Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins

The Recipe of the Month is back in action! :) This month it is another muffin recipe, but I couldn't help myself. A couple Mondays ago we were sick (again) with colds and I was juicing and had leftover carrot pulp (very similar to shredded carrots). And I decided to save it and throw it in the next batch of muffins. And the first attempt was a success! Meet my new muffin recipe: Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins. 

As you may know my kids won't eat much of anything unless it has maple syrup in it or on it. Thus, I sneak veggies in our muffins as much as I can. Of course it has their favorite ingredient and I know I have a long way to go as the chef of two picky eaters. But, the small wins are sometimes what keeps me going. 

The recipe is posted below and you can also print it. Please note that the best way to make is per the directions below, but because I am a busy mom I usually do it all in one bowl. I start with the wet ingredients, blend them all real nice and then add the dry and blend them together. For me it works good enough and maybe it should be how I have the recipe officially. If you try it both ways and see no difference please let me know.

Happy Pumpkin-Spice season my friends and red wine for those who have been waiting for the switch to white or rose to red. 

Nourish and love yourself up this month with these muffins and whatever else you need. Thanks for reading!

These are my favorite muffin/cupcake liners!

These are my favorite muffin/cupcake liners!

This is how the batter should look

This is how the batter should look

My muffin thief :) 

My muffin thief :) 

Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins – No dairy or refined sugar

Serves: 12 muffins

Ingredients

Liquid Ingredients
5 eggs
¾ cup organic pumpkin
¼ cup melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
¼  cup melted coconut oil
⅛ tsp liquid stevia
½ cup of shredded carrots*

Dry Ingredients
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
1 TB pumpkin spice
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.    In a large bowl, whisk your eggs, and then add in the remaining wet ingredients: eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and stevia until well combined. Once mixed, fold in the shredded carrots.

3.    In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: coconut flour, gluten-free flour mix, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt and mix together.

4.    Pour wet into the dry-ingredient bowl and mix until all ingredients are blended; do not over-mix. 

5.    Scoop the muffin mixture into a 12-cup muffin pan with parchment cupcake paper liner (or grease). I use a big spoon or a ¼ measuring cup and fill each muffin about 2/3 to 3/4 full. 

6.    Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until cooked fully. You can tell if cooked fully by using a toothpick. If nothing comes out of the toothpick they are done. Note: times vary due to ovens.

7.    Remove from oven and let cool.

8.    Enjoy! Serve with butter or nut butter. If you like it more sweet you can top with honey or jam or even make a cream cheese frosting and call it dessert! Enjoy!

 Quick Instructions:

 Please note I often skip using two bowls and first follow the instructions in step 1 and mix all of my wet ingredients and  then I add in the dry ingredients in one bowl and stir well. This is an option for those of you interested in saving a bowl and a little time. :)

 *Note: for shredded carrots use your shredded. Also, I have used the pulp from the carrots from    juicing and that works   out great too! 

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins Upgraded

Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins Upgraded was a recipe created with my attempt to sneak in more protein and veggies into my kiddos. Seriously, it has been a battle to get my kiddos to eat whole food. A couple months ago I felt like my daughter would only eat gluten-free bread (with nothing on it) and my son is still begging for a bar or "cereal" at every meal. And this is after I sometimes make yummy homemade meals. Ha! Instead of push my kiddos, my approach is to offer and let it go. Eventually they will realize what tastes good, fills them up and makes them feel good. So I choose to offer, offer and offer some more. All of my nutritionist friends say that is the best you can do. My lack of giving two you-know-whats with regards to what they eat has helped our family in the food department. That is the last thing I am going to pressure them to do. I believe they are smart and will figure it out. What I can control is what and how I eat in front of them And of course that is a work in progress as well (yes, I often eat standing up and I wonder why my digestion is off). A recent win: I found them both munching on hummus and carrots! Also, my daughter said this week, "mom, I am liking the food you make better lately." She even ate a sprouted corn tortilla with the tacos. Wins all around!!

