Banana Lavender Muffins

 

I think when it comes to anything lavender, you either love it or hate it. I am obsessed with it. Lavender everything please. The colour. The smell. It runs in my diffuser constantly. So one time at an event, I ate something with lavender in it. And I was hooked on now baking with it.

Since we’ve had the usual long, cold grey winter here in Canada, now that the temps are starting to rise, and the sun is starting to shine again, I feel like I should bring out all of my summer things! And heck, why not get eating it again.

Lavender is one of those things where a little goes a long way. You don’t want to pile a whole big mountain in your food to have it end up tasting like a bar of French milled soap. Having a subtle hint of this flower adds a lovely, floral, bougie, maybe even slightly peppery flavouring. Especially to sweets – which sounds weird but it actually works.

I found lavender flowers in the tea section of my favourite local organic supermarket. You can also obviously use fresh from your garden if you have. And yes, this makes a lovely lavender tea as well, perfect for pre-sleeping:

Lavender flower tea

Back to these muffins, a friend of mine who is notoriously cranky about food, came over after I had made a batch of these. 3 were gobbled up in one sitting which to me confirms that they are deeeeeeelish.

Also, if you have bananas on hand but they aren’t soggy ripe like they should be for baking, try Jill’s hack here by ripening them in the oven. Works like a charm!

Print Recipe
Banana Lavender Muffins
Course Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine Summer
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings
Extra Large Muffins
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine Summer
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings
Extra Large Muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line or grease a muffin tin. Either a large 6-spot muffin tin, or a smaller 12-spot muffin tin.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly mix together half of a tablespoon of lavender buds and a teaspoon of sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a food processor or large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
    Banana lavender muffins - mix the dry
  5. In a separate bowl mash the over ripe bananas.
  6. Combine all of the other wet ingredients.
  7. Pulse or fold in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
    Lavender banana muffins - stir well
  8. Divide equally amongst cups. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. When the muffins come out of the oven, sprinkle with the lavender/sugar mixture. Set on a wire rack to cool
    Lavender banana muffins cooling
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Enjoy these and the taste of warmer weather!

Flourless Black Bean Fudgy Brownies

Ok, chocolate much?

I know…that’s all I have been posting about lately. Last one. Promise. (For now). But seriously, who doesn’t love a rich chocolate treat? The thing I love about these flourless black bean brownies is a) they’re flourless, b) they’re full of fiber, c) they’re pretty close to a non-guilty treat when you are having an intense chocolate craving that only gooey, rich, chocolaty things can satisfy.

I know. They’re perfect.

Don’t let the “black bean” title send you into envisioning a boring bean salad at the company picnic. The beans really do make a good brownie that doesn’t taste like…well…beans. They add lots of lovely fiber (which to me, makes them goooood for you, ahem), and they are gluten free (see this note here though...), which appeals to many for various reasons.

I feel like I should warn you though…don’t eat them all in one sitting. By yourself. Trust me on this.

Print Recipe
Flourless Black Bean Fudgy Brownies
An oooey-gooey fudgy flourless brownie, that won't leave you feeling guilty.
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 28 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Brownies
Ingredients
Icing
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 28 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Brownies
Ingredients
Icing
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a food processor, add in all of the ingredients up until the baking soda. Process well, until everything is smooth and blended together, stopping to scrape down the sides if need be.
  3. Once all mixed and smooth, add the baking soda, vinegar and sea salt.
  4. Pulse a few times to incorporate them into the mixture without over mixing it.
  5. Pour mixture into the pan, and bake for 20 minutes.
    Black Bean Brownie Mixture
  6. Since oven times vary, check on the mixture at 20 minutes - give it a shake - and if it's still a bit jiggly, pop it back in the oven. Check on it in intervals - I used 4 minutes, and it was perfect at 28 minutes.
    Black Bean Brownies Cooling
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before icing.
Icing
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and pour in the cream.
  2. Once heated, but not boiling, whisk in the sugar and cacao powder. Whisk until thickened and well blended.
  3. Remove from heat. Let cool.
  4. Once both the brownies and the icing are cool, ice the brownies and enjoy!
    Icing for Black Bean Brownies
Recipe Notes

Note: I use both almond milk and cream in this recipe. I always have cream on hand for the richer things that I make, but you can substitute for almond milk (or something similar), but you may have to add in a tiny bit of corn starch the thicken.

