Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Clean eating
One major discovery I’ve made in my clean-eating journey is that I have an inherent sweet tooth–and depriving myself on this or that diet plan just sets me up for failure because I never feel quite satisfied. So now I’m learning to find clean, healthy ways to satiate that need for sweetness, and as a result I don’t need “cheat days” or “when I’m done with this 21-day challenge I’ll gorge myself on X, Y, and Z.” So on here you’re probably going to be seeing a lot of clean sweets.
I don’t think I could ever get sick of good pumpkin treats. My friend recommended these beauties to me a couple months ago, and I’ve made them at least four times since. They disappear SO fast–even when I freeze 2/3 of the batch. (They do freeze beautifully, by the way; just wrap one in a paper towel and zap it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to thaw.) My whole family loves them; even My Husband The Reluctant gave them the glowing review the first time he ate them of, “I would like these even if I weren’t forced to eat clean!” They’re sweetened with real maple syrup in addition to the natural sweetness of the pumpkin, and the oats and whole-wheat pastry flour make them hearty enough to be a light breakfast–without weighing you down.
Maple Oat Pumpkin Muffins
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- (heaping) 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
- (heaping) 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice (or cloves)
- 1 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour*
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned (not instant) oats, plus more for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 325 and grease** the cups of a muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil and syrup. Beat in eggs. Mix in pumpkin and almond milk until smooth, then mix in soda, vanilla, salt, and spices.
- Switch to a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add flour and oats at once, stirring until just combined.
- Scoop scant 1/4-cups of batter into muffin cups (an ice-cream-style scoop works really well for this), then sprinkle with a few oats and some cinnamon.
- Bake for 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Wait until cooled (or try to) to remove them from the pan.
* Whole-wheat pastry flour is ground finer than other whole-wheat flours, so baked goods come out lighter and less dense; it is an ideal substitute for all-purpose flour. I pretty much only use this now, even in my less-clean recipes.
** If you’re going soy-free, PAM for Grilling is the only mainstream brand of cooking spray I’ve found that does not contain soy lecithin. I use it for everything!
Original recipe here.
Fall is always the most depressing season here in Florida. While friends in other parts of the country & world are posting on Facebook about cooler temperatures, fall leaves, & sweaters, I’ve been in flip flops since February & my A/C is still blaring 24 hours a day. I miss seasons. I miss jeans! It wouldn’t hurt to come home from a run not dripping with sweat either…
So I try to will Fall here to the subtropics from my kitchen. Today’s post is my hail-Mary, 4th-&-goal, “It’s Fall, gosh darn it!”
These muffins are intense. Amazing. Fall in a mouthful. And you know what? It worked! We’ve been soaking in torrential rains since Monday afternoon, & the temperature on my dashboard actually started with a 6 this morning! 69 degrees! It’s FALL in Florida!!!
…until it dries out & both temps & humidity go back up to the 80s for at least another month. But you know what? I just wore jeans two days in a row! In September!
Here’s how to bring Fall into your kitchen:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (use the rest of your can to make these & thank me later)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped peeled apples (about 1 1/2 apples. I used Braeburns because they were on sale.)
Cream cheese layer:
- 6 oz. cream cheese, room temp
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small cubes
- Preheat oven to 350 & line 2 muffin tins with papers. (Yield is about 21 muffins)
- Make muffin batter: whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smallish bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, & oil. Mix wet ingredients into dry until incorporated. Stir in apples. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
- Cream cheese mixture: in electric mixer bowl, blend ingredients until smooth. Place a heaping teaspoon on top of batter in each cup.
- Streusel: using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut ingredients together until they form a coarse crumb. Easily the most time-consuming step; I personally have a love-hate relationship with streusel (love to eat it, hate to make it), but trust me, it’s worth it.
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Optional: top with glaze when cooled (1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp. milk). But they are insanely delicious without, let me tell you!
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*or 4 fruits & a gourd, depending on how you choose to classify pumpkin.
School’s started for most everyone by now, & I know lots of moms are looking for tasty but healthy options for their kids’ lunchboxes. These muffins fit the bill: they contain five different fruits (as long as you consider pumpkins fruits), as well as almonds & whole-wheat flour. They pack a quick & hearty nutritional punch so your kids can get back onto the playground. They’re so hearty that The Munchkin can only finish half of one, so you may want to consider packing just a half muffin, or else making them in a mini-muffin tin & adjusting the baking time.
They’re also great for new moms because of their heartiness & ease of one-handed consumption. They were brought to me after The Mini-Munchkin made her appearance & I begged for the recipe, so that’s why you’ve got it here!
