banana buckwheat autumn muffins

Happy Monday, everyone! It has been a rainy weekend here, which is wonderful because 1) we need all the rain we can get here in California! and 2) it actually feels like autumn! I love everything about autumn. The chill in the air, the scarves and boots, the fall leaves, pumpkin spice everything… it always makes me feel the best combination of cozy and energized!

These muffins are the perfect excuse to do some healthy autumn baking. They’re bursting with the flavors of the season — apple, dried cranberries, pumpkin pie spices — and are also way good for you, packed with protein and naturally sweetened with honey and coconut sugar.

I have been exploring different types of flours in my baking recently and was excited to try out buckwheat after reading about its health benefits: it is an excellent source of nutrients and fiber, is great for your cardiovascular system and helps control blood sugar. Buckwheat is actually not a cereal grain, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, so it is often used as a substitute for those with gluten allergies or who are sensitive to wheat. The seed is ground into a flour that is dark in color and has a strong, nutty flavor.

These muffins get sweetened up by the fruit, but they are definitely not cupcake-sweet. I love to eat them smeared with peanut butter or pumpkin butter for an extra kick of flavor! Hope you enjoy them as much as we do around here!

buckwheat-muffins

{recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s sugar-free muffins}

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup coconut sugar {or substitute sugar of your choice}
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp water
3 eggs
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 apple, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed and water; mix together and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix the buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and coconut sugar.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, banana, vanilla and honey. Add the ground flaxseed-water mixture.

5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in apple, dried cranberries and walnuts.

6. Pour batter to the tops of lined cups. Batter will be very runny, but that is normal!

7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the muffins turn a deep chocolate brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

buckwheat muffins 2

carrot cake coconut muffins w/chickpea flour

A couple nights ago I posted a photo on Instagram of some evening baking, and multiple people commented asking for the recipe! So of course I had to share it on here. 🙂

This recipe marks my first time ever baking with chickpea flour! I was inspired by Robyn @the real-life rd to order some, because it is packed with veggie protein, iron and fiber, and she swore it is easy to sub into baking recipes. I have to say I was quite impressed with its soft texture and the hint of sweetness it brings to these muffins. To make these gluten-free, I also used rice flour, although you could use whole wheat flour if you would like.

These muffins are moist, soft, and packed with autumn flavors. They have no sugar, just maple syrup. I love them warmed up for breakfast, smeared with peanut butter, and also for dessert! You could even slap some frosting on these bad boys and call them cupcakes.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did around here! And I will definitely be sharing more recipes with chickpea flour in the future — I’m hooked. 🙂

carrot cake muffins chickpea flour

carrot cake coconut muffins w/chickpea flour

{adapted from this recipe at Wallflower Girl}

– 1/2 cup rice flour {or whole wheat flour}
– 1/2 cup rolled oats
– 3/4 cup chickpea flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
– 1 cup water
– 3/4 cup maple syrup
– 1/2 cup grated carrot {I used one large carrot}
– 1 cup shredded coconut
– 3/4 cup raisins
– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners or spray lightly with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: rice flour, rolled oats, chickpea flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

3. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients: vegetable oil/coconut oil, water, maple syrup, grated carrot, and shredded coconut.

4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until combined. Batter will seem a little thin, but that is okay!

5. Add raisins and chopped walnuts.

6. Fill your muffin tins pretty much to the top. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

carrot cake muffins

Have you ever baked with chickpea flour? If so, please share your favorite recipes in the comments section!

if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:
coconut zucchini muffins
apple banana oatmeal muffins
gluten free apple pie bites

curried butternut squash & apple soup

apple week

Oh my goodness you guys. This soup. My grandma pulled out the recipe the other day and I was thinking, “Are we really going to try to make this??” I was intimidated by the blender part of the process. But it really wasn’t difficult at all. The toughest part of the whole recipe was cutting up the butternut squash! Next time we are definitely going for the easy pre-cut packaged option … definitely worth the extra couple bucks, in my opinion.

Anyway … I highly recommend this soup! Healthy, hearty, creamy, the slight spice of the curry mingling with the sweetness of the apples and squash … YUM. This soup = autumn in a bowl. Enjoy!

butternut squash soup

curried butternut squash and apple soup

– 3 lbs butternut squash, cubed
– 2 apples, peeled and chopped {we used gala apples}
– 2 cups onions, diced
– 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
– 4 or 5 tbsp curry powder {depending on your taste for curry}
– 1 cup apple juice
– salt & pepper to taste
– green apple for garnish, if desired

1. Peel and chop your squash and apples. As mentioned previously, I would highly recommend using pre-packaged chopped butternut squash for this recipe, but if not I’d recommend baking the squash in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until soft. That will make it much easier to peel and chop!

2. Saute the diced onions in a little bit of butter or olive oil. Add curry powder and cook until onions are translucent.

3. Add the squash, apples and chicken broth and bring to a boil.

soup pre blend

4. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, half-covered, for approximately 25 minutes, until the squash and apples are soft.

5. Pour soup through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Blend the squash/apple/onion mixture in a blender or food processor until creamy.

