Jacked Jerky: Product Review

Paleo and meat go hand in hand, especially when it’s hand-crafted jerky that radiates with flavors and spices. I’m proud to introduce the new line of “natty jerky” called Jacked Jerky….it’s obviously the jerky for you if you want to get jacked.

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I know a very intelligent man who is constantly creating new products and establishing businesses because he’s a born entrepreneur. This genius friend of mine decided that there needs to be a bodybuilding jerky on the market, one that could easily help people reach their goals naturally….and so Jacked Jerky was born.

I was one of the lucky few that got to sample the jerky before it was released for purchase…all for the cause of the jerky’s well-being of course, of course. It’s not because I’m a meat addict or anything.

Of course.

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The jerky is made from all-natural, protein-packed, USDA Choice Top Sirloin and then hand-trimmed, seasoned with a 12 spice blend and then smoked. Because it is created fresh and lacks the typical additives and preservatives you would find in store-bought jerky, it does not last as long and should be consumed soon after purchase or refrigerated. I really don’t think eating it quickly would be too much of a problem though, considering the amount of deliciousness contained inside.

I really love jerky but the thing that usually holds me back is how chewy and tough it can be. I know that’s typically a turn on for people but I don’t necessarily enjoy chewing on the same piece of meat for five minutes. The thing I really like about this jerky is that it’s not as tough as most and the actual process of eating it is a lot more enjoyable.

For $39.99 you can purchase a pound of their regular or cajun spice jerky….I sampled the cajun one and even though I haven’t tried the regular, I am going to advise you get the cajun. Cause it’s pretty awesome.

The price may seem a little steep but you’re definitely paying for quality since most jerky brands are loaded with artificial crap and tons of preservatives.

Be sure to click on the links below to find out more information about how to get jacked!

Jacked Jerky:
Website
Twitter
Facebook Page
Instagram

Be on the look out for giveaways on their page!! I know they have a couple going every so often.

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Monday Updates!

Happy Monday! I first want to thank you all for following MoonFitness. I love each and every one of my readers and the messages I receive from you guys. I’ve had one of those weeks were SO many great things are happening, as well as some rough things. Every time one of you guys message me with a question or comment, I remember that I’m getting to do what I love and that feels absolutely fantastic. This post is a little short and sweet, but here are a few things going on with myself, as well as Moonfitness.

1. One of my awesome clients is a really great photographer and we had a whimsical photo shoot planned for a few months now and finally made it happen yesterday. Our “costumes” were seriously awesome and I’m pretty sure the pictures are going to come out great. No this was not a fitness shoot! Something more along the lines of Alice in Wonderland….and I’ll let you guess which character I am:)

976332_599281960082023_340959130_o2. I am reading two great books right now that I want to recommend. One is called Lights Out by T.S. Wiley and the other is called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.. You can buy these here and here. Lights Out is really enlightening on the subjects of sugar, sleep and health concerns. We eat more sugar because we have less sleep. We have abandoned nature’s natural clocks by tricking our bodies into thinking the extra sunlight is summer, and as we all know, most animals eat a lot of food in the summer so that they can hibernate safely in the winter when food is scarce. Our ability to produce artificial light at 2:00 in the morning tricks our bodies into thinking it’s just summer time, which means the more food the better. This is obviously not the case for us human folks. I hope I’ve caught your attention on the subject, and you’ll look into reading it yourself so that you can learn how to adopt nature’s natural cycles once more. The other book, The Four Agreements, is really short but also powerful. It’s about finding freedom from the world and other people’s words. One of the best things I’ve learned so far in this novel is to not take others’ seriously. Whatever cruel things they say are said because of THEM not me. Everybody speaks out of their own personal experiences and it has nothing to do with anybody else. I already feel a little bit more free from others.

3. I don’t have a lot of physical possessions that I really “love” but the few things I do, are all breaking. The things I care for the most are related to the kitchen and the gym, obviously. My phone broke last week, my ridiculously expensive headphones broke, a piece of my crock pot broke, my favourite purple water bottle that I carry everywhere with me broke, my gym iphone arm band broke and my only good knife broke. Am I stressed about this?! Yes, I’m human. But it’s a good reminder that things are just that, things. I can have a moment of self-pity and then move on because everything will be okay. I just have to make-do with what I have and focus on the things in life that are eternal:) Cause those won’t break on me! (oh and in case you follow me on facebook, this indeed doubled as a status update….I wrote it while I was slightly flustered).

