Almond butter quinoa muffins


What these muffins have: Good fats, protein, Omega-3s, deliciousness.

What these muffins don't have: Gluten, dairy, refined sugar, wheat, eggs, soy.

Bonus feature: The muffins only require one bowl!


The new school year already started for lots of the country, but here in CT, M's preschool starts again on Monday. I've been thinking about quick ways to begin our day with protein that don't require cooking in the morning. These muffins are the answer!

Half of the flour is ground quinoa, which has lots of protein. The other half is oatmeal. I originally made these muffins with almond flour instead of oats for even more protein, but the almond flour was so dense that the muffins stuck to the roof of your mouth. You could just feed your kid a spoonful of almond butter and save yourself the trouble.


With the oatmeal, the muffins are still substantial, but they're no longer dense. They're actually a smidge crumbly because I omitted eggs and any other binding agent. I wanted them to stay vegan and I don't always have the patience to make a flax egg. Letting them cool completely before eating them made them sturdier too. 


For the first day of school, I thought it might be nice to add some blueberry chia jam and a quick icing to make the muffins more special. (I also called them breakfast cupcakes, which went over VERY WELL.) The jam is simple and free of any added sugar. I used cream cheese and maple syrup for my frosting, but you could also use coconut cream or a pre-made dairy-free topping.

You could also mix the chia jam with some yogurt for a delicious breakfast for the younger set (or the parental set, if I'm honest).

If you're avoiding nuts, substitute coconut or rice milk for the almond milk and use sunflower seed butter in place of the almond butter. Still delicious!

Important note: These muffins are best when fresh, so I recommend freezing 3/4 of the batch and then either defrosting a serving at night for breakfast the next morning, or toasting a frozen one right before eating it.


Almond butter quinoa muffins

2 large mashed banana
1 cup creamy natural almond butter, well mixed (or nut butter or seed butter of your choice)
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or rice, coconut, or other non-dairy milk of choice)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup quick oats
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pie spice (or cinnamon)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla extract and mix well.

Add the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Mix well. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix again. Let the mixture sit while you prep the muffin tin and prepare the jam and icing (if using).

When ready, spoon the mixture into your muffin tin until each opening is half full.

Bake for 12-14 mins or until the tops turn golden brown and the muffins are firm to the touch.

Let cool completely in the muffin tin before serving.

Yield: 18 muffins


For the Blueberry chia jam:
1 pint blueberries
1 ½ Tbsp chia seeds

Put the blueberries into a small sauce pan and cook over a medium low flame until the berries have broken down and become syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes and add the chia seeds. Mix well.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or until ready to use.

Yield: 1 Tbsp per muffin


For the frosting (optional):
2 ¼ cups whipped cream cheese
6 Tbsp maple syrup

Mix the cream cheese and maple syrup well with a spatula. The mixture will look curdled at first. Continue mixing until the two ingredients have come together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 2 Tbsp per muffin


Everything egg cups


This morning, M asked for a lollipop and ice cream for breakfast, so we're obviously still recovering from the Halloween sugarpalooza.  

As a side note, we decided to do a Whole 15 instead of a Whole 30 this time. We hit the halfway mark and I thought back to our previous Whole 30's: By the end of each one, I was SO SO ready to have bread and beans and dairy and wine again that the eating pendulum swung wildly back in the other direction. At this mid-point, I feel great and in control and ready to incorporate things back into my life while also eating them in moderation rather than going on a candy binge. This feels like a better place to be when entering the holiday season.


Anyway, I made these egg cups twice during our Whole 15 and they are easy and delicious and filling and really satisfying. The salty, garlicky kick is why I sometimes crave everything bagels, but you can get that without eating a bread bomb for breakfast. 


I also must confess: I'm not normally a fan of the egg cup. They're so ubiquitous when looking for healthy, make-ahead breakfasts, but they never do it for me. In these cups, the potato is filling, but they're also meant to function like the bread of a sandwich, so you can fill them with whatever constitutes a good breakfast for you. My personal favorite is turkey bacon, tomato, and avocado, but we've also done spinach and sausage, and smoked salmon with fixings like onion, tomato, and capers.


Since the next two months will be treat filled, I'm sure we'll be making these cups many times.


Just one note: I personally like the Everything Spice recipe from TheKitchn. You can also buy premade mixes from Trader Joe's and King Arthur. If you are sensitive to salt, I would recommend making your own mix and decreasing the salt to 1 tsp. You can always add more if it's not enough, but you can't subtract. I also omit all seasoning on the muffins so that the topping shines.  


Everything egg cups

6 eggs
1 medium russet potato (about 6-8 oz)
1 Tbsp dried onion flakes
1 Tbsp dried garlic flakes
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp coarse salt
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Spray or brush olive oil in an extra-large muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk 6 eggs until the yolks and whites are well mixed. Grate the potato directly into the egg mixture and whisk again. Distribute evenly into your prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the muffins feel dense and there is absolutely no give when you gently push on the tops.

While the muffins are cooking, put together your everything spice mix. You’ll have extra, so make the mix in a container or jar and then pour about half of it onto a plate.

Let the muffins cool slightly and turn them out onto your work surface. Lightly spray or brush the tops and bottoms with olive oil and dip into the spice mixture on the top and bottom of the muffins. Place back on your work surface and let cool some more. Cut them in half and fill with whatever you like.

Yield: 6 extra-large muffins