Gluten Free Mini Pumpkin Cakes
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Fall is here now so that means lots of warm autumn flavors and ingredients like pumpkin, apples and sweet potatoes. While it is still pretty warm here in south Florida, it is October and I am ready to make some fall recipes.

Pumpkin has many nutritional benefits and adding pureed unsweetened pumpkin to baked goods not only adds a different flavor but also adds vitamin A and dietary fiber, both things that are often lacking in desserts. And not to mention the calories added from the pumpkinare relatively low.

A few years ago I made a gluten free pumpkin cake for Thanksgiving dessert and it was moist, pumpkiny and delicious (the recipe can be found here: Pumpkin Cake). However, I wanted to alter the ingredients slightly to my liking and put the batter in a muffin tin so I can have perfectly portioned mini cakes, instead of having to slice a cake. I did add some chocolate chips to make it more dessert like but if you prefer more of a muffin appropriate for breakfast, you can leave those out.

Mini Pumpkin Cakes

Makes 12 cupcakes/muffins

Ingredients
1 Cup Unsweetened Canned Pure Pumpkin Puree
2 Cups Almond flour
3 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Unpacked Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Cooking Spray
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Add almond flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and spices to a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add eggs,pumpkin, honey, vanilla extract, and oil to a smaller mixing bowl and stir. Slowly add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing until uniform. Add chocolate chips to batter and mix in if desired. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray and fill each cup until about 3/4 full. Bake in oven for 20 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Mini Pumpkin Cake and Poppy

Nutrition Info (per muffin)

With Chocolate Chips
Calories: 230
Fat: 14g
Carbohydrates: 20g
Protein: 7g
Fiber: 3.3g

Without Chocolate Chips
Calories: 180
Fat: 11g
Carbohydrates: 14.5g
Protein: 6.5g
Fiber: 2.6g
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IMG_0273
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In December I was in a mad search for a healthy gluten free appetizer to take to a holiday party and I could not find anything that really struck my fancy. I found a few recipes that incorporated sweet potato rounds, which I thought was really interesting but they had guacamole on top, which sounds delicious and I probably will make that at some point in the future, but I wanted something a little more wintery and holiday-ish to bring. (If you are curious about the guacamole sweet potato appetizers, I have a few pinned on my pinterest page @DelishnNutrish) So I knew I wanted sweet potatoes as base, they are full of vitamin A, fiber and potassium and low in fat, making them a nutritional powerhouse, plus they are delicious. But what do I put on top? While I contemplated this I turned on an old re-run of Iron Chef America….and the secret ingredient was….mascarpone cheese! So i decided to make a mascarpone cheese topping with pecans to give it a little crunch (pecans are heart healthy and can actually help lower bad cholesterol) and some vanilla extract and cinnamon sugar. The topping turned out really delicious and the flavors melded well with the sweet potato base. You can actually do this recipe hot or cold, I went with hot but I think it would be just as good cold.

Sweet Potato Bites

Ingredients

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Allspice

8 oz Mascarpone Cheese

3/4 Cup Chopped Pecans

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes off well and slice in 1/4 inch thick rounds (Don’t peel the skin off). ¬†Add slices of potatoes to mixing bowl and coat with olive oil. Add cinnamon and allspice and mix until spices are evenly distributed. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place sliced potatoes on parchment. Bake for ~30 minutes. While potatoes are baking, you can prepare the topping. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small mixing bowl (cheese, pecans, cinnamon sugar and vanilla) and refrigerate until potatoes are done cooking. After potatoes are cooked through (~30 minutes), remove from oven. (If serving cold, allow to cool) Add topping by the teaspoonful to each potato slice. If serving hot, put potatoes with topping back into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Remove from oven and serve. Makes 35-40.

Sweet Potato Bites

 

 

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Chex Mix, Nuts and Sweet Potatoes 010
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Happy Holidays everyone! I thought I would do a quick post today just in case anyone has any holiday parties tonight and they need something quick, easy and of course healthy, to make. Roasted and spiced nuts are a great choice because they are super easy to make and easy to transport. You can also put them in cute decorative jars and give them as gifts.

Nuts are full of protein, fiber and healthy fats and make a great snack food or appetizer. They are great for your heart because they can help lower “bad cholesterol” levels, raise “good cholesterol” and may also reduce your risk of developing blood clots. Many studies link nut consumption to a decreased risk in heart disease and also find that those that eat nuts frequently tend to weigh less than those who do not eat nuts. However, nuts do contain a lot of calories due to their high fat content so make sure you try and limit yourself to about a 1/4 cup portion.

Many roasted and spiced nuts recipes contain loads of butter, and some add a lot of sugar so I wanted to make something very simple with some “I can’t believe it’s not butter light,” a little bit of brown sugar and lots of spices so I don’t add a ton of extra calories.

Holiday Spiced Nuts

Ingredients

1 10 oz bag of whole almonds

1 8 oz bag of Pecan Halves

2 Tablespoons “I can’t believe it’s not butter light”

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Allspice

1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon Ginger

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add nuts to a large mixing bowl. Mix cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger in a small bowl. Put “I can’t believe it’s not butter light” in a small microwaveable bowl and heat on high for about 30 seconds or until melted. Add brown sugar to melted “I can’t believe it’s not butter light” and stir until dissolved; then stir in vanilla extract. Pour liquid mixture over nuts and stir until coated. Add spice mixture to nuts and mix well until uniform. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread nuts out evenly over the parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring nuts about half way through for even cooking. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Holiday Spiced Nuts

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