Gluten-Free Healthier Pumpkin Bread (or Muffins) with Chocolate Chips

Turkey Day is tomorrow! I am looking forward to a day with family, celebrating all that I have to be thankful for. I’m making these delicious, festive muffins to have for breakfasts this week.

These muffins call for gluten-free flour, but regular flour will also work. I’ve reduced the sugar, amped up the spice, and added dark chocolate chips. The result is a healthier recipe that still tastes amazing. I also added delicious whole grains that keep you full for longer.

This recipe makes a double batch, but if you have a lot of people around, they won’t last. The muffins can also be frozen if you need to keep them fresh longer.

Gluten Free Flour Options

I wrote this recipe to use coconut flour, but I prefer apple flour. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it lately. If you aren’t a coconut fan, you can also use regular flour.

Ingredients

  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 c coconut (or apple) flour
  • 1 c old fashioned oats
  • I c gluten-free flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 c melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp clove (heaping)
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (heaping)
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c millet
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Directions

Prepare either bread pans or muffin pans. Grease with avocado oil spray. This will make three loaves or about 36 muffins. I usually do a combination of both, but I prefer the muffins for easy portion control.

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the flour, oats, and millet together in a medium bowl. Next, use a whisk to mix in the baking soda and spices into the flours. In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients (plus the sugar): pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, applesauce, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

(Normally, I just mix it all in one bowl, but this recipe is so big that it’s best to use two bowls.)

Divide the batter into bread pans or use a scoop to make muffins.

Bake the bread for 50-55 minutes on 350, or bake the muffins for about 20 minutes. You can tell they are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I used a small cookie scoop to place bites on a parchment-covered sheet pan. Place the pan in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to harden.

Download the Recipe

Below is a printable PDF version of this recipe:

Let me know if you try this recipe, and I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Chocolate-Covered Cherry Energy Bites, A Protein-Packed After School Snack or Healthy-ish Dessert

Healthy-ish snacks are one of my secret weapons. Having a few of these in the freezer can keep you from going out of control when a craving for something sweet hits. If you love chocolate-covered cherries, you’ve got to try these!

These protein-rich energy bites have chocolate, healthy fats, and fiber to keep you full and energized longer. The Bayou Bunch loves them after school or as a quick, easy breakfast.

Nothing fancy here, but they’re quite delicous.

Ingredients

  • 1 c oats
  • 1 c unsweetened dried cherries
  • 3/4 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 c unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 c hemp hearts
  • 1/4 c raw almonds
  • 1/4 c roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup hot water
I hate cleaning the food processor too, but it’s really necessary for this recipe.

This isn’t rocket science. Just add the ingredients to the food processor and blend. I do try to add the almonds closer to the bottom, so that they get chopped first. Also, add the hot water slowly, as you mix the ingredients. It helps soften the coconut oil.

*Side Note… I almost never measure nut butters. It’s a pain, and I usually eyeball it.

I used a small cookie scoop to place bites on a parchment-covered sheet pan. Place the pan in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to harden.

Storage

I love their rich color!

Once set, the bites can be stored in the fridge for about a week. If you happen to have leftovers, store them in the freezer to keep fresh longer.

My Thoughts on “Healthy” Eating

If you are watching carbs, don’t go crazy and eat a ton of these. However, I’ve found that depriving yourself of any “treats” for extended periods of time isn’t really sustainable. When I really want something sweet, choosing a snack like these will satisfy that craving but also give me plenty of protein and fiber. This means I’m not reaching for another snack a little while later. I could write an entire post on this topic… probably several posts… but I’ll leave that for another day.

Download the Recipe

Below is a printable PDF version of this recipe:

Let me know if you try this recipe!

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Butterscotch Breakfast Cookies – A Simple Recipe for Fall

Breakfast cookies are a staple at the Bayou House, and we make them almost every other week. They’re not just for breakfast! They make an excellent after-school snack too. This version uses butterscotch morsels and cinnamon for a delicious fall flavor. 

I took my Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies and adapted the recipe. This one is not as simple, but we are all obsessed with this version.

I love this recipe because it all goes in one bowl and comes together super quick with minimal dishes to wash!

