Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I love fall!  I love the cooler weather, the warmer clothes, and the fall foods.  I don’t love how tight my pants feel when I eat the traditional fall foods, though, so I’m always on the lookout for healthier fall treats.  These pumpkin muffins are perfect for this–they fit into my food plan so there is no need to feel guilty, they don’t make my pants tighter, and they taste awesome!  Win win!

I’ve been making these muffins for the past couple of years, and they really are awesome any time of year since you can get pumpkin year round (in my area anyway), but there is nothing like making pumpkin treats when the weather cools down and the leaves start changing color.  The recipe calls to top each muffin with pumpkin seeds, which is delicious, but when I don’t have pumpkin seeds I use the same amount of chopped walnuts.  Either way is great!

For those on the same Fix eating plan, each muffin is 1 purple and 1 blue container.  That’s right, these don’t even count as a carb!!!  #winning

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (from the Fixate cookbook)

2 oz cream cheese

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1.5 cups almond flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 dash sea salt or Himalayan salt

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds OR chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare nine muffins cups by lining a muffin tin with paper liners and coating with spray.  Set aside.

Combine cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture and mix until just blended.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup a little less than 1/2 full.

Spoon 1 heaping tsp of cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin.  Fill muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full, with remaining batter.

Sprinkle muffins evenly with pumpkin seeds/walnuts.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer muffins to a rack and cool.

Enjoy!

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Can’t-Tell-The-Difference Gluten Free Banana Bread

Summer is coming to a close, fall is speedily approaching, and I am READY.  Cooler temperatures, comfy clothes, and all of my favorite yearly traditions, including some good homemade baked goods.

One of my favorite things to bake in the fall is banana bread.  It’s easy to make, it smells awesome, and it tastes amazing.  I had some very ripe bananas that I needed to use up, but I wanted to find a good gluten free banana bread–I have a lot of all-purpose GF flour and I feel better when I don’t eat wheat, so after about 3 minutes of research, I settled on this recipe.  It’s pretty similar to the recipe I normally use, it didn’t have any weird ingredients, and it includes chocolate chips!

I made this with my 3 year old who really enjoyed pouring and stirring the ingredients together, especially the chocolate chips.  He and I ate some of this almost straight out of the oven and we both loved it!  It tastes the same to me as my regular banana bread, and Little Man seemed to agree.  My husband had some the next morning and loved it, too!  I didn’t tell him it was GF, and he didn’t notice any difference at all.  Since he is notoriously picky, this is a huge win for me!  Since I prefer to eat GF, I’ll be using this recipe as my go-to banana bread!

Full disclosure–I am by no means claiming that this is “healthy” banana bread.  It’s just GF, but it still has sugar and chocolate–please don’t eat this thinking that you can eat the whole loaf with no consequences to your waistline.  You’re totally going to want to eat the whole loaf, by the way.  It’s that good.

Can’t-Tell-The-Difference GF Banana Bread (from Primavera Kitchen)

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli Dark)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a large loaf pan to prevent sticking and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together banana, yogurt, egg, vanilla, oil, and brown sugar until completely blended and smooth.  In a separate medium bowl, mix the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour until completely blended.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until completely incorporated.  Using a spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips until mixed through.  Put the batter in the greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 min, until a knife/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the bread is completely baked through.

Enjoy!

 

Gluten-Free Orange Cherry Muffins

One of my FAVORITE things about my online streaming workouts is the Fixate cooking show.  The 21 Day Fix creator Autumn Calabrese and her brother Bobby (who is a chef) share healthy, clean eating recipes that are so good!  I love looking every week at what new recipes they’ve come up with–they are always adventurous and something that I wouldn’t think of on my own, which makes it fun for me.  I’m actually working on a “Fixate Week” where I only eat Fixate recipes because I love it so much!

Last week I tried the Fixate Vegan Orange Cherry Muffins–I had some Cara Cara oranges I needed to use, and my son LOVES cherries, so I thought this would be a perfect experiment!  I ended up adjusting the recipe a little bit because I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand, and I didn’t want to buy special ingredients I don’t normally use just to keep the muffins vegan (especially when I don’t really care that much about eating vegan).

Instead of using fresh cherries, I bought dried cherries (which are a little more tart than fresh, so if you go that route you might want to add a little more syrup for more sweetness).  I also swapped the flaxseed for a whole egg because I didn’t have flaxseed on hand and don’t normally use it (flaxseed is used as a binding ingredient to substitute eggs and is a great source of omega-3s).

