Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

How does time keep escaping me? I blinked and October is almost over! Halloween is a mere 9 days away, and I still haven’t hemmed Zemirah’s Elsa costume, nor have I blogged in over two weeks. Two weeks with no new recipes is officially my longest, albeit accidental, break from my blog. In case you missed it on my social media (click the links at the bottom of this post to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), we are expecting Baby Mills #2 in April! I’m currently four months along, Baby is the size of a large avocado, and giving me sweet little jabs every now and then. After our miscarriage in July, we’ve been concerned with Baby’s health, but so far everything is looking perfect!

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Little baby bump when I was 12 weeks along.

Obviously pregnancy along with being the mom of a rambunctious toddler has kept me occupied, in a true Pinch of Crazy way. *insert crazy heart eyes here* Bear with me over these next months; I promise I’ll blog whenever I get the chance! For now, continue relishing your crisply cool fall days while enjoying these delicious, not-too-sweet, healthy Pumpkin Pecan Muffins. Nothing like a homemade pumpkin treat to welcome fall in!

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins


Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of almond flour
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil, melted (here is my favorite brand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped pecans (or buy pecan pieces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 liners. (or use these reusable silicone liners)
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine first 6 ingredients (almond flour through nutmeg).
  4. Create a well in your dry ingredients and add the next 4 ingredients (pumpkin through syrup), stirring until just combined.
  5. Fold in your chopped pecans.
  6. Fill each liner about 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top bounces back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Serve warm or room temperature with butter and a drizzle of honey (optional but sooo delicious!)

I love this season of pumpkin treats! For more pumpkin recipes, check out my Pumpkin Bread with Crumb ToppingPumpkin Spice Cake, No Bake Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer. If you’re searching for more a savory fall recipe, you would probably like my Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Lemon Butter ShrimpCreamy Tomato Basil Soup, or my Two Bean Turkey Chili. Whatever you end up cooking/baking, I hope it warms your bellies and your hearts! Bask in these gorgeous fall days, nap in the afternoon sunshine, crunch some fallen leaves beneath your feet…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Lemon Butter Shrimp

I’ve talked before about my love of pasta. Honestly who doesn’t love a big bowl of al dente hopes and dreams carb-y deliciousness slathered in creamy sauce? Don’t lie, you know your mouth is watering 😉

Back in 2015, my husband David and I had only been married about a year, living in a little one bedroom apartment on-base, and I was really starting to experiment in the kitchen. I was feeding us all sorts of delicious, albeit not great for us, foods – pasta most of all! When January 2016 rolled around, our New Year’s resolution was to save for a trip to Italy in 2017. I was going to learn how to make homemade pasta from some Italian grannies, David was going to see all the fantastic art, and we were going to eat and drink our way through the country. Come May 2016, we had saved about $1,300…but then my Aunt Flo didn’t show up for her monthly visit, and I saw two pink lines that completely shifted our future plans. In January 2017 we welcomed our Zemirah Capri (you can read her birth story here), whose middle name was inspired by our plans to visit Capri, Italy, and the rest is *happy* history! We still plan on visiting Italy one day – after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day – so I’m sure it will stick around 😉

Fast forward another year and I discovered how much steering clear of dairy really helped my IBS symptoms (you can read our journey with healthy-ish eating here), and we both discovered limiting gluten helped with decreasing bloat and feeling better all around! We are not 100% dairy free or gluten free, but I can tell you that a big bowl of the *real deal* fettucine alfredo would not do us any favors. And since it is now officially fall and all the lovely gourds are in season, I thought I would make over this classic comfort food to be easy for our digestive systems while still tasting amazing! I truly hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did, and can indulge in your comfort food cravings without regret!

