Sunday, April 1, 2012

Little Bites of Goodness

We have been making a conscious effort in our household to eat a lot more healthily lately - which means cutting down on meat, fat and sugar and upping the vegetable content of everything. Today I am heading off to meet with our book club group (today's book for discussion - Joseph Conrad's tale of colonialism and man's dark nature -  "Heart of Darkness") Just because the subject we are discussing this afternoon is uber heavy, doesn't mean that the snacks for the afternoon have to be - so I made a batch of these delicious savoury muffin bites to take for the refreshment table.

These little muffin bites are full of vegetables, as well as gorgeous sorrel from my garden (you can substitute baby spinach if you can't find sorrel) and very low fat cheese, so they are good for you, as well as being delicious. They are also quick and easy to throw together. They have a very moist, soft texture due to the vegetables and the cheese and do not resemble the more "cakey" style muffins.

These muffins are also my first attempt to include Chia seeds in my cooking. Chia seeds contain an insane amount of anti-oxidants, fibre, protein and omega 3 oils -  as well as having lots of other health benefits - balancing blood sugar levels,helping to regulate blood pressure, having anti aging and anti inflammatory properties and providing a boost of energy without caffeine or drugs.

So, these little bites of healthy goodness will provide a dose of good stuff, whilst not being bad for the waistline or the tastebuds either. They would be great in lunchboxes or as a healthy snack. You can of course bake large ones if you want to - the recipe below will make 6 muffins if you decide to do that. Otherwise, the amount below will bake 12 mini muffins.

Vegetable and Chia Seed Muffin Bites

You will need: 2 cups self raising flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, 1 cup low fat milk, 1/2 cup reduced fat grated cheese, 1 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1 cup grated carrot, 1 cup grated zucchini, 1 leek sliced finely, 1 cup finely chopped sorrel or baby spinach, olive oil spray.

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C. Spray a pan with a little oil and cook the leeks until soft. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, chia seed, grated cheese. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and cottage cheese.

Add the grated carrot, zucchini, leek and sorrel/spinach to the dry mixture and combine gently. Now add the wet mixture and fold through with a spatula until just mixed.

Spray a mini muffin tin with oil and spoon the mixture into the pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until they start to turn golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing them from the pan.

Makes about 12 small muffin bites.


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