A week ago, I read like five different dairy-free chia seed pudding recipes and then I made up my own and took it to a potluck, because I'm crazy and always feel the need to experiment when I have to take something someplace instead of using a tried and true favorite. It turned out pretty good, my friends liked it and appreciated that it was dairy free. Unfortunately, my kids didn't like it and I had a huge amount left over and had to eat it for every meal for the rest of the week. Okay, that is exaggerating a bit, my husband liked it and ate a little, but he thought it should have been sweeter, which I thought was weird coming from him who waters down juice.
I didn't take any pictures of that concoction, so this post can't be about that, but basically, I used a can of coconut milk, a lot of almond milk and like a half a cup of chia seeds and a whole can of crushed pineapple, but since I didn't measure my pudding wasn't pudding, it was too much like milk, so I added some more chia seeds and a bunch of leftover white rice I had in the fridge, Oh, and of course about a cup of shredded sweetened coconut. It was almost like Tropical Arroz con Leche, except dairy free. It was tasty, but not for every meal.
Anyway, last night, I made muffins without following a recipe! I guess I have been following one recipe enough to have the basic gist of it memorized, maybe that's not the same as not using one, but to back up a little further; like a year ago a friend of mine held a cooking demonstration about how to make gluten-free bread using buckwheat groats. I had never heard of buckwheat groats before then, but they are not wheat at all, they are a seed and good for you and stuff, (feel free to do your own research about that). So, she gave us three pages of bread recipes that all start with:
2 Cups ground Buckwheat groats (she uses her Vitamix, I use a cheap coffee-grinder)
2 Tablespoons ground Flax Seeds (grind these with the buckwheat groats)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt
and most of her recipes use 2 Cups of water, because buckwheat flour behaves a lot like whole wheat flour, so it needs more moisture than all-purpose flour. This also makes it easy to find recipes to use it in, just look for whole wheat recipes and use buckwheat flour instead! Of course most of those recipes also want some all-purpose flour, too, so I usually grind some old-fashioned oats in the coffee grinder to replace that.
I usually buy the groats in bulk at the expensive healthy food store, (not the health food store, it's a grocery store, but I'm not giving them publicity here).
It just makes for fresher and therefore more full of nutrients flour if you grind it yourself, but if that is a deal breaker for you using buckwheat flour, then go ahead and try it already ground. I have another friend that grinding it herself is the straw that breaks her camel's back, so she buys it as flour.
No judgments here!
My other friend (that gave me the recipes), uses Rapidura in place of sugar, but I haven't found that, yet, and sometimes I use Coconut Sugar instead.
This way of baking gluten-free is much better for you than using recipes (or buying prepackaged junk) that have a lot of starches, like tapioca starch, potato starch, and xantham gum to get them to behave and look like the foods you miss that are made of fluffy white flour. If you want to indulge in them once in a blue moon that's fine, but eating them regularly would just raise your blood sugar. If I search for a gluten-free recipe and it has any of those ingredients, I don't make it. Occasionally, occasionally, I will buy the flour that has those things in it, it's called like gluten-free all purpose flour or something and use that when I want easy substitutions, but not all the time!
Anyway, off my soap box!
Back to last night's cooking adventure... after mixing the above ingredients, I also added a can of pumpkin, because that's what started it all, a kid got the can of pumpkin out of the cabinet and asked, "What's this for?" I told him it was for making muffins.
I also added about half of a brick of cream cheese that had been softening on the table, because we were mixing it with a seaweed salad we had been eating at lunch time. (The seaweed salad was a Costco impulse buy - after tasting a sample, but it was a bit hard on my tongue, so the cream cheese softened the bite.)
Picky Eater #1 refuses to eat pumpkin muffins, so I added two heaping teaspoons of cocoa powder, ha! Fooled him. He couldn't see the orange color of the pumpkin, so he ate them!
I don't usually call my third kid a picky eater, but he's the only one that doesn't like chocolate chips in muffins! The other kids sometimes won't eat pumpkin muffins without chocolate chips, so I usually make kid#3 his own muffin in a four or five inch diameter glass bowl, then add chocolate chips to the rest. And then if I'm really ambitious, I'll reserve some of that batter and add nuts to my own bowl of muffin!
I accidentally forgot to add about a half cup of the buckwheat flour that I left in the coffee grinder and I had already poured the batter into the greased pan. I tried to pour it on and stir it in a little without disturbing the non-stick spray underneath, but that wasn't working very well, so I stopped trying after pouring about half of it in, then I tried to hide my mistake by pouring some chocolate chips on top (I hadn't mixed chocolate chips into the batter), so I left one area without chocolate chips for kid#3.
I also added a couple of tablespoons of Molasses, because that's my new obsession, to put molasses in anything with chocolate chips, it makes chocolate chip cookies extra special!
This post wasn't supposed to be about last night's muffins. I didn't even get a picture of them, because they all got eaten last night! I only got a few nibbles. I thought they turned out kind of wet, probably because I left out some flour, but my husband said they were delicious and they all got eaten, so they must have been.
By the way, I put "muffins" in quotation marks because I don't usually want to bother with making real muffins. I just pour the batter in a cake pan and call it "muffins." I hate scrubbing muffin pans, and worrying about if I have enough paper liners or not. And what is with people who use paper liners and aluminum foil liners on each cupcake? Seems like overkill, but I trust that they are real bakers that know what they are doing.
So, today's "muffins" were inspired by a recipe from Whole Foods for the Whole Family, which is a recipe book made by La Leche League.
I did use 2 C buckwheat flour and the baking soda and powder as described, but I used a full teaspoon of salt.
Even though the recipe doesn't call for eggs, I still added the 2 tablespoons of flax seeds to the coffee-grinder with my buckwheat groats.
Instead of the soy flour, wheat germ and dry milk powder, which together add up to one cup of dry ingredients: I used two packages of instant oatmeal, one each of the Cinnamon Spice and Maple & Brown Sugar flavors (because I had them). I poured them both into a 1 C measuring cup and saw I had a little room left over, so I filled it the rest of the way with old fashioned Oats and blended it in the coffee grinder.
I didn't have any milk, so I used Sour Cream and water instead. I sort of measured a cup and a half.
I did put in the honey and added some molasses to it, eyeballed about 2 tablespoons.
I also added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 Cup of chocolate chips, too!
Upon mixing, it looked a little thick, so I added probably about an extra cup of water.
I've been using a slightly lager cake pan than the usual 9x13. Maybe it's 11x14?
That way they aren't so thick and it takes about 25 minutes to cook in my convection oven at 350F.
I'm not the best at food pictures, but here is the finished product!
They were delicious and filling, with a good texture, not too dense, nor too crumbly.
Documented, so they can be duplicated(!!!), if I happen to have all the same ingredients on hand ever again.