Baby’s Banana Muffins

I have many readers that have shared with me that my super food muffins are among the first solids (after purees, of course) that they try with their babies.  (I’m flattered, amazing readers! <3)  I imagine this is because in addition to being loaded with super foods, they are easy to tear into small pieces and turn into mush in the mouth similarly to bread.  I typically make the muffins with a little bit of texture—shredded veggies or nuts, for example—but for all of the babies out there that might just be getting used to solids, I whipped up a batch that contains mashed banana as the star.

Don’t get me wrong, these are delicious and nutritious for anyone, and you could always throw in some chopped walnuts if you’re looking for a bit more texture yourself.  I’ve also played around with this formula and made some adjustments to reflect more experimentation in the kitchen.  If you have my original formula memorized like I do, you’ll notice the tweaks below.  🙂

A final note…

Ingredients like nuts, depending on whom you talk to, are not necessarily recommended for little ones.  I’ve read no nuts until age two.  I’ve also read eighteen months, and I’ve read that it might not even matter at all.  If you’re concerned about your baby consuming nuts, seeds, or plant milks made from such ingredients, always ask your child’s pediatrician first.  Then, enjoy!

FORMULA BASE:  SUPER FOOD MUFFINS

Makes 12 regular sized muffins

  • 1 cup flour –> I’m using whole wheat.
  • 1 cup cooked small grains (e.g. quinoa, kaniwa, millet, etc.) –>  I’m using millet.
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup sweetener –>  I’m using light agave syrup.
  • 1/8 cup oil –>  I’m using coconut.
  • 1 cup raw (fresh or frozen) fruit or veggie –>  I’m using mashed banana.
  • 1-1 ¼ cups plant milk –>  I’m using almond.
  • 3 tbsps seeds (e.g. chia, hemp, poppy, flax, etc.) –>  I’m 1 tbsp each chia, hulled hemp, and ground flax.
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount will depend on flavor intensity) –>  I’m using 1 tsp homemade vanilla.
  • ½-1 tsp spices –>  I’m using ½ tsp ground cinnamon.
  • ½ tsp salt (optional) –>  I’m not using any.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Separately combine all of the dry ingredients and all of the wet ingredients (include the mashed banana in the wet).

muffin batter

Pour the wet into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon. The batter will be thick and lumpy, but you can always add more plant milk if it seems too dry or dough-like. Spoon the batter into a lined or greased cupcake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Use the toothpick test! Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

First of all, it’s been a little slow on The Fresh Formula because…I am now a mother of two! Oliver Ryan was born on Sunday at 36 weeks. Although he is healthy and happy and we are home from the hospital now, I wasn’t totally ready for an early arrival, and thus, unable to get to blogging for the past week. More to come on the newest love of my life…

Secondly, despite appearances, these muffins aren’t burnt. Their chocolatey color comes from the incorporation of dark molasses as a sweetener. After recently making a pumpkin spice cake that included molasses, I decided to try it out with my super food muffins. The rich flavor of molasses pairs nicely with pumpkin and its typical spice blend.

Since we’re on the subject, molasses is a super food, too. Despite being essentially a “waste” product of producing white granulated sugar, molasses maintains nutrients that the refined stuff does not. In addition to what you see on the product label below, molasses, like agave syrup, has a low glycemic index, which is important in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes. Molasses is also high in antioxidants and has a subtler sweet flavor than other sweeteners. Personally, having followed a plant-based lifestyle for going on four years, I find super sweet food products too rich, so molasses is the perfect sweetener for me.

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So, again, I chose molasses because I am pairing it with pumpkin. Pumpkin puree—not pumpkin pie filling, ya’ll—is a powerhouse of vitamin A and also contains high levels of fiber and iron. ‘Tis the season to find these gourds everywhere, so if you’re up for the challenge, you can butcher and puree your own. Travis and I have done it and even made pumpkin milk from the seeds! Otherwise, you’re looking for canned pumpkin that contains nothing else (particularly sugar, fat, and salt).

