Gluten Free, Vegan Double Chocolate Chia Chip Muffins
April 20, 2011

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Thanks for giving Casey such a wonderful reception, guys. I’m so glad that you enjoyed her Green Recovery story. I’m excited for our next voice!

Yesterday morning, I had some very special guests over for breakfast:

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Do you recognize my guests? They’re Lori and Michelle, the incredible Pure2Raw twins. I’ve been friends with Lori and Michelle from afar for a long time. We’ve traded recipes, raw food love, and they’ve even done me the honor of sharing their health stories with me, and asking me for some advice. They’re two of the warmest, sweetest, and most talented bloggers I know, and I’m so happy I got to meet them in person!

Normally, having someone over for breakfast means tofu scramble, pancakes, or some other sort of cooking endeavor. The nice thing about welcoming the twins into my home was that I could prepare something exactly like what I eat in the morning. We have very similar food tastes: we favor sweet+savory combinations, we have an intense love affair with avocados, winter squash and beets, our food tends to be very green, and we’ll use any excuse to eat chia seeds.

I knew, then, that a spread of chia puddings and berries would suit us all fine. But since the twins do run their own gluten free and vegan bakery, and since I’m improving my baking skills lately, I thought I’d bake them some gluten free muffins, too. I was nervous, but I reminded myself that if it tasted good to me, it was likely to taste good to them, too. The muffins I came up with combined a bunch of my favorite things: chocolate, millet, and chia. I hoped the twins would share my tastes, and fortunately, they did.

Gluten Free, Vegan Double Chocolate Chia Chip Muffins

Gluten Free, Vegan Double Chocolate Chia Chip Muffins (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Yields 12

1 cup millet flour (you can also use GF all purpose flour)
2/3 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp flax meal
2 tbsp ground chia seed (whole will work, too, but I like the binding properties of grinding the chia)
1 banana
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup or agave
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Mix the millet and almond flours, salt, baking powder, flax, and chia in a large bowl.

3) In a food processor, process the banana with the applesauce, almond milk, vanilla, and maple syrup.

4) Pour dry ingredients into wet, and stir to combine. Add vegan dark chocolate chips and stir again.

5) Pour into muffin liners and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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These are sweet, dense, chewy, and full of delightful little chocolate chips. Don’t take it from me, though: take it from the twins, who gave them two (four?) thumbs up! What a relief.

The rest of breakfast was less daunting. Rather than brew coffee at home, I resolved to treat Lori and Michelle to NYC’s best cup of Joe, which is coffee from Joe:

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And my two chia puddings were also a breeze. Chia pudding is one of my absolute favorite breakfasts, and now that it’s warming up, I prefer it to hot cereal. My chia puddings are usually served up with some fresh or frozen fruit and a sprinkle of cacao nibs. To access some of my favorite recipes from the archives, check out the ch-ch-ch-chia tab in my recipe collection!

The twins tend to be mindful of their sugar, so I opted for two chia puddings that weren’t overly sweet. The first was a cacao chia pudding that was inspired by mole sauce, which blends cocoa with a bit of heat. I love this combination!

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Cacao Spice Chia Pudding (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 2-4

1/4 cup cacao nibs
6 pitted dates (or 2 packets stevia)
1 1/2 cps almond milk
2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger (or 1/2 inch fresh)
Dash cayenne pepper (*dash*! Cayenne is piping hot, so be careful)
5 tbsp chia seeds

1) Blend almond milk, cacao, dates, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne in a VitaMix till smooth.*

2) Pour mixture over chia seeds and mix. Stir again in about five minutes, and again five minutes after that, until chia seeds have plumped up. Place pudding in the fridge till ready to use.

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In addition to being bakers, raw chefs, bloggers, and photographers, the twins are also very athletic, and blog about fitness often on their blog. They enjoy various types of protein powder, but they’re primarily champions of Vega, just the way I am. We all admire Brendan and his work, and so I thought it would be nice for us to pay tribute to what he stands for with a Vega-infused protein pudding.

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Cashew Protein Chia Pudding (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 2-4

2 tbsp cashew butter
1 heaping scoop Vega or Vega Sport Whole Foods Optimizer (sub any raw, vegan protein powder of choice)
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
Dash salt
6 tbsp chia seeds

1) Blend almond milk, Vega (or other protein), cashew butter, and salt together in a VitaMix till creamy. Pour over chia seeds. As above, stir in five minute intervals till plump and set; store in fridge till ready to use.

