Archives for October 2014

Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Title

As the end of October rapidly approaches, it seems that the internet is bursting with all things pumpkin.  Starting with the return of the Pumpkin Latte in late September, fever pitch is reached just before Halloween. By then, every grocery store and local market has a massive pumpkin display when you walk in the door and your Pinterest board is filled with new and exciting ways to add pumpkin to everything from pies to pasta.

But what if you are not a fan of pumpkins?   Sure they look cute carved up and sitting on porch for Halloween but for some, the thought of eating the bright orange pulp can seem a little bit scary.  Don’t let it be!  This recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Muffins is the perfect treat if you are new to pumpkins.  Packed to the rim with chunks of cinnamon apples, the pumpkin puree simply adds another dimension to the muffins creating a rich medley of flavors that taste like fall.


The secret to these muffins is sauteing the apples before you bake.  The butter and cinnamon melt into the apples chucks creating the perfect balance between sweet and tart. These muffins are also incredibly moist.  They taste great warmed up with your morning cup of coffee or on-the-go as an afternoon snack.

Recipe notes:  This recipe calls for a Flax Egg.  To make the flax egg, simply whisk together 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water.  Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes and it will take on the consistency or a real egg.  Flax eggs are typically used as a replacement in vegan recipes.  This recipe is not vegan (it contains butter and honey) but I wanted to try it out the flax egg while baking and was extremely happy with the results.  You can substitute a real egg though if you please.

Due to varying moisture levels of the apples and the pumpkin puree you may need to adjust a bit on the fly. The batter should be moist but not runny.  if it is too runny, add more oats.  If you find the batter is too dry, add more almond milk.


Quick Tips of Storing and Freezing:

  • Keep your Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Muffins fresh by storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  If you have extra muffins that you do not plan to eat within 3-4 days after baking, you can easily freeze them.
  • To freeze: make sure muffins are completely cooled before wrapping.  I recommend wrapping each muffin in freezer wrap then placing in a large freezer bag (this way you can take out one or two to defrost at a time instead of the whole bunch).
  • Label bag with the name of the recipe and the date.  These will last for up to two months in the freezer.
  • To defrost: let muffins sit at room temperature until thawed or place on a microwave-safe plate and warm on HIGH setting for about 30 seconds.

Cinnamon Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12 small muffins/8 large muffins


  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tart apples (I recommend Granny Smith or Braeburn)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I recommend Libby's)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Plus an extra handful of old-fashioned rolled oats (for topping)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar (for topping)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a muffin tray with paper liners.
  2. Create a flax egg by gently whisking flaxseed meal and water in a large bowl and set aside to thicken.
  3. Wash, peel, core and dice the granny smith apples. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add diced apples and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Saute until soft. Remove from heat.
  4. Add almond milk, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, oil, honey and vanilla extract to the large bowl with the flax egg. Beat to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix together and carefully transfer the dry ingredients to a sifter. Sift over wet ingredients and stir until all dry ingredients are combined.
  6. Gently fold in apples and oats and stir until just combined. Spoon mixture into muffin tin. Fill each cup to the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and extra oats.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before serving


To make cinnamon sugar, mix 1/4 tsp. cinnamon with 1/4 tsp. brown sugar. Your flax egg should sit for 5 minutes before adding other ingredients. It will thicken to the same consistency as a regular egg.


Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Squash

Squash Title

So what exactly is spaghetti squash? On the outside, this nondescript and oval shaped yellow fall staple looks a bit like a melon and can easily be overlooked for the more mainstream squash varieties, like acorn and butternut.  But don’t let appearances fool you!  Once cooked, the pulp of the spaghetti squash transforms into unique and pasta-like strings with a mild and nutty flavor.

While technically a fruit, this amazingly versatile winter squash will have you rethinking your next meal.  Low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and packed full of essential vitamins and minerals (such as potassium and beta-carotene), the possibilities are endless when it comes to serving up spaghetti squash.  Not only does is work as a simple side dish topped with salt and pepper, it is also a perfect substitute for pasta when you want to cut back on calories but are not willing to pass up on flavor.

There are lots of ways to prepare spaghetti squash but if you are looking for easy and consistent results then pull our your slow cooker.  It will be the easiest thing you will ever make and it is impossible to mess up!  Letting the squash slowly cook over an extended period of time brings out the subtle flavor of the squash and guarantees a perfect spaghetti-like finish every time.

Squash 1

The squash shown is a 3 pounds and easily fit into our 6 quart slow-cooker.

Since slow-cookers come in all different shapes and sizes, make sure to find a squash that will fit into your appliance.  When picking a spaghetti squash, look for skin that is bright yellow (not green or pale) with no soft spots or bruising.

To start, simply wash and pat dry the outside of the squash.  Pierce skin with a fork or small paring knife so that the steam can escape while cooking.  If you do not poke the skin, you risk the vegetable exploding and making a huge mess!  Place the squash in ceramic bowl of your slow cooker.

squash 2

Make sure the lid closes securely to keep the heat and moisture inside.

Next, add 2 cups of water and one 1 tablespoon of fresh peppercorns to the bowl.  Cover and let the squash cook on low setting for 6-7 hours.  As tempting as it may be to check on the progress of your spaghetti squash, do not open the lid while cooking!  This will let out the heat and prolong the cooking time.  Instead, just let the squash slowly steam in the slow cooker.

Squash 3Once ready, carefully remove the squash from the crock pot using oven mitts or tongs.  Be very careful while removing- the squash will be very hot, juicy and soft. Don’t be surprised if the once hard skin has softened so much that it starts to break apart.

To serve, simply slice in half and remove the seeds with a spoon.  You will notice that the pulp of the squash will easily pull away from the sides and separate into stringy, spaghetti-like strands.  Use a fork to separate and fluff.

Serve as a side with salt and pepper to taste.  Spaghetti squash also makes a great substitute for pasta (my favorite is with mixing it with meatballs and tomato sauce).

{Simple Sides} Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Squash

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 7 hours


  • 1 small to medium sized spaghetti squash (approx 2-3lbs)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns


  1. Wash and pat dry the spaghetti squash. Using a small paring knife or fork, pierce the skin of the squash and place in the bowl of the slow cooker.
  2. Add water and peppercorns to the slow cooker and cover with lid.
  3. Cook on low setting for 6-7 hours.
  4. Carefully remove squash from the slow cooker and slice in half. Remove seeds using a large spoon and discard.
  5. With a fork, gently pull pulp from skin. The squash will naturally pull apart into a stringy finish (much like spaghetti).


Choose a spaghetti squash that will easily fit in the ceramic bowl of your slow cooker. Make sure there is a little bit of space on all sides and that lid will close securely.