Monday, May 22, 2006

Cocoa Strawberry (uh, banana?) Muffins

Finally, fresh organic strawberries have landed in our stores! Well, they have popped up a few times in the last month, but ridiculously priced at times ($4-$6 for a clamshell container which is not quite a pint).

When I did score a few cheaper pints, I was fancying some muffins. I made these Cocoa Strawberry Muffins for Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.

Now, some of you may be thinking chocolate=cupcakes, not muffins. Nope! Well, not if you are using wholesome ingredients. With these I used spelt flour and no refined sugar, and cocoa powder - not chocolate.

Also, as many of you know, cocoa powder is antioxidant rich. Plus, because it doesn't have the sugar and fat included in chocolate, it is a healthier option for our diets (not that we can't have a lil' chocolate)!

After making these a second time, I didn't have fresh organic strawberries (and didn't want to use frozen), so I used some chopped banana. I think I preferred the banana version, though I know my older daughter loved the strawberry batch (but then, strawberries are in her top 5 foods, and she would literally eat them off the floor)! My point is, I may give both options for the cookbook, since I simply cannot choose between the two!!

28 comments:

Sweet Pea said...

The muffins sound good.

I just made the power bars on pg 41 of Vive. Delish! They weren't very sticky. I used agave nectar b/c it was the only honey alternative that I had on-hand. Could that be the problem?

How long do you refrigerate them for and do you store them in the fridge?

Carrie™ said...

Chocolate again. And made healthy! Ah Dreena.....you're amazing. I'm starting to see signs of 'reasonably priced' strawberries as well. That means local, fresh ones should be on the horizon. YES! I adore strawberries and totally OD on them when they're in season. And strawberries with chocolate? WELL - they were made for each other. Are there any other strawberry recipes coming?

HAPPY VICTORIA DAY!

raising_kahne said...

wow. Those look amazing! I wish you would hurry up already with your cookbook! lol

Do you have a suggestion of what is the healthiest and best kind of cocoa powder to use? Im not very knowledgeable in that area, and would hate to get something that isnt what I think it is! Is there a certain brand to look for, or just a certain type??

Harmonia said...

Thanks for the feedback on my blog! I replied with a little more.

These look amazing but you know me and bananas! Ek! I wonder what Apple Sauce would be like to sub.

Michelle said...

definately give both options! they sound yummy, and healthy too! a great alternative to cupcakes :)

Tara said...

I'm not a fan of cupcakes, but I love muffins, and those look delicious. I think I'd prefer the banana version, too, since I'm picky about where I like strawberries (either raw and plain, or in a smoothie). So both options in the cookbook would be lovely. ;)

Tara said...

By the way, Dreena, I made the chocolate chip cookies from Vive for a cookout, a batch with spelt flour and a batch with regular flour. They were devoured. :) I don't think anyone had any idea they were vegan, since most didn't know I'd made them. ;) :D

Julie said...

Looks like another winner! I loooove strawberries...I would also eat them off the floor if need be! ;)

EatPeacePlease said...

Banana + strawberry + cocoa = all in the muffin. Yum to that!

Danielle said...

Strawberries and chocolate? Oooh, yummy, yummy, yummy! Actually, I'm thinking raspberries would totally rock the muffins, too. BTW, I tried the Chocolate-Almond Explosion cookies from Vive, and they're fantastic!

Dreena said...

Thanks, sweet pea... those nutty bars are acting nutty, I think! I have heard from a couple of others that have troubles getting the bars to stick, and then other people that haven't had any trouble. First, yes, I think you need to use either brown rice syrup or barley malt, since they are VERY sticky and thick. Also, I answered a similar question in my comments on the seed bars, that the type of nuts/seeds used and if they are crushed/chopped, may also affect the final consistency because the volume changes. Basically, I think I need to add a few notes to the recipe for the next reprint, so thanks for your feedback. Next time use brown rice syrup or barley malt - and the full 1/3 cup (even a little generous) and make your nut butter tbsps a little generous too - that should do the trick! I do keep them in the fridge, usually in some plastic wrap in an airtight container - and they can be frozen this way too. I'd say they keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks, maybe longer, and in the freezer, well for a couple of months for sure.

