I am the type of person that can eat the same thing for months, sometimes even years, then get tired of it suddenly and replace it with something else. My entire junior year of college, I had tomato soup (from a box) with a grilled cheese sandwich (on white bread, usually with Kraft singles) for lunch daily. Off and on, for the last 10 years (up until becoming vegan), my typical lunch would be cottage cheese with apple slices. Several years ago, following my divorce, I turned to the comfort of Trader Joe’s Mini Blueberry Fiber Cakes as my snack for when I got home from the personal training studio where I worked. They were $4.49 for a carton of 6, and they were basically high-fiber, low-calorie blueberry bran muffins. Everyday, when I would get off work for the morning (around 11am), I looked forward to 3 things: Walking Samantha, my canine companion, having one of these muffins, slightly heated in the microwave, halved, with a bit of Earth Balance melted on each half, and taking a nap (I’d been up since 4:30am!). Though on the expensive side, these muffins were my little treat for a morning’s hard work, right up until I moved to Europe.
Shortly after becoming vegan, I began looking for that little “V” they put on all of their vegan products (God bless Trader Joe's!), including items I wouldn’t normally purchase. On one of these “V” searches, I found that my old Mini Blueberry Fiber Cakes were, in fact, vegan. Though I hadn’t had one in years, I decided to grab a carton, for old times sake, and since they were so low in calories, sugar-free, and high in fiber, I thought they would make a great early morning, pre-workout snack.
My old obsession with these fiber cakes returned, and even though they were overpriced, I continued to buy them because they were comforting and I had found them to be great source of fuel for my workouts. I knew I could probably create a similar, and likely healthier, version of these glorified bran muffins, but something inside me did not want to give them up. “Five dollars per week for my pre-workout snack isn’t too extravagant, right?” I thought to myself. I continued to think that right up until I realized that yes, it actually was too extravagant, especially knowing full well how to make my own darn muffins.
So I became a muffin-makin’ machine, and after several tweaks, I came up with this recipe, which actually is higher in fiber and protein, has the perfect amount of sweetness, and fulfills my requirement of having comfort and fuel provided in one soft and moist blueberry muffin. Knowing me, I will likely be eating these (or variations of these) every morning for the next 8-34 months. With muffins this yummy as a pre-workout snack, who can blame me?
BLUEBERRY QUINOA BRAN MUFFINS
makes 12 muffins
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- 1 cup wheat bran
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 banana, mashed (about ½ cup)
- ¾ cup coconut milk (or other vegan milk)
- ½ cup apple juice
- 1 T flax meal
- 1 T molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-muffin tin with cupcake wrappers, or just lightly grease it.
- In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients (including the flax meal). Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Fold in the blueberries.
- Evenly distribute the batter amongst the 12 wells of the muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins come out clean. Remove from oven and let them sit in the tin for a few minutes, then remove and let cool on rack. Enjoy!
Now, I need to take some time to give some thank-yous! The first one is terribly long-overdue and I feel awful about waiting so long. In my defense, it has taken me some time to get caught up after our trip, and if I don't put things on my to-do list, I completely forget about them! CJ, over at Food Stories, nominated me for the Excellence in Food Storytelling award! I know its it's way too late to still be in the running (It's a monthly award, and I was supposed to follow all the rules for the award nomination awhile ago), so I just want to say thank you to CJ- I am so honored!
My second thank-you is to the super-sweet Allison at Live Passionately Tonight who has awarded me with the One Lovely Blog Award! I love Allison's honesty and courage and I love how shares her journey through life. Thank you Allison! I'm only going to do 1 random fact, because I'm too lazy to find seven: I once auditioned for Italy's version of Big Brother, "Grande Fratello," and taught myself how to explain to the judges, in Italian, that I was a lion tamer (this was in my pre-vegan days), and that I was also a retired horse whisperer (DISCLAIMER: I do not know how to communicate with lions, tigers or horses. This was a ploy to appeal to the judges). I have no clue why, but I never got called back... Here are my nominees:
- Somer @ Good Clean Food
- Caralyn @ Gluten Free Happy Tummy
- Willow @ Will Cook For Friends
- Gabby @ The Veggie Nook
- Richgail @ ASTIGVegan
Thank you again to CJ and Allison, and to all of you who read what I write and leave little notes- You totally make my day, everyday!
This recipe is entered in a contest at littlebluedynamos.com.
All Photos taken by Chris Miller
© Kristy Turner and Keepin' It Kind, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (content and images) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kristy Turner and Keepin' It Kind with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
i want you to write a thorough autobiography and email it to me. your life sounds AMAZING!! you have done so many things, it's astonishing! how is it that you were able to move to europe? where did you work? what did you do?
anyway..i am the same way when it comes to food. i've literally eaten the same breakfast since 2007. and i'm STILL not tired of it. i've also eaten a slight variation of the same lunch since..2008. i'm pretty ridiculous.
i know just what muffins you are talking about. i remember eating them long ago before i realized gluten was poison in my body. they were SO FILLING.
i want to make this recipe..what is bran akin to? do you think..oats could take the place of it?
