A Few Apple Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

For those of you who caught up with me last week, you’ll be pleased to know that I am still plugging away at using up the apples from my apple tree. Which is really good for you because I am finding and testing some great apple recipes which I then share. Plus my kids and D’Wayne are thoroughly enjoying being the taste testers, as are some of my neighbors.

Like I said there is a serious amount of baking at my house right now. There is not a day that goes by that I am not whipping up something in the kitchen and I am getting good at doing it quickly. Yesterday morning I whipped up some apple muffins between breakfast and heading out to my friends for coffee at 10 am.

Yesterday’s Apple Cinnamon muffin was a gluten, dairy and sugar free muffin, sweetened with maple syrup with coconut oil and flax seed meal. I am finding that I really like those recipes with that little extra kick of nutrition in there. You just mix it in and can’t even taste it.

I found this recipe on another blog site called the The Simple Veganista who shares raw and vegan recipes – who actually found it originally on the blog The Vanilla Bean. And I have to say these muffins are very good! In fact my oldest son Matthew’s response when he came home afterschool was “Damn these are good!” with his face all lit up with excitement.

They are super moist and very tasty. The only downside to this recipe is that one batch does not make enough – only 9 muffins! I did stretch it to 12 but got some very small muffins out of it.

Apple Cake Muffin

Last week I tried the Gluten Free Goddess’s Apple Cake muffin recipe, which we also enjoyed as this muffin has chunks of apple in it which I really liked. Many of the recipes I found called for grated apple and though this was good I wanted to really taste and notice the apple, so I liked the chunks. Her recipes still call for refined sugar so a quick substitution of coconut sugar and I was able to whip these babies up! It even called for powdered sugar sprinkled on top once they were done baking and I was able to substitute for this as well! See recipe below.

I love muffins that have a little sprinkle of something on top, and both these muffin recipes do -the first being a coconut sugar and cinnamon mixture. Yum! There is just something fun about sprinkling something on top 🙂

The only thing I find with the Gluten Free Goddess is many of her muffin recipes are the same base with slight changes in them to make them apple, blueberry or whatever kind of muffin it is. Though I do admire her, as all her recipes are original, tried and true; I like a little more variety in my muffins, which is why I search out other recipes to try. Regardless I do have to say even though her base is the same, I have never gone wrong with one of her recipes. They are always delicious!

Either way I would recommend either recipe if you are looking for a gluten free apple muffin, though the Apple Cinnamon one is the favorite at our house (I used coconut milk for our non-dairy milk, though you can use rice or almond milk if you prefer).

I still have a huge basket full of apples and am not sure what to do with them next as I am really looking for something that will use them up in large amounts! If you have any apple recipes to share please post them in the comments for everyone to try, especially me.

In the meantime go whip up one of these and then sit down for a few minutes and enjoy, savor, maybe grab a cup of coffee, while the kids play quietly….ha ha oh I’m dreaming again!

Regardless enjoy!

Sugar Free Powdered Sugar (replacement for regular icing sugar)

1 cup nonfat dry milk (for dairy free use powdered coconut milk)

1 cup cornstarch

2/3 cup Krisda Stevia for baking

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whip until blended and powdered. Store in an airtight container.

This replacement can be used in any recipe calling for icing sugar.

The Magic of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds

Recently I have discovered a lot of recipes with chia seeds in them. I haven’t been purposely looking for them, the recipes I have been picking up lately (such as Chocolate Macaroons) just happen to have them in it. The nice thing about this, I discovered, is that chia seeds are considered another superfood with multiple health benefits. They stabilize blood sugar, reduce cravings for sweets, improve mental focus, are a high quality protein, improve cardiovascular health and many more.

When I first heard about chia seeds I actually wasn’t sure what to do with them and thought they were funny things, these tiny seeds that look like poppy seeds. I knew they had great health benefits but what was the use if I could not use them? Then I found this recipe for chia seed pudding, which I have to admit when I first looked at it thought “Eww! seeds in my pudding”. But since I am into expanding my repertoire of sugar free and dairy free treats I thought I would try it.

I decided to make it for the first time when I was in BC this summer visiting my parents. My Mum is into these things as well and I always like a willing crowd to be my guinea pigs. The first thing I loved about this recipe is that it takes no time at all to make; less than 5 minutes. You literally whisk together the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit. That’s it. I didn’t even divide it amongst individual glasses like it suggested, I just left it in the bowl I made it in. (I also found that though this recipe says serves 4 but you can easily serve 6 and everyone has a decent sized portion).

chia seed pudding

Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding

The second thing I really liked is that when you let the chia seeds sit for a bit they actually expand (size and weight), so it gives the pudding some texture, similar to tapioca. Which is another health benefit, as this ‘gelling action’ when the seed is exposed to water gives you a full feeling for hours – which is great for maintaining a healthy weight. (I also think it’s fascinating 🙂

The pudding was a hit with my parents and the kids. Enough that I have made it again recently and will do so again. I have also discovered a recipe for a Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding, which I have yet to try, but imagine will be just as good.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

chia seed pudding

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

1 1/2 c. coconut milk

4 tbsp. maple syrup or honey

2 tbsp. cacao powder

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/3 c. chia seeds

**top with berries or coconut cream if desired

Whisk coconut milk, maple syrup or honey, cacao powder and vanilla until smooth. Stir in chia seeds. May divide evenly between 4 glasses or leave in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours and serve.