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350. Combine the ingredients in a bowl, and mix them together. Use a cookie scoop to place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Don’t worry too much about spacing out the cookies. They don’t spread much.

These cookies do not spread, so press them gently before baking for 15-18 minutes. They will last in the refrigerator for about a week (or about two days if you’re in the Bayou House), or you can store them in the freezer for longer. If you want to reheat them, they are best warmed in the toaster oven!

Cook them until the butterscotch is starting to melt.

Below is a printable PDF version of this recipe:

Let me know if you try making this! I’d love to know which version is your favorite.

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Sausage & Kale Frittata

Need a simple, healthy dinner? I’ve got you covered. This little recipe, or some variation of it, is on repeat at my house. It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies, it’s inexpensive, and it’s full of protein!

First of all, what is a frittata? It’s simply a breakfast casserole with no crust. It’s typically savory and includes meat, cheese, and veggies. Because it doesn’t have a crust, it’s a great option for a keto, gluten-free, or low-carb diet.

This is another frittata I’ve cooked. This one was baked in the same pan I used to cook with.

Before we get started, let’s have little chat about the pan I used here. To show this recipe, I used a nonstick skillet, which is not my favorite because of the harmful chemicals that can be released into your food. However, if you keep the heat low enough, these are generally safe to use.

My preferred pan is an enameled cast iron Le Creuset Skillet Braiser (in the pic above), here’s an affiliate link if you’re looking to purchase one. An affiliate link just means that if you click on it and end up purchasing something, I might get a small commission. Amazon has a similar product available for a fraction of the price. It has great reviews, too. Here’s a link for that one. What makes these pans so great is that they can go directly from the stove top into the oven — aka fewer dishes. They are also safer to use because they don’t have the nonstick coating, and they are even dishwasher safe.

Ok, you’re hungry, so let’s get cooking! To begin, preheat the oven to 350. You’ll need it later. Brown a pound of breakfast sausage in a skillet or braiser over medium heat. Use a meat masher, like this one, to break up the meat into small pieces.

When the meat is almost browned, add the diced bell pepper. I love the yellow color I used here. Once the bell pepper is starting to soften, add the chopped kale, and cook until the kale is starting to wilt and has turned a bright green color. Season with about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Remove this from the heat.

Yes, I’m aware that my nails look terrible. Focus on the food!

While the meat mixture is cooking, crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until they are completely blended, and add the 1/4 cup milk. You can also use half and half or heavy cream here (better for keto). Season this mixture with another 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix everything together thoroughly.

Give your oven-safe baking dish a quick spray with some avocado oil. Spread the meat and veggie mixture out into the dish, and top with the cheese.

Next pour the egg mixture over the entire top of the casserole. Gently press down, if needed, to make sure everything is covered in eggs. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center is set and not runny.

Serve this with fresh fruit for a colorful and heathy meal. This recipe is so easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you have on hand — spinach and mushrooms with bacon, tomato, onion, and bell pepper with sausage, etc. For my kids, I usually add a slice of buttered toast.

This pic is from last night’s dinner where I added mushrooms. I couldn’t resist sharing because it looked so tasty.

I created a fun reel showing this recipe on my Instagram page. You can see it here.

Here’s a printable PDF version of this recipe:

Let me know if you try making this! I’d love to know how it turns out.

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Oatmeal Almond Bites

These little protein bites are great to have on hand for an easy breakfast or high energy snack. There are tons of variations on this recipe out there, but this is my favorite, and the bayou bunch loves it too.

To make this a little lower sugar, look for unsweetened dried cherries or cranberries. You can find these at stores like Trader Joes or Whole Foods. I also provided a couple of substitutions for you so that you can adapt this recipe easily to what you have on hand. I used figs, but pitted dates would also work.

To start, gather all of the ingredients on the counter. This is really the hardest part — other than washing the dang food processor. Dishes aren’t really my thing. Fortunately Mr. Bayou helps out a lot in that area.

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 20 seconds. After that, add all of the ingredients except the water, to your food processor.

Give it a few good pulses. Then, slowly add the water to bring the mixture together. Blend until smooth.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or a silicone mat. Roll them into1 1/2 inch balls, and stick them in the freezer to set. Once they are hard, transfer to a container in the refrigerator for up to a week, but I doubt they will last that long!

