Healthy Kitchen Sink Muffins

healthy kitchen sink muffins

Little house. Big trees. 100 km/h wind gusts.

Torrential rain. No power.

It was a bit of a crazy weekend in the Maritimes.

Watching the trees sway and the branches fly was mesmerizing, like watching the flames of a campfire dance. It was otherworldly, beautiful and a little scary.

Helens trees

But then the sun came out on Sunday afternoon. And all of the neighbours strolled onto our leaf and branch-strewn street. The chainsaws came out and the generators were put away. The raking began.

Lots of enormous trees came down in my little neighbourhood but almost without fail all fell into the woods. Only one basement flooded. We were a lucky bunch.

After Saturday night’s picnic supper by candlelight and Sunday morning breakfast made on the floor, cooking at the stove feels like a treat.

espresso machine

This isn’t a celebration recipe it’s just a tasty example of something you can make if you have a working stove.

This is a no-fat muffin, sort of. Of course buttermilk has a little fat in it (albeit very little) and eggs have a bit of fat. But as far as muffins go this recipe is great — no butter and no oil.

These healthy kitchen sink muffins aren’t lacking in flavour though. What with rolled oats, banana, flax, apple sauce, dried cranberries, walnuts and molasses, these muffins are extra flavourful and have great texture.

Feel free to substitute sunflower seeds for the walnuts or chocolate chips for the dried cranberries, or throw them all in together.

healthy kitchen sink muffins

 

Healthy Kitchen Sink Muffins

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour (spooned in)
  • 1/2 cup flour (spooned in)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries or
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 12-count muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine flours, ground flax, rolled oats, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, walnuts, and cranberries. Stir until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, banana, applesauce and molasses.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until it just barely comes together.
  5. Divide batter among muffin cups and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

*Can use half milk half yogurt or sour your milk with 1 Tbsp. of vinegar

 

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Blueberry flax gingerbread makes a great afterschool snack

blueberry flax gingerbread

First week of school.

It hits you right between the eyes, doesn’t it?

This is my transition week, when I stumble from summer into September.

  • I had forgotten how rushed the mornings can be with a school bus to catch.
  • It’s sooo dark on my early morning walk with the dog.
  • Since when do skating lessons need to start in September?

I may love the new school supplies but boy this week is tough.

I can’t feel too sorry for myself though.  At least I’m not a teacher dealing with indoor recess on this rainy day the first week of school.

I can drink my tea in peace and be thankful that homework hasn’t started yet.

 

blueberry flax gingerbread

There is more to celebrate too.

Fall is coming, the season of cider and gingerbread, of soup and stew.

To mark the transition I made this blueberry flax gingerbread, a very September-like cake; it has one foot in summer and the other in fall.

And don’t we all?

Kids or no kids, school or no school, everyone struggles a little bit with the transition from summer to September.

By next week my cooking will be back in full swing again, but I intend to jump in the river at least one more time before the leaves turn.

 

blueberry flax gingerbread

Blueberry flax gingerbread

(Thanks to Joel who suggested I add flax to the recipe)

  • 1/2 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (half whole grain half white works well)
  • ¼  cup ground flaxseed
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions:

  1. Grease an 8” round or square cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper
  2. Mix soda and molasses.
  3. In a medium bowl cream butter and sugar, then add the egg, vanilla and molasses mixture.
  4. Combine remaining dry ingredients.
  5. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, alternating with the milk.
  6. Fold in the blueberries.
  7. Spread in prepared pan and bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes.

We have loads more recipes for gingerbread, including a whole e-book devoted to gingerbread.

You might also like gingerbread with blackberries (or raspberries)

blackberry gingerbread

Dark chocolate almond bar recipe and it ain’t over ’til it’s over

These dark chocolate almond bars with flax and dried fruit are gluten free and full of healthy stuff

I love and lament August.

I love how the most dramatic flowers in my gardens are in bloom and how the sun has a brighter feel and that hot days never feel as sleepy as they do in July.

I love how the farmers’ markets are laden with produce. The blackberries are ripening along the dirt road to our cottage and edible mushrooms have appeared in our woods.

It’s birthday month in our family.

These dark chocolate almond bars with flax and dried fruit are gluten free and full of healthy stuff

But the air carries with it a hint of fall.

Dusk comes earlier.

There are just three more weekends until school begins.

(I’m trying not to count.)

After all, as Lenny Kravits says, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

 

These dark chocolate almond bars with flax and dried fruit are gluten free and full of healthy stuff

We really are still in the thick of summer.

If it’s still too hot to bake in your kitchen try this dark chocolate almond bar recipe. These one-pan wonders are quick to mix up, they bake in 20 minutes, are moist and wholesome.

