Rachel’s Morning Glory Muffins (loaded with seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables)

Good morning! I have a super special treat to share with you guys. Today I am introducing you to these most amazing muffins. These babies are packed full of good-for-you ingredients to start your day off just right or to give you an energy packed treat as an afternoon pick-me-up. But there is more as to why these guys are so special… If you live in Seattle and haven’t attended a class taught by The Joyful Kitchens, you need to. The Joyful Kitchens is made up of three lovely Seattle ladies who are like the quadruple threat in the kitchen, if such a thing exists. They teach, they cook from scratch, they cater, they photograph – and most importantly they are wonderful, sweet, hospitable, and beautiful women. I have taken three of their classes in the past year and have learned so many fun new recipes and tricks that range from cocktail parties and holiday treats, to most recently fun brunch food. These muffins came from that class. I asked Rachel if she would let me share this recipe with you guys, because I know that you will love them just as much as we have. They will be a staple in our home for sure. They are great as a quick breakfast and perfect for a snack. I’ve been sticking them in Jonah’s lunchbox everyday too, to get him through the rest of his afternoon at school.

So run out to your favorite bulk bin location and stock up! We love to hear from you, so let us know how you liked them and I will be sure to pass all compliments along to Rachel!

morning glory muffins with seeds, fruit, and nuts.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup natural raw wheat germ (this was the only item I forgot when I went bulk bin shopping for these muffins so I used an additional 1/4 cup almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (would be great with shredded zucchini, too)
  • 1 tart apple peeled, cored, and shredded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped and pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped super dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon course sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
METHOD:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Add in the shredded apple and carrots, the raisins, dates, walnuts, seeds, chocolate, and coconut.
  2. Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together to ensure everything gets coated with the flour.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the applesauce, maple syrup, molasses, melted coconut oil, almond and vanilla extracts.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated and moist. If your mixture is too dry, add just a touch more applesauce.
  5. Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 20-35 minutes at 350 or until the middle is set if using regular muffin tins. If using mini muffin tins, bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Eat warm out of the oven with butter! Enjoy!
  8. Makes 12-18 regular size muffins or about 26 mini muffins
  9. NOTE:  We are working on a gluten-free / paleo conversion for this recipe as well.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Taken from Rachel @ The Joyful Kitchens.
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Lemon Bars (grain / gluten / dairy / sugar free, paleo)

Soooooo… my awesome girl Noelle (yes, the same one who introduced me to the most amazing dessert ever), challenged me to create the best lemon bars of life.  I think the text went something like “if I know you at all, you won’t stop until you find it – I challenge you to create for me the best paleo lemon bars ever”.  And she does know me – it is crazy what you can learn about someone by the way they CrossFit. Because I texted back “challenge accepted” (duh), and immediately starting thinking, researching, preparing.  And now, behold. The best (paleo) lemon bars of life.
lemon bars (grain gluten dairy free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS: (crust)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cups unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
  • 1 egg white (save yolk for lemon filling)
  • Pinch sea salt
INGREDIENTS: (filling)
  • 3 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (you are going to have one extra egg white – just save it, and throw it in your next batch of scrambled eggs)
  • 6 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
METHOD:
1.  Turn oven on to 350F.
2.  Melt coconut oil over low heat on the stove.  Add maple, coconut, almond flour, and sea salt.  Stir until combined.  Remove from heat.
3.  Add 1 egg white, and stir vigorously for 1 minute.  Crust dough will be very sticky.
4.  Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, and pour crust dough into dish.  Using hands, press dough down in dish until compact, and evenly spread throughout.
5.  Poke a few holes in the crust using a toothpick.  Maybe 10.  To prevent it from bubbling up when cooking.  This step is important.  Don’t skip it.
6.  Bake crust for 10 minutes, remove from oven.
7.  While crust is cooking, whisk the eggs plus the egg yolks in electric mixer until light and frothy.
8.  Add the rest of the filling ingredients, and whisk for 2 minutes.  Set your timer.  2 minutes, people.
9.  Pour the mixture over the crust, which you already baked for 10 minutes.
10.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown and center is set.
11.  Let it cool.  No really, don’t eat it yet.  Let it cool.  It is important for it to set.  Give it 30 minutes.
12.  Dust with coconut flour – looks just as beautiful as powdered sugar, and nobody will be able to tell the difference.  Promise.
13.  Cut, and consume.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Coconut Cream Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free, processed sugar-free, paleo, vegan)

