Countdown to Christmas Recipes: Almond Flour Pumpkin Chip Muffins

My Friday post was scheduled ahead of time, so I was unable to acknowledge the horrible tragedy that occurred in CT. Please keep everyone affected by the event in your thoughts and prayers.

This may seem like more of a Thanksgiving recipe than a Christmas one, but I think pumpkin is still fitting this time of year. If you’re in need of a quick dessert to take to your holiday parties, this might fit the bill. It’s healthier than most muffin recipes–it’s grain free, packs in almost 5 grams of protein (if you go by the serving size, has only 2 tbsp of added sugar in the entire recipe and is packed with Vitamin A in the form of pumpkin, but I think most people will just be focusing on the incredible taste 😉

This is a very crumbly recipe, so you should probably keep it refrigerated ahead of time if you want it to hold up at a Christmas party. But if you make it just for yourself, I’d suggest crumbling one on top of some chocolate chia pudding, a bowl of fruit or whatever you want. Messy food is fun!

almond flour pumpkin chip muffin

 

Almond Flour Pumpkin Chip Muffins (vegan, grain free, gluten free)

1/3 cup almond flour or meal

2 scoops Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder (or any ‘clean’ vegan protein powder of choice)

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

1/2 tbsp baking powder

cinnamon, to taste

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp ground flax (made into flax ‘egg’ with 2 tbsp water)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin or baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients through salt. In a food processor or blender, mix pumpkin, maple syrup and almond milk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in flax egg until batter forms. Pour batter into muffin tins (or 1 baking dish) and bake for 20 minutes. Makes 10 small muffins. 

Each muffin is around 70 calories, so it’s a good smaller-size option for parties, but if you’re making them for yourself, you can make 5 or 6 bigger muffins and still be enjoying a much healthier treat.

Do you still eat pumpkin around Christmas time? Have you ever baked with almond flour before?

 

 

WIAW: Dead Week Staples

Well, guys, I’m in the midst of dead week here, and it’s kind of hitting me hard. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but I’m definitely a lot busier than normal and last-minute assignments are still pouring in. Side note: doesn’t the term ‘dead week’ just sound so much more awful than it is? Don’t get me wrong, it is a stressful time but I have yet to die in the 5 dead weeks I’ve experienced so far in college. Just sayin’.

Anyways, here are some of the things that have been keeping me sane during this crazy week full of papers, presentations, class evals and finals.

Looks weird, tastes good.

Looks weird, tastes good.

This week, I’ve been loving on the crepes more than the waffles. Errr…well…my attempt at crepes. I’m calling them ‘pancrepes’ because they’re not quite as thick as pancakes, but thicker than crepes. Either way, they’re really good and easy to make. Basically I just take 3 tbsp of buckwheat flour and mix it with stevia, then add enough almond milk to thin it out, swirl it around in a pan, cook and then stuff with lots of fillings, fold over and eat. Who knew crepes were so easy to make?

Lovin' on the raw kale salads.

Lovin’ on the raw kale salads.

A raw kale salad has been my lunch staple for the past few days and it’s not changing anytime soon…except when I run out of kale. I bought a new salad dressing over the weekend, a no-oil tangerine dressing that’s sweet and sour and perfect for mixing with kale, dried fruit, nuts, lentils, whatever other weird things I decide to throw in my salad.

I'm usually a sucker for seasonal things, but this was not good.

I’m usually a sucker for seasonal things, but this was not good.

I had such high hopes for this bar. I’ve been looking for it since last year, with no luck until a week or so ago. I haven’t had a Clif bar in probably a year because I just don’t care for the flavor anymore, and they’ve got too many ingredients for me, but I really wanted to try this. Unfortunately, it disappointed this peppermint-loving girl’s taste buds. It was not peppermint-y at all and I couldn’t even swallow the one bite I took. Sorry, Clif, but I just can’t do your products anymore.

Another variation on the classic stir-fry: orange-glazed tempeh, kale, cauliflower, quinoa, pineapple, pumpkin seeds.

Another variation on the classic stir-fry: orange-glazed tempeh, kale, cauliflower, quinoa, pineapple, pumpkin seeds.

Another thing I can’t really stomach anymore? Tempeh. I blame it on a few instances of stomach bugs over the summer that for some reason turned me off tempeh. I used to prefer it over tofu and ate it regularly, but I just can’t stand the taste of it anymore. I tried an orange-glazed version but only liked it when I ate it with the other parts of the stir-fry and not by itself. I’m thinking of going back to (organic) tofu again–I seem to really love it at the Whole Foods salad bars.

