Best Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe

(301-365) Muffin (6100678703)My kids love a good muffin. That means that muffins are my go-to when I need to bring a snack to school, or friends come over for a play date, or really just about any time I need food for any reason. But several of my son’s friends are either gluten or dairy intolerant (or both), so I wanted to find the best gluten-free muffin recipe.

Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. I made things that were so nasty that even loads of chocolate chips or cream-cheese frosting couldn’t make them palatable. I made ones that were just OK warm, but turned to rocks when they cooled. I made some that tasted too much like the almond or coconut or whatever they were made with in place of the gluten. I despaired. I gave up for a while and just went back to my old stand-by muffin recipe and made something else if his GF friends were here.

Then I tried to make up my own recipe. And…success! I had to use a Wikimedia Commons picture of a muffin because by the time I figured out that this recipe was a success, a plague of hungry locusts my kids and their friends had eaten every last one of these delicious, moist, perfect gluten-free muffins.

So here it is, my Best Gluten-Free Muffin recipe:

Best Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe

makes 24 muffins

Ingredients:
1/3 c coconut oil (olive oil would also work)
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk or other milk alternative
1/3 c sweetener (date sugar, honey, brown sugar, whatever you fancy. Note that some sweeteners are sweeter than others and adjust as necessary)
2 c grated or mashed fruits/veggies (carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, apple, banana, dates)
1 1/2 c gluten-free pastry flour (the one I use is a fine-ground corn-based flour)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/2 c chocolate chips (make sure the ones you have are dairy-free–many aren’t)

  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl. If using something chunky like bananas or dates, I use an immersion blender until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add flour, baking soda & powder, spices, and slivered almonds and mix just until combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool just enough to prevent injury and devour at will.

This go-round, I made these with coconut oil, date syrup, almond milk, and a mix of 1 c pumpkin, 3/4 c banana and 1/4 c dates. But apples, zucchinis, and carrots would also be delicious, coconut milk would absolutely work, and I often use olive oil in baking when I don’t have coconut oil on hand. And raisins can be substituted for the chocolate chips, although I definitely prefer the chocolate!

Easy and delicious. What’s your favorite gluten-free recipe?

Embracing Comfort Food

photo of home-made chicken fingers
My kids’ new favorite meal: Home-made chicken fingers

I’m a foodie. I love food and, on more than a special-occasion basis, I like fancy food. While my kids are good eaters, sometimes they get tired of my chutneys and sauces and garnishes and just want plain old comfort food.

Between my insane aggressive writing schedule and the kids’ after school activities, we need quick (<30 minutes to prepare) meals 3-4 nights a week. And I can't make every. single. meal. in the slow-cooker, no matter how much I might like to. Enter exhibit A: healthy, home-made (even gluten-free!) chicken fingers. My kids' new favorite meal. Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, sliced into 1-inch wide strips
2 egg whites, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
2/3 c fine-ground cornmeal (I’ve heard crushed cornflakes work too!)
herbs & spices

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 225C (450F).
  2. Pour the cornmeal into a wide shallow bowl and season heavily with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and whatever spices go with the rest of your meal. Try taco seasoning, italian herbs, cumin, smoked paprika (not all at once!), or whatever your kids like. Mix thoroughly. You want to be able to see spices in the cornmeal mix. If you can’t, you haven’t added enough!
  3. Dip chicken strips in egg white.
  4. Dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, making sure every bit of the chicken is evenly coated.
  5. Arrange on a baking tray so that the chicken strips don’t touch.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until chicken is cooked to the internal temperature you prefer.
  7. Cook veggies & starches while chicken bakes. In the picture above, I made a veggie pilaf with quick-cooking brown rice, and kale salad.
  8. Serve with ranch, ketchup, or whatever sauce your munchkins love.

Getting Crafty – Built-in Purse Keychain

The key holder on our messenger bag inspired this project!

I dispensed with a major pet peeve of mine–digging through my purse to find my keys–today with a simple craft project using only items I had laying around the house!

My beloved Timbuk2 messenger bag has a nifty little clip on the end of a ribbon, so I can attach my keys and never lose them in the otherwise cavernous bag. So why not my other purses?

Now each of my purses is outfitted with a clip made to hold my keys. It was quick and easy, even for a novice with needle and thread like myself.

Materials

  • 1 keychain with a swivel hook and several detachable key rings or several individual swivel-hooks as pictured
  • several 4-8″ pieces of remnant ribbon, preferably in colors that coordinate with your handbags
  • heavy-duty thread that matches the thread
  • sewing needle

Here’s how I did it…
Read more

Demystifying Finnish Flour *Updated*

I like to bake. People have been known to covet my pie and my pancakes have garnered acclaim on two continents. And then there’s my bread and my pizza dough. I mean, when it comes to baking, I know what I’m doing, right? I have conquered high-altitude baking. I unraveled the mysteries of British flour from strong to self-rising. And yet, after seven months, I’m just starting to figure out Finnish flour, and doing a lot more research on it than I was expecting! Oh yeah, and here I am four months later revising it again to include even more info!! Read more

Decluttering Your Child’s Artwork

Some paintings created by my son Gabriel
I particularly like the colors in these two paintings by my son, Gabriel
I talked a bit in my post, Letting Go, about our recent attempts at getting rid of things that we don’t love, need, use. What if you love something, but it exists in such tremendous quantities that something has to be done about it? Christmas ornaments come to mind, but I’ll save that for a different post because what I want to talk about is my children’s artwork.

