Pumpkin Puffins

Pumpkin may be an autumn flavor to some, but I enjoy pumpkin treats all year round! That said, pumpkin patches and all the pumpkin goodies in stores do get me in the mood to whip up more pumpkin baked goods this time of year. What better way to usher in October than a batch of gluten free pumpkin muffins?

 

 

Pumpkin patch

 

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Four Month Blog-iversary and an Apples n’ Peanut Butter Muffin Recipe

I can’t believe it, but today is my four-month blog anniversary! The past few months have been a whirlwind with family and friends, running and recipes, and of course law school and everything leading up to graduation. But I’ve really been loving every moment I’ve spent on the blog. I had forgotten how much I missed writing for fun, about whatever is on my mind, since I started law school. After all, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for it! But I’m so happy I made the time, because writing, and reading other blogs, and beginning to feel like a part of something in the healthy living community, have all been fantastic little pieces of the journey so far. That said, on to today’s post – a new muffin recipe combining two of my favorite things.

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

I’m constantly experimenting with new flavor combinations for my muffins because I whip up a batch weekly for breakfast, brunch, an on-the-go snack or a running pick-me-up. Honestly, they’re practically a food group for me (just look at what I eat on a typical day!) These little dollops of deliciousness are what would happen if my Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins and Peanut Butter Cuppins had a muffin baby. Apples + Peanut Butter = Yum. Every time. Plus, I had an excuse to try out my new silicone muffin pan – I usually stick to a regular stainless steel pan, but lately mine has been getting tough to clean and the muffins have been sticking even when the pan is greased well, so I decided to give this cute red one a try. It’s a little trickier to remove from the oven without bending, but I’m happy to announce it was a successful test run! If you slide a knife carefully around the edges of each muffin before removing, they’re easy to pop right out of the pan.

 

Muffins in their new baking home

Muffins in their new baking home

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum or all-purpose flour

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt)

2 Tbsp milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

2 large eggs

2 tbsp peanut butter, melted (My favorite Peanut Butter & Co)

2 tbsp powdered peanut butter (I used PB2 Original)

1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped (I like using Braeburn apples to bake, they’re the perfect twist of sweet and snappy)

1/3 cup applesauce

1 Tbsp butter (you can sub extra applesauce if you prefer)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Extra tbsp olive oil, butter, or cooking spray (to grease the pan)

 

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A Long and Winding Run

I looked at my calendar this week and realized I was just past the halfway point between my two winter half marathons – I’m not sure how that happened so quickly! To be fair, it does feel like quite awhile since I was in Florida, having an amazing time running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and fueling up with all the delicious allergy-free treats on offer. But I thought that it felt far in the past because of the winter weather we’ve been having in the Northeast…the realization that it was over a month ago crept up on me! I’ve got less than four weeks to go until the New York City Half Marathon.

 

At the finish line of my first half marathon!

At the finish line of my first half marathon!

 

While I’m sure lots of seasoned runners think nothing of running multiple half marathon distances in a compressed period of time, it’s a first for me. I cut back during the two weeks after the Disney half marathon, running only 4-6 miles a few times each week. About two weeks after the race, I did an 8-miler, and today was my longest in-between run of 10 miles. At this point in my running career, I consider anything over 8 miles to be a Long Run, and this one definitely felt that way!

 

The long and winding road (or run!)

The long and winding road (or run!)

Long runs don’t feel different than short distances just because of the length of time your body is in motion. In fact, I find that it takes me a good three miles to get into a run, and once I hit mile 5 or 6, it’s easy to keep going for another few. Any little aches or pains usually fade away (they come back with a vengeance post-run, but that’s another story!) What I really need to keep me going is to focus on something positive. I don’t necessarily mean that I need to think happy thoughts –  in fact, I’ll often devote a lot of time on long runs to thinking through a problem, something in my life that isn’t going quite the way I’d like it to. I’ll usually have found a way to put a new spin on an off-kilter situation by the time I’m ready to cool down. There’s something about being out of doors and in motion that puts all the little things in life in perspective, and my long runs give me the chance to take a metaphorical step back and gain that perspective, while also literally moving forward.