I served the puddings and muffins with some fresh berries:

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And muffins completed the spread:

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I helped myself to both puddings, chopped banana, and some berries, and saved myself a muffin for an afternoon snack. I enjoyed it all, and felt glad that the twins seemed to feel right at home as they gobbled up the pudding with me.

We had plenty to gab about, but one topic we kept returning to was how easy it is to get pigeonholed within the blog world. They twins noted that, when they attend meetups, they’ll often hear, “oh, you’re the raw, vegan girls.” While the twins do eat mostly raw and mostly vegan, they don’t feel that either term defines them wholesale. I can relate: while I feel 100% comfortable with the vegan label, and basically comfortable with the “raw” one (“semi-raw” is obviously more accurate), these terms don’t totally sum up my blog and everything I want it to be: a source of inspiration to eat healthy, a place to celebrate animal life, a place to talk about body image and EDs, and a chronicle of my journey into medicine. We bloggers have to find pithy ways to sum up our missions, but in the end, our blogs are as varied as our lives are.

But if people want to think of me as “that raw, vegan girl?” Great. I’m proud of both my veganism and my passion for raw food, and I’m grateful to anyone who does me the honor of associating me with those lifestyles.

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Even if their eating style isn’t neatly summed up by either raw foodism or veganism, I think that Lori and Michelle stand for the values of vegan and raw foods: they’re compassionate and passionate, culinarily adventurous, excited by the promise of good health, and eager to share their knowledge with others.

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Thanks for breakfast, ladies!

Blogging friends: do you ever feel as if your blog mission gets pigeonholed? How so?

xo

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Categories: Breakfast, Gluten Free

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    44 Comments
  1. I drop a comment when I like a post on a site or if I have
    something to contribute to the discussion. Usually it is triggered
    by the passion communicated in the post I looked at. And on this article “You’re the Raw, Vegan Girls”.
    I was excited enough to drop a commenta response 🙂 I
    do have a couple of questions for you if it’s okay. Is it just me or does it look like a few
    of these comments look as if they are written by brain dead
    visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional sites, I would
    like to keep up with you. Would you make a list
    all of all your community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook
    page or twitter feed?

  2. Are the muffins suppose to have cocoa powder too? I am just wondering where the “double” in their name (double chocolate chia chip muffins) came from. Thanks!

  3. Great recipes. I can’t wait to try some of them out!
    I think blogging pros are always saying find your niche market. I am a random person, so it is hard. I admire people who have found theirs, though.

  4. Looks like a delicious spread! I only ever tried chia pudding once, and somehow added way too much cinnamon and it tasted awful. I have been afraid to try again ever since, but yours do look quite appetizing.

    I tend to blog about whatever I want, as long as it fits under the general umbrella of mental/physical health. BUT sometimes I do feel like I’m that girl who blogs about therapy. I actually kind of embrace this label, since it’s fun for me to write about therapy and helpful for my readers to read about my experience. Whenever I meet a reader or blogger in real life, they almost always have positive things to say about my therapy posts, so it never feels like a constrictive label.

  5. Love the recipes for this breakfast spread. Totally inspired to make a Chai Chia Pudding tonight!!!!!!!!! Thanks for being the awesome raw or whatever vegan blogger that you are. Labels do stink. They are extremely challenging to live up to in real life! LOL

  6. I’ve been cooking (and eating) from this post since I woke up this morning! The chocolate spice chia pudding now ranks as my favorite chia pudding ever. And I’m about to dig into the muffin, but I can imagine they will taste fantastic because they smell great!

  7. Oh my wow–so awesome! I wish I could have been there with the three of you: I feel so much affinity for all of you and it gives me warm glowy feelings to think of you together.

    And _three_recipes? Including a baking one?! (I think I’ll have to try that one when I’m done yeast cleansing, btw–I’m making a list!) You surely reach and reach…

    On pigeonholing of blogging mission: once again, you’ve hit my psychic space: I’m preparing a post for a few days from now on something very similar. On the one hand it’s pigeonholing, on the other it’s ‘can I write about x and y on my blog and still have people read it?’ I know that I prefer blogs that compass a gamut of interests and focuses, as does yours and the twins’, but sometimes it seems like there’s a force toward having ‘food blogs,’ ‘literature blogs,’ etc…

    Thank you!