Let’s say we don’t put a crayon into our child’s hand until they are a year old (it was earlier than that for us!). That means that, when I began my decluttering adventure, I found roughly 8 years’ worth of artwork (combined total for two children) in a giant stack in my basement. We do craft projects nearly every day, and they spent part of every day of their preschool lives doing craft as well, so you can see how quickly that can multiply. Each piece is unique, captures their developmental milestones in visual format, and, especially now that my son writes “To Mommy” on almost every piece, is very difficult to let go.

And yet, I could not justify taking a three-foot stack of kids’ artwork to Helsinki with us. What to do, what to do? I turned to the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra for help with this tricky situation! Read more

Festival Pasta – Meatless in 30 Minutes or Less

A photo of tonight's dinner - Festival Pasta
Festival Pasta
A few weeks ago, someone I know vaguely from town said to me, “Oh, I know you, you’re the radical homemaker who makes everything from scratch.” Since then, I’ve gone back and forth a dozen times between been well pleased that my reputation precedes me (I do live in a very small town) and feeling slightly put-off by the label.

I make a lot of things from scratch because cooking is a hobby of mine. But it is not gourmet night every night in my kitchen. Despite my desire to participate in Meatless Monday, I often struggle to come up with anything besides leftovers after a hectic day of school, swim lessons, and the general chaos that accompanies our transition from the weekend back into the week.

Tonight, the thought of coming up with something creative and meat-free for dinner sounded especially daunting because my husband just left for a business trip to Helsinki. But what I came up with–a variation on one of the first recipes I ever invented back in college–is a recipe that is healthy, meat-free, and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. I call it Festival Pasta not only because of all the different colors in the dish, but because there are so many substitutions you can make that you’re nearly guaranteed to have what you need to make this in your kitchen on any given Monday! Read more

March Phat Fiber “Fluff” – The Elements

A photo of March's Phat Fiber Fluff box
My first ever Phat Fiber box!

My father used to tell this great story about sawing off the treadle of my grandmother’s spinning wheel as retribution for her not letting he and my uncle go out to hunt. In the end, they climbed out the window and went anyway, and I can only imagine my grandfather’s reaction when he learned what the boys had done. Personally, if it were my wheel, I think Dad would have had to worry more about my wrath than Grampy’s, but who knows.

Those of you who have been coming here to read all about gardening are probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about. I admit it: I’m taking a break from gardening posts to talk about another (relatively new) hobby of mine–spinning. Read more

Garden Primer 4 – Starting Plants from Seed

My indoor seed-starting setup
Tending to my seedlings last winter

With this post, my garden primer series transitions from the planning stage to the doing stage. I will be writing about what I’m actually doing in my garden as I do it, so if you’re in Zone 5-ish, you can probably follow along in your own garden! So, if you’ve been following along with this series, you’ve already figured out how much garden space you have, how many vegetables you want to plant, and considered whether you’d like to have a container garden this season.

Now it’s time to talk about starting seedlings. Whether you’re starting seeds in a couple of cottage cheese containers in a sunny window or hoping to start most of your vegetables from seed this year, the process is pretty much the same, and so are the benefits. Improved selection of varieties, a desire to know that your food was started in chemical and disease-free conditions, and the need to garden when there’s still snow on the ground are all reasons to start vegetables from seed. Read more

Planning the Perfect Pot Garden – Primer Part 3

This is a great example of container gardening, taken from Permaculture 4 Renters.
This is a great example of container gardening, taken from Permaculture 4 Renters.

I’ve already talked about growing herbs indoors to beat the winter blues, but I know a lot of gardens in urban landscapes are looking to maximize growing space using containers (no, not that kind of pot!) to garden outside too. Whether you’re planting a few herbs in a sunny windowsill inside or growing a large container garden in your yard, a few tips will help make things easier. Read more

Birthday Cake – Localized

cakeToday is my darling husband’s birthday, so this morning the kids & I baked him a cake. I chose my Grandma’s Fresh Apple Cake recipe in part because I had ingredients on hand and in part because it was one I could adapt so that it used mainly local ingredients. Oh yeah, and also because it’s moist and delicious and one of Matt’s favorites 🙂

I’ll give you both the original recipe and the modified so that you can make it how you like, but also so that you can see how easy it is to modify your favorite recipes so that they use local ingredients. Happy Birthday, Love! Read more