Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free

Today we are spending the day with our friends Lynn and Matt in Philadelphia! But I remembered to bake you a few delicious morsels that you could enjoy while Chris and I are off on our grand USA adventure! Today I’m bringing you these tender, spiced muffins studded with creamy pistachios. Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy latest career aspiration: become The Muffin Woman. You know, the one who lives on Drury Lane? Okay, I don’t live on Drury Lane, but maybe I can become The Muffin Woman. Or the muffin and cookie woman? Or the muffin, cookie, and way-too-many-quinoa-salads woman? I think I’ll just stick with Moonlighting Food Blogger Woman. Who also happens to make lots of muffins. Because make muffins I do.Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI baked these beauties one Friday night in anticipation of a sweet, slow breakfast the next morning. The smell of baking spice and brown sugar wafting through the house was so tempting – and I managed to only gobble one of them down when they came out of the oven. The combination of creamy pistachios and hearty spiced chai is delightful and these muffins are definitely better on the second day. The spices settle and become more pronounced when they are cooled down, and the tops become slightly crispy-chewy while the crumb stays moist, fluffy, and soft. The chai taste here comes not from a mix of spices, but directly from the tea bag! You just cut open two chai tea bags and add them directly to the batter – direct flavour delivery!Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWhile these muffins taste decadent, they are actually secretly healthy! There’s only 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of oil in the whole recipe! The secret to great-tasting healthier muffins is to amp up the spice factor, and these Pistachio Chai Muffins deliver! They are also kept moist by a healthy dose of Greek yoghurt in the batter – another healthy muffin making secret. Pistachios are one of my favourite nuts, and these creamy green delights are both mixed into the batter and sprinkled on top. Put the kettle on my friends, pour yourself some chai and make a batch of muffins today!Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pistachio Chai Muffins

Makes 12 muffins | Gluten Free | Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 80 grams sorghum flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek (or natural) yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and oil a 12-hole (1/3 cup) muffin tin very thoroughly.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together sorghum flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the contents of the two tea bags.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, yoghurt, oil, vanilla essence, egg and brown sugar until very well combined.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add 1/3 cup of pistachios and mix until distributed.
  5. Divide mixture evenly between holes in pre-oiled muffin tin.
  6. Roughly chop extra two tablespoons pistachios and sprinkle over the top of the uncooked muffins.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. To remove easily run a thin-bladed knife around the baked muffins to loosen them from the tin.
  9. Serve with a cup of chai!

Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free

Carrot cake lovers rejoice! Now you can eat your favourite sweet treat for breakfast in a healthy, gluten free form. Grab those carrots and let’s get baking!Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comCarrot cake is high on my list of favourite cakes. It’s right up there with coffee and walnut (my absolute favourite), funfetti, and orange and poppy seed. But, alas, I cannot eat cake for breakfast anymore and so, these muffins came into existence. I wanted the classic flavour of carrot cake but packed into a portable, and healthy, breakfast item. When it comes to carrot cake there are a few points of importance that must be achieved:

  • Moist crumb
  • Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
  • Sweet, but not too sweet
  • Studded with tasty bits and pieces

These four important points provided my guide posts for the perfect healthier version of carrot cake in muffin form.Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comA moist crumb isn’t always easy to achieve when you are trying to create a healthier version of a baked good, but we have four ingredients working to ensure our healthy muffins aren’t hockey pucks: apple puree, oil, Greek yoghurt, and a touch of brown sugar. These four ingredients work together to weave a magically moist but still healthy muffin. Moist crumb: check!

My healthier muffin is spiced with my favourite warm and welcoming spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. These are the holy trinity for carrot cakes in my opinion, and each brings a little something special without overpowering the others.Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comKeeping baked goods healthy but still tasty requires smart use of sweeteners and natural sugars to back them up. These muffins are still sweetened lightly with some brown sugar and maple syrup, and the apple puree provides a background of natural sweetness too. I don’t like my breakfast baked goods too sweet, so these are lightly sweetened. If you want a special treat, serve them warm and spread them with honey for extra sweetness. Or perhaps a little cream cheese for that true carrot cake touch.

