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.
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.
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
1/2 cup peanut butter
The stomach bug cast a plague on our house Tuesday night. It was the first time I had to watch my toddler battle through it, while we huddled together in a bath tub quarantine. As his appetite returned, I found ways to modify my own BRAT menu for his palate.
Here are some of the things that worked well for breakfast, lunch and dinner:
The good news is he recovered quickly, and knock on wood, mom and dad didn’t get it!
A sudden craving for French toast paired with a leftover baguette led to a new approach to eggs cups this morning.
In each cup of a muffin tin, crack one egg and add a splash of almond milk (vanilla works great for a French toast flavor, or unsweetened for a savory option).
Next take a slice of a French or sourdough baguette (previously buttered is a bonus) and submerge one in each muffin cup. Flip it over with a fork to get the bread nice and soaked.
Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through.
They’re tasty with maple syrup for a sweet French toast inspired breakfast…
Or savory with ketchup. Cheese would be good too!
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!
With a limited window of time to make dinner and workout, I whipped together this super quick meal: oven-roasted squash and zucchini paired with homemade turkey meatballs.
Preheat oven to about 400 degrees and then prep the veggies:
Toss two sliced summer squash and two zucchini with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme in an oven-safe casserole dish.
Next, prep the meatballs:
Mix 1 lb ground turkey with a generous scoop of almond meal, a scoop of unsweetened and shredded coconut, 1 egg, salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme. Scoop 1/4-cup or smaller spoonfuls into a buttered casserole dish.
Bake both dishes for about 30 minutes, or until veggies are tender and meatballs are cooked through.
More thyme for you!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
Forgot to pull out the crock pot? Even without a grill, these ribs won’t rub you the wrong way. In fact, the rub is what makes these speedy, BBQ-like short ribs meat-and-potatoes-guy approved.
The technique and an expanded ingredient list comes from Better Homes & Gardens, but I took many shortcuts for the sake of getting dinner ready in less than two hours, which is the minimum for most short rib recipes. Who has time for wood chips? Here’s my Cliff Notes version:
In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Place short ribs (optional but recommended: trim fat first) in a casserole dish and rub with the mixture.
Bake covered in foil at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, then brown on both sides on a grill pan before serving.
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!