Toddler-Friendly Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Eureka! I have stumbled upon a vegan pumpkin muffin recipe that’s crumb-resistant, dairy-free, low-sugar and toddler-approved. It’s the unicorn that will make serving up healthy breakfast on weekday mornings that much easier.

I say resistant because just like sunscreen, there’s no truly crumb-proof muffin; however, even my spirited toddler couldn’t take these down in a crumbly blaze of glory. I attribute the “glue” that binds these together to my food processor. I’d imagine a blender would produce the same result.

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Combine the following in a food processor or blender:

  • 2 1/4 cups oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (equals about 8g coconut sugar per muffin, so I might half this next time around)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice

While blending, add the following:

Bake at 350 degrees until a fork comes out clean from the middle of each muffin.

Makes 12 muffins.

Note: I started with the foundational elements of Healthy Helper’s Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes (who adapted the original recipe from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook – as featured on Blissful Basil) and subbed out or modified some of the ingredients to make low-sugar muffins for breakfast.

Breakfast bars of champions

In search of a toddler-friendly breakfast option for busy mornings that’s not too crumbly or sugary, I went to good old Pinterest for inspiration. 

Unfortunately a lot of the easy recipe options called for honey or other sweeteners. So I took a cue from the deliciously simple, classic combo of oats and smashed bananas. 

(Plus peanut butter, but any nut or seed butter will work just fine.)

I hand mixed the following ingredients and then baked it in a muffin tin at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

You can also cut down on dishes by folding the ingredients together over parchment paper in a baking dish and then cut it into bars afterwards.

1 cup oatmeal

1 banana

1/2 cup peanut butter


Egg Meatball Breakfast Bake

Somehow I hit the jackpot this morning by successfully experimenting with eggs and meatballs in a muffin pan. They were David and Emmett approved, to the point that the latter cleaned the scraps off my plate by the eager fistful.


I’ve tried similar recipes from Pinterest before, like this partially successful bread loaf bake, and had mixed results. Today I did a quick search and didn’t find any examples of using meatballs or scaling it back to such a basic and speedy combination. 

With a roll of the dice, it was literally as simple as dropping one meatball and cracking one egg in each of the muffin cups, then baking at 400 degrees until the whites were solid. 


I sprinkled salt and pepper at the end, but ideally you’d do this before baking. (When you’re rushing to clean raw egg off your hands while your toddler is fussing from the other room, you choose your battles.)

The best part is that a full belly led to nap time so I could write this post!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I’m a sucker for good gnocchi, and wanted to use up the abundance of sweet potatoes and almond flour that have been hanging out in my cupboard for a good three months. The kicker is I don’t do ricotta, so I adapted this recipe to make sweet potato gnocchi with goat cheese and my own (mediocre) kale pesto creation. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and takes no more than an hour from start to finish.

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For starters, peel and chop a 2 lb bag of baby sweet potatoes or 2+ large sweet potatoes. Boil for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the sweet potatoes are tender, drain the water and add 1 cup of goat cheese to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, and then add 2 1/2 cups almond meal/flour and combine into a dough-like texture. Roll into bite-size scoops and place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet; bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Note: depending on the sauce you choose, you may want to opt for boiling the gnocchi. That’s what I’m going to try next time for that pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Optional: I made a kale pesto with sauteed kale, olive oil, parmesan cheese and almond milk. This particular combo needs a little more work before it’s ready for the spotlight. Feel free to share your favorite kale pesto recipe in the comments!

Almond Flour Waffles

In my quest to eat less processed or refined foods, and more nutrient-rich foods in their original forms (or close to it), I’ve stumbled my way through some baking disasters. Fortunately, this morning I made my first successful batch of almond flour waffles.

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Thanks to The Daily Dietribe for testing out the right ratios of flour to starch – a key make-or-break factor in baking with nut flours and root starches. I found that adding one egg was necessary to keep the waffles from splitting in half when opening the waffle iron.

Almond Flour Waffles (Adapted from The Daily Dietribe)

1 – 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup almond milk

1 egg

Mix dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients. Combine and whisk in egg. Make sure your waffle iron is greased. You may need to play around with settings and open the iron slowly to make sure waffle is thoroughly cooked.

Final Fling: End of Summer Bites

There’s still time to enjoy the best of summer, without resorting to “it’s complicated.” With flavors at their peak, keeping things simple is the best way to go.

For starters, heirloom tomatoes are worth every penny. So splurge one last time! Simply season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Or slice and serve with fresh avocado (a winter crop in summer’s clothing) or goat milk yogurt and basil.

Peaches are best undressed. While I love a good cobbler or pie, the best way to enjoy them for dessert on warm summer nights is au naturel.

For a refreshing hors d’oeuvre that takes no time, slice a cucumber and top with smoked salmon. Party bonus: The colors will pop on a buffet table.

Mixed company? The options above will make it easy for all dietary persuasions to partake!

Put an Egg On It: Quinoa & Avocado

Ever have one of those mornings where protein is the only thing that will satisfy your hunger? Here’s a healthy way to tame the beast:

Warm a thin layer of pre-cooked (cold leftovers works great) quinoa with a bit of melted butter in a skillet (cast iron will prevent burning). Crack eggs over the top, season with salt, cover and reduce heat to low.

Once they’re close to set, remove from heat to finish cooking through, and serve immediately with avocado.

Steel Cut Oats & Blueberries

What’s healthy, sweet and purple all over? Oatmeal with frozen blueberries added during cook time.

Simply cook steel cut oats according to directions, add frozen blueberries and continue simmering until cooked through. Serve with almond milk and maple syrup, to taste.

Quinoa Burrito Bowl

We’ve made burritos since college, but fortunately our eating habits have become much healthier since then. So tonight I decided to makeover our old standby as a quinoa burrito bowl, apropos for a more health conscious era.

Brown the ground turkey and season with salt, cumin and chili pepper. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and prepare veggies as desired. Serve with a dollop of goat milk yogurt; season with salt, and stir to enjoy. Bye bye burrito!