banana millet muffins

I absolutely love having snack staples in the house.  I have gone only a handful of days in my life without having a snack – I just cannot seem to make it from one meal to the next without a little something.  Needless to say, after going gluten free, snack options became a nightmare (at first).  I am a self-diagnosed snack carb-o-holic and gluten free snacks (mostly pre-packaged) just did not do it for me, so I was stuck.  Well, at least until we came up with our go-to muffin recipe that gets made pretty much every-other week now.  We made a batch (over a dozen muffins) and store them in the freezer.  Then the night before we want to bring them as a snack, just take them out and put them in a container to thaw out – and they taste just as good as when you make them.

We are currently all out of these muffins.  And you can bet that there will be a batch made tomorrow because we have plenty of ripe bananas to use up!

Gluten Free Banana Millet Muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats ground into flour in a blender
  • 1/2 c millet flour
  • 2T chia seeds
  • 1/4 c millet, toasted (on stovetop for 3-5 minutes until they start to pop
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 4-5 bananas
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 2 eggs

1. Grind the oats in a blender to use as a flour.  Add in millet, chia, toasted millet, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
2. Mash up the bananas with the lemon juice and then whisk in the eggs.
3.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined.
4.  Bake in a preheated 375′ oven for 20ish minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5.  Let cool completely and then you can freeze in a tupperware until you’re ready to eat.
If you make about 16 muffins like we normally do, these come to less than 100 calories a piece and make a perfect mid-morning snack or side-dish to a meal.  They’re gluten free, but filled with all sorts of nutritious gluten free ingredients.  Enjoy!

red, white & blue breakfast

If you’ve read my blog before, I think you’ve noticed I have a thing for muffins.  So when it comes to celebrating the 4th of July, I just had to create a recipe that utilized the colors of the American Flag.  I knew berries would give me the colors I was looking for but didn’t want to use them for the blue and red, so I used cherries and poppyseeds.  You may not think of poppyseeds as blue, but I think they have a blue tint and they definitely worked in the recipe!  To finish the trio, the millet was added as the ‘white’.  Although none of my baked goods are white anymore, I think the millet stood out enough to count ;).

Cherries

Millet 

Poppyseeds

Works for me.  And with this recipe being gluten free and vegan, no one will be left out.

Red, White & Blue Muffins makes 12

  • 1/2 c oat flour
  • 1/2 c millet flour
  • 1/2 c oat bran
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed (grind 1/4 c whole flax seeds, which will be enough for this + the flax egg)
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 3/4t xanthan gum (you could leave out, but the muffins would be a bit crumbly)
  • 1/4 c poppyseeds
  • 1/4c millet
  • 1 flax egg (1T ground flax +2T warm water, let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1/4c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1/2t almond extract
  • 1c cherries, pitted and cut in quarters

1. Toast the millet in a pan on the stovetop.  Heat over medium heat and stir frequently until you start to smell the millet toasting and hear it pop.  Allow to cool.

2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients from the oat flour to the millet and whisk together.

3. Whisk the remaining ingredients (except for the cherries) and add to the dry ingredients.

4. Mix the dry + wet ingredients until fully incorporated and then mix in the cherries.

5. Bake in a 375* oven for about 20 minutes or until set.

When the muffins first come out of the oven, you will taste quite a bit of almond from the extract, but it will decrease once the muffins have cooled so don’t be alarmed!

Garnish with cherries and these make a delightful and healthy addition to your menu :).

Happy 4th!

baking routines

I get into baking routines.  Periods of time where I seem to bake the same thing in different variations over and over again.  In the past I have been in the habit of making a batch of cookies every single week.  When one of my past favorite TV shows was on, Pushing Daisies, there was a pie made every week (because really, you can’t watch that show and not want to eat pie).  Rice Krispy treats have also been made + consumed weekly during one summer a couple years back.  Granola, yet another example which is also going strong at this moment.  But the real routine I am on?  Muffins.  I am just in love with these things.  Easy, portable, and the one’s I’m making are actually healthy and good for you :).  This one is also gluten free*.

