Healthy Banana Oatmeal Nut Muffins

Yes… yet another muffin recipe.  This is an altered banana bread recipe that has less butter and sugar, and made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal and flaxseed.

Flaxseed has been a recent hype in the health industry and becoming quite popular.  Flaxseed is a seed that owes it’s health benefits to three key components.

  1. Omega-3’s: these are the healthy fats that have positive effects on your heart health.  They also offer protection for your bones. 2 tablespoons of flax has 133% of your daily recommended intake.
  2. Lignans: these help protect against cancers by blocking certain hormone enzymes, and preventing the growth of tumor cells.
  3. Fiber:  (yay fiber!)  Flax has both the soluble and insoluble types.  A small 2 tablespoons of flax has 15% of your daily recommended intake.

You can add flaxseed to almost anything.  Foods such as yogurts, ice creams, smoothies, cereals, cooked veggies, etc.  It will add a slight nutty flavor… my favorite!

I got the chance to spend an amazing weekend at home and my mom and I made these delicious bites.  The added bananas makes them moist and sweet, and the oatmeal and flaxseed gave them a great nutty, chewy flavor.

Banana Oatmeal Nut Muffins

Makes 24 muffins
  • 1/3 c. melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • 6 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • ¾ c. wheat flour
  • ½ c. flour
  • ¾ c. oatmeal
  • ¼ c. ground flaxseed
  • 1 ½ t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. nutmeg
  • ¼ t. salt
  •  ½ c. chopped nuts (of course!)
-Combine the liquid ingredients in a bowl (butter, eggs, sugar, bananas, vanilla)
-Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl
-Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, until no more visual powder
-Fold the nuts in
-Line muffin tins and bake for 20-22 minutes at 375 degrees
Dry Ingredients
Mix with the wet ingredients and fold in nuts
fresh out of the oven!

A Hidden Gem: Jackson Market

With the help of one of my best friends, my roommate and I recently discovered one of the cutest places in Culver City.  It is a little market with the freshest meats, eggs, sandwiches, etc, located right in the middle of a neighborhood.  It is literally a street with homes, and this home is transformed into a market.  It is adorable, you must go here if you are in the area!

There is a deli area where you can order sandwiches, wraps, salads or breakfast.  All their meats are Boar’s Head meat and there is a market where you can buy your general groceries.  But they have those exciting products; like the ones that you find at World Market (gourmet chocolates, peanut brittle, vegetarian and vegan foods, etc)

all sorts of products!

At the deli, you can create your own.  I went with the Breakfast Sandwich, which is a croissant or French baguette with scrambled eggs, your choice of meet, cheese and vegetables… for only $8.75!  I went with a wheat baguette, egg whites, roasted turkey breast, and loaded it with veggies.  I also ordered a Belgian Waffle… yes, BOTH.  I couldn’t resist!

make your own

Egg whites, veggies, turkey on a wheat French baguette

perfectly crispy Belgian waffle 🙂
I failed to mention that they have the cutest outdoor patio with nice tables and trees which you can enjoy your lunch.   I hope you get to try it soon!  Everything was fresh and delicious.

Roasted Asparagus

I have been really slacking at my blog lately.  Work was pretty crazy, and since it calmed down a week ago, I made sure to make up lost time with friends, at happy hours, in the sun, and working out… pretty much anything but being at a computer for additional time.  But I want to get back in the swing of things (yes, blogging at my computer is more fun than working at my computer!)  Side note: I read all these other blogs, and I am just amazed at how they keep up with it.

Anyways, it is the start of a new month (my favorite month too) and decided to start with something simple and in season.  Because asparagus is just in season, I picked up a fresh bunch and lucky me, it was selling at a GREAT deal.  I love me some sales!  It’s always best to buy foods when they are in season because by doing so, you will get the most flavor and freshness as well as the best price.

What’s in Season in April?

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula (Rocket)
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Chives
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Onions
  • Turnips

That is just a short list of the foods in season now.  I am so excited for all the fruits that are starting to come into season.  There is nothing better than those ripe strawberries that you can buy at stands off the freeway and are warm from the sun, or fresh oranges on a hot summer day!

Usually, I pan-cook my asparagus, but I opted to roast them for the first time.  It was very simple, and I’m not even lying… I almost ate the ENTIRE bunch, it was so good!  I refrained, and was only able to save about 7 spears 😉

Roasted Asparagus
1. Clean and cut ends off of the spears
2.  Lay on a foiled dish pan
3.  Brush with a little bit of olive oil and garlic
4.  Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper
5.  Place in the oven at 425 degrees for about 11-12 minutes
6.  Sprinkle goat cheese, if you like!

Seasoned, raw asparagus
freshly roasted

topped with goat cheese

Eggplant Lasagna

I didn’t start eating eggplant until recently, and I have grown to really like it!  When I see it on the menu, I’m always drawn to order that dish… even if I don’t like the other ingredients!

I was at the store and eggplant was on sale, so I figured, what the heck, I’ve never tried to make it before and I mine as well try since I like it so much.

Literally.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I looked up a bunch of recipes such as Eggplant Napoleon (which I will make soon), Eggplant Lasagna, plain stir fry, and numerous other dishes.  I decided Eggplant Lasagna was my safest bet.  Most recipes didn’t include the lasagna noodles, but I added them anyways since I can’t imagine my lasagna without some type of grainy carb!

I started to cut this massive vegetable, expecting to see some seeds, but it was just round slices of this crunchy, purple thing.  In all honesty, I had no idea how I was going to make this lasagna and make it taste somewhat decent.

Raw Eggplant

Once I started cutting it, I noticed that it was oxidizing like an apple does.  So I thought to myself, maybe it tastes like an apple?  So i tried it raw!  It tasted a little crispy like an apple, but definitely not like delicious eggplant.  Note to self: cooked eggplant > raw eggplant.

Based on the recipes, it seemed better to cook the eggplant before baking it in the lasagna.  I looked at multiple recipes and decided on a version that was a combination of the ones I saw.  I added a few more veggies that I had on hand.  I was very happy with the final product and my first attempt with eggplant 🙂

pan-fried eggplant

Eggplant Lasagna
1 eggplant, sliced in thin round slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
3 cups spinach
2 cups broccoli
Crumbled goat cheese
2 cups tomato-basil marinara sauce

1. Cook lasagna noodles according to instructions
2. Heat oil on a pan and grill sliced eggplant, set aside
3.  In a baking dish, pour a layer of marinara sauce so the bottom is full covered
4.  Layer lasagna noodles, eggplant slices, broccoli, spinach, and goat cheese
5.  Repeat Layers
6.  Top with the rest of the sauce and goat cheese
7.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and 20 minutes uncovered

layer the sauce, layer the noodles
layer broccoli and cheese
layer eggplant

baked lasagna!