Gingerbread Mini Muffins

Is January too late to post a gingerbread recipe?? We just threw out the last of our Christmas gingerbread men cookies and I was so sad… Why must these delightful flavors be limited just to pre-holiday celebrations?? I say, they shouldn’t be! Thus, I bring you Gingerbread Mini Muffins, with an extra surprise inside!

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I sometimes avoid posting “sweet treat” recipes because I’m afraid they aren’t healthy enough… And then I’m afraid if they’re too healthy they won’t be tasty… The struggle. But as I’ve learned about desserts (and life), it’s all about balance!

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

While I usually avoid added oils, I used some here. (Although you can swap it out for applesauce- just be careful for pan sticking.) So how did I balance it out? Why by adding, three servings of veggies of course!

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Hang with me here. If you dug my Mint Chocolate Chips Cookie Barsall my coworkers did!!– with all their crunchy healthy ingredients, you’ll die for these! The next installment of my Undercover Veggies series is packed with veggies but you’d never guess it! And my veggie of choice here?? Drumroll please…

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

BEETS!!

Last February, I whipped up some Heart Beet Pancakes, which I used as inspiration for today’s muffins. Beets act similarly to applesauce or pumpkin, common additions to dessert recipes, but with a unique earthy and sweet flavor. And when paired with bold ginger and cinnamon flavors, the taste is almost undetectable.

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

If you’re trying to up your veggie intake, want to sneak some veggies into your kids’ daily foods, or are looking for a way to cut calories and fat in sweet treats, this recipe is for you! Sneaky, sneaky Undercover Veggies, where will you show up next…?

Gingerbread Mini Muffins

Yield: 18 mini muffins

A sweet, flavorful recipe with a secret inside! These Gingerbread Mini Muffins are perfectly tender and delicious, but pack a healthy veggie punch!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. each nutmeg & clove
  • 1½ cup roasted pureed beets*
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (or applesauce)
  • 2 Tbs. molasses
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup crystalized ginger, chopped

Instructions

  1. with baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently until just combined. DO NOT over mix. Fold in the crystalized ginger.
  4. Fill the wells of the muffin tin most of the way full and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Keeps well in an air tight container for 3-4 days.

Notes

*To prepare beets: scrub beets well, prick with a fork, wrap in foil, and place in a 400-degree oven for 55-65 minutes, until completely soft. Allow to cool completely (I pop them in the fridge overnight), slide the skins off, then add to a high-speed blender and puree until completely smooth. I roasted about 8 beets and had plenty of puree leftover for other recipes.

http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/gingerbread-mini-muffins/

Gingerbread Mini Muffins | AreYouKitchenMe.com

What I Ate Wednesday

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Goooooood moooorning friends! Happy Wednesday! Is everyone surviving through the bitter cold of winter? I’ve found the frigid temps have  made me far less productive than I’d like to be but I’ve also been enjoying snuggling under blankets in the evenings… Despite the cold, I’ve still been jamming my face hole with plenty of good eats for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday!

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

We skipped the gym for a day because A.) we’re both incredibly sore from our last two workouts and B.) I could hear freezing rain falling on the skylight above our bed and was not ready to face that reality. Still kicked off my day with a big green (ok, more like brown) smoothie, a whoooole bunch of water, and of course coffee. Coffee, I just can’t quit you.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Normally, I don’t have much of an appetite on days that we don’t work out but for some reason I was ravenous today. A juicy yellow apple with some (non pictured) Crazy Richards peanut butter tamed the hangry beast for a few hours. (Also peep my new office!)

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I resisted the temptation to join coworkers on a lunch date and ate the lunch I packed instead. Good girl. Can’t say I felt like I missed out though! A grab bag of roasted veggies prepped this weekend with a dollop of hummus totally hit the spot. The veg included: broccoli roasted with nutirional yeast and lemon, green beans tossed in dijon mustard and roasted with mushrooms and onions, my favorite Maple Mustard Roasted Butternut, and some purple kale massaged with tahini and garlic. Phew, that’s a lotta greens!

