Autumnal Pumpkin Spice Muffins – Grain-Free, Dairy-Free

pumpkin spice muffins 1

As Mindy says on The Mindy Project: “Autumn is the time when the leaves go from green to orange, the lattes go from vanilla to pumpkin, and girls toss their razors out the window for there will be no bare legs seen until April.” Oh Mindy, so wise.

Personal grooming aside, as soon as the calendar passes the first of October, adding pumpkin to everything you bake isn’t a half bad idea. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene and fibre, and a pumpkin spice muffin is the quintessential autumn baked good (along with ginger molasses cookies, though one could probably argue that ginger molasses is really more winter than autumn. So, pumpkin spice it is).pumpkin spice muffins

These muffins are a direct take from Against All Grain, a wonderful cookbook (and blog!) if you’re looking to find grain-free options that are simple, straightforward, and based on traditional recipes that might be among your favourites, like banana bread or oatmeal raisin cookies (sans oatmeal, of course).

Baking grain-free is not the cheapest excursion, I know. But, if you follow a paleo diet, or find that eating grain-free is something you prefer or need to do to keep you system vibrant and humming, then consider these muffins a worthwhile investment.

These pumpkin spice muffins baked up beautifully, tasted pumpkin spice-y, and were sweet but not overly sweet. And they were very filling. Pour yourself a glass of almond milk and set a few of these on a plate, and then open up those windows for the cool, crisp breeze and let it wash over you. #autumnmakeseverythingbetterpumpkin spice muffins

Autumnal Pumpkin Spice Muffins – grain-free, dairy-free

  • Author: Against All Grain cookbook (I just tinkered with the spices and upped the chocolate chips – modifications included below).
  • Recipe Notes: grain-free, dairy-free
  • Yield: 10 regular-size muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt/Himalayan pink salt (finely ground)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 pastured/free-range/organic eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (if honey, should be warmed until liquid)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup/honey, and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until almost combined
  • Stir in chocolate chips and mix until well combined.
  • Scoop into an oiled muffin tin and top with pumpkin seeds, if using.
  • Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until lightly browned, spring back with pressed, and an cake tester inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
  • Store at room temperature for a few days, or pop into the freezer once cool.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly


Radiant Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric and Ginger Tea

radiant turmeric and ginger tea

“Yellow is the ‘lightest’ of all of the warm-spectrum colors and the color which most resembles the sun. It brings with it hope, and the feeling that everything will be all right. It has an air of radiance, brightness, cheerfulness, and gaiety. Yellow is open-minded and inspiring; it glows and illuminates, and at is most positive vibration it corresponds with knowledge and wisdom.”

~ excerpted from Color Your Life, by Howard & Dorothy Sun

So many of us want to find ways to reduce inflammation in our bodies, seeing as, you know, inflammation is possibly at the root of all disease. That’s a super scary idea, and it makes me want to leap into action. It makes me want to find some kind of superhero to help me fight back. And, the super hero that I have in mind just happens to be a ugly and sort of weird looking, but powerful nevertheless. My super hero wears a yellow cape and goes by the name Turmeric.

Turmeric is one of these superfoods we keep hearing about over and over and for good reason – it’s one powerful little root. And, it’s been proven to be anti-inflammatory, to be a powerful antioxidant (protecting the body from the regular ongoing damage that occurs as a result of breathing, exposure to toxins, aging, just existing, etc), and to have promising potential in treating arthritis and joint pain, preventing some cancers, and possibly even preventing and treating Alzheimers.

And ginger! Ginger is great for digestion and/or indigestion, for nausea, and it’s also known to be anti-inflammatory.

radiant turmeric and ginger tea

And can we talk about the colour of this tea? We don’t often pay attention to colour in our lives but I’m learning that colour has a tremendous influence on us in all sorts of physical, mental, and spiritual ways.

We know we’re supposed to eat the colours of the rainbow; here is a way to boost YELLOW. Colours mean antioxidants, which in turn means protection for your cells, radiant health, and high levels of nutrients. Turmeric is a lovely brilliant yellow when dried and when fresh, it kind of looks like a carrot – bright orange and juicy (under the peel, that is. When it has a peel on, it basically looks like ginger, to which it is related).

And as noted above, the colour yellow links to radiance, glow, illumination, cheerfulness, vitality, and all of the other elements of health that we want and that antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods can help us obtain. Coincidence? I think not.

radiant turmeric and ginger tea

Yellow is also the colour that represents the Solar Plexus Chakra, one of the seven energy centres of the body according to Ayurvedic traditions. In this school of thought, the Solar Plexus Chakra governs personal power, energy, and self-confidence. It’s all about purpose and your inner fire. The colour yellow supports and represents this chakra by encouraging radiance and stability and happiness and confidence.

