Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Paleo Pumpkin Muffin Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars

I love muffins…always have. But delicious muffins without gluten, refined sugar, and dairy are few and far between. These Paleo Pumpkin Muffins though? Perfection.

I’ve been making these muffins for a few years with different variations. This version of the recipe strikes the perfect balance of ingredients. These muffins truly need a mix-in like raisins or dried cranberries so don’t skip that step. We like them best with a combination of both! 

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins travel well since they’re on the denser side. For muffins made with almond flour though, they’re more spongey than other recipes I make. The coconut flour helps to lighten it up and keeps the recipe grain free.

Even if you don’t follow the paleo diet, I’d still recommend giving this recipe a whirl. Paleo Pumpkin Muffins are high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein.  They’re a great way to vary your diet or introduce new foods to picky eaters. The monkeys aren’t big pumpkin fans, but they cheer for these muffins. Probably because you can barely taste the pumpkin.

These silicone baking cups are my new favorite for baking. I line them up on a cookie sheet instead of using a muffin tin. The muffins end up browning on the bottom, and they pop right out of the baking cups. Totally genius! And easier to freeze too. 

When you try this muffin recipe, let me know how you like it in the comments. Cómelo todo!

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
Yields 11
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Total Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  2. 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  3. 1 teaspoon apple pie seasoning
  4. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  6. 3 large pastured eggs
  7. 1/3 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  8. 2 tablespoons raw honey, agave or pure maple syrup
  9. 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  10. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  11. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  12. 1/4 cup raisins
  13. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 11 muffin cups with paper or silicone liners.
  2. If your coconut oil is solid, melt it in a small saucepan and let it cool while you measure the other ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, apple pie spice, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, honey, cooled coconut oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until blended. Fold in raisins and dried cranberries.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared cups.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes until set at the centers and golden brown at the edges. Move the muffins to a cooling rack and let cool for 30 minutes (flavor enhances).
Notes
  1. - Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
  2. - Try a combination of 1 tablespoon honey + 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
  3. - We’re in love with the flavor of apple pie seasoning. If you don't have it on hand, use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.
Adapted from Power Hungry
Adapted from Power Hungry
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Dinosaur Smoothie

Dinosaur Smoothie Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Since I got my Vitamix last year, I’ve been making more smoothies than ever. I love trying different recipes. Over time, I’ve developed a few of my own. Our favorite lately is this Dinosaur Smoothie!

Did you read about my cleanse? This is the homemade smoothie I added to my nourishing cleanse. I started making it in the summer with coconut water for extra hydration. Now that it’s winter, I really love how it tastes with almond milk. They’re obviously really different, but the flavor and texture only changes a bit so use whatever you have on hand. 

The star of this smoothie is lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale. Those deep green leaves make the smoothie color super bright. Kale adds tons of vitamins to this smoothie including vitamin K, A, C, and manganese. It’s cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory, a natural detoxifier, and it helps support your brain, heart, and eyes. When you shop for kale, try to buy organic as it is one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops. 

I love this Dinosaur Smoothie recipe because there’s no sweetener. Most healthy, non-dairy smoothie recipes call for honey, syrup, agave, dates, or nut butter. Pineapple sweetens up this smoothie naturally, while aiding heathy digestion. Did you know pineapple also supports a glowing complexion? More pineapple please!

Cut up a whole pineapple and freeze it into chunks. You’ll have plenty on hand for the next time you make a Dinosaur Smoothie. Use the hard pineapple’s hard to make flavored water. It’s one of the monkey’s favorites after school!

Try this smoothie and let me know how you like it in the comments. Cómelo todo!

Dinosaur Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 3 leaves dinosaur kale (lacinato), rib removed
  2. 5 chunks frozen pineapple
  3. 1/2 banana
  4. 5 oz coconut water or almond milk
  5. 5 ice cubes
  6. 4 inches of cucumber, sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. - Yields 16 ounces.
  2. - Buy organic ingredients when possible.
  3. - Freeze the other banana half for another day’s smoothie.
  4. - Substitute any leafy green for the kale: bok choi, swiss chard, curly leaf kale, spinach, etc.
  5. - Avoid almond milk that contains carrageenan. Always read labels!
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Sausage Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Sausage Eggplant Tomato Sauce - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

New year…new recipes! If you’re looking for dinner ideas, you’ve found the right post. Sausage Eggplant Tomato Sauce with pasta has been a favorite weeknight meal at our house for the past 6 years. Everyone devours it!