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

It seems like I’m always craving sweets after lunch (fine, all the time) but a Gingerade kombucha was enough to squash the craving.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I got busy in the afternoon and was hangry again by the time dinner rolled around. This weekend I also made a monster batch of super veggie-packed jambalaya. I’d never made it before and it turned out pretty damn well, if I do say so myself! It’s just spicy enough to leave my mouth tingling, so a piece of whole grain toast with Kite Hill chive flavored almond cream cheese was a perfect match.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

We had errands to run after dinner that took us close to a Whole Foods so we stopped by and I picked up a pint of this New Barn almond creme ice cream. I’ve been dying to try it since lovely folks at New Barn sent me a coupon, and it was so worth the wait! If you’re not into almonds, the flavor is pretty strong and might not be for you but I happen to LOVE almonds and was totally into the flavor. Full disclosure, I snagged a spoon on our way out and did quite a number on the pint before we hit home… No regrets.

And that’s it y’all! Have a wonderful Wednesday and week!

Vegan Cheese Sauce

But I could never live without cheese.” I’ve heard it before. People always seem to be bewildered by the fact that I haven’t eaten cheese in years. Especially anyone who know me in my majority mac and cheese and grilled cheese eating days… For anyone who thinks adopting a plant-based lifestyle is impossible, my Vegan Cheese Sauce is here to prove you wrong!

Vegan Cheese Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Cheese is commonly referenced as the only thing holding people back from eating a plant-based diet. A few years ago, I was 100% in that category as well. I also live with a man who feels this way. And because I like tricking him into eating healthy food love him so much, I wanted to find a recipe to replace cheese that he’d actually eat. Especially now that’s he’s decided to give Veganuary a try and is going all plants this month!

Vegan Cheese Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

If I’m being completely honest, even in my days of massive cheese consumption, I was never a fan of that plastic-y, melty, gooey substance accompanying ballpark nachos. So when I started hunting for a cheese sauce recipe, I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be satisfied with a final product. Turns out, cheese sauce made from plants is better than any I’ve ever had in a cup, jar, bowl, anywhere! I can’t take full credit for this recipe as I adopted it from the myriad of recipes I tried when hunting for a sauce. A few standouts were from Molly, Lindsey’s book, Sam, and others that I’m sure I’m forgetting!

Vegan Cheese Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Over the holiday season, I took this recipe to multiple parties, heated it up, and stirred in some jarred salsa. And every single person who tried it was either A, blown away that it wasn’t actually cheese, or B, begging for the recipe so they could make it at home. A total hit!!

Vegan Cheese Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

We’ve been pouring this sauce over just about everything so I can attest to how good these suggested serving ideas are:

  • Smothering nacho tortilla chips
  • As a mac & cheese sauce
  • Blanketing steamed broccoli
  • Baked into a potato gratin
  • As a topping for enchiladas
  • Heated with chili powder for a party dip

No matter how you use it, I guarantee you’ll fall madly in love with this sauce, like I did! And if you’re intimidated by the seemingly long recipe, don’t be! I whip this up in about 30 minutes every Sunday and it’s anything but a laborious process.

Vegan Cheese Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I just can’t quit cheese!” Well, now you don’t have to.

Vegan Cheese Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

A cheese sauce so delicious, you'll want to put it on everything and your family will never guess there's no "real" cheese!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped into large rounds
  • 1 small to medium onion, quartered
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1½ cups cashews
  • ¾ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. white miso paste
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. chickpea flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • Additional salt to taste
  • Optional Add-Ins:
  • ½ cup jarred salsa
  • ½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder

Instructions

  1. Add the veggies and cashews to a small saucepot and cover with water. Season generously with salt (about a teaspoon), turn on heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Test to be sure the carrots are falling apart soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once slightly cooled, use a slotted spoon to scoop the veggies into a blender. Add about a half cup of the cooking liquid and blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides and adding more of the cooking liquid as needed. I usually add a total of about ¾ cup liquid and blend for 2-3 minutes. Rinse your pot and set aside, it will be used again.
  3. Add miso, salt, nutritional yeast, vinegar, and turmeric to blender and blend again
  4. until completely combined.
  5. In the now empty pot, combine the chickpea flour and water and whisk until fully combined and slightly frothy. You don’t want any clumps.
  6. Place pot over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. You will see the mixture thicken considerably as a roux forms. Remove from heat and whisk in almond milk until combined. Return the pot to the heat and add the veggie mix from the blender. Cook until the mixture is thick, adding milk to thin if needed and testing for salt levels (I like mine salty so I usually add about a ½ teaspoon more salt). Stir in salsa if using and serve immediately.

Notes

As this recipe cools, you may notice a “skin” starting to form on the sauce. To prevent this, cover with cling wrap pressed against the top of the sauce. To store, I pour the sauce into a glass storage container, press the wrap onto the sauce with plenty overhanging, then snap on the lid.

http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/vegan-cheese-sauce/

Vegan Cheese Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com