 

Today, I shoved all thoughts of law school and my impending graduation and relationships and my upcoming dinner party and literally EVERYTHING ELSE out of my mind. Instead, I ruminated on running (of all the things!) as I ran. More specifically, the time I’ve spent running. Just under a year ago, I was gearing up for the same race, my first half marathon and only my fourth race ever! Looking back, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come – two years ago was the first time I ran a 5k distance without stopping, something I never dreamed of doing. I was the girl tried to get out of running the mile in gym class by bringing a note from my ballet teacher saying it was unsafe for dancers. Even when I started jogging as a coxswain, it was never more than a mile and change down the river path or around Oxford, and always with plenty of walking. Now, I have two half marathons under my belt, a third coming up, and a fourth already on deck for September!

 

Taking the scenic route by  a snow-capped Harlem Hill

Taking the scenic route by a snow-capped Harlem Hill

If I had told my 13- or 16- or even 20-year-old self that this is where I’d be at 23, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it. And that’s something I need to keep in mind. A long run is the perfect time to refresh my memory, because even if I feel a little sore for the first few miles, or the wind is a bit harsh, or I’m certain I won’t be able to finish – I realize that every step is an achievement in and of itself, pushing beyond imaginary limits into a new realm of possibility. It’s a wonderful thought, an even better feeling, and today, it was just the fuel I needed to finish 10 miles strong.

 

 

And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to refuel, because even the best mental state requires a plate of healthy, delicious and nutritious calories to maintain! I’m thinking a few muffins for a quick protein and carb fix while I whip up a plate of eggs and my special pancakes…

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

A Long (and Winding) Run

I looked at my calendar this week and realized I was just past the halfway point between my two winter half marathons – I’m not sure how that happened so quickly! To be fair, it does feel like quite awhile since I was in Florida, having an amazing time running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and fueling up with all the delicious allergy-free treats on offer. But I thought that it felt far in the past because of the winter weather we’ve been having in the Northeast…the realization that it was over a month ago crept up on me! I’ve got less than four weeks to go until the New York City Half Marathon.

 

At the finish line of my first half marathon!

At the finish line of my first half marathon!

 

While I’m sure lots of seasoned runners think nothing of running multiple half marathon distances in a compressed period of time, it’s a first for me. I cut back during the two weeks after the Disney half marathon, running only 4-6 miles a few times each week. About two weeks after the race, I did an 8-miler, and today was my longest in-between run of 10 miles. At this point in my running career, I consider anything over 8 miles to be a Long Run, and this one definitely felt that way!

 

The long and winding road (or run!)

The long and winding road (or run!)

Long runs don’t feel different than short distances just because of the length of time your body is in motion. In fact, I find that it takes me a good three miles to get into a run, and once I hit mile 5 or 6, it’s easy to keep going for another few. Any little aches or pains usually fade away (they come back with a vengeance post-run, but that’s another story!) What I really need to keep me going is to focus on something positive. I don’t necessarily mean that I need to think happy thoughts –  in fact, I’ll often devote a lot of time on long runs to thinking through a problem, something in my life that isn’t going quite the way I’d like it to. I’ll usually have found a way to put a new spin on an off-kilter situation by the time I’m ready to cool down. There’s something about being out of doors and in motion that puts all the little things in life in perspective, and my long runs give me the chance to take a metaphorical step back and gain that perspective, while also literally moving forward.

 

Today, I shoved all thoughts of law school and my impending graduation and relationships and my upcoming dinner party and literally EVERYTHING ELSE out of my mind. Instead, I ruminated on running (of all the things!) as I ran. More specifically, the time I’ve spent running. Just under a year ago, I was gearing up for the same race, my first half marathon and only my fourth race ever! Looking back, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come – two years ago was the first time I ran a 5k distance without stopping, something I never dreamed of doing. I was the girl tried to get out of running the mile in gym class by bringing a note from my ballet teacher saying it was unsafe for dancers. Even when I started jogging as a coxswain, it was never more than a mile and change down the river path or around Oxford, and always with plenty of walking. Now, I have two half marathons under my belt, a third coming up, and a fourth already on deck for September!

 

Taking the scenic route by  a snow-capped Harlem Hill

Taking the scenic route by a snow-capped Harlem Hill

If I had told my 13- or 16- or even 20-year-old self that this is where I’d be at 23, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it. And that’s something I need to keep in mind. A long run is the perfect time to refresh my memory, because even if I feel a little sore for the first few miles, or the wind is a bit harsh, or I’m certain I won’t be able to finish – I realize that every step is an achievement in and of itself, pushing beyond imaginary limits into a new realm of possibility. It’s a wonderful thought, an even better feeling, and today, it was just the fuel I needed to finish 10 miles strong.