Also, on Saturday my daughter put some salad on her plate, but then later said, "this is for looks!" I guess someday she will realize how delicious salads are. With my food-healing journey, there was a time when a bite or two of lettuce would make me so sick. I remember the summer of 2014 when I was cooking (or blending) every vegetable that I consumed because otherwise I would get really sick. It was really the last thing I wanted to do when it was 90 degrees and sunny. However, I can enjoy salads again now and I definitely appreciate it! 

So what are the upgraded ingredients in these lovely muffins? I snuck in almond butter and spinach/applesauce puree. My original recipe was straight spinach puree and then an applesauce/carrot pouch. However, I cannot find them separate and Target had spinach applesauce pouches and it worked! I also upped the amount of eggs you typically find in muffins for added protein, along with coconut flour and coconut oil. For texture I used the Bob's 1:1 Gluten Free Flour mix and that I think pulls them all together. Finally, there is maple syrup to sweeten them up.

Variations:

  • Add peanut butter (in place of almond butter). Can you say Peanut Butter Cup Muffins? Yes please. 
  • Birthday cupcakes - Top with frosting. You can keep it simple by melting chocolate chips and adding sprinkles on top or make your own homemade chocolate which is always fun to do (with maple syrup, coconut oil and cocoa). 
  • I shredded unsweetened cocoa with a cheese grater into the batter because I ran out of cocoa powder and then when the came out I put some on top. It was messy, but the kiddos loved it. :) 

And the RECIPE...please!!! 

Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins Upgraded
Serves: 12 muffins

Ingredients

Liquid Ingredients
2 spinach/apple pouches (approx. 3 oz)
5 eggs
¼ cup almond butter (if it's dry I would add a little extra coconut oil)
3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup melted coconut oil

Dry Ingredients
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour mix
¼ cup of cocoa powder or cacao powder (both work great)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: coconut flour, gluten-free flour mix, cocoa/cacao powder, baking soda, and salt and mix.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs, and then add in the remaining wet ingredients: spinach/apple pouches, almond butter, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil until well combined.
4. Pour wet into the dry-ingredient bowl and mix until all ingredients are blended, but do not over-mix. 
5. Scoop the muffin mixture into a 12-cup muffin pan with parchment cupcake paper liner (or grease). I use a big spoon and fill each muffin about 2/3 to 3/4 full. 
6. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until cooked fully. You can tell if cooked fully by using a toothpick. If nothing comes out of the toothpick they are done. Note: times vary due to ovens.
7. Remove from oven and let cool. 
8. Enjoy! Serve with butter or nut butter. If you like it more sweet you can top with honey or jam or even make a frosting for it for more of a dessert option! 

For a couple days I don't have to mess up my kitchen or feel bad that I am popping yet another gluten-free waffle in the toaster. It's not that there is anything wrong with any choices for food, but I would like my kids to not get sick of waffles and find a bit of balance/variety! :) 

I hope you enjoy giving these a try in your kitchen. This Memorial weekend might just be the weekend to try a big batch of them and take them on a breakfast picnic or as an on-the-go snack! My kids don't complain when I feed them chocolate muffins. Thus, I am sold on these Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins Upgraded! Let me know what you think!

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Are you every looking for a recipe that is quick, easy, and has a short ingredient list? How do Peanut Butter Granola Bars sound? This is great for everyone: big kids and little kids! Peanut Butter Granola Bars were created when I felt tired of buying the store-bought granola bars and wanted to have a quick snack for my kids. Yes, there is 'sweet*' in it, but there are wholesome ingredients too. In my world of parenting sometimes the simple bowl of oatmeal does not get consumed and having a little fiber, protein and fat in their diet is a better snack then just a piece of fruit or plain bread. My daughter (age five) recently told me she would only eat these if I put chocolate in them. I tried to create something delicious and still fell short in her mind. The last couple batches I have refused her request, but maybe some day I will sneak some in or even melt a few chocolate chips and spread on top for a frosting. That is surely to get her right?