Ah, well, you're sweet, thanks Carrie! (and they had NO cashews or pine nuts - ha!!). I think when strawberry season fully hits and I have too many on hand to eat by the handful, I will start brainstorming some recipes - I've thought about a couple, but I'm always thinking of recipes and half of them I never get to!! :)

Hi Savannah, thanks! For cocoa powder, generally if a recipe states "cocoa powder" then use a standard cocoa powder that you find in your grocery store. If it calls for "dutch-processed cocoa powder", then you should *try* to find and use this, just because the two differ in how they react in baking. In some cases, it might not matter much, but if it specifically calls for dutch-processed and not regular, there's a reason. Also, if you are concerned about fair trade practices, then you can buy fair trade cocoa powder, which is a little more expensive.

Hi Harmonia... I know, NO bananas for you!! I already use apple sauce in the recipe as a partial fat replacer, so I wouldn't sub more, but you could certainly use other fruit like chopped pear or blueberries - or, some chopped nuts - yum, that's getting me thinking some!!

Thanks Michelle!... they are quite healthy really, and not very sweet as you might expect.

Hi Tara - well, you may be just one of a few that don't care much for cupcakes (esp on some of the blogs, there are cupcakes everywhere)!! I agree with you that fresh strawberries taste better than when cooked - just more vibrant in their taste I think. Oh, that's music to my ears, to hear when non-vegans love vegan food... thanks for relaying that story, I'm so glad you liked the cookies!! Btw - holy cooking going on at your blog - goodness you've been busy!!!

Julie, the two of you would be scrapping it out down there for the last berry!! :) Your new profile pic is a hoot - you look like you're having fun with your summer vacation!

Thanks Leslie... hmmm, I didn't combine the strawberry and banana in one batch - great, now you have me thinking again and I have more indecision!! jk! :)

Yes, Danielle, fresh raspberries would be a perfect pairing - great suggestion! I have to make those double chocolate cookies again soon - have been missing them... at least you're enjoying them - yay!! :) Thanks for the feedback!

raising_kahne said...

I finally got Vive today!! It came in the mail today, and so far, I adore it! I cant wait to start trying some delicious meals! Also...I know Ive asked you like a trillion(at least) questions, but I have yet another one! I had asked Jennifer(vegan lunchbox) this question, but due to the fact that she's sick today, I dont think she'll be able to. But Ive been having cravings for cornmeal pancakes, and we only have one kind of cornmeal. I read the ingredients, and even tried to research all them, but only got a couple answers on them : ( This is the ingredients list:

Enriched Yellow corn meal(contains yellow corn meal, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), enriched bleached white flour(contains bleached white flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), salt, sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate.

It looked vegan to me, but then again, Im not always right! Thanks in advance!

EatPeacePlease said...

Raising, Bleach is not vegan. Nor healthy or necessary. Looks like preservatives not necessarily nutrients, plus when items are enriched, many times the "good" stuff is stripped out. Does this help? Maybe you can find cornmeal that is just cornmeal.

Melissa West said...

Mmmmm, the banana version sounds good to me...especially since strawberries are seasonal.

Dreena, I made your brownies from Vive last week. I successfully substituted carob for the cocoa - both in the chips and the powder. I cut back on sugar because the carob is sweeter. They turned out so amazing. Didn't even miss the chocolate. I am sure we could to the same for these yummy muffins!

raising_kahne said...

Yes that helped very much Leslie! Thanks! haha Yes maybe I could search the store and hopefully find cornmeal that, well, is actually cornmeal!

Dreena said...

Hey Savanna, well Leslie has answered your main question there. Most of what is on that ingredient list is vitamins/minerals that the manufacturer is adding back to the flour because they have bleached/refined it and stripped out its natural nutrients. When you see "enriched" that means that the flour has been refined and then they are adding back nutrients, when it is better to eat less refined flours (though it doesn't necessarily mean that the ingredients aren't vegan). The cormeal I buy is just cormeal. For things like pancakes or muffins, I use a fine granule cornmeal - not a corn grit. Look in the natural foods section for this. It may be labelled "organic cornmeal". Then, you are just getting cornmeal. Also, here is a link for you for a list of animal ingredients that you may find in list of food labels. http://www.caringconsumer.com/resources_ingredients_list.asp There are other links on the net, but I'm fairly certain that the lists are the same, just reprinted in different ways. I hope this helps you, and good luck with your cooking... any ideas what you plan to make first?