4. My health coaching program has changed. I want to develop more personal relationships with my clients and really help them create life-long habits. One month is not nearly enough to do that, so I will now only have 3 and 6 month programs. A lot of communication will be involved in these programs, as well as individualized meal plans based on your schedule and personal needs/habits. Message me at madelynvmoon@gmail.com if you’re interested! The 3 month runs at $150/month and the 6 month program is $125/month.

5. I’m making bone broth for the first time right now and I’m super nervous and excited. I’ve never had to buy beef knuckles before, so that was fun. But I am cooking it in my crock pot, which is a lot smaller than the normal ones that are used to make broth so I don’t know if my water to knuckle ratio is spot on. I’ll keep you updated!

6. I’m writing my first article for Paleo Magazine and I recently wrote one for Austin Fit Magazine. Yay for writing for awesome companies!

7. Last week, I started writing about my obsessive tendencies in regards to health and fitness and how I’ve finally come to find balance in this lovely world of ours. I have covered a lot about my own past and where I am now, hoping that it will really help some others who have struggled to live in “moderation” instead of 100% all day every day about ONE thing. I love living a balanced lifestyle. I’ve stopped putting emphasis on having the perfect body and have started focus on having the perfect relationship with my body. If you have any concerns or personal issues you would like my to talk about, I’m open to suggestions. We all have a different story but we can still learn from others’ experiences.

8. Watch this for a laugh.

9. And click here to watch Ellen Degeneres stick up for women and put down Abercrombie and Fitch for their terrible tactics. (if you don’t know about the Abercrombie and Fitch controversy yet, this will be a good place to be enlightened).

10. In regards to the group I have been trying to put together for my What’s Beautiful campaign, there have been a lot of technical difficulties going on and I still have yet to be able to make one. Nonetheless, all of the goals I talked about in this post are still going strong! All of my chest exercises have been increasing and I feel major progression in my arms, even after a few weeks. Make a goal for yourself and join in on the fun! Let me know what yours is and we can keep each other updated on our progress:)

11. Last but not least, curry and cinnamon make an awesome combination, not to mention they both have insane health benefits. Try these two together on your yams, it’s awesome! Or maybe I’m just so super weird. Or possibly both? I don’t know but this is definitely a new obsession of mine.

Hope you’ve had a great start to your week!

Clean Orange Chicken Quinoa Stir Fry

Day one of my What’s Beautiful challenge and I’ve already increased my weight in close-grip bench press from 75 lbs to 85 lbs and my dips from 8 reps to 11 reps per set…I don’t know if my triceps were feeling extra good or something but today they were doing WORK.

I also accomplished something that has to do with the “balance” challenge I have for myself. Usually after my workout, I rush home to prepare my post-post workout meal at least an hour after my protein shake. If I don’t get the carbs in that time frame, I get anxious and nervous that my muscles will have lost that optimum carb/protein intake time frame for muscle growth. Today, I took my time. Instead of going home immediately, I went next door to Whole Foods to buy some of those Japanese yams I love so much. And then, instead of going home after that, I knew I had a lot more grocery shopping to do so I went to my next grocery stop, and finished the rest of my  shopping. By the time I got home, instead of whipping up something fast, I decided to put on some music and make a new recipe I’ve had on my to-do list for awhile. Usually when I cook recipes for my website it takes about an hour, with plenty of dishes to do, veggies to cut and lots of loving care:) Regardless of the mess and time it would take, I decided to go for it. So an hour later after making this delicious meal, I finally got those post-post workout carbs in and it was at least 2 hours after my workout. I’m so proud of myself for listening to my body, relaxing and enjoying cooking stress-free.

Now, on to the recipe. Step by step directions are at the bottom but I’m thinking we should look at some pictures first. Chyes? I think so.

2013-05-13 00.58.47 The orange extract, looking as lovely as ever.

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The ground cloves, doing a little mixing and mingling.

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The chicken, hot and sizzlin.

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The quinoa, fluffy and luscious.

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Oh heyyy chicken, you lookin gooood.

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Just a little love makin.

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B-E-A-utiful colours.

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The final masterpiece.

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A little extra orange squeezed on top…just for additional perfection.

2013-05-13 01.34.08AND PLENTY OF LEFTOVERS!

