Spinach Bran Muffins, a Healthy St Patrick’s Day Snack

Happy St Patrick’s Day 2021! This St Patrick’s Day is like no other in history. A global pandemic is making it nearly impossible to drink green beer with friends in a crowded bar. If I can’t partake in beer with unnatural food coloring in it then I might as well head in the opposite direction. I will bake the healthiest bran muffins known to man! What would make a bran muffin even more healthy? Why creating a chock full of iron version. Then add even more fiber-filled spinach of course! Then make them gluten-free! So ask yourself, are you ready to be regular the day after St Patrick’s Day?

St Patrick's Day
Once upon a time in Munich, many beers were had.

Last March 17th I had only been furloughed from work for one week. Being off work for a month seemed an absolutely insane concept. Oh early 2020 Amber, what little you knew about global pandemics and toilet paper shortages. Cancel culture was a term I had never heard of and free speech was still a thing most Americans took for granted. Remember the good old days? You know, when Donald Trump was president?

Whoever would have guessed a year of unemployment was on my personal horizon? As I sat at home on St Patrick’s Day 2020, not dressed in my awesome work outfit; green bow tie and suspenders, the thought of a global pandemic seemed so surreal. 2020 Amber had no idea that she would spend almost an entire year unemployed. Maybe that is why St Patrick’s Day 2021 seems like a big deal. After the shit storm that 2020 was and a year of basically being unemployed, I could go for a green beer with friends; Nasal cooties and preservatives be damned!

How about a green muffin instead?

In a perfect world, yes, maybe we would leave our isolated mountain cocoon rural town. Perhaps we would meet friends for libations in all the green colors. But here in our mountain home of Big Bear Lake, our family is still being safe at home. Even if our ridiculous governor says it’s perfectly fine now for Californias to dine out at the Olive Garden and also get their nails done. It seems insane to me when the pandemic is at its most contagious and our ER’s are overflowing with sickies. I think I will just stay at home and celebrate with green gluten-free muffins.

St Patrick's Day
“I’ll take my green muffin now”

That is how I found myself spending my St Patrick’s Day 2021 hanging out with my pets, snowshoeing and making delicious and healthy green muffins. Not at the same time. My St Patrick’s Day morning started with a snowshoe hike up into the wilderness near our home. We ran into multiple doggo friends and much fun and butt-sniffing was had. (The humans just said hello from a six-foot social distance)

Returning home to our cabin in the early afternoon I convinced the kittens to check out the fresh snow. Even though they both hail from snowy climates, (Sasha is a Russian Blue and Leo is a noble Norwegian Forest Cat) both kittens decide they would rather stay inside by the roaring fire and their bed full of catnip. While they were resting I grabbed a healthy green St Patrick’s Day snack.

Did someone say green muffins this St Patrick’s Day?

St Patrick's Day

Morning exercise snowshoeing and two hours of shoveling snow completed it was time to start baking! St Patrick’s Day 2021 means let’s bake something green! With fiber in it! I mean 2020 is in the rearview mirror at this point and every household has toilet paper again. Why not?

It may be the tradition to have a corned beef roast for St Patrick’s Day but nothing is ordinary here in 2021. Why do something ordinary like shoving a corned beef in the crockpot all day while I’m out snowshoeing trails? I would rather sweat out in the snow all morning and then come home and bake. If you are feeling festive then why not purchase some St Patrick’s Day swag for taking selfies and such. I mean, you need to celebrate just a little, right? Or you could just bake some fiber-filled green muffins. These healthy green muffins are delicious any time of year not just the end of March.

St Patrick's Day

My favorite tip to making these delicious healthy green muffins is to save the pulp from when you are juicing spinach, carrots and ginger. Throw that in the batter instead of the regular spinach leaves. I love to try and not waste veggies. As much as I love to juice, you always end up throwing out all that good fiber. I can only save so much carrot fiber in the freezer to throw in the pup’s morning kibble. I try to come up with unique options for not wasting my juicing leftovers.

What else can you do with all that green or not-green leftover juice pulp?

  • Throw that green spinach pulp in kale pancakes or spinach waffles
  • Use carrot pulp in carrot cake.
  • Save kale pulp in the freezer to throw in meatballs.
  • Apple ginger pulp tastes great in breakfast muffins.
  • Cucumber pulp is amazing in homemade yogurt tzatziki
  • Use the kale and spinach pulp in your garden to fertilize.

Vegan Gluten-Free Spinach Bran Muffins

2 cups spinach, blanched and blended until smooth

1 cup almond flour

St Patrick's Day

1 cup bran flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup high fiber mix

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pineapple chunks, chopped with 1/8 cup pineapple juice

2 teaspoons dried cranberries

2 teaspoons golden raisins

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey

Mix the honey, melted coconut oil and pureed spinach. Add in the coconut flour, pineapple juice, almond meal, salt, fiber mix and bran flour. Mix in the baking powder, pineapple chunks, cranberries and golden raisins. Layer the dough into baking sheets. Set the trays in an oven preheated to 350. Bake for 35 minutes. When the timer goes off leave the muffins in the oven to cool. (I always do this when baking gluten-free goodies. Gluten-free goodies definitely take longer to cook all the way through)

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