Carrot, Coconut & Raisin Muffins

I have a friend who is currently training to run a marathon and she has cut the refined sugar out of her diet.  I totally admire her for her efforts in this venture so I decided that I wanted to bake her a treat while challenging myself at the same time to bake with some alternative ingredients.  I initially went the banana bread route, but my ingredient amounts were off and it didn’t come out as I desired so I will revisit that one at a different time.  I then moved on to muffins and carefully chose the ingredients based on their health benefits, and the result was Carrot, Coconut & Raisin muffins.  Some of the substitutions to the usual muffin ingredients that I made are highlighted below with their health benefits.

  • Instead of Butter or Vegetable Oil, I used Canola Oil.  It is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fats and contains essential omega 3 fatty acids.  It has a fairly light and mild flavour so it is a great substitute in most cooking.
  • Instead of using the full amount of All Purpose White Flour, I used half Whole Wheat Flour.  Whole grains have been proven to decrease the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and pop a little more fiber into your diet.  I did half and half in this recipe as whole wheat flour is fairly dense and I didn’t want these to be heavy lumps.  You can use Whole Wheat pastry flour if you want to go all the way with whole grains and it will provide a lighter effect.
  • Instead of Sugar, I used Raw Agave Syrup.  There is some controversy behind the health benefits of agave, but essentially it is natural and has a low glycemic index so it won’t cause sharp rises or falls in blood sugar.  And just a fun fact for you, Aztecs used to use agave syrup on wounds because of its antibacterial properties.
  • I used Unsweetened Shredded Coconut.  Coconut is higher in fat, but it is the good kind that is full of rich vitamins and minerals.  Coconut has also been proven to decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer and crohn’s just to name a few.
  • I used Raisins.  There is a reason why hikers toss these little treats into trail mixes as they are high in energy and low in fat.
The muffins are great without the icing, but after I had tasted one I wanted it to be just a little bit sweeter so I improvised an icing.
Carrot, Coconut & Raisin Muffins
¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ whole wheat flour
¾ tsp baking soda
1½ baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ nutmeg
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 large eggs
½ cup canola oil
½ cup raw agave syrup
¼ cup skim milk
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups carrots – grated
½ cup raisins
Icing/Glaze:
¼ cup water
¼ cup cocnut
½ tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp agave
1.  Preheat oven to 350º.  In a saucepan mix all ingredients of the icing/glaze and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and place in fridge to chill.
2.  In a bowl mix ap flour, ww flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in coconut.
3.  In another bowl beat eggs.  Stir in canola oil, agave, vanilla and milk.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Stir in carrots and raisins just enough so that they are moistened, do not over mix.
4.  Pour into a paper lined or greased muffin tin.  Bake for 20 minutes.
5.  Wait until muffins are cooled and put a thin layer of the icing/glaze mixture on top.
Makes 12 muffins
Per Muffin:
Calories 174      Fat 8g       Carbs 21g      Protein 3.5g
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Cheeseburger Muffins

Yup, Cheeseburger Muffins.  Ok, I will admit this experiment started out with the intention to be Meatloaf Muffins, but I made several substitutions to make these healthier and as a result the texture was more burger than meatloaf….So yay for Cheeseburger Muffins!  The great thing about these are that they provide you with some portion control and whatever you have left can be tossed in the freezer and reheated when needed, so make extra.

Cheeseburger Muffins

1lb extra lean ground beef

¼ cup onions – caramelized and finely diced

3 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp skim milk

1 large egg

3 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

12 small cubes of low fat cheddar cheese

Topping:

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp yellow mustard

½ tbsp cider vinegar

3 tsp brown sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Mix all ingredients except the cheese and topping in a bowl.  You can use a fork, but your hands will work best.

2.  Fill 12 muffin tins with the mixture.  Push cubes of cheese into the centers of each muffin.

3.  Place muffin tin in oven.  While the muffins are baking, mix all ingredients of the topping in a small bowl, set aside.

4.  Remove muffin tin after 15 mins, brush topping over each and then return to oven for another 10-15 mins.

Makes 12

Per muffin:

Calories 108      Fat 4.5g      Carbs 7.5g      Protein 12.5g

Blueberry & Raspberry Muffins

As it turns out, the house we recently moved into has some treats planted in the backyard, raspberries, blueberries and rhubarb.   I really wanted to make use of this somehow other than just picking and eating them as they are, so I felt muffins would probably be a delicious attempt.  I’m going to be honest with you, I probably haven’t made muffins since helping my mom when I was a child.  So when I first began this adventure I was most definitely nervous for the outcome, as my baking track record is grim.  But whoa were these good! Muffins will be making more appearances into my routine now.  I made a few substitutions to make these a little lower fat and lower calorie.

Blueberry & Raspberry Muffins

1 cup non fat vanilla yogurt

1 large egg

¼ cup canola oil

½ tsp vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup granulated white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup raspberries

¾ cup blue berries

Topping:

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp rolled oats

 

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease muffin tin or fill with paper liners.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, oil and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Take 1 tbsp of the dry mix and toss it in with the berries.

4. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture.  Gently stir in the raspberries and blueberries, but be careful not to over mix to avoid tough muffins.

5. Scoop mixture into a muffin tin, about 2 spoonfuls or 1 ice cream scoop.  Sprinkle topping over tops.

5.  Bake for about 15-20 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6.  Let muffins cool for 5 mins before removing from the tin.

Makes 12 muffins

 

Per Muffin:

Calories 180      Fat 5.5g      Carbs 28g      Protein 4g