My daughter is a dancer. Every Wednesday and Thursday I pick her and her friends up right after school and hurry them to the dance studio for 4:15 lessons. I treasure this brief time with them as they chat away about their days, the boys that drive them nuts (and the ones that are kinda cute), their new favourite song or the latest school yard news. It’s not a long drive but I try to keep quiet, ask very few questions and just listen in on their insightful and hilarious conversations.
Little do they know they’ve also become my food testers over the last few weeks as I’ve tried out a number of new “dinners” on them for their oh-so-honest opinions. Natasha is so sweet she’ll eat whatever I serve and not complain. Sophie is the same although she will speak up if she thinks something is truly awful. Sarah is my pickiest customer so I use her as my barometer for the very best and worst of my creations. And I can always count on my own little Izzy for the brutal truth with no holds barred.
My goal is always to find a meal that will provide all of the nutrition and energy they will need for their workout while still being something they can easily eat in the car. After some experimenting I came up with these muffins. Gluten and refined sugar free, these little beauties also have iron rich molasses, fruits and veggies, protein power nuts and a sneaky bit of chia for omega 3s. Plus some chocolate for pure pleasure ; )
These muffins work equally well on hockey night, soccer night and “mom is too tired to cook” night. Or you could make an extra batch and freeze them to use for busy work days and road trips. You could also switch up the fruits, veggies and nuts to make these a variety of different ways –you could try banana, strawberry, carrot, pumpkin, walnuts, apples or any combination you like.
This one goes out to Izzy, Sarah, Sophie and Natasha. Thanks for being my guinea pigs girls and keep on dancing. (BTW – Sarah ate 2 of these the first time I served them!)
Dancing Girls Dinner Muffins
1 ½ cup Bob’s All-Purpose GF Baking Flour
½ cup almond meal (I grind raw almonds in my coffee grinder)
½ tsp xanthum gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp agave nectar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp ground chia seeds + ¼ cup water (chia egg)
1/3 cup almond milk + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (buttermilk)
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 zucchini, grated finely
1/3 cup chopped pecans
½ cup chocolate chips or chunks (I used Enjoy Life Mega Chunks)
Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 – 15 regular muffin tins with paper liners.
Prepare chia egg in a small bowl -combine ground chia and water and set aside to get goopy.
Prepare buttermilk in a small bowl -combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to ferment.
Whisk together flours, almond meal, xanthum gum, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, stir together syrup, agave, molasses, applesauce, oil, vanilla, buttermilk and chia egg until well blended.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together until it is a nice even batter. Fold in zucchini, nuts and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins approx 2/3 full. Bake in center rack of oven for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let stand in pans for 10 minutes to cool and then pop them out and enjoy!