The Whole Package
Before you scroll past my ramblings to the recipe (lol it’s okay, I do it, too), let me just say, these puppies are to LIVE for! Not only are they a festive fall vegan treat, they’re also gluten-free, oil-free, low fat, and still so moist, dense, and insanely delicious! Best part is, they’re low in salt, high in iron, and contain no refined sugars, making them baby and kid-friendly! I also consider them a fantastic lactation recipe if you’re a breastfeeding momma wanting to boost your milk supply…more on that later…
I’m back! It’s been a while, but that’s because Mr. Max was definitely going through an I-won’t-nap-for-more-than-15-minutes-phase! We’re right at 9 months old now, and he is definitely going through a growth spurt, which means lots of eating, and, thankfully, lots of resting…and that’s probably also because now, when he’s awake, he’s always moving! Did ya see what I did there?! EatMoveRest! Honestly, I’d say the whole fam has being doing all 3 on overdrive lately.
Constant busyness had kind of zapped my creativity, and I was feeling overall exhausted, that is, until I sensed that first chill of autumn air. Initially, I got a little anxious because I hate cold weather and I love hot weather and I would much rather be sweating than freezing…call me crazy! But, as soon as I felt it in my bones, and smelled it in my nose (the smell of pumpkin everything, everywhere), it hit me—I need to do some baking!
True confession—I bake maybe twice a year, so when I do, it has GOT to be good (and healthy)! Nothing beats the blues and saps your stress like a dozen delicious Pumpkin Spice Muffins!
Galactagogues (No, Not Evil Extraterrestrial Beings)
As I mentioned in the beginning, you can consider these lactation muffins, because they’ve got all the right stuff. And, yes, your hubby, grandpa, boyfriend, any fella, can enjoy them, too, (at least that was my initial wonder as a new, breastfeeding mom)! A galactagogue is a substance that increases milk supply. My first line of advice for you is to breastfeed on demand, and second, be sure you’re eating enough calories and drinking enough water.
In addition, some fairly common galactagogues that can help give you that extra boost:
Oats (in this recipe)
Flax (in this recipe)
Dates (in this recipe)
Brewer’s Yeast (can be added)
Sweet Potatoes (so many of our recipes contain these!)
Fennel & Fenugreek (try Mother’s Milk Tea)
So pop your muffins in the oven, brew yourself some Mother’s Milk Tea, and prep some sweet potato fries for dinner!
Babies under 12 months of age need very little salt or sodium in their diet because their tiny kidneys and liver are not mature enough and can become taxed by having to process it. Refined sugars are also a good idea to steer clear of as much as possible, plus, have you ever tried feeding a child an apple after a donut…not gonna happen! These muffins are a great snack because they’re made from completely whole food ingredients, they have over 200% vitamin A, they’re loaded with fiber, and they also happen to be high in iron! If you’re a breastfeeding momma, make sure you’re focusing on iron-rich foods for yourself and baby should be just fine, but it can also be helpful to incorporate iron-rich solids into their mealtimes, as well. Max loves lentils and oats, and they’re some of the best sources of iron!
Some other upgrades in this recipe include:
oats instead of wheat flour (gluten-free and high in iron)
dates and/or maple syrup in place of refined sugar
applesauce in place of oil (also makes baked goods extra moist and dense)
ground flax in place of eggs (also high in omega-3s)
vanilla flavoring is alcohol-free (unlike vanilla extract)
P.S. These muffins are pet-friendly, too!
The Frosting On Top
I haven’t even mentioned the giant elephant in the room…hello?! isn’t there frosting on top, and can we puh-lease get the recipe?! This Maple Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting tastes just like the real thing, but it’s dairy-free! Slather some of this deliciousness on top of your Pumpkin Muffins and call ‘em cupcakes! Muffins for breakfast, cupcakes for dessert! It’s like spending the day at the beach in your favorite swimsuit, and then coming home to clean up, and throwing on your favorite party dress for a night out! Best of both worlds!
Let’s get right into it…
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Pumpkin, spice, and everything nice! These festive fall favorites are free of all the fluff, and they’re still fluffy and delicious! By fluff, I mean, they’re free of all animal products, as well as gluten, refined sugar, and oil! Applesauce makes for the perfect oil-alternative, and adds an extra oomph of fall flavor. Ground flax replaces egg, and also brings a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, oats replace wheat flour, and dates replace refined sugar (and all three can help boost milk production, if you’re nursing)! Enjoy these pumpkin muffins as is, or with a dollop of creamy, maple-icious frosting, and you’ve darn near got yourself a cupcake…you decide! ;)
gluten-free, oil-free, low fat, baby & kid-friendly, festive fall favorite
time: 15min prep, 25min bake // servings: 12 cupcakes
2c oat flour
2 tbsp ground flax
1 can pumpkin puree
3/4c date paste
2 tbsp maple syrup (or skip and make a bit more date paste)
1.5 tsp vanilla flavoring
2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Soak about 10 pitted medjool dates in a small dish in just enough water to cover them and let sit for about 10 minutes. Blend dates plus soaking water to create about 3/4c of date paste.
Blend flax seeds into fine meal and mix with 6 tablespoons of water. Stir and let sit. This is what you call flax egg!
Place oat flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
Place pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup, date paste, vanilla flavoring, and flax egg and mix until well combined.
Combine all wet and dry ingredients into large mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
Pour batter into silicone baking trays and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Check by poking with a toothpick in the middle of a muffin, if it comes out clean, then they’re done! Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add more date paste or substitute 3/4c coconut sugar for a sweeter muffin.
Try baking in a loaf pan to create a pumpkin bread w/ cream cheese frosting!
Store covered in refrigerator for about 5 days.
1c soaked cashews
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Soak cashews for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours in advance.
Drain and rinse cashews and place into blender along with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding small splashes of water as needed, to allow for smoother blending.
If you prefer your frosting to be less tangy, try adding the juice of only half a lemon, or omitting it entirely if you want a plain vanilla frosting.
Place in refrigerator to firm up. Keeps for about 5 days.
* One muffin without frosting contains about 140 cal, 3.5g protein, & 2g of fat
Becoming a mom has truly been such a blessing and a whirlwind of new and exciting experiences, from trying new foods to learning to crawl, stand, and walk. Max has taught me so much. He has shown me how important it is to express our full spectrum of emotions, not to be afraid to ask for help, to smile and laugh as often as possible, to always get back up and try again, to rest when needed, and to try new things.
The most important lesson Max has taught me is to slow down and savor the simplest moments. When he lays his head down on my chest, time stands still, and I remember what really matters, and what’s most important, and it isn’t what we’re doing, it’s who we’re sharing our moments with, that matters most.