Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

It's that time of year for all things pumpkin!  And I've been baking up a storm with pumpkin trying out new and interesting things.

Since I started this journey trying to lower my cholesterol, I plan to make many of my recipes without eggs or butter. This recipe is entirely cholesterol free and each muffin has 5-6 grams of protein.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 Tbps fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup {all natural} Maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp {all natural} vanilla extract (do not use imitation)
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp sea or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Raw sugar cane (to garnish)
  • Olive oil to coat pan
Yields: 12 large muffins

1) Preheat over to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by coating them with a small amount of oil.
2) Place dates in food processor and mince.  Add remaining wet ingredients and combine.
3) Place dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix to combine.
4) Pour wet ingredients into dry. Mix well.
5) Scoop mixture into muffin tins. Sprinkle with cane sugar.
6) Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
7) Let cool before removing from tin.

NOTE:  I have made this recipe using raisins as well(instead of dates). This was the first time I had purchases and used dates. They were great! These muffins freeze well in an airtight container.

Since this recipe called for many flours I didn't have on hand I decided to adapt it to my everyday pantry. It was adapted from the book: Clean Start. Feel free to give the original a try and let me know what you think.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars

We love granola bars at our house and I'm finding myself buying box after box of them at the grocery store.  This is frustrating because, if you don't know already, {all natural} granola bars aren't easy on the good ole pocketbook.  Plus, they aren't loaded with protein and in my opinion, why bother!?

Making granola/protein bars at home has been on my to-do list for some time now.  I am happy to report it's finally checked off the list! YAY ME! These Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars are a great snack and have around 5-6 grams of protein in each bar. They are also a great source of Omega-3's. Read about the benefits here: Benefits of Omega-3's. I'm pretty confident in assuming that there isn't a person reading this that doesn't have some place in there health that needs improving.

 These are great to put in kids lunchboxes because of the protein they will stay fuller longer and reap the benefits of the Omega-3s as well. Plus, they have CHOCOLATE! Win-Win in my book! 

Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup {organic} cane sugar (I used super fine)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Barlean's Coconut Oil(slightly heated to liquid form)
  • 1 tsp {all natural} vanilla extract
  • Parchment paper
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Mix oats, flour, flaxseed, cane sugar, salt, and chocolate into a bowl.
3) In a separate bowl mix the honey, oil and vanilla extract together.
4) Add liquid mixture to dry and blend until fully incorporated. 
5) Line a small oven safe dish with parchment paper. I use a 8 inch square dish.
6) Add mixture to dish and push with spatula until it's evenly distributed. 
7) Bake for 30 minutes. 
8) Allow it to cool completely before cutting or place in refrigerator to speed the process. 

Makes 8 large bars

NOTE: I plan to try out many varieties of granola bars. You can add nuts, dried fruit, etc. I would make this recipe first and see what you think.  Then double it and make a larger batch. You can individually wrap these bars and store in the freezer. They go fast in my house so there is no need to freeze. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

Peanut Butter {Chocolate} Balls

I am not obsessed with sweet treats but I do enjoy a good quality chocolate treat from time to time.  The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is pure genius and has been around for a long time. It's simply hard to resist!

These treats are the cleaner version of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Are they one of your faves? If so, this recipe is for you! And, in my opinion, much better than the Reese's cups. Plus, you get to lick the spoon (are spoons in our case, since we all had to have one) in the process!

This recipe comes from the book Clean Start, by Terry Walters.  

Peanut Butter {Chocolate} Balls

1 cup {natural} peanut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup rice cereal, plus more if needed
2 cups gluten and dairy free chocolate chips or 12 ounces dark chocolate

Place peanut butter and maple syrup in food processor and pulse to combine. Fold in crispy rice cereal. If your peanut butter is particularly runny, add more cereal until mixture holds together in balls. Form penny-size balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Melt chocolate chips or chocolate in a double boiler or in small pot over very low heat. Drop 3-4 balls into the chocolate and roll them around until covered completely. With a teaspoon, scoop out each ball individually, holding it against the side of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place each chocolate-covered ball back on lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all balls are coated and refrigerate until firm (at least 1 hour). Serve cold or room temperature.

Makes: 30 balls

NOTE: I made mine a little larger than suggested because I used the small scoop from Pampered Chef. I think I came out to 24 of them. 

Also, please be careful when selecting your items for this recipe, one wrong move and you've went to the {dirty} side. For example, Kellogg's Rice Krispies Cereal has added chemical preservatives. I actually used Koala Crisp by EnviroKidz Organics which was already flavored chocolate so I probably went overboard on sugar on this one! I found it at my Kroger in the All Natural Foods Section.