chocolate chip banana muffins & baking for pleasure

Good day on a fine Tuesday to you, dear friends! I am actually posting when I said that I would, crazily enough. My plan wasn't muffins, but I made these this past weekend and they are too sunny and fabulous to not share. A baking joy, you could say. 

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In this particular baking endeavor, I really wanted some banana-bread-esque muffins, meaning dry was not an option and gooey-ness was absolutely necessary. And, as banana-bread lovers know, bananas like the ones below are the ONLY kind to use for banana-bread things. And I had five, so... BANANA MUFFINS! Plus chocolate chips. 

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I also had millet flour to use. Millet flour and I have a thing. Not all the time, but sometimes (this is one of the times). 

I don't know what it is, but it has such a smooth, I-can-make-anything-gooey-and-awesome kind of quality. So these have millet flour. 

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Sure, millet is a whole grain. But I want to talk about that for a minute. 

I used to make things with the sole purpose of making them as nutritionally dense as possible. This meant pouring over how to make substitutions, increasing whole grains/fiber/micronutrients, making things moist with less fat, or making things sweet with less sweetener. Or so nutritionally "perfect" (and low enough in calories, according to what I had set in my mind) that I felt I could eat it without guilt. 

By the end of it, I had wasted, at times, hours of mental energy into a recipe before even making the dang thing. If I wasn't confident in the nutritional quality being worthy of consumption, I would try and pawn it off to family and friends. Or I would eat it and tell myself that it was satisfying (because shouldn't I be satisfied because it was so "good" for me?). 

Frankly, there were times I wouldn't eat it because it tasted like shit (excuse me). I had a very bad experience with some chickpea cookies. 

 

I am trying to be non-specific, but also specific enough, to be open about how much of a problem this was for me. This absolutely was disordered eating behavior. I wouldn't make anything without knowing the exact nutrition breakdown. Even writing that out right now makes my stomach turn. It is a nasty place to be, and my heart goes out to anyone who feels stuck in this behavior, or is struggling with similar things. 

I swear this relates to muffins. Stay with me. 

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These are made with what I had on hand. Would some ingredients be considered "nutritionally dense?" Sure. Would others be considered "energy dense" and highly palatable? Yeah. And throwing them together resulted in these muffins, and I enjoyed one still warm from the oven. It was a truly enjoyable moment on a slow Sunday afternoon. 

 

Me bringing all of this disordered food relationship stuff up is not to say that I never cook with "nutrient-dense" ingredients, or that I don't at times prefer nutrient-dense foods. Or that if you like to cook with nutrient-dense ingredients, that that is bad. Not at all. What I am saying is that making something knowing the nutrition information, using quote "the most nutritionally dense version" of the recipe, and that being all you care about, isn't necessarily the point of making food, nor is it actually nourishing. The point is choosing what to eat because you are trying to listen to your internal cues, not what you believe you have to "get right." Am I always mindful of this all the time? Heck freaking no. But I am far removed from where I once was, and am incredibly grateful to be in a much sunnier place (the yellow in these muffins really spoke to me). 

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These chocolate chip banana muffins represent the happiness that is baking simply for the pleasure of the process, and enjoying the result without guilt. This is a far more satisfying and nourishing experience than obsessing over knowing how many calories or fat or protein or fiber or whatever is in a muffin. I chose to make these because I am a banana bread freak and love chocolate and love muffins and love baking. No other information required. It was a fun way to spend a few hours, and I'm incredibly grateful that I had the time and ability to make these. It is such a blessing. 

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I wholeheartedly hope that you are able find some time to make or eat something that you enjoy, simply for the sake of it this week (or upcoming weekend).

 

Try to choose something that you don't know the nutrition info of, if possible. See what it is like to eat something you enjoy without knowing the numbers. 

 

Be intentional about making/choosing whatever sounds good to you, no matter what it consists of or whatever else you've eaten that day. Watch what thoughts come up, and see if you are choosing something because you want to or because you feel like you have to.

 

These muffins are one option. If you hate banana muffins (I hope not) choose something else :). These are just one lovely and easy suggestion, and I can attest to their deliciousness. 

 

I'll be back Friday (probably but maybe), with another food-for-thoughts type post. 

 

xox

Alyssa

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chocolate chip banana muffins 

vegan, gluten free, nut free

prep time: 15 minutes

cook time: 22-26 minutes 

makes: 12 large or 14 smaller muffins 

Ingredients: 

wet: 

4-5 very ripe bananas 

1/3 cup Earth Balance, coconut oil, or butter, melted 

1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar, packed

3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons warm water

1.5 teaspoons vanilla

dry:

1 & 1/4 cups millet flour*

1/2 cup fine white rice flour*

1 tsp xanthan gum 

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt 

heaped 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life 69% cacao)

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a muffin tin. 

2. Mash the bananas with a fork in the bottom of a large bowl. Add sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and Earth Balance/oil/butter. Stir to combine. 

3. In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients except for chocolate chips. Add to wet ingredients and stir to combine. Should have a fairly wet batter. Fold in chocolate chips. 

4. Fill each muffin tin at least 3/4 of the way full (will get 14 if doing this). Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until muffins are beginning to brown slightly on the edges.

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes before removing. Enjoy!!! Can also freeze :) 

 

Notes:

* You could try subbing 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour in place of the millet and rice flour. Alternatively, you could try oat or sorghum in place of the millet flour. If using regular flour, omit the xanthan gum.  

* You could try corn starch, arrowroot starch, or maybe tapioca starch in place of the white rice flour. I haven't tried it, though, but assume the results would be similar.