Put a smile on your face muffin cakes. A tribute.

Do you ever find that “the powers to be” are always giving you a reality check? A little reminder to say “Don’t get ahead of yourself there cowboy!”? Well, that is what happened to me when I was trying to take the photos of these delicious muffins. Or as we like to call them in our house hold ‘muffin cakes’.

When I made these I forced my family – well mainly my husband – to stay away from the ones that I thought were the best for the photo shoot. Repeating it over and over again “Don’t eat these ones, I need to photograph these for the blog!”. I made the muffin cakes on the Friday and still hadn’t gotten to the photo shoot by Sunday. My husband showed great restraint from eating the muffin cakes. So, on Sunday afternoon, when I had finally gotten our son down for his nap, I was all gung-ho to get this show on the road! I knew I had a small window of time to get things set up and snap as many photos as possible. I had arranged the set with a blue background, black wood flooring a teacup and of course the muffin cakes. I was snapping away but the photos just weren’t looking the way I had hoped.

I got up to grab a vase with flowers in it to place on my ‘set’, walking away for only a moment. Did I mention that this ‘set’ of mine was located on the floor? Only a few feet away from my resting dog. Yup, you know where this is going…

When I returned from grabbing the flowers (which never made it into the photos because they were too big for the picture) I noticed that I was missing a muffin cake and my dog was now sitting in the corner of the room with his back to me. When I called to him he just looked up at me as if I was a fool to think that the muffin cake was going to make it into the photo shoot. You left this for me, right mom? My husband and I had a huge laugh. Obviously if the food is on the floor then it’s for the dog! And of course he ate the prettiest looking one! The universe was making sure I was in check – at least it was funny! Thanks universe ;)

This week’s post is dedicated to our dog, who passed away on Monday due to heart failure. Our dog was a huge part of our lives and was with us from almost the very beginning. He was a large part of my healing from my cancer therapy. He was the reason why I got out for fresh air, taking walks around the block and getting some exercise. Our dog would snuggle with me while I rested from my treatments and was always by my side if I was crying or felt alone.  Any time my husband or I would raise our voices, he was right there climbing up our legs reminding us to stay calm and talk it through. Our dog was even included in our wedding photos (my husband tried to convince me he should walk down the aisle with our rings, but I thought best not too – he was always so stubborn I can’t imagine him making down the aisle). He was a great dog and a wonderful part of our lives. While our hearts are full of sadness, we remember the moments with him that made us laugh and put a smile on our faces.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chunk Muffin Cakes
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup organic butter, softened
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 over ripe bananas, mashed (I find best results when they have been frozen)
  • ½ cup butter milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (gluten free)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped into chunks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tin with a little olive oil.
  2. In a bowl, mix together butter, honey, eggs, mashed bananas, butter milk and vanilla.
  3. In a separate large bowl, stir together rice flour, oats, xanthan gum,baking soda and salt.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, folding with your trusty spatula. Try not to over mix the ingredients or it makes the muffin cakes very dense.
  5. Fold in the chunks of chocolate.
  6. Scoop batter into muffin tin filling each one about ¾ full .
  7. Bake for 40 - 50 mins or until golden brown. Makes 12 large muffin cakes or 24 mini muffin cakes. Enjoy warm or cooled!

 

 

 

If you don’t succeed, bake again…Or try this recipe first!

I used to work in an office where 5 out of 9 people had major food sensitivities. Everyone saw their naturopathic doctor more often then their conventional doctor and they were all very disciplined about not cheating. With good reason too, because they would be in pain if they did eat something that had gluten, dairy, eggs or yeast in it. My one co-worker could die if there were peanuts around. Before everyone went all ‘crazy diets’ on me, I loved to bring my ‘famous’ banana bread to the office (and by famous I mean it was one of the only things I baked that did not get burned). However it wasn’t getting eaten anymore. Wanting to make everyone feel included, I stopped bringing banana bread and started thinking about baking gluten free – key word ‘thinking’. Mainly I thought: Really? Doesn’t all gluten free baked goods taste weird and crumbly? Strange after taste anyone?…yeah I’ll keep thinking about it.

During this ‘thinking’ period, my husband became very ill and lost the ability to walk for nearly 6 weeks due to arthritis. All of a sudden I was thrown into a territory that I was not used to – a nurse for my husband, full time working woman and recently pregnant. When the doctors told us that my husband would always have this disease with him and most likely NEVER go off medication, it was obvious that we needed to change our ways. My husband saw many doctors that year, including a naturopathic doctor (yup, we hopped on that wagon), who suggested the elimination diet . BEST thing we could have done for our overall health! It was at that time that we eliminated gluten from our diet.

When I first started baking gluten free, I went through A LOT of recipes – some were edible, some I forced my husband to eat because I didn’t want to waste the precious ingredients and some LITERALLY went in the compost (so sad). When eliminating things that you have eaten your entire life, you can go through withdrawal – mine was for baked goods. What do you mean I can’t eat the cookies from the cafe on my coffee break?!?!? It goes so perfectly with my coffee…Stop looking at me Mr. Tea Biscuit, you’re just a cheap add on at this doughnut shop! Store bought gluten free baked goods can be costly. And when you’re tight on income, you begin to find more cost effective ways to enjoy life’s sweets .  Desperate to hold onto having some good old fashioned baking, I kept trying at home to make from scratch. And I’m glad I did! These cookies satisfy ANY baked good craving you may have and you can feel guilt free about eating them because there is nothing but goodness in them! Or as I like to say ‘no bull sh*t added’! Full of fiber, fruit, energizing seeds and protein – these cookies are great for a breakfast add on. Don’t stress about the chia seeds – you can get them at any Costco for about $10 a bag – which is a great price, or just use eggs. Now you have an easy go-to gluten free & vegan cookie that you can try without worrying if it will taste good. And I can guarantee you that everyone at your office will like them. Try it! You will be surprised at how good they taste!

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment below!

*Credits: Teapot designed & created by the brilliant artist Sally Cumming. Recently given the Emeritus Member Designation from OCAD, she has always been an inspiration to me as an artist and as my aunt. Check out her site here.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Breakfast Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2¼ cup oats
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds - mix with ½ cup water (or 2 eggs)
  • ½ cup coconut oil (or ½ cup organic butter, softened)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pecans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, oats and xanthan gum in a large bowl. Stir well.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix chia seeds and water. Let soak for 5mins. Add coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Add to oat mixture. Mix well.
  3. Using your spatula, fold in unsweetened shredded coconut, raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and pecans.
  4. Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet (I like to spread a little olive oil on the sheet before I drop the dough). Bake for 12 - 17mins, or until brown around edges. Let cool and serve with favourite cup of tea or bold coffee.