I had three overripe bananas sitting in my kitchen, so what did I do with them?  Made muffins of course.  And I also added a bunch of my other favorite superfoods to make these muffins powerful.

Gluten Free Banana Power Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats (quickly ground in a blender or left whole if you wish)
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 2T chia seeds
  • 2T oat bran
  • 2T millet, toasted (on the stovetop for 3-5 minutes until starting to pop)
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 flax eggs (2T ground flax + 4T water, let sit for 5 minutes and whisk)
  • 2T unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1. In a small bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk until evenly distributed.

2. In a larger bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice.  Add in the other wet ingredients and mix well.

3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.

4. Scoop into a lined muffin pan.  (I sprayed the paper wrappers thinking the muffins would stick without any fat, but they ended up falling out of the wrappers!  I won’t be spraying them next time!)

5. Bake in a 375* oven for 22-25 minutes.  Makes 12 cupcakes!

*This recipe contains no gluten ingredients, but depending on what kind of oats you buy some may have been cross contaminated with gluten.  If you are severely allergic or have Celiac disease, make sure you buy the appropriate gluten free products for this recipe as not all oats and other flours are considered safe.

These are perfect as breakfast, or as a snack throughout the day with just the perfect amount of natural sweetness from the bananas and applesauce.  You could also jazz these up with a few blueberries mixed in before baking or even spread with a little jam or honey on top :).

mexican mash-up

I much prefer baking to cooking.  It has everything to do with the measurements.  I love following directions and measuring and scooping according to the recipe.  Most good cooks, well, inventive cooks, do not typically rely on recipes to make their dishes and have delicious outcomes.

I’m trying to better myself.  I made a dish last night that did not have a recipe.  I admit, I was kind of freaking out because what if it turns out horribly?!  Well, it didn’t.  And it’s very simple, so no freak outs required for you.  I’ll list ingredients and measurements, but if you choose to find your inner chef, please, be my guest and make any substitutions or changes you see fit.

Mexican Lime Millet Succotash

  • 2 cups cooked (or canned) beans.  I used adzuki beans for the first time (we got them dried and I cooked them in the rice cooker, I’m pretty sure I cooked them way too long so mine were somewhat a mix between whole beans and refried beans)
  • 1 cup uncooked millet
  • 1/2 cup baby lima beans
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s fire-roasted bell peppers and onions (If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you can either use a bag of frozen green peppers or cut up and cook your own with onions if desired.

Sauce

  • 1T honey
  • 1.5T rice vinegar
  • 1T grapeseed oil
  • 1T lime juice

In a saute pan, heat up the millet on medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently until they begin to pop.  Remove from heat and cook the millet (1 cup to 2 1/2 cups water) in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.  My rice cooker took 30 minutes, but use your own specifications for this part.  Once done cooking, let sit with the top open for 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

In the same saute pan used for the millet, heat the frozen lima beans, corn and green pepper mixture.  Cook until everything is well combined and no longer frozen.  Remove from heat.

To the rice cooker (still on the warm setting), add the beans (drained if you’re using canned) as well as the vegetable mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce with a whisk and toss in the rice cooker with the other ingredients.  Keep on warm until you and your family members are ready to eat!

one “pot” wonder

Rice cookers are a wonderful thing.  I had never had one growing up, and was never the biggest fan of plain rice.  Well… I recently found out that rice cookers are not just for rice anymore.

A few mornings a week, rice cookers are used for steel-cut oats.

And a few nights a week rice cookers are used for various grains.  I have yet to make rice in it.  Although I do believe today is the day ;).

Going back to grains, dinner on Tuesday night was a random combination of stuff we had in the pantry and in the freezer, but it turned out really good.  It even makes delicious leftovers served cold!

I started by cooking millet in the rice cooker.  1 cup millet + 2 cups water, cooked for 25 minutes.  Let sit for another 20 or so minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Add in a mixture of your favorite beans and vegetables (I slightly warmed some kidney beans, chickpeas and lima beans from the freezer, and then added fresh spinach), and then tossed in with the millet in the rice cooker which was still on the warm setting.  Also add in 1/2 cup liquid (vegetable stock in this case).

