Apple Cinnamon Star Muffins

These muffins make food fun! Everybody enjoys eating food that looks good, and since we also eat with our eyes, these are particularly enticing to little ones. These top the charts as one of my toddler’s favorite foods because a) he loves apples, b) he’s obsessed with stars, and c) he could eat his weight in muffins. This is my toddler trifecta.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Since this recipe was developed with little stomachs in mind, they are sweetened only with fruit from bananas and apples. Balancing blood sugar of kids (and adults!) is an important factor in keeping emotions and energy stable. Healthy fat from coconut oil and flaxseed allows slower digestion, and the heaping helping of cinnamon is beneficial to blood sugar balance. This egg-free, dairy-free recipe is a cinch to clean up since all of it can be dumped into one bowl and pulsed in a food processor. And that pulse button is the perfect way to get kids excited to help in the kitchen.

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Now, before you take another look at the star shapes and mutter things ain’t nobody got time for, you could easily do without the star if you’re in a pinch, or replace it with another small cookie cutter you have if your kiddo’s Play Doh collection. If it’s within the realm of possibilities for you, a fun shape might be just what it takes to introduce kids to whole, clean foods that don’t come out of a bag.

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Have fun with different shapes! We happened to have a batch of these topped with hearts baking while we worked on Valentines. A Christmas tree, pumpkin, numbers, or letters would entice little hands to reach for one. They made the house smell so good! Be sure to get your kids to help in the kitchen to expose them to the appreciation of cooking and kitchen stewardship.

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Apple Cinnamon Star Muffins

  • Servings: 12 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups quick 1-minute oats
  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Dash nutmeg

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 small apples; 1 1/2 coarsely chopped, and 1/2 reserved as discs for cut-outs*
  • 3 1/2 ripe bananas
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

*I used honeycrisp, but any sweet apple will work. If you plan to use a cutter shape for the top, be sure to plan ahead by saving half of an apple to be sliced in transverse discs about 1/4″ thick. Any scrap that remains from the cutouts should be added back to the bowl of wet ingredients.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Add all dry ingredients into a large food processor and pulse a few times until well blended. Add the wet ingredients directly into the food processor on top of the dry ingredients and blend until completely incorporated.

Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the prepared muffin cups and top with your star-shaped apple pieces, or other selected shape. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the center of muffins read 200 degrees when an instant read thermometer is inserted.

Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. These will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. I enjoy these with a hefty dollop of ghee and glass of almond milk!

Photos and Content Copyright © Jaclyn Beaty Nutrition, 2019


Carrot Cake Protein Balls

I’m a grazer. I’d be just as happy grazing snick-snacks all day than eating three square meals. These little balls of joy fit the bill for the perfect no-guilt grazing snack. There are a lot of variations I’ve seen for protein balls like these online, like adding applesauce, cashews, flaxseeds, nutmeg, cream cheese, almond bark (almond bark? that just became dessert), but I don’t think you can go wrong any way you spin it based on your personal preferences. Protein balls, or peanut butter balls seem to be some of the most forgiving experiments in the kitchen because they always seem to turn out tasty!

Carrot Cake Protein Balls 1

This particular recipe is a stand out in that it contains fresh carrots where most protein ball recipes are sticky conglomerations of shelf-stable foods. These will last up to a week sealed in your fridge, or 6-9 months in a freezer.  They’re packed with protein and low in sugar so they’re good enough for breakfast, snack, or dessert, and have the perfect level of sweetness for little mouths too.

Carrot Cake Protein Balls

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

    • • 1 cup shredded carrots
      • 5 medjool dates
      • ¼ cup raisins
      • 1 tsp ground ginger
      • ¼ tsp nutmeg
      • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
      • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided for rolling
      • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
      • 3 Tbsp flaxseed
      • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
      • Extra water as needed

Directions

Start by chopping the carrots and dates together in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until finely chopped. Roll into 1 inch balls and coat with unsweetened coconut and cinnamon mixture.

Photos and Content Copyright © Jaclyn Beaty Nutrition, 2018


Lemon Poppyseed Chickpea Muffins

I’m a sucker for all things lemon. I feel like I can conquer the world when I start the day with a glass of lemon water and lemon desserts transport me a summery state of mind. If you’re with me on the lemon love, you have to try these muffins- and don’t let the chickpeas send you running! The chickpeas replace flour, nuts, or milk in traditional muffins, so by default these bad boys are gluten free, nut free, and dairy free. The peas also give these muffins the most perfectly moist center, somewhat reminiscent of (don’t laugh…) birthday cake. Add two cans of chickpeas to your grocery list right now and plan to make these ASAP.

