Protein Powerhouses- Almond Coconut Muffins and Chia Seed Jam!

I love finding new recipes that give me a great protein-filled snack to satisfy my hunger and  keep my energy levels up.  Adding a protein to a snack is a great way to keep your blood-sugar levels balanced so you don't experience a high and then "the crash".  So many of us have a mid-day slump that makes us reach for a cup of coffee or a sugary snack.  This might pick us up in the short-term, but in the long-term it just sets up the cycle for another crash. By adding a protein to our snack, the energy is released more slowly, resulting in blood sugar levels and energy that is balanced.  Some of my favourite on-the-go snacks are fruits with nut butter, hummus with vegetables or a smoothie with added seeds and protein powders.  And now, a new favourite, thanks to two of my favourite recipe blogs, these amazing Banana Almond Muffins with Blueberry Vanilla Chia Seed Jam!

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Mmm, so good!  And both are so easy to make.

For the muffins, just toss all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You get a wonderful creamy batter that smells so good and only gets better when they get in the oven, my whole apartment smelled like warm almonds and banana, perfect on a cold morning!

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Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins, or you can grease the tins with coconut oil.  While they are in the oven, you can start making the Blueberry Chia Seed Jam.

I used blueberries, but you could use any berry you had a hankering for, I think raspberry would be amazing with these muffins.  If you are using frozen let them thaw in a bowl for 15 minutes or so.  Put the berries in a saucepan (if you thawed them, include the water from defrosting, it contains nutrients), add a sweetener ( I used maple syrup)  and heat over medium-low heat.  It will look very runny at first.

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Cook for about 10 minutes, then add your chia seeds.  Chia seeds are incredible all around!  Packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein, they are an excellent addition to the diet.  And for vegan baking they can be used as an egg replacer because when mixed with water they release a mucilaginous gel.  In this recipe it will make the jam thicken.

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This will take about 15 minutes cooking over low heat, stirring often to prevent sticking.  When it's to your desired thickness, remove from heat and add vanilla extract, if your using.

Your muffins should be ready to come out of the oven now and the smell of your home filled with fresh muffins and bubbly jam will make your belly grumbly and any friends nearby smile with anticipation!

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Perfect for breakfast or a snack on the go. The muffins are from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, one of my all-time favourite food blogs, and the jam is from Oh She Glows, a vegan blog with some great recipes.

Banana Almond Butter Muffins
1 cup almond butter
4 organic eggs
2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Add all ingredients in a food processor or blender, process until smooth.  Line muffin tins with liners or grease with coconut oil.  Spoon batter leaving about a 1/3 of the space, muffins will rise up during baking.  Bake for 25- 30 minutes.

Blueberry Vanilla Chia Jam
1 1/2 cups thawed blueberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add thawed blueberries and maple syrup to saucepan and heat over low for about 5 minutes.  Mash with a fork. Add chia seeds and cook for about 15 more minutes until it reaches your desired thickness.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.