I usually make up recipes in my kitchen because I rarely have time to find the recipe or the attention span to actually follow them with my kiddos running around. I also love it because it taps into my creativity and is faster than following a recipe. I have my go-to recipes and this is one that is easily in the mix. My next goal in the recipe department is how to sneak in veggies and other goodness into recipes so my kiddos will actually have some of the good guys (veggies/fiber) to feed their guts. I also love these Peanut Butter Granola Bars because they are EASY and FAST and makes a good amount. You can also get creative by making different variations. If you want them sweeter you can add in dried fruit. If you want more of a crunch you could add in other nuts or sub out for the coconut. And then there is the chocolate addition that would make a nice compliment to the rich peanut butter. I know my daughter is waiting for the day that I try the chocolate frosting version. If you do not like or eat peanut butter you could try with sunflower butter. I personally keep them as simple as possible because again, if there is anything crazy like a nut that is bigger than the almonds in there, the kiddos might think they are good for them. :)

Also, this is one of the recipes that I haven never tasted myself. Right now oats rip up my stomach (or that is my last reaction to them) and peanut butter and maple syrup were high on my Mediator Release Testing (MRT) results. This is a food sensitivities test I did last fall (2015) as a part of my healing journey and will be writing more about it. For more on my story go to my About Page. If you want more information on the MRT test click here. My most recent personal experience was In December: I ate a few of our vegan Christmas cookies and the maple syrup and spices made me not feel great. I am not sure if it was the maple syrup or the gluten-free flour or just perhaps too many sweet things at once; however, I was reminded of the freedom of choice and how each food choice is made for different reasons. Some are for our health and physical body and others are for the soul. This example for me felt like a choice to fill up my soul.  It felt really good to actually eat a cookie with my kiddos while making our annual cookies with Nana and Baba. And it also made me not want a cookie for a while because I indulged AND it didn't make me feel good. And that is where the freedom comes from. Your choices are INFORMATION that teach you something to learn from and use for future choices. And sometimes you decide feeling not so good after a baking session with the kiddos is okay because it feels good for the soul to eat a cookie and experience the process with your kids. I am just understanding the importance of this freedom in my own healing journey and I encourage you to ask yourself what your body and soul need in your food choices and food experiences.

I hope you give this Peanut Butter Granola Bar recipe a try! And if for some reason they don’t turn out, you can always turn them into cereal and pour in a bowl. We have done that a many times at our house when I am trying to attempt a new granola-bar recipe. Enjoy in the morning for breakfast or for a snack and with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

P.S. *Sweet - If you wonder why I reference sweet vs. natural sugar it is because I want to speak and share the language we use at our house. "Sweet" is simply is our code word for saying there is natural sugar in food. We are doing everything in our power at home to try to talk about food be what nourishes and fuels are body and stay away from good and bad. I also tried very hard to make a granola recipe without dates or dried fruit because sometimes that can be too 'sweet' in our world. Even though I know they make a great bar and hold together amazing.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Serves: 8 medium bars; 16 small bars

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free oats
¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds (toasted or raw)
¼ unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup organic natural peanut butter (salted)
5 tablespoons maple syrup
5 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

1.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, almonds, and coconut
2.  In a small saucepan, mix together maple syrup and coconut oil and stir over medium-low heat. Once melted, add in the peanut butter and gently stir (I like to use a whisk) ingredients until melted and fully incorporated.
3.  Remove from heat and pour and stir into the dry ingredients until evenly mixed in.
4.  Pour mixture into a well-greased (I use coconut oil) 8 x 8 pan (I prefer glass).
5.  Chill bars covered in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
6.  Remove and cut into 16 bars. For larger bars slice into 8 bars.
7.  Enjoy! If they are not gobbled up immediately, store in refrigerator. Use the same pan or remove and stack in a different container. For individual portions, wrap in wax paper or saran wrap to keep fresh for easy on-the-go bars!