Monday, May 9, 2011

Oat-Banana-Flax Muffins Spiked with an Indian Spice Blend (Vegan)

I bought a small jar of cardamom pods a while ago for a Moraccan spice blend recipe.  I only used a small amount of cardamom, so I have been trying to incorporate this aromatic Indian spice into some of my recipes.  Ground cardamom can be quite expensive, but whole cardamom pods are not too harsh on your wallet.  Cardamom seeds can be isolated from their pods and ground to give a delicious cardamom powder.  Cardamom powder, or ground cardamom, is what I have used in the below muffin recipe.  I suppose additional cinnamom or ginger could be substituted for the cardamom, but the taste of the muffins will be totally different.  Cardamom is unlike any other spice.

The below muffin recipe is derived from my whole wheat gingerbread flax muffin recipe.  I guess I bake a lot of muffins.  Several alterations were made, and I am very happy with the results.  Have fun and enjoy!


Yield= 6-8 Muffins, depending on how generously you fill your muffin tins.


-1/3 cup soymilk
-1 teaspoon vinegar
-2 Tablespoons ground flax
-2 medium bananas, mashed
-1/4 cup agave nectar


-1/2 cup white whole wheat flour OR whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 cup oat flour (I made my own oat flour by grinding 1/2 cup of oats in the food processor)
-1/4 cup oats
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-3 teaspoons indian spice blend (1 teaspoon ground cardamom + 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 teaspoon ginger)

-3 Tablespoons oats

Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a muffin tin with paper liners. I always use a non-stick silicon muffin tin, so I avoid this step.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together soymilk, ground flax, and vinegar until thick and curdlely. Add mashed bananas, and agave nectar to the wet ingredients. Mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients all at once, mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 22 minutes).

Cool muffins slightly in muffin tins, and transfer to a cooling rack when cool enough to handle.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coconut-Almond-Flax Power Bars with Dark Chocolate Chunks (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I have been trying to make more nutrient-dense choices in my diet.  This is especially important because I am not home much during the school year.  If I want to have a steady level of energy throughout the day, I need to eat a high-protein, high-fiber, high-complex carbohydrate breakfast (see my peanut butter-banana granola, strawberry-banana oatmeal muffins, and whole wheat gingerbread-flax muffins).  I usually have a light lunch, a larger dinner, and several high energy snacks scattered in between. 

I found Elena Amsterdam's gluten-free almond power bar recipe on her amazing gluten-free blog.  I have never encountered such a nutrient-packed recipe.  I have made some modifications to her recipe.  These include:  substituting brown rice syrup for the coconut oil, eliminating the agave nectar and stevia, reducing the amount of vanilla extract from one tablespoon to one teaspoon, reducing the amount of salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon, and reducing the amount of dark chocolate from 1 cup to 1/3 cup.  I also refrained from adding the chocolate in its melted form (by spreading it on top).  I decided the bars would be more texturally complex if I roughly chopped the chocolate and pressed it into the bars.  I am very satisfied with the end product.  They taste so yummy!


Yield= 12 Bars

-2 cups raw almonds
-1/2 cup ground flax seed
-1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
-1/2 cup roasted almond butter, unsalted
-1/2 cup brown rice syrup
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/3 cup high quality dark chocolate, chopped (I used one 1.65 oz. bar of "72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate" from Trader Joe's ©)

Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper.  I used a non-stick silicon 8" x 8" pan, so I skipped this step.

Add all ingredients, except chocolate, into a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined.  The mixture will start to stick together when it is ready.  Pour mixture into the prepared 8" x 8" pan.  Toss in the chopped dark chocolate, and firmly press the mixture into the pan. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour.

Cut into 12 bars, and individually wrap each in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!