Gluten-Free Strawberry Banana Muffins and Almond Butter

On a typical Friday evening, I eat something as quickly as possible and then glue my butt to the couch with a glass of wine and don’t move for several hours.  For some reason, last night was different.  I was feeling motivated for some reason…maybe it was because our refrigerator and pantry were both barren.  We have been needing to go to the grocery store for several days, but we just kept putting it off.  Finally, last night, we realized that the situation had become quite dire.  We had no milk, no eggs, no fruit, no vegetables, no cheese, no soup, etc.  Basically our pantry had become a spice rack with a few jars of dried beans and a random assortment of nuts.  So, we summoned up the energy to do a massive grocery shopping trip.  In addition to that, we swung by Target where my husband got a few shirts and I got two pairs of jeans that actually fit me.  Win!

After putting the groceries away, the energy remained.  I engaged in some extreme dish washing…

I've got mad skillz.

…then I tried out a new recipe!

 

Gluten-free recipes!

I found a muffin recipe in a grocery store magazine from last week’s 10K expo.  I rarely make muffins, mostly because I like them too much and can eat way too many of them without ever feeling satisfied.  These muffins seemed interesting because they require cornmeal and almond flour, instead of other gluten-free flours that are more typically used in baking.  They also required very little sugar compared to most baked goods, and were sweetened primarily with a bit of honey and a mashed banana.

 

Gluten-Free Strawberry Banana Muffins (makes 10 muffins)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole, raw almonds

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup ground flax seed (Bob’s Red Mill)

2 Tbs granulated sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 banana (preferably very ripe)

1 cup diced fresh strawberries

2-4 Tbs milk (I used 2 Tbs Silk Vanilla)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbs honey

1 1/2 Tbs melted better

Directions:

1.  Grind almonds until a fine powder.

2.  Add cornmeal, flax meal, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.

3.  In a separate bowl, mash banana until smooth.

4.  Add milk, egg, honey, and vanilla to banana and mix well.

5.  Melt butter and add to other liquid ingredients. Stir.

6.  Add liquid ingredients to solid ingredients and stir until everything is wet.

7.  Gently stir in diced strawberries.

8.  Pour into muffin tin (mine was sprayed with olive oil) and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes until slightly firm and turning brown on the top.

 

Gluten-free baked goods rarely rise in the oven. Fact.

According to my magazine, each muffin contains 170 calories, 11g fat, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 9g sugars, and 5g protein.

The most important thing I have learned about gluten-free baking is that it really can not be compared to normal baking.  Forget everything you know about baking with gluten.  Baking without gluten looks differently, behaves differently, and often tastes differently. These muffins were quite delicious though!  I actually felt like I was eating something that could be breakfast, unlike most muffins, that seem much more like a dessert.  Since I had already dirtied up the food processor with almonds, I decided to go ahead and make a batch of almond butter.  If you have never made your own almond butter, you should.  It’s kind of a pain, because you have to constantly scrape the sides of the processor to get the oils well combined but it is well worth it in the end.

 

Fall Spice Almond Butter

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raw almonds

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

1.  Toast almonds (I did 16 minutes total, stirring halfway through, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit) and let cool.

2.  Process almonds (this will take at least 10 minutes, and stir/scrape off of blades/sides of processor whenever the blades look like they are experiencing difficulty or whenever the almond butter turns into a giant mass that doesn’t move).

3.  Once the almond butter gets thinner and starts sticking to a spatula, you are almost there.  Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg at this point and process some more.

4.  Transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.

This will not last long around here...

Upon waking up this morning, I was very thankful that the grocery shopping was already done and that, with all of the new food options, I could eat a breakfast fit for a king.

I'm stuffed!

I’ve got a fun and semi-relaxing day planned.  I’m going to go exercise in a bit (once my breakfast digests), then will hit up the public library for some books, start cleaning the apartment, and prepare an epic dinner.  There may or may not be a scheduled nap involved.

Happy eating!

-c

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