If you have celiac disease or an extreme gluten sensitivity, please read this note about beans.

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Happy chocolate craving!

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

Treat Yo’self – Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Protein Shake 31 Ways to Sunday

I’m on a chocolate kick this month. In February, it seems appropriate somehow. Valentines Day and doubling down on the last of the hibernation-induced calorie hoarding. And even if you’ve still spent the winter in the gym, sometimes you just have to treat yo’self, yo. My go-to is my Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake – post gym. But feel free to indulge post-whatever you’ve done today.

It’s not as terrible for you as it sounds.

In fact there is some good stuff in here.

Like whole flax seeds (ground by you…only buy them whole), for a boost of Omega-3; plain greek yogurt as a protein and probiotic source; cacao for antioxidants and serotonin support; banana for sweetness; and organic natural peanut butter for a fat boost and extra fiber (yep, PB is a fiber source). Go natural with the PB though, skip the Skippy. And a hit of chocolate protein powder for extra chocolate and protein.

 

 

Print Recipe
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Servings
Serving
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Servings
Serving
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients into a large or single-serve blender + grind until blended.
  2. Because of the cacao powder, you may have to scrape the sides once or twice for even blending.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts - Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

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Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Mini-Cheesecakes

Although today is Valentine’s Day, I certainly don’t need an excuse to eat chocolate. There is nothing like triple chocolate gluten-free cheesecake to satisfy an insatiable craving. I love the idea of mini’s because you can throw these puppies in the freezer and take them out for individual cravings or if company just randomly shows up. The stress isn’t there to eat a “whole” cheesecake, before it “goes bad”.

I use quotes here, because I have heard of this happening. Chocolate Cheesecake

Heard.

Swear it’s true.

Tonight I am making dinner for my teenaged daughter and her boyfriend. Lasagna. Garlic Bread. Cesar salad. No one will be making out tonight. NO ONE!

There is a hint of natural orange flavours in this recipe. If you want to amp up this flavouring, add in some of the orange rind to the crust for an extra burst. I also use cacao powder here – simply because I had it on hand…feel free to use cocoa powder if you don’t have cacao.

Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Mini-Cheesecakes
Course Chocolate
Prep Time 45 Minutes
Cook Time 24 Minutes
Passive Time 3.5 Hours
Servings
Mini-Cheesecakes
Ingredients
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
Cheesecake Filling
Chocolate Ganache
Course Chocolate
Prep Time 45 Minutes
Cook Time 24 Minutes
Passive Time 3.5 Hours
Servings
Mini-Cheesecakes
Ingredients
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
Cheesecake Filling
Chocolate Ganache
Instructions
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. Line a 12-spot muffin tin with muffin liners.
  3. In a food processor, add the dry ingredients.
  4. Pulse in the butter until mixture is moist and grainy.
    Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
  5. Scoop the mixture evenly into the muffin liners and compress with the back of a spoon.
    Mini-chocolate cheesecake crust
  6. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove when done.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. Add the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and cacao powder to your food processor. Process thoroughly until everything is mixed together (you may have to scrape the sides down with a spatula a few times and continue mixing).
  2. Squeeze in the juice from the orange and Grand Marnier.
  3. Pulse a few times until just mixed.
  4. Scoop the filling evenly into the toasted cups.
  5. Bake for 14 minutes - or until the cream cheese portion is set. (Jiggly-firm, not runny).
  6. Turn the oven off, open the door and let cool in the oven for about an hour.
  7. Once it's time to remove from the oven, it's a good time to remove the muffin liners. You can put the cheesecakes in the fridge now for another hour or so. In the meantime, prep the ganache.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Chop up chocolate into small-ish pieces.
    Chopping Chocolate
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, bring cream just to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Add the chocolate and turn off the heat.
  4. Whisk the chocolate in so it melts and becomes smooth and shiny.
  5. Once smooth, add Grand Marnier and salt, and whisk a few times to combine.
  6. Let sit for 10 minutes and spoon on cheesecakes.
  7. Let cheesecakes sit overnight (or for at least 2 hours) in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

**If you would like more orange flavour, consider adding grated fresh orange peel to the crust.

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Have a happy and loving Valentine’s Day!

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday