Friday, November 4, 2011

"Treat Yoself" Sweet Potato Muffins

Here's an ideal dinner menu before you splurge on the treats:) Props goes to: Jenny Matlock

Fall has definitely arrived here in Portland and I can't even begin to describe how beautiful it is. After spending 4 years in Bloomington, Indiana, I honestly believed that I had experienced the most beautiful fall season on the planet. Unfortunately, Portland has changed that opinion for me. Sorry Hoosiers!

All of this chilly overcast weather has encouraged me to spend a lot more time by the stove baking/cooking new fall recipes. So far, my favorite recipe has been my sweet potato muffins. Surprisingly, they don't taste much like actual sweet potatoes at all and the flavor is perfect for the holidays. I can't promise that eating 5 of these a day will improve your health, but if you're going to "treat yoself" (Parks and Rec short clip here: ), then I would strongly suggest trying this recipe as it is definitely on the healthier side of baked treats.

"Treat Yoself" Sweet Potato Muffins

1C cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 C organic unsweetened apple sauce
1/2C chopped walnuts
1T egg substitute (1T flax meal w/ 3T H2O)
1/4C melted coconut oil
2T molasses
1t pure vanilla extract
1/2 C organic brown sugar
1t cinnamon
1/2t ginger
1t nutmeg
1t baking soda
1t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
2C flour (I used buckwheat, but for fluffier muffins use spelt)

Directions: Set oven to 350. Combine wet ingredients (sweet potato, apple sauce, flax, coconut oil, brown sugar, molasses) but make sure to allow flax to sit for at least 5 minutes before adding. Next, combine spices, baking soda/powder, salt and flour in a separate bowl and add to wet mixture. Stir in chopped walnuts to mixture. Grease muffin pans with coconut oil and cook for 12-15minutes (time may increase depending on flour used or depth of muffin pans). Optional: add dark chocolate chips on top..I promise you won't regret it. Remember, treat yoself!

*Note: I swapped the raisins above with walnuts

As for the health benefits of these treats, you can't go wrong with sweet potato as it is one of the highest sources of beta-carotene (raising blood levels of vitamin A). There are also many anthocyanins present in sweet potatoes which have great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As a quick note, you can greatly increase the health benefits of sweet potatoes by boiling or steaming them instead of baking them. Also, adding 3.5grams of fat to the potatoes will lower the glycemic index of the potatoes and potentially improve the nutrient absorption in our bodies. I'd highly recommend using seasonal root vegetables during this time of year as they are nature's way of protecting our immune systems and giving us delicious "comfort food" when its chilly outside.



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