  8. seriously… stop posting so much good food. i bookmark just about every one of your blog posts for future meal reference! i guess i should just consider your blog my own personal recipe book. 😉

    thanks for the deliciousness. but for pete’s sake, take a day off!

    in good fun,
    Nim

  9. I love the look of that breakfast!

    I wonder if being pigeonholed is more just a way of people defining one’s specialty? Its not necessarily a bad thing maybe – just a way for people to recognise what you’re good at 🙂

  10. Ooooh so fun! What a wonderful spread you made- those muffins (and well the puddings too) look AMAZING. Mmmm!

    Don’t you love those girls?! I met Michelle and she just has this wonderful vibrancy and drive. So glad you all connected!

  11. Aww love seeing blogger meet-ups! 🙂 Those muffins look awesome. And I’m so excited to try the chia cashew protein pudding. YUM! I happen to have all the ingredients, too. Love when that happens.

  12. It looks like you all had a lovely time together – and I love the look of your GF muffins, and your chia seeds. I adore them too, and lately have been looking for some new ways to incooperate them into my daily diet since im getting a little bored of my usual concoctions.

  13. Hey Gena,

    Those muffins look fab. Do you think they would turn out right even if I didn’t put chocolate chips in? I have all the ingredients except for those.

    Thanks!

  14. 3 of my favouritest bloggers all in the same room – exciting!
    Breakfast sounded divine. This post has been starred.

    Sometimes I get pigeon-holed by the Weight Watchers/weight loss thing. Which I totally get, but there’s a lot more to my blog (and my life!) than just Weight Watchers. A few years ago I was even testing recipes for a vegan cookbook and when I introduced myself to the author, she was like “oh you’re the Weight Watchers one”…

  15. This looks like such a dream breakfast- from the wonderful women and conversation to the incredible looking food! I would swoon if I went to someone’s place for breakfast and they served me chia pudding!

    It’s very easy to get labeled as one thing. I think because my blog is so all over the place I avoid this, which is a good and bad thing because there’s less focus!

  16. I love the spicy/chocolate combination, I’ll have to try it in pudding form.
    I don’t feel like I’ve been pidgeonholed as a blogger, but I’m still establishing my blog, so no one’s really had a chance to yet. My topic, authentic living, straddles quite a few other genres, so I’m really not worried about getting labeled or stuck in one.

  17. Great post – I have just recently discovered chia pudding, thanks in part to the pure2raw girls. I thought I wouldn’t like it but I love it – seriously LOVE it. I have been making a chocolate carob version with sesame seeds, but I really like the sound of the cocoa spice combo.

    Being pigeonholed in the blogworld or in ‘real life’ can be tough. But as long as you are proud of what you’re identified with, it’s all good. Being the raw vegan girls isn’t so bad!

  18. I loved meeting up with Lori and Michelle when they were in town, too. It’s always better to get to know bloggers one-on-one!!

    I definitely feel as though my blog gets pigeonholed. I’m MOSTLY vegan, but I find that people take that to mean “vegan.” Which I hate because I don’t think one word can sum up any diet!! It’s used in both a negative way- “Oh, you’re a VEGAN?!” and in a positive way- “Oh, isn’t being vegan just the best?” and I feel like a fraud in both senses. I just try to explain that while I believe my body thrives best on a vegan diet, I never want to deny myself the shellfish and dairy-filled desserts I love on occasion 🙂

  19. I’m glad you posted that link to your chia seed recipes. I just bought a small bag of chia seeds, and I don’t know how I want to use them. I need to get over my intimidation associated with chia seeds. The last time I tried to make a pudding, it wouldn’t gelatinize for me. (Maybe I didn’t give it enough time.) So I’m going to follow one of YOUR recipes (with 100% precision) because that way I KNOW it will turn out well. It’s great to have a blog where I can trust any and all of the recipes without a second thought.

    By the way, I wish I could have breakfast with you!

  20. I love the title sister 🙂 its really good as well as this entire post and your entire blog, it is a revelation. The layout of this post is exquisite. Thank you for the recipe 😀

  21. Love love the title of this post!!! We both cannot thank you enough for letting us into your home. Everything tasted amazing and the conversation was perfect. Gena, you have so much to offer the world, we are so honored to call you a friend!!

    And you can come work for Twin Cakes anytime 🙂 Muffins were amazing!

  22. My blog is so all over the place – raw vegan dishes, omnivore dishes, wacky stories of me making a fool of myself, chocolate reviews, serious conversations, travel stories… I don’t think anyone could ever pigeon-hole me, although I have had emails saying that people come to my blog to laugh, so that’s a lovely pigeonholing, maybe?

    I am also IN LOVE with these chia puddings! As soon as I finish my bag of seemingly-broken chia by sprinkling them on things (they just won’t gel with liquid, it’s so frustrating), I’ll be buying a different brand and making these!

