Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seasons of Change

It's late October and it's fall in Seattle. The leaves are turning, the grocery stores are filled with displays of pumpkins and pomegranates, and there's a crisp bite in the air. It's the kind of weather that makes me want to curl up on the couch, wrap myself up in a cozy blanket, sip some hot apple cider, and ... blog. It feels like it's been forever since I've written a blog. My sincere apologies for the blog hiatus. Fall is a time of colorful changes, and this fall has definitely been chock full of changes for me. My life has basically been in a state of constant change for the past month. Exciting changes, and stressful changes, but mostly complete and utter life consuming changes that didn't leave much time for blogging. But now I'm through the other side, feeling more settled, and feeling good.

For starters, I got a new job! I have spent the past three and a half years working in food service management for a major Seattle hospital. I enjoyed it, but was feeling like I wanted to try something new. I started job searching, and hoped for a job that would allow me more time with patients and families. A few months ago I began the interview process for a job which would allow me much more patient contact and a chance to utilize my clinical brain a bit more, and I was offered the position at the end of September. I then spent the next three weeks working like a madwoman to wrap up some projects and delegate others. (I also fell off the diet wagon a bit while succumbing to celebratory happy hours and a work farewell pizza party. Alas, I am back on the diet again now and feeling better for it.)

In the midst of changing jobs I also moved. In the past, I've tried to live relatively close to my former job. Since my new position will mean time on the road and also the opportunity to work from home from time to time, I spent time thinking about where I've always wanted to live. I love the water, and was happy to find a cute apartment in West Seattle. I always feel like I'm on vacation when I'm in West Seattle, and the pace is a little slower than some of the other Seattle neighborhoods I've lived in.

So now that life has resumed a more normal pace, I am happy to return to the land of blogging.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the brightly colored leaves, the sunny crispy days, the smell in the air when the temperatures start to drop, and even the first of the rainy, stormy days spent curled up on the couch. I also love the fall because of the fall flavors.

To me, fall is synonymous with spice. Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamon, and ginger all remind me of fall. Fall means spiced apple cider, roasted butternut squash, homemade apple cider, and pumpkin. Oh how I love pumpkin. Typically my fall diet consists of pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes topped with pumpkin butter, and pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese. However, this fall is a little different due to the lack of pumpkin in my life. I am still on a strictly low starch diet, and squash has not been allowed back into my life as of yet.

However, what started as a simple craving for muffins on a cold and rainy evening turned into something that somehow reminds me of the pumpkin flavor I love without actually containing pumpkin. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have:

Fall Muffins (perfect for a stormy day):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin tin by greasing it or using paper cups.

Combine 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1/2 cup almond flour, and 1/2 cup peanut flour in a medium bowl.
Add 10 packets Truvia, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tsp cream of tartar, and 1.5 tsp cinnamon.

**Note: baking powder contains cornstarch. To substitute for baking powder in a recipe, use 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar for every 1 tsp of baking powder.

Stir 1/3 cup oil and 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce into flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup spiced apple cider (made from 100% apple juice), 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 egg.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full, and bake for ~25 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.