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

Up until this summer, I’d never had French toast. For real. Then I made this recipe, loved it and then forgot about it. Until I bought a new brand of sprouted bread. And I loved this version even more than the original one. I cut a slice of the sprouted bread down the middle (the slices are pretty big), toasted it first, soaked it in a mix of almond milk and raw vanilla chai protein powder, cooked it up and topped it with almond butter and a fresh fig. The key was definitely toasting the bread first–it made the French toast less soggy. Plus the flavor combo was totally winning. You can’t go wrong with fresh figs.

I just love Christmas trees!

I just love Christmas trees!

I couldn’t ignore Christmas, even amidst all the studying and stress! Decorating my mini tree and listening to Christmas music all day long have really helped me get through the past week and it’s reminded me how close I am to being home for Christmas. I think the season’s even more special now that I actually get to go home for Christmas.

A cheap girl's answer to pumpkin butter.

A cheap girl’s answer to pumpkin butter.

So I was always jealous of the bloggers who slathered their food with pumpkin butter. I craved that fall-ish spread but didn’t want to shell out $6 or more for a teeny jar. So I got creative, invested in this much cheaper (and larger) can of organic pumpkin pie mix that’s basically just pumpkin, cane juice and spices and realized that it’s exactly like pumpkin butter. But it’s better for your wallet and it lasts longer too. Win win!

Now this was a winner of a dinner: creamy kale enchiladas roja.

Now this was a winner of a dinner: creamy kale enchiladas rojas.

I haven’t been having too much success with recipe experimentation lately. But this dinner discovery definitely made up for it! I found the recipe for cashew kale enchiladas on this great vegan recipe blog but as per usual, I made a few changes to it and well, it’s a keeper.

Creamy Kale Enchiladas Rojas (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

sea salt and pepper, to taste

cayenne pepper, to tastes

kale, rinsed and shredded

4 gluten-free tortillas (I used Rudi’s gf spinach tortillas)

1 cup canned lentils, drained and rinsed

red vegan enchilada sauce (I used the Frontera brand)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large glass oven-safe cooking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. In a food processor, blend soaked cashews, nooch and spices with enough water to smooth out. Place tortillas in the cooking dish and fill with cashew cheese, shredded kale and lentils. Roll each tortilla tightly and place side by side. Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas to cover them. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until sauce starts to soak into the tortillas. Serve with extra cashew cheese, fresh guacamole and salsa. Makes 4 enchiladas.

Have you ever had a crepe? What’s one thing you used to love that you just can’t stand to eat anymore?

Countdown to Christmas Recipes: Pecan Pie Pecans

First things first: thanks for all the great responses and advice on my last two posts! I really appreciate all you had to say and hopefully I can put it in to use and start working on getting rid of that annoying calorie counting habit.

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Who doesn’t like the flavors of the holiday season? Peppermint (my personal favorite), gingerbread, eggnog, spices, pumpkin (I know, it’s more of a fall thing but it’s still sticking around), cranberry…there’s a flavor for everyone to enjoy. The holidays are not just about the food, of course, but enjoying the special food of this time of year is a big part of the experience.

One of my other favorite Christmas-y flavors is pecan. I don’t know why it reminds me of Christmas but it does and I love its roasty flavor. Last year at this time I came up with a couple recipes using pecans–coffee maple pecan butter and raw mini pecan pies. I’m not even sure that I’ve ever had real pecan pie, but I do know that I love that flavor, all caramelized and gooey.

So why not take the flavor of a pecan pie and add it to…pecans? Over Thanksgiving break, I was planning on making some grain free maple pecan bars for the big day, but the crust didn’t turn out great and I almost scrapped the whole thing. But then I tasted the pecan topping and thought, “Wow, this tastes like pecan pie!” So I decided to roast the pecans and they turned out amazing.

Roasting nuts at home is super easy, and you can add whatever flavors you want. Obviously these are inspired by the classic pecan pie and they really do taste like pie. Trust me.

Ummm, yum!

Pecan Pie Pecans (vegan, gluten free)

1/2 cup raw pecans

2 tbsp Grade A maple syrup

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp almond butter (I used AB that’s just made from almonds)

sea salt, to taste

In a medium pot over high heat, bring maple syrup, coconut oil and almond butter to a boil, whisking frequently. Stir in pecans and sea salt; make sure pecans are mostly covered with the maple syrup mixture. Preheat oven to 375. On a baking sheet lined with foil, spread pecans out in 1 layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until pecans start to caramelize. Makes about 1/2 cup. 

Do you like pecan pie? What’s your favorite holiday flavor?

This recipe was submitted for Healthy Vegan Friday #19.