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Texas-based pastry chef Becky Kastelz shares a favorite healthy muffin recipe.
Blueberry Flax Muffins
Pastry chef Becky Kastelz loves these muffins because they’re low-fat, have less sugar than a traditional muffin and are versatile—you can swap the blueberries or walnuts for whatever berries or nuts you have handy. “I like to make a big batch and keep them in the freezer,” she says. “I can grab one in the morning as I head off to work and it’s thawed by the time I’m ready for a mid-morning snack.” She recommends trying them with a schmear of almond butter for some extra protein.
1½ cups whole-wheat flour
¾ cup ground flaxseed
¾ cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup almond milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour muffin pans or use cupcake liners. Place raisins in a small bowl. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and pour over the raisins. Let sit for 5 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine flour, flax, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir in grated apple, blueberries, drained raisins and walnuts. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add almond milk, eggs and vanilla; stir to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups ¾ full and bake 15–20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Yields 18 muffins.
Meet the Triathlete-Chef
After graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in marine science, Becky Kastelz worked in a research lab before realizing it wasn’t for her. So she pursued a longtime passion by earning a degree in baking and pastry (it exists). “The thing I like about baking is it’s very scientific. You have to be really exact and it’s a lot of planning,” she says. “And I really love the creative side of it as well.”
She’s now the executive pastry chef for Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center in Galveston (the host hotel for Ironman 70.3 Texas). There she oversees the daily baking for the two hotel restaurants. She also teaches pastry arts part-time at Houston Community College.
She started racing triathlon early last year, and being more physically active has influenced her baking style. “I still like to have things that are really delicious, but I’m trying to focus more on making things a little bit healthier,” she says. “So even though it can still be a sweet and a dessert, I like to focus on incorporating more whole grains, whole-wheat flours and a lot of fruit.”
Her husband had raced triathlon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training for years, and she signed up for an Olympic-distance race after going to a TNT kickoff event at the beginning of last year. “I fell in love with the whole TNT community, and being able to have coaches and other teammates that are expecting you to be at practices and cheering you on—it was a great way to get into the sport,” Kastelz says.
She raced three triathlons last year, ran a half-marathon earlier this year and plans to race more tris this summer. Through racing, she’s gained new confidence in herself and a new focus on a healthy lifestyle: “In my early 30s, I’m in the best shape that I have ever been in.”