Mary Beth Johnson is a wife and mum to four schooners, as she’s dubbed her children. On a normal afternoon, you would find her in moccasins, skinny jeans and a comfortable tee, camera in hand. Recently moving to the suburbs of Atlanta, Mary Beth spends her days homeschooling, sneaking away to the bookstore, trying to act the part of a southerner, and sifting through recipes in The Vegetarian Times. Food is her love language.
“We are alllllmost through the first quarter of the new year and I’m feeling pretty strong about my goals, save for keeping my makeup bag out of the van and applying my face indoors before we head out. Surprise, surprise I had set a lot of guidelines for myself on food and exercise. Simple things, like picking two classes I enjoyed at the gym and weeding sugar out of my daily iced coffee. I find that when I am specifically realistic with myself I tend to follow through.
I’ve rediscovered my love for baking this year (perhaps you can tell from all the recipes I’ve posted?! ;)) I had given it up before from lack of inspiration and a need to reduce our sugar intake. My stipulations are that we use sugar replacements or the recipe offers a gluten-free version. I have been surprised at how much I actually prefer the gluten-free baked goods better with the nutty/grainy texture from the alternative flours.
Here is a muffin recipe we’ve eaten over and over again in the last month…it’s perfect for strawberry season coming up in April when the fruit is ripe and plentiful. These are not overly sweet but if you add the chocolate chunks they make it just right and a little bit indulgent. This was my first time using coconut sugar – if you do not have some on hand any other sweetener like maple syrup or cane sugar would work just as well. I love the deep brown of these muffins and all the textures packed into one tiny bite. These are a favorite and well worth a try!”
//ROASTED STRAWBERRY ALMOND MEAL MUFFINS
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup roasted strawberries*
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips, optional
Preheat the oven to 375′. Prepare a mini muffin tin with paper liners, or coat the pan generously with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, cornmeal, baking soda, coconut sugar and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, olive oil, honey, almond and vanilla extracts together. Whisk it up real well until fully combined and even in color. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir to mix. The batter will be fairly thick. Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips. Fill the muffin liners to the top, they don’t poof too much.
Bake on the middle rack for 16-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Turn the muffins on their sides in the pan, or remove to a wire rack to cool.
*Roasted Strawberries: Oven to 350′. Toss 4 cups quartered strawberries with a pinch of salt and 2 tsp. melted coconut oil (or olive oil works too). This will do for ripe, juicy berries. If yours are dry or lacking flavor, add a splash of maple or honey to sweeten. Spread them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until juicy and reduced in size. Set aside to cool. This may yield more than you need for the recipe. Mix the extras in plain yogurt or in your morning oatmeal.