Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins

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With fall just around the corner, I have been working on making warming meals featuring some of my favourite fall ingredients. Although summer is an amazing break from our freezing, sometimes miserable winters here in Montreal, fall will always be my absolute favourite season. There is nothing more comforting then being in an oversized sweater (I have a slight addiction to buying these), with a warm cup of tea watching those beautiful multicoloured leaves fall.

When those crisp temperatures begin in September, we all crave more comforting, warming meals that feature hearty ingredients and bold spices. Cinnamon is definitely my favourite fall spice that I use year round. Besides for making dishes taste amazing,  cinnamon has so many amazing benefits some of which include controlling blood sugar levels and warding off hunger.

So to ease us into the season, I have made these super light muffins that are lower in fat but full of fiber, protein and whole grains. I have been able to reduce the fat content by replacing oil with apple butter. If you’ve never heard of it, apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce made by a slow cooking process where apples are cooked to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes creating a deep rich brown colour. It is extremely flavourful and adds intense moisture to baked goods! I bought apple butter at a regular grocery store where they have the natural nut butters, honey, maple syrup etc.. You can also make this yourself at home!

These muffins are packed with oats, chunks of apples and crunchy pieces of walnuts.  An extra sprinkle of cinnamon and coconut sugar gives these muffins a crunchy topping that goes amazing with a cup of coffee in the morning! These Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins are an amazing grab and go breakfast that the whole family can enjoy. These also are perfect with a little spread of  Chia Jam or Roasted Cinnamon Maple Almond Butter on top. As always these muffins are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Bon Appetit!
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Ingredients:

• 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
• 1 cup oat flour
• 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
• 1 cup diced and peeled apples (preferably organic)
• 2 tsp cinnamon (divided)
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 3 tbsp coconut or light olive oil (melted)
• 1 cup almond milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
• 1/2 cup apple butter or unsweetened apple sauce
• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
• 2 tbsp coconut sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375.Line muffin tins with parchment and grease with coconut oil.
2. In a large bowl, mix oat flour, oats, 1 tsp cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together apple butter, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs and almond milk.
4. Slowly add wet ingredients into dry until combined. Then, mix in diced apples and walnuts.
5. Pour batter into muffin liners. In a small bowl mix together the remaining 1 tsp cinnamon and the 2 tbsp coconut sugar. Sprinkle over the tops of the muffins.
6. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!
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Cinnamon Bun Banana Loaf

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Ok so this recipe is insane. Cinnamon swirl, moist banana bread.. NO GUILT! I’ve made a lot of bananas bread in my day. Paleo, gluten free, whole wheat, chocolate chip, blueberry, coconut etc… but I have to say, this one might be my new favourite.

This recipe is made with coconut and almond flour (paleo friendly, grain free) so you get a good dose of healthy fats, fibre and protein and a lighter load of carbohydrates. The bananas are loaded with vitamins and good carbohydrates to give you loads of energy to get through your day! The ooey gooey filling is just like that of a cinnamon bun without the sticks of butter and heaps of brown sugar. The only added sugar you’ll find in this recipe is in that cinnamon swirl that is made up of natural coconut sugar. Coconut sugar comes from dried coconut sap that is then crystallized to create an amazing sugar alternative. It contains potassium, iron and vitamins. It has been said to even help prevent the blood sugar crashes that make you hungry. The rest of the bread is sweetened naturally with the ripe bananas and just a few drops of stevia!
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I realized recently that I share a lot of tips, tricks and information on my Instagram (@cleaneatinggoddess) account that does not always make it to my blog. So I have made a conscious effort to now include a lot of that information into my posts. A recent tip I posted was about bananas. I use a lot of bananas in my recipes because they are good for you, naturally sweet and give amazing dairy-like texture to non-dairy recipes. They are also an amazing replacement to cut down oil in recipes as they add so much moisture without any fat. They are a key ingredient in my smoothies, pancakes and breads. The problem with bananas seems that they are either too green, not brown enough or a mushy mess whenever we need them most. Heres my tip: Buy 2 bunches of bananas at the grocery store. When they get perfectly spotted, peel and cut the bananas in chunks then place them in a freezer safe bag. Keep them in the freezer to grab and go whenever you need! If you want to make banana bread, simply defrost the bananas for at least an hour and then use them as you would normally. Frozen ripe bananas also help make your smoothies insanely creamy and sweet without the need for any added sugar. Plus, you can also throw them in your food processor and have dairy and sugar free ‘ice cream’. Add in some almond or peanut butter and you have the most delicious snack!
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I know some people who are reading my blog are just beginning their journey for a cleaner lifestyle and I know every little bit of information counts. If you don’t have Instagram, I have made every effort to get CEG’s updates on all social media outlets. So, if you have Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Facebook you can find me on those outlets to keep yourself updated (click those buttons on the top right). You can also subscribe to my blog (just enter your email on the right sidebar) to get email updates of new posts. As some of you may know, I am an elementary school teacher and school is finally out! That gives me a lot more time to cook, bake and focus on my blog. I have so much exciting news, recipes and information coming and I can’t wait to share it with you all! Now for that cinnamon bun banana bread…
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Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup coconut flour
• 1/2 cup almond flour
• 3 very ripe medium bananas (mashed very well with fork or blended) + 1 extra banana sliced in half for topping (optional)
• 1/4 cup coconut oil melted + extra for greasing
• 3/4 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp liquid stevia or 1/4 cup honey/maple syrup/agave
• 4 eggs
• 1/3 cup coconut sugar
• 2 tbsp finely shredded unsweetened coconut (optional, for topping)
• 1 tbsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line and grease a 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan with coconut oil. (Don’t forget to line with parchment paper, I did and it got stuck).

2.In a medium sized bowl whisk the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda and salt until combined.

3. In a small bowl whisk eggs,, vanilla extract, stevia or other sweetener of choice. Then add mashed banana and melted coconut oil to the egg mixture and whisk more until well combined.

4. In a small bowl mix the coconut sugar and cinnamon until combined.

5. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and whisk until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain.

6. Pour only half of the batter in your greased loaf pan and spread it out evenly. Pour the coconut sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly to cover the batter.Then pour remaining batter on top of the cinnamon mixture. Spread evenly with spatula.Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut and sliced banana (optional).

7.Bake for 40-45 minutes or a toothpick comes out clean from a piercing in the center.

8. Let it cool for a few minutes then carefully run a knife along the edges to make sure nothing is sticking and invert into your hand and onto a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. (You also might want to slice a piece off while its piping hot because its almost impossible not to!)

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