Wellness Tool - Baking (and eating) Pumpkin Chia Muffins

I don't usually post things like recipes on this blog, but today while the rain belted down, I was hit by the fact that sometimes I really love baking, and creating deliciousness in the kitchen can sometimes be a wellness tool for me. So I decided write a post. 

Today is a cold, rainy day in the Lower Mainland of BC. It's very blah, like a lot of the fall weather is around these parts. My husband coined the term "dishrag-grey sky" to describe BC days like today.  

Due to the incessant, relentless, never-ending rain we get in the fall, winter (and if I'm being honest spring is pretty rainy too), I used to struggle a lot with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but thankfully through programs like WRAP, I have learned some great tools that I've been putting to good use during our rainy season. I'm grateful that the days of feeling like I want to stay curled up in a ball under the covers, all day long, every day from September until June, are mostly over. It's really quite liberating.

A food photographer, I am not. However you get the idea...

A food photographer, I am not. However you get the idea...

We had an absolutely amazing summer, so I shouldn't complain, but I always grieve the end of summer. It seems that summer never ends gradually here. It's hot and sunny and then September comes, and WHAMO–we're into fall. 

Today I am making a good effort to embrace the season change, be accepting of the rain, and do some things I wasn't able to do during the HOT summer. 

I remembered turkey...pumpkin...soup, and baked apples. 

Yum. The best parts of fall.

So today instead of wallowing in self-pity, wishing I had a winter home in southern California, and lots of disposable income to fly back and forth, I decided to bake. I pulled a chair over to the counter so that little Ramona (my two-year-old) could help me make a mess by stirring the muffin mixture. Watching her "help" me in the kitchen, though messy, is quite delightful. 

We made pumpkin chia muffins. These muffins are really delicious, proved by the fact that it's evening now and they are almost gone. I also made a delectable Manhattan clam chowder for dinner. So basically it was pretty much a fall feast in our home today.

I decided to share the recipe, in case any of you enjoy baking, and also want to eat some delicious pumpkin muffins.

If pumpkin's not your thing, or you are dreading the tsunami of pumpkin flavours headed your way in the next week or so, I won't be offended in the least if you aren't interested.  

I choose to avoid wheat as much as I can. I find that I'm affected by wheat, but I can handle other forms of gluten, so I often bake with spelt flour. You can use whole wheat, white, or a gluten-free flour. (Make sure to add xanthan gum if your GF flour doesn't have it included in the recipe. Use 3/4 tsp for this recipe). 

 

Pumpkin Chia Muffins

(adapted from a recipe found on Oprah.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2ish (I usually put more) tbsps ground chia seeds

  • 2ish tbsps hemp seeds

  • heck - add 2 tbsps ground flax too

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour (I used 1 & 1/4 cups of spelt flour and 1/4 cup of ground almond meal)

  • 2 tsps cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp ginger

  • 2 tsps baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 can (15-16) ounces of pure pumpkin

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil, or melted coconut oil (my preference) - might be good with yogurt...

  • 1 cup coconut sugar (Or you could use maple syrup, or regular sugar too. Since I'm diabetic I sometimes use Xylitol a more healthy sugar substitute)

  • 1 tbsp vanilla

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans (optional, but you'll be missing out if you skip this)

  • pumpkin seeds as a garnish for the top of the muffins (optional)

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. 

Mix all the wet ingredients (including the coconut sugar) in a separate bowl. 

Fold the wet into the dry. Spoon into muffin tin & bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Enjoy!!!

Wellness Tool: Music - The Spice of Life

Ahhhhh, Music.

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Music, movies, and art are the things that get my blood pumping and my heart smiling. They have played a huge hope building role in my life, especially in darker times.

One of my favourite things to do is to drive on the freeway with the windows rolled down, and great music blaring out of our not-too-fabulous 1992 Honda Accord speakers. 

It's an absolute favourite wellness tool

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to head to the big city to see one of my favourite bands live--Belle and Sebastian. We live an hour from the city. Plus, we have small children and a limited entertainment budget, so this was a really special treat.  

As my husband, Dave, and I stood by our seats dancing to the music, I leaned over and said, "we are in good hands." I felt a sense of wellbeing wash over me. Ahhhhh...life is good.

I'm thankful for good music that makes me feel joy deep in the core of my soul. 

Building wellness tools into my life is so very important. What gives you life? 

 


Wellness tools are things we do to keep ourselves well, and the things we do to help ourselves feel better when we are not feeling well. Most of them are simple safe and free. 


"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music."    - Billy Joel