I first became aware of the dangers of nonstick cookware from a student who had a pet bird. Apparently, when you cook with nonstick cookware in the oven, it gives off a gas that can be fatal to the bird. If it is fatal to a bird, isn’t this sort of the canary in the cave for human use of nonstick cookware? We immediately gave away all of our nonstick cookware, but I could not find an alternative to muffin pans. My children love to make and eat muffins. They are quick and easy to make, and you can pack them full of whole grains, nuts, and fruit. Cooking with your child ensures they will eat healthy foods that they have helped prepare and is an opportunity for authentic measuring tasks.
I began to search the Internet for a safer muffin pan. All I could find were cast iron pans, which we use a lot on the stove top, but the muffin cup size was very small. I didn’t want to make mini muffins. So, I posted a question on Debra Lynn Dadd’s Green Living Q & A Blog. Debra has been called the “Queen of Green,” and she is very responsive and helpful. One of her readers suggested the stone muffin pans from the Pampered Chef. The first pan arrived broken, but Pampered Chef quickly sent me another pan. The pans are heavy and similar to the stone pizza pans; however, at least I know they are safe.
Here is our favorite muffin recipe, adapted from the cookbook How it all Vegan. Of course, organic ingredients are best!
1.5 cups cornmeal
1.5 cups flour (I combine whole wheat pastry with unbleached white)
dash of salt
.75 cup sweetener ( I use Sucanat)
.75 tsp baking soda
.25 cup oil
.75 soy milk
.75 cup orange or apple juice (really, any juice will work)
1 tsp vinegar (I use apple cider)
1 cup raspberries (I use blueberries or mixed berries sometimes)
flax seeds (my addition)
Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, salt, sweetener, flax seeds, and baking soda. Add the wet ingredients: oil, milk, juice, and vinegar. Mix together gently until “just mixed.” Add berries. If you use frozen berries, they will not change the color of the dough. Spoon into muffin pan (I line my muffin pans with Unbleached Baking Cups, although I know using oiled tin cups is more eco-friendly). Cook for 25 minutes, then check with a toothpick or knife. Makes 14-16 muffins.
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