Liz Prueitt’s Healthy Flax Muffins (gluten free)

Liz Prueitt's Healthy Muffins

One of the best Instagram accounts I have come across belongs to Liz Prueitt of Tartine Bakery fame. Via her Instagram feed you can follow along with her as she tests and develops recipes which is pretty cool if you’re interested in how that process happens and getting inside the mind of a chef. Most recently she’s turned much of her attention to gluten free baking where she’s been exploring GF twists on classics as well as new, creative inventions, comparing different substitutions and combinations. (She’s got savory cooking projects going on as well). Some posts share the refined, end result of many cycles of testing, other times you get to see the trials and errors along the way. The very best part is that she often throws shorthand recipes onto her posts so you can cook along at home. And since she’s sharing in real-time, her posts always reflect what’s in season right now.

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Trending Now: Frittatas!

frittata

Summer break is upon us and someone is always hungry or constantly opening the refrigerator, looking for a snack.  My plan over the summer to keep the hunger pangs at bay and to keep the snacks relatively healthy, is to regularly have a frittata handy.  The variations are endless and with bounty of summer vegetables, I am sure we will come up with many new concoctions.  Frittatas are also a good vehicle for various odds and ends and cooked leftovers.  In fact, in Italy, occasionally before serving lunch or dinner, a small amount of the meal is purposely set aside for a frittata the next day. Leftover frittatas also make the best school lunch/summer camp sandwiches.

Here are some combinations I am considering – please share your ideas and favorite combinations with us as well in the comments section.  Kids will enjoy coming up with their own special combinations/masterpieces.  Have the kiddos come up with a creative name for their frittata, and perhaps if they are keeping a summer journal, they can write the recipe in it.

Think vegetables, cheese, herbs and perhaps some kind of meat and put together ingredients in any combination that sounds good.  It’s tough to go wrong.

  • Asparagus, red onions and feta cheese
  • Potato and bacon
  • Caramelized onions and parmesan cheese
  • Mushrooms, broccoli and asiago cheese
  • Kale and/or chard with garlic and onion
  • Onions, peppers and crumbled sausage
  • Ricotta with roasted vegetables and herbs

If you feel so inclined the kiddos (and everyone else) always enjoy hash brown potatoes with their eggs.  Breakfast for dinner anyone?

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Frittata
Ingredients by Claire Robinson
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 small purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 10 eggs, well beaten with 2 tablespoons water (can be done with hand mixer or in blender)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise in half and cut each half into very thin half moon shapes.
  3. Melt the butter in a large (preferably nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Saute the onion and then add the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook just until slightly tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Spread the onion and zucchini evenly over the bottom of the pan and top with the beaten eggs.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and allow it to cook until just starting to set at edges.
  7. Crumble the goat cheese evenly over the top, and put it in the oven until golden on top, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Slightly cool the frittata in the pan before slicing.
  9. Serve it from the pan or invert it onto a plate, then slice and serve.

Guest Recipe: Becky’s Carrot Zucchini Pineapple Muffins

My friend Becky is about as close to a “super mom” as you can get. A demanding full-time job, 3 kids, and manages to find the energy for fun adventures, running half marathons, lots of home-cooked goodness, and having a sense of humor about it all. If she wasn’t such an awesome person, I might just hate her a little.

Here’s what she says about these carrot-zucchini muffins: “We make them in mini muffin tins. Oliver (baby) loves them and the other two will eat them if they are starving, so I save them for the ride home from school. They travel well and are reasonably good for you. Nate (toddler) is a huge fan of cooking with me and he loves this because he gets to do the cuisinart and the mixer. He also likes putting the cupcake papers into the baking pans. Even though he helps me make these, it doesn’t stop him from looking at the muffins later and saying – what is this green stuff mommy? Oh well!”

***

I gave them a test run recently and the kids I was with (ages 2-4) ate them right up. “Do these have vegetables in them?” asks the four year old, suspiciously.  Aren’t you amazed at the impressive power of observation that kids have when it comes to spotting that sliver of green or tiny speck of pepper? But despite the suspicion of vegetables lurking, the lure of these muffins was just too strong. Tiny nibble…. “Mmmmm these are THE BEST!”. Big bite…. “More please!”

This makes a large batch (~2 dozen standard-sized muffins), so unless you have 3 hungry kids, you might cut it in half, freeze some, or best yet share with a friend. For little hands (or messy cooks), you can scoop the batter into a large zip lock bag, snip the corner and “pipe” into the muffin tins about 2/3 full.

Shopping List: eggs; vegetable oil or unsweetened applesauce;  sugar; vanilla extract; 2 zucchini; 3 carrots; 1 can crushed pineapple in juice; salt; flour (all-purpose or can substitute 50% all purpose and 50% whole wheat); baking soda; baking powder; cinnamon; nutmeg; nut or dried fruit (optional)

  • Combine 3 eggs, 1 cup of oil (or use apple sauce or a combination), 2 cups sugar (I reduced this by about a third), 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat together until thick and foamy
  • In the cuisinart shred about 2 zucchini and 3 carrots so that you pretty well fill up a 9 cup cuisnart. Squeeze well to remove excess moisture and then stir into the to the mixture above.
  • Add 1 can of well drained crushed pineapple (Crushed is much better than cubes as no one notices them if they are crushed.)
  • In a seperate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: 1 teaspoon salt, 3 cups flour (or substitute 1.5 cups white and 1.5 wheat flour), 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Mix dry ingredients into the wet mixture, but don’t stir too much because it will make the muffins too heavy. (I usually stop using the mixer at this point and mix by hand.)
  • If you like, add 1c nuts and 1 c. raisins (My kids aren’t fans of these at all.)
  • Bake at about 350 for 15 – 25 minutes until they spring back in the center and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Reduce the baking time for mini muffins.