Monday, November 5, 2012

Banana Almond Oatmeal Muffins

I begin this post with an urgent question:

Is it really so bad to have a Kit Kat with my coffee??

It really is the perfect accompaniment. Well, apart from cake that is. :)

These Banana Almond Oatmeal Muffins are also perfect with a cup of coffee. Or tea. Or juice. Or just about anything you drink in the morning.

For awhile now, I've been really concerned about the processed nature of the breakfasts we had been eating in our house. Namely, cereal. Cereal has a lot going for it - quick, easy, and the kids can "make" it themselves. That last one is the best one. All you Moms out there agree with me, right? That morning when you first realize your child is old enough and tall enough to put his or her own breakfast together while you laze around in your pajamas. Or, I mean, do housework, be really productive, and get lots done? That is the BEST.

But ... Don't you always hate the "but"? It's always there, lurking around the corner and ruining all that is nice and easy. No matter how much I tried to ignore the "but" it kept coming back to haunt me until I did something about it. So, I'm going to share this particular torture! Aren't you happy? You will thank me in the end (because the end is the recipe for these delectable muffins!).

But ... in all of my other meals and snacks, I have been trying really hard to eliminate processed foods as much as possible. Cereal is one of the most heavily-processed foods in the grocery store. Despite the claims of whole grains and good health, nearly all cereals are not that great for us. Even the best of cereals (plain, bran-y, organic) are pretty heavily processed. My kids never ate that kind anyway. Except for cheerios at church. Somehow plain cheerios taste great at church but terrible at home. Go figure.

A couple of months ago, we went cereal-free in an attempt to have a healthier start to our day. I stopped buying cereal, which, by the way, has also saved me quite a bit of money thanks to the rising cost of those boxes and the ravenous way my son and daughter wolfed it all down. Instead, I make my own instant oatmeal mixes and granola, served with almond milk. Sometimes if I'm awake enough we have eggs for breakfast.

If you'd like the recipes I use for the oatmeal mixes and granola, just let me know and I'd be happy to share!

And now, we have these muffins. They are full of healthy ingredients, lots of fiber to keep the little ones full longer, and they taste great! It's a good breakfast alternative no matter what your normal routine is.

My daughter and I love the new breakfast options. My husband will eat pretty much anything, though I think he misses his raisin bran! My son does NOT like the new breakfast situation. He is a kid who loves his cereal. Poor guy. He's not at all convinced by my reasoning that granola with some milk is the same as cereal. There's no fooling him with that one, I guess. (But it really is kind of like cereal, isn't it?)

What does my son like? These muffins! Yay! Success!

You can't see it, but I'm patting myself on the back right now.

These muffins are so easy to make, too. Just mash up two browning bananas in a small bowl. You know those bananas that no one will eat? If you have some that are a little too brown to eat, that are sitting there all lonely with no one to take them, just throw them in the freezer (I put them in a freezer bag). The peels will get really brown in there, but doing this will preserve the fruit inside for use in muffins and other baked goods. They don't take long to thaw and will be a bit mushy when they warm up again. Just ignore the squishiness and mash away. It makes the job easier and it tastes wonderful. I promise.

Whisk together some flour (I like to use whole wheat pastry flour for added nutrition, flavor and a wonderful texture), almond flour, oats, flax seeds, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. I know, it seems like a lot. But it's easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, as my kids like to say. Do all of this in a medium-sized bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together an egg with some almond milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. One of these days, I'm going to try subbing coconut oil or applesauce for the vegetable oil. I haven't gotten around to that yet. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Whisk the bananas into the egg mixture. Then add the dry ingredients all at once to the banana-egg mixture and stir just until moist throughout. Make sure you get any dry pockets that may be hiding on the bottom. Don't over-mix, though, or you will end up with hockey pucks instead of muffins.

Fill your lined or sprayed muffin tin.

There. You're done. Once the oven has done it's work, you can enjoy these sweet and hardy treats! They also freeze wonderfully. I usually put all of mine into the freezer as soon as they are cool. Then I pull out a few at a time and thaw them in the microwave or oven before eating. This way, they stay very fresh-tasting for quite awhile (I'd say a few months, though I haven't had a batch last quite that long yet.)


P.S. I'm playing around with the look and layout of the blog. Do you like it? Hate it? Have ideas for me? I'd love your feedback. And while you're leaving feedback about the blog, let me know how you like these muffins! :)

Banana Almond Oatmeal Muffins

3 ounces (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 ounces (3/4 cup) almond flour (also called almond meal)
3 ounces (1 cup) old-fashioned oats (not the quick-cook kind)
2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)
3-1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, flax seed, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg, almond milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Whisk the mashed bananas in to the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients and stir just until moistened. Using a 1/4-cup scoop, fill muffin tin liners about 3/4 full and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until the top of the muffin springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted in to the muffin comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins, which keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature or for a few months in the freezer.

*Try using vanilla sugar in place of the granulated sugar. To make vanilla sugar, place a few vanilla beans in a container filled with granulated sugar. Stir every once in awhile. The longer it sits, the stronger the vanilla flavor will be. Allow to sit for at least 2 weeks before using it the first time. Use as you would regular sugar for an added vanilla flavor boost. Keep topping off your container with more granulated sugar for an endless supply.


  1. Recipe looks yummy! I've been substituting applesauce for at least 1/2 the oil when I make zuc bread. I can't remember for sure if I've done it in anything else, I rarely bake anymore other than cookies now & then. With so little oil used here I would replace all of it and I'm sure it would still be good. :) I'm interested in what you would think of it here tho, if it changes the texture at all.

    Wow, different page layout, simple, no clutter (not that your's was, just a description), no sidebars, yet not sure how to find stuff. Interesting that the layout can be changed by the user/reader, I kinda like the "flipcard" & "sidebar" options. Kinda wild they're making it so interactive for the reader, cool but not clear to those new to it. Can you use this format and still have tabs/pages/buttons at the top? I heard they were making some updates/new options but haven't played with them or posted on my blog in awhile. :)

  2. Thanks, Pati! I will definitely try this with applesauce, or a combo of applesauce and healthier coconut oil. I'm thinking it will make it a bit heavier, but that might not matter so much with a muffin.

    And thanks for the feedback on the new layout. I'm with you about all the stuff at the side, like the search option. A few of them are still there (followers, etc.) but you have to hover over the little gray rectangles at the right to see them. I am liking the cleaner color scheme, though. I'll have to play around with it a little more.