Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Maybe "good for you" is a stretch.  These muffins do feature whole grain oat flour, flaxseed meal, lots of nutrient-rich strawberries and coconut oil.  They're gluten-free and vegan, and completely free of the common allergens, that makes them healthy, right?
Vegan Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had so many reasons to go to the kitchen today.  First, my neighbor had an accident, and I wanted to give him a treat to feel better.  Second, it's Food Allergy Awareness Week, and I wanted to celebrate with something special.  And last, as my husband could tell you, I can't seem to stay out of the kitchen!

As any food-allergy mom will tell you, it's always Food Allergy Awareness day/week/month here at my house.  Living with someone with food allergies affects your life on a daily, even hourly basis.  I am so grateful that there are organizations like FAAN (the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) working to bring attention to the needs of folks with food allergies.  This week, in particular, the role that education and advocacy can play in keeping our kids safe has been highlighted for me.

As I wrote about earlier this year, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have introduced a new Breakfast in the Classroom initiative.  As initially conceived, every child would have breakfast (including milk, eggs and even nuts and peanuts) in the classroom.  This caused a lot of parents a great deal of anxiety.  Luckily, parents, Children's Memorial Hospital and CPS worked together to mitigate the risk.  Nuts and tree nuts were eliminated from the menu across the school system.  Schools could choose an egg-free option.  Classes that include kids who have potentially anaphylactic allergies that cannot be avoided (cows' milk is a mandatory part of the menu) will eat as a class in the cafeteria.  It's not a perfect solution, but it keeps my child safer.  Ideally, all children would eat in the cafeteria or a designated eating place.  This would protect the children who know they have food allergies and have a 504 plan in place, the children who don't have a 504, and the sizable percentage of children whose first reaction is at school.  Hopefully, the hard work of improving this program will continue.  I am so relieved and grateful that people in decision-making positions were willing to listen to our concerns, though.  I don't feel like I have to go to school with my son to keep him safe.  (I already completed second grade!)  Events like Food Allergy Awareness Week help bring attention to what we can all do to keep children and adults living with this serious health concern safe.

Now... on to the sweet stuff!

I was inspired to try this recipe because of two products that I was given to sample recently.  The first is the Mega Chunks from Enjoy Life.  These are like chocolate chips on steroids.  They're huge bites of chocolate deliciousness!  The other is Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil.  This fair-trade coconut oil is ultra luscious.

If you're looking for some great music to get you inspired in the kitchen, check out Kick Bricks (my wonderful and talented husband's band)!

We shared this recipe as part of Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesdays and Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love please check out the other great recipes.

Strawberry Chocolate Chunk Mini Muffins (allergen-free, gluten-free, vegan)
Makes 24 mini muffins (depending on the size of your pan)

Ingredients:
2 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)
3/4 cup sugar (I used vegan cane sugar, you could use coconut palm sugar instead)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup rice milk
2 cups chopped strawberries (I used a 10 ounce bag of frozen strawberries, not thawed, chopped in the food processor)
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly oil a mini muffin pan.
In a medium bowl, combine oat flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and salt with a whisk.
In a large bowl, combine applesauce with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Add flaxseed meal, oil, sugar, vanilla and rice milk.  Stir to combine well.
Add strawberries to wet ingredients and mix well.
Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet.  Be careful not to overmix.
Mix in chocolate chunks.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.
Bake approximately 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  (If your muffin pan makes very small muffins--your yield is more than 24--reduce cooking time accordingly.)

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan

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6 comments:

  1. Happy Food Allerfy Awareness week to you! I have so much respect for the commitment parents of children with food allergies have to keeping their kids safe. I just met a woman who doesn't feel her daughters school is safe enough, so she has lunch with her daughter at school every day. I also wanted to say that your muffin recipe looks delicious :-).

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  2. Thank you! I am awed every day by what a parent's love looks like in the face of challenges, whether they are food allergy-related or otherwise. (The muffins are really yummy!)

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  3. These muffins look great! I can't wait to try them. I have never used rice milk. I might replace with soy milk. I do love to bake with chocolate chunks. The more chocolate the better!
    Thank you.
    Suzanne
    Going Milk-Free~

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  4. Suzanne,
    You can absolutely use a different milk substitute in the muffins. Soy or oat or hemp milk would all work out fine. I love the chocolate chunks, too. It's like getting a little candy bar in each bite!

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  5. WOW! These are fantastic. I'm love your ingredients!


    Thank you for sharing your recipe with us last week on AFW! Be sure to check back this week for reader favorites and hostess picks.

    Be Well,
    Amber & AFW Hostesses

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  6. Thank you, Amber! I love being part of Allergy Free Wednesdays!

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