  23. see, there was a reason i’m missing you because um, i want that breakfast. i’m too scared to try chai seed pudding myself.

    but i totally get ping’d for my blog: i’m either the ED girl of the birder/environmental girl. sometimes it erks me, sometimes it doesn’t. 🙂

  24. Just curious, for the muffins, did you melt the coconut oil before blending with the liquids, or did you just process it cold with the bananas?

  25. Sounds like a wonderful breakfast! I too am a big chia pudding and muffin fan. I am sure you filled them up well for the trip home.

    I’m a big fan of Lori and Michelle as well. I appreciate both your blog and theirs for showing how one does not have to be all raw to integrate aspects of raw food into ones life.

    Some people do get confused about whether I am all raw or not because my other dietary restrictions are unbending, and I was more strict about raw once. But after I explain it they are fine with it and perhaps even relieved that we can go out and eat Indian or something.

  26. YES! Sometimes people in my real life feel like they can’t talk to me honestly about their bodies or body image woes, because I’m into that “radical self-acceptance thing” or that “I have perfect body image” – which is SO very, very far from the truth! I find it endlessly interesting, which is why I focus my blog on those topics, but I am by no means perfect! I find the whole thing hilarious. I have to plead with them to remember that they can just talk to me like they normally would have before Medicinal Marzipan… loved this post btw. xoxo

  27. The best breakfasts are usually low-key anyway but it looks like you put a lot of thought into those muffins. And how brave to bake for bakers!
    I don’t think my blog (or person) gets pigeon-holed unless it’s of my own doing in what I imagine people to expect of me. When I write on my blog, I tone things down a bit from when I’m writing for a different audience (I also write a food zine and am more upfront in that because it is mostly for my friends) but I’ve recently been a little more aware of that and just try to be me – a little advice I learned from you.

  28. Yes sometimes it does for sure. Particularly with the raw foods label. I don’t mind that label provided it isn’t the dogmatic raw foods label, as I am FAR from that as a person and in my eating style.
    I do find it can be a bit limiting in conversations with new readers and clients though, who think I can only help them to eat more raw foods when actually I work with clients to improve and upgrade their lifestyle, find their passion and bring it into their life, love their body and have much more self confidence and esteem, create a more compassionate and caring life and mindset, break through limiting beliefs, improve their diet overall no matter whether it’s raw or not, and to detoxify their body and heal.
    It’s obviously hard for someone to label my blog all that in a few words though right? 😉

  29. That looks like such a great breakfast! I love chia puddings with fresh fruit in the summer. Your photos are gorgeous!

    The question about pigeonholing is a good one. I started my blog when I went back to school in hopes that it would help me find my voice. As someone with a background in writing and publishing, I wanted to give myself space to explore and work through all the new things I was encountering. I do get anxious about being labeled as “one of those healthy living bloggers,” but try not to let that fear loom too large.

    Since I’m training to become an RD and getting my masters in nutrition, I have a lot to share about food and health but I try to avoid sounding like I think I know it all because I don’t! I’ll always still be learning and growing, and I hope my readers will be forgiving and enjoy the process right along with me.

  30. What a sweet post!! This is too funny because I literally just tried my first chia pudding and linked to BOTH of your blogs! I made pumpkin pudding and loved it, once I blended it in the vita. Thanks to all 3 of you for your constant inspiration. Very excited about this GF muffin recipe!

  31. I am SO envious (in a good way of course!!) I wish we all lived closer to one another so meet ups like yours could happen more often 🙂 I am SO inspired by all three of you and like you am proud of the raw/vegan title 🙂 xoxo

  32. Oh what a wonderful meetup!!

    I met one half of the twin tag team duo at FoodBuzz and Lori was every bit as sweet, kind, compassionate and awesome in person as she is on her blog. I would love to meet Michelle and you, too, Gena!

    Lovely spread…the chia puddings, the muffins, and going out for coffee…perfect!

    Being pigeonholed…omg I fall prey to it all the time. When I first started blogging, 100% of everything I made was vegan and GF, most of it raw. That has changed quite a bit in the past 6-9 months and I love the change but sometimes people are a bit confused b/c they still associate me with raw/vegan. And then I will get questions about the “healthiness” level of some dessert I made which is clearly not raw/vegan/GF and have to say, hey, it’s dessert…I never said it was healthy 🙂

  33. My blog is not famous enough to be pigeon holed haha but I admire that your blog is varied and features many facets of your life. Because after all we are more than just we eat!! This breakfast looks yummy 🙂