COVID-19 Baking: Gluten-Free Muffins and Banana Bread – “Just the Good Stuff”

Just the Good Stuff Cookbook by Rachel Mansfield

Healthy Childhood Favorite Makeover

Cinnabon + Cinnamon Rolls

One of my favorite childhood memories was going to the mall with my grandparents to get a Cinnabon. The irresistible smell of cinnamon was so enticing, and biting into the warm bun was so delicious.

Rachel Mansfield, one of my favorite healthy cooks, has recreated this childhood favorite into a gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar-free healthy makeover. The recipe calls for baking this in a cake pan, but I changed the presentation to bake the dough in individual mini decorative cakes.  For other healthy recipe favorite makeovers, check out her blog and her new cookbook, Just the Good Stuff. If you thought you could never eat your favorite girl scout cookies due to the ingredients, you will be delighted to bake and share her healthy versions.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories of food, and how have you changed the ingredients for a healthy makeover?

Rachel Mansfield and Banana Nut Loaf
Rachel Mansfield and Banana Nut Loaf

What I'm Baking

Cookbook and Oats

Welcome to food freedom: 100+ recipes that prove you can make healthy choices without sacrificing the meals, snacks, and sweets you love—with plenty of gluten-free, Paleo, and plant-based options.

Rachel Mansfield’s vibrant debut cookbook proves that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean adhering to restrictive diets or giving up all the foods you crave. Using better-for-you ingredients, such as grain-free flours, collagen peptides, and coconut sugar, you can indulge while still maintaining a balanced approach to eating.

Gluten-Free
Nutritious
Whole Grain
Vegan

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats “has been rolled in a classic-style thickness, making them easy to prepare on the stove or in the microwave.” I use these oats for many meals from oatmeal in the morning to muffins and baking adventures! I make my flour using these oats by putting it through a food processor!

Baking

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Roll Cake

Rachel Mansfield Gluten-Free Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake with Coconut Glaze
Rachel Mansfield Gluten-Free Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake with Coconut Glaze

Special Thanks to Rachel Mansfield for her Gluten-Free “Cinnabon” Cinnamon Roll Cake Recipe and the Homemade Coconut Butter Recipe found on her website.

If you love cinnamon rolls, you can also check out her recipe for peanut butter cinnamon rolls with coconut glaze on page 53 of Just The Good Stuff.

INGREDIENTS for Cinnamon Roll Cake:

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 5 tablespoons water OR sub 2 pasture-raised eggs)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 cup mashed banana or unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup Koia Protein Vanilla Bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

INGREDIENTS for Cinnamon Roll Topping:
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar (I recommend this over honey/maple syrup, so you have a grainy base)
1 tablespoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the pan with coconut oil spray
2. In a large bowl cream together the flax eggs, banana or applesauce, coconut oil, sugar, Koia or non-dairy milk and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy
3. Mix in the oat flour, cinnamon, and baking powder until smooth
4. Add to the pan or baking dish then mix together cinnamon roll toppings in a smaller bowl and sprinkle on top
5. Bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes or until ready
6. Drizzle some extra coconut butter on top if desired (that is what is pictured!) and enjoy! See below for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (I like to use organic)
Food processor (make sure it is a strong one!)
Optional add-in’s: vanilla extract, cinnamon, sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Add coconut flakes to a food processor and turn on to pulse
2. Allow the processor to pulse the coconut shreds for about 5 minutes then gently scrape down the sides of it
3. Blend in a food processor for another 3-5 minutes or until creamy
4. If you are adding in any add-in’s, do so now then blend another minute
5. Store in an airtight jar for about two weeks on the counter (don’t store in the fridge or it will harden)

I made my coconut butter to decorate on top of my cinnamon roll cakes, but Rachel Mansfield also recommends this pre-made version.

This Nordic Ware Ruffled Medallion Dessert Mold is functional and aesthetically pretty. The ridged mold makes any baking beautiful with the ridge design. Lightly spray with coconut oil, pour your batter mixture in and stick in the oven! The baked cinnamon roll cake recipe turned into individual cinnamon mini-cakes perfect for displaying and then enjoying.

  • Holds about 3 cups of batter.
  • PFOA-free nonstick coating

The Koia Vanilla Bean Protein Shake is “a healthy take on a vanilla milkshake! This protein-packed bottle is satisfyingly sweet and creamy without excess sugar.” It is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan. Brown rice, pea, and chickpea are combined into a unique plant protein to support your body’s natural renewal and maintenance. You can find it at your local market (I got mine delivered through Instcart). It is the “secret ingredient” that adds to the flavor to the cinnamon roll cakes.

Favorite Family Minis

Zucchini and Carrot Mini Muffins
Banana Chocolate Mini Loaves

The situation and reality of living through COVID-19 and quarantine have caused me to be more intentional about eating healthy and baking more from scratch. Baking at home can be budget-friendly instead of buying a health or nutrition bar from the grocery store or enjoying a gluten dairy-free and refined sugar-free dessert from one of my favorite restaurants like  Sage Vegan Bistro or M Cafe (they are both open for take-out, pick-up, and delivery.) I like how I can see exactly what is going into what I eat and I know how it was prepared in my own kitchen environment.

My lifestyle is full of clean, fresh vegetables, fruit, and protein, where I watch my sugar intake. However, in moderation, these favorite family minis are fantastic because of their size.

The ingredients of gluten-free oats as the base make these mini’s healthy and nutritious. Enjoy both of these treats warm! Scroll down for recipes for Zucchini and Carrot Mini Muffins and Banana Chocolate Mini Loaves.