Oh man.  Been on the hunt for a white frosting that doesn’t use powdered sugar.  Finally found the best one.  Tried so many.  Failed at so many.  This one wins.  It is creamy, the texture is perfect, and the taste is incredible.  This will for sure be my go-to frosting recipe. Most recently I made it to put on carrot cake muffins, but it would be good on pretty much anything you wanted to frost.  I may have even consumed a few spoonfuls straight out of the fridge.  Don’t judge.  You would have too if there was a tub of this in your fridge.  Let us know what you think of this when you make it!  This frosting would also be real good on pumpkin muffins, chocolate cupcakes, blackberry bars, or spread on grahams!

Coconut Cream Frosting (dairy-free, processed sugar-free, paleo, vegan)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 
METHOD:
1.  Combine coconut milk, syrup, and sea salt in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  While the mixture is simmering, combine arrowroot and water in a small bowl to make a paste.
3.  After 10 minutes, pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan and whisk enthusiastically to combine.
4.  Quickly bring to a boil, until bubbly and shiny.  Then remove from heat.
5.  Very gradually add coconut oil to mixture, blending either with hand blender, or in stand mixer with whisk attachment in place.
6.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (I left mine in overnight).
7.  Remove from refrigerator, and blend again until light and fluffy.  Serve immediately.
NOTE:  Due to the coconut oil in this recipe, this frosting does not hold up well in high temperatures.  If you are making this ahead of time, I would spread it on cupcakes or cake immediately after whipping, store in refrigerator, and remove cupcakes or cake about and hour before serving.  This will allow frosting to soften up a bit, but not become overly warm and melt.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Elana’s Pantry.

Maple + Vanilla Marshmallows (without corn syrup)

Just in time for all that holiday hot cocoa you are going to be drinking…. homemade marshmallows!  I have tried to make mallows multiple times, but have failed miserably.  One time husband put one in his mouth and literally gagged and spit it out with so much anger that I made him try such a terrible thing.  No more.  These babies are amazing.  They  are sweetened with maple, have a nice, light vanilla flavor, and the texture is perfect.  I’ve tested them in hot cocoa (they melt and get perfectly gooey), I’ve tested how they roast (just like you’d expect…. golden on the outside, melted on the inside), and soon I intend on testing how they stand up in a rice-krispy-like recipe.  What I am saying is, this is the real deal – and only 4 ingredients.  4 good ingredients.  The last time I picked up a bag of marshmallows at the store, I saw corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring (why they need coloring in a product that should be white to begin with, I have no idea), cornstarch, and processed sugar as the ingredients.  Those are not things I am willing to eat, or feed my babies, so I set out to make my own.  I love that they get to enjoy the fun treats of the season, and I feel great about giving it to them.  These marshmallows have to set overnight, so plan ahead.  Trust me, the wait is worth it.  Also, don’t forget to use our chocolate sauce recipe for your hot cocoa.  Just heat up your milk over the stove, and add desired amount of chocolate goodness, whisk until combined, and top with marshmallows.

marshmallows

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (I like either this gelatin or this gelatin because they are both 100% pure gelatin from grass-fed cows, and not as highly processed as other gelatin).
  • 1 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half with seeds scraped out
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Coconut oil, to grease the pan
METHOD:
1.  Pour water into bowl of stand mixer, and sprinkle gelatin on top of water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  This allows gelatin to soften and activate.
2.  Using your hands, grease the bottom and sides of a 9X9 baking dish with coconut oil.
3.  In a sauce pan, combine syrup, sea salt, and vanilla beans and heat, while constantly stirring, until it reaches a temperature of 240 degrees F.  This took longer than I expected, 5+ minutes…. but be patient, it will happen.  Syrup will be thick and bubbly.  I think that this somehow functions the way corn syrup would in a traditional marshmallow recipe.
4.  Turn mixer on to medium speed, with whisk attachment in place.  Slowly, and I mean slowly, add hot syrup mixture to gelatin.  Should take about a minute to a minute and a half to pour syrup in.
5.  Once all syrup is added, turn mixer up to high, and let go for 7-10 minutes, or until white and fluffy and doubled in size.  The texture when finished will be similar to that of melted marshmallows.  Gooey, sticky and not solid.
6.  Pour mixture into greased dish, and allow to rest uncovered at room temperature overnight.
7.  Gently pull out now set marshmallow from pan, and cut into 1″ cubes using a hot, greased knife.  I greased my knife with coconut oil (carefully, of course), and also coated my hands as well.
8.  Toss marshmallows in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of arrowroot powder to keep them from sticking to each other.  Shake off excess arrowroot.  Arrowroot is a basically a cleaner, more nutritious thickening starch to be used in place of cornstarch… it is also gluten-free and GMO-free, where as most cornstarch is not, unless you take care to get 100% organic cornstarch.
9.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.  Makes about 30 1″ cube mallows.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Deliciously Organic.