Orange Chicken Quinoa Stir Fry
(**paleo, serves 3-4)
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Ingredients for the orange chicken:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small pieces
2 tbs orange extract
1/3 cup water
a dash of ground cloves
a dash of cinnamon (a big dash!)
1-2 packets of Stevia depending on how sweet you like it

Ingredients for the stir fry:
1 cup quinoa
Thinly sliced carrots
Mushrooms, chopped
Broccoli
Chopped onions
Sugar snap peas
Red pepper slices
1 orange (optional)

**I’m sorry I don’t have the measurements for the veggies. Just add accordingly to the number of mouths you need to feed! I would start with 1/3 cup for each veggie and add more of what you like the most!

Directions:
On a nonstick skillet, place the chicken strips on medium to high heat. Mix all of the other “orange chicken” ingredients in a small bowl and pour the mixture on the chicken (you could also marinate the chicken beforehand if you want more intense flavor but I thought it was awesome as is). Prepare the quinoa by boiling 2 cups of water with the 1 cup of quinoa. After about 15 minutes (time varies) the quinoa should be fluffy and cooked through. When the chicken is cooked through, add the chicken to the pan with the quinoa but try to keep as much of the marinade inside of the pan. Add as many veggies as you would like into the pan with an additional spoonful of coconut oil if needed! Saute the veggies and then add them to the pan with the chicken and quinoa. Serve hot with a few additional orange slices or get more creative by adding avocado slices, bragg’s liquid aminos or some toasted almond slivers.

What’s Beautiful?

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I’m so excited to a part of the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Challenge with the rest of my friends from Fitfluential. The reason why I promote this campaign and think it is such a beautiful movement is because it pushes women to perform better and challenges them to do whatever it is they have been wanting to do but haven’t been able to make the commitment. Last year when this challenge first started, my goal was to compete in my first NPC Competition. I didn’t sign up online for the Under Armor What’s Beautiful Challenge, but I did mentally. I was so busy with training, I didn’t think I could have had enough time to do video logs and blog about it on both the Under Armour website and my own blog….but I wish I did! Regardless, this movement helped me to pick a goal and DO IT. No thinking, no pondering about it endlessly, just doing it. And it was ultimately and amazing experience. (By the way, this post might look slightly familiar to one I wrote in October of 2012 about self-worth….check it out here!)

This year is different though. As much as I wish I had one goal to work towards, I’m focusing on two slightly broad things. Balance and muscle growth. I believe balance is a challenge in itself, but it’s one that I’m learning how to master. Muscle growth, as you probably know, is a HUGE challenge for me. I tend to psych myself out a lot because I think that the reason why I’m not growing is because I don’t eat enough, but honestly, I think I eat just fine. I have a very well rounded and balanced diet and I would much rather eat when I want instead of having to time everything and eat to the point that I’m stuffed. I hate feeling stuffed. Usually, that’s when my energy is the weakest and I would much rather pick awesome energy over a uncomfortably full belly.

So my training techniques are what I’m focusing on for this challenge. More power lifting and compound movements. Not only do they increase mass, but they also make you feel like one tough cookie. Who doesn’t love to see their PR increase in deadlifts and pull ups?

So my goals for the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Challenge are as follows:

1. Continue to seek out balance
2. Learn proper power lifting etiquette and form
3. Continue to do sprints once per week (all other cardio has been cut out)
4. Increase my strength
5. Increase my muscles, duhhh

Here are my PR stats for the compound movements I’m already comfortable with:

Straight-legged deadlifts- 170 lbs
Normal deadlifts- 155 lbs
(Decline and Flat) Bench Press- 100 lbs
Back squats- 115 lbs (I used to be much higher but then I realized I wasn’t even going parallel…now doing booty to the ankles!!)
Overhand barbell rows- 70 lbs
Military press- 60 lbs
Barbell curls- 65 lbs
Dips- 10 per set
Chin ups- 8 per set, no assistance
Assisted pull ups- 10 per set (with 60 pounds assisting)

All of these exercises in particular I would like to see at least a 10 lb increase within the next month or so.

And then of course, there are the movements I’m not too familiar with that I would really love to get better at…such as:

Overhead Squat, Cleans, Snatches (ahh), Pulls, Jerks, Presses, etc…..I’d mostly like to learn the basics and then all the different variations. The names are confusing in themselves to me…power clean vs. high-hang clean vs. clean and press vs. clean whatever. Yeah, maybe I should look into Powerlifting for Dummies. I’ll think about it.

