Banana Nut Muffins

Nuts  are a delicious and  good-for-you add-in to baked goods like banana nut muffins.

banana nut muffins

Is there something about you that’s a little nutty? Moi? Having  4 dogs is a  little nutty.  Right? But  this makes me lucky (afterall, nobody calls me the cat lady).

Nutty or not,  October 22 is  National Nut Day! On this day, we celebrate nature’s nutrient powerhouses, (not to be confused with those of us who are a little loco)! Because the  Recipe Redux couldn’t resist this day falling on one of our post days, they’ve asked us to share a nut filled recipe. Let’s all go nuts!

Here’s a fact that’s a little nutty: there once was a time when nuts were shunned. During the  low -fat craze of the 1990’s, nuts were feared for their high fat content and potential to cause weight gain.   Fortunately, there have been numerous studies pointing to the fact that as long as portions are controlled, including nuts is beneficial to health and may even help you lose weight. The good fats in nuts can help you feel full, and satisfy your hunger without raising cholesterol or other blood lipids. Nuts are an excellent source of fiber and provide a long list of nutrients including vitamin E, magnesium, folate and copper . A recent  study from Harvard University and published in the New England Journal of Medicine  concluded, eat nuts, live longer!

I enjoy snacking on nuts and use my hand as a way to keep portions in check. I also add nuts to baked goods , granola  salads and yogurt. Because I had 5 overripe bananas, I choose banana muffins as my nut filled recipe today. These  homemade muffins will  never be rivaled by something store bought. Baking from scratch also has the advantage of putting you in control. So taking control of this recipe, I  substituted low fat Greek yogurt for some of the butter; swapped 100% white whole wheat for some of the white flour; used polyphenol rich maple syrup for some of the sugar and yes, added nuts,  walnuts in particular. From oven to table, my banana nut muffins are made a healthier, without compromising taste or quality. Be sure to check the links at the bottom of this post for more ways to go nuts!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy nuts?

banana nut muffins

Banana Nut Muffins

Serves 12     adjust servings


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup sifted 100% white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. 1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. 3. Whisk eggs in a large bowl and then beat in butter, bananas, maple syrup,sugar, yogurt and vanilla until smooth. Beat in dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in chopped nuts. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups.
  4. 4. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 244kcal Calories from fat 91
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 209mg 9%
Carbohydrate 35g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 19g
Protein 5g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g


From Inception to Finished Product: Pumpkin ‘Fruit Roll-Ups’

Pumpkin 'Fruit Roll-Ups'What a difference 879 miles makes. That’s the distance between Wilmington, NC (where I live) and Burlington, VT (where I attended the blog brulee. While my attendance was   partially funded by some great sponsors,I was not expected  or compensated to write this post). Ten days ago, when I left Wilmington, NC  at 7 a.m., it was already a humid seventy-seven degrees and my thoughts were on my next Recipe Redux topic, dehydrated food. Here’s the challenge:

Get Your Dehydrator On

Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket – dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.

I sat in a half empty plane pondering my September Recipe Redux post;  hmm…maybe  sun dried tomatoes.

Arriving into Burlington, VT in sandals,  I felt out of place. Everyone in this city had already transitioned to boots.photo-1Fortunately I had a pair packed … and yes, my running shoes. It was great  to take advantage of the inviting fall air, an early arrival (meeting didn’t get rolling until 5 p.m.) and good terrain for a leg workout!

hills in Vermont
The hills of Vermont are a stark contrast to my daily runs along the coast of North Carolina.

The activities of the weekend allowed for a little more fresh air

Making S'mores at the Blog Brulee
Health bloggers roast marshmellows over an open fire pit at Smugglers’ Notch, VT. S’mores here we come!
photo-189
Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits in Cambridge, Vermont is beautiful both inside and out. The outdoor patio has breathtaking mountain views!

and more picturesque scenes.

Lake Champlain
Sunny day in front of Lake Champlain.

While Wilmington was still feeling like summer, Vermont was ushering in fall with a chill in the air and pumpkins everywhere.

photo-196
This cool vintage wagon filled with pumpkins on the grounds of Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits had every blogger stopping to snap a pic.

pumpkinsEven with an extra day, the time went too fast. Before I knew it, Monday was here, my travel day home. A three hour delay in Philadelphia until my connecting  flight home was time allotted to work, including writing a recipe for today’s blog post.  But I wasn’t feeling like sun dried tomatoes. I was feeling like, well, pumpkin. Then I remembered some of the posts from other  Recipe Redux members on fruit roll-ups, aka fruit leather:

Apple blueberry fruit leather by Serena Ball, RD of teaspoon of spice

Pear Leather by Carlene Thomas, RD of Healthfully Ever After

Thanks to their inspiration, I wrote  recipe for pumpkin ‘fruit roll-ups’ that’s naturally low in fat, low in cholesterol, a very good source of vitamin A, Vitamin K , Manganese and a  good source of fiber, vitamin C, plus a source of carotenoids! I couldn’t resist using an ingredient from Vermont’s local food landscape to sweeten my snack.

The use of canned pumpkin makes this easy, but do it on a day you’re home. It took 6 + hours on the lowest setting of my oven to dry and I used a convection oven which speeds up the process.  The good news is, your house will smell like cinnamon all day!!!  (Any other cinnamon lovers out in the blogosphere?) In my opinion, the most difficult part of this recipe is spreading the puree onto the  parchment paper-lined baking sheet in the correct thickness. Too thin will result in holes in the leather. Too thick will take a very long time to dry. Mine was less than perfect, but still tasted good.

Make sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for recipes from  my nutrition influencing colleagues. We are all united by our love of food and desire to help you enjoy a healthy lifestyle.  But  how we approach this,  is a matter of individuality.  These bloggers put personal branding insight from the blog brulee into action which can be summed up by this mantra, Make a Difference by Being Yourself~ Gregory Heszczo.

selfie in front ot Lake Champlain
Selfie in front of Lake Champlain. Jenna Braddock puts Gretchen Brown’s ‘be resourceful’ strategy to work . Get the pic; do whatever it takes!

Pumpkin 'Fruit Roll-Ups'Pumpkin ‘Fruit Roll-Ups’

makes 6- 9 roll ups (depending on cut width)

Serves 9     adjust servings


Ingredients

  • 3 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons Vermont Maple Syrup

Instructions

  1. 1. Set oven to lowest possible setting. (Mine was 120 degrees F.) Use a convection oven if available. This will cut down on the necessary time for dehydration.
  2. 2. Combine pumpkin, applesauce, cinnamon and maple syrup in a blender until smooth.
  3. 3. Spread evenly into a thin layer (a litle more than 1/8 inch thick, but less than 1/4 inch thick) on parchment paper-lined baking pan.
  4. 4. Bake until pumpkin mixture is dry. This may take anywhere from 6-12 hours.
  5. 5. Once dry, remove from oven and  using scissors or a sharp knife, cut pumpkin and sheets of parchment paper into serving pieces, keeping length longer than the width. Tie securely with pretty twine.
  6. 6. To eat,  untie twine;  peel pumpkin ‘fruit roll up’ from parchment paper and enjoy.
  7. 7. Store in air tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 64kcal Calories from fat 2
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Carbohydrate 16g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 11g
Protein 1g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g


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