Friday, January 24, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free): a sweet treat despite life's difficulties

My husband has multiple sclerosis.

This has been a part of our reality since he was first diagnosed in his early 20s. At times it has been extremely difficult. Other times, personally, I seem to forget (although I'm sure he never does). The thing is, my husband, John, appears to be the picture of health. He works out six days a week and eats "clean," meaning foods that are minimally processed and mostly organic. His healthy lifestyle has contributed to minimizing (or perhaps masking) his illness. However, every now and then, I am reminded that it is still there. It creeps under the surface, threatening flare up at any moment.

A recent MRI, revealing the further progression of his illness, prompted his neurologist to insist that he reconsider resuming his medication. (He has been living medicine free for several years with little to no relapses.) A difficult pill to swallow, rather needle to inject, John has yet to take this advice. His meds sit in the box untouched while he consults with his alternative doctor who encourages a more holistic approach.

"It starts in your gut," the doctor explains. We learn there is a possible connection between gluten sensitivity and MS. There are two recommended books/articles- The Wheat Belly Diet and The Best Bet Diet, both that preach the avoidance of gluten, among other things, to maximize health.
If it's a natural approach, my husband is all for it. Hence, in the new year, we have begun our gluten-free journey. Although I don't neccessarily need to go gluten-free myself, I am in it to show my support (fitting into my pre-Lila skinny jeans after 2 weeks of this is really just a perk). Plus, if he's going to do this, it makes sense to limit the gluten-containing products in our house. (Who needs bread, anyways?) 
When it comes to his health, John adapts to changes with ease. He just does it. "I don't eat gluten anymore." That's that.
I whine. First day, my stomach growls with complaints. "I want a muffin!!"
And so, I faced my first personal challenge in this lifestyle change-- I am a baker without flour! How is this going to work? My stainless steel Kitchen-aid electric mixer looks dull and rejected with the reflection of my pitiful face.

Baking is like therapy for me. I don't think about anything else when I'm baking. I can escape into the creative process and then indulge in the delicious finished product. But the best part (not to be corny) is sharing these sweet treats with other people. When I worked at a bakery, I sometimes would peek from the back to see a child's face when her birthday cake (that I made), adorned with her favorite character, was revealed.

And I loved that my husband loved my ginger cookies and my rum cake and... now what?

Apparently, this is not as big as a problem as I thought. With a quick Google search I discovered a plethora of gluten-free baking recipes. {Sigh of relief.} I also consulted some friends who have gone gluten-free.
This is my first attempt at Gluten-Free Muffins, adapted from I have to say, they are delish!

 A sweet treat for my hubby and me...
Peanut Butter Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free)
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 2 very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed
  • a handful of mini dark chocolate chips
  • a handful of mixed nut and ground flaxseed topping
  • cooking spray
  • Preheat oven to 375degrees F.
  • Blend all of the ingredients together (except for the nut topping).
  • Spray muffin tins with cooking spray (I use a mini-muffin pan).
  • Scoop in batter, 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the nut/flax topping.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes (Caution- keep a close eye on them. They bake quickly).
Health is wealth.



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