I am the same exact way! Until recently, I had oatmeal every morning (with slight variations, based on seasonal fruit), 6 days a week (Sunday is Brunch Day) since 2008. I like what I like and I stick to it until I find something I like even more. Us humans are crazy creatures. 😉
An entire biography, eh? Would a timeline suffice? My life was pretty uneventful up until my divorce, when I realized I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted and there was nothing set in stone, no rules I had to follow. So I did just that- whatever I wanted. I can tell you more later. 🙂
Ener-G makes a gluten-free rice bran which I think would be a great substitute. If you can't find that, or another rice bran, I would definitely try roughly grinding some gluten-free oats and flax seeds. I haven't tried it, but it seems like that would offer I fibrous texture similar to wheat bran. I used wheat bran because I happened to have a bunch leftover from awhile ago. When that's gone, I'm definitely trying the rice bran. I am not gluten-intolerant, but I do find that gluten-free things are a little easier for my body to digest. If you try it, let me know how it goes!
a timeline would definitely suffice. i really love your adventurous nature! whatever you're doing seems to be working out for you and i want to know all your secrets 😉
and i have seen that rice bran! i'm going to pick some up next time at whole foods.
I totally know what you're saying about eating one food ad nauseum. When I was vegetarian, there were some frozen Trader Joe's meals that I ate every day - loved at first, and then after months and months, they made me sick to even consider them. Luckily, I've tried to get more of a handle on slowing down on foods that I love, so that I don't ruin my love for them completely! More than anything now, they just fall out of favor for a while, and then come back into obsession later.
Your muffins look so healthy and delicious. Blueberries make the muffin!
Thank you, Cadry! There are two great phrases in your comment: "They just fall out of favor for a while, and then come back into obsession later" describes me to a "T." I should try your method of slowing down on favorites so they don't lose their specialness.
The second great phrase: "Blueberries make the muffin!" My grandpa always says that. Blueberry muffins are his favorite, and that was his argument against all other types of muffins. Pretty funny!
I get in food ruts, too! Funny little obsessions that come and go... It's so fun to try and recreate a "commercial" favorite. Looks like you came up with something really good (and healthy)!
You are so right, Annie- they are "funny little obsessions that come and go." I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! 🙂
Tara A Tempting Vegan
Parli l'italiano?? Veramente?? Ho stato in Italia 3 anni. Ero la ragazza matta canadese su uno skateboard. Woah! Radicale!!
Io parlo un po' di italiano. You crazy canadian skateboarder! I wish I could say that I knew exactly what you were saying, but I did not get to learn very much italian as I was teaching english the majority of the time I was there. 🙂
These look absolutely divine. I can't wait to make them!
Thanks Erin! Let me know how it goes! 🙂
Gabby @ the veggie nook
I totally here you about fixating on a food- I used to eat oats for breakfast every single day and never change. When I did, it was because I had run out (and I would be very upset with myself for letting that happen!) In my pre-vegan days I ate a lot of very simple turkey and mustard sandwiches and chicken nuggets. I didn't have the most varied diet lol.
This muffins look fabulous! So wholesome, exactly the kind of muffin I would feel good about eating. I am bookmarking these! I wonder if oat bran would work? I am gluten-intolerant so wheat bran would make my tummy feel a little rough.
Thanks for the nomination, you are the sweetest! I absolutely love your blog and really admire you, so it means a lot!
Oats for breakfast have been my go-to ever since 2008! It took an acai bowl to shake me out of it!
I was telling Caitlin that Ener-G's Rice Bran might be a good sub. Oat bran, if it's certified gluten-free, would work too, I'm sure.
You deserve all great things that come your way! I am so happy to have found you! 🙂
Wow, thank you so much for the nomination. It's an honor! Also, you audition for Big Brother Italy? That's so awesome and random at the same time hehe. I love that you know how to communicate with tigers and horses. Skills! I wish I could do the same.
I think I need to clarify- I did audition but my lion taming and horse whispering were made-up. My roommate, who was fluent in Italian, and loved that show, thought it would totally get me on. She was wrong... 🙂
You totally deserve the award- you're blog is so awesome!!!
Thank you so much for the award! I'm honored. 🙂
Also - love love love blueberry muffins! Great post!
No problem! I'm so happy I found your blog- I'm still thinking about all those strawberries. I need to find a place like that around here... 🙂
I'm 100% the same way, too! Especially when it comes to breakfast, I go through particularly long phases. For years, it was the banana/toast routine, then the crumpet/almond butter habit, and now I'm on to steel-cut oats. Every single day, for years at a time. I can easily see getting hooked on these muffins, too!
I'm an oatmeal gal myself, right up until I met the acai bowl! Now my blender is getting a morning workout!
