Pumpkin Pie Muffins

These are delicious! Incredibly moist, surprisingly healthy and taste like little pumpkin pies. I ate the last one this morning and will definitely be making them again this weekend.

I can’t lie. Looking at the list of ingredients, I was incredibly skeptical that these would be good. They are actually probably in the top 5 of best muffins I have ever made.  So good, that I would consider eating them for dessert with a little whipped topping on them like pumpkin pie!

Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie.

Muffin ingredients:

  • 1 3/4  cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 heaping cup of coconut oil

Filling ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the muffins: 

Preheat oven to 400F.

Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt together.

In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin butter, milk, and coconut oil until smooth.

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Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Do it stages and make sure not to over mix.

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Divide batter evenly into a previously greased muffin tin. My batter made 12 full size muffins and 6 mini muffins.

Let the batter rest while you make the filling.

For the filling:

In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin butter, coconut oil , pumpkin pie spice and salt.

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Divide filling evenly on top of the muffin batter.

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Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the muffin clean. Obviously , I baked the mini muffins for less time, probably 10-12 minutes.

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Let cool completely.

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These keep for about a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate ice box sandwiches

I was raised in a very loving family in Iowa. With a mother who believed in having dessert after meals. Who learned it from her mother.

I am now programmed to want something sweet at the end of every meal. I’ve tried to break this habit. It’s no use. It’s in my genes. So the best I can do is try to choose healthier options to get my sweet fix.

This recipe is one that was occasionally in our freezer in the summer and would most often be eaten as an afternoon snack.

Make a box of chocolate pudding(or pudding of flavor choice) using 1/2 cup less of milk than the box calls for. Then, stir in a half tub of thawed cool whip.

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Stir to combine. It doesn’t have to be perfectly mixed.

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Spoon some onto half a graham cracker then gently set another graham on top.

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Layer in a container with sheets of wax paper in between.

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Freeze for a few hours and eat when frozen. They should last about a week.

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Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! These are amazing. Taste exactly like cookie dough. Serve them at a party and NO ONE will know they are healthy. Brian sure didn’t know…and I sure didn’t tell him.

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I had seen this recipe months ago, filed it to make later and forgot about it until yesterday when I saw someone mention it on a social media site. I had made bread before with chickpeas, so I wasn’t concerned that it was too weird of an ingredient swap. I had all the stuff at home and decided to make it last night. I mean, we were to get hit by derecho. Who wouldn’t need a batch of protein and fiber filled cookies to get them through the storm? So glad I did. It might be my new favorite healthy treat. I might even leave out the chocolate chips next time or half the amount and use mini chips.  Recipe adapted from Texanerin Baking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup of canned chickpeas
  • 1/2 heaping cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup(I used 1/2 of each)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

If you don’t have natural peanut butter on hand, dump a few cups of dry roasted peanuts in your food processor and process(scraping down the sides as necessary) until it forms into peanut butter. You may think that it will never get past the crumbled/powdery stage, but have patience, it will. Scoop out peanut butter and put in container. How return a heaping 1/2 cup to the food processor.

Thoroughly rinse a can of chickpeas. Lay out a paper towel or dish towel and pour the well-rinsed chickpeas on the towel. Take another towel and blot the chickpeas to dry them a bit. Scoop up 1 1/4 cup of chickpeas and toss into food processor with pb.

To get my 1/4 cup of sweetener, I used 1/2 raw honey and 1/2 pure maple syrup. My syrup is pretty runny and thin. My honey is very thick. I was concerned about the consistency of both varying the recipe too much so I used half and half to even out the consistency. Put in food processor. Add in vanilla and baking powder.

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Process until very smooth. Scrape down sides as necessary. The dough will be extremely sticky at this point.

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Stir in chocolate chips.

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Now, this is the point where I have to strongly disagree with the original post. The author said that the dough did not taste good and these cookies would not be good without the chocolate chips. I thought the dough was amazing. So good, I almost didn’t bake it, but just refrigerate it in ball form. I thought there was almost too much chocolate in them and would consider making them without or cutting back the amount. My two cents. Now continuing on with the recipe:

Use slightly wet hands and roll into balls about the size of golf balls. Place on baking sheet. These cookies do not spread, so if you want them to be more in a disc form, flatten out those balls. Continue making balls of dough, re-wetting hands when necessary until dough used up.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes. They won’t look much more done than when you put them in the oven, but if you flip one over, the bottom will be slightly browned.

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Wait for a few minutes and eat warm. So good.

Grilled cinnamon and sugar banana

The weather was perfect for grilling last night, so that is what I did. I feel like it’s always a feast when I grill. A healthy feast, because I love to grill up a lot of vegetables…and sometimes some fruit.

