My Favorite Recipe, a Bit of a Book Review
Today I have to share my favorite healthy recipe. It’s not dinner or lunch, no, those courses are too easy. Although I may, in the future, post a great healthy dinner recipe, you can find wonderfully easy and healthy recipes for dinner anywhere on the web. You don’t need me for that. There’s no need to fall into a rut with grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies to stay healthy and trim. I fail to see what is genius about all of these people publishing what is obviously a great way to lose inches but also so darn boring. I once, with very little effort, stuck to a resolve to cook something new and healthy every single night for a full month. I Google searched delicious paleo and clean eating recipes every weekend to figure out what to shop for and what to cook in advance. It actually lasted nearly three months, as with a little bit of planning, it was so easy I didn’t even know the time had passed. I’ll address that more in the future as well, as I think meal planning is the cornerstone of healthy eating, and to explain myself because you may think I’m nuts for bothering with such an endeavor. In short, I’ll admit I like to cook, but even so, it was a fun distraction from other household worries. Even if you don’t love the kitchen, I know you can make some magic there. Even if you don’t really think cooking is your thing, or maybe you hate it, this recipe is worth it. Best of all, you will love it so much that you will find a groove, and making the recipe will be very easy and fun. Kids can help too.
So let’s have that kitchen magic I was talking about begin with this snack. Although I eat eggs, greens and avocado almost everyday for breakfast, this is something I substitute before my runs on weekends. My boys like it as a snack before baseball practice so much that I need to hide my portion sometimes so it is left for my long run day. Don’t stop reading because it sounds like a snack food or even like a treat. It is a great treat, but a healthy one! My boys, who love to eat junk, would rather come home to this than go out for ice cream. I am not kidding.
The recipe is for Superhero Muffins, and comes from Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s book, Run Fast Eat Slow. Think, two besties from university run team meet up again in Portland, professionally running and working for Nike. One, Shalane, becomes an Olympic medalist, and the other, Elyse, an accomplished runner and professional chef. Together they write a cookbook that incorporates the best of fresh, seasonal cooking. They don’t worry about calories because their food is pure and developed from the experience of athletes. It’s about the sense in eating things that keep the body free of inflammation and depressing toxins. It’s about the value in understanding that what might seem easy now, like grabbing something processed, really just speeds up what makes things difficult later on, like being able to go for a jog, keep up with the kids, or be a superstar athlete.
So, that’s my long introduction to Superhero Muffins. I’m going to write the recipe with the tweaks that I make to my taste. The photo is from my first attempt to make them, shortly after the book came out in August last year, which i bought fresh off he presses as soon as I could. Actually, I preordered it from Amazon, and it came to my door the day of the release. Ah, sweet technology! The muffins were the first thing I made, and my efforts went off without a hitch, which is awesome because I’m really only very good at baking two other things. The muffins are also gluten free, so I’m happy I get share them with my 50k training buddy, Deb. I hope you will make them and buy the cookbook. Don’t even get me started about the Flu Fighter Stew or Hazelnut Milk, the later being something I never thought I would “bother with” until I tried. Now I make it every week. Who knew you needed a recipe for fish tacos? Trust me. Get the book! Now on to the muffins.
Superhero Muffins, from my heroines, Elyse and Shalane. I hope to “be like them when I grow up.”
Preheat oven to 350 and line a standard 12 muffin tin with paper muffin cups. I use olive oil cooking spray to lubricate the pan, and then I spray the cups again once placed in the pan.
In a large bowl combine:
2 cups almond meal (also called almond flour), 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (buy a package labeled “gluten free” if concerned), 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 cup sliced almonds and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
In another bowl mix:
3 eggs, 1 cup grated zucchini, 1 cup grated carrots, 6 Tbs melted unsalted butter, 1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients just until they are combined. It will be thick and gloppy. Spoon it evenly into the muffin cups, pressing down a bit, and bake until a golden brown and toothpick comes out clean-ish. 25–35 min. I always do 25–27 and they are perfect for me.
They can be frozen and defrosted in the microwave on a lower power, but mine never make it that long. I also freeze grated carrot and zucchini to have it portioned out ahead of time. While I have the food processor out, why not make more? Just take it out 30 min or so before you start to make the muffins.
The variations I mentioned? Shalane and Elyse call for raisins, chopped dates or chocolate chips. I just use chocolate chips. They also call for walnuts, which I love, but I’m addicted to almonds. “1/2 cup” is a loose term for me when we are talking chocolate chips and almonds. And finally, lately I have been adding up to 1/4 cup of the hazelnut pulp I reserve from making Elyse and Shalane’s hazelnut milk recipe. Yum. I really hope you enjoy.