Whole 30 Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

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Whole 30 sticklers, please don’t come at me with the “you can’t bake anything” rule. It was my mom’s birthday this weekend, so these lemon-poppyseed cupcakes (albeit sweet muffins) were a fun and yummy way to celebrate. Y’all, they are GOOD. If you’re not Whole 30-ing, please drizzle with some fresh lemon juice whisked with honey (or a powdered sugar glaze!). Here’s the recipe:

WET INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup shredded zucchini (patted dry)
1/2 cup chopped apple, like Gala
1 banana
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
9-10 pitted dates
3-5 drops lemon essential oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

DRY INGREDIENTS
2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour (or arrowroot)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Combine all wet ingredients in the food processor and puree until smooth. Combine almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl and whisk. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients gently with a spatula, being careful not to beat too much air out of the mixture. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Spoon into a muffin tin lined with parchment paper muffin cups. Cups should be about 3/4 full (mixture won’t rise too much). Bake at 350˚ for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!

GF/SF Mixed Nut Florentines

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My dad is a fiend for salted mixed nuts, so when I came across a recipe online that looked like it could be a fit, I decided to test it out for our Christmas cookie plate. However, if you’ve ever baked with me, you’ll know that I usually end up making so many substitutions to a recipe that the end result doesn’t look like the original recipe at all. Here’s what I started with: Mixed Nut Florentines from The Sugar Free Mom. But, here is my adaptation of the recipe (and, some things I’ll change for next time):

2 cups salted mixed nuts
2 Tbsp. GF all-purpose flour
1/3 c. butter
3/4 c. coconut sugar
1/4 c. honey
2 heaping tablespoons coconut cream

Pulse the mixed nuts in a food processor until they’re finely chopped. Stir in the flour and set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter, coconut sugar, honey, and coconut cream together, bringing it to a boil. Let it boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then turn off the heat.

Pour the “sugar” mixture over the nut mixture, and stir to coat thoroughly (it will be syrupy). Let the nuts sit for 15-20 minutes to cool, and then use a spoon to scoop out mixture onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. These *hella* spread, so give yourself plenty of room between them on the parchment paper. Bake at 350˚ for about 10 minutes, switching the racks halfway through. At this point, check the color of the sugar lace on the cookies. If it looks like it could be a little more brown, leave them in a little longer. I ended up baking mine for a total of maybe 14 minutes, but one batch ended up too dark.

Move the parchment paper on your baking sheets onto racks, and let the cookies cool for at least an hour. If they start to harden on the edges, you’ve done your job. I had some that were still soft after that time, so I put them back in the oven for a few minutes to get some more moisture out.

NOTE: The adjustment I need to make to the recipe is with the butter that it calls for. I’ve adjusted the quantity, but these still end up feeling a little greasy. You can pat with a paper towel when dry, but do not pat when fresh out of the oven – they are too soft at this point and will deteriorate. If you’ve tried this recipe and have any comments or adjustments, let me know! We will master the mixed nut florentine together.

Grain-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

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Have you ever tried the peanut butter cookie recipe that only calls for peanut butter, sugar, and an egg? It’s a gluten-free recipe that actually turns out a decent peanut butter cookie – but it calls for a full cup of sugar. In my baking ventures this holiday season, I wanted to recreate this cookie recipe to fit everyone’s dietary restrictions. Although they aren’t the most glamorous-looking cookies, they are actually pretty tasty and give you a good little protein punch. Plus, we like to dip them in dark chocolate and top with sea salt, which takes them to the next level.

Here’s how I make them:

1 cup peanut butter
7-8 pitted dates
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1-2 Tbsp. almond flour

Blend together all ingredients in a food processor until dough starts to form and mixture can be rolled into balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet (they won’t spread much) and use a glass or a fork to press the tops down. Bake at 350˚ for about 10 minutes. The bottoms of these brown quickly, so just keep an eye out!

If desired, dip cooled peanut butter cookies into a mixture of melted dark or semi-sweet chocolate + 1 heaping teaspoon of coconut oil. Sprinkle on some flaked sea salt.

I haven’t tested this recipe with almond butter, but I am hoping that this swap will lend to a Whole30-friendly cookie. Test to come! And, if you’ve tried these out, leave me a note below.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

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Cooking is cathartic for me, and – as I’ve been traveling a lot – my homesickness is not necessarily for my house, but for my kitchen. I love being able to experiment, especially in the fall, and roaming around from restaurant to restaurant isn’t cutting it for me. So when I finally made it back to my home-away-from-home in Germany, my first three hours were spent in the kitchen, making soup, applesauce, and lemon cheesecake bites. Not a bad welcome home party for myself, eh?

This Creamy Butternut Squash Soup was everything I was missing – fall ingredients and a warm, cozy dinner on chilly October evenings. Plus, it’s not half bad for you. It’s dairy and gluten-free, and could be made vegan if you opted for vegetable stock instead of chicken broth. If you aren’t following any sort of diet regimen and just want a damn good soup, add some crispy prosciutto and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top and serve with homemade bread (or, in Germany, pretzel bread). Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 peeled carrots
1 stalk celery
1 chopped onion
3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup coconut cream
5 cups chicken broth
(NOTE: Homemade chicken broth is SO good in this recipe. Use it if you have it!)
1 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sage
Salt to taste

Preparation

Clean and quarter butternut squash. Place on sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 350˚F/175˚C until squash is soft. In a food processor (or with an immersion blender), combine coconut cream and butternut squash.

In a large pot, heat up chicken broth until just simmering. Add in chopped carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes and cover. Cook until vegetables are completely tender. Use the immersion blender to puree all of the vegetables into the broth. Add in all spices.

Add in the squash mixture and blend with the broth mixture. Soup should be moderately thick. Simmer for 5-10 minutes so the flavors can meld, and salt to taste. Serve immediately (although, it’s pretty great the next day, too).

 

Tried it? Leave me a comment below!

Grain-Free “Granola”

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Peeved at myself that it’s taken three rounds of Whole30 for me to play around with granola recipes, but y’all have to try this sweetener-free, gluten-free “granola.” It’s absolutely delicious (and, pairs well with bananas and sunflower seed butter). Dates make it slightly sweet and you can swap in whatever kind of nuts you have laying around; this recipe is based on the ingredients I happened to have in the pantry at the time.

1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 Tbsp. chia seeds
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
5-6 pitted dates
Pinch of salt

Throw all ingredients into a food processor (my favorite kitchen gadget!) and pulse until mixture is your desired consistency. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 300˚F for about 20 minutes until granola is golden and fragrant. Let cool before serving.