Zucchini Carrot Mini Muffins, Dark Chocolate Mini Banana Loaves
Zucchini Carrot Mini Muffins Ingredients

Zucchini Carrot Mini Muffin Recipe
(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

I am known as the Muffin Girl because I love to transform and incorporate recipes into muffin form, whether it be for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or dinner. You can refrigerate or freeze the excess, so when that early morning zoom call meeting comes, you can just heat it and enjoy it! No utensils required!

This delicious gluten, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free muffins are lightly sweetened with coconut sugar. The oat base as flour and the added carrots and zucchini makes this muffin so moist and extra nutritious. I run the grated carrots through the mini food processor, so you don’t see the carrots in the final product. They taste best warm and for added flavor and nutrition smear some peanut, almond, or sunflower butter on top. These muffins are perfect for making ahead and serving.

Pop these delicious and nutritious minis’ in your mouth and enjoy!

I enjoy baking with Silpat’s innovative mini-muffin pan and signature baking tray! The perforated aluminum tray promotes even heat conduction while supporting the lightweight, flexible pan, and both pieces are nonstick for effortless release and cleanup (reusable and dishwasher safe).

  • No parchment paper needed, and no need to grease!
  • Turns out 20 mini muffins, pastry shells, or mini quiches.
  • Muffins are easily released from the mold without sticking

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 flax egg (vegan option) or 1 regular egg
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw nuts or seeds (any type)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Extract the excess moisture from the zucchini by wrapping it in a large paper towel or clean kitchen towel and squeezing, discarding the liquid
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flax egg, applesauce, nondairy milk, vanilla, and coconut oil and mix well
  4. Add the oat flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix until well combined. Fold in the zucchini, carrots, and nuts.
  5. Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each one about three-quarters of the way.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean 25 to 28 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Banana Chocolate Mini Loaf (nuts optional) Recipe
(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Most everyone has their favorite banana bread recipe passed down to them, but try this one. Even the most finicky skeptic will love this healthy, clean gluten, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free version.  Rachel’s recipe in her book calls to use dark chocolate chunks and to bake it in a regular loaf pan, but I modified it by pouring the batter in mini loaf pans using mini chocolate chips. Each loaf size is perfect to enjoy without overdoing it. It is easy to freeze and share. Rachel’s popular blog and Instagram have several recipes for banana bread, which she posts often. It was this banana bread recipe that blew up her Instagram!

I love using this mini loaf silicone pan from Silpat. There is no need for any additional oil to prep the silicone baking tray. The mini loaves are baked to perfection and tumble out when done. Clean up is effortless. This silicone pan would make a perfect gift for a friend or family member who loves to bake. Look for my upcoming post in which I will be featuring brownies baked in a Silpat brownie tray for Father’s Day brunch. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 flax egg (vegan option), or 1 regular egg
  • 1 1/2 cup creamy seed or nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup sprouted gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon DIY paleo baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped dairy-free dark chocolate

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the over to 350 Degrees Farinheight
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flax egg, banana, seed butter, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla, and coconut oil until well combined.
  3. Add the oat flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, and baking powder and mix until well combined. Fold in the dark chocolate.
  4. Pour the batter into the mini loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula
  5. Bake for about 45 min, until the edges and top are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before removing it from the pan. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Flax Egg: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons filtered water = 1 egg.
Stir together flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and place in a fridge, uncovered, to set for about 15 minutes before using.

DIY Paleo Baking Powder: 1/2 cup cream of tartar with 1/4 cup baking soda.
Mix in a small jar with a tight lid and store it in a cool, dry place. It will keep for a couple of months.

Silpat’s innovative mini loaf pan is ideal for baking petite quick bread, pound cake, and cornbread. The lightweight, flexible material optimizes heat conduction for consistent, outstanding results. It’s coated in food-grade silicone that offers effortless release and eliminates the need for greasing.

  • Creates 9 petite loaves with tender centers and golden finishes.

Sweet Laurel’s Chocolate Chips are handmade by their local chocolatier and have two ingredients: made with cacao and maple sugar only! “They are the only paleo and vegan chocolate chips on the market, and completely delicious additions to cookies, pancakes, brownies, and more!” Enjoy!

Sweet Laurel also sells 70% Cacao Bars in packs of 3.

Lost and Wander Floral lavender face Mask
Lost and Wander Non-Medical Grade Floral Face Mask, Olive and Pique Lavender Vita Boater Hat, Candytuft flowers

Be Kind, Be Safe

Candytuft Seeds
Candytuft is a moderately short growing wildflower that produces clusters of gorgeous flowers, in shades of pink, white and purple.

Flowers: I love Candytuft flowers! You can get the candytuft seed packets off Amazon in a variety of colors. These plants behind me started so small and have grown each year and multiplied! Similarly, a small act of kindness planted in faith can blossom into a life full of love that multiplies. I recognize that in order to have beautiful growth in a human soul and garden, the weeds of life need to be addressed and pulled out from the root. I hope you can plant seeds of kindness in your communities daily and water the loving seeds already planted into your heart.

Non-Medical-Grade Mask (what I am wearing above): Lost + Wander masks– comes in a pack of 3 in a variety of prints/fabric. “100% of the profits made from the online purchase of these masks will be donated towards further helping our healthcare providers and medical practitioners who are bravely working to keep our families and communities safe and healthy.”

“Love One Another. Listening and learning in love and acting in faith.”
Courtney Elise Signature

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