Cranberry Crisp

This recipe comes from my daughter’s preschool. I love, love, love this preschool. Jonah went there last year for Pre-K and that is when I fell in love with it. Such a wonderful community of such loving people. We had no intention of sending Dorothy there until Pre-K, but I couldn’t bear being away from there a whole year. And I knew she would absolutely love preschool.  Every year they have the sweetest Thanksgiving performance followed by their Thanksgiving feast. They ask parents to bring one of three designated dishes and this crisp is one of those. Last year when my son was there, I made this crisp with the brown sugar, margarine, and canned cranberries that was on the original recipe and then I made it again for our family because I loved it so much. This year I tweaked it. Instead of brown sugar, I used maple syrup and not as much. Instead of margarine, I used extra virgin coconut oil. And instead of canned cranberries, I used fresh, whole cranberries from the farmer’s market. I also added cinnamon and nutmeg. Because in my opinion, everything could use cinnamon and nutmeg, right? It was delicious. Cranberries are super tart, which I like, but if you don’t you could heat them on the stove and add a little bit of water and honey or maple syrup. Then you could mash the cranberries once they have softened. This would give the dish a gooey element that mine was missing by using whole, non-mashed cranberries. Super yummy for breakfast alongside a hot cup of coffee! Let me know how you like it!


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, about 2 tablespoons extra for drizzling over cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, or enough to cover the bottom layer of the crisp
METHOD:
1. Mix all of the ingredients together except for the cranberries.
2. Press half of the mixture in a 9 x 13 pan.
3. Bake for 20 minutes, in 350 oven.
4. Spread cranberries on top of the crust, drizzle with maple syrup and press the rest of the oat mixture on top.
5. Bake again for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Chicken Pad Thai

I did a lot of things in college.  I moved from Colorado to Seattle.  I met (and married) my man.  I worked a million jobs.  I made amazing friends.  And I ate pad Thai.  No, really.  I’m not kidding.  I bet I got it at least once a week, and saved the left-overs for the next day, meaning I probably ate it 2 times a week, every week, for the better part of 4 years.  I’d never had it before moving here, and it is one of my all-time favorites.  Which is why I knew I had, like HAD, to attempt to make it at home.  My husband constantly makes fun of me (in a playful, I-totally-can’t-argue-because-he-is-sooooooo-right type of way), about my constant on-a-whim decision making.  Cooking, for me, is no different.  I get an idea in my head about what I want to make, and there is no stopping me until it is done. Even if there are other things I should be doing. Even if I have to run out to get ingredients I don’t have. Even if the kids are freaking their #*$%.  I saw this recipe today.  I went to get the ingredients today.  I made it today.  And I freaked out it was so good today.

