I commute over 20 miles each way to and from work Monday through Friday. Depending on the time of year, weather, and if drivers are playing bumper cars instead of driving within their lane, this takes me anywhere from 45 minutes one way on an excellent day to 3 hours one way on a particularly bad day. If I wake up late, breakfast is rushed because I HAVE to get out the door so I don’t miss my less traffic window before traffic backs up. Twice a month on Sundays, we get up early to go to the box for a Sunday Heavy Day or skill work. You’ve got to eat before or you can’t lift heavy. But getting everyone out of bed, dressed, fed, and in the car at 9AM on a Sunday isn’t easy.
What if I could have breakfast protein and bacon to-go for the weekday commute or the drive to the box? It’s not easy to eat bacon in the car, unless you don’t mind a greasy steering wheel. So that idea was out, although I’ve done it. I’ve also eaten grain free porridge on the way to work with a giant spoon. I needed another option for ease of to-go eating. What about a make ahead muffin? With bacon and pumpkin? What about bacon cumbled on top of a pumpkin muffin made with eggs and ground cashews with no sugar or grain? Boom. Food to-go problem solved.
While I make no illusion that muffins are totally healthy, these muffins pack a good nutritional punch because of the chosen recipe ingredients. Cashews have a lower fat content than other nuts, containing mostly monounsaturated fats (known to lower blood cholesterol). Cashews also contain protein for fuel, copper for antioxidants, and magnesium to reduce muscle spasms. Thankfully cashews are the only nut I can eat, I’m allergic to walnuts so I avoid all other tree nuts. Pumpkin has a high level of vitamin A which helps the skin and mucous membranes repel bacteria and viruses more easily. Immune system help is great for cold and flu season, which also happens to be pumpkin season. Eggs contain protein, selenium which works with the vitamin E in eggs to help prevent the breakdown of body tissues, and other nutrients such as iron, choline, and omega-3. Coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) which breaks down for easy digestion giving you quick energy and because there is no sugar in the muffins you won’t have a sugar crash at work in the morning or during a workout. Bacon is there just because well, bacon.
The recipe below is sugar free, but if you like a sweeter muffin an optional 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup can be added to the batter to make it sweeter. Although the dates do sweeten the batter on their own, the taste obviously isn’t as sweet if you’re not used to no or low sugar items.
Serves: 9 muffins
- 5 slices Bacon, chopped and fried (cook for 10-12 minutes until almost crispy)
- 1 cup Cashews, whole or pieces
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
- 6 Medjool Dates, room temperature and pitted
- 4 Eggs
- ½ cup Pumpkin Puree
- ⅓ cup Coconut Oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Optional: 1-2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In food processor or blender grind cashews until they are in small pieces. They will be much bigger than grains of flour. If you over grind the cashews they will turn into cashew butter.
- Combine ground cashews with dry ingredients (coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add pitted medjool dates, eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut oil, and vanilla extract (and optional maple syrup if using) to food processor or blender. Pulse or blend until dates have blended with other ingredients.
- Pour wet mixture into bowl of dry ingredients. Combine with a spatula.
- Fill batter into cupcake lined muffin tins ¾ full.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from center of muffin.