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Christine Speno
Palm Coast Saturday, Sep. 1, 2012 8 years ago

The lighter side of muffins, with Christine Speno

by: Shanna Fortier Associate Editor

A couple months back I shared my love of banana bread and my struggle with the cardboardness of the healthy recipe alternatives I found. One reader, Christine Speno, commented on that story saying that in her weight loss quest and kitchen experiments, she has discovered a low sugar/low calorie banana nut muffin.

A single muffin totals out at 81 calories when made with Splenda brown and 88 calories with regular brown sugar. The omission of walnuts brings the calorie count down to 70 and 77 respectively, but Speno stands tall in her opinion the muffin is just better with them.

Speno and her husband both love to cook, it runs in the family. So when the two of them decided to lose weight, it just seemed natural to find healthy alternatives for ingredients. With the assistance of the Fitness Pal smart phone application, which calculates the nutritional value of recipes, together, the Speno’s have lost 25 pounds, each.

And that is how this recipe was born.

Of course, it has taken several zigs and zags along the way. Replacing oil with applesauce and making her own vanilla extract instead of buying it and toasting the walnuts.

“For me I think it’s important to use natural ingredients, so the homemade vanilla adds something,” Speno said.

Banana Nut Muffins – Low sugar/low calorie

What you need:
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Few sprinkles of ground cloves and ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup mashed bananas
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (no sugar added)
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup Splenda brown sugar blend or ¼ cup regular brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup chopped and toasted walnuts

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non‐stick spray or for a healthier option, brush pan lightly with grape seed or canola oil.

Mix dry ingredients together (flours, baking soda, baking powder and spices). In another bowl, mix together the mashed banana, sugars, vanilla and egg. Add applesauce.

Sift dry ingredients into banana mixture and mix just until blended. Mix in walnuts. Pour into prepared muffin pan (makes 9) and bake for 15‐18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


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