Healthy and easy gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, apple pie muffins
I have always found baking extremely intimidating. I am someone who enjoys cooking because there are no rules. Want to add some of this spice? Go ahead. Want some more vegetables in that dish? Throw them in. While cooking is an art, baking is a science. There are rules to follow, recipes to read, and instructions to stick to. Because of these restrictions, and the fact that one quarter cup of an ingredient can automatically ruin your recipe, I have always steered clear of baking. Then, my friend Lara of @_littlemissfoodie kept posting all these insanely decadent baking photographs and encouraging and inspiring me to finally take the plunge. So as the notorious muffin (wo)man she is, I decided to tackle this baked good first. While I was contemplating what muffins to make, simultaneously my next-door neighbor’s 3-year-old daughter knocked on my door and told me she was having a farmer’s market with all of the apples she harvested at her house outside the city. As she handed me over a bushel of massive beautifully bruised and imperfect apples, I knew exactly what I was going to thank her with: a batch of homemade apple pie muffins. I put my big girl pants on and got to work in my kitchen and after a few test runs can proudly say I have officially created a recipe that revolves around baking. These will definitely be on repeat in my kitchen throughout the fall and they should be in yours also!
Readers, its the beginning of the month, which means it is time for a new Freckled Foodie & Friend’s Favorites guide. For the second guide, we are featuring one of my dear friends and favorite accounts to follow, Molly, from @wiz_kaleifa. Check out all of her recommendations for her ‘hood within NYC, Chelsea. We hope you enjoy!
@Wiz_Kaleifa’s Chelsea Guide
Often times people’s number one excuse for not meal prepping is that they do not have time. Trust me, I understand, time is freaking precious and hard to come by. However, that is not an excuse to sideline the act of meal prepping. Plus, once you decide to tackle this somewhat daunting activity, it will save you an immense amount of time throughout the week. Time you didn’t even know existed! Got home from work late? No need to worry about what you are going to try to scavenge from your fridge and spend time cooking or scrolling through Seamless to try and find the healthiest but still not great delivery option, just pull this meal out of your fridge, heat it up, and BAM! Dinner is ready in 5 minutes. Not only does this meal save time throughout the week, but it is SO simple to make and provides you with a healthy and delicious option for lunch or dinner. Plus, with only using one sheet, this baby seriously minimizes the number of dishes you have to clean. Because what is worse than finishing meal prepping and realizing you have a mountain sized pile of dirty dishes in your sink. To really bring this meal to the next level, I used the new sprayable ghee oil that adds in the perfect amount of butter taste but, in unison with the theme of this meal, requires minimal effort. Just take the cap off and spray away. Really, it’s that easy. Stop reading and go cook already!!
If cooking in the kitchen is my one true love, dining out is definitely my side piece. The excitement of trying a new restaurant and sharing the experience with the ones I love, combined with the unique atmosphere and menu that every worthwhile restaurant provides, makes my stomach and heart do a happy dance. With every restaurant I dine at and enjoy, I immediately place it into a sub-category in my mind (or the ongoing 5 page note on my iPhone) and mark it for a future date. Fortunately for my friends, when I receive texts asking for restaurant recommendations for specific neighborhoods or occasions, I am always fully prepared and equipped with a quick response. With my love for sharing dining experiences of all kind and making sure all of my friends and reader’s never waste a meal at an un-enjoyable restaurant, I have created a new venture on my blog: Freckled Foodie & Friends Favorites, a neighborhood guide from foodies you can trust. These aren’t your typical yelp reviews or google searches, but instead recommendations from food bloggers all over the country; people who take their food very seriously and who, I hope, you trust. Each guide will focus on recommendations from the writer’s specific neighborhood, because, what’s better than insight from a local!
To kick things off, the first guide will be to the West Village and written by yours truly, myself. Not only is this area filled an massive amount of NYC’s top restaurants and bars, but also the place I have been fortunate enough to call home for the past 4+ years.
The West Village Guide
Tuna fish has always been a very controversial topic in my group of friends. In college, half our house ate canned tuna on a weekly basis and the other half was disgusted by the concept and scent. I have to admit, I was part of the latter portion of the house. Along with the split of who cracked open a can for snacks or dinner, there was the ongoing discussion of whether tuna was an acceptable food to eat in public. Our conversations, almost too often, somehow ended up in an array of these questions: would you eat tuna fish on your first day of work? What about on a date? God forbid, on an airplane? Eventually, I was finally convinced to give tuna fish a try, after finding a company I felt safe trusting, and with the additions below it is safe to say I am a fan. This does not mean I answer the prior questions with a passionate yes, but it has resulted in some apology texts to my former roommates who I gave so much heat to. So, if you are like me, and curious what the other side is raving about, give this combo below a try. I promise, it is really freaking good. And if you still don’t like it, well, then, judge away.
By now you all are aware of my obsession with nut butter and how I constantly try to incorporate it into all aspects of my life (if you’re not, take a gander of my feed) but there is one main combo that will always and forever have my heart: peanut butter, chocolate, and banana. I grew up buying those whole frozen chocolate dipped bananas on a stick (scared to imagine what the ingredients were in these) and eating them on a nightly basis. Having a father who is as addicted to peanut butter as I am, we would constantly dip these into the closest open jar of Jiffys (c’mon young Cam). Now as a more well-informed “adult” (ha, that’s funny), while I do not eat these exact products or brands, I still constantly crave this combination. SO, I led my cravings to my health food stocked pantry and took matters into my own hands. The result? Possibly the best thing I’ve ever created: frozen banana filled dark chocolate peanut butter cups. They are insanely delicious and so simple to make.
Poke. The trend that is slowly trying (and both sadly and happily failing) to turn NYC into the laid back coastal city of San Francisco. If you are from California, then I am jealous of you for many reasons. One being that you are fortunate enough to have already enjoyed this refreshing dish for the many years it finally took us New Yorkers to get our shit together and hop on board. I love all forms of seafood: grilled fish, sushi, sashimi, shellfish, raw bars (my form of heaven), and creatures that many scurry away from (I’m looking at you baby octopus with all 8 tentacles attached). That being said, I had never experimented in the kitchen with preparing and consuming raw fish. Is it because I live in Manhattan and don’t fully trust the seafood I purchase enough to eat it raw? Honestly, probably. So with the combination of my summer weekends spent at the beach near the ocean / much more trustworthy fish, and the inspiration of my good friend, it was time to test my kitchen skills and tackle poke bowls. After a weekend filled with hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, and one too many scoops of ice cream, Sunday night called for a light, yet also somehow filling, dinner to start the week off right. I set out that afternoon and headed to the fish market both bloated and determined to impress my parents. The result of this excursion was a DIY poke bowl station that took under 45 minutes to prepare but won the title of “one of my dad’s top 3 favorite meals this summer”. Boom. Mission complete.