6. Transfer blended soup back into the pot. Add the apple juice. Gradually stir in the reserved liquid until the soup reaches desired consistency.

soup creamy

7. Heat the soup on the stove until warmed through.

8. If desired, garnish with grated green apple. Serve warm.

I paired mine with a grilled cheese sandwich and it was the perfect dinner on a crisp autumn night!

grilled cheese

Question of the morning:

  • What are some of your favorite apple recipes? #appleweek

if you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
creamy blended potato & cauliflower soup
savory pumpkin & kale stew
shrimp & sausage stew

apple cake with crumb topping & brown sugar glaze

Hi everyone! I’ve decided to designate the next few days as Apple Week here on the blog! I have a few apple-themed recipes I’m excited to share with you, so I thought why not group them together in a single week … after all, no time of year says apple like autumn does!

apple week

Today, I’m excited to share the recipe for the apple cake I shared a teaser picture of in yesterday’s post. Grandma and I baked this cake for our dinnertime get-together at my aunt’s house, and it was a huge hit! There were only six of us there, and pretty much the entire cake got devoured by the time we left.

apple cake with crumb topping and a brown sugar glaze

apple cake

for the cake:
– 5 cups apples {peeled, cored and chopped}
– 1 & 3/4 cups flour
– 1/4 cup almond meal
– 2 tsp baking soda
– 2 or 3 tsp cinnamon {depending on your tastes}
– 1 tsp salt
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 1 cup applesauce
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla

for the crumb topping:
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 2 tbsp butter

for the brown sugar glaze:
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 tbsp water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, maple syrup/agave, and chopped apples. Mix until apples are well coated with sugar. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, and vanilla until well combined.

4. Sift together dry ingredients: flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

5. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.

6. Pour the batter over the apple-sugar mixture. Stir until well combined, then pour into the baking pan.

7. To make the crumb topping: mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add butter in small pieces. Mix until you have a fine, crumbly mixture. Generously sprinkle the crumb topping over the apple cake batter.

8. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. {Note: your house will smell AMAZING when this is baking!}

9. While cake is baking, make your brown sugar glaze by combining brown sugar, vanilla and water in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.

10. Remove cake from oven and drizzle with brown sugar glaze, which will harden as the cake cools.

In my opinion, this cake is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!!

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like this recipe? you might want to also check out:
baked cinnamon french toast
incredibly easy pumpkin spice cookies
chocolate spice zucchini muffins
apple banana oatmeal muffins

incredibly easy pumpkin spice cookies

In honor of tomorrow being the Autumnal Equinox, or first official day of autumn, I decided to celebrate by baking these incredibly yummy — and incredibly easy! — pumpkin spice cookies.

I came across this recipe about a month ago on one of my favorite blogs, Peanut Butter Fingers — I absolutely love pumpkin desserts and pastries, so right away I was on board. Then, when I saw that all you need is TWO ingredients to make these cookies, I was amazed. I knew I needed to try out this recipe for myself!

These cookies are thick, moist, and full of pumpkin goodness. They were super delicious warm from the oven yesterday and they still tasted fresh when I had a few for dessert tonight. Plus, since there is no butter, oil, or even eggs in this recipe — and pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A and C — these are pretty healthy as far as cookies go!

Whip up a batch of these cookies and enjoy a taste of autumn!

pumpkin spice cookies

– 1 box of spice cake mix {I used Duncan Hines}
– 15 oz can of pumpkin
– chocolate chips, marshmallow, white chocolate chips, nuts {optional mix-ins for the cookies}

1. Preheat your oven for 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, dump the cake mix and pumpkin. It will look like this:

3. Keep stirring until the pumpkin and cake mix are fully combined. The batter will be thick! {This recipe doubles as a great arm workout, haha!}

4. Drop the pumpkin by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet or onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. If you’d like, add chocolate chips, marshmallows, or nuts to some of the cookies. {I used white chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips in about half the cookies, and the rest I made plain.}

6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cookies are firm in the middle.

Yummmm… ENJOY!

Happy autumn, everyone!
-Dallas

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-Time spent: 30 minutes {including bake time}
-Cost: about $4.00

marvelous monday: back to school

Hi everyone! Today is my first day of school for the new semester. I always get a little nervous on my first day meeting a new group of students. My dad always says that’s good because it means I care — and boy, do I care! I SO want my students to have a positive and productive semester and come away from my class feeling like they learned something {hopefully many things} that will help them now and in the future!

This semester, I am excited to be teaching two classes: a freshman composition course and a business writing course that is geared for upperclassmen. While I’ve taught freshman composition the past four semesters, this year is slightly different because I am teaching a themed “Learning Community” course; the students in my course are also taking an Introduction to Entrepreneurship course together this semester, and I am working with the professor of that course to coordinate our assignments. I’m really excited about it! In addition to writing I have a background in entrepreneurship, and some of my favorite courses in my undergrad days were in the entrepreneurship department. {I was lucky to have really amazing professors who continue to be my mentors and cheerleaders today!} I want my students to have the same positive, inspiring, energizing experience that I did. We’re going to be doing projects like marketing proposals, interviewing experts in their dream field, and elevator pitches — I can’t wait! It is my first semester ever teaching business writing, and I am planning to have an entrepreneurial bent to that course as well.

I can feel an electricity in the air on the first day of school. It’s like the entire campus is abuzz! Too soon, the energy fades as we all get swamped with due dates and schoolwork and grading and mile-long to-do lists. But this year, I am going to try to keep that electric enthusiasm going all semester long. I remember missing school dearly in my “gap year” after I graduated college and before I began my Master’s program. The next time I feel bogged down or overwhelmed with a huge stack of papers to grade, I promise to remind myself of how grateful I am to be here, teaching and learning and doing what I love.

You don’t need to be going back to school to bask in that back-to-school energy! Fall is in the air. It’s the season of getting organized, getting a jump on that project you’ve been putting off, and getting into your groove. There are so many resources and opportunites all around us, so many connections to be made and ideas to be shared. How will you make these last four months of 2012 a masterpiece?

Have a marvelous week!
-Dallas