Midweek Mashup

MIDWEEK MASHUP

Happy Wednesday.

This week I bring you a delicious cookie recipe that happens to be vegan and wheat free (whaaaat?!) and some information that will hopefully enrich your life a little and maybe even make it better.

Do you eat granola?  And if so, do you consider it a healthier option than other popular breakfast foods? Nutritionist have long known that most commercial granola is chock full of sugar and consider it a dessert. I suppose that rings true with many of the granolas you’ll find on the shelves. I have found one I love with only good ingredients like oats, dried fruit, millet and quinoa. Purely Elizabeth has an ancient grain line that I love, with my fave being cranberry pecan. It has 6 grams of sugar per 1/3 cup. Ok, yes, 1/3 cup is a very small serving. I pour that much into my bowl and add slivered almonds, fresh blueberries and chia seeds. So, then I’ve got good proteins and fat and it isn’t overwhelmingly sweet. You can also use it to sprinkle on unsweetened yogurt. The thing about granola is that it isn’t meant to be eaten in large quantities. Think of it as an addition to your breakfast rather than the main event. 

As you might have read in previous posts, my 11 year old is in the middle of an elimination diet. She’s about halfway through. It’s been a challenge, to say the least. But she’s getting used to it. Yesterday she told me she thought giving up wheat and dairy would be the hardest but actually it’s corn and nightshades, because potato starch and/or corn derivatives are in most packaged foods. Most gluten-free products contain one or both. Almost all candy has corn syrup (yes, candy isn’t healthy, we know that). It’s hard to avoid corn, no matter how much you might try, unless everything you eat is prepared at home from scratch (hello, unrealistic for most).One thing that she has missed is a good chocolate chip cookie. Most chocolate chips have dairy, but I found a brand called Enjoy Life that are vegan and also free of almost all allergens. Yesterday she made a batch of spelt chocolate chip cookies that were to die for. I’m not kidding, they are so good. She found the recipe here: Chocolate Chip Cookies. The only thing I did to help was put the cookies in the oven and take them out at the end. Don’t these look amazing?


And finally, if you’re like me and try to make meals using up your pantry items a few times a year, here’s a great list of things you can cook. My husband gets super excited when I do this because it means I’m being economical and there’s nothing sexy than being economical!

Here’s to a great rest of your week. As always, please share this post with someone you think might enjoy it. Even better, click to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss any great tidbits!

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Pumpkin muffins

It’s chilly and rainy here.  The leaves have covered the sidewalks and I had to wear gloves and a hat to take the dog for her walk.  It is fully fall here, there’s no denying that.  There is even talk of some snow fall tonight.

I had plans to go golfing today but with the arrival of rain it became a different kind of day.  My daughter is turning 11 on Halloween, so I decided to cozy up and make her some muffins.  She loves pumpkin muffins so I set out to make a healthy version that she could have for breakfast this week.

I found a recipe that looked great on Food.com and knew that with a few tweaks of my own I could reduce the sugar and add some whole grains without compromising the taste or texture.  The original recipe also called for nuts, but since my kiddo lives for chocolate and doesn’t love nuts in her baked goods, I subbed semi-sweet chocolate chips for the nuts. If you love both I think you could absolutely add nuts and chocolate (which would be my vote but since it’s her birthday and her muffins, I did what all mothers do from time to time and sacrificed.  It was a big one but I’ll recover).

What I love about pumpkin muffins, especially when you use whole wheat flour, is that you are getting good amounts of fiber and phytonutrients.  Carotenoids from the pumpkin are what give it that beautiful orange color (just like in carrots).   Epidemiological studies suggest that diets high in carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  Dietary carotenoids are also thought to provide health benefits in decreasing the risk of disease, particularly certain cancers and eye diseaseCarotenoids are best absorbed with some fat, which is why I kept the oil in this recipe instead of replacing it with apple sauce which I sometimes opt to do when baking.

The end result is a delicious, moist and flavorful pumpkin muffin that I am sure you’ll love as much as I do!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups  pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1⁄2cup  canola oil (preferably organic)
  • 1⁄2cup  water
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups  white whole wheat flour (I love King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1⁄4teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (dark, semi-sweet or milk)

METHOD:

  1. Heat oven to 375*F.
  2. Grease and flour muffin tins, or use paper liners.
  3. In large mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients except chocolate chips, blend until just combined (do not overmix)
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until muffins test done when a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan or on a wire rack.
  8. Eat them all in one sitting Savor them over the course of a couple of weeks, keeping them in the freezer to pull out as desired.

Makes 24.