Fire, pep, energy, radiance, yellow. Sound a lot like turmeric? I think so.

All that’s not bad for one little mug of tea.

radiant turmeric and ginger tea

And if you’re worried about this being too spicy, don’t be. I found it delightfully ‘awakening’ in my mouth but not at all burny or uncomfortable (read a description of turmeric’s taste here if you’re curious for more detail). It’s like a nice spicy chai: peppy and peppery, but not painful.

You can drink this straight as a steeped tea, or incorporate some non-dairy milk as I have done. The ground pepper and coconut oil are to enhance the absorption of the good stuff from the turmeric. I like making my tea into a latte because it mellows things into a more comforting mug and adds a nice smoothness. Plus, if you wanted to go crazy and add some coconut milk, you’re incorporating the healthy fats required to aid with turmeric absorption. Hey now!

Radiant Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric and Ginger Tea

  • Author: Backyard Owl (and everyone else on the internet who has ever made this kind of tea)
  • Recipe Notes: gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free or nut-free (depending on your milk), naturally-sweetened

Ingredients:

  • fresh ginger root
  • fresh turmeric root
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • (optional) stevia for sweetening

Instructions:

  1. Measure out 1 cup of filtered water and place in a saucepan on low heat.
  2. Grate about 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and 1 teaspoon of fresh turmeric and add to your water.
  3. Simmer for about 10 minutes (you should notice the water becoming, well, orange coloured).
  4. Pour the tea into your mug and strain out the spice pulp.
  5. Add a few shakes of ground black pepper and the coconut oil.
  6. Sir in 1/4 cup of your favourite non-dairy milk. If required, sweeten with stevia.
  7. Sip and enjoy!

Serves 1.

NOTE: Turmeric will stain anything it touches yellow. Just be warned. Your fingers, your counter, the knife you use to peel it, and so on. So I recommend paying attention while preparing this tea so that you don’t discover you’ve accidentally dyed your face, your clothes, or something else you would prefer NOT to become yellow.

© Backyard Owl


Perfectly Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies (v, gf)

ginger molasses cookies - vegan & gluten freeThe countdown to Christmas continues! This week: the spicy, sweet, chewy perfection of the ginger molasses cookie. A saucy little cookie, the ginger molasses really thrives this time of year, when people are open to the spicy beauty of ginger and the sweet bite of molasses.

These cookies are kind of a combination of healthy upgrades and vegan baking classics – they might not be the healthiest thing at the office Christmas party, but I can guarantee you they certainly won’t be the worst. Actually, truthfully, at most office Christmas parties they will be the healthiest option.

What I’m saying is, you don’t want to make so many healthy upgrades that the cookies no longer resemble cookies, and people look at them and say, “what are these made with again? sprouted alfalfa?” while they hungrily eye the lemon squares at the next table. We still want to entice. Just with fewer questionable ingredients.

ginger molasses cookies - vegan & gluten free

To that end: these beauties are gluten-free (made with brown rice flour and oat flour) and vegan, and use healthier sweeteners (coconut palm sugar) and fats (coconut oil) to replace the brown sugar and butter.

Make these cookies for the aforementioned office Christmas party, or for a family get together, or as a gift for your neighbours. Or, get crafty, and measure the dry ingredients into a jar with a gift tag that includes the wet ingredients and the instructions for baking – the perfect gift!

ginger molasses cookies - vegan & gluten free

If you are feeling particularly indulgent, and, like me, enjoy a touch of dark chocolate in just about everything, feel free to throw in a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips. Or, if you really love ginger, throw in a 1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger.

Have a Holly Jolly first week of December!

ginger molasses cookies - vegan and gluten free

Perfectly Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies (v, gf)

  • Author: Backyard Owl (original non-vegan version: Jennifer McGlinn, Gingerbread)
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup room temperature coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/3 cup fancy molasses
  • 2 teaspoons powdered “egg replacer” (like Ener-G) whisked together with 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • for rolling: 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together coconut oil and coconut palm sugar – 1 to 2 minutes should do it.
  3. Beat egg replacer/non-dairy milk mix and molasses into coconut oil and sugar.
  4. Add dry ingredients to sugar/oil mix, and stir together until well-mixed.
  5. Dough may be quite soft – if so, chill for about 1 hour until firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Roll dough into 1-inch size balls, roll in cinnamon sugar mix, and bake for 10 to 12 mins, or until lightly golden on the bottom and firm on top. If the cookie dough was very cold after being in the fridge, you might need to bake for closer to 15 minutes.
  8. Makes about 18 to 24 cookies and freezes beautifully.

© Backyard Owl