These dark chocolate almond bars with flax and dried fruit are gluten free and full of healthy stuff

Jeanette’s dark chocolate almond bar recipe

Makes 24 squares (or 12 generous bars)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 6 Tbsp.  desiccated  coconut
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup  Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or cherries

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the almond meal, ground flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  2. In another bowl combine the oil or butter, molasses, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry and mix well.
  4. Stir in the dried fruit and chocolate chips.
  5. Press into a 9×9 pan that has been greased or lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
  7. Cool before cutting.

Chocolate chip options:

  • Instead of adding the chocolate chips to the batter, as soon as the bars come out of the oven, top with ½ cup chocolate chips. When the chocolate melts spread it evenly over the top.

Recipe adapted from Delightful Taste Buds

 

Does anyone else have a push-me-pull-me relationship with August?

 

You might also like our crispy almond butter bars:

crispy granola bars 2

Nutritional info:

Jeanette's granola bars

Goodness cookies – the ultimate healthy breakfast cookies

The ultimate healthy breakfast cookies loaded with flavour (orange zest, cinnamon, choc chips) & healthy stuff (flax, bran cereal, whole grain flour)
Sometimes I get so hungry all of the sudden that I think I`m going to fall over. It hits me, just like that. The same thing happens to my twin brother so I know I`m not crazy.

I feel like Audrey in `Little Shop of Horrors` (“Feed me Seymore”) and have taken to stashing protein bars in my purse and in the glove compartment. Although I`m not a fan of protein bars — they don`t really have a baked-from-scratch sort of flavour.

When I get that dip these cookies are the sort of thing that I crave. They have substance, flavour and a little bit of sweet.

The ultimate healthy breakfast cookies loaded with flavour (orange zest, cinnamon, choc chips) & healthy stuff (flax, bran cereal, whole grain flour)

If ever there was a breakfast cookie these are it:

  • Loaded with stuff that’s good for you they’re the sort of cookie you could nibble with your morning coffee or have as your mid-morning snack.
  • They’re picnic cookies and going-on-a-hike cookies, tasty summer fuel for your body.
  • They’re sweet, but not too sweet and have great flavour thanks for the orange zest, cinnamon and chocolate chips (a terrific combo).
  • They have bran cereal in them (although you don’t need to tell anyone) and a healthy dose of ground flax and whole grain flour.

The ultimate healthy breakfast cookies loaded with flavour (orange zest, cinnamon, choc chips) & healthy stuff (flax, bran cereal, whole grain flour)

Goodness cookies – healthy breakfast cookies

A recipe from my sister, and they really are called “Goodness” cookies.

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened*
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground flax (optional)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup All-Bran-style cereal
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or dried fruit (or a combination of the two)

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in molasses, egg and orange zest.
  2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
  3. Blend into creamed mixture.
  4. Stir in cereal and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by spoonful on parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes.

Thanks for reading.

*Healthy tip from a reader: Reduce the butter to 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup applesauce

Nutritional profile:

Calories per cookie 110.7
  Total   Fat 6.1 g
  Saturated   Fat 3.5 g
  Polyunsaturated   Fat 0.5 g
  Monounsaturated   Fat 1.3 g
  Cholesterol 18.1 mg
  Sodium 14.3 mg
  Potassium 97.3 mg
  Total   Carbohydrate 15.5 g
  Dietary   Fiber 2.1 g
  Sugars 8.7 g
  Protein 1.6 g

Other good stuff in each cookie:

Folate 8.6% Daily value

B-12 8.8% DV

B-6 9.6% DV

If you’re a fan of bran you might like our cranberry bran muffins.

IMG_9663

 

Molasses flax waffles – an old Norwegian recipe updated

Molasses flax waffles

We were a pancake family growing up, and for years the only waffles I was familiar with were Eggos. Not that I ever tasted them mind you (my mom would never buy them) but I can still recite part of the TV commercial.

Real waffles always seemed exotic, which is funny considering I grew up in a house that actually had an ebelskivers pan.

One year my Mom bought my siblings and I each a stovetop waffle iron for Christmas. They were a big hit and for years I put away the family pancake recipe and experimented with waffles.

molasses flax waffles

My favourite recipe by far has always been an old family recipe from my brother-in-law, Phil. This is his Norwegian grandmother’s recipe for waffles (slightly adapted). They’re delicious but I also love this recipe because it’s so easy to mix up:

  • no separating eggs
  • no yeast
  • and the texture is lovely and soft.

To the original recipe I have added ground flax, molasses (reduced the granulated sugar), and I use a mixture of stoneground whole white flour and spelt or whole wheat flour for some added flavour and nutrition. And I have replace the old stovetop waffle iron with a handy electric number:

molasses flax waffles

 

Molasses flax waffles

  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted (or oil or a combination of the two)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups flour (stoneground if you have it)
  • ¼ cup ground flax or wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  1. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and sugar.
  2. Add molasses and vanilla.
  3. Whisk in melted butter then milk.
  4. In a separate bowl stir together flour, flax, salt and baking powder.
  5. Carefully whisk dry ingredients into wet, taking care not to get any lumps. (If it does get lumpy just keep whisking until the batter is smooth).
  6. Bake waffles according to directions on your waffle iron.

