Welcome to the very first post of My little jar of spices! I’m so honored to have you here and I hope these recipes will spark your interest to play around with alternative ingredients and venture into grain-free recipes. Now don’t get all upset by the X-free adjectives in the title, while I like to make nutritional information available about the recipes posted here, it doesn’t mean you can’t tweak them to your liking or that sugar free = no taste. Remember, there are spices involved here! I will probably go into detail on my eating choices some other time, but today I want to talk about two ingredients that have really made their way into my food in the past months and that are the core of this-here recipe: flaxseed meal and chia seed.
Flaxseed meal is basically grounded flax seed (linhaça, in Brazil) that can be used as a wheat flour substitute for those who want to eat and bake gluten free, and you can find it in its brown or golden form. Chia seed is a superfood grown in the Andes that is tiny in size but has received rave reviews from foodies and nutritionists for its explosive nutritional benefits; Both are very rich in omega 3, high in fiber, low in carbs (close to zero), and have an incredible “nutty” taste that makes baked goods exquisit. In particular, Chia seed contains an insane amount of antioxydants, calcium and omega 3: one tablespoon of Chia a day satisfies all of those nutritional needs. It is also a great source of energy and helps with weight control. You can use Chia in baked goods, in fruit juices and shakes, on salads, to replace eggs in baking (when combined with water). Bref, your best friend in life might I say. You can find both easily in any health food store.
These muffins are the first recipe I wanted to share because they are so über-simple to make that they were the revelation of the century for me. After halting the gluten in my diet, I was looking for a quick and easy replacement for bread in the morning and found… the best thing since sliced bread indeed. Get ready: they take 1 minute and 30 seconds to bake… in your microwave. Whaaaat? Yes dear, 1:30 min tops, and who knew the microwave could actually bake something after all this time of heating up frozen lasagnas. Now these are generally called “mug muffins”, but if you’re like me and like your muffins shaped like…well… actual muffins, instead of long mug-shaped sausages, you’ll appreciate my teacup version. You can also make a larger batter and bake it in a bowl (probably for 2-3 minutes) to make a kind of muffin “loaf”. The ingredient list is also very simple, but you can add almost anything to this basic recipe to make a muffin that fits your mood of the day. I make these to taste similar to bread, so they’re more on the neutral-to-salty side. But if you want to make them sweeter, use only a pinch of salt and add 1 tablespoon of honey or 4 drops of liquid stevia if you want them sweet but sugar-free. You can also add nuts, raisins, chopped apple, cranberries, grated carrots, coconut flakes, whatever makes you go bananas really (indeed, you can add mashed bananas!).
Flax-chia Breakfast Teacup Muffin
Ingredients for 1 muffin
2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinammon
Coconut oil (or butter)
Optional: dried fruit, walnuts, pecans, dried coconut, etc….
1. Grease a 200mL teacup with coconut oil or butter (about 8 cm in diameter and 5 cm in height)
2. In a separate bowl, start by whisking together the flaxseed meal, chia seeds, cinammon, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the egg and mix until ingredients form a batter. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken. You should be able to scoop it with a spoon.
4. Scoop the batter into your greased teacup, flatten the top with the back of a spoon and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Watch it grow in the microwave: this is a fascinating thing.
It might still be a little soft when you take it out of the microwave, let it cool for 2 minutes at room temperature. I like to cut it in half and toast for a minute or so. Eat it plain, with goat cheese, mashed avocado, a little butter and jam,….. so many options really. You can also make several of these and keep in the fridge for when you’re on the go.
Happy breakfasting everyone!