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Now, I understand that the inclusion of, and variety of nuts included, in a carrot cake is a controversial issue (or is that just my circle of friends?). Are you a walnut person? A pecan person? A no-nut person? There is room for all in this healthy carrot cake muffin recipe. If you like pecans, simply substitute them for the walnuts. If you don’t do nuts in your perfect carrot cake, then leave them out. Simples. Similarly the issue of dried fruit. My Mama is not a fan of the sultana, and it is not welcome in her baked goods. Because I filled her freezer with these muffins so that she has quick, healthy snacks when she gets back from holidays, I left out the sultanas. But I would totally add them in if I was making them for myself…

I made these on a Sunday morning before heading out for a big walk under a cloudy grey sky. When I returned they made the perfect morning snack with a big cup of sweet tea. They are fluffy and light. No dense, dry, or gluey gluten free muffins here. These rise up tall and proud and beckon you back for ‘just one more’ every time you think you’ve eaten your fill. I hope there are some left by the time Mum and Dad come home…Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 20 muffins | Best eaten on the day of making. Freeze leftovers well-wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months

Note: If you do not need these to be gluten free you can replace the first four ingredients with 250 grams plain flour.

Ingredients

  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple puree
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot (2 medium carrots)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for topping muffins if desired.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and spray 2 x 12 hole muffin tins with cooking spray. Make sure you coat them very well to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, apple puree, rice brain oil, yoghurt and eggs.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Add carrots and walnuts to the batter and stir until distributed.
  6. Divide batter between muffin cups. Fill to about 3/4 of the way. This will ensure nice tall muffins.
  7. Baked for 15-20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through cooking time. Bake until tops are slightly golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling to room temperature.

Someone else wanted in on the carrot cake muffin action too!Toby Carrot Cake Muffins

Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | Gluten Free

Soft and sweet miniature banana, peanut butter, and chocolate chip muffins make the perfect afternoon snack. These tiny sweet treats are super simple to make, and healthy too!

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy afternoon pre-gym snacks have been a little lacklustre lately: carrot sticks, celery sticks, plain rice thins – not exactly the sort of power snack that inspires a powerful workout after riding a desk all day. The key to a successful afternoon snack I feel is a combination of a few elements: something slightly sweet (to get over that 3pm slump); something healthy (to support my health goals); and something light but still filling (to stop the tummy rumbles but not weigh me down).

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese adorable little bites contain all of my favourite pre-run nibbles: crunchy creamy peanut butter, sweet ripe bananas, and oh-so-nice milk chocolate chips. Yes, chocolate chips are a perfectly acceptable pre-run nibble on occasion. And when paired with protein and healthy fat packed peanut butter and complex carbohydrate containing banana in my mini muffins they are just the cherry on-top of a healthy little nibble. You can leave them out of course, at your own risk….

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins are super quick to make too. I whipped these up on a busy Tuesday night so that I would have running fuel for the rest of the week. They also make a great quick and easy breakfast. Simpy grab a few mini muffins and some yoghurt or fruit and you have a great on-the-go breakfast. If you are making these for kids who go to a no-nut policy school you can simply substitute the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter, or use two extra tablespoons of yoghurt instead.

Get out that mixing bowl and spoon tonight – you are only twenty minutes away from a sweet healthy treat for your lunchbox tomorrow!

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Gluten Free | Makes about 24 mini muffins | Best eaten within two days | Freeze leftovers tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana, well mashed
  • 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt (or plain, natural yoghurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spray a 24-hole mini muffin baking tin with baking oil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat together mashed banana, yoghurt, egg, oil, vanilla extract, peanut butter, and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together sorghum flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips (reserve a few for dotting onto the top if you’d like) and stir until distributed through batter.
  6. Divide batter between holes of mini muffin tin. Fill only to 2/3 of the way to avoid the muffins spilling over the top.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then tip out to cool completely.

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Healthy Mixed Berry Muffins | Gluten Free

Fluffy, low-fat, low sugar muffins, bursting with berries fulfil the breakfast needs of the New Year. Pair these with a small tub of low fat Greek yoghurt for the perfect breakfast on the go, or bake a batch for a lazy Sunday brunch.

