Baked Goods, Muffins, Paleo / Primal

Primal Pumpkin Nut Muffins

It’s not a secret. Food blogging made you me fat. All of those chewy cookies, decadent cakes, and cheese laden casseroles over the past five years have left me sporting the largest size of jeans I’ve ever worn in my life. Quelle horror! Not only am I teetering on (OK crashing into) the wrong side of curvaceous but I also have been feeling horrible.  And more nights than I care to remember I’ve found myself wide awake at 2:00 AM watching whatever was recorded on the TiVo and playing Words With Friends (girlieerin if you feel like a game).

Big changes needed to be made. So in January CK and I started reading books like The Four Hour Body, The Paleo Diet, and The Primal Blueprint. The basic tenant of each of is to cut out everything white and processed — aka all of my FAVORITE things. The first month we followed the Four Hour Body and I craved everything in sight. Plus, the expectation of a very high protein breakfast each morning was so daunting. Eggs, eggs and more eggs until I simply couldn’t choke them down anymore. CK, being a man, lost over 10 pounds. I lost 2. Isn’t it fun to be a girl?

The Four Hour Body is essentially a very strict version of the Paleo and Primal diets. There are some noted differences between all three options i.e. no fruit in The Four Hour Body, no legumes in Paleo (which are actually a huge staple in The Four Hour Body), and the Primal Diet has it’s whole own set of good and evil foods — although they’d never use those terms.

Regardless of the book and diet we followed, the less cheese, rice, potatoes, and white flour I ate, the better I felt. Surprise! And while I certainly haven’t become svelte over night (far from it) my brain and body now rebels when I spend the weekend drinking wine and eating out for every meal as opposed to towing the food line. Why it took me so long to put two and two together is beyond me…

The really cool thing that I’ve been enjoying lately surrounding these diets (God that word is awful) is all of the new ingredients I’ve been introduced to for baking (only from time to time these days) including coconut oil instead of butter, coconut flour or walnut meal in place of white flour, and maple syrup or honey instead of white sugar. It’s been a lot of fun experimenting, and while the results aren’t exactly like the baked goods you’re used to, and the textures are unexpected at times I actually think these alternative desserts are starting to grow on me.

These muffins were the first recipe that I made from Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint Cookbook. I initially wondered if the six eggs (six!) called for was a typo of some sorts but no – that’s just how one makes a high protein muffin. I’ve made this recipe with both butter and coconut oil and I prefer the oil. I also recommend not using Pumpkin Pie Spice as measuring out the individual spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) gives the treat a much more robust flavor. In addition, don’t use paper muffin cups. They really will stick to the muffin. So while they look pretty in these pictures it wasn’t any fun peeling them off.

You can find more recipes like this on Mark Sisson’s blog, Mark’s Daily Apple. Do you have any favorite recipes that fall into one of these categories? Please let me know!

Pumpkin Nut Muffins

Originally published by Mark Sisson in The Primal Blueprint Cookbook
Yields: 12 muffins

1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2cup cooked pureed pumpkin
6 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons coconut oil (or unsalted butter), gently melted
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B (or less) or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Grease muffin pan very well. Paper muffin cups, while pretty, will stick to the muffins. Aluminum muffin liners will work though.

Sift coconut flour, baking soda, salt and spices into a small bowl. Stir to blend well and set aside.

Place pumpkin puree in a medium bowl, one by one, add eggs mixing well with pumpkin after each egg is added. Add melted coconut oil or butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and blend well with a whisk until most of the floury lumps are gone. Do not over mix. Gently fold in nuts and chocolate, if using.

Spoon batter into greased muffin pan or cups liners to two-thirds full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden brown on top and a tooth pick inserted into the center of a muffin is “clean” when removed. Cool muffins on a wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature.