Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the bright colors outside when the leaves begin to change, the warm smells in the kitchen of seasonal vegetables roasting and the crisp feeling of the chilly air when taking the dog for a walk in the afternoon sunshine…oh and November is my birthday month (only child syndrome!).  Growing up everyone in my family loved Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip at Thanksgiving…not me, I was a Pecan Pie and vanilla ice cream girl.  My taste for all things pumpkin didn’t develop until later in life but now I simply cannot get enough of it…pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie…the list is practically endless.  Several years ago I found a recipe for the ultimate Thanksgiving dessert, Pumpkin Pecan Pie…it’s my new favorite but since following a paleo/primal diet I haven’t tried to adapt the recipe yet (don’t worry, the recipe WILL be adapted and posted before Thanksgiving this year!).  I started my fall baking this season with these wonderful Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins…they are fruit sweetened, dairy free and great for breakfast, snack and even dessert!

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins

Makes about 24 muffins

2 large ripe bananas

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and soaked (about 6-8 dates)

5 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh roasted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 /2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or more/less according to your taste)

1/2 cup of pecans, chopped

24 pecan halves (optional, for topping)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well with coconut oil.
  2. Place pitted dates in a bowl, cover with very hot water and soak for about 10 minutes, drain well after soaking.
  3. To a blender add bananas, pumpkin, dates, vanilla, eggs, and melted coconut oil.  Puree until smooth.
  4. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until there are no lumps.
  6. Stir in chopped pecans.
  7. Divide evenly between the muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop which is about 1/4 cup of batter).
  8. Place one pecan half on top of each muffin.
  9.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely on rack before serving.

Recipe Tips…

  • If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice add: 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves instead
  • You could omit the coconut oil and add and extra 1/4 cup of pumpkin
  • Make these an even more decadent dessert by adding 1/2 cup 70% (or greater) dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs for a completely sugar-free recipe
  • Top with a dollop of whipped coconut cream or if you tolerate dairy a dollop of fresh whipped cream

Enjoy the taste of pumpkin pecan pie everyday, guilt-free!

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday

Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays, This Chick Cooks

Whole 30 Update…Just Over Two Weeks Down!

So, today is Day 17 of my Whole 30 Program…


Now that I’m in the midst of the challenge I am totally kicking myself for not doing this the minute I learned about it…just like the program guidelines state…“But don’t put this off, not for one more day.  If you give yourself excuses or reasons to delay, you may never begin.  Do it now.”  I should have listened.

I put off doing the Whole 30 for several reasons…
a)I’ve been gluten, soy and refined sugar-free for 5+ years, grain-free for 1+ years
b)I’m at a healthy weight and BF% which is easily maintainable for me
c)I don’t eat out or consume any processed foods
d)I didn’t want to give up cream in my coffee or butter in well, anything or my greek yogurt and berries
e)I thought I had this diet/lifestyle pretty much dialed in and that I didn’t need it despite my occasional (and becoming more regular) digestive issues

Boy, was I mistaken!

At first I didn’t really notice any difference in any aspect (energy, digestion, sleep…) and I truly thought…”I will give this until day 15 to see if anything changes significantly and if not I’m going back to my normal routine”…
I woke up on day 15 and BAM, everything had changed!  Go figure.  My energy levels were higher than normal, I was sleeping through the night without a potty wake up at 3am and started having regular BM’s (without herbal assistance…I know TMI!).  I know we are not supposed to get on the scale during the 30 days and I truly didn’t step on it once until Day 15 but my weight is a huge factor in my health (meaning I can tell when I eat something that causes inflammation in my body by an increase in my weight)…down 3.2 pounds!  Ok, so this program really works…I’m still going and really can’t see that I will be adding dairy back, ever.  The only other thing that I’ve cut from my diet for this program is stevia and an occasional 1-2 T honey or palm sugar which I can take or leave…

If someone like me who eats a clean diet already can experience life changing results in 15 days I can’t imagine what someone eating a less than optimal SAD can experience…

Do it.  Do it now.  You won’t be sorry…

PS…the scale was a one-time thing for me on day 15…I haven’t been on it again and won’t until day 31. 😮

Be watching in the coming weeks for some new recipes…now dairy-free and fruit sweetened.  Hmm…let’s see…gluten, grain, legume, soy, dairy and sugar-free…I promise they will NOT be taste-free!

Homemade Vanilla Coconut Milk

I’m always amazed at how simple some things are to make at home…so often I think it’s just easier or quicker to buy them in the grocery store or better yet order on-line for front porch delivery (no driving or crowd fighting necessary!).  Since beginning my Whole 30 Challenge on October 3 I’ve been dairy-free (which has been surprisingly easy!) and have started using coconut milk in my morning coffee.  At first I tried the canned coconut milk which I think would be great in hot coffee but I’m an iced coffee girl and well, it just wouldn’t mix in…it was hard and clumpy, yuck!  Next, I tried the So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk in the carton, this was better and worked great while I was traveling…

I returned home yesterday from two weeks of traveling.  Needless to say, I was a bit tired and had absolutely no desire to stop at the grocery store on my way home from the airport!  I was lucky enough to do a bit of “grocery shopping” in my mom’s fridge when I picked up the dog before heading home and thought I’d be set for a couple of days…I knew I had coffee in the freezer and was just sure I had a fresh carton of coconut milk…I was so tired when I got home I didn’t even think to check before unpacking and getting into my pajamas!  Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next…yep, no coconut milk.  No way was I going to get dressed to go back out…

I have been making homemade almond milk for a while now and was sure I had seen recipes for homemade coconut milk…I did a quick search on the Tropical Traditions website and found a ridiculously easy recipe for homemade coconut milk using shredded coconut…problem solved.  I whipped this up in the Vitamix this morning and can’t believe I ever bought the stuff in a carton!!!!  I made two batches, one plain and one with vanilla, totally yummy!

Homemade Vanilla Coconut Milk

2 cups hot (not boiling) filtered water

1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 Tbsp. organic vanilla (optional)

In a medium-size kettle, heat the water, but do not bring it to a boil.  Pour hot water into a high-speed blender, add coconut on top of the water and then the vanilla.  Let sit for 1-2 minutes before blending. Blend on high for 5-7 minutes.  Line a colander with cheesecloth and place over a bowl or use a nut milk bag directly inside a glass mason jar.  Pour the blended coconut mixture into the cheesecloth or nut milk bag and twist to extract the milk, letting the milk go into the bowl.   Be careful, the milk will be hot so you may want to wear rubber gloves or let it sit to cool a bit.  Pour milk into a glass mason jar and refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Coconut milk will separate during storage so be sure to shake it up each time you use it…enjoy!

Makes about 2 cups.

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday & Fat Tuesday

Gluten Free Wednesdays

Wellness Weekend & Fight Back Friday

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Easy, Elegant and Healthy.

Asparagus.  Bacon.  Need I say more?

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus:

1 1/2 pounds asparagus (24-32 stalks), ends trimmed

4 slices organic uncured bacon, prosciutto or pancetta

olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Trim stalky ends off the asparagus, wash and pat dry.  Lightly coat asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap 6 – 8 stalks of asparagus with one slice of bacon and place bundle on a broiler or sheet pan, repeat with remaining asparagus and bacon.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, turning bundles once halfway through.  Bacon should be crisp and asparagus tender.

***Asparagus can also be cooked on a hot grill…place bundles directly on grill and cover, cook 10-12 minutes.

***If your asparagus bundles won’t hold together secure bacon with a toothpick or kitchen twine.

I used an oven proof pan this time...worked beautifully.

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday & Fat Tuesday

Gluten Free Wednesdays

Fight Back Friday

Proceed with Extreme Caution…Fudgy Brownies Ahead!

Oh my. Glad I start on the Whole 30 on Monday…these will be gone by then!

Fudgy Brownies with Chopped Macadamia Nuts

Megan Keatley at Health-Bent  posted a recipe earlier this year for Paleo Fudgy Brownies and I have been dying to make them!  It was a beautiful fall Colorado day and it just seemed like the perfect time to bake…these were so easy to make and they turned out so yummy!  I made a few adjustments to the recipe which I am posting here, visit Health-Bent (Paleo friendly recipes that don’t look or taste like dog food!) for the original recipe and be sure to take a look at their other mouth-watering recipes as well!

Fudgy Macadamia Nut Brownies

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup sunbutter

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

2 pastured eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt

1/3 cup raw cacao

1/4 cup pitted medjool dates, packed

1/3 cup chocolate chips (70% or greater)

1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped and divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 11 x 7 Pyrex dish (an 8 x 8 would work also).  Place pitted dates in a small bowl and cover with very hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes.  In a medium bowl whisk together almond butter, sunbutter, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla.  Drain dates and process in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth, whisk into the wet mixture.  Mix in salt and cacao powder and stir until smooth.  Add chocolate chips and half of the chopped macadamia nuts, mix until incorporated.  Pour batter into the prepared dish and sprinkle remaining nuts on top of the batter.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, top will start to slightly crack around the edges when the brownies are done, cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Recipe tips:

  • I think these taste best after resting for several hours and even better out of the fridge!
  • You could substitute 1 cup of any nut butter for the almond/sun butter combo
  • 1/4 cup of any sweetener could be used in place of the dates (palm sugar works great!)
  • If you prefer dairy, sub 2 Tbsp. melted butter and 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream for the coconut milk
  • To make the entire recipe sugar-free, use 1/4 cup cacao nibs in place of the chocolate chips, this will give the brownies a nice crunch but they won’t have the added sweetness from the sugar in the chocolate chips so you might want to add 1 ripe banana.

Cooling...notice the slight cracks around the edges...try to avoid digging directly into the pan with a spoon!

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday & Tasty Tuesday

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Fight Back Fridays

%d bloggers like this: