Gingerbread Muffins

It’s been one of THOSE weeks.
You know what I’m talking about; a week where there is more to do than there is time and you  feel like you are moving at warp speed from the time the alarm goes off int he morning until fall into bed each evening!
Audley has been on the road with work for weeks now, only popping in for the weekends and the gym is uber busy right now as everyone wants their bathing suit bodies instantly.
{FYI, you work on that in the winter months.}
In between work and home lives the school year is winding down which means last minute projects, prepping for finals and extra-curricular banquets.
I’ve been struggling with returning to my old ways and tempted to skip meals, which is NOT a wise choice for your matabolism!
I’ve returned to fast food for some occasions, but it’s not from the drive-thru, it’s fresh, delicious and healthy from a little prep on the weekends.
I fell in love with these Gingerbread Muffins that I discovered a recipe for a few weeks back.  After an alteration or two they have become a great breakfast on the run at 7:00 in the morning as I head to the gym for work.
 The recipe is clean and easy to make.
1/2 cup coconut flour  (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup tapioca flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted (I used KerryGold for great results)
1/2 cup coconut sugar (Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup organic local honey
4 large organic eggs
1/2 cup (+ 2 tablespoons for a more moist muffin) unsweetened applesauce (I made my own using Granny Smith Apples)
Preheat your oven to 350 and line a regular sized muffin pan with liners.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and spices.
In the food processor, pulse together the butter, coconut sugar, and honey.  Add eggs one at a time until well mixed before adding the next.  Add in the applesauce.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and pulse several times until mixed well in the processor.
Fill your muffin cups about 3/4 cups full and bake until set in the middle, 15-20 minutes.
Makes tweleve muffins.
These are perfect to store in a seal container and eat warm or room temp as you run out the door at warp speed in the morning.
And don’t we all like convenience?
Have a great week!

Banana Nut Muffins {W/ a Touch of Chocolate}

One of the things I have missed the most since returning to work is baking and cooking for the family.  It’s not that I have stopped, but that it’s never for fun and I’m generally in a hurry.
Feeling just a wee bit bad over this I decided the kiddos needed a little treat for their lunches last week, in the form of a banana nut muffin. Sweetened with coconut sugar and bananas these nut muffins were such a hit that even my overly skeptical husband indulged in a couple.
1/2 cup coconut flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup tapioca flour (also Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted KerryGold butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut sugar (from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/2 cup 72% cacao chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 pecans, chopped
**Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with liners, or spray well with coconut oil.
**In a medium bowl, mix the coconut & tapioca flours together with the baking soda.
**In a food processor, mix together the melted butter, coconut sugar, bananas, vanilla extract and eggs.
**Add the dry ingredients to the wet and process well.  With a spatula, mix in the chopped pecans and chocolate chunks.

**Divide the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups and bake until the centers are set and the muffins are a golden brown, about 15 minutes.


These are fabulous served warm, but are also delicious served at room temperature!
I loved these “clean” muffins as I didn’t have to worry about excess sugars and additives being fed to my teenagers.  I don’t mind them indulging in junk occasionally, but I do want them to know how to stay their healthiest!


And after completeing our second winter straight virus, flu and cold free, I totally believe I’m doing the right thing with my family!
I hope you will give these yummy muffins a try!  You’ll be glad that you did.

Be Our Guest

With crisp, clean linens on the beds, fluffy new towels in the bathrooms, fresh flowers scattered throughout the house, and scented candles lit to create ambiance, Audley and I welcome our first weekend guests (besides my parents) to our new home over the weekend.
I never thought having company would make me feel so nervous, but overnight guests can do that to you!  I wanted everything to be just perfect as well as warm and inviting.
**Making overnight guests feel special and welcome is so important.  You don’t want to make anyone feel like they are burdening you!
We wanted to share some of our new life with our friends, so I had activities planned in advance for all of us to enjoy like a baseball game and a stroll through the park in Greenville.  These were things we could do without getting exhausted and crabby with each other because we were so tired!  We couldn’t have ordered a better weekend for having friends from “home” up.  Sunny and warm, but not hot.  Flowers bursting with bloom, everything so green and lush.  To me that is perfect.
**Schedule and plan activities based on your company’s tastes.  If they aren’t sports fans, baseball isn’t going to appeal to them.
I also planned all of our meals out in advance so that I was not spending the entire weekend in the kitchen, but rather spend the time with our friends.
Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to prepare, although I often despise getting up so early to cook! It’s easy to plan in advance when you know your guest’s likes and dislikes.  For our weekend breakfast, I went simple:  fresh fruit, pound cake, mixed berry muffins, and (for those who like something hot) crisp bacon.
**When planning meals for overnight company, be sure to find out any dietary restrictions, allergies or serious dislikes in advance.
I set a simple little buffet complete with milk and juice so that everyone could casually eat as they got up.
**Casual can still be pretty.
The muffins were a real hit and were snacked on throughout the day as well.  I love this easy recipe for moist & flavorful muffins that has become a favorite here.
Mixed Berry Muffins
(adapted from Taste of Home)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups freshly, chopped berries (I used strawberry & raspberry)
In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients and set aside.  In another bowl stir together you egg, sour cream, butter and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to your flour mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula until just combined.
In a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners, spoon some of the mixture into each cup.  Place in the oven that  has been preheated to 350 degrees.  Bake 15-20 minutes until done throughout.
So, so delicious!
You can also substitute the berries for other delightful treats such as chocolate chips, bananas and walnuts, apples with a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon; just use your imagination!
Our weekend was wonderful and I hated to see our friends leave Sunday afternoon.  But, the best part of having great friends is you never say “good-bye”, but “see you soon!”
By tomorrow I hope to be nearly finished with out little garden area.  Later this week I want to share a little of our area that we have been able to enjoy.  I am also heading out of town to the National Cornbread Festival sponsored by Lodge Manufacturing in South Pittsburg, Tennessee (my adopted hometown).  You can read about last year’s adventure here.  Blogger and cookbook author Christy Jordan of Southern Plate will be one of the judges.  I look forward to meeting her.  
When I return I am planning on doing a giveaway that includes a Lodge skillet!  
I hope you’ll stop back by!