Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin spice fever is in full force at the moment! Here is a delicious, chocolatey way to enjoy this fall food craze without breaking your calorie or money bank. I adapted this recipe from it’s original version multiple times to finally come up with my own, perfect result. I cut both the sugar and oil amounts in half (!), replaced white flour with whole-grain oat flour and added ground flaxseed for a nutrient packed little muffin. Plus, there’s dark chocolate in there for even more antioxidants (cue *thumbs up*).

The result is a pumpkin treat that is perfect for breakfast, a snack or dessert. My favorite way to eat them is topped with a spoonful of peanut butter or crumbled on top of vanilla yogurt. No matter how you choose to enjoy them, they will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth in the healthiest way possible.

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients:

1 ¾ C oat flour*                                1/3 C brown sugar

¼ C ground flaxseed                       3 Tbs. molasses

1 tsp. baking soda                             2 Tbs. canola oil

1/2 tsp. salt                                       ¾ C milk

1 tsp. cinnamon                                 2 eggs, beaten

½ tsp. ginger                                     1 C canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

¼ tsp. cloves                                      1 tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. nutmeg                                ½ C dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 4000 F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, molasses, oil, milk, eggs, pumpkin and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and cook 20 minutes or until done. Cool and enjoy!

*To make oat flour, add double the amount of flour called for with whole oats (i.e. in this recipe it would be 3 ½ C) into a food processor. Process until a fine flour has formed. Can also substitute whole-wheat flour or ½ whole-wheat, ½ white flour.

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WIAW #1

One common question all dietitians and nutrition students get asked is “well, what do you eat?!”. Everyone wants to know what health nuts eat or don’t eat on a regular basis. At restaurants and family gatherings, our dining partners constantly scrutinize and analyze each bite we take.

While this can be annoying at times, I see it as a valuable learning opportunity for the general public. Although our lives center around promoting fruits, vegetables, whole grains and all that jazz, above all, we emphasize balance, a concept many people struggle with. To show you this, I want to start a new series showcasing everything I eat in a day. Sometimes this will include a days worth of stereotypical health food like kale salads, grilled salmon and hummus. Other days, which may be of surprise to some of you, will feature a burger & fries, ice cream sundaes and/or multiple adult beverages.

The goal of this is not to compare, judge or restrict your eats based on mine. Everyone’s needs, preferences and lifestyles are different. The point is to show you that even healthy individuals eat “unhealthy” foods every now and then. Similarly, some days I eat more than others depending on how hungry I am, my schedule, if I workout, etc. Again, the key is balance, which is what I aim to portray and teach you through this little blog of mine.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at what I ate yesterday through RD Eats numero uno.

Pre-workout snack: 5:45am

I prefer to workout bright n’ early in the mornings and always need a little something to get me through my workouts. Before teaching spin, I had half of this KIND bar. It had just the right amount of carbs, fat and protein to hold me over until my real breakfast.

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Breakfast: 8am

My usual banana oatmeal topped with a big spoonful of almond butter. Paired with a homemade iced latte.

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Lunch: 12pm

I was on campus doing graduate assistantship work all day yesterday so lunch was packed and eaten at the union between meetings. A large salad packed with plenty of the good stuff: chicken, avocado, dried cranberries, various veggies and light Italian dressing. A handful of gluten-free crackers dipped in hummus on the side.

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Snack: 3:30pm

A fresh apple I got from apple picking a week ago paired with my favorite brand of vanilla Greek yogurt.

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Dinner: 6:30pm

I came home for the weekend (my mom and I are going zip lining tomorrow!) and my dad and I went out for Mexican food. We started with the obligatory chips and salsa and also ordered (un-pictured) guacamole which was made fresh right in front of us. To drink, I got a Texas margarita, because, well, you can’t go out to a Mexican restaurant without ordering one. Am I right or am I right?! For my entrée, I ordered the chicken enchiladas covered with queso (yummm) with a side of rice. After copious amounts of guacamole and chips, I managed to house two out of the three enchiladas and most of the rice.

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So there you have it. Today was the perfect way to kick start this series. It was a great combination of health and indulgence. The key being, everything balances out in the end. I hope your as excited for this series as me! Please, feel free to comment below with any comments or questions as always.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Everyone has heard the popular saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Eating breakfast helps stabilize your blood sugar, improves focus and concentration, gives you energy and has been proven to help prevent weight gain. Not to mention, breakfast foods are delicious and full of nutrients!

Despite it’s benefits, many people continue to skip this important meal. Common excuses include not having enough time or not being hungry in the morning. Well, I’m here to tell you, breakfast doesn’t have to be an ornate and time-consuming production.

My favorite breakfast hands-down is oatmeal. It’s quick, easy, versatile, and tasty. Not to mention it keeps me full for hours and doesn’t leave me scrounging for a snack an hour later. Oats are loaded with soluble fiber, which is helps lower cholesterol and promotes heart health. This recipe is one of my favorites, especially come fall. It tastes just like pumpkin pie, but it’s a whole lot healthier for you. I often cut the recipe in half and eat it for dessert or snack as well!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

½ C old-fashioned oats

½ C milk

¼ C water (or milk)

¼ C canned pumpkin

½ T brown sugar

½ T pure maple syrup

¼ t. cinnamon

1/8 t. allspice

1/16 t nutmeg

optional dried fruit ( I like a combination of dried cherries and cranberries)

optional nuts or nut butter

Directions

Combine oats, milk, water, and pumpkin. Microwave for 2 minutes (or until liquid is fully absorbed). Mix in brown sugar, maple syrup, spices, and dried fruit. Top with nuts/nutbutter.

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