When the monkeys were toddlers, I diced up the eggplant really small so that a bite or two would sneak into their picky, little mouths. Now eggplant is Bean’s favorite part of the dish! Small Mommy victories like these keep us going, right?

Eggplant is full of antioxidants, low in calories, and high in fiber. It protects against inflammation and disease formation — including cancer. Eggplant helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. Plus, it’s shiny and purple. Plenty of reasons to pick up some eggplant next time you’re at the market!

This recipe for Sausage Eggplant Tomato Sauce comes together quickly with only 8 ingredients, most of which can be kept in the pantry or freezer. The sauce is naturally gluten free if your sausage is gluten free. In fact, it tastes best with sausage from a local farm or butcher. We love the sweet Italian pork sausage from either MEat (Kittery, Maine) or Lilac Hedge Farm, which is available at farmers markets across Massachusetts including Boston Public Market.

Serve this Sausage Eggplant Tomato Sauce over any kind of pasta or pasta alternative. Choose Jovial or Andean Dream pasta to make it gluten free. For a veggie packed meal, try this recipe over homemade zoodles like in the picture above. It’s a great way to eat more vegetables. I use this spiralizer to make the noodles from zucchini. Sweet Pea loves to crank the lever to help make noodles.

Leftovers freeze well or pack it up for tomorrow’s lunch. Cómelo todo!

Sausage Eggplant Tomato Sauce
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 eggplant, diced
  2. 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
  3. 1/2 cup red wine
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves, diced
  5. 1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  6. 25 ounce box of chopped tomatoes
  7. Olive oil
  8. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a dutch oven, saute eggplant and garlic in olive oil until eggplant is soft, stirring frequently. Remove to a plate.
  2. Cook the sausage in the same pot. Add the red wine and scrape up any brown bits. Reduce the liquid.
  3. Add broth and tomatoes. Return eggplant to the pan and salt to taste.
  4. Simmer up to one hour until the liquid has reduced slightly and sauce has thickened. If you're short on time, crank it up and cook for about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve over hearty shaped pasta, zoodles or steamed broccoli.
Adapted from Cooks.com
Adapted from Cooks.com
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Schmaltz Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Shallot Puree

Schmaltz Roasted Brussel Sprouts - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Did you catch last week’s post about Ceia Kitchen + Bar? If you can’t make it to Newburyport, you can experience a taste of Ceia in your own home with this delicious recipe for Schmaltz Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Shallot Puree from Ceia’s Executive Chef, Jeremy Glover.

I’ve made these brussel sprouts twice since Jeremy shared the recipe with me. You are going to love them! Brussel sprouts are so decadent roasted this way. With the sweet and tangy puree on top, Bean couldn’t get enough of it! 

I’m not going to pretend Schmaltz was part of my culinary vocabulary. I had to look it up. Wikipedia says it’s “rendered chicken or duck fat used for cooking in European cuisine.” You can skim the fat off homemade bone broth, or cheat like I did and pick up a container of duck fat at a local market like Grand Trunk World Market or Whole Foods. For a vegan option, just roast the sprouts with olive oil and follow the rest of the recipe for the shallot puree. Chef Jeremy recommends this olive oil.

Set up your puree ingredients while the sprouts are roasting. Pre-measure your olive oil. Pour the shallot vinegar and honey into the blender or food processor. I used my 15 year old Cuisinart and it was totally fine. Once the shallots and garlic were roasted, the shallot puree came together quickly. I can see myself making it with other meals for sure.

I served these Schmaltz Roasted Brussel Sprouts on a weeknight with a roast chicken, butternut squash, and quinoa.  The flavors meshed really well with the sprouts. There was plenty of shallot puree to drizzle over our plates, which we did. Maybe even more than a drizzle! It tasted amazing over the quinoa. 

