Scarves, boots, cardigans. Cool night time walks. Warm, ruddy leaves falling. Holiday cheer. Beaujolais Nouveau. And most of all, pumpkins!! I have a major crush on pumpkins. They are both adorable and delicious, a shining example of aesthetics wedding practicality. You can put googly eyes on your pumpkin and name it Stan, make it into an intricate lantern, and then eat it later on in the evening.
Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cookies. It’s all tasty but it’s NOT all healthy. After carrying extra weight for over two years now, I am at a serious breaking point with my body image and energy levels. Inspired by my closet full of wonderful, beautiful clothes that no longer fit—-I’m looking at you, linen, striped Missoni pants— I am on an all out fitness and wellness mission. No, not mission, I’m on a fucking crusade! KILL THE SATURATED FATS! LONG LIVE WELL EARNED VANITY! PROCESSED SUGAR WILL NOT COMPROMISE MY LONGEVITY!
So anyway . . . last week I started Jillian Michaels 3 month program, Body Revolution and my sister in law offered to start a food diary with me so we can track exactly what goes into our bodies. I don’t do well when I try to give myself extreme dietary restrictions, so instead, I am trying to eat by some basic, broad principles. One of my guidelines is to drastically limit the amount of dairy and gluten I eat. I wanted to make some pumpkin muffins, but with all of this in mind, I wanted them to be as healthy as possible. Now while I consider myself a pretty good cook, I rarely bake. Mostly this is because I equate baking with sugar and sugar with cocaine and cocaine with sudden death. You can see the downside to this logic.
Today I decided to go for it and make my own muffin recipe. I read a few recipes online to get a general idea of proportions, but mostly I just crossed my fingers and licked the spatula. These muffins are not very sweet and they hempseed and molasses gives them more of an earthy, hearty flavor than a “can i have a slice of starbucks pumpkin bread to go with my latte” flavor. That, however, is exactly what I was after. They are moist as is but also delicious with a little butter on top. I used a mini muffin pan so as to keep myself from over eating.
pumpkin hempseed mini muffins
what you need:
- 2 c. all purpose gluten free flour
- 1 c. coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 tbl. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt (i used pink himalayan)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (i used fresh nutmeg and grated it)
- 1/2 tsp. all spice powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 tbl. agave nectar
- 4 tbl. plain rice or almond milk
- 2 tbl. blackstrap molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 can of pumpkin (just pumpkin, don’t get the kind that says “pumpkin pie filling”)
- 1/2 c. coconut oil
- 1/2 c. hempseed hearts (shelled hempseeds)
what you do:
Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. This is the first time I’ve used coconut palm sugar, hailed by Dr. Oz as the next big thing. I picked this because coconut palm sugar has a low glycemic index. Agave nectar is the same way. The slow release of energy helps curb your appetite and keep you from experiences those “sugar rushes.”
In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together including the pumpkin, agave, egg, coconut oil, vanilla, molasses and rice or almond milk. I used an old school manual hand mixer to blend everything together. The coconut oil is taking the place of butter and like coconut palm sugar, coconut oil has a long list of health benefits. Blackstrap molasses is a wonderful source of iron, and being a vegetarian, that’s something I can always use more of. Blackstrap molasses is not as sweet as regular molasses but it has way more benefits. In addition to iron it’s high in calcium and magnesium, and potassium.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until smooth. Fold in the hemp seeds. Shelled hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin e, and also help boost your immunity. They give these muffins a nice earthy flavor and provide a bit of texture. Spoon into mini muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 9-11 minutes depending on your oven. This yielded exactly two pans worth of mini muffins, which is 48 muffins. I’ve calculated the nutrition facts for you. Each mini muffin has 72 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of protein. And remember, those calories are coming mainly from coconut oil, coconut palm sugar and hemp hearts. . . not things you want to eat all the time, but definitely preferable to calories coming from white refined sugar, chocolate chips and butter, in my opinion.