Last night’s nights grilling included burgers, fruit and vegetables(and maybe a glass of wine for me):

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Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel your banana. On a plate, combine cinnamon and sugar. Roll banana in cinnamon and sugar. or pick up the cinnamon and sugar lightly press it into banana until banana has a light covering of mixture.

Put banana on grill over medium heat for a few minutes on each side until sugar caramelizes and banana softens.

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(Sorry about the bad picture. It’s the not overly appetizing thing on the left of my plate, but don’t let the picture fool you. It’s amazing.)

Cut in half and share. Or don’t. Eat the whole thing. It’s a low calorie and fairly nutritious dessert.

I think you could easily substitute a drizzle of honey or maple syrup instead of the sugar then just sprinkle a little cinnamon on it with similar results.

 

Fun and fantastic

This past weekend was awesome. The weather was great and Brian and I ended up doing some spontaneous things and really taking advantage of the city. Something I need to do more often. That’s why I live here, right?

Brian took me out to dinner on Friday night because our fridge was bare! We hadn’t really gone grocery shopping in 2 weeks and we had been squeaking by on pantry staples and freezer meals all week. The upside to this was that, our fridge was bare. How is that an upside? It was the perfect opportunity to pull everything out and wipe down the shelves. A task that was long over due! Look at its glowing beauty afterwards:

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After my speed cleaning fridge session, I headed out the door to walk to meet Brian for dinner. The weather was perfect for eating dinner outside and this place had a patio(no coincidence). We started off our meal with the bone marrow appetizer which came with a great arugula salad and pickled cherry. It was the perfect flavor combination.

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I had a delicious and dark beer made with 3 different types of coffee beans:

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And was only able to eat half of my Legend’s of the Daal wrap(very tasty):

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The place is mostly known for their burgers. Brian got Elvis’ Last Supper with house made peanut butter and bacon. Surprisingly delicious.

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On the way home, we decided to walk through Ribfest, which was happening right down the block. There was this sign:

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To which, Brian reacted like this to the thought of a deep fried Snickers:

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We continued walking, until we saw this sign:

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To which the possibility of deep-fried Oreos was too much for Brian to resist. We headed over to the ticket line and within 10 minutes had a tub of fried Oreos. To which, the man next to us in line got a deep-fried Snickers and insisted I take his picture.

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Because deep-frying candy and cookies isn’t enough, they top them off with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar:

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I tried one of the Oreos. It was actually pretty tasty. Like a funnel cake married and Oreo and made tiny funnel cake Oreo babies. Brian was in heaven.

A Friday night of indulgence meant a healthy breakfast and exercise Saturday morning.

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Followed by a trip to the garden. A very exciting trip where I would learn that all of my radishes had matured and were ready to be picked. I also got a few handfuls of kale and spinach and a lone strawberry. I think I’ve gotten more produce from my community garden plot in one month this year than I did all last summer!

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After lots of errand running we grabbed lunch and then hit up Margie’s for a scoop of ice cream. They were switching out containers on Brian’s chocolate peanut butter and he got a mega scoop. That got all over his beard and mustache, but loos at those abundant ribbons of peanut butter. I had some serious ice cream envy and Brian happily shared with me.

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Saturday we ate mostly vegetable for dinner. I grilled a ton of them for us to devour and a little chicken. I also made a delicious salad with the kale and spinach from the garden with a vinaigrette, hemp and sunflower seeds and blueberries.

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Sunday was to be filled with rain, but we were surprised by a sunny day instead.

I had a breakfast taco to start the day. The eggs ended up overwhelming the tortilla, but it was delicious!

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I slow cooked brisket in a marinade all day to make some delicious barbacoa for our tostadas for dinner.

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While that was cooking and making the house smell wonderful, I got to work on a big batch of pumpkin and chocolate chip waffles to use as breakfasts in the upcoming days:

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Made a tasty batch of tarragon chicken salad(can’t wait to share the recipe) that was the perfect meal of protein to sustain us on our 12 mile bike ride by the lake.

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I don’t think we could have packed much more into our weekend. It was a great one! Hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

4 ingredient peanut butter cookies

These are nothing to write home about but would do the trick if you needed a quick sweet fix and are somewhat healthier for you than a regular cookie. I personally think a few adjustments could be made that would make them spectacular. I might play around with the recipe this weekend.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almond butter(or nut butter of choice)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place all ingredients in bowl.

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Mix well. I think this is where the hiccup in the recipe occurred. I used natural almond butter instead of peanut butter. Store bought peanut butter has a much different (more solid) texture than natural almond butter. Making these cookies was also an effort to use up this Costco sized container of almond butter that I bought that I didn’t particularly care for. It was too oily and runny from the start.