Schmaltz Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Shallot Puree may sound complicated, but it’s not a hard recipe to follow. Add it to the menu for your next dinner party because it will definitely impress your guests! These fancy sprouts will be a gorgeous addition to any holiday table with their festive combination of red and green. Cómelo todo!

Schmaltz Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Shallot Puree
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Ingredients
  1. 24 Brussel sprouts
  2. 3 tablespoons chicken or duck fat
  3. 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  4. 2 shallots, cut length wise
  5. 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  6. 2 tablespoons raw honey
  7. 4 tablespoons quality extra virgin olive oil
  8. 12 pomegranate seeds
  9. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise, smash the cloves of garlic, cut shallots, and toss together with warm chicken or duck fat and salt.
  3. Roast on sheet pan until Brussel sprouts are dark and crisp. The garlic and shallots should be soft as well. This may take 20 – 25 minutes.
  4. Take sheet pan out of oven, peel shallots, place one and a half in blender with vinegar, honey, and garlic. Blend mixture until smooth. Drizzle oil slowly until fully emulsified.
  5. Arrange sprouts in a pile, petal out the half shallot that isn’t in the vinaigrette. Place vinaigrette in a few spots on the sprouts. Finish with the pomegranate seeds.
Adapted from Executive Chef Jeremy Glover
Adapted from Executive Chef Jeremy Glover
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

 

Simple Shortcuts: Herb Butter

Simple Shortcuts: Herb Butter - Under the Monkey Bars

Even when life is busy, we still need to eat healthy to keep our bodies and minds nourished. Today I’m sharing the first post in a series of simple shortcuts to save you time when you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table.

Who loves butter? I’m not talking about the kind that comes in a spray bottle or those butter replacement spreads. Unless you have a dairy allergy or follow a vegan diet, eat real butter. And not just any butter. Butter from grass-fed cows that graze on the green pastures of small family farms. You can taste the difference — especially in Kerrygold brand, which is imported straight from Ireland.

Why pastured? Pastured dairy cows yield butterfat that’s loaded with vitamins A & D, iodine, and other essential nutrients. Butter is downright delicious, and it’s a good fat for heart, brain, hormone, and cell function. Everything in moderation though, right?

Today’s simple shortcut uses one of my favorite products: Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter. All of our local grocery stores (Market Basket, Shaws and Whole Foods) carry Kerrygold brand, but only Whole Foods stocks the Garlic & Herb Butter. I keep several sticks in the freezer. Yes, you can freeze butter! 

You can certainly make your own herb butter, but today we are using a high quality product to save time. I love using this butter when I bake fresh fish. Honestly, it’s barely a recipe it’s so easy. Add ingredients based on how much time you have and what you have on hand. My monkeys love garlic so I always add a few shakes of Spicely Organic garlic powder. No need to peel or chop a clove tonight, friends. Keep it simple. You could add extra herbs to compliment the blend in the butter, which includes chives, parsley, salt, dill, pepper, and paprika.

Stay tuned for more Simple Shortcuts. Cómelo todo!

Easy Baked Fish
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. Wild caught fish (flounder, cod, salmon)
  2. 1 teaspoon of quality olive oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter per fillet
  4. Sprinkle of sea salt
  5. Squeeze of fresh lemon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray a ceramic baking dish with olive oil (I use a reusable stainless steel Misto sprayer).
  3. Cut the fish into fillets.
  4. Add a thin slice of Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter, a sprinkle of salt, and a squeeze of fresh lemon to each fillet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the center of the fish is no longer translucent.
  6. Using a pastry brush, spread butter and herbs evenly on the fish.
  7. Serve immediately with your choice of healthy side dishes for an easy dinner.
Notes
  1. Choose sustainable, wild caught fish from a local fish market.
  2. For the 4 of us, I purchase 1.3 pounds of fish and cut it into 4 filets.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, zucchini, and/or onions if you have extra time. Make sure to increase the cooking time by 5 minutes.
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/