuts - I used walnuts (or about 1/3 cup nut butter)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 to 1 cup wheat bran (depends on the stickiness)
  • 1/4 cup coconut (extra for rolling)

Method

  1. Measure the raisins into a measuring cup. Pour water over the raisins and let sit while you grind the nuts.
  2. Measure the nuts and add to your food processor and grind until creamy. If you do not have a food processor use nut butter instead.
  3. Drain the water from the raisins. Add the raisins to the food processor and grind (I find it easier to grind the binding ingredients before adding the dry ingredients).
  4. Pulse in 1/4 cup wheat bran at a time until the mixture comes together easily and does not leave much oil on your hands (very scientific, I know).
  5. Pulse in 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut.
  6. Using a 1-tablespoon measure, roll into a ball and cover with more unsweetened coconut.
  7. Place energy balls on a small plate/cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  8. Put in the freezer until hard and store in a freezer safe ziploc bag until ready to eat.
  9. Pull out two and bring with you for an easy, on-the-go snack.

 

These energy balls are perfect for an afternoon snack, a quick bite before a morning workout or just whenever you find you stomach asking for a little something. There's healthy fat and protein from the walnuts, whole grains from the wheat bran, and the raisins provide carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals which our bodies need. Athletes especially need carbohydrates since your body uses carbohydrates primarily for fuel.

 

References (in the order they are seen):

Fuentes L. Raisin paste: An awesome substitute for dates. Laura Fuentes: Fresh Living. http://www.laurafuentes.com/raisins-substitute-for-dates/. Accessed January 2017.

Erin. Fig Almond No Bake Energy Bites. Well Plated. http://www.wellplated.com/fig-almond-no-bake-energy-bites/. Posted January 26, 2015. Accessed January 2017.