Baking · Going Gluten Free

Making Adjustments and Super Moist Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

Dear Joey,

We’ve talked a lot about aging in the past few months, how after we turned 30 our bodies started to ache in places we didn’t really pay any attention to before. A good night’s sleep became more elusive than ever (even after our babies started sleeping through the night), and as it turns out, we carry our stress in our shoulders and necks, and our bodies respond with aches and pains to the stress that surrounds us – whether we are conscious of that stress or not. And lucky for me, my doctor told me that the symptoms of IBS will persist for as long as the stress in my life is present. Great.

Making Adjustments and Super Moist Pumpkin Muffins (Gluten Free)

The doctor’s instructions and the FODMAP information sat on the counter for well over a month before I got desperate enough to try it. Until I really studied it, made a plan (and a special trip to Whole Foods’ gluten free section), I felt like it was too much to take on. But the pains persisted, as did my complaints, and so in an act of kindness (or was it frustration?), you pledged to join me in it- for support, for solidarity. To help me stay strong and make the effort to eliminate all the potential triggers that could be causing the pains I’ve been experiencing for far too long now.

Because of the low FODMAP diet’s strict limitations, I have found myself making adjustments around here by cooking and eating more meat in the past week than I have in the last several months put together (beans are a no no). Not only that, but I’m also munching on rice cakes smeared with almond butter,  stirring up batch after experimental batch of gluten free muffins, urging Addie to eat her sugar snap peas (while I cannot partake with her, as is the norm), and trying very hard to use bell peppers instead of onions in recipes that might be somewhat forgiving of the swap.

Making Adjustments and Super Moist Pumpkin Muffins (Gluten Free)
Thinking about cooking in the past two weeks switched from fun, recreational and exciting to, well, difficult. Sometimes, I’m just mentally too tired to eat much of anything. I keep telling myself I’m lucky because I don’t have food allergies. My problems are much more benign. Let’s face it: if I happen to consume a stray sugar snap pea, all will not be lost. But IBS is no picnic, so I am doing my best to be true to the program so that I can get some true results – and I am not talking about weight loss (although I wouldn’t sneeze at that, if I’m being honest).

I guess it’s the grown up, mature thing to do to start listening to our bodies and giving them the kind of attention they need. It feels a little selfish and a little bit over the top (really? I can’t even eat apples?), but I’m learning that taking care of myself is really an act of love for others, too. Being kind to myself, giving myself the thought and attention and things that I need to be healthy and strong means that I’m giving our girls the gift of a healthy mom, and you the gift of a healthy wife, right? I hope I’m right.

On the upside, delving into a culinary world that differs from the typical American diet can’t be all bad, right? In the end, we’ll (hopefully) be a little bit healthier, and I will have learned a few tricks to add to my kitchen arsenal should it turn out that I have a significant sensitivity to wheat (or lactose, or soy, or onions, or or or . . . ).

Love,
Scratch

Super Moist Pumpkin Muffins (GF/DF/NF)

Making Adjustments and Super Moist Pumpkin Muffins (Gluten Free)

Breakfast was my biggest problem when giving up wheat became necessary for me. But Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix came to my rescue, as it can easily be substituted for regular all purpose flour (which makes transforming most recipes very easy). I used Smitten Kitchen’s Pumpkin Muffin Recipe as a guide, along with the gluten free baking mix and swapping out maple syrup for the sugar (except for the topping). Of course, you could use regular all purpose flour and regular baking powder to make a conventional version of these muffins. I suspect they would be just as delicious. Everyone in my house loved them – even Addie, my pickiest eater. She ate two in one sitting. The whole batch was gone within 24 hours.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten free All Purpose Baking Mix (such as Arrowhead Mills)
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your gluten free all purpose baking mix already contains xanthan gum)
topping: 1 tablespoon pure cane sugar + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners, or otherwise grease the tin very well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In another even smaller bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Set this aside as well.

In a medium mixing bowl (or using a Kitchen Aid stand mixer), whisk together the pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Spoon into your prepared muffin pan and top with cinnamon sugar mixture (as much or little as you’d like per muffin).

Bake for 25 minutes, or until puffed up and golden.

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