Thanks Leslie for popping in to help with that question! :)

Hi dragonslayer... awesome to hear that about the brownies!! You know, I have been curious about testing them with carob for a while, but just haven't gotten around to it - plus, in a way, whenever I make them, I really want to do them with chocolate - but I love that you tested them with carob and they were very good!! Thanks for sharing that! :)

Vicki said...

we're big muffin fans here and those flavor combinations sound amazing. i've discovered recently that i really like the taste of spelt flour -- can't wait to try this recipe out in my kitchen! i made your creamy hummus this weekend and it was so yummy. :o)

Sweet Pea said...

Thanks for answering my question regarding the seed bars.

By the way, I made the hummus-quinoa casserole using millet instead of quinoa (I get HUGE stomach pains and nausea when I eat quinoa) and it turned out great.

Dreena said...

Thanks, Vicki... I love spelt flour too - I prefer it more now not just for a wheat alternative, but also because I think the texture of baked goods is often improved using it. Glad you liked the hummus! It's a favorite for us, because most store-bought hummus is too strong for the kids (and us)!

No problem, sweet pea, and I hope they work out for you next time. That's too bad about the quinoa - and I wouldn't have expected to hear that, since it is touted as being so easily digested. I find that to be the case myself, and I would rather have it most times instead of rice, millet, etc... oh well, at least these other grains are less expensive for you! :)

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Ooo I love the note on cocoa powder being antioxidant rich!

Sweet Pea said...

Funny thing is that quinoa was a staple in my diet a few years. I would have it a few times for breakfast mixed with berries and maple syrup. The quinoa was always sprouted (never cooked). I've tried the casserole with quinoa twice and each time I've felt ill. I think it's the cooked quinoa. Strange how our bodies react to foods.

By the way, any plans to incorporate nutritional information in the new cookbook. If I'm not mistaken it was done in the first one but not in Vive.

Danielle said...

sweet pea, do you rinse your quinoa before cooking?

Sweet Pea said...

Hi Danielle, Yes I do rinse. Since we're on the topic of rinsing. What exactly does the rinsing do? Does it just get rid of dust and such?
By the way, I check your blog out often. Great work!

Dreena said...

Hi sweet pea, wow, that is peculiar. I've never had sprouted quinoa, though I heard recently that *some* people that have gluten allergies/sensitivities can tolerate the sprouted grains - some chemical or enzyme change and they can then digest them. Perhaps some similar is happening for you with quinoa. As for the rinsing that Danielle suggested, it is to help remove some of the bitter coating that covers the quinoa grain. What's interesting with that is that I have bought quinoa from a different store in the past, and it looked very dark and yellowish. It was certainly more bitter, even after the regular rinsing. The quinoa I normally buy is creamy in color, and I rinse it for a minute or two, and it is never bitter (to us). So, I don't know if it was a different color quinoa, or from another growing region, but I now always buy the creamy color quinoa because it tastes far more mellow and pleasant. Anyhow... went on there a little long (as usual)!! :)

Sweet Pea said...

Hi, I had sprouted quinoa for the first time at a yoga retreat where only raw food was served. Once home I would soak the quinoa overnight as directed by the retreat's chef and voila -- breakfast! While I do enjoy quinoa, the millet in the casserole was a wonderful substitute.
Looking forward to trying other Vive recipes. I guess Vive will never be retired.

Mother of one said...

Hi there,

I have also recently experienced nausea after eating quinoa and was just googling to see if anyone knew why that might be. I used to eat it without consequence but after having my daughter 8months ago, it makes me feel sooo ill!! I am wondering if anyone might know why?? It is comforting to know that someone else has experience the same thing.

Wendy said...

Quinoa is having a very painful effect on my husband right now, and he is doubled up in bed, getting up every now and then to go to the bathroom (violently). This is the 3rd time he has eaten quinoa, and by far the worst reaction. The first time we thought it was just a coincidence. The second time, we swore never again, after diarhhea. But he ate it by accident for lunch and I'm very worried about him now. Anybody else? Ideas to help his pain? Is he in danger?

rgstrar said...

I had also eaten quinoa often in the past year but the last 2 times I cooked it I experienced nausea, vomiting and diahrea (sp?). My husband did not have any ill effects. Maybe I did not rinse enough - but do not know if I am willing to try again - the nausea occurred both times about 3 hours after eating - first time I had prepared with applejuice and yesterday it was with 2% milk - both times we had for breakfast. Since I am trying to go gluten free I thought quinoa would be a perfect choice.