Definitely be careful with these muffins- they are addictive! 🙂
Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
Gosh Kristy, thank you so much for the nomination! That means so much. I love your blog...it's a daily dose of positivity for me:) Thanks for sharing your light with the blog world! 🙂
And ps, your quinoa muffins look delicious!! mmmm!!
Aww! Thank you! There's no other way to be other than positive! Life is just too great! 🙂
These muffins look great! I make a batch of no sugar banana bran muffins (on my blog!) once a week and my husband and I each take one for breakfast every day. My husband is a man of routine and only ever wants that muffin, but occasionally I make something else to shake things up. These are definitely on my to-try list!
I hope you and your husband like them! Thanks for stopping by- I can't wait to spend more time checking out your blog! 🙂
CJ at Food Stories
Love your recipe. It looks really healthy and tasty so I'll bet it's comforting just knowing it's good for you!
It is so comforting! Is there anything better than something that's delicious AND good for you?!?!
I want! I want! I want! I want! I need! I need! 🙂
I LOVE What About Bob!!!! Bill Murray is one of my most favorite people ever, and I can't tell you how many times I've seen that movie! You totally brought a huge smile to my face with that one!
I'm making a batch either tonight or tomorrow. You are more than welcome to claim a few! 🙂
Dude, I think we are triplets separated at birth. I have seen that movie dozens of times. How come I ended up with brown hair and you two are the hot blondes?
Amazing looking muffins Kristy! I might have to take them as running fuel for Ragnar this weekend!
This sounds like the premise for an awesome sitcom, just waiting to happen- triplets, separated at birth, who don't look alike but share a love of Bill Murray movies. Somebody call NBC!!!
These muffins have carboloading written all over them! Get on it! And good luck at Rangar!!! 🙂
Amy @ fragrantvanillacake
These look awesome! Those blueberries are the perfect add in, they look so juicy and flavorful!
Thank you, Amy! You're so right- Blueberries make the muffin!
Vicky (Sweet and Healthy Living)
These look so good! I love that they don't have any oil or added sugar!
Thank you, Vicky! I like that about them too- it's a guiltless way to have a yummy muffin before working out (or anytime)!
I have yet to work with quinoa flour, but I'm mighty curious, and I love anything with bran. This may be the recipe I need to get started!
Quinoa flour is relatively new to me as well, but I'm loving it. I just made another batch with rice bran, to try a gluten-free version, and this batch is even better! If you give them a try, Gena, I hope you like them!
These muffins look so delicious. Scanning the recipe I see so many favorite ingredients like coconut milk and apple juice, banana and molasses. I must make these muffins.
Thank you! They're made with some of my favorite ingredients too! 🙂
Thanks for this fabulous recipe. I played around with it a bit by adding 1/2c of oat flour, an additional bannana, exta 1/2c frozed berries (I used a three berry blend) and 3 more tablespoons of molasses and a bit extra coconut milk since I didn't have any apple juice. Instead of making them as muffins I made them into bars in a 9x5 pan. I can't stay away from these awesome treats! Thanks so much for the recipe/inspiration.
I love that! That is totally the reason I do this- I love inspiring people to get in the kitchen and get creative with vegan cooking! What a great idea too, by the way! Bars! I bet they were delicious! Thank you so much for sharing, Laura! 🙂
Hi Kristy; I am so happy you posted and shared this recipe. I've been working on and scouring the internet for something like TJ's fiber cakes for months! This one sounds like a winner! Can't wait to try it. Question; You say they are even higher in fiber and protein. I've seen other recipe attempts at these but they use 2 cups wheat bran. you only use 1. Wondering about that. I get that the quinoa flour ups the protein which is great. Did you run this through a nutritional search? Would you mind breaking it down? Those TJ cakes are 13 grams of fiber each! I may try these w/ 2 cups wheat bran and 1/2 quinoa flour and see how it goes.
Thanks, Teresa! I just did a rough estimate, because when I start counting calories and grams, I start feeling a little obsessive. I think making them with the 2 cups of wheat bran is a great idea. Let me know how it goes! 🙂
I am super excited about this recipe! I haven't tried it yet but I was curious for overall calorie count, so I used my fitness pal for the following; I calculated with only .5 c of quinoa flour and added .5 cup of almond flour I also added 6 tbs of chia seeds to this too for added super food bonus BUT like I said- I need to make them first! Here is the rough breakdown if you made 6 muffins (which would make this a full breakfast on the go) 256 calories; 28 carbs 12 g of fat, 8 protein, 12 fiber, 6 sugar
Thank you for posting! I love TJ's mini cakes and am looking for a simple recipe so that I can make at home. Have you tried your recipe with just the basic ingredients listed on the TJ's label, ie without the banana, coconut milk, molasses, etc? I'm trying to stay with the minimal ingredients of bran, flour, juice, basking soda, water and salt.
No, I've not tried it any other way. Sorry.