You’ve never seen anyone eat a popsicle so slowly until you’ve seen my little sister eat a popsicle. Being the oldest I occasionally got to stay up late and watch T.V. with Mom before I had to go to bed, especially in the summer time. Before I could hang out late watching cool T.V. my little sister was told to finish her popsicle, then go to bed. It would take her a lifetime to slowly and meticulously savor that popsicle until I just wanted to scream. I mean I had shows to watch. Cool cable shows that I only got to watch with Mom if my sister was in bed. Shows that you couldn’t watch whenever you wanted because you recorded them on your DVR. No, you had to watch it when it was on or you missed it. But there was my cute blonde haired blue eyed innocent looking sister eating her popsicle slower than a snail. It always tested my limited patience.
Not all my summertime popsicle memories involve getting frustrated with my sister, but they all involve her. Every summer time involved popsicle breaks of some kind in between hours spent playing outside together. We’d often take a break from playing outside to get into the garage fridge for an otter pop. Savoring the tongue staining coldness of that that sickly sweet pop with the mouth cutting plastic wrapper. Or we’d chase down the ice cream truck so I could get an ice cream sandwich and a cherry and pineapple swirl popsicle while my sister got the more expensive whatever crazy cartoon popsicle they had at the time.
When we were older our popsicle tastes got a little more refined. The town we lived in at the time had a teeny tiny shop that sold paletas (Mexican ice pops) in every imaginable flavor and then some. I’m not even sure how we found the shop to begin with. It didn’t have much in the way of signage and it was off the main drive in an area we didn’t normally frequent. Every time I drove near that store, and sometimes I drove us there just to get a paleta, we’d go inside. I loved that place. One of my favorite flavors was a cantaloupe paleta which I used as inspiration for this recipe. My sister often ordered a watermelon flavor that will be featured in an upcoming post. Even though we had moved on to more sophisticated flavors, that sister of mine still ate her frozen treat so slowly I was always surprised it was still frozen by the time she got to the last bite. She still eats her frozen treats that way. In contrast, I inhale mine.
I used a popsicle mold from Williams and Sonoma to make the popsicles in this recipe. Amazon has a nearly identical mold that would work wonderfully. The trick to getting the pops out once frozen is to run warm water over the outside of the mold for a few seconds, then they pull right out. You could also use Zoku Classic Pop Molds or a Zoku Quick Pop Maker to make this recipe or any other popsicle recipe.
The San Juan Islands are always beautiful and amazing. Cell phone reception is spotty and terrible, which is wonderful! No work emails, voicemails, etc. But the San Juan Islands during the tourist off season are magical. It’s so quiet. Sometimes the only sound is your breathing. Hiking Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island is a favorite activity of ours when we visit. It’s even better when it’s cold as the view is spectacular and there aren’t many others as crazy as you to hike the mountain in the cold, so it’s pretty much just you up there. It’s spectacular.
As our Christmas and anniversary gifts to each other, the husband and I went to the San Juan Islands without the girls last week. Since it was a holiday week and the off season, and in an effort to eat well, I packed a cooler full of food to bring with us. I had some bananas and thought about making banana bread, but banana breakfast muffins seemed like a better idea since they would be more portable.
I didn’t have a recipe to follow, I just winged it. To the banana muffin batter I added almond butter and coffee to make them breakfast on the go muffins. The response on Instagram and requests for the recipe were positive, so for the first post of 2015 I’m giving you the Banana Breakfast Muffins recipe!
Below the photos from our trip is the recipe. Enjoy!
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.
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
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.
Cool crisp air. Orange, yellow, and red leaves. Cozy sweaters and scarves. Hot tea and coffee. Pumpkin patches and apple orchards. Hearty soups and slow cooked stews. Spiced pumpkin coffee ice cream? Yes, everything I love about fall plus ice cream. Because ice cream is good anytime of the year.
I held off on pumpkin everything until I met my husband. I was all about apple and berry pies for the holidays. I never had pumpkin pie, a pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin anything except a jack-o-lantern. But he loves pumpkin pie. Okay, he loves pies. So I made him pumpkin pie, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin chai bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin porridge, etc. All things pumpkin! And along the way I got hooked too.
If you follow the natural food sphere or have a Facebook account, you most likely heard about the lack of pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte and the addition of caramel coloring made from ammonia in a pumpkin spice latte from the mermaid coffee shop. Not very appetizing. But it confirms my choice to give them up a few seasons ago. Pumpkin, spices, and coffee is a good flavor combination though. It brings the warm spices of fall together with the sweetness of pumpkin and the kick of caffeine. It’s also the inspiration for this dairy and sugar free ice cream that can be made with or without an ice cream machine. Plus it actually contains pumpkin and zero caramel coloring!
I used Chameleon Cold-Brew black coffee concentrate for the recipe because of how smooth it is. Other cold brew coffees or home brewed then chilled coffee can be bitter. If you use another brand of cold-brew coffee in the recipe or home brewed strong coffee, increase the salt to 1 teaspoon (salt counteracts bitterness) and increase the dates to 12 if you want extra sweetness.
Hands on Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 75 to 95 minutes
10 soft room temperature Medjool Dates, pitted
1 can full fat 100% Coconut Milk
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 cup cold strong Coffee
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Salt (increase to 1 teaspoon if using chilled home brewed coffee)
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Add Medjool Dates and Coconut Milk into a high speed blender. Blend until combined.
Add Pumpkin Puree, Coffee, Vanilla Extract, Salt, and Pumpkin Pie Spice to blender. Blend until smooth.
If using an ice cream machine: Place ice cream mixture in refrigerator for 45 to 60 minutes until chilled. Remove from refrigerator. Pour mixture into ice cream machine for 20 to 25 minutes until thickened or as directed by ice cream machine manufacturer. Serve immediately or chill in a covered glass baking dish in the freezer until served. Ice cream machine is recommended because it adds air and lightness to the ice cream that cannot be achieved without it.
No ice cream machine: Pour mixture into a glass baking dish, cover and freeze until solid.