Sunday, 28 September 2014

Broccoli and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Hello to any long lost readers who are still keeping an eye on this page - you must all think I've dropped off the face of the earth...it's been so long!!

For anyone who missed the update, I am now studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition towards becoming a qualified health coach which is incredibly exciting and something I am very passionate about. In the first couple of months, the course work kept me busy, but was still fairly quick to get through and could slot in quite easily around lots of the other things going on. In the last month or so though, the work load has gone through the roof! It has been really exciting, as come the 6 month mark (rapidly approaching) I am able to start practising as a real live health coach, and so it is time to start doing all of the prep work towards getting a business set up and learning more about how to actually be a health coach, as opposed to just learning more about the dietary and lifestyle side of things. 

So anyway, my poor wonderful little blog has been suffering immensely, and I apologise for that. I am still whipping up recipes left right and centre (nothing can keep me out of the kitchen!), just struggling to find time to get them written and posted. So, if there is ever a specific recipe or piece of information that you are interested in, please just put in a request (kate@keepingitreal.net.nz) and I will do my best to help - I'm always interested to know what people are wanting to eat, and more than happy to get in the kitchen and experiment!!!

Now, here is a recipe that is a wonderful one for filling the baking tins for the school holidays - and work really well in school lunches. You can adapt them to be nut free if you need that option. 

The recipe is one that I have adapted from the wonderful www.paleomom.com and is a wonderful way to either use up any of that leftover steamed broccoli you may have in the fridge, or if you are keen to get a few extra greens into your kids (or husband, brother, mother, father!!) this is an excellent way to do it!! The muffins are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and can be free of the refined sugar depending on which variety of chocolate chips you like to use. You can also leave the chocolate chips out if you prefer not to have them at all. The chocolate chips I use are the Enjoy Life ones which are allergy safe and free of gluten, dairy, and soy (as well as another whole bunch of common allergens). They do contain some sugar, but I use them sparingly and find them to work really well in baking....they stay whole when baked, but they also melt really well. And of course most importantly they taste great!
If you are leaving the chocolate chips out you may want to increase the level of sweetener you use in the recipe, or just leave them as is - depends really on how much you are wanting to mask the broccoli! 




As always, I have tinkered with the original recipe...changed the sugar content, changed the flours used, had a play around with some quantities...just the usual playing!

Here is the recipe that the kids and I ended up with...

Broccoli and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, optional refined sugar free

Ingredients: (please see the notes following the recipe before starting)
1 cup steamed broccoli
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
3 tbsp coconut nectar, or 1/4 cup coconut sugar (see notes for options)
1/2 cup nut or seed flour (see notes for options)
1/4 cup coconut flour (see notes for options)
1/4 cup chia seed or flaxseed meal (see notes for options)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 - 1 cup of chocolate chips 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line or grease a muffin tin (your choice which size you use, just remember to modify the baking time if you are making mini ones or jumbo ones)
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (nut flour, coconut flour, chia or flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt). Add the coconut sugar here if you are using this as your sweetener.
3. In a blender or food processor, place the wet ingredients (banana, broccoli, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and coconut oil). Add liquid sweetener here if you are choosing the liquid option. Blend the ingredients until combined .
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well to ensure everything is well combined. 
5. The mixture will be quite thick, so scoop dollops into the prepared muffin tins.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown (This time is based on standard sized muffins - you will need to adjust more or less depending on the size of tin you choose. 

Notes:
- feel free to add more sweetener if you like a sweeter end product. I did not make these very sweet at all, but I would recommend doubling the amount of sweetener used if you prefer. You can also substitute honey or maple syrup if you choose.
- I used 1/4 cup walnut flour and 1/4 cup sunflower flour, but you can use whichever you prefer - many people may prefer to just use almond flour/meal, as it is often what's in the pantry. It is very easy to make your own flours though - simply pop whole raw nuts into a blender a pulse a few times until they break up into a flour. Don't overdo it or you'll end up with nut butter!
- If you prefer not to include coconut flour, you can substitute with an extra half a cup of nut flour
- To make chia seed meal, simply grind 1/4 cup chia seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until a 'flour' forms.
- I would never dream of telling you a specific quantity of chocolate chips - go nuts or hold back depending on your preference!

Enjoy!

x