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Pumpkin Muffins with Sugared Pepitas

It’s officially cold in the mid-Atlantic! We’ve had freeze warnings and bitter cold winds. It’s COLD when we leave for school and it’s only going to get worse. These Pumpkin Muffins with Sugared Pepitas have been great each morning. I made these a while ago and froze them. Each morning for the past week, I’ve had a tasty muffin with my cup of coffee or tea while I ran out the door for school drop-off.

I wish I could sit around and savor them more, but I just don’t have the time. Why is life moving so fast? I feel like I’m always on the go, yet never seem to really accomplish much. Or, when I do accomplish something then I’m right on to the next project.

That’s why I decided to start yoga this month. I’m going to take November to give yoga a try. See if that helps me to get centered, gain some life balance, and help me to focus on the important things in life.
For example, I need to focus on baking a few times a week. It’s dangerous for me when I turn on the tv to keep me company while I bake. I usually end up sitting down on the couch while something is in the oven for 30 minutes and then somehow three hours go by and the kitchen is still a mess… I need to listen to more Pandora instead.
Or, I’ll get on the computer at night to do these blog posts. I get on Facebook to check out what’s going on with fellow bloggers and next thing I know it’s 11pm and I’ve barely gotten three words on the posts… I’ve got to use my StayFocused app more often! I swear that FB is just a huge time suck for me.

So here’s to being focused for at least 60 minutes a day trying to still get it all done. Wish me luck! Namaste. 

Pumpkin Muffins with Sugared Pepitas

by Karyn Granrud
Prep Time: 24 hours
Keywords: pumpkin muffins
Ingredients (12 muffins)

    for the Sugared Pepitas

    • 3/4 C Pepitas
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/4 C sugar

    For the Pumpkin Muffins

    • 3/4 C butter
    • 2 C sugar
    • 3 Tbsp dark molasses
    • 4 eggs
    • 3/4 C orange juice
    • 16 oz can pumpkin puree
    • 3 C flour
    • 2 tea baking powder
    • 1/2 tea baking soda
    • 1 tea salt
    • 1 tea cinnamon
    • 1/2 tea ground cloves

    for the Pepitas

    The day before you want to bake, make your sugared pepitas. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and mix together the the ingredients. Dump the pumpkin seeds on to the paper and leave them to dry overnight. You could speed things by cooking them at 350℉ for 30 minutes. The eggs whites should be completely dry, leaving the seeds and sugar behind. Leave the seeds in the oven with the door cracked for another hour and then leave them on the counter for another hour to complete drying. The pumpkin seeds should no longer be sticky and completely dry.

    for the Muffins

    Preheat the oven to 350℉ and prepare your muffin pan. Either line it with paper cups or use a nonstick spray.
    Mix the butter, sugar, and molasses in you mixer with a paddle attachment. Gradually add the eggs on low speed making sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next one. Add the orange juice and pumpkin. It’ll look like it curdled, but it’s all good.
    Combine all the dry goods and gradually add them into the batter. Mix them just until incorporated.
    Spoon the batter into the liners (I use a standard sized ice cream scoop). Sprinkle some sugared pepitas over top.
    Bake for 35-45 minutes then let cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan.
    To freeze, place them in a freezer bag and seal. To rewarm, place in the microwave for 1 minute and enjoy!
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    Sugar Free and Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins

    Today we are discussing Food Substitutions to help you lose weight.
    As most of you know, I’ve taken to a low carb / paleo / unprocessed approach to my weight loss. 
    What does that mean? 
    It means I eat real food – fruits and vegetables with meat and some cheese.
    No more food from a package. No food with flour, rice, grains, white potatoes, or white sugar. Yes, I enjoy honey and maple syrup, but only sparingly. 
    And yes… I have a taste of the recipes that make for both here and for Dieter’s Downfall… It really is a job hazard.

    Which is exactly why I need to bake more things like these Sugar Free and Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins. They are low carb because I used Almond Flour in place of White Flour. I also used Cashew Butter in place of Butter and I used Swerve in place of Sugar.
    Swerve is new to me. I was introduced to this sugar substitute from other low-carb bloggers. This is the first recipe that I’ve actually used it in. I tried it in my coffee and HATED it!! Like I could not tolerate it and as a result of not using sugar or Splenda and milk, I’ve given up coffee. (That’s a whole nother post!)
    Swerve Sweetener is Erythritol. What is Erythritol?? Well, according to Wikipedia Erythritol  is a sugar alcohol (or polyol) that has been approved for use as a food additive in the United States and throughout much of the world. It was discovered in 1848 by British chemist John Stenhouse. It occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods. At the industrial level, it is produced from glucose by fermentation with a yeastMoniliella pollinis. It is 60–70% as sweet as table sugar yet it is almost noncaloric, does not affect blood sugar, does not cause tooth decay, and is partially absorbed by the body, excreted in urine and feces. It is less likely to cause gastric side effects than other sugar alcohols because of its unique digestion pathway.”
    What does that mean? Seriously… I don’t know. 
    I just know that it’s better than other artificial sweeteners and it won’t mess with an insulin spike or upset my tummy.

    I am still new to this gluten free baking. This is the second thing I baked using Almond Flour. My banana bread, I thought, was a fail. The texture was weird and I found it to be oily. These were similar in texture, but I put them on to a napkin after cooling and the oily residue disappeared. I think it’s from the coconut oil, but I’m still too new to fully understand it.  
    A few of my observations – 
    #1 – These will NOT rise. Yes, there is some baking soda in the recipe, but they will not puff up like a muffin.
    #2 – Do not measure them like you would regular muffins. Measure less in the cupcake pan. 
    #3 – I liked it better from the microwave instead of the oven. (maybe because they overflowed and got overdone one the edges.) 
    #4 – I liked them. It took a little getting used to, but the inside was moist and the outside had a nice crispness to it. It felt and tasted cooked (unlike my banana bread).
    Head on over to The Haas MachineWonky Wonderful and Je suis Alimentageuse to see what food substitutions they are making to enjoy healthier meals.

    Recipe from HERE

    Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins

    by Karyn Granrud
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Keywords: dessert breakfast gluten-free low-carb sugar-free almond strawberry
    Ingredients (serves 8)
    • 3/4 C almond flour
    • 3/4 C baking soda
    • 1/2 C Swerve
    • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
    • 3 Tbsp cashew butter
    • 3 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1 C fresh strawberries – hulled and cut into small pieces
    • Melted Coconut oil to grease the cupcake pan
    Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
    Melt some coconut oil and grease a cupcake pan.
    Place the almond flour, baking soda and Swerve into a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (except the strawberries) and stir thoroughly.
    Add the strawberries and fold to incorporate.
    Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake pan and bake these muffins for 15-17 minutes or until cooked through.
    Run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the muffins if they overflowed like mine did.
    NOTE – In the recipe that I followed, she microwaved her muffins in small ramekins for 1 minute 20 seconds. I had some batter leftover, so I microwaved one. The top did not crip up, but it was tasty.
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