Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Avocado Muffins

Once upon a time I found a recipe for gluten free chocolate avocado cupcakes. They were good. Chocolate is like a secret weapon though, it hides a multitude of misflavors. Unless you are serving a little girl who a) has never liked chocolate and b) recently tested allergic to it. Which may explain why she doesn't like it. Hmph.

The problem? I got the idea of using an avocado to make muffins stuck in my head. Only there would be no chocolate to disguise it. What flavor would be dominant enough to mask the avocado without being overwhelming for little people? Oh- and it wouldn't hurt to lose the green tint as well.

I looked online and found a few recipes that sounded promising, but nothing quite right. So I used the online versions as inspiration and added my own little something to create a muffin that is moist, fluffy, and perfectly balanced in flavor. Says me. It has just a hint of sweet whispering to you, but is savory enough to stand in as a dinner roll. A shy peek of orange flavor appears just as you finish chewing the first bite and then softly disappears. I am loving the way the flavors harmonize without any of them stealing the stage.

You could absolutely add a bit of sugar if you like a sweet breakfast type muffin. Or add a teaspoon of orange zest to enhance the orange flavor. Give in to standard American spicing and add a teaspoon of cinnamon, or shake it up with a splash of ginger. Whatever, as do all of my recipes, this has some wiggle room. Feel free to personalize it.

I'll share what I did, because it was good. Two out of three children inhaled them without hesitation. The third? Unless sugar is one of the first three ingredients, she would rather not partake. Maybe I could drizzle a little warm honey glaze over it for her. Hmm...

Avocado Muffins

1 avocado, peeled and seed removed
1/3 c pumpkin puree (I had a little left. Feel free to use banana or applesauce.)
1/2 c coconut milk
1/4 c hemp milk (feel free to use 3/4 c dairy product of choice- I like to shake up the nutrition)
1/3 c coconut oil (or shortening or margarine of choice)
1 tsp vanilla (as required for any baked goods recipe)
3 Tbsp maple syrup
8 Tbsp golden flax meal + 2/3 c orange juice with calcium, combined and set aside
2 c flour (I used the real thing, feel free to use gf blend of choice, add 1 tsp xanthan)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp hemp protein powder (I've been hiding it everywhere lately)
1/4 c sugar

Puree avocado, pumpkin, coconut and hemp milks, coconut oil, vanilla and maple syrup in blender until uniformly smooth. Whisk or use mixer to beat orange juice/flax mixture briefly. (I have found that flax seems to change texture when you mix with a mixer rather than by hand. In a very good way. Just a personal observation.) Add in avocado puree and mix until well combined. In separate bowl whisk together remaining ingredients. Add to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 for 25-28 minutes. Makes 18 regular sized muffin, or 12 muffins and one mini loaf.

Oh! And one final thought: I did run the nutrition analysis on this. 'Cuz I do that alot. If you would be interested in seeing nutrition information appear for this, or future recipes, let me know. Maybe I'll start adding it in.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Quest for Nutrition Software

Dear Really Smart Programmers,

I have a suggestion. And it could make you a gazillion dollars. Ready? Design a software package that works on Mac, and Windows if you must, that makes nutritional analysis easy. That is an oversimplified request, from the hearts of many mothers trying to feed our kids well balanced diets. I have a list of demands. Um...requests.

Here goes:
  • There must be a very large database of foods built in, including complete nutritional info for each, with updates quarterly to add new foods that have hit the market
  • Users should be able to create recipes and analyze the nutritional content of each
  • Users should be able to add foods that are not already in the database
  • Users should be able to build a meal from any combination of single ingredients and recipes stored in the program, and analyze the nutritional quality of the meal
  • There should be capability to track multiple meals, and analyze nutritional value of that set time period
  • Information presented should go beyond the useless, er- basic, labeling required by the current labeling laws to include a comprehensive vitamin, mineral, and amino acids list
  • Users should be able to import recipes from outside sources and analyze nutritional value
  • Menu planning and meal tracking should be present as separate features to allow for actual consumption and upcoming meal plans
  • Users should be able to generate grocery lists from the menu planning section
  • Visual representation in the form of tables and graphs should show nutritional balance so users can see at a glance the strong and weak areas of the food in question
  • Daily nutritional tracking should show which RDA requirements have been met
  • User interface should be uncluttered and easy to understand

I know that there are more things we would like. But this should get you started. I'd be happy to take it for a test drive and give you feedback on how to improve it. Thanks so much.

Yours truly,
Allergy Mama

If any of my fellow food allergy menu planning readers have added suggestions, you should take those into account also, because they're pretty much your target market. XOXOX

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pomegranate Muffins

Oh my! I've really done it this time. I am sharing this recipe with you now so that there can be proof these tasty little gems existed when I get up in the morning. Because, truthfully, I don't know if I'll be able to stop eating them. Crunchy crusty muffin tops resting on teasingly tender muffin bodies with the perfect proportion of sweetness. Mmm.

It started with a handy little muffin recipe that is a snap to throw together, which my family inhales. Every singe one of them loves the recipe. While it is incredibly tasty and easy, it has almost no nutritional value.

In my house, every bite counts. Gotta make every bite carry as much punch as possible. So, this is a twist on the original recipe, intended to power it up without losing any flavor appeal.

Pomegranate Muffins

1 c flour
1/4 c golden flax meal
1/4 c old fashioned oats
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 t sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp hemp protein powder
One pomegranate
1/4 c orange juice
1/4 c safflower oil

Crush/crumble oats with your fingers and add to large bowl. Add remaining dry ingredients and whisk together. Remove seeds from pomegranate carefully, place in quart size ziplock baggie, and roll over with a rolling pin or squeeze to release juice from most of the seeds. Add entire contents- juice and seeds- to dry mixture. Add oil as well, and stir. Mixture will be stiff and somewhat dry. Add orange juice a tablespoon at a time until batter is proper consistency. Depending on how juicy your pomegranate was, you may not need the full amount of orange juice, or you may need a bit more. You can judge this, you know what a muffin batter should look like. Stir just until uniformly moist. Spoon into muffin cups and bake at 400 for 25 minutes.