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Lemon Butter Shrimp


Ingredients

    For the spaghetti squash:
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • Two medium sized spaghetti squashes, to produce about 7-8 cups of shredded spaghetti squash (roasting instructions below)
  • 1/3 cup of avocado oil based mayonnaise (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 10 oz of light coconut milk
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • Cayenne to taste, optional
  • For the shrimp:
  • 1 lb of peeled and de-veined shrimp (if using frozen, thaw them first)
  • 3 tbsp of butter or ghee
  • One large lemon (or two small), sliced
  • Dried parsley
  • Kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and pulp (you can pierce the squash and microwave for about 5-6 minutes to soften up if you are having a hard time cutting it)
  3. Drizzle each half with olive oil, and season to your taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. Roast on a baking sheet, cut side up, for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the skin is easily pierced with a fork, and the flesh can easily be scraped out.
  5. Shred the squash and set aside.
  6. Make the sauce by combining mayo, nutritional yeast, coconut milk, lemon juice, and seasonings in a large pot.
  7. Bring sauce to a soft boil, stirring often. If the sauce looks too thick, add more coconut milk. If it looks to runny, add more mayo.
  8. Once sauce has come together, reduce heat to low and add squash, using tongs to toss and combine.
  9. Cover and keep heat on low while you cook the shrimp.
  10. In a large pan, melt your butter over medium-low heat.
  11. Once melted, add the shrimp – making sure all shrimp are touching the pan and not overcrowded.
  12. Season as desired with kosher salt and dried parsley.
  13. Lightly squeeze lemon slices, then add those to the pan as well.
  14. Cook shrimp for about 2-3 minutes per side, until pink.
  15. Serve immediately and garnish with lemon slices and parsley, if desired.
  16. Keep leftovers covered in the fridge. The shrimp will keep for about 3-4 days and the squash for a week.

For another noodle “pasta” recipe, check out my Zoodles with Meat Sauce, but if you’re wanting some actual gluten free noodles, check out my Spaghetti Bake with Balsamic Glaze or Baked Ziti with Sausage – personally, I love them all. But then again, I could swim in a pile of noodles, whether they are spiralized veggies or made from chick peas.

This spaghetti squash recipe is so easy, healthy, and astoundingly delicious! I am sure it will be a fall favorite for my family, and I hope it will be for yours, too. Eat some healthier comfort food, really savor it…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Apple Pie Parfaits

It is officially fall! The first day of fall was four days ago and the high today is…95. So while it may not quite feel like fall, we can still celebrate by busting out the decorations and using all the warm, spiced flavors! These Apple Pie Parfaits are full of all the fall flavors: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and coziness. 🙂 Warm, spiced apples are “cozy” between layers of dairy free whipped cream and nutty, crunchy granola crumble. Delicious! I knew this recipe was a keeper when my picky nephew kept asking for more. *praise hands* I hope you and your family enjoy this vegan, refined sugar free fall treat as much as mine did!

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Apple Pie Parfaits


Ingredients

    For the apple filling:
  • 4 medium sized apples, thinly sliced (I used two Gala and two Granny Smith. I also left the skin on for looks + extra fiber, but you can peel them if desired.)
  • 1 tbsp of coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp of pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the granola crumble:
  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp of whole flax seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp of coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • For the whipped cream layer:
  • Generous spoonfuls of dairy free whipped cream (there is also a coconut cream whipped cream made by Reddi Whip)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Drop apple slices in the boiling water and boil for about 5-7 minutes, until tender crisp.
  3. While the apples are boiling, make your granola crumble by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until combined, but with texture – you don’t want granola dust!
  4. Once apples are cooked, drain and return to pot. Stir in remaining apple filling ingredients until all slices are coated in “coziness” 😉
  5. In a glass of your choice, layer whipped cream, granola crumble, and apple slices. Repeat layers until you reach the top, ending with whipped cream!
  6. Serve warm.
  7. Keep leftovers separate – apples in the fridge and crumble at room temperature. Simply reheat the apples when you want more and layer away!

