Daily Tip Number Seven: Back to Basics

This week has been a busy one. With two weeks left of the semester and three BIG projects to complete in the meantime, this past Monday morning was daunting to say the least. Yet the only way to move forward is to go through it, no matter how hot the fires get. However, it didn’t help much when I got sick mid-week, and had to stay away from campus and other humans if at all possible.

But that’s alright. After much healing sleep, it’s time to prepare for next week and the final straw that is coming. That means getting ready for the mornings, i.e. breakfast, which is the most difficult. I need something compact, ready to go on a moment’s notice, filled with protein and yet palatable, something basic like  “protein muffin”. Now this isn’t like the mug muffin I made earlier. I wanted to try something “from scratch” that didn’t use a mix, just to see if I could pull it off. And it turns out that I can.

Luckily, I found a great recipe at Ambitiouskitchen.com for Oat Bran Banana Protein Muffins that are completely flourless. I suppose this makes it a gluten-free recipe experiment too? Plus, they have no added sugar, at least per the recipe, but we’ll talk about that later.

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2/3 cup oat bran
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 small or medium very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large egg whites (or 1 egg)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or grease well with coconut oil
  • In a medium bowl whisk together oat bran, protein powder, baking powder and cinnamon; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix mashed banana, applesauce, Greek yogurt, egg whites, and vanilla together until well combined and smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Let batter sit two minutes to thicken a bit.
  • Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups and bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and place on wire rack to cool completely.

So, what’s the deal with oat bran? After a little digging, apparently more than I thought. According to Livestrong.com, oat bran is high in fiber and can help reduce cholesterol. It also helps improve your blood sugar. Based on a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, “Oat bran helps to keep blood sugar levels from getting too high after a meal by slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates and reducing the rate at which sugar enters your bloodstream.” Not bad, right?

Well, it could have been. I also wanted to add some carob chips and walnuts, since muffins like these serve two functions: post-work out carbohydrates and to keep me full until lunch. It would up the carbs and fat, and overall calories, but would be worth it.

Now that I was sure this recipe was the one, here’s how I put it together. First, I added together the oat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, apple sauce, Greek yogurt, carob chips and walnuts. The recipe calls for half a cup of Greek yogurt, but I used a whole personal-sized container. I thought the extra ounce of yogurt would be alright since I also decided to double the amount of protein power, using two packets of my favorite Quest Vanilla Milkshake flavor. Then I mixed all the ingredients together.

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From there, I added the bananas, cut into pieces, along with the egg and vanilla. The bananas were already soft, but they still needed some tough stirring to incorporate them into the mix.

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Then, I gave the batter a little taste. It was good, but I wanted it a bit sweeter, so I added a tablespoon of honey, and it was perfect.

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Of course, I created a recipe in the MyFitnessPal App, entering all the ingredients in order to find the exact macros of each muffin as shown below. My recipe ended up making 18 muffins instead of 12, which makes sense with all the extras.

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But I didn’t like the amount of protein in each muffin, so I experimented by adding some extra protein powder (the rest of Bob’s Red Mills), half scoop of my generic vanilla power and half a cup of egg white.

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Now mix together!

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Now the macros aren’t too bad, don’t you think?

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Time to bake!

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When the muffins were done, and I tried to remove one from its wrapper, I realized I had made a critical mistake. With recipes like this, especially ones that don’t use flour and have protein powder, they will stick to paper liners. This means that every muffin I eat will probably be missing a part of its bottom. Moral of the story? Just grease the muffin pan (as the recipe said) or go buy silicon muffin liners. I like that idea best.

But even with their bottoms missing, the muffins were soft with just the right amount of sweetness. I ate mine with just a little bit of Jif’s Whips creamy peanut butter and it was fantastic.

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Now, I’m ready for next week’s mornings, which will hopefully prepare me for the rest of the day too!

 

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