I tend to go through phases with cooking and baking. I wouldn't say that I have a huge passion for either, but I do make most of my food for myself at home in my own kitchen. Recently I have been on another baking kick though. I've been experimenting with new recipes, adapting old recipes to fit my own ideas, and overall just enjoying the process of creating new recipes for myself. Since I'm a both a sucker for baked goods while also a huge proponent for healthy, whole foods, I love to experiment with healthier baked sweets recipes that I can enjoy while still feeling good and fueled for my training.
Another way I like to put a healthier twist on baked goods is to incorporate fruits and veggies into them. This is an easy way to increase micronutrient variety in your diet in a sort of sneaky way, since fruits and vegetables are rich in essential micronutrients. I had been craving zucchini bread for a while and had some extra carrots in the fridge that I had to use, so I decided to make some zucchini-carrot muffins. I like the added challenge of making snacks and foods that are gluten-free (I'm sensitive to too much gluten) and plant-based (I'm not vegan, but like to cook plant-based for myself) too, because it forces me to experiment and come up with new combinations of ingredients to use in place of the typical eggs, white flour, butter, etc.
The recipe is as follows:
*Disclaimer: I hate measuring out ingredients. I was raised in a Greek family where we just cook and bake by feel. These measurements are all approximate, so I recommend you alter as needed to get the right consistency that you are looking for in your muffins. These were also baked at 7703ft altitude.
1 cup oat flour
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
Pinch of salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)
Cinnamon to taste
Nutmeg to taste
Ginger to taste
1 tsp baking powder
*1/4 cup grated carrots*
*1 whole grated zucchini* (pressed in a towel to get extra moisture out)
*Mini chocolate chips :) - as much as you want*
*Chopped pecans - also as much as you want*
Combine all dry ingredients *except for carrots, zucchini, chocolate chips, and pecans* in a bowl and set aside.
1 cup olive or avocado oil (this might have been closer to 3/4 cup)
1 flax egg - (6 tsp ground flax with 10-12 tsp water. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until thick)
1/4 maple syrup (I added a drizzle of honey too because I didn't have enough maple)
Splash of vanilla extract
Slowly combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients, constantly whisking to for smoother incorporation. Fold in the carrot, zucchini, chocolate chips, and pecans at the end.
Line a muffin pan with baking cups or lightly coat the pan with baking spray. Distribute the dough evenly - It will be a slightly thicker dough with the oats.
Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes. Check at 30 minutes, but mine were in for 37. Depends on your oven! Let the muffins cool completely before removing them from the pan.
I was pleasantly surprised with how good these came out! I have been eating them for breakfast, dessert, or just as a snack throughout the day. They taste amazing with peanut or almond butter, nutella, or with a little yogurt and fruit, and sit well as both pre- and post-workout fuel. They're lightly sweet and perfectly moist, with the chocolate chips complimenting the flavor of the muffin so well. I highly recommend you give them a try - and let me know if you do and what you think!
Remember: Food is fuel, so let's fuel our bodies well!