“From African to… Vegan?!” Also, My Recipe for Seriously Good Wholegrain Pumpkin & Pecan Spiced Muffins (no eggs, dairy or refined sugar)

I have long been baking. I have not so long, been baking treats without refined sugar or refined flour because I only cut those bad boys from my life a little over a year ago. It’s a good lifestyle choice, don’t take my word for it, just try it for yourself and see. You have my support!

What I have yet to do, however, is translate some of my kitchen based experiments into blog posts. For those of you, like me, who trawl the internet looking for the perfect recipe to match a) your baked good craving but in a healthy format and b) one that has all the ingredients listed, I am truly sorry for not having posted  a recipe sooner. Why? Because sometimes I create truly magical things in my kitchen and I really do have the best intention of sharing the magic with all of you but until now I just haven’t succeeded. Sometimes I conjur up baked goods that give me the urge to take them round to local cafes and artisan coffee shops and say “taste these and tell me you wouldn’t want to sell these??” Most especially because there isn’t one drop of refined sugar in any of them. Well, I’m not quite there yet (because baking mass orders with a toddler at my heels doesn’t appeal at this present moment. In his defence, he is a very helpful mixer and batter taster.)

Today I really do have to share a recipe with you, because it is that good. It was an experiment which many of my creations are, after searching high and low on pinterest and google and then finding a recipe or two and tweaking them or mashing them up or just being inspired to create something new. These muffins tick all the boxes. Really light and fluffy but deliciously moist. Full of autumn flavours… with pumpkin, pecans, maple syrup and warming spices in the mix you really can’t go wrong. Also it’s a really simple recipe and easy to make.

 

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The desire to create these perfect muffins was born out of my partner, Mr S’s recent decision to become more conscious of what he puts in his body. I am very excited about this and wholeheartedly support his journey into cleaner eating. Mr S is actually drawn to Dr Sebi’s mucus reducing, non-hybrid, alkalinizing, plant based diet. There is much to discuss about this topic, but I will save that for another post.

Most significantly, this is quite a big leap for Mr S, who until now, has had a lifetime of eating all food groups and didn’t really care too much about whether something had gluten in or not or what impact dairy had on his body. My South African friend had quite a comical response to this when she was trying to make sense of it all…. “Wait so he’s going from…African… to Vegan??!” Hm. I know this friend well enough to know there was no offence intended here, but no Mr S is not changing his ethnicity. He is however breaking free from considerable and deep rooted cultural norms with regards to his diet, especially as an African. I think my friend was actually more shocked by the fact that she (having recently given up all refined sugar and flours) is clutching onto meat as her saving grace, and in swans a fellow African who is just casually giving it all up in one fair swoop.

Having lived half of each year in Nigeria for the past 5 years I can confidently say that there are not too many vegans, or vegetarians running around Lagos. There are some though, I’m quite sure of that. I would love to hear from anyone out there who chooses to eat a whole foods plant based diet (like we strive to) that might be reading this. How has your journey been? How have people responded to your choices?

There is a growing movement of people becoming increasinlgy aware of the impact of their diet (and lifestyle) on their bodies, their mind, their spirit and the planet. Let’s keep the discussion flowing so we can all keep growing. Most importantly – there is no judegment here, each to his own.

So, back to these muffins. I like to bake for my people and as such I wanted to bake something without eggs or dairy that doesn’t compromise on texture or taste. Today’s recipe is fully intentional. It uses wholegrains, healthy fats and there are no animal products or refined sugar in sight 🙂 These muffins embody autumn and I think that’s the secret as to why they are so yummy.

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Mother Nature is just so delicious at this time of year, with her warming colours and intoxicating flavours. I baked her right into a muffin, and let me tell you this muffin is divine. Also, they happen to be perfect with a steaming hot cup of golden milk (tumeric, raw honey, a little coconut oil and milk of choice – keep the lurgies off your back during cold & flu season!)

Let me know if you bake these and how they turn out. It is possible this was just a fluke awesome batch in which case I’m already regretting not freezing half of them. It’s too late now, my child has already eaten half of them. A quick note on ingredients – I think the only tricky thing to find is the whole dired stevia leaves (I found some at a farmer’s market in Portugal over the summer then ground it in a coffee grinder which really isn’t going to help any of you looking for some BUT you can buy it on amazon etc.) Honestly though this is not an essential part of the recipe it was really more part of the experiment and can easily be left out. Enjoy!

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Wholegrain Pumpkin & Pecan Spiced Muffins

(No eggs, dairy or refined sugar)

Makes 10 – 12 muffins

Note: this recipe is in US cup measurements but I will try and translate it to grams and ml at some point! Also, in general the more ingredients you can get organic the better.

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 level tablespoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon (I mean really heaped) mixed spice. Add a bit more for good measure
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  (you can really add any other spices you like… nutmeg etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried stevia leaf (not the white stuff you find in supermarkets, I mean the real stuff from the plant itself – you can buy online or simply leave it out if you don’t have it and add a bit more maple syrup if you like things sweet)
  • Pinch sea salt (optional)
  • Chopped nuts of choice, I used pecans because they compliment the flavours oh so well. As much or as little as you like!

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin or butternut squash (steamed till really soft & then blitzed)
  • 1/2 cup dairy free milk (I used Rude Health almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or coconut oil, olive oil etc.)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C
  • Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Mix all your wet ingredients in a separate bowl till fully combined (hand or electric mixer)
  • Slowly fold your combined wet ingredients into combined dry ingredients
  • Grease a 12-muffin pan with a little oil of choice
  • Scoop the batter into each muffin hole till they are equally filled
  • Sprinkle some chopped nuts and cinnamon on top if you’re feeling fancy
  • Bake for 16 -18 mins. Check at 16 mins, an inserted toothpick or knife will come out clean when they are ready
  • Trasnfer muffins to cooling rack if you can wait but it is totally acceptable to eat these steaming hot from the oven.

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