For more recipes to celebrate fall (or “hotumn” as I saw on Facebook), check out my Cinnamon ApplesauceSlow Cooker Apple CiderPumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping, or Pumpkin Spice Cake. And to make your home smell like a fall-themed bakery, use my “recipe” for Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Scent! I certainly wish it were cooler, but it’s my favorite season, so I will still celebrate! Enjoy this marginally cooler weather, celebrate anyway…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

 

Spaghetti Bake with Balsamic Glaze

Spaghetti is the ultimate easy dinner; delicious, loved by all, and you can easily sneak in some extra vegetables for the littles. Sometimes you just need to jazz it up, though, and what better way to do that than to top it with mozzarella, bake until bubbly, then drizzle with sweet and tangy balsamic glaze? I made this recipe by default (as per usual), but it was so delicious I decided to document. I’m telling you, it is like the Italian comfort food love child of spaghetti and lasagna: cheesy, saucy, delicious! I hope you give it a try – I’m willing to bet it will be a family favorite!

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Spaghetti Bake with Balsamic Glaze


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 8 oz of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of dried parsley
  • 1.5 tsp of dried basil
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 jar sugar free marinara
  • 1/2 lb of whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti
  • 2 cups (packed down) of fresh spinach
  • 8 oz of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Balsamic Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup of raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add mushrooms, onion, and bay leaves – cooking until tender.
  3. While cooking, boil salted water in a large pot – preparing to cook your spaghetti.
  4. Add ground meat to vegetables, crumbling while it cooks.
  5. Season with salt and spices, and continue to cook.
  6. Drain excess fat if necessary, and remove bay leaves.
  7. Once water is boiling, add your spaghetti noodles and cook according to package directions, using the minimum amount of time for cooking – the noodles will continue to cook in the oven.
  8. While noodles cook, preheat your oven to 375 F.
  9. Once noodles are cooked, drain and return to pot.
  10. Add cooked meat and vegetables, pasta sauce, and fresh spinach to the noodles; stir to combine well.
  11. Evenly spread spaghetti in a 9×13 pan, and top with mozzarella slices.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is browning and sauce is bubbling.
  13. While spaghetti is baking, make your balsamic glaze by combining honey and balsamic vinegar in a small pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer until thickened.
  14. Serve spaghetti bake hot with a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  15. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a week.

For more pasta recipes, try my Zoodles with Meat Sauce or my Baked Ziti with Sausage. I hope this quick yet fancier version of spaghetti can become a family favorite for you! Indulge in some cheesy, saucy pasta…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Breakfast Bites

Ding! The toaster sends two pieces of toast bouncing up, ready to be slathered with butter and jelly – a welcome sound to your grumbling tummy. Mornings are usually fairly frantic for people (myself included); trying to get yourself plus a child or two (or three or four) ready to get out the door on time for school/work/morning activities, and breakfast is usually a sad afterthought. It may be quick and easy to grab a yogurt or some toast, but your hunger will return with a vengeance for a nice mid-morning slump, and leave you scourging the office for snacks. I have a great solution for both the harried mornings and the pre-lunch slump: Breakfast Bites!

With just a little before hand prep, you can have a quick, healthy breakfast on hand to grab and go out the door. This is such a versatile recipe – you can use your favorite breakfast meat(s) and vegetables, cheese or no cheese – whatever you have on hand. They reheat great, and are delicious served with Spicy Garlic Salsa or hot sauce. I sent two (with salsa) plus some fruit for my husband’s breakfast, and Zemirah and I each ate one with a small glass of Berries and Greens Smoothie, and we were full until lunch! Do yourself (and your office’s snack supply) a favor, and make a batch or two of these Breakfast Bites!

Breakfast Bites


Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chopped breakfast meat (I used sausage)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1.5 cups of desired vegetables (I used spinach and onions)
  • 9 eggs, beaten well
  • 1/3 cup of cheese, chopped or shredded
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large skillet, cook your breakfast meat over medium heat.
  3. Remove cooked meat and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add olive oil and vegetables.
  5. Lightly sautee vegetables – for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.
  7. Grease a 12 count muffin tin with coconut oil.
  8. In a large bowl, beat your eggs until whites and yolks are combined.
  9. Add salt, pepper, cooked meat and veggies, and cheese to scrambled eggs.
  10. Pour egg mixture into muffin tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
  11. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until risen with the edges slightly browned.
  12. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a week.