Healthy Mixed Berry Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFirst steps into the New Year require something to fortify us for the journey ahead. A light little something that gets the day off on the right foot, or a small snack to keep us away from the sugar and fat laden vending machine treats so readily available at the office. I bet these would be perfect paired with some fresh fruit or yoghurt for a healthy desk breakfast, and I plan on filling the freezer at work with some of these for post-work, pre-gym light snacks to keep me running. This year I’m trying to move away from the non-nourishing rice cakes that make up a large portion of my snack food consumption!

Healthy Mixed Berry Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese muffins are bursting with berries and flavour but are secretly very healthy – there’s not a skerrick of butter or oil in this recipe! Instead, I used apple puree, which keeps the muffins light and moist, without the fat and calories from oil. Extra moisture is contributed by the buttermilk used in place of normal milk, and the addition of a small amount of brown sugar and honey. I used frozen berries for my muffins, but if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that fresh berries are plentiful (and affordable) then you can use these too. If using frozen berries, do not defrost before using.

When you are making a low-fat, low-sugar baked good you need to pay attention to other ways to add flavour. We rely heavily upon fat and sugar for flavours in our food (think buttery chocolate chip cookies) so when you minimise or eliminate them you need to replace the flavour they supply with other ingredients. These muffins are made on a mix of wholemeal flours, which contribute their own unique flavours. The batter is also spiced with cinnamon, a touch of ginger, and vanilla essence. We’ve taken away the fat and sugar, but with these addition we have kept all the flavour! Just a warning, because these are low-fat and low-sugar they are best eaten on the day they are made as they will spoil quickly (fat and sugar are also excellent natural preservatives). The good news is that if you wrap them well in plastic wrap they freeze well for up to two months. Just defrost them in the microwave for 1 minute on medium, or defrost on the bench for an hour or so.

Healthy Mixed Berry Muffins 4I love having a big batch of wrapped up muffins in the freezer. When I am searching for a light weekend snack before my morning run, or something sweet for afternoon tea, I can simply defrost one of these muffins, pour myself a cup of tea and read my latest book. In fact, I think I’m going to have one right now! These would also be great for packing in little one’s lunch boxes for healthy morning and afternoon tea treats and kids can help out with the measuring and mixing of this easy recipe too!

Healthy Mixed Berry Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Healthy Mixed Berry Muffins

Gluten Free | Makes 16 muffins | Best the day they are made. Wrap leftovers well and freeze for up to two months

Note: if you do not require these to be gluten free you can substitute the first five ingredients for 2 1/2 cups plain flour.

Ingredients

  • 70 grams almond meal
  • 70 grams brown rice flour
  • 70 grams white rice flour
  • 70 grams sorghum flour
  • 70 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup no sugar added apple puree
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and grease 16 holes of two 12-hole muffins very well. I used a spray olive oil for mine so that it definitely did not stick.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together almond meal, brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together apple puree, buttermilk, egg, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla essence until very well combined.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Add frozen berries and use a large wooden spoon to gently mix berries through the batter. Do not overmix or you will crush the berries and stain the batter.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins until cups are about 3/4 full. This will ensure your muffins pop up above the holes and give you that coffee shop look.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins bounce back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove and cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling completely on a rack.

Healthy Mixed Berry Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mocha Banana Muffins

I believe that if you can eat chocolate for breakfast you should, and if that chocolate happens to be healthy, paired with coffee, and baked into soft muffin-y form then all the better. If you have bananas languishing in your fruit bowl at the end of the week, some cocoa powder, and a few eggs, then you are well on your way to a healthy weekend breakfast treat.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This weekend I am going to the Good Food and Wine Show with my friend Casey, but beforehand we are meeting with my Mum, sister, and friend Bree at the Farmer’s Markets for breakfast and coffee – you know, to pre-fuel for our day of eating samples of myriad delicious things. So, healthy, gluten free, chocolate and banana muffins were my pick for a breakfast treat. Paired with a cappuccino from my favourite coffee shop we will be ready for a day of touring the halls of the convention centre in search of nibbles of cheese, and new gluten free products.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