The recipe says it makes a dozen muffins plus 2 loaves; when I made a half recipe, it yielded not quite 18 muffins. You can choose how & if you want to divvy up the batter. As an added bonus, if you make a half recipe, you’ll have plenty of pumpkin left over in a standard can to make these delicious pumpkin chocolate-chip squares. Just saying.
- 3 to 4 extra-ripe bananas, peeled & mashed (2 cups)
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cloves
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease muffin tin &/or loaf pan(s). Combine bananas, pumpkin, eggs, & sugar in mixer bowl. Beat in applesauce.
- In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir into banana mixture until just combined.
- Fold in dates, raisins, & almonds.
- Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup; pour remaining batter into loaf pans, if applicable.
- Bake muffins for 20 minutes or loaves for 60 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack.
Why? Because it’s my grandmother’s!
This is her “Milkless Pumpkin Pie,” but if I called it that you would think it was just some gross substitution for people with milk intolerances. The truth is, because it is milk-free, it’s undiluted — full of spice & flavor. Makes normal pumpkin pie taste bland by comparison.
My grandmother got this recipe from a short mid-morning program on channel 5 in Utah years ago that offered tips for housewives. One day the featured guest demonstrated this recipe, saying it was unique because this recipe required no milk. Then they cut to a break; the hostess began to introduce the sponsor, an evaporated milk company, saying how delicious this recipe would be with that company’s milk. The guest sputtered that it was a milkless pumpkin pie; she talked over him & they went to commercial.
I had never made a pie on my own in my life before attempting this one — hence the “interesting”-looking crust. I’ve never needed to because My Husband is The Pie Man. Every Thanksgiving he makes a pumpkin & a boysenberry pie, & they’re always delicious. I’ve included his perfect crust recipe below.
Milkless Pumpkin Pie (makes 1 pie)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- optional: add a pinch of cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup margarine, melted
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin
- Make My Husband The Pie Man’s Perfect Flaky Crust, below, & lay it in a 9-inch pie plate.
- Preheat oven to 450. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs as long as your arm will let you so that they’re light & frothy. Add margarine & pumpkin; mix until well blended.
- Add the dry ingredients & mix well.
- Pour into prepared unbaked pie shell. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 350 & continue baking 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Perfect Flaky Crust (makes 1 crust; double it for a double-crust pie)
- 1 cup flour (plus more if needed)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold water
- Combine flour, salt, & oil in a medium bowl with a fork. The dough should ball up nicely.
- Add water continue kneading with fork until fully incorporated.
- Add more flour a tablespoon at a time, if needed, until dough is the right consistency: not too sticky, not too dry.
- Place dough ball between 2 sheets of wax paper. Roll out until it’s really really thin & larger than the pie plate.
- Use a butter knife to gently free the dough from one of the sheets of wax paper.
- Place it, dough side down, into the pie plate & use the knife again to remove the other sheet.
- Make it look pretty around the outside. Nope, can’t help you there.
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The Munchkin speaks very well for being 2 & a few months. She’s doing full sentences, & pronounces most words correctly, with the exception of the toddler W for Ls & most Rs. However, there’s one word in particular that she doesn’t say right, that I am just fine with her mispronouncing for the next month or two: pumpkin.
She pronounces it “pumpmick.” & it is so darn cute!
Saturday morning, My Husband The Occasional Perfectionist was trying to help her say it correctly. To his credit, he did get her to go from “wewk” to “milk,” but I’ll admit I wasn’t overly heartbroken when it didn’t quite take. A few minutes later she was saying the blessing on breakfast & trying to say “we thank thee that we get to go to the pumpkin patch today.” At first she said her usual “pumpmick,” but then paused, remembering that it wasn’t right. She then corrected herself: “mumpick.” Another pause; that didn’t sound right either. Finally she gave up & finished the prayer in a hurry: “name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
Thankfully, it’s still “pumpmick.” & she got her very own Munchkin-sized pumpmick at the pumpmick patch.
Now for some pumpmick — I mean, pumpkin — squares.
These are to die for. Period. I make these countless times every fall — it helps that the recipe uses exactly half a small can of pumpkin, so you just have to use up the rest, right? I mean, just look at all those moist, delicious crumbs! Martha really does it right.
- 2 cups — spooned & leveled — all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice*
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, making sure that the foil goes up the sides.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl; set it aside.
- Cream butter & sugar together until it’s smooth. Then beat in the egg & vanilla; scrape sides of bowl. Beat in pumpkin puree, making sure there’s no unincorporated butter mixture at the bottom.
- Mix in dry ingredients on low just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few of those moist delicious crumbs I mentioned.
- Cool completely in the pan. (Yeah, right. You smell it & resist.) Use the foil edges to lift the bars from the pan, then peel off the foil & cut with a serrated knife. Enjoy!