These were really good! Next time I’ll use 100% orange juice because the fresh juice I had wasn’t quite enough.  I would love to try these with fresh cherries, so I’m keeping an eye out for cherries at my grocery as we get closer to summer!

For my Fix followers, each serving (1 muffin) is 1 yellow, 1/2 purple, 1/2 blue, and 1 1/2 tsp.

Fixate Orange Cherry Muffins (adapted from Fixate on Beachbody On Demand)

Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp all natural creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 tbsp orange zest

3/4 cup orange juice

1 egg

1 large banana, thickly cut (about 1 cup of banana)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped cherries (fresh, frozen, or dried)

 

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with baking spray.

Combine flours, baking powder, salt, and walnuts in a large bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

Put oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, orange zest, orange juice, egg, banana, and vanilla in a blender.  Mix for 30 seconds.

Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture.  Mix just until moistened–do not overmix.

Fold in cherries to batter mixture until just mixed.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spoon batter into lined muffin tin (1/4 cup for each muffin).

Bake muffins for 18 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean from the center of muffin.

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in pan.  Remove muffins from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

These kept well in an airtight container on the counter.  They only lasted a few days before we ate them all, but would probably be fine for about 5-7 days. You could also put baked muffins in the freezer and reheat them in the microwave.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gluten-Free Blueberry Waffles

Before I was even halfway done with my Whole30, I had already decided to be gluten free in my post-Whole30 life. This is not something that I took lightly, especially considering that my husband is a bread salesman!  I love bread, and I love that bread supports my family, so it feels a little messed up to not eat gluten, but I am feeling so much better without it that it just doesn’t make sense to me to go back to what I was eating before.  That kind of negates the whole process of going through Whole30 in the first place!

Since I made the decision to be g-free, I’ve been looking for different GF recipes that I can try once I’m done with my 30 days of no grains at all (check out my Pinterest board here).  This waffle recipe looked amazing, and it’s been tested and approved by my gluten-loving husband AND toddler!  That’s a definite win in my book.

These were easy to throw together, and cooked up nicely—thick and crisp like a waffle should be.  You could bump up the blueberries and forgo any syrup if you wanted to lower your sugar, or you could be normal and bring on the maple syrup!  My guys had these both ways and loved it either way.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Waffles (slightly adapted from Gluten-Free Homemaker)

1.5 cups gluten-free all purpose baking mix

1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew or almond milk

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted (I used ghee, and you can also use coconut oil)

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat waffle iron. 

Mix all ingredients except blueberries until fully incorporated.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Pour 1/4-1/3 cup batter into waffle iron for each waffle and cook to desired crispness/until fully cooked throughout.  If desired, top with more blueberries, sliced bananas, diced pecans, and/or pure maple syrup.

Cooked waffles keep well in the freezer, so feel free to make a double batch to have some on hand for a quick breakfast!

Fixate Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

I love desserts.  I love to bake them, look at pictures of them, and certainly eat them.  I’m always on the lookout for cleaner treats or healthier versions of desserts that I love, so when I saw that the healthy cooking show on Beachbody On Demand–Fixate–had Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls on their menu, I wanted to immediately try them!

I’ve made these several times for multiple occasions, and they are always a huge hit!  These are actually on our Advent activity list to take to my son’s school teachers.  Yum!

One important note with this recipe is to make sure that you use PURE maple syrup, not the cheap pancake syrup.  It will not taste the same, and it changes the nutrition.  Pure maple syrup is a sugar that is easier to digest and is used by the body as energy, not stored as fat like the added sugar in the cheap stuff.

These are great for a holiday potluck, simple gifts for neighbors, or when you want a nice dessert for a get-together.  Or when you want chocolate.

2 of these count as 1 yellow snack container for the Portion Fix.