Serves 4 **(You can easily serve 6 with this recipe and have decent sized portions if desired)

 

Autumn Turkey Chili

One of the things I love about Fall is all the savory dishes that there are. The soups, the stews and all the fresh harvest vegetables that we have to put in them. Yummy! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I call them cozy foods, foods that are not only good for you, but make you feel warm and cozy inside. The smells wafting through the house as it cooks and the pleasure of sitting down to a nice warm meal.

Many of these meals I make using my slow cooker, which I also love! With busy schedules and activities, it is so nice to put something into the slow cooker in the morning, pretty much forget about it, and presto! ready for you at suppertime. Plus it adds to the anticipation of the meal as those flavors I was talking about, that waft through the house all day!

One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is Autumn Turkey Chili. I love how it combines fresh apples, butternut squash and coconut milk to create an amazing flavor and taste. It is chalk full of vegetables and spices – a really unique combination – that at first when you look at it you might not think so, but trust me it is delicious! Everyone loves it! And it usually makes enough that we can have it over 2 meals.

I found this recipe on the Crock Pot® website, where they have a large variety of slow cooker recipes. The only thing that I have modified in the recipe is the amount of chili powder, which I cut in half, as though we enjoy spice and flavor, we do not like it too hot 🙂

It does take a bit of time in the morning to chop and prep the vegetables and turkey, about 20 minutes, but it is well worth the time spent for the result at the end of the day!

Autumn Turkey Chili

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cups apples, diced

2 cups butternut squash, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 pound ground turkey, cooked

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, each

10 ounces chicken broth, canned, undiluted (I use 10 ounces of homemade chicken broth and this works well)

8 to 12 ounces coconut milk, canned

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup black beans, canned, drained and rinsed

coconut flakes and cilantro, to garnish

Combine all ingredients (except garnishes) in slow cooker. Cook on HIGH 4-6 hours or LOW 8-10 hours. Open the lid for last 45 minutes of cooking to thicken if desired. Mash the squash with the back of a wooden spoon to thicken further if you wish.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes, or just by itself.

Note: Use can use 4 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken in place of ground turkey.)

Enjoy!

If you try this recipe, please come back to the site and leave a comment. It’s great to share recipes and experiences with others!

Sugar Free Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I am not sure if it is because the meal contains so many foods that I love, such as turkey, stuffing and gravy, or my favorite pumpkin pie! (Actually I love anything pumpkin – pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice lattes)! Or if it is because of the warm, comforting feeling that surrounds the holiday. The fall season, that makes me think of burning candles and cozying up by the fire.

Pumpkin muffins

Either way I thoroughly enjoy it, and it is something that I look forward to. Last year, when we went sugar free at our house, I was a bit concerned, in fact I was very concerned about how to make my pumpkin pie. This was not something that I wanted to give up. Was it possible to find or create a recipe that would be just as good? I hoped there was, so I started looking and within a short time discovered a recipe that met my requirements and was just as easy to make. I found the recipe at Honey Bunny, the same company that makes the Bodacious Tomato Ketchup and BBQ sauce that we now buy. The Honey Bunny recipe called for evaporated milk and since we are also a dairy free household made a simple adjustment and used coconut milk instead. It turned out beautifully! and was just as delicious if not more, than what we were used to. In fact I think we all had 2 pieces!

The other thing that I adjusted last year was our cranberry sauce, as store bought brands contain a lot of sugar. I have never been a fan of cranberry sauce, but others in the family enjoy it. So I decided to make my own. I got the original recipe off the bag of Ocean Spray® cranberries and simply substituted agave nectar for the sugar. Again I had great success! and even I enjoyed some cranberry sauce last year.

I find that the highest amounts of sugar that we consume are around the holidays, and Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a lot of feasting and delectable delights. I know many people who feel like they have overindulged during the holidays and put themselves on a strict diet after Christmas. But if we had treats that were good for us and did not contain the sugar than we could enjoy the holiday feasting and not feel guilty or like we have overdone it. Eating healthy and well can be done, regardless of what is going on.

There are many alternatives out there and ways to still enjoy the foods you love without the sugar or worry. You will also feel so much better and so will your family! Perhaps this Thanksgiving is a great time to start. Try these recipes below and add them to your dinner feast. You’ll be amazed how good they are and if you don’t tell anyone else at the table, I bet they won’t even notice.

Honey Pumpkin Pie

1-398 ml can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1-398 ml can coconut milk

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine all ingredients together. Pour into 9 inch pie crust.
Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F and cook for 35 minutes. Test with cake tester, if it comes out clean pie is done, and centre will move only slightly when gently shaken.

Cranberry Sauce

1 -12 oz. pack fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained

2/3 cup agave nectar

1/2 cup water

If you prefer your cranberries to be crushed within your sauce, crush in a bowl or puree in blender. Combine water and agave nectar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 2 1/4 cups

Happy Feasting!


Don’t forget, guest blogger Nina Manolson this week with more great tips and tricks on eating healthy!