I would have NEVER thought, in a million years, that it was possible to make pad Thai this delicious in my own kitchen. But, I swear it tasted like it came from a restaurant.  No joke.  I wouldn’t lie to you.  And even though it uses rice noodles – and therefore technically not a whole grain, I also used organic chicken, pastured eggs, organic veggies from the farmer’s market, and coconut oil – so it is a million times better than anything I could order for take-out.  Have you ever asked to see the ingredients in the pad Thai at your favorite restaurant?  Yikes.  There are like maybe 100.  And a lot of them are no bueno. The ingredients here are clean, the sauce doesn’t have anything weird in it, and it was quite possibly the most delicious thing I’ve ever made.  If it seems like I’m freaking out about it, it is because I am. Still. Tastiest food of life.  Make it.  Tonight.  For reals.  Is that picture blurry?  I don’t even care.  Could barely even hold off stuffing my face long enough to take one pic.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 8 oz Brown Rice Noodles
  • 3 tablespoons 100% Pure Maple Syrup (or 100% organic brown sugar, so it is GMO free)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (about one large lime, freshly juiced)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons either Tamari Soy Sauce, Wheat Free or Coconut Aminos.  Again, make SURE it is organic to avoid those nasty GMO’s, and make sure it is wheat free if you want this dish to be gluten-free.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.  Original recipe called for Sriracha.  Don’t use that.  It has 8 ingredients, 2 of which will most definitely be genetically engineered, and 2 of which are preservatives, which you don’t need to consume when you can just use red pepper flakes instead.
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil, divided in half
  • 2 organic chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 5 green onions, chopped (separate chopped whites from chopped greens)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (I used cheese grater)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 4 lime wedges, for garnish
  • UPDATED:  Go ahead and toss in a handful of bean sprouts, too.  I forgot all about em when I made this, but Evan’s husband Justin has informed me they are a necessary component to Pad Thai.
METHOD:
1.  Boil rice noodles according to package instructions. I brought water to a boil in large pan, turned heat off, added noodles, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain water, and set noodles aside.
2.  While noodles are soaking, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to non-stick pan and add chicken.  I chopped up the chicken into pretty small little bites before cooking.  I think you should do the same.
3. Once chicken is cooked, drain off any liquid and add peanut butter.  Stir until chicken is coated, set aside.
4.  In your skillet, add the other tablespoon of coconut oil along with the white part of the chopped onions and the garlic.  Sautee until golden brown, and fragrant.
5.  Add the eggs and scramble over medium heat until almost cooked.  Almost.  Not all the way. Take off the heat and set on a plate for a few minutes.
6.  Mix together syrup (or organic brown sugar), soy sauce, lime juice, and crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside.
7.  Back to the skillet.  Add noodles, the sauce you just mixed, the chopped green part of the onions, carrots, and chicken.  Stir until combined, over medium heat, until noodles are soft.
8.  Grab your plate with the almost scrambled eggs.  Dump into the noodles, and stir to combine.
9.  Cook for another minute or so, until eggs are fully cooked.
10.  Plate.  Add cilantro, peanuts, and a lime wedge to each serving.  This recipe was enough for me and my man to consume heaping amounts, the kids each took a few bites, and there is a little bit leftover for lunch.  So I guess I would say it serves 4.  Or maybe 3 if you are crazy hungry.
11.  See?!  Easy!  And might I suggest chopping, mixing, and cooking before dinner time?  That is what I did and it made the actual cooking part crazy fast and easy.  I chopped veggies, mixed sauce, beat eggs, and cooked chicken while my children were napping – so come dinner time, I just had to soak noodles and throw stuff in skillet.
12.  Also, if you get the right soy sauce, this dish is gluten-free (Sarah D, Abbey K).  And if you omit chicken it is vegetarian (Evan).  Add shrimp instead and it is pescatarian (Noelle K).  Omit eggs and chicken and it is vegan (Nicole H). You catch my drift?  Modify to fit your needs.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Everyday Food.
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Ginger Snaps

I’ve got a real tasty treat for you today.  These cookies are perfect for the fall, and for the upcoming holiday season.  They have a crisp outside, and a nice chewy inside.  And, the ingredients are extremely clean.  I honestly couldn’t think of an easier way to make cookies either… you literally dump all ingredients in a bowl, stir em, and cook em.  Amazing.  Hope you enjoy!!  Oh, and I forgot to mention – they are gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free… so technically paleo and vegan.  Even better.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons organic turbinado sugar (make sure to find 100% organic raw cane sugar so that you can be sure it is GMO-free).
METHOD:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix until thoroughly combined.  I usually use my mixer because it takes less effort.  And my arms are sore.  From push ups.
2.  Chill dough for about 30 minutes.
3.  While the dough is chilling, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pre-heat oven to 350.
4.  Roll the chilled dough into 15 even sized balls.  They will be about the size of a ping-pong ball.
5.  Using a fork, press down on each cookie to flatten to desired thickness.  I find it is a lot easier to do this with a wet fork.  I wet my fork, press down the cookie dough, wipe any dough that stuck on the fork with a paper towel off, and then wet the fork again and repeat. Hopefully that helps you not to have cookies sticking to your fork.  Because I did that before I figured out this method, and it was super annoying.
6.  Sprinkle with organic turbinado sugar.
7.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.  I like to keep them in for the full 10 minutes because it makes them a little crisp on the outside.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Detoxinista.