In my yoga class a few days ago, the focus of our practice was about staying present and grounded even when the world around us feels out of control. I don’t know about you, but after the recent hurricanes, mass shooting and fires, I feel like things are spinning out of control a little bit, so the message really resonated with me. Yoga is one thing that helps me stay present and calm during crazy times, but I also find a lot of relaxation in cooking and baking for my family. There is something grounding about simple acts like mixing batter, sauteing garlic, crisping up bacon, or shaking a cocktail.
I want to share three fall recipes that my family is loving right now, in case you, too, are in need of some kitchen therapy. The first recipe is for toddler- approved muffins that made my house smell so great I could forget about the smoky air from wild fires outside. The second recipe is for a quick and easy weeknight meal the whole family will enjoy. The final recipe, a little something just for adults, is for the perfect cocktail for a fall Friday night.
Apple + Pumpkin Spice Muffins
These are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, so they’re definitely toddler friendly. My son devours these, and by devours I mean uses his whole little hand to shove as many bites into his mouth at one time as he possibly can. The nice thing about these muffins is that they’re not flavorless or boring like some toddler recipes, so my husband and I enjoy them too. They’re best warm out of the oven, but are also great for a snack on the go.
1 cup Almond Flour (*I use this brand, available at Whole Foods)
¼ cup Buckwheat Flour (*you can substitute white/ brown rice flour too, but I think the flavor of buckwheat adds a nice nuttiness)
¼ cup Oat Flour
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp each of Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger and Cardamom (*I usually just eyeball my spices rather than measuring them exactly, so feel free to omit these and stick with cinnamon, use pumpkin pie spice instead, or add any amount you feel comfortable with)
¼ Pumpkin Puree
¼ cup Maple Syrup
⅓ cup Coconut Oil, melted
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup (heaping) Apple, grated
*Recipe makes 9 muffins, so I highly recommend doubling it!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use coconut oil to lightly grease standard muffin tin.
- In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients (almond, buckwheat and oat flours +baking soda, baking powder and spices).
- In a large bowl whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- When the wet and dry ingredients are completely combined, stir in grated apple.
- Fill muffin cups with the batter until just about full.
- Bake for 20 minutes and then let cool for at least 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack, or your mouth 🙂
*Inspired by this recipe
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
I love the classic flavor combination of pumpkin + a little sweetness + warm spices, but it’s fun to shake it up and use pumpkin in a savory way, too. This recipe is perfect for kids and adults because it tastes a little bit like Mac and Cheese with a twist, and let’s be honest, Mac and Cheese is always a crowd pleaser. I love the extra bit of salty, smoky crunch the bacon adds on top, but feel free to skip it if you want a tasty meatless dish.
12 oz dried pasta (*My family is gluten free and this brand, available at Whole Foods, is our favorite. I’ve used Fusilli, Caserecce and Tagliatelle with this recipe and they all work great. Feel free to use your favorite pasta, gluten free or otherwise)
4-6 slices of Bacon, sliced into lardons (*optional)
3 Garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 cup Heavy Cream
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to directions. Strain and set aside.
- If using bacon, cook lardons until crispy in a large skillet or dutch oven. You will use this same skillet for the whole dish so make sure it is large enough. Remove from pan and set aside on paper towels. Reserve at least 1 tbsp (if not all) bacon grease in the pan.
- Saute garlic until fragrant. Add red pepper flakes, pumpkin puree, cream and parmesan and stir until combined.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook over medium-low heat until cheese melts and sauce thickens slightly.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and stir/use tongs to combine.
- Top with crispy bacon and serve.
*Inspired by this recipe
Maple Bourbon Sour
My husband happily drinks Old Fashioneds year round, but whiskey starts to pique my interest again when the seasons shift from summer to autumn. This cocktail is my current favorite because it is crisp and refreshing but still feels perfect for the shorter days and cooler weather. If, like me, you sometimes think about drinking maple syrup straight out of the bottle like Buddy from Elf, this recipe is for you! I don’t know why I consider maple syrup a perfect Fall ingredient… then again, do I really need a reason? This is a great cocktail to sip while making dinner or to shake up when you have friends over. I think it tastes especially delicious after the bedtime routine, when my son is finally asleep!
½ oz maple syrup
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon (or whiskey of choice)
2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional if you don’t have them, but I think they add an important layer of flavor)
Splash of soda water
Shake all ingredients except for the soda water in a cocktail shaker (or build in a glass and stir well if you don’t have one) and strain into an ice filled mason jar or rocks glass. Top with soda water.
*Inspired by Whiskey + Maple Syrup Sour from Small Victories.
Check out this cookbook, Small Victories.