Awesome Almond Flour Muffin

I’m going out on a limb here and naming this the “Awesome Almond Flour Muffin” because it’s so yummy and versatile. This has become my go-to breakfast and mid morning snack for the kids and myself on Friday mornings as we rush off to Friday School (homeschool co-op).

Below is the recipe for Carrot Spice Muffins, but you can use the basic recipe for zucchini muffins, blueberry muffins, apple spice muffins, or banana muffins. And it’s a kissin’ cousin to my Chocolate Cupcakes. See below for variations.

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Carrot Spice Muffins

Heat oven to 350, and prepare 2 muffin tins (24 count) with greased paper liners (yes, greased).
Place in food processor with S blade:

5 large carrots, chunked

Process until mostly fine, then add:

3.5 cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill; almond meal from Trader Joe’s works too, but is just a little more crumbly)
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt (Real Salt)
1TBS. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Pulse to incorporate dry ingredients into carrots. Add:

1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBS. apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs
1 cup honey (can go down to 3/4 cup if you prefer)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Don’t over-blend.

Ladle into greased muffin papers. Bake for about 25 minutes in 350 degree oven, or until beginning to brown, but firm in middle. Remove to wire racks. Allow to cool (ha, ha) before serving with butter. Yum!

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Variations:

Zucchini Spice Muffins
Replace carrots with 2 medium zucchini, processed with S blade until fine at outset of recipe. Omit ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from zucchini.

Apple Spice MuffinsOmit carrots and ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from apples. Add 2 cups chopped apple at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold it in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor. Add an additional 3/4 cup raisins if desired.

Blueberry Muffins
Omit carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and vanilla. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from blueberries. Add 2 tsp almond flavoring. Add 2 cups blueberries (frozen is fine) at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold them in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor.

Banana Muffins here.

Chocolate Cupcakes here.

Clean Eating Day 25 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Scrambled eggs with crumbled fried turkey sausage, squash soufflé with coconut cream
Lunch
Leftover squash soufflé, sausages
Dinner
Leftover Chicken Tiki Masala, salad

Breakfast Squash Soufflé
4 cups roasted Sweet Meat squash
5 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup coconut milk
Whisk together until smooth. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

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I had an early morning appointment, so I made the soufflé batter the night before and left it in the fridge. In the morning, I popped it in the oven right after I got out of bed and it was ready for breakfast.

The soufflé turned out pleasantly sweet considering there is no additional sweetener.

SCD Banana Muffins [almond flour]

Heat oven to 350, and prepare 2 muffin tins (24 count) with greased paper liners (yes, greased).
Place in food processor:

2-3 very ripe bananas
4 cups almond flour (almond meal from Trader Joe’s works too, but is just a little more crumbly)
2 tsp. soda
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Process until bananas are incorporated, then add:

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup honey (can go up to 3/4 cup if you want sweeter)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Don’t over-blend.

Ladle into greased muffin papers. Bake for about 20 minutes in 350 degree oven, or until beginning to brown, but firm in middle. Remove to wire racks. Allow to cool (ha, ha) before serving with butter. Yum!

Variations: zucchini is a great substitute for bananas in summertime when they are so plentiful. Add some cinnamon for flavor and 1 TB. coconut flour for texture/firmness. You may need to bake these in a slightly cooler oven for a little longer as the zucchini add more moisture to the batter.

How To Soak Grains

Q:

I’m planning to make the High Protein Waffles, but I’ve never soaked grains before, and I am unclear on the process. I looked around a little on the internet, and it wasn’t much clearer. Did you separate your own whey from milk, or buy whey powder and reconstitute it, or would you suggest I just use yogurt? I haven’t even purchased the whey (or yogurt) yet, so if you have some direction on that, I’d appreciate it!

~Debra , via Facebook

A:

Soaking grains is pretty straight forward, although I know it can seem daunting at first since this practice has been all but abandoned in modern cooking. To soak my oats, I measure them into a glass bowl; you’ll want one large enough that there is some space left for the whey or yogurt. You can see my whey here in the picture.

Pour the liquid/yogurt on top of the oats and begin to incorporate with a small spoon.

Stir the wet and dry together until there aren’t any dry oats left.

Then smash them down firmly in the bowl with the back of the spoon. There shouldn’t be any pooling wet areas.

Cover with a dish towel and place on the countertop, or another warmish clean place, for 12-24 hours.

At the end of this time, you’ll notice that the oats seem to have dried out some, and are stuck into a clump which will need a little bit of breaking up before putting into the blender.

