Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gluten and Dairy-Free

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My life has been full-throttle, pedal-to-the-medal crazy-town these past few months, thus the lull in posting to my little cooking blog.  This happens every year after school starts.  Clients come trickling back into town and my work schedule becomes loaded. Then, as most moms can relate, there’s the time commitment that school entails, like homework, meetings with the teacher and functions and parties galore. When every day is bursting at the seams,  little pockets of free time become golden and precious.  What better way to savor a quiet chilly Sunday afternoon, for instance, than creating a delicious snack with your loved ones?  Baking is such an easy covert way to reinforce math skills for kids, too!  Quality time, squared, so to speak.

We have made these muffins many times and they are a cinch to throw together and store well in the freezer for lunchbox treats or breakfast on the run.  These little bundles of tastiness are lightly sweetened with banana and honey.  I added chocolate chips to add to the excitement factor for the little guy.  I think he would eat pretty much anything containing chocolate!   If you prefer no refined sugar at all, you could just leave out the chocolate chips and add the same amount of chopped walnuts (or not!).   And, as always, if you are not gluten-free, just replace the gluten-free flour blend with regular all-purpose wheat flour.

Recipe for Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins:

(yields:  12 muffins)

1 1/2 c. gluten free flour blend

1 1/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1 t.  cinnamon

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. xanthan gum

1 large egg, room temp.

1 c. grated zucchini

2 bananas mashed (1/2 c.)

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted

1/2 c. honey

1/3 c. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a muffin pan with muffin liners or spray with your choice of oil.  Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and cinnamon in a bowl.  Whisk well.  In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix coconut oil and honey on high speed for about a minute.  Add the egg, returning to high speed for another minute.  Beat in the banana and zucchini.  Lower the speed and spoon in the flour mixture until completely incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until springy to the touch.

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Gluten-Free Apple Spice Muffins

“Mommy, I want to see the leaves in all the different colors,” my son begged of me the other day. “Oh, you will soon–the cool weather will come and all the leaves will start to change,” I answered hopefully (glancing at the temperature on the dashboard–only 85 in October!) They had been talking about Fall in his kindergarten class and the topic of the week was “Apples”. On one of our long drives home from therapy, I quizzed him: “Hey, Sweetie–can you name some different types of apples?” My eyes misted with pride as he shouted from his car seat, “Granny Smith and Red Delicious… and Fuji!”

Amazing, I thought to myself…this little munchkin who could not speak a word at age four, who has had to work so hard just to learn to point and then wave, to greet people and look them in the eye, to learn a wealth of vocabulary and sentence structure in 2 short years…to have him respond so articulately–well, every cell in my body sings with joy and gratitude during moments like that! Raising a child with Autism has forced me to slow down and appreciate and savor the simple things in life (sounds like a total cliché, I know, but it’s so true!) Remarkable, considering I was once one of those 100 mph., go-go-go types.

Take these apple spice muffins, for example. Pretty basic. I made these for my son’s class during apple week. Before I became a Mom, I often daydreamed (while cooking for others) that someday I would be happily baking all sorts of treats for my own child. I would be the cooler, hipper Martha Stewart. Ha! Well, fast-forward and I’m living that fantasy, but it’s just a little skewed.

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Strawberry-Walnut Muffins

Strawberry-Walnut Muffins

These gems are gluten, dairy and soy-free and they are perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast or packed in a lunchbox for a sweet, yet healthy, treat! I love to make these this time of year when the organic strawberries are bountiful and, therefore, a tad more affordable. Starring alongside the lovely vitamin c and fiber-rich berries are walnuts(super-food alert!). Packed with Omega-3’s (anti-inflammatory), vitamin E, B vitamins, important minerals like selenium and zinc, they add a little crunch and complement the tang of the berries quite nicely. I hope you will make these and let me know how they turn out!

Here’s the recipe:

2 1/3 Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. guar gum
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 C. sugar (organic cane)
1/2 C. sunflower oil
1 t. orange zest (optional)
2 large eggs
1 6 oz. container So Delicious Strawberry or Vanilla Yogurt
1/3 C. So Delicious Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
1 t. vanilla
1 1/3 C. diced organic strawberries
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Spray one standard muffin tin with your choice of oil. (I use coconut oil)

Combine first six ingredients in a bowl. Whisk well. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, yogurt, coconut milk, vanilla and orange zest. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, adding strawberries and walnuts at the same time. Fill muffin cups almost to the top and bake for approx. 25 min or until just firm and springy to the touch and lightly golden on top. Allow to cool in the muffin tins for 5 min. and then transfer to a rack to cool. Enjoy! These will freeze well, but do not refrigerate.  Yield: about 15 muffins