Next, roll the dough into golf ball sized balls and place on baking mat. Make those iconic hash marks in the top of your cookie with a fork. I love the way those look.

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I could tell at this point that my dough was much too oily(thanks crappy almond butter). I had a fear that these were going to spread terribly and I would end up with one giant sheet cookie. I considered adding coconut, oats or flax at this point to firm them up a bit, but decided to just bake them and see what happened.

Bake for about 12 minutes.

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Mine did spread, but most were identifiable as cookies and tasted pretty good. I really liked the chewy texture.

Vegan gluten-free black bean brownies

I really, really liked these. I like them because they are vegan, you can slightly underbake them, leave them extra gooey and not have any raw egg illness worry. Mine were baked enough that they held together but gooey enough that they stuck to my teeth with every bite, leaving me looking like a hillbilly with a big goofy grin of brownie happiness.

I made these exactly like Minimalist Baker told me to. Or rather blogged about, but I felt like she was talking directly to me. Telling me to make them, so I did.

Let’s look at the deliciousness. The flax egg setting up:

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The other dry ingredients and draining and rinsing the beans:

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Bring it all together now:

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Scoop it to be baked:

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Hot and delicious:

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Take a big bite!

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9 and 30

Yesterday brought Chicago the largest snowfall since the blizzard of 2011. We got 9 inches of snow. Beautiful snow. It snowed steadily all day and made the city look like a movie set of freshly fallen snow. It was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.

snow1 snow2 snow3Last night I stayed warm by heading over to a friend’s house to celebrate my friend Katie’s 30th birthday. And a fabulous night it was. Too much good food. Plenty of champagne and wine.

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And this absolutely ridiculous dessert made by Lisa. It was so delicious. A Pinterest recipe that was not a fail, but should have also come with a recipe to make insulin. We all thought we had diabetes after eating it. Layers of cookies, ice cream and caramel sauce. Yummmm.

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Healthy chocolate cupcakes

Take 2!

So I made the apple cinnamon muffins using pure pumpkin instead of the ingredients on the box. Since the pumpkin was so detectable in them I was dying to know if the chocolate actually hid the pumpkin.

So I bought a box of Jiffy devil’s food chocolate cake mix. I mixed a can of pumpkin with it. Then added some ground flax, chia seeds and a tablespoon of coconut butter for my health.

The pumpkin I used this time was a different brand than last time and seemed more wet. Also, I was worried that the flax and chia would absorb some of the moisture so I added 2 tablespoons of water to the mix. I did this not realizing that the Jiffy box mix was probably half the size of a box of regular cake mix.

So, my batter was runnier than last time. They also took twice as much time to bake as the box suggested. But they turned out amazing. So good.

I even put one on top of “ice cream” for Brian. He was in sinful tasting health food Heaven.

I can’t wait to keep trying out different combinations of flavors!

Homemade banana, almond butter, honey ice cream

Healthy ice cream? Without the cream? Sign me up!

I saw this somewhere on the inter-webs and thought it had to be too good to be true, but was too intrigued not to try it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter(or nut butter of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon honey(I’d use less next time)

Start by buying too many bananas, something I almost always do. When they become a little over ripe, slice them up and freeze the slices. I usually reserve these for smoothies, but not this time. I’m going to make ice cream with them.

I saved up 4 bananas worth of slices. Dump slices into a high powered blender or food processor and blend on high.

Scrape down sides as necessary and be patient. Keep blending.

After a little while, something magical will happen. The yellowish bananas turn more of a white color. This is when they are turning into a soft serve consistency. Sorry about the poor quality of the picture. It is just to show the color difference between the smoothly blended(white) and unblended banana(yellowish).

When they have turn all white-ish and smooth, like soft serve, you can dump it into a container. Look how good it looks:

Add a few scoops of almond butter and some honey.

Mix. I tried not to over-mix mine, as I like to get chunks of flavor.

Place back in freezer for a few hours to harden. A few hours later:

After it is sufficiently frozen, scoop out and serve. If you are feeling a little crazy like I was, I drizzled a little coconut butter on top of ours.

Do you know what coconut butter does when it gets cold? It hardens. So we had a flavorful crunchy shell on top of our ice cream that we got to crack through.

Next time: Because there will be a next time. I wouldn’t add any honey. I thought it was sweet enough on its own. I would probably just do bananas and some chocolate chips. Or add a little almond butter and chocolate

The fake ice cream was a huge hit with both Brian and I. It’s a pretty guiltless treat and perfect party trick for the lactose-free people in your life.