One of the cardinal rules of fighting high cholesterol is "Incorporate oats into your diet." There are lots of ways to do this: eat oatmeal every day, eat healthy versions of oatmeal cookies, add oat bran to your morning cereal, and more.
When I found out I'd have to lower my cholesterol (later, I found out it was actually the function of an under-active thyroid gland), I bought a copy of The New 8-Week Cholesterol Cure. I read the book, marking quite a bit of it with pink post-it tabs for items to return to later.
In the back of the book is a list of very useful and healthy recipes. The one I picked for my first foray into cholesterol-butt-kicking cooking was Banana Nut Muffins. These muffins are completely oaty. The recipe does not use any flour at all, but instead uses oat bran cereal (which is just oat bran). I'd bought one of those nice, big, relatively inexpensive bags of organic oat bran from Trader Joe's to add the stuff to my hot cereal, so I had it in the house. Ironically (I thought), the recipe includes 2 eggs (or 4-oz of egg substitute), but the book gives instructions for taking phytosterol supplements to offset the eggs. It's an interesting idea that actually works.
The resulting muffins are mighty hearty, yet not nearly as dense as I had imagined they would be. I substituted a few items, and in the future, I would definitely add some raisins, vanilla, and more spices. The original recipe did not include any spices. I can only imagine how plain they tasted. Many of the other recipes seem like they need seasoning (no salt at all!) as well, but I can work with that.
Here's my version of the recipe:
Banana Nut Oat Bran Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.
2 1/4 cups oat bran
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 oz pureed ripe bananas
2 beaten eggs (or 4 oz egg substitute)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line your muffin pan with baking cups and spray them lightly with canola oil.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the oat bran, baking powder, and apple pie spice.
3. In a separate bowl (or a very large measuring cup), mix together the agave nectar, almond milk, bananas, eggs, and canola oil until very well combined.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Fold in the walnuts and mix for 1 minute. ***Important: Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes. This allows the oat bran to soak up some of the liquid and soften.
6. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out the batter into each of the cups until they are filled evenly. They will have to reach the tops. These will not puff out like typical muffins will.
7. Bake for approximately 18 minutes until they are golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
8. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before releasing the cups and letting the muffins cool completely on a wire rack.
9. Spread with your favorite fruit spread or nut-butter and enjoy!