As you’ve probably gathered from my blog posts, I grew up in a very health-conscious family. It’s safe to say that all five kids got the healthy cooking gene (thanks mom). This explains why, when we’re all together, conversation inevitably turns to the latest health-food trend or a new Vitamix recipe. I also attribute some of this to my dad, who would come home each night and quote a new article he’d read about the latest miracle food. To this day, he will insist I eat the raw almonds they keep on the counter in a jar – because don’t I know they’re good for me?
Despite a constant stream of articles and chatter about the new must-eat ingredient, I tend to stick to a balanced diet – a little of everything. Occasionally, when affordable, I’ll mix in a trending ingredient – like chia or agave. But one item has remained a fixture of my diet for as long as I can remember: the apple. I make sure to eat an apple every single day. Sometimes I hit a limit and have to switch to grapes or strawberries for a few days, but I always come back to my apples. I have a plastic bag of apple slices floating around in my purse at all times.
Not surprisingly, apple picking is one of my favorite activities. Getting the freshest, most delicious apples and going on a hayride – all in the same day – is basically ecstasy for my brain. This weekend I gorged myself on Cortland apples while picking 1/2 a peck somewhere in rural Pennsylvania. Unfortunately (or fortunately – for my waistline) I am not a fan of apple pie – I don’t like the slimy mushy apples doused in sweet syrup – but I do love the flavors. So, rather than slice up these apples into a salad or boil them down for applesauce, I decided to make a simple muffin-like “apple pie” flavored breakfast. I went for a bare-bones oatmeal bake, subbing banana for egg and using a handful of ingredients. This recipe made five medium muffins – and I’ve been enjoying them with peanut butter every morning!
1 medium apple (Cortland, Granny Smith, or Honey Crisp) peeled and chopped
1 very ripe banana, peeled
1 cup of gluten free oats
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with Pam. Combine the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepitas in a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly.
In another bowl, mash up your banana using a fork or a potato masher. Add in the oil, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Whisk things well, then pour into the dry mixture. Combine slowly until the liquid is fully incorporated, then fold in your chopped apples, little by little. I had a large apple and thus didn’t use all of my pieces but instead noshed on them while the muffins baked!
Pour the mix into each indent in the tin, then bake at 350 for roughly 25 minutes.
When the oatmeal cups can be removed in one piece and seem baked through, let them cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm and with your favorite nut butter for a low calorie fall breakfast!