In college, I was one of the lucky ones. Everyone wanted to live in the same dorm as Dagny Syversen. Well to be more precise, everyone wanted to be on her Sunday brunch invite list, and her “I made extra cookies so I’m dropping off a few in your room” list, and “I thought I’d bring this sheet pan of homemade brownies to the computer room in case anyone else was hungry while they write that Dr. Russell paper on The Illiad list.
I lived a few doors down from Dags in the Gratia Plena dorm at Ave Maria College. Her food was magic for the soul during those long winter months of study in Michigan. But most of all her friendship made my college experience all the sweeter.
Dagny has blogged her food and baking journey, along with a strong dose of Faith and motherhood, at Whisked Away for many years. Hers was one of the first blogs I started following way back when blogging was becoming a thing. The good old blogging days in my mind. 🙂
During this busy holiday week where it can be difficult to fit in healthy eating amidst the hustle and bustle, I asked Dagny if she would give us busy mamas a quick, easy, healthy recipe to help get our families through this week. I also asked her to share a little bit of her Paleo story and health journey, because I think many of us women with similar issues can relate. It’s amazing how much food affects us.
And so as a guest blogger today, I give you the best baker I know.
If you give a kid a muffin…he will eat it!
Heck, if you give me a muffin- I will most definitely eat it!
I have a true weakness in this life…and that my friends is baked goods. Growing up I baked all the time. I had a shortage of friends since I was a loner, so with all my free time I made it my personal responsibility to cook and bake for my 6 siblings and our parents. Most of my family did not like sweets, so I also made it my personal responsibility to eat all those baked goods. Fast forward a million years and I decided to take that love of all things baked and attended pastry school and then worked at a bakery for 2 years. And then I became Paleo…and this is how…
About 7 years ago I got braces and it hurt like heck to eat a lot of foods. I started losing weight because it hurt too much to chew (sidebar – orthodontists should totally market braces as a weight loss tool). During this time of eating less food I also realized that I had an intolerance to dairy. I suffered with acne my whole life and then realized it was the darn dairy that was causing my breakouts. I have now been dairy free for about 7 years and I only break out maybe once a year!
Shortly after that discovery I decided to take a break from gluten. Turns out gluten is what was making those tires of fat around my midsection and backside! Sacre bleu! And that my friends is how I accidentally became a Paleotarian.
I am now the Momma to 2 sweet boys. I was super worried that during the pregnancy and postpartum phases I would not be able to stay in a healthy weight range, but fortunately sticking to a mostly Paleo diet and exercising 5 times a week I have been able to maintain a healthy weight.
After my second son was born I fell off the wagon and my diet got pretty dicey – potato chips were a daily indulgence as were homemade cookies. This poor diet, along with increased estrogen from pregnancy, and the heavy antibiotics during my group B Strep deliveries led to gallstone formation and now gallbladder problems. For the last year I have been having a gallbladder attack once a month. They are awful and as painful as intense contractions. I am currently working with a naturopath doctor to try and save my gallbladder. We are doing this with diet and supplements. If this doesn’t work I will personally remove my gallbladder and donate it to science. Thankfully a Paleo diet is already pretty healthy so I didn’t have to make too many adjustments there.
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for more ways to include high protein snacks in my family’s diet. Cheese sticks, eggs, yogurt, and nuts are a given for my kids, but we also make paleo pancakes and muffins for snack options. I make a large batch of my paleo pumpkin pancakes once a week and we either eat them for breakfast or for snacks during the week. Another option is the famous 2 eggs+1 banana pancake recipe, also a great portable snack. I also like to make it as a waffle and add some coconut flour to make it sturdier. My kids love to munch on them cold.
My other go to option is paleo muffins or quick breads! This pumpkin muffin is jam packed with eggs, almond flour, pumpkin and coconut flour – each muffin is just under 6 grams of protein – the same as a standard egg! If they aren’t sweet enough for you go ahead and throw some chocolate chips into the batter.
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 standard size muffins
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin (unsweetened, not pie mix)*
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners (makes 12 muffins).
In bowl combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Whisk until combined.
Add in the pumpkin, eggs, syrup, oil, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Divide evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Paleo baked goods keep much longer if stored in the fridge.
*You can also use mashed sweet potato or butternut squash here if you prefer.