Pumpkin Bread Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan)

If you are looking for a muffin that you can’t possible screw up, this is the one for you. Rather than a muffin, it’s more of a banana-bread type consistency that I put in muffin cups. It cooks at a lower temperature and for a longer period of time than usual, just like a quick bread. It’s dense and hearty for breakfast or snacks, but sweet enough for dessert. You can even bake them in donut baking tray, and the kids will be thrilled to have donuts for lunch!

I have made this recipe six times now, and I have made it differently every single time. I have doubled it (WOW that made a ton!!), halved it, forgotten one of the three flours and only used two, forgot the flax egg, used honey one time then sugar another time, used half honey half sugar, used only pumpkin and used a combination of pumpkin and delicata squash, made mini muffins and full size muffins, and used a combination of oil and grass fed ghee. The only constant is that I’ve always used homemade pumpkin or squash cooked in my crock pot. I’ve made this by myself, with my kids, and with four sets of kids in the 2nd and 3rd grade. Every time, the results are magic. Without further ado, here is the recipe!

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Both recipes were made with brown rice flour, freshly ground oat flour, and tapioca flour. On the left: recipe was halved and made with organic cane sugar and delicata squash puree / On the right: full recipe was made with honey and pumpkin puree

 

Pumpkin Bread Muffins

Recipe Adapted from Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (each egg = 1 T. flax seed meal + 3 T. warm water)
  • ⅔ c. brown rice flour*
  • ½ c. buckwheat flour*
  • ½ c. arrowroot starch**
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. honey OR ¾ c. sugar
  • ½ c. melted coconut oil or Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
  • 1¼ c. pumpkin puree or any other winter squash (canned or homemade)
  • If needed: ¼ c. cold water

*You can substitute any other medium weight flour, such as oat flour (grind your own oats in your high speed blender if you don’t have them on hand!), buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, or teff flour. Try to use two different flours for each of the medium weight flours. But, this recipe is magic, so it may work just fine with only one type!

**You can substitute any other light weight flour, such as tapioca starch, potato starch, or even organic corn starch.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Make your flax egg(s). Warm your measured water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, and add flax seed meal to the warm water. Stir and let sit for 5+ minutes, or until it has an egg-like consistency. Set aside.
  3. Add all of your dry ingredients to a bowl. Stir.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the top of the dry ingredients in the same bowl.
  5. Stir as few times as possible, just until dry and wet ingredients are combined. The more you stir, the tougher your muffin bread will be.

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    Oops – My 2nd and 3rd graders over-mixed their batch!

  6. Add up to 1/4 c. of cold water to the mixture if it needs more movement.
  7. Line muffin tins with muffin liners and pour the batter into each liner until it is 3/4 full.
  8. For regular sized muffins, bake for 42-44 minutes; for mini muffins, bake for 20-22 minutes.

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    Yummy finished mini muffins and mini donuts!

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Apple Chips Two Ways: Crispy or Soft

It’s that time of year again where I begin allergy-free cooking in my son’s classroom! This year we have a few highly severe nut allergies who are sensitive to touch, so while I am well-versed in allergy-free cooking, it is extra stressful making sure I keep these children absolutely safe! Fortunately, I am confident that I can (1) create a fabulous allergy-free cooking program that the kids will learn from as it ties to the curriculum, (2) have fun as we create new foods, (3) teach them to enjoy healthy, nutritious, unprocessed snacks, and (4) keep all of the allergy-free kids perfectly safe!

The first cooking lesson began with Apple Chips. The students were learning about Now and Long Ago, so they compared what we do today to what we did 100 years ago. (Sidebar: Brody told his teacher that his grandma would be 101 years old on Halloween this year, and she asked if he could bring her in! I thought that was the cutest thing — taking my adorable grandma to Brody’s school, so kids could ask her about her age.)

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Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer

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Mandoline by Pampered Chef

I chose to make Apple Chips because I could show the students what an antique apple peeler/corer/slicer looked like, and we could use one in class. We also used a mandoline and apple corer and said that they also used them 100 years ago. Below are the modern-day tools we used in our classroom:We used the dehydrator to make the Apple Chips, so I could compare them to the way that fruit used to be sun-dried in order to preserve it. I also baked a batch in the oven for the sake of comparison. Each student had their own preference for dehydrated Apple Chips, which made them soft, or baked Apple Chips, which made them crunchy. Here are recipes for both.

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Watching the Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer in action.

Apple Chips – Crispy & Crunchy (raw, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe (but not soft) apples
  • optional: cinnamon

Tools:

  • Oven
  • Parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray
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Raw apples spread out on the sheet.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees

2. Slice the apples very thinly using a knife, mandoline, or apple peeler/corer/slicer. I prefer using a mandolin for the most uniformly sized slices.

3. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, or cover it with parchment paper to prevent the apples from sticking.

4. Spread the apples out evenly on the baking sheet. Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon.

5. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the apples reach your desired crunchiness.