You are going to love these muffins. Quick to assemble and put in the oven, you can make them in the morning and serve them fresh to your family for breakfast, or you can mix them up while dinner is cooking and have fresh treats for the whole family’s lunch boxes. This recipe would make a great baking project to make with little ones who are just learning to bake. A few simple steps, some measuring (a great way to learn maths – it certainly helped me), and a delicious result! All you need to do is mash bananas (a great job for little kids too), mix in yoghurt and eggs, and add to some gluten free flour with a handful of chocolate chips (because, sometimes you need chocolate chips in your breakfast). Bake them for 20 minutes and voila! Mocha Banana Muffins for the whole family to enjoy.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Mocha Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped tightly frozen for up to 2 months

Note: if you don’t need these to be gluten free, use 210 grams (1 1/2 cups) plain flour in place of the hazelnut meal, sorghum flour, and white rice flour.

Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas, well mashed
  • 2/3 cup non-fat Greek yoghurt (or plain natural yoghurt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together mashed bananas, yoghurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla essence until thick and smooth.
  3. Dissolve coffee powder in water and add to banana mixture along with brown sugar. Whisk until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together hazelnut meal, white rice flour, sorghum flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  6. Add chocolate chips and stir gently until well distributed.
  7. Divide batter evenly between muffin papers.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops bounce back when gently touched.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins

It’s Friday. Let me share some true things with you.

These things are true:

I love taking walks outside the office in the middle of the day just to stare at the sky. When I reach the end of the street I can see the city and I believe if I squint hard enough I can see Chris working busily away in his office.

Our maintenance man, Ted, is the sweetest gentleman I have ever met. Every time he comes into the office he gives me a hug and sometimes it’s the best thing about those 9 ½ hours.

I will never be a size 0. I cannot give up the chocolate, the cookies, the fun. I’m okay with that.

I drink my green tea sweetened with Splenda. I figure that the antioxidants cancel out the chemicals, and it keeps me insulated against the arctic air-conditioning.

When I finish an especially awesome run I really want to burst into a song and dance routine at the end, but I would probably fall over. Also, dogs would howl.

Sometimes when I sit down to study I have to bribe myself with something fun to do or yummy to eat after doing an appropriate amount of work. Sometimes this bribery takes the form of muffins.

Choc Chip Orange Muffins 1

Truth: these muffins are the second time I have tried to make Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins to share with you. My first trial on Monday was a disaster. This is what happens when you try to cook without using a scale and just guess-timating ingredients because you really, really want muffins. Lesson learned.

I bought a new scale! So last night I stepped back into the kitchen appropriately armed. I had run, washed, and was setting out to bake in order to bribe myself into sitting down to write after dinner.

This time: success! With the muffins and the writing. I won’t bore you with the writing part, but the muffins are tender of crumb, scented with orange zest, and studded with little dark chocolate morsels. I used a bar of dark chocolate, but you can use chips instead if you would like, or substitute milk chocolate if you aren’t a fan of dark. The rest of these have been safely wrapped up for a weekend breakfast or midweek snack…or for bribery tactics when needed…

Choc Chip Orange Muffins 2

Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins

Gluten Free. Makes 12 large muffins.

I used Woolworths Free From Gluten Plain Flour because I spotted it in the supermarket last week and really wanted to try it out. You can of course use your own favourite gluten free mix, or feel free to use the same weight of plain wheat flour instead.

Ingredients

  • 270 grams plain gluten free flour
  • 80 grams fine polenta (cornmeal)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (375F) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with papers.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together plain flour, polenta, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, caster sugar, olive oil, milk, orange juice, vanilla extract, and zest. Beat until smooth.
  4. Stir wet mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Fold in chopped dark chocolate.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin tins. Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes away with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Remove and allow to cool.
  9. Muffins are best eaten the day of baking. Well wrapped these will keep for 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or up to 2 months if frozen.

Choc Chip Orange Muffins 3

Okay, dear reader, your turn, what are some true things about you? Do you ever resort to bribing yourself? Any plans for the weekend?

Carrot, Zucchini, and Thyme Muffins

We are at the tender part of autumn right now. The ferocity and passion of the summer season has passed and the heat lingers gently like the last parting kiss of two lovers. The morning light is a little dimmer; the scent of oncoming chills fills the air.

These are my favourite mornings for being outside. I run through the few leaves that have started to fall and take deep breaths of the air that has lost the stickiness of summer.

