Gluten-free, vegan raisin bran muffins

I loved my mom’s bran muffins. Now I can have them gluten-free. They are also oil-free and low sugar!

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180 g) uncooked gluten-free oat bran
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (loosely packed for a less sweet muffin though they are not too sweet)
  • 2-3 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (312 mL) water (up to 1 1/3 if needed)
  • 1/2 cup (125g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160 g oat flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with liners. (I use silicone but you can use paper)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingrediets (whisk out the lumps)
  3. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in the raisins (also try dried cranberries, blueberries (fresh or dry), and chopped apples).
  4. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes so the flax and flour can soak up the water.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and the center is firm to the touch. Cool 5 minutes in pan then remove muffins to rack and cool completely. Ensure completely cool before storing.

Notes

Storage: Store the cooled muffins in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 2 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.

150 calories per muffin

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The emotional eating paradox

don't give up-01I gained weight today. There is no reason I should have gained weight and in fact I expected to lose weight based upon my eating and exercise yesterday. I have lost 5lbs in the last 3 days eating high carb low fat mainly and mostly raw. Rationally it makes sense that there might be a stall. In fact, I probably have more than 2 lbs of food inside me right now and that would explain the entire weight gain. But here is the thing: if you are an emotional eater, that doesn’t matter. There is an impulsive and immediate reaction that says “I want food” and even gives us permission to eat all the things that we may restrict during cleaner eating phases. In my case it even says, “Go ahead eat the pizza, ice cream, cookies” when I am allergic to dairy and wheat. It is comfort food and it is called that for a reason. The combination of salt, sugar and fat works upon our brain the way drugs do. It lights up the pleasure and reward centres of our brain making us feel happy, content, blissful or numb. Even numb is preferrable to negative emotions sometimes. The problem is, this feeling does not last long and then our body tells us to eat more of these things to get that same “high” and continually chases that chemically induced happiness. We may even feel withdrawal as we start to eat clean and avoid sugary, fatty foods. Irritability, craving and even physical symptoms coexist with the emotional draw to consume these foods.

The most ironic thing at the moment, is the drive to eat these things comes not from a place of failure (“oh well, I’ve screwed up, I might as well eat everything I want,” but rather simply a number on the scale. Knowing that the number can’t be truly accurate in the big picture helps to halt that craving and emotional eating response. It is still difficult. The response is still automatic and so you have to be prepared to challenge those automatic thoughts again and again until it does become easier. Knowing that I ate really well yesterday and exercised, I can remind myself that it would be complete fallacy to use the number on the scale as an indication of today’s worth and progress. Knowing that I have already done so well in 3 days, I can remind myself how great a loss it would be to give in to momentary pleasure; how much these similar digressions have lead to yo-yoing weight on an ever increasing trend.

Thus it is important to keep practicing these mindful and logical cognitive challenges when the instinctive reaction to eat junk comes up. Know what you want and how far you have come. Keep the big picture in mind. If you do slip up, never give up. You can always stop right now; a treat does not need to be binge and a binge does not need to be a bender.

emotional_hunger_versus_physical_hunger

Gluten Free Vegan Oaty Bean and Lentil Sausage Rolls

Thank you fellow bloggers for constantly inspiring me! I’ve never had a sausage roll but this makes me want to

Oh My Goodness Vegan

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Sometimes I get ridiculous orders from my wheat-avoiding other half for veganised gluten-defying favourites. He’s a total sucker for spicy ‘(fake) meaty’ sausage rolls. I, on the other hand, have never been a massive fan of sosmix or meaty-textured foods. It’s not that I don’t like them now and again; I can just take or leave them. Linda McCartney’s are a good freezer food to have around for non-cooky days!

However, I do love a challenge!  Unfortunately, most vegetarian sausage packet mixes either have egg or wheat rusk so I couldn’t use those. I wanted to create something spicy with a sort of ‘meaty’ texture so I turned to a combination of oats, beans and lentils.

For the pastry, I used a tried and tested recipe, which, unlike many other recipes for gluten-free pastry I’ve experimented with, can be rolled out and manipulated without just falling to pieces! The secret? Chickpea…

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Berry kiwi smoothie

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Today’s green smoothie is not so green. It’s slightly sour as I did not add half a banana (too underripe) like I probably would have, but it still tastes like fruit, not spinach.
2 kiwi
2 cups (maybe 1 1/2, just filled the magic bullet) spinach
Splash of pomegranate blueberry juice (maybe 1/4 cup in the end)
Couple handfuls of frozen mixed berries (1/2 cup maybe

(Thinking after the fact that 1/2-1 scoop vanilla protein would be nice and sweeten it up a bit)

Blend the greens with a little bit of juice until completely broken down. I find just a tiny splash, enough to help it work makes a smoother smoothie. Adding all the juice and you get chunks. Add the fruit and blend completely, adding as much juice as necessary to reach your preferred consistency.

Pecan pie larabar balls

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Oh my gosh, why didn’t I think of this sooner? I have been using variations on date+almond larabar balls. A simple switch to pecans makes these pecan pie. Three ingredients. Two minutes. If you don’t know how easy date balls are to make, you’re missing out.

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Peanut butter cookie larabar balls

MMMmmmm

I was in need of something sweet. That usually calls for larabar balls unless its a special occasion. I convinced myself “Wednesday” was not a special occasion. So larabar balls it is.

I want chocolate. I always want chocolate, but there is no chocolate to be found in my house at the moment, so I had to pick something else….peanut butter came to mind.
I looked online to see if there were others who had made peanut butter larabars. There were, but they were just dates and peanuts. I did not think this would be enough. I thought there would be actual peanut butter in my recipe, but I tasted this mixture, and sure enough, it did not taste like peanut butter cookies. So I added peanut butter, salt and vanilla. Et voila! Tastes like peanut butter cookies! In minutes and without any refined sugar. I’m sold. I think you will be too.

Please note, I rarely measure, so adjust as needed to get the taste and consistency that works for you, rather than relying solely on measurements.

1 cup dates, whole pitted
1 cup peanuts, maybe a bit more*
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

You can leave out the salt if you use regular peanut butter. Mine is 100% peanuts and nothing more.

Disclaimer: I have never had a peanut butter cookie dough Larabar. I just made these to taste like peanut butter cookies!

Thow everything in a food processor and pulse until well mixed and peanuts are chopped to your liking. Scrape sides as needed. Then, judging by taste and texture adjust the recipe. If it is too dry add more dates (if sweetness is also needed) or peanut butter or water. If too sticky, add more peanuts. Some of the stickiness will go away in the fridge. Roll into balls and store in the fridge. You could press into bars and wrap in wax paper, but I’ve never tried this. I like little bites. Enjoy.