Grain-less Pumpkin Cake Muffins

With Halloween tomorrow, I thought I would step up my pumpkin game and create some yummy muffins. Nothing screams this holiday’s signature flavors more than pumpkin, and fortunately for all of us, pumpkin is actually good for you! Low in calories and high in vitamin A and fiber, it can be added to a variety of both savory and sweet dishes.
The muffins turned out even better than I thought they would! However, if you are looking for a dense muffin, these won’t be it. They have more of a cake-like consistency, hence “cake muffins.” I’m thinking of coining the term “cuffin” right now…

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You could even use this recipe to create a loaf or a cake. Just adjust baking time accordingly.
Oh and each muffin is only 100 calories but packs 5 grams of protein with only 11 carbs, three of which are fiber, making this muffin perfect for any time of the day.
Have it for breakfast, a snack, dessert, or even served with lunch/dinner in place of cornbread in your meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I ended up just using 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cardamom)
2 tablespoons granulated stevia (or honey/agave/maple syrup)
2 tablespoons honey/agave/maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
⅓ cup light canned coconut milk
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, stevia, and salt.
Add in each of the wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated
Pour the batter into a muffin tin to create 12 individual muffins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Once removing muffins from the oven, let it sit until cool before removing from pan and slicing.

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To create a delicious yet healthy protein frosting, combine a tablespoon of plain/vanilla Greek yogurt with a touch of honey and a dash of cinnamon. This will create enough frosting for 1 muffin so multiply accordingly!

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Lentil Tomato Mash

In an attempt to recover a batch of somewhat mushy lentils, I came up with this yummy and hearty side dish. With 13g of protein and 8g of fiber per serving in this trio lentil blend I purchased from Costco, you could easily make this dish as a main course served over some sauteed veggies or brown rice.
Now this dish certainly doesn’t look the prettiest so maybe not something for when you’re trying to impress guests at a dinner party, but it’s hearty, healthy and tastes darn good.

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Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup cooked lentils
1 cup crushed no salt added tomatoes
½ large white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons braggs liquid aminos/soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:
Dice a ½ of a large white onion with 2 minced cloves of garlic and a bit of olive oil for a few minutes. Add in 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and 1 ¼ cup cooked lentils and stir around until heated through.
Sprinkle on paprika, chili powder, oregano, braggs liquid aminos/soy sauce and salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.

Siracha Honey Roasted Brussels

I’ll eat brussel sprouts in any form- sauteed, boiled, even raw, but roasting them is probably my favorite.
I wanted to create a simple recipe that had a unique spin on the plain balsamic brussel sprouts I often make. The addition of siracha and sesame oil has a surprising taste that when paired with honey is both spicy and sweet.
Enjoy these as a side dish or on top of some quinoa or a salad!

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Ingredients:
1 lb brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon siracha
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or balsamic glaze)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons rosemary

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400F.
Slice brussel sprouts in halves or quarters, according to your preference.
In a large bowl, whisk together the siracha, honey, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Add in the brussel sprouts and toss to coat.
On a foil lined or sprayed baking sheet, spread out the brussel sprouts so that you create one even layer.
Place brussel sprouts in the oven for 35-40 minutes (cooking time will also be less if you cut them into quarters).
Remove from oven and sprinkle with rosemary.

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Lemon Garlic Cod

I don’t eat meat but I don’t think I’ll ever give up fish for good. As I’ve always said, I try to live a life in balance and strive to be an educated consumer- and that includes food consumption of course. I do, however, try my best to purchase the most sustainable fish. If you’re interested, click here to learn about choosing sustainable seafood.
After visiting the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium a few weeks ago, I learned Pacific cod from Alaska is a “Best Choice” and a “Good Alternative” when it’s from the U.S. West Coast and British Columbia. However, Pacific cod from Japan and Russia should be avoided because little is known about these populations. In addition, Atlantic cod is on the “Avoid” list, except when it’s certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
Okay enough facts, now onto this simple, protein packed and yummy recipe…

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2 6oz cod fillets (or any white fish of choice)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon capers
Optional: tablespoon chopped parsley

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, paprika, thyme and salt and pepper. Add in capers.
Spray a baking dish/pan with olive oil. Place fillets on dish/pan and pour on lemon garlic mixture.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until fish is white and flaky.
Optional- top with chopped parsley.

Great with a side of my cheesy green bean fries!

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Buffed Up Pumpkin Butter

With Fall in full swing, there is no time like the present to fully embrace pumpkin flavored everything. I chose to revisit my original Buffed Up Almond Butter and make a version that is more seasonally appropriate.
This could not be simpler to make and is packed with protein, 0 added sugar, low carb, and reasonably low in fat is well (and what is there is good fats coming from nuts!)
You can really use any nuts, peanuts were just what I had on hand. For protein powder, I used vanilla, but nowadays there are so many options like cinnamon or even pumpkin spice that a variety would taste delicious.
So ditch the sugary and nutrition-less pumpkin options from stores and try this one out for size.
Warning: Not only white girls will dig this pumpkin flavored treat.

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Ingredients:
¼ cup peanuts (raw or roasted)
⅓ cup pumpkin puree
1 scoop protein powder of choice
½ teaspoon cinnamon/pumpkin spice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Stevia or sweetener of choice to taste
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor until desired consistency is reached. I chose to leave mine a bit chunky for some extra texture.

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Peanut Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)

DSCN4375I truly don’t understand how people don’t like peanut butter. I mean I get how you can be allergic and all but in that case you got to at least love the smell right? I’d seriously EpiPen myself all day if I were allergic to nuts. Is there a daily limit on that kind of thing?
Peanut butter can be great for you too, it’s just that normally peanut noodles are a nutritional nightmare. Enjoying some in moderation is always an option, but with this recipe I can eat a GIANT portion any time of the week. All the while I won’t have to wear sweatpants to work, because we all know those are reserved for just Fridays.Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.27.05 PM

Serves 2 or 1…

Ingredients:
Sauce-
3 tablespoons peanut flour/powdered peanut butter
1 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons tamari/braggs liquid aminos
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon coconut/rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Juice from 1/4 a lime (about 1/2 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Siracha or hot sauce of choice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or alternative sweetener

Base-
2 medium-large zucchinis
1 large carrot
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1-2 scallions
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
Optional-
1 cup edamame or precooked shrimp
1 cup shredded cabbage (for even more bulk)

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Directions:
Whisk together all sauce ingredients into a small saucepan.
Spiralize zucchinis and cut strands with knife or kitchen shears so you don’t have any overly long pieces. Slice carrot and mushrooms and add them to your veggie pile.
In a large sauce pan, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Once heated, add your zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and optional shredded cabbage. After one minute, add your precooked and thawed edamame or shrimp. Stir around until vegetables are soft and protein is heated through.
Once finished, remove veggie mixture with slotted spoon. Pat with paper towel to remove extra moisture (so sauce doesn’t get too runny).
Meanwhile, heat up your peanut sauce in the saucepan for ~1 minute. You could alternatively heat your sauce in the microwave as well.
To assemble, simply pour sauce onto your zucchini noodles and toss to coat.

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Garnish with chopped scallions
Remove from heat and top with scallions and chopped peanuts.

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This one is especially fun to eat with chopsticks 🙂