I walk, long strides through the grass that grows tall and golden on the untamed verge and feel the wind cooling my skin as it shimmers through the trees.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins (gluten free) | Thoroughly Nourished Life

On the weekends I feel that I can walk forever. My soul feasts on the freedom from four walls and necessary sedentariness. I gather the boundlessness closely; try to imprint the feeling of this blessing for the days when I am trapped inside.

Autumn calls my innermost self to hibernate, to start pulling inward, to curling up and preparing for winter.

I want morning walks followed by pots of tea and muffins, and a big thick book, and warm arms to hold me while I nap.

When we have a quiet moment those are my tender autumn weekends.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins (gluten free) | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These are the muffins I made this last tender autumn weekend. They were quiet, all-consuming, gentle to make. Grating zucchini, carrot, and cheese takes only a moment and is stirred into a batter that goes from thought to reality in no time at all. A dash of dried herbs and into the oven they go. By the time I have selected a book to read while I eat breakfast they are out of the oven.

All they need is a little dob of butter and tender weekend morning perfection is achieved.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins (gluten free) | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Carrot, Zucchini, and Thyme Muffins

Gluten Free. Makes 12 muffins.

Muffins are always best on the day they are made, but these freeze very well and are a welcome accompaniment to a midweek dinner of soup or stew, or simply pop into lunchboxes for a savoury snack.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams sorghum flour
  • 100 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds + 2 tablespoons extra
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small zucchini

 Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and thoroughly oil one twelve-count muffin tins with spray oil.
  2. Roughly grate carrot and zucchini on the small holes of a box grater. Place gratings between two paper towels and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Set aside until needed.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together sorghum, buckwheat and rice flours. Add salt, baking powder, pepper,  and dried herbs and whisk until well combined.
  4. In a separate medium size bowl whisk together eggs, milk, honey and oil.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Add sunflower seeds and carrot and zucchini gratings. Stir until distributed.
  7. Gently stir in crumbled feta.
  8. Spoon mixture into muffin tins. Fill each cup to ¾ full. Sprinkle extra sunflower seeds on top.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning out.

Serve with butter and a large pot of tea or coffee.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins (gluten free) | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Peanut Butter Lindt-Ball-Filled Chocolate Cakes

Today was National Bookshop Day in Australia, and as I am a complete and utter bibliophile I had to celebrate the occasion with a visit to my favourite independent book store: aptly named ‘The Really Good Bookshop’ – you can’t get more obvious (and truthful) than that. I have written before of my love for this place: towering shelves of books crammed inside a small store front, stacks upon stacks of books crowd the floor and beckon you to kneel upon the floor and discover the treasures at your feet, still more books filed two-deep on the bookshelves themselves, and if – after all that – you still can’t find a book that tempts you to open the covers and discover the world within, then the owners will gladly order you anything your reader’s heart desires. Wendy and Peter (I know, I know – I was so happy when I discovered they had novel-worthy names) are fonts of information in themselves, and know the whereabouts of every one of their precious printed cargo. They are also one of my favourite reasons to visit ‘The Really Good Bookshop’, and so I decided that on National Bookshop Day, the best bookshop owners that I know deserved something special to nibble on when they finally get to relax with their own favourite reads.

DSC00675

Now, I am a little particular when it comes to ‘things I will eat while reading’, there must be some thought put into the food because one doesn’t want: a) to get crumbs or oil stains on the book, or b) to eat something merely mediocre and (as my darling friend Casey says) waste calories on something not completely delicious. These little cakes can be eaten with a fork while your plate sits on a little table beside your favourite reading chair.

DSC00683

When celebrating I can think of nothing better than cake (well, really at any time of day I struggle to think of anything better than cake…), but for my favourite guardians of books something really special was in order. Something with a little surprise….

DSC00665

Peanut Butter Lindt-Ball-Filled Chocolate Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 180 grams butter, softened
  • 180 grams brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • 30 grams cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 150 grams dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 12 peanut butter Lindt balls

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter a 12-cup friand tin (or two 6-cup tins, or a 12-cup large muffin tin) very well – you don’t want these little cakes to stick when you go to turn them out at the end.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until creamy. This should take about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, and scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. I use a whisk for this because a sifter usually ends in a lot of mess!
  5. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. Remove the bowl from the stand and mix in the cooled melted chocolate with a wooden spoon.
  7. Fill friand cups half-way with the batter. Place a Lindt ball in each and divide remaining mixture between the cups to cover the Lindt balls.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The tops should bounce back when touched lightly.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool for five minutes in the tins, then gently remove.