If you double or triple the recipe, you can soak all the oats together and then evenly divide them the next day after soaking. Since they are stuck together in a chunk, it’s not to hard to cut them evenly. However, I recommend only making one batch at a time (unless you have a really strong blender) as doubling the batch makes it difficult to completely blend the oats into the eggs and cottage cheese mixture.

Whey and yogurt can both be used in this recipe. If you use yogurt you’ll need to use a little more than if using whey, since it is thicker and won’t mix with the oats as freely. I often use whey just because I have it on hand when it has separated from the kefir I make continually on my countertop. If the whey hasn’t separated, I use the kefir or a plain yogurt, which is probably what you should do at this point.

Here’s a picture of oats soaked in yogurt.

These soaking agents are actually souring the oats, and the waffles will have a pleasant sourdough flavor. I think kefir makes them more sour than yogurt, but it is pretty inconsequential. The acids and bacteria in the whey/yogurt are the agents that are eating away at the sugars in the oats, and dismantling some of the anti-nutrients like phytic acid. Therefore, whey powder (protein powder) reconstituted would not work for this purpose, as it no longer has these active cultures at work.

On purchasing the yogurt: get plain, and make sure it has active cultures in it. I like the European Style Whole Milk Yogurt from Traders Joes, and while you’re there, their Small Curd Cottage Cheese seems to be a good choice (for the waffle recipe) since the side of the carton makes it sound like the cows live in a resort. 🙂
Make sure your waffle iron is fully heated before pouring in the batter. I was in a hurry when I made these a few weeks ago, and I ended up with a mess in waffle maker! :-/

The waffles freeze well after cooling, and can then be toasted for a quick snack later.

High Protein Waffles

This waffle recipe has fast become a favorite at our house. I love it because it is a healthy soaked whole grain, gluten free*, full of protein start to the day. My husband and children love it because you would never know that it is healthy, gluten free, or full of protein; it just tastes light and delicious.

12-24 hours before: soak 1 cup organic rolled oats in 3/4 cup whey (or 1 cup yogurt if you don’t have just whey). This should be done at room temperature or warmer, in a glass bowl, covered with a clean dish towel.

Morning of: in blender, mix together 4 large eggs (I use duck eggs, so if you have medium sized eggs, bump it up to 5 eggs) and 1/2 cup cottage cheese. Add soaked oats, and blend until oat pieces have been ground smooth. Blend in 2 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt.

Pour from blender pitcher into a hot waffle iron. Remove when cooked, and enjoy with butter and organic grade B maple syrup. Or, if you’re sending breakfast out the door with someone, you can make two breakfast sandwiches from a waffle by layering a fried egg and filleted cooked chicken sausage between two quarters of waffle drizzled lightly with syrup. Mmm . . . yummy either way.

Yields 5 round “Belgian” waffles. Each waffle has 12 gms. of protein.

Note: The best way to do this recipe is with 24 hours prep, so the oats are nourishing you without stealing minerals from your body.  (Unsoaked grains, legumes, and nuts have a great deal of phytic acid -which human digestion can’t handle as well as ruminants- which actually steals important minerals, like calcium, from our bodies!). You can read more about this in this article from the Weston A. Price Foundation: Be Kind to Your Grains and They Will Be Kind to You.

However, if you’re in a hurry, or forget to soak the night before (as often happens to me!), then skip the yogurt/whey and increase the cottage cheese to 1 cup. Still just as delicious, and high in protein. And then start the soaking habit next time.

Get more tips on this recipe and see pictures on soaking oats here.

*Oats do not intrinsically have Celiac-causing-gluten in them, however, many oats are contaminated with gluten from other grains. If you have Celiac Disease, it is always wise to choose only Certified Gluten Free Oats.

You may also enjoy the ideas in Breakfast: Off to a Great Start.

Breakfast: Off to a Great Start

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet the standard American breakfast of cereal, or a bagel and sugar-yogurt, or nothing(!) leaves much to be desired. Mainly protein and good fats.

Since my husband and I discovered a couple years ago that we both have a tendency towards hypoglycemia, we’ve revamped breakfast with more protein and are feeling the benefits of more stabilized blood sugar through the morning.

Here are a few menu suggestions:

Good Morning Smoothie
This is my husband’s daily standard: it’s fast, easy, totally portable in an insulated cup, and tastes delicious. (Who wouldn’t like waking up to a milk shake? OK, it’s not a milk shake, and doesn’t even have sugar in it, but it is that awesome.) Get my recipe here.

Oatmeal with a Sausage Link
This is a standard in our house for the kids, and I often join them. We buy organic rolled oats in a 20 pound bag from Azure Standard, and it’s only pennies a day for this breakfast mainstay.