Makes about 14 waffles

I’m still a fan of blueberry pancakes. Here’s my family’s favourite pancake recipe:

Fluffy blueberry pancakes, made extra healthy with whole grain flour

 Thanks for reading. It’s a real joy to be sharing these recipes with you.

Healthier Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy, buttery whole wheat chocolate chip cookies with all the flavour and one third less sugar

There’s nothing like a classic chocolate chip cookie. Chewy and a little buttery they are a treat like no other.

I hardly ever make them because they disappear in a flash.

My daughter sneaks them before breakfast.  I have found them stashed on my son’s windowsill, behind the roman blind. (He can eat half a dozen in a sitting if I don’t tuck them away and dole them out one at a time.)

My kids are not starved for homemade treats but when classic chocolate chip cookies are in the house they behave like they haven’t seen a sweet in months.

 

Chewy, buttery whole wheat chocolate chip cookieswith a hint of molasses and one third less sugar

This is a healthier version of the classic chocolate chip cookie. I reduced the sugar by 1/3 which improved the flavour balance and I added a little molasses to make the texture chewy. I use whole wheat or spelt flour, add ground flax or wheat germ and I cut back on the chocolate chips. (Don’t worry, there are still loads).

The result is a chewy, buttery chocolate chip cookie with substance and lots of flavour.

Chewy, buttery whole wheat chocolate chip cookies with all the flavour and one third less sugar

Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Adapted from Saveur)

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  • 2 ¼ cups whole wheat or spelt flour (all purpose is fine too)
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax or wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups chocolate chips
  1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, flax, baking soda and salt.
  2. In another, good sized bowl cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add molasses then eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients until a dough forms.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Drop by tablespoonful on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8-9 minutes at 375 F.

Don’t cook them too long if you want them to be chewy.

Do you prefer rolled oats in your chocolate chip cookies? Take a look at my recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with dried cranberries.

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top right hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

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Chewy whole wheat chocolate chip cookies with a hint of molasses.

Chewy and crispy coconut oatmeal cookies

Chewy in the middle, crispy on the edges. These quick, family friendly cookies are easy to prepare and healthy with flax, oats and unsweetened coconut.

These cookies have that magical combination of chewy and crispy

I’m a big fan of oatmeal cookies. They always have a great texture, have a bit of bulk so they stick with you, and they’re often more nutritious than your average cookies thanks to the rolled oats.

This recipe is adapted from the book “Canadian Living 150 essential whole grain recipes”. The original is an old recipe from the First World War, popular because the cookies kept well in the trenches.

I swapped molasses for the golden syrup originally called for and I added flax meal for bulk and nutrition. The result is a delightfully chewy cookie that’s crispy around the edges.

These cookies travel well so make a great lunchbox cookie. Use old fashioned rolled oats for the best texture and more nutrients.

Chewy in the middle, crispy on the edges. These quick, family friendly cookies are easy to prepare and healthy with flax, oats and unsweetened coconut.

 

 Chewy coconut oatmeal cookies

  • 1 cup flour (can use almond meal if you’re gluten free)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp flax meal (ground flax seed)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  1.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a small pot melt the butter along with the molasses and water.
  3. Stir liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Drop by tablespoonful on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes until golden around the edges.

Like chocolat chips and dried cranberries in your oatmeal cookies? Try our molasses oatmeal cookies.

Unsweetened dessicated coconut is a chewy flavourful addition to cookies.

Dessicated coconut is finely textured and adds to the delicious chewiness of these cookies.

Zucchini brownies with molasses and flax

Too many zucchini in your garden?

I WISH I had that problem but so far I only have zucchini blossoms. Our local markets are teeming with them though and already I have more in my fridge than I can reasonably use in a week so I went looking for new ways to eat them up.

I call this a healthy brownie

After all, something that includes zucchini and flax seeds is bound to be good for you.  Molasses and unsweetened cocoa powder have nutritional value too. So I had one at breakfast this morning.

A couple of tips: I grate my zucchini on the coarse side of a box grater and then squeeze the water out a handful at a time. (It’s a good hand-strengthening exercise.)  Also, the batter is dense so I used my hands to incorporate the zucchini.

Healthy tip: Feel free to reduce the sugar to 1 cup, reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp. and reduce the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup. Increase the cocoa by 2 Tbsp. (This is how I make them for my kids’ lunches).

Zucchini brownies

  • ½ cup oil or melted butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup ground flax
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shredded, drained zucchini
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Line a 9”x9” pan with parchment paper or grease it well.
  2. Combine oil, sugar, vanilla and molasses. Add egg and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, flax, cinnamon, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips (if using).
  6. Spread in prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes

This recipe is loosely based on a recipe I found on the lovely baking blog,  iambaker.net.