For more breakfast prep ideas, check out my Turkey Sausage Breakfast BakeFruit and Nut GranolaPeanut Butter and Chocolate Overnight Oats, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Chia Pudding. Get your mornings off to a good start, ditch that mid-morning slump…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using these links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Vegetable Fried Rice

Do you have a staple, go-to, easy dish you frequently fix for your family? Vegetable fried rice is one of ours! It’s a quick, simple, and delicious way to eat plenty of veggies while taking a break from meat. Plus it’s healthier than any take-out you can get! We typically try to eat 1-2 vegetarian/plant based meals per week because it’s good for the tummy and the budget! You can eat it as a side dish – it would go great paired with my Sweet and Sour Broccoli – or solo for a light, vegetarian dinner. If you want to take a break from eating too much meat, but find yourself scratching your head for ideas, I hope you try out this delicious and veggie-heavy dish!

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Vegetable Fried Rice


Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice (cooked according to package)
  • 1 lb of frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 knobs of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp of coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat sesame oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic, cooking until tender and fragrant (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Add in ginger and sesame seeds, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Turn heat to medium-high and add frozen stir fry vegetables.
  5. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once vegetables are tender (but still vibrant in color, not mushy!), add cooked rice.
  7. Add in seasonings and coconut aminos, stirring to coat everything.
  8. Create a hole in middle of the pot and add beaten eggs.
  9. As the eggs start to cook, slowly scramble them, then mix into the rice.
  10. Serve hot topped with chopped scallions and extra coconut aminos.
  11. Store leftovers covered in fridge for 7-10 days.

I hope you give this easy vegetarian dish a try! For more plant based dinner ideas, check out my Baked Falafel and my Slow Cooker Potato and Kale Soup. Eat your vegetables…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Maple Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Imagine that it’s a sweltering hot [boiling] August afternoon; it feels like your next door neighbor is Mr. Sun himself, and you just can’t wait for your afternoon cup of dark black, bitter, burn-your-tongue-hot coffee. *cue game show buzzer: EH!* (that was my best attempt at spelling a sound…) No! You need sweet, cold, iced coffee, and you need it now. Personally, if I’m drinking cold coffee, I need it just a touch sweeter than the way I drink my hot coffee. But not too sweet because I’m not looking for cavities and anxiety attacks, ‘kay?! This Maple Vanilla Creamer is the perfect mix of sweet but not too sweet! It mixes in great to your cup of iced coffee or cold brew, but it’s also good for hot coffee, and, I discovered, a delicious nut milk sub in my Dairy Free Chocolate Milkshakes.

Also, I will share an iced coffee tip I learned from my husband, who learned from my brother-in-law, who used to work at Starbucks. (How’s that for a game of telephone?) When we want to make iced coffee, we simply brew coffee as usual, but with half the amount of water. Then we add ice cubes to the carafe; that way, as the hot coffee brews over the ice, some of it melts, cooling the coffee without watering it down. Then we add extra ice to our individual glass. Another way to have iced coffee is just to be a mom… you’ll never finish a mug of hot coffee. But, alas, I digress. However you make your iced coffee, pour this creamer in to your heart’s content, and enjoy!

Maple Vanilla Coffee Creamer

  • Servings: 1 cup of creamer
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsp of pure maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Use immediately, or store covered for up to 2 weeks. Give the jar a shake before pouring.

That’s it! A simple, dairy free, refined sugar free way to spruce up your iced (or hot) coffee. For more coffee creamers, check out my Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer (pumpkin season is almost upon us!) and my Mexican Mocha Creamer. If you love coffee as much as I do, I know you will love all these sweet, but not too sweet, creamers! Sip some sweet, cold coffee, soak up the last rays of summer…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

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