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Anywho, just in time for Halloween, you can devour these pumpkin muffins for breakfast or bring them to Thanksgiving dinner if you’re in charge of dinner rolls. 🙂 Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: SUPER FOOD MUFFINS

Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 cup flour –> I’m using whole wheat.
  • 1 cup cooked small grains (e.g. quinoa, kaniwa, millet, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup sweetener –> I’m using molasses.
  • 1/8 cup oil –> I’m using coconut, melted.
  • 1 cup raw (fresh or frozen) fruit or veggie –> I’m using ¾ cup pumpkin puree + ¼ cup chopped, raw pecans.
  • 1-1 ¼ cups unsweetened plant milk –> I’m using ¾ almond, which is less than usual since the puree adds a bit of water to the batter.
  • 3 tbsps seeds (e.g. chia, hemp, poppy, flax, etc.)
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount will depend on flavor intensity) –> I’m using 1 tsp homemade vanilla.
  • ½-1 tsp spices –> I’m using ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp each cardamom and cloves. All spices are ground.
  • ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (optional) –> I’m not using it.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Separately combine all of the dry ingredients and all of the wet ingredients. In this case, the wet ingredients include the pumpkin puree, too.

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Pour the wet into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon. The batter will be thick and lumpy, but you can always add more plant milk if it seems too dry or dough-like. Spoon the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake for 25 minutes.

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Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Welcome to The Fresh Formula!

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Happy New Year and welcome to The Fresh Formula! Since I committed to a plant-based diet around this time three years ago, I thought it only fitting that I launch my blog on New Year’s Day. Many of us find ourselves making resolutions to improve our lives, and those often include health and wellness goals. I never resolve to follow a weight-loss diet, regularly utilize an exclusive exercise program, or lose a certain number of pounds because I find that such goals often lead to temporary results where you are constantly playing catch-up with yourself.

Instead, consider making a resolution this year that prompts you to change your lifestyle, and the rest – healthy eating, exercise, even weight loss – will fall into place. I remember years ago when the queen of talk, Oprah Winfrey, hosted the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano. Guiliano made a point that the French don’t have to spend hours and hours sweating at the gym because they incorporate exercise into daily life: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to the store instead of driving, etc. I view plant-based eating similarly; it is a way of living…not a diet, a system for counting calories, or a strict exercise regime.

In the beginning, plant-based living may be a challenge for you, but I can tell you from experience that it piques curiosity, sparks creativity, and of course, becomes easier and easier. Over the years, I have found myself genuinely interested in researching and experimenting with food, flavor, and nutrition, and have been proud of the results.

So, what can you expect from this blog? Under About, you can read more about me, plant-based living, and my fresh formulas, and see new formulas and recipes popping up at least once a week under Recipes. Under The Formulas, I have amassed a small collection of formulas that are already tried and true in my kitchen. Each week, I will feature an existing or new formula and an accompanying sample recipe so that you can see what that particular formula looks like in action.

This week, I’ve decided to start with the formula that inspired this blog: Super Food Muffins (located under Breakfast Formulas). Today’s post will feature this formula in a blueberry lemon variety, but as you will learn, the formula is just a baseline for whatever ingredients YOU have on hand.  Here we go…

 

FORMULA BASE:  SUPER FOOD MUFFINS

Makes 12 regular sized muffins

  • 1 ½ cups flour –> I’m using whole wheat.
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa –> I’m using white (despite being rather blasé in appearance, it is higher in nutritional content than rainbow).
  • ¼ cup uncooked rolled oats –> I’m using an extra ¼ cup of quinoa instead, this particular go-around.
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup sweetener –> I’m using agave syrup.
  • 1/8 cup oil –> I’m using coconut, melted.
  • 1 cup raw (fresh or frozen) fruit or veggie –> I’m using blueberries.
  • 1-1 ¼ cups plant milk –> I’m using almond.
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½-1 tsp extract –> I’m using ½ tsp of pure almond.
  • ½-1 tsp spices –> I’m using 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • ½ tsp salt (optional) à I’m opting out of salt, but adding it will definitely make your flavors pop even more. I highly recommend pink Himalayan sea salt.
  • SPECIAL ADDITION: The zest and juice of one lemon.

Looking for a bit more texture?  Consider adding chopped raw nuts or seeds.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Separately combine all of the dry ingredients and all of the wet ingredients. Pour the wet into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon. The batter will be thick and lumpy, but you can always add more plant milk if it seems too dry or dough-like.

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Spoon the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake for 25-27 minutes.

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Use the toothpick test! Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.