Close the lid and keep warm in the rice cooker until you are ready to eat.  I think this got left for 45 minutes to an hour, the beans were still slightly frozen when I added them and they  heated up perfectly.

Once we were ready to eat – a simple vinaigrette was made to add to the rice cooker.  3/4T mustard + 1T honey + 1T vinegar +1T oil.  We also topped with hummus for an added protein punch.

Simple and delicious.  Only one pot to clean.  And infinite possibilities with variations of grains, vegetables and sauces.

morning, muffin

There are two things I love in the world. Millet and pumpkin. Okay, that’s a lie, but they do rank high on my list of favorite foods. Weird, right? I actually think the first time I had millet was only a couple of months ago, I was skeptical because I had only seen it before as a treat for a pet bird… and I hate birds. But that’s yet another post…

I found this recipe quite randomly, I have had a nature muffin at Stone Creek Coffee (a Milwaukee-area coffee shop) quite a few times in the past because it is delicious. It is filled with different seeds (no nuts) and I just love the crunch that the millet, in particular, gives it. I haven’t checked with Stone Creek for the ingredient list of the muffin… I assume it contains dairy but I still think I might rather not know and still splurge on it once in awhile :). Although after tasting these I am not so sure I’d need to…

I decided to search for a recipe that could possibly replicate the taste, or at least the texture of the nature muffin and found this recipe for Pumpkin and Millet Muffins from Whole Foods. I decided to healthify it more, as well as veganize it.

Pumpkin Millet Muffins

  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 1 flax egg (1T ground flax + 2T warm water, let sit for 5 minutes and whisk together. Can also sub a real egg)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or non-dairy/dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, natural applesauce
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup (could also sub honey or maple syrup, or leave it out altogether)
  • 1 cup spelt flour (whole wheat pastry could also work, or flour of your choice)
  • 60g (~1/3c) oat bran*
  • 60g (~2/3c) oat flour (blend up 1/2c or so old-fashioned oats)*
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/4t ground nutmeg
  • 1/4t ground cloves

*I changed up the flour in this recipe quite a bit. It called for 1 cup white and 1 cup wheat. I decided to go with 1 cup spelt flour (good to use if you have a wheat intolerance), and then for the second cup, I weighed out oat bran and oat flour to equal the weight of what a cup of normal flour would be (I read this tip somewhere and it seemed to work really well!). If you want to simplify it, you can just use 2 cups of flour, but it was really tasty this way!

Preheat your oven to 400*. I used by NEW silicon baking cups from Crate & Barrel for this – love them!

Toast the millet. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat, add the millet and stir every once in awhile to toast the millet until they just start to pop (3-4 minutes). Transfer the millet somewhere to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the flax egg, almond milk, applesauce, pumpkin and agave. In another bowl, whisk all of the dry ingredients together and add the cooled millet. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mix until it’s all incorporated. Scoop the mix into 12 muffin cups (it fills them up quite a bit!) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean. These are very moist muffins because of the pumpkin and applesauce, but you don’t really have to worry about them being underbaked a little since there are no unpasteurized ingredients in the recipe.

I am a firm believer that pumpkin should be eaten year-round (it’s not just a fall food people), but I have heard hints of a pumpkin shortage, so if you cannot find it in your local store feel free to substitute mashed butternut squash, sweet potato, a mashed banana, those sorts of things.

These were INCREDIBLE. I was a little skeptical since I changed so much of the recipe, but they turned out perfectly! I loved the little crunch the millet gave them and they were not heavy at all since there was NO added fat! I might cut down or even eliminate the agave next time. I don’t think they really benefitted from the sweetness, and you could always drizzle some on the top after they are out of the oven if you like the sweetness. I smeared a little bit of earth balance vegan spread on mine – so good!

I had to keep a close eye on the birds when photographing these… didn’t want them to get any ideas :/.