I’ve been rather silent of late, since work at the university has begun in all its glory. Even with half-days it’s rather gruesome to come home and make or bake when one has readings to do for the Masters or chores about the house. Whilst preparing ingredients to be frozen for my smoothies I randomly decided to soak some cashews and so began the process of diving back into a baking project, whether I wanted to or not. When I get going it’s eventually so calming and pleasant that I can’t believe I’ve been out of the kitchen for so long, especially once Man-thing picks up Dune and starts reading aloud to keep me company.
Before I get to the recipe, I have a confession to make: I’ve been a very naughty vegan. I haven’t been taking any B12 supplements since I started this journey a year and some months ago, because of a) pigheadedness and b) ignorance. Not a pretty combination. I’ve seen B12 mentioned nearly everywhere “vegan” but have been treating it sort of like I did diabetes when I first heard the word – as a shadow belonging to some otherworldly existence. I eat perfectly balanced (erm, most of the time!) and mindful meals, but vitamin supplements is not something I’ve been very good at. Since completely stopping the handfuls of depression meds I was prescribed in earlier years (and which I was told I’d never be taken off of in my lifetime) and cutting down on my anxiety meds (people are scary), I’ve been rather reluctant to just swallow anything or to make a morning ritual of guzzling medications or anything remotely resembling a little round pill. My constant low blood pressure, light-headedness and extreme fatigue, however, have all culminated to the point where I decided to be smart about it and actually get my head out of the sand. With a new year and a new direction in my studies I realized I can’t rely on just the random splashes of spirulina or matcha or what not to keep me going during the day, so the B12 experiment begins!
I’ve also realized I’ve been terrible at ensuring I get my full dose of protein per day (5 servings, as recommended by my nutritionist). Five servings is a helluva lot, because it means that you essentially have to have protein with every meal and snack. The nutritionist separated my nut intake from protein because vegans apparently can’t mush the two together, so even more eating is required – sheesh! In an effort to do something about this rascaly situation, I decided to make some chickpea flour muffins. I had originally wanted to try out raw carrot cake muffins, but the crazy amount of dates and nuts made me a bit weak in the knees, especially since I only get 3 servings of fruit a day, which I reserve now exclusively for my heavenly smoothies, unless there is sufficient cause otherwise. This, I believe, is sufficient cause.
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup water + 2 TBSP
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup diced then shredded carrots (I put mine in the food processor)
- 1 cup steamed pumpkin (also processed)
- 1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax seeds mixed with 3 TBSP water left to sit in the fridge for 15 mins to gel)
- 1/2 cup soaked and processed pitted dates
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc)
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Shred/process the carrots, dates and pumpkin separately (to ensure the carrots. Use some of the soaking water for the dates to get them moving in the processor. Finally process them together (this ensures the carrots are sufficiently broken down before the mixing, unless you like bits of carrot).
- Add in the flax egg and vanilla essence and pulse once or twice to mix.
- In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients with the cup of water plus two tablespoons until light and foamy, or until there are no more blobs of chickpea flour. Add in the apple cider vinegar and give an extra stir.
- Add the wet ingredients and fold them in until they are properly combined.
- Pour the mixture into a pre-sprayed or prepared muffin tray.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until browned. The whole point is that they are kind of squishy but cooked. If you want them more “cooked” but not burnt I suggest a lower heat for longer.
YUM! Seriously – nom nom! I like the squishiness, and Man-thing ate two in one “tasting”, so I declare it a success. Personally I think it tastes like a toned down, syrup-free version of the traditional pampoen koekies, but Man-thing pulled a face, so I guess it’s just me. I haven’t had those in years, but all the better for it being able to allow me to harken back to those fond food memories and feel them fulfilled by something healthy and vegan to boot! Most of all I am pleased with the protein aspect, and it’s so low-cal, if one is interested in those sort of things, that I would say having less than two would be criminal. Next time I’ll even try out cannelini beans instead of pumpkin (or alongside, whatever tips the boat on the day) because I’m obsessed, but that may also be my body crying out due to the lack of tofu in the stores. Going on THREE weeks now!!! My level of upset cannot even compute, so livid am I. All the tofu goodness I’m missing out on will lead to a tofu explosion all over this blog the moment it’s back in stock. >:) Well, stuffed to the brink with chickpea muffins and a green smoothie, off we go for an hour-long power walk!