Here’s a printable PDF version of this recipe:

Let me know if you try these! I’d love to know how they turned out.

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Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies — Perfect for Summer

One of the more challenging aspects of summer time for me is feeding my children three meals every day. That sounds terrible, but hear me out.

My kids want candy, sugary cereal, and junk food, but I know those foods will not serve us well. Giving in to their desires usually leads to hyperactivity, (later) lethargy, crabby attitudes, and video games. I want them to spend the summer creating, playing outdoors, reading, and exploring their interests. Experience tells me that their diet has a lot to do with that.

Off my soap box now… This easy little recipe keeps everyone happy. It’s full of healthy whole grains, provides long-lasting energy, keeps them satiated for several hours, and it has chocolate! These are also gluten-free, so Little Miss Bayou can to enjoy them too.

I’ve made these Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies for years. They usually last us two meals, but you could stretch it longer with smaller kids. We often serve them with a side of Greek yogurt. To mix it up, try adding in dried fruit, nuts, or cinnamon, instead of chocolate chips.

First, preheat the oven to 350. Mash three bananas in a medium mixing bowl. I often peel and freeze bananas that are about to go bad to save for recipes like this. Just stick three bananas in a Ziplock bag, and pull them out 15 minutes before you need to use them.

Next, add 2 cups of old fashioned oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (optional, but adds protein, fiber, and omega-3s), and 1/3 cup chocolate chips.

This recipe is flexible, so use what you have available. I used mini chocolate chips this time.

Mix everything together well. Use a small cookie scoop to put the cookies onto a parchment-lined baking tray, leaving an inch or so between each cookie. This makes about a dozen cookies.

This is before I pressed them. I ended up with 13 cookies, and I just went with it.

This step is important — sprinkle a little sea salt on each cookie. It adds so much flavor to the oats. Press each cookie down slightly (they don’t spread at all), and bake for 15 minutes.

These are soft cookies with the right balance of sweet and salty.

Here’s a printable PDF version of this recipe:

Let me know if you try these! I’d love to know how they turned out.

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

This recipe is one of my greatest culinary accomplishments. That may be an overstatement, but I really am proud of this one.

Whole grain muffin perfection.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s incredibly versatile and easy to change up.
  2. It requires one bowl and no mixer.
  3. It’s gluten-free, but tasty.
  4. It’s relatively healthy and full of good-for-you grains, protein, and Omegas.

Before I jump into the recipe, here are a few notes about the dietary restrictions. I almost always make this with gluten-free flour. It tastes better with regular flour, but Little Miss is gluten intolerant. Even the Bayou Boys eat the gluten-free version, so I opt for the easier choice. If you have a family member with Celiac or extreme sensitivity to gluten, make sure to use a gluten-free oatmeal.

This recipe is not Whole 30 or keto compliant. However, the grains in these muffins are incredibly good for you. They’re packed with fiber, protein, and a ton of vitamins in these, including:

  • Omega-3
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Biotin
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B6

This recipe is also rich in antioxidants soluble and insoluble fiber. The ingredients can help lower cholesterol and protect LDL cholesterol, improve blood sugar, and help with weight loss. Another plus — these are amazing for nursing mothers. The oats help boost milk production.

Are you convinced yet that the benefits in these more than make up for the added sugar? I hope so.

I always start with three overripe bananas mashed in a large mixing bowl. I will even use frozen bananas that I’ve thawed, just make sure to drain the liquid first. Mash the bananas, and add the next five ingredients, ending with the sugar to that same bowl.

Then, I add in my dry ingredients to the same bowl. Only having to wash one bowl is a huge win for me.

Pretty grains.

I mix it well, and add in the nuts and chocolate chips (optional). I use a large scoop so the muffins are all the same size.

A scoop like this one makes filling the muffin tin so much easier.

Bayou Blonde Tip: These muffins do not do well with cupcake liners. I prefer to spray the pan with an avocado cooking spray.

This is the oil spray I use. It’s from Costco.

If you don’t want to use chocolate chips, add cinnamon for a twist.

Here is the recipe. Please let me know if you make these!

Here’s a Printable PDF of the recipe.

Let me know if you try these! This recipe is a staple in my home and works great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

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