Apple Chips – Soft & Chewy (raw, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free)

Ingredients:

    • 2 ripe (but not soft) apples

optional: cinnamon

Tools

  • Dehydrator

Directions:

1. Slice the apples very thinly using a knife, mandoline, or apple peeler/corer/slicer. I prefer using a mandolin for the most uniformly sized slices.

2. Spread the apples out evenly on a dehydrator sheet. Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon.

3. Dehydrate at 135 degrees for 15 hours or until the apples reach your desired texture.

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Dehydrated apples after 15 hours of low heat.

Next up: Teaching the students that every part of our food can be reused! Making homemade Apple Cider Vinegar with the left over cores and peels!

Strawberry Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze

strawberrylemonsconesThis weekend we attended Sunday’s Easter service at Awakening Church, a nondenominational Christian church where my family and I feel a strong sense of community among our peers. I volunteered to bake five dozen allergy-free desserts for those who attended the two weekend services, so Strawberry Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze and One Bowl Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies were on the menu. I was desperate to use my cast iron scone pan because I’ve only used it once before, and that actually produced my worst batch of scones! (I just checked on Amazon, and apparently it’s a Pre-Seasoned Cornbread Wedge Pan — oops, maybe that was the problem — I was making the wrong food item in it!) Glad I got that over with because once I followed the directions on the site and realized that just cutting them into pizza-shaped slices was sufficient, they stuck together perfectly. I used a gluten-free flour blend found here, or I also really enjoy the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Flour — try to avoid Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free flour, which has a
metal aftertaste, in my opinion. And once I added the lemon glaze to the top (I must admit I added double the glaze that the recipe called for), they were divine! My 7-year old loved them, and numerous people came over to find out the recipe. So here it is! The recipe doesn’t specifically say when to add the strawberries, so just add it at the end and stir just enough to combine — do not over-mix! You can replace the strawberries with any type of filling — chocolate chips, blueberries, cranberries, or all three! It’s a very versatile recipe that I will use for breakfast/brunch treats more often.

Zucchini Bread Muffins

I was the cooking parent for my 3-year old’s preschool class last week, and I was in charge of zucchini muffins. Well, I have recipes for zucchini bread, but not muffins, and I Googled numerous recipes for “gluten-free” and “vegan” but couldn’t find anything muffin-related. Just quick breads. Since I don’t know how to cook with eggs, flour, butter, or dairy any more, I had to improvise. So I looked to one of my favorite bloggers, Tessa the Domestic Diva, because her recipes are always amazing, and I scoured her site. The recipe for Zucchini Bread (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan) was the closest I could find, so I doubled it and took a chance.

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Zucchini Bread Muffins

I put a generous tablespoon of the batter into miniature muffin cup liners and baked these little suckers for a full 18-20 minutes. I was surprised how long they cooked, but they came out super moist and delicious. They were a hit among the preschoolers, leading some parents to believe their super picky children were secretly vegan!

The only thing I did that her recipe didn’t mention was I squeezed out all the excess water from the shredded zucchini before I added it to the wet ingredients. I put it in a strainer and pressed on it until the water stopped being released. Zucchini is already so moist that I didn’t want to end up with super dense, soggy muffins. I also shredded the zucchini with the tiniest blade because the last thing toddlers want is big chunks of zucchini in their “dessert.”

We were on a field trip at Hidden Villa, a working farm, and the kids also found miner’s lettuce that they happily enjoyed along the trail. minerslettuctacosMy son already was snacking on cherry tomatoes, so he made miner’s lettuce tacos with a tomato in the center. Precious.

 

On the hike, he was running and slipped and fell, skidding up both arms. This is a very sad Tait. But fortunately, he found another use for the dew on the miner’s lettuce and used it as a band-aide to make his boo boo feel better. minerslettucebandaideHeart melting.

Gooey Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts

My daughter’s class hosts a bake sell every Wednesday in November, and with the proceeds her class takes a field trip to Target where they purchase gifts for low-income families. My son is usually unable to participate in bake sales, so I make it my mission to provide treats for all children with allergies, so they can stand in line and choose a baked good just like everyone else.

For this week’s bake sale, I made these super rich, gooey, soft, and chewy double chocolate chip doughnuts called Gooey Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts from Baked Doughnuts for Everyone, featured on the Choosing Raw website. It took FOREVER to make forty doughnuts because I only have one doughnut tray that has a mold for six. I considered purchasing more trays, but I figured it would increase my cooking time significantly, and I wanted to be sure not to overcook these lovely treats. I cooked each of my seven batches for 24 minutes, so that made for a very long night. Went to bed at 3am and got up at 6am to glaze each of them. I did not double up any of the batches of wet/dry ingredients because doughnuts can be very finicky and need to be measured precisely. I did continue mixing old glaze that remained in the bowl with new glaze, and I would not do that again because the mixture was too goopy.

I couldn’t believe how perfect and professional they looked! Parents couldn’t believe I didn’t buy them, and students couldn’t believe they tasted so good, even though they were free of the top allergens! My favorite responses are, “What are in these things?” and “Thank you for making my child feel included! Normally he can’t eat anything at bake sales.” But the best part is when the child takes a bite and surprisingly says, “Wow, these are REALLY good!” Yes, yes they are.

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