Fixate Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1 tbsp cornstarch

3/4 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

8 oz dark chocolate, chopped or chips

2 tsp coconut oil

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Combine peanut butter, corn starch, coconut flour and maple syrup in a large bowl, food processor or stand mixer.  Blend well until it becomes a uniform dough.  Add hot water as necessary to moisten it.
  3. Using clean hands, shape dough until 1 inch balls; place a toothpick into the center of each ball. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes. ***I actually just use a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon because they have a nicer shape and don’t melt this way.
  4. While you wait for the balls to chill, put the chocolate and coconut oil in a small, microwavable bowl.
  5. Melt the chocolate and oil 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring after each 30 second interval, until completely melted and smooth (this usually takes me three rounds).  Let cool slightly.
  6. Remove balls from refrigerator.  Hold a ball by the toothpick and dip it into the chocolate, swirl it to completely coat or use a spoon to pour chocolate over the top of it.  Repeat with each of the balls, returning them to the baking sheet.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chocolate has hardened.
  8. Store in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Enjoy!

 

Paleo Chicken Tenders

A delicious meal on a tacky dollar store plate.

A delicious meal on a tacky dollar store plate.

My kid loves chicken tenders.  We try to only give him grilled chicken, but sometimes we get the horribly unhealthy fried tenders for him. He loves to dip them in ketchup and BBQ sauce, and even dips them into his applesauce.  I am always looking for healthier versions of foods he loves, and this has been saved on my Pinterest clean eating board for a while.  I am so glad I finally tried it!

I have had almond flour and coconut flour on hand for quite some time now specifically for this purpose–using as a breading on meat to make a flourless version of our favorite foods (baked, not fried, of course).  I find that the almond/coconut flours have a better flavor (the sweetness of the coconut flour is really good with chicken especially), and it doesn’t bloat me the way that regular wheat flours do.  Plus, I know that almonds and coconuts have some good vitamins and nutrients that my son needs, which makes it even better!

This recipe was quick and easy, and it tasted great!  It only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. It is easy to customize with different spices as well, depending on your spice preference.  And it would taste great with any kind of dip your family likes–a healthy ranch, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard–whatever you prefer!  The original recipe was doubled and is linked below.

I would love to say that my kiddo ate this up and declared his love immediately, but unfortunately for me the night I made this he decided to be 2-going-on-16, threw an epic tantrum, and refused to eat anything. Yay me! However, when we had the leftovers for lunch he was a huge fan! 

Paleo Chicken Tenders (from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy original recipe)

1 package chicken tenders (3/4 lb)

2 tbsp + 2 tsp coconut flour

2 eggs

1 tbsp unsweetened cashew milk (or any milk)

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Prepare 3 shallow bowls or dishes for the breading process.  Put the coconut flour in one dish.  Mix the egg and milk together in another dish.  mix the almond flour and spices in the last dish.

Place the dishes in order, left to right: coconut flour, egg mixture, almond mixture, and cookie sheet.  One at a time, dip each chicken tender into the coconut flour, then the egg mixture, and then the almond flour mixture, completely coating each time.  Place on the cookie sheet.  Repeat with each chicken tender.

Once all of the chicken is breaded and on the cookie sheet, spray lightly with olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray.

Bake chicken tenders for 10 minutes, then flip and bake 5 more minutes.  Make sure chicken is completely cooked through!

Let cool slightly and serve plain or with your dip of choice.  I served mine with broccoli and hummus.

This recipe made 6 tenders, which was enough for me to have dinner and have leftovers for lunch for 2.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

My son loves blueberries, so I’m always looking for different ways to use them.  He is so happy just eating them fresh out of a bowl, but I love to make new things that all of us can enjoy.  I found this old recipe from my favorite blogger, and I’m so glad I brought it back!

These muffins are light, moist, and have a great blueberry flavor.  The original recipe calls for a sugar topping, but since I forgot to add that and they were still great, I left that part out of the recipe I’m sharing below.

If you love blueberries or have a little one who loves them, put these on your to-make list!  ***I count one muffin as a yellow treat in the 21 Day Fix eating plan.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins (slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats)

2 cups white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

4 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cinnamon applesauce

2 large eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk (I used heavy cream and it was fine!)

2 tsp vanilla extract

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 pint fresh blueberries

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray to grease.  In one bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring to mix.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the coconut oil and sugar together until well mixed.  Whisk in the applesauce.  Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in lemon zest.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar/applesauce mixture and mix well.  Add all of the liquid and mix well.  Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix well.

Fold in the blueberries gently with a rubber spatula.

Using a 1/4-1/3 cup measuring cup, fill muffin tins about 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for about 24 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until toothpick comes out clean from the muffins.

***I usually put half of the baked muffins in the freezer after they have completely cooled.  They keep really well frozen and are still yummy microwaved!