Almond Flour Banana Muffins

I took advantage of Genevieve’s nap this morning and made some “healthy” muffins. They don’t have any oil or butter and are actually delicious! It also helped me use up a huge bag of almond flour that has been sitting in the pantry for over a year.


Almond Flour Banana Muffins, recipe adapted from Honest Fare

  • 9oz almond flour + some extra for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 bananas (approximately 1/2 lb peeled) + extra slices for topping
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt (optional for topping if you like)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (if doing cocoa center)
  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Grease baking pan of choice (either an 8-9 inch fluted flan tin, a bread dish or muffin tin) and dust with flour OR lightly moisten baking paper and line tin.
  2. Whizz 9 oz almonds and baking powder in food processor until finely ground, but be careful not to go too far or you’ll end up with almond butter. Set aside in bowl.
  3. Whizz eggs, sugar, bananas and cinnamon for about 5 minutes or until pale and really fluffy. Pour over almond meal and stir through.
  4. If adding cocoa powder, place 1/3 of batter into separate bowl and stir in 2 tbs of unsweetened cocoa powder. To create the chocolaty center, first pour 1/2 your original batter into baking tin, then do your dollop of cocoa batter and then pour remaining original batter to cover cocoa. Top with thinly sliced bananas and almonds. Bake about 40-45 minutes for bread and 30-35 minutes for muffins (or until top is browned and skewer comes out clean). You just don’t want to overcook in the oven because they’ll continue to cook a little as they cool. Sprinkle on sea salt immediately after removing from oven.



Last weekend the Lenz family brought us a huge bag of handpicked Fuji apples from their orchard. After keeping the doctor away this week, I decided to turn the last 4 pounds into applesauce. It was so simple that I’m now inspired to go apple picking and test out some other varieties. (Seattle, I miss you!) The best part about applesauce is that it’s super easy to prepare and freezes well. The Neve machine might even get some this winter if her parents don’t eat it all. Yum yum. Applesauce, inspired from Simply Recipes

  • 3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein.)
  • 4 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
  • Juice of half lemon, about 1-2 Tbsp
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup of water

Put everything into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the apples are soft enough to mash easily with a spoon. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon peels. Mash with a potato masher until you’ve reached the consistency you desire. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I am kind of obsessed with experimenting with whole wheat flour these days. Yesterday we made whole wheat belgian waffles with cardamom and today I made whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins. Even though they still contain butter and sugar, something about the increased fiber makes me think I should reach for seconds… thirds… fourths? I’m not sharing how many I’ve eaten today but these will definitely stay in the rotation!

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed banana, about 2 medium or 1 1/2 large bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup APF
  • 1 cup WWF
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, pre-toasted in a 350°F oven for 8 minutes, if desired

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12 standard muffin cups.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar till smooth.

3) Beat in the mashed banana, then the egg, flavorings, and milk.

4) Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flours, stirring till smooth; if the mixture has a lot of lumps, beat at a higher speed until they’ve nearly disappeared.

5) Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

6) Heap the thick batter into the prepared muffin cups, mounding them quite full; a muffin scoop works well here. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

7) Bake the muffins for 20 to 23 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the middle muffins in the pan comes out clean.

8) Remove the muffins from the oven, and tilt them in the pan to cool a bit; this will prevent their bottoms from becoming soggy. As soon as you can safely handle them, transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely.

10-Grain Muffins

I was gearing up to make a batch of bran muffins this morning when I realized I only had  10-grain hot cereal mix instead of the wheat bran. Instead of just the bran, the mix contains red wheat, rye, oats, corn, barley, soy beans, brown rice, millet, and flaxseed. Happy wholesome ingredients yes, but I worried about the grains not absorbing enough liquid to soften up inside of the muffin. Now that I’ve eaten two of them, I can confidently claim that these are awesome – I actually prefer the crunchy texture inside.

Hearing great things about the La Brea Bakery in LA, I found a version of their bran muffins on David Lebovitz’s website. I didn’t have all of the right ingredients so I listed what I actually used below.

  • 2 cups 10-grain hot cereal mix
  • 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup, plus 1/2
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • a few swipes of fresh orange or lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Recipe makes 12-18 depending on the size of your muffin tin.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.

2. Spread the wheat bran or hot cereal mix on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times so it cooks evenly. Let cool.

3. While the cereal is toasting, heat 1 cup of the raisins with 1/2 cup of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a food processor or blender until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted cereal, buttermilk, 1 cup water, then mix in the raisin puree, zest, and brown sugar.

5. Stir in the oil, egg, egg white, and vanilla.

6. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup raisins.

7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one. Because muffin tins can very in size, if your tins are larger, make fewer muffins.

8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.

9. Let cool in muffin tins for 5 minutes and then carefully remove to cool on a rack.

Peach Vanilla Smoothie

I’m a sucker for any smoothie recipe by Martha Rose Schulman. Yesterday she posted a Peach Vanilla Smoothie on her NYT Recipes for Health column. Since I had a sad little peach in the fridge and I’m headed out of town for the weekend, I figured I would put it to good use. I’m so glad I did – this was a refreshing, filling, and not too sweet snack before hitting the road. I’m also a big fan of her Banana Peanut Butter drink which I love to make after a workout. It’s funny because I’m not even a huge smoothie fan but now I’m hooked on anything she posts. Mom, can you imagine how many of these we’d be making if we had our old peach and nectarine tree? 😦

Blend together:

  • 1 large ripe peach
  • Small handful sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ice cubes
Drink as fast as you can until you get a brain freeze. Yum!

Recipe Testing Winner – Almond and Coconut Granola

I’m not a huge granola fan but Alex is. And since it’s his birthday this week and we’re going backpacking this weekend, I figured it was a nice excuse to make some from scratch. A friend suggested that I try eating granola and powdered milk for breakfast while backpacking since it has more calories and will keep me going longer than my usual instant oatmeal.

I prefer to make granola at home rather than buying it in the store because it allows me to control the salt and sugar content as well as to customize the nuts and dried fruit to my liking. It’s also significantly cheaper. For this batch, I followed a simple Leite’s recipe that I evaluated and enjoyed about a month ago. The golden colors remind me of autumn which now that it’s already August, really isn’t that far away. Bring on the butternut!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

What to pack for a long day hike in Tahoe tomorrow… a light daypack with a bladder for easy drinking, a sun hat, sunscreen, and SNACKS! I came across a recipe for homemade granola bars on So Good & Tasty and was immediately drawn to try them. I had all of the ingredients in the pantry and ten minutes later, they were baking in the oven.

These are incredible! Not too sweet and not too peanut buttery. You can hardly taste the banana yet I think it’s crucial for the texture. I’ll be making these again and again and again for many hikes and backpacks to come this summer. Yum!

Granola Bars (adapted from So Good & Tasty)

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup all natural nut butter (I used crunchy peanut)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (I used cherries)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment.

In a large bowl mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Stir in the nut butter until everything is well combined.

Add the oats, chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, cinnamon, and coconut. Stir well until everything is well combined.

Spread the batter evenly into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be slightly browned and give a little when pressed. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars, this is important. Store wrapped tightly in a container or in the fridge.

Yields about 8-12 bars depending on the way you slice them.