Friday, January 07, 2011

Frugan: Mac and Peas, 5 Spice Pear Ginger Muffins (sugar and gluten free)

Last night it was cold and blustery outside and I was craving some serious comfort food; specifically Mac and Peas! I cooked up some whole wheat macaroni, pulled out my Vitamix  and blended pasta cooking water, a couple cloves of garlic, 1/2 c white beans and some of my goaty cashew cheese. I undercooked the pasta by 3 minutes and finished cooking it with the sauce. At the end, I added a T of nutritional yeast and peas, a grate of nutmeg and lots of pepper. Yum!

Operation Booty Shrink allows me around 400 calories per mini meal, so I allowed myself 1.5 cups of the creamy goodness. I am finding portion control is getting easier, especially if I eat out of smaller bowls.

I've been hitting the reduced produce bin at my grocery store around 3 times a week. Lately, they have had an abundance of pears, which I scored for $.79/lb. They needed to be used pretty much immediately, so I created a delicious Wheat Free ( and gluten free if you use gluten free oats ) Sugar Free 5 Spice Pear Ginger Muffin. I had some leftover batter, so I used it to top off a healthy Pear Crumble.
Muffins are great because they provide immediate portion control, but I'll be honest. This recipe works better as a bread baked in a 9 by 13 pan for 25 minutes. If you make muffins with it, don't put them in muffin paper. They will stick. I would use a non-stick muffin pan that has been wiped with a bit of oil on a paper towel.

5 Spice Pear Ginger Muffins

  • 2 pears, diced
  • 1.5 T chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 t Kal stevia powder
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 t 5 spice powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 T psyllium husk or flax meal
  • 1.5 c non-dairy milk of choice ( I used my leftover banananog )
  • 1 C old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 c Bob's All Purpose GF Baking Mix
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda 
Method: Pre-Heat oven to 400

  1. Mix everything together very very well in the order listed. 
  2. Scoop into prepared muffin pans ( around 1/4 c per scoop)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes
  4. Let muffins cool for an hour before eating
  5. If you are making these as squares bake in a 9 by 13 pan for 25 minutes
If you made the muffins, you will have a tiny bit of batter leftover. I used it to make a Pear Crumble and it came out great!
I sliced two pears, put a pinch of stevia, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small baking dish. I topped it with the leftover muffin mix and baked for 30 minutes. Yum and really healthy. No sugar, low in fat and wheat free!

I've been wanting to make a healthier crumble/crisp, so I'm really glad I gave this a try. It pays to experiment! I see many more versions of this in the future. Paired with some cultured almond cream, soy yogurt or ice cream could take it in either a breakfast or dessert direction. I think adding some chopped nuts or seeds would be great too. Toasted sesame seeds would be a fun flavor combo here.

What are your favorite flavors when it comes to crisps and crumbles?


  1. Wow, Melody. This all sounds sooo good! Especially the Mac n Peas. I will have to give your goaty cheez recipe a try. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I WANT THIS...All of this!

  3. The mac n' peas sounds so good, and comforting. I'll have to try it soon...along with your goat "cheeze"...I've got all the ingredients and am making it this weekend. Thanks as always for the great recipes!

  4. Your mac n peas looks so light and fresh!
    I bet those muffins smell wonderful!

  5. For me, mac and cheese with broccoli screams comfort food...I may have to give your recipe a try subbing in broccoli for the peas. Or in addition to the peas!

    You always get such great deals at your store in the reduced price bin--I have not seen reduced price bins at any of the local grocery store chains here. Do you shop at a chain grocery store or are you going to a smaller independent type market where there is a reduced price bin?


  6. I was just looking for a new muffin recipe, this looks great!

  7. vanilla:) im boring?

    nutmeg in the mac and peas? i would never have thought that would go, but it does sound really good!

  8. The Mac and Peas looks delicious! I'm definitely going to have to try that!

    I've started a vegan cooking blog myself if everyone wants to check it out:

    Leave your comments and let me know what you think! Thanks!!

  9. I'm super picky about my vegan mac and cheese, and I usually don't like all of the sticky, gluey, uber-rich versions out there... But I must say, yours looks refreshingly different and worth a taste! I'm really enticed by a lighter, easier sauce like this, plus some bright green peas for a bit of balance.

  10. I absolutely love all of the ingredients in your 5 Spice Pear Ginger Muffins!! And they look so yummy!!

    Thank you for sharing your recipe! Can't wait to make them...

    I am looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  11. Made the Mac n Peas. Didn't have any elbow mac and I couldn't wait to try the recipe so I used the penne pasta I had on hand. The recipe was simple and delicious!