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Let’s talk blood sugar balance really quick. If you’re one of those people who suffers from hanger (and if so, I shamelessly identify with you),  this is a perfect snack to hush that hanger. In most cases of hanger, or hungry anger, your brain chemistry is sending signals to crave high sugar foods, because it knows that glucose or sugar is what will give your brain the most immediate source of energy. With chickpeas being the primary ingredient, they add fiber, complex carbohydrates, and protein which will slow the rate these are digested and absorbed into the blood stream, as opposed to a refined cupcake for example, keeping your blood sugar stable longer (translation; no blood sugar roller coaster to send you into a sour mood). The fiber/protein combo will keep your appetite suppressed, helping you eat less throughout the day, also making it less likely you’ll reach for a high sugar snack which usually perpetuates the sugar-craving-hanger cycle all the more.

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Lemon Poppyseed Chickpea Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy Peasy
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Ingredients

  • large eggs
  • tablespoons coconut oil
  • 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • lemons; zested peel of both, and juice of both*
  • teaspoons vanilla
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum** (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons poppyseeds

Notes:

*I use this microplane grater to make quick work of zesting citrus, and just about anything else that needs finely grated. I also recommend using organic lemons if you are going to grate the peel since all the pesticides reside in the peel of citrus fruits. Juice both lemons once the skin is zested, for about 8 tablespoons, or about 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

**I realize most people don’t keep a stash of xanthan gum in their pantry. I recently bought a small bag at Kroger for $5.99 and I think it has revolutionized gluten-free baking for me. Xanthan gum acts as a binder and thickener, and is a very common and safe food additive (you’ll see it on everything from toothpaste and salad dressing to soups and ice cream). It’s produced by fermenting a sugar, usually lactose, sucrose, or glucose. If you are looking to up your game of gluten-free goodies, I highly recommend this small investment.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard-size muffin baking tray with paper baking cups or spray with a non-stick spray.
  2. In a high-speed blender, add all ingredients, except for the poppyseeds. Blend until a smooth consistency is created, then add in the poppyseeds and pulse just enough to incorporate.
  3. Pour the batter into prepared muffin tray. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
  4. Remove from tray and let cool. Refrigerate or freeze or eat them up as they can spoil easily. (If refrigerated, you can heat them in the microwave for 15 seconds or so. Longer if frozen, obviously.)

Photos and Content Copyright © Jaclyn Beaty Nutrition, 2018


Lemon Zest Custard Cups

Repeat after me: There is no fear in fat. Egg yolks are good. Saturated fat from coconut is healthy. Your body needs it for fuel, and is the preferred fuel for optimal brain function. The great thing about this recipe is the addition of gelatin which supplies collagen, the structural protein that improves hair, skin, and gut health.  I’ve given a few batches of these to a friend with stage 4 pancreatic cancer who didn’t have a taste for much at the beginning of her chemo treatments, and this was one of the few things she could tolerate. 

This version was adapted from Meghan Telpner’s Dairy-Free Maple Cream Custard Cups, but the lemon zest has been a huge hit.

Lemon Zest Custard Cups

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Ingredients

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions

  • Whisk together egg yolks in small bowl and set aside. Heat coconut milk, honey, vanilla, and nutmeg in a saucepan on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add about a half cup of the hot coconut milk mixture to the egg yolks to thin, so that when the yolks are added to the saucepan, they don’t immediately curdle.
  • Pour the egg yolk and coconut mixture into the sauce pan and whisk until combined. Wisk until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the warm mixture to your high speed blender, THEN add the fresh lemon juice and gelatin right before blending. I’ve found if I add the lemon juice into the saucepan to go through the heating process, it tastes tinny.
  • Pour blended mixture into ramekins or small mason jars and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until set. These also freeze well.

Photos and Content Copyright © Jaclyn Beaty Nutrition, 2018


Spicy Thai Peanut Dip

A little sweet and a little spicy, this dip is a guaranteed way to get even the most reluctant vegetable eaters to eat their veggies. Henry loves peanut butter, and we’re constantly finding ways to increase his calorie intake throughout the day, otherwise he ends up waking up at night wanting a snack! The healthy oils (EVOO and Sesame Oil) give it another dose of good fat, and if Henry can eat it by the spoon, so can you!

Thai Dip 2

Spicy Thai Peanut Dip

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Stir together all ingredients in a medium bowl until incorporated. Sprinkle with additional crushed red pepper flakes. Use as a dip for a veggie and cracker tray or pour over your favorite Asian inspired salad.

Photos and Content Copyright © Jaclyn Beaty Nutrition, 2018