 

 

And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to refuel, because even the best mental state requires a plate of healthy, delicious and nutritious calories to maintain! I’m thinking a few muffins for a quick protein and carb fix while I whip up a plate of eggs and my special pancakes…

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

Saucy Cinna-cakes with scrambled eggs and fresh blueberries!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Pumpkin Puffins

Pumpkin may be an autumn flavor to some, but I enjoy pumpkin treats all year round! The traditional autumn blend of pumpkin, maple, and cinnamon can warm you up throughout a chilly winter. These are similar to my other gluten-free muffin recipes in their use of rolled oats as a base, but incorporating pure pumpkin gives them a slightly creamier texture and puffier tops. They’re also dairy-free and  vegetarian (and can be adapted to be egg-free and vegan), great to bring to school or work to share without any worries – everyone can partake! Or whip up a batch over the weekend and have them for breakfasts or snacks throughout the week. Pumpkin Puffins are a great way to start off your day on a warm and cheerful note.

 

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum flour

1 cup pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s or Farmer’s Market Organics, but if you’re up to the task of roasting your own, I’m sure that would be fantastic!)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup vanilla coconut milk

2 large eggs (you can also substitute additional 1/4 cup applesauce + 1 tbsp flaxseed)

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup brown sugar (this works best with the pumpkin, but feel free to substitute stevia or other sweetener)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flaxseed

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cooking spray or additional olive oil

 

 

Puffin batter

Puffin batter

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray 12-muffin tin with cooking spray or lightly brush each muffin cup with olive oil.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.

4. Add in coconut milk, applesauce, eggs, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix well (roughly 8-10 good stirs) but be careful not to over-stir, or the batter will become too thin.

5. Pour batter evenly into muffin cups.

6. Optional: sprinkle a pinch of extra brown sugar on each muffin top.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

8. Let cool.

9. Enjoy!

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Raspberry Ragamuffins

As promised, the recipe for the raspberry ragamuffins I made to ring in 2015. While similar to the other muffin recipes I’ve shared, these include a sweet surprise in the center. I like to think of them as muffins with a few accessories normally reserved for scones, namely jam and clotted cream. But they’re not a muffin-scone hybrid, they’re unique unto themselves. And so, they are ragamuffins! (Plus I’m a fan of alliteration, as regular readers have probably realized).

A raspberry ragamuffin

A raspberry ragamuffin

 

Sweet surprise

Sweet surprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

2 large eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar or other sweetener

6 oz 2% vanilla or raspberry Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup raspberry jam

2-3 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Red confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Butter, oil, or cooking spray (for the muffin tin)

 

Muffin tins while adding the jam

Muffin tins while adding the jam

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter, oil or cooking spray.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

4. Add egg and yogurt.

5. Mix well until the batter is uniform. This should be about 12-15 good stirs.

6. Pour each muffin tin about 2/3 of the way with batter.

7. Add a small dollop of jam (roughly 1 tsp) to each muffin tin.

8. Cover the jam with batter.

9. Place a raspberry upside-down in each muffin.

10. Sprinkle each muffin with red confectioner’s sugar (optional).

11. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

12. Let cool.

13. Enjoy!

 

Raspberry ragamuffins fresh from the oven

Raspberry ragamuffins fresh from the oven

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

 

Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins

It’s official: my kitchen is experiencing olfactory overload. So many new recipes to try, and only so much winter break in which to try them!

This latest batch of muffins may seem familiar, cousins of my Banana-Maple-Oat and Apple-Berry-Nana creations. But these include a delightful twist of caramel, invisible in their warm golden-brown tops while infusing the scrumptious first bite. Enjoy!

 

Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins

Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (I love Country Choice Organic Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

1/2 large apple

2 large eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 oz unsweetened applesauce (you can also use sweetened and decrease the sugar)

6 oz 2% vanilla or apple Greek yogurt (I love using the seasonal flavors, like Chobani 2% Apple Cinnamon or Dannon Caramel Apple, but unfortunately yogurt makers think we only like these in the autumn – FALSE!)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup caramel sauce (you can make your own, of course – this is the next skill I’ll tackle, but for now I used Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Caramel Sauce)

2-3 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Butter, oil, or cooking spray (for the muffin tin)

 

Instructions:

Cinnamuffin Batter

Cinnamuffin Batter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter, oil or cooking spray.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

4. Chop up half an apple into small cubes and toss into bowl.

5. Add egg, yogurt, and applesauce.

6. Mix well until the batter is uniform. This should be about 12-15 good stirs.

7. Now, for the caramel! I simply put my caramel sauce in at this stage and mix 4-5 more times so it becomes part of the batter, because I like the flavor throughout the muffin. However, you can also keep the caramel separate and fill each muffin tin about 2/3 of the way, then place a dollop of the sauce on top before adding the last bit of batter. This gives you a caramel center for each muffin, which can be a scrumptious surprise! I just like to mix it in, and then pour the batter into the muffin tin.

8. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

9. Let cool.

10. Enjoy!

 

 

Bursting with apples, cinnamon and caramel!

Bursting with apples, cinnamon and caramel!

 

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

More Marvelous Muffins: Apple-Berry-Nana Edition

The winter chill is in the air, I’ve got some time off from school, and I’m in training for a race – let the muffin-making commence! Like their banana-maple siblings, these muffins are made with gluten-free rolled oats and Greek yogurt, resulting in a hearty morsel of goodness. Using apples and blueberries with less banana results in a slightly fluffier texture, and a few secret ingredients create a crisp, browned muffin-top that sets them apart. The fruit is definitely the star of the show with these muffins, perfect to grab anytime you’re feeling like a healthy treat.

 

All the fruit!

All the fruit!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1 small banana (roughly 6″ long)

1/2 cup chopped apple (about half of a regular-sized apple)

1/2 cup blueberries

2 oz unsweetened applesauce

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sweetener (I use brown sugar and stevia, but agave can also work great here)

6 oz 2% plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2-3 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

 

 

Muffin batter with fruit mixed in

Muffin batter with fruit mixed in

Instructions:

1. Dice apple and banana into small chunks.

2. Combine oats, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl.

3. Add eggs, yogurt, and applesauce. Mix the batter until it gets to a uniform color, about 8-10 good stirs. Add the fruit, and mix another 4-5 stirs. Once the batter is a smooth, uniform consistency with the exception of oats and fruit, stop stirring.

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

5. Let cool.

6. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Muffins fresh from the oven, tops nicely browned!

Muffins fresh from the oven, tops nicely browned! (I just had to taste test one immediately…)

 

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

 

 

Marvelous Muffins: Banana-Maple-Oat Edition

As promised in yesterday’s post, my recipe for the warming winter edition of Marvelous Muffins! I love the banana-maple-oat combination because it just tastes a little like the start of the holiday season, with hints of maple candy made with syrup and snow, and the cinnamon sugar scent that wafts from all Chrismukkah-cookie kitchens. They’re a perfect breakfast or dessert, and so convenient to grab and go if you’re on the move and have an oatmeal craving you just can’t shake but have no time to indulge! So, without further ado…

 

Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins

Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (I love Country Choice Organic Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

2 large bananas (roughly 8″ long)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sweetener (I use my brown sugar and Stevia combination but feel free to experiment!)

6 oz 2% plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup maple syrup

2-3 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Optional: sometimes I’ll throw in raisins or chocolate chips if I’m feeling decadent. I’m nut-free but if you’re lucky enough to be able to indulge, go right ahead with your favorite kind!

 

What the muffin batter should look like

What the muffin batter should look like

 

Instructions:

1. Chop up bananas lengthwise (in half) and widthwise (into 1/2″ slices).

2. Place bananas in a large bowl with all the other ingredients except optional add-ins.

3. Mix well until the batter is uniform. This should be about 12-15 good stirs. Don’t worry about completely smashing all the banana chunks, just get a uniform consistency. And once the batter is pretty smooth with the exception of banana chunks and oats, stop stirring – overstirring can result in collapsed muffins!

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

5. Let cool.

6. Enjoy!

 

Muffins in the pan -  two of them are raisin-topped for a raising-loving friend!

Muffins in the pan – two of them are raisin-topped for a raising-loving friend!

 

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Gluten Free Banana Maple Muffins

As promised in yesterday’s post, my recipe for Gluten Free Banana Maple Muffins! I love this flavor combination because it just tastes a little like the start of the holiday season, with hints of maple candy made with syrup and snow, and the cinnamon sugar scent that wafts from all Chrismukkah-cookie kitchens. These gluten free banana maple muffins are a perfect breakfast or dessert, and so convenient to grab and go if you’re on the move and have an oatmeal craving you just can’t shake but have no time to indulge. Then again, if you do have the time to sit down and savor a couple with your morning coffee…

 

gluten free banana muffins

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