These cakes are best enjoyed warm, but they were certainly gobbled down just as quickly at room temperature. Mum and Dad have highly recommended microwaving them for 15 seconds and enjoying them with some whipping cream! You can see that moderation doesn’t really run in my genetics!

Tell me, dear reader, what are you reading at the moment?

I am currently enjoying reading some books for my Master’s thesis. On my list currently: White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber (author of fabulous blog Eat Live Run); Poor Man’s Feast by Elissa Altman (author of the blog of the same name); and Not Quite Nigella by Lorraine Elliott (author of the blog of the same name).

Let’s Talk Family, and Muffins, Definitely Muffins

It’s Tuesday. Let’s talk about muffins. But first let’s talk about family. Let’s talk about my family.

Muffins, but first - family.

Muffins, but first – family.

My family: we are a circus without a ringmaster; we are loud – intimidatingly loud; we are emotive – every emotion, all the time, from ecstatic to furious and back again in barely a sentence; we are so, so different to one another, and a homogeneous lump of genetics at the same time; we are, well, we are a family.

My Dad at the time I sat down to write this post was standing next to me with two baseball caps on top of his head giving me his impression of a ‘gangsta’, before he made himself a slice of apple pie for dessert, and drafted another angry letter – see: a funny, homespun, and cranky old man all tied up in one package.

My Mum is currently ensconced on the couch with the cat on one side of her lap and Molly the malamute’s head on the other side. No doubt she is working on one of her detailed quilts all the while  watching crime shows and solving the case before a CSI cast member can say ‘mass spectrometer’.

My sister and her husband no longer live here but when I last saw my superwoman of a sister we gave each other lectures on our various personality faults (mostly calmly) and then discussed our next baking challenges – we’re just like that, and sometimes people get freaked out that we can go from yelling and crying to best of friends, but people, that’s the way these sisters roll, m’kay?

When a newcomer is introduced into the fold of our family they had better brace themselves. Sometimes it is funny to watch people’s reaction to the way that four people can uphold eight different conversations at once all while paying attention to what’s on television and which of the animals requires feeding or letting in/out. Most of the time though I feel sorry for the initiate. My brother-in-law is a sensible and quiet young man and I think it was truly a test of his mettle that he lived with us all for three years and didn’t run screaming into the night. In fact, he bound himself to our circus wagon forever when he married my sister. We’re like that – get attached to one family member and you get the whole clan.

Over the years I have brought various friends home who have then become like family – Casey, Caroline, Josie, Shane – all of them have been through the trial by fire that is dinner with my family, and survived (I hope) mostly unscathed and mentally un-scarred.

Chris, bless his mismatched cotton socks, fits into this mess perfectly. He pays attention to Dad’s work stories and hands out IT advice free of charge, compliments Mum’s cooking or bonds with her over her action movie collection, and he even likes my dog and is super cute when handling our fairy-sized cat.

Mum, Dad, my Aunty Lone (in the middle), little me (brunette) - and little Jess - see that smirk, still has it.

Mum, Dad, my Aunty Lone (in the middle), little me (brunette) – and little Jess – see that smirk, still has it.

So yeah, that’s my family. We may have to apologise when we leave shops because the sales attendants are either visibly shaking with trauma or laughter;  we never know which it is. We may have to pack an entire boot of food, chairs, books, gardening equipment, an industrial-size first aid kit, and a laptop computer whenever we go anywhere – just in case. We may snack endlessly on whatever lies around the house and hide our sweets from each other (like the time Mum started hiding her Chico babies in her unmentionables drawer because my Dad is a sweet-tooth beyond compare). We may sing Christmas carols in Woolworths in the middle of April, and share forkfuls of food, ask for the special dietary menu, and order milkshakes with low-fat milk and whipped cream, and cry in public, and laugh louder than is acceptable, but that’s okay with me, because they are my family. And I love them.

We also bring things when we visit. There is always too much baked goodness happening in our house for one family to digest in a reasonable amount of time, so we bring things.

Today, I am bringing you, my Thoroughly Nourished Life family, my recipe for Tropical Carrot Muffins (p.s. the whole family can enjoy them because they are gluten-free).

Muffins to share

Muffins to share

Tropical Carrot Muffins (gluten free)

This recipe makes about 14 standard-size muffins. If you don’t require these to be gluten free, simply replace the buckwheat and brown rice flours with 160 grams of wholemeal plain flour or white plain flour. Keep the almond meal as it adds a great texture and healthy fats.

For the pineapple: drain first and then measure. Keep the juices to drink with breakfast – delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free if required)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1/3 cup sultanas

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (390F) and line 14 cups in two 12-cup muffin trays.
  2. Into a medium bowl weigh the almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and brown sugar. Whisk in the salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and shredded coconut. Make sure everything is well mixed and no lumps of brown sugar remain.
  3. In a measuring jug measure the milk and add the eggs and vanilla essence. Whisk together well.
  4. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients along with the crushed pineapple. Mix well.
  5. Add grated carrot and sultanas and mix to distribute.
  6. Spoon mixture equally among the muffin cups and slide trays into the oven.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Share with your family, or those friends who are like family.
Take a big bite

Take a big bite

My dear readers, what makes your family unique? What is a stand-out trait that everyone shares? Any favourite family recipes?

Ready to Climb. Ready to Fall. Four Days to the Cadbury Half Marathon.

Four days until the Cadbury Half Marathon and I must admit that over the past few days I have been a little apprehensive/nervous/freaked out. Now, this is not unusual for me in the countdown to a major event, and I have learned to recognise this as part of the process of training for a race or preparing for other big moments. Still, I can’t help feeling a little panicked and when Casey asked me how I was feeling about Sunday I couldn’t hide the emotion from my voice. Once again, she was the voice of reason and told me to stop thinking about this as a massive race, and just think about it as another run, just another wonderful holiday opportunity, and to remember why I run in the first place.

Of course, she is absolutely right. Thank you Case.

Casey may taste-tested these while giving me a pep talk.

Casey may have taste-tested these while giving me a pep talk.

I took a moment and looked back at my training schedule. In the past couple of weeks I’ve successfully completed 16km, 18km (by two!), and 20km training runs, so I know I can physically do this. The mental game is the only one left to play.

At the end of the day I know I am not a contender to win the race, but that was never why I started running in the first place. I run because I love the way it makes me feel. I run because doing these races over and over that I am a runner, that I belong out there on the road. I run to remind myself that I love my body and I am so grateful for the things it can do, and the way that it has changed over the past couple of years, and the fact that it belongs to me so much more now because I know its limits and I’m not afraid to push them.

In this moment I am reminded of a line from Ben Lee’s brilliant song ‘Into the Dark‘:

‘You can’t climb ’til you’re ready to fall’.

So as I step out onto the road on Sunday I am ready to fall.

Fall into the rhythm of the road. Fall into the pursuit of the finish line. Fall into the beauty of my life at the moment. Fall into the wonderful possibilities that this new year has brought to my door.

I am ready to fall so that I may climb.

Not burnt: caramelised.

Not burnt: caramelised.

Spiced White Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup low fat plain natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (390F) and line 18 cups of two 12-cup capacity muffin tins with pretty papers.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Form a well in the centre.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the yoghurt, milk, vanilla, egg, and oil until they are well blended.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until almost combined. Do not over mix your muffins or you will end up with a tough crumb.
  5. Sprinkle chocolate chips into batter and mix in until distributed. If there are a few streaks of flour in the batter this is okay as long as there are no large pockets of flour. This is quite a thick batter.
  6. Distribute batter between muffin cups and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tins and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Just gotta trust these babies and the work they've done over the past months.

Just gotta trust these babies and the work they’ve done over the past months.

Share with loved ones who give you the courage to fall so that you can climb again.

Tell me, dear reader, do you ever have to remind yourself to let go and just fall? Where do you find the courage to let go? Is there anything you are falling into at the moment?