To reduce the anti-nutrient phytic acid, most grains should ideally be soaked or sprouted before use. (Read this article Be Kind to Your Grains, and Your Grains Will Be Kind to You.) I like to soak my rolled oats covered by an inch of filtered water overnight in the pot I will cook them in; this also helps them cook up a little faster in the morning. I add Course Sea Salt (the grey, moist kind) from Trader Joe’s and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, and cook them on medium heat, stirring until all the water is absorbed. We then top with raw honey, and when I’m feeling like a really nice mommy, pecans and dried cranberries, or raisins, and/or butter, and/or freshly ground flax seed.

When we add sausage as a protein to this meal, I like to look for a natural chicken sausage, like the delicious Isernios one that Trader Joes carries. Since pigs are scavenger animals, they tend to have much greater amounts of toxic buildup in their meat than chicken and beef. We aren’t a pork free home (my German-heritage husband holds the line there!), but we do try to limit our intake.

Soft Boiled Eggs, Sausage, Toast
Like many Americans, I was very familiar with the greasy “bacon and eggs” breakfast, but had never tried a Soft Boiled Egg until I met my future parents-in-law, who are German. Not being a fan of straight from the shell hard-boiled eggs, I was delighted to find that I really liked this new version . . . or rather, a very old version, still enjoyed daily in many areas of Europe. Read my recipe for Soft-Boiled Eggs here. The gentle cooking of the egg yolk preserves the Omega3 and Omega6 essential fatty acids (good fat), which can be destroyed by heat.

Add a couple of links of chicken sausage, and sprouted-grain toast, and you’ve turned the greasy American breakfast into a good fat/protein/complex carb powerhouse meal! (Hint: dip the crusts of toast into the egg yolk…yummy.)

(Why sprouted grain toast, not “whole wheat” toast? Read the article Be Kind to Your Grains, and Your Grains Will Be Kind to You. Sprouted grain breads are easily found at Trader Joes or other health food stores. They are whole grain, but often not as dense as “whole wheat” bread.)

High Protein Waffles

This waffle recipe has fast become a favorite at our house. I love it because it is a healthy soaked whole grain, gluten free*, full of protein start to the day. My husband and children love it because you would never know that it is healthy, gluten free, or full of protein; it just tastes light and delicious.

Soft Boiled Eggs

A traditional preparation of breakfast eggs, still enjoyed daily in many parts of Europe, these eggs have the benefit of gentle cooking which does not destroy the delicate Omega3 fatty acids present in eggs. (Look for cage-free eggs, or better yet buy directly from a farm, to insure that your eggs come from healthy hens eating a variety of food and bugs.)

Equipment:

small-medium sized saucepan
refrigerated eggs
large boutoniere pin, hat pin, or other poking device
filtered water
slotted spoon

1. Fill saucepan with several inches water; enough to cover the eggs you will be cooking. Set on stove on high heat.

2. Using the large pin, poke one or two holes in the larger end of the egg; this is where the air sack is, and as the egg is boiled the pressure will be released through the hole, avoiding shell cracking.

3. When water is boiling, lower eggs into water with slotted spoon.

4. Set timer for 7 minutes. Allow water to return to boil.

5. At the end of 7 minutes, turn off heat, remove pan to sink. Turn on coldest water, and remove eggs from hot water with the slotted spoon. Hold each egg under the cold water for about 10 seconds. This is called “shocking the eggs”, and it serves to end the cooking of the egg as well as cause the white to release from the insides of the shell for easier spooning when you eat it.

6. If you have egg cups, place one egg in each. Etiquette for eating them (at least in our family) is to whack of the top 1/4 of the egg with a butter knife, and use a tiny spoon to scoop out the egg in the cap, and then in the shell itself. Fine salt and pepper are good additions. (Ever wonder what those tiny little salt and pepper shakers were for?)

7. The first few times you make these eggs, you will have to discern if 7 minutes is the right amount of time for the eggs to cook properly. Your altitude, size of eggs, and strength of stove all add slight variables to cooking time. The perfectly done soft-boiled egg will have a white that is completely cooked with no wet areas. The yolk will be wet, yet slightly thickened, as would the yolk of a egg fried over medium. If parts of the yolk have turned dry and grimy like a hard-boiled egg, it’s a little overdone. Adjust cooking time  be 30 second increments in either direction until you find the perfect recipe for your home.

Note: as soft boiled eggs by definition have a wet yolk, there is likely the same potential for salmonella poisoning as you would have with a over-medium fried egg.