At the ripe (young) age of twenty-five, I feel I have hit a point in my life when I am comfortable in my own skin. I like to think that I know myself, and my body, really well. I must admit that it hasn’t been an overly turbulent ride – I have been rather lucky. Yet I have had a little trial and error before finding a balance that works best for me.
For example, I now tend to pass on that second bowl of pasta, as despite how delicious it may be, I like to avoid being uncomfortably full and looking like I am well into in my second trimester. I now know not to push myself and run on my knee if it is acting up, as it will only make for a longer recovery. I also know not to deny myself something (namely chocolate), as it will only make me crave it more.
I really strive to treat my body with respect. I know that I feel my most fabulous when I fill my body with good nutrients and when I’m active. This makes me happy. I work-out and I feed myself well.
One thing I am very passionate about is eating good quality food, as natural as possible. Beautiful produce, simply prepared, treating the ingredients with respect and letting natural flavours sing. Picture some lovely pasta, beautiful home-grown vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil from the garden and some extra virgin olive oil. This to me is pure bliss. All the while treating the ingredients, your body and yourself with respect. Word.
I also like to extend my food philosophy beyond the commonly focused on ‘main event’, if you will, into a territory that not often summons pictures of a happy home – the joining of nutrition and taste in Holy Baked Goods Matrimony. Far too often a marriage between health and flavour just doesn’t work out, and you are left with a crumbly, lifeless, messy, tasteless divorce. As I have proclaimed before, most muffin recipes are far too sweet and lacking in nutrients for my liking. But there is nothing quite like a fresh homemade muffin, warm from the oven…
What was I to do about this dilemma but try and create a recipe that satisfied all my needs, desires and cravings, and was packaged into one giant muffin-shaped ball of deliciousness? A muffin that leaves me satisfied on a sensory level, as well as a nutritional level…
And so I baked. It took me two attempts, and I am rather pleased with the muffins I created below. My fabulous Dietitian friends and my family tasted the first batch, which I felt needed some adjusting. A touch more apple and oats and some agave, and here they are. My Super Healthy Muffins.
They’re very moist, with a prominent apple flavour, and are positively jam-packed with nutrients (without being too heavy). They are not super fluffy, but hey, you can’t win them all. They will, however, fill you up and give you lots of good energy to run and dance and skip.
The agave nectar lends a lovely, mellow sweetness, and is low GI to boot! I used a dark agave nectar as it has a richer, fuller flavour compared to the light nectar. If you don’t have agave, you should buy some!, or you could substitute maple syrup (naturally the flavour would be slightly different) or even brown sugar. Some nuts would be a nice addition if you are after a bit of crunch.
My muffins tick all the boxes on my food philosophy checklist…Natural, healthy ingredients, prepared simply – respectful of not only the ingredients, but of my body, my needs, my credo. So I’m happy.
My Super Healthy Muffins
1 ½ cups Wholemeal Plain Flour
2 cups Rolled Oats
½ cup LSA Mix (A mix of ground Linseeds, Sunflower Seeds and Almonds. You could use straight ground linseed/flaxseed if you wish)
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds (I like the black ones for the colour contrast)
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Dark Agave Nectar
3 Very Ripe Bananas
3 Medium Granny Smith Apples
2 Eggs (preferably from your parent’s chooks)
1 cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Spray Olive Oil
For the Oaty topping:
2 tablespoons Oats
½ tablespoon Brown Sugar
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the oats, LSA mix, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
Grate the apples and set them aside. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl. Mash the bananas and add them to the eggs, along with the vanilla and buttermilk. Add this to the flour mixture along with the apples and agave nectar. Stir to just combine – be sure not to over mix.
Spray your muffin tray with spray olive oil – I like a large, texas muffin pan for a larger muffin. Scoop the mixture into the pan, evening the top out slightly. Sprinkle with the oaty topping.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes – keep an eye on them and do check them. If your oven is particularly powerful or if you are using a smaller muffin tin, they may take ~20 minutes. When you place a skewer in the middle and it comes out clean, they are ready.
Makes 10 super large muffins.