I’m working on putting a group together on the Under Armour Website, where my females friends can join and push themselves with me! Because of some technical difficulties, I’m having to post-pone the creation of this group but I’m hoping I’ll have it running asap. So please stay tuned to my facebook page for details! I’ll most likely be posting it there.

The first step is to go to the Under Armour website, create an account and upload your goal. Easy peasy. And feel free to give yourself completely different goals than mine! If you’re a runner, pick a race and start training for it! If you are a competitor, pick a show and join in on the fun!! We all have different goals for our bodies but we can encourage each other every step of the way! And you can follow individual athletes’ pages so be sure to follow me by clicking here and then clicking “follow athlete” 🙂 I’ll do the same for you!
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By the way. I really wish I could take pictures and videos of myself doing particular exercises in the gym and post it on my group’s page. I know a lot of people post pictures of themselves working out but how in the world do you muster up enough courage to ask somebody to take a snap shot of yourself?! I just don’t want to be that person!

Fitness: Putting to Rest the Controversies & Confusion

I’ve been talking and thinking about this topic a lot lately and getting different perspectives on fitness through other fan page accounts, twitter, instagram and it’s pretty easy to see how different people view fitness. There are many definitions of fitness. The one in the dictionary is the ability to reproduce…but I don’t really think that’s what most people have in mind when they’re throwing 65 lb dumbbells up and down the gym, gulping down protein powder and tweeting about their massive pump (#fitness #health #swole).

You know how health is one of the most controversial topics today? Well, that’s because people have different views on what works and what doesn’t. That could be for many reasons. It could because our bodies are made differently and a certain way of eating for me may not work for my neighbor and vice versa. Some people can look at a weight and grow biceps. Others can look at a cake and gain 5 pounds. We all have to adjust our routines to figure out how our own bodies respond the best.

I’ve believed in every single kind of diet at least once in my life. High carb/low fat, no this, no that, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, 6 meals a day, 2 meals a day, and yes, I’ve even tried NO meals a day. I’ve made all the mistakes in the book. I used to over-train and underfeed. I used to kill my body slowly with massive amounts of cardio. I’ve switched around my diet so many times trying to figure out “what works best” for me and my head spins just thinking about it. All the controversies out there have a huge part in my dietary habits, I was constantly listening to what one person says I should and should not eat but then I would hear another very convincing claim that states just the opposite.

You should see my massive pile of nutrition and diet books.

But today I’m going to let you in on a little secret. One many people may want to argue with…but truthfully…if you want to know my opinion….I’ve come to believe that..

EVERYTHING WORKS.

Circuit training works. Crossfit works. 5 by 5 workout routines work. Eating 6 meals a day works. Eating 2 meals a day works. IF works. No IF works. Skipping breakfast works. Working out on an empty stomach works. Working out on a full stomach works. Yolks work. Chicken works. BCAAs work and pre-workouts work. Paleo works. Vegetarian works….(eh…kinda). Everything works as long as it’s enriching and healthy for your body.

Not healthy as in “I’m going to eat zero calorie foods all day cause that’s me being healthy.” But healthy as in….”This banana came from Mother Nature. Therefore I will stuff it in my face, enjoy every bite and then use it to fuel my workout.” Now we’re talking.

So I want to put to rest some of these questions about health and fitness. There will always be controversies. But it’s your job to not let it get to you. Do not fall into the trap of thinking only ONE thing works and everything outside of it is a fail. That’s limiting yourself too much and eventually you will grow tired. And confused.

I’m not saying you should turn away from listening to what people have to say. Quite the opposite actually. Learn what you can from smart people. Read nutrition books. Study the art. Figure out what benefits are coming from the food you are consuming and read about different training strategies. Knowledge is power. The part where things get tricky (for me) is implementing that knowledge into my own life without letting it control me. I’ve been switching my attention over from listening to what others say will work, to how my body responds to the things I do each day. I still absolutely love to hear about what coconut oil will do on an empty stomach or why it’s best to eat simple sugars post workout and all that fun good stuff. It’s exciting and enriching to learn more. But once you have the gift of knowledge, don’t abuse it. Have fun with testing out new things but take it a day at a time. If you hear a theory that goes against the same one you heard yesterday, it’s probably true. Everything is true in some way. it just depends on how you look at it, your goals and your own beautiful body.

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The Negative Side to Achieving Female Abs

With all this talk about summer and needing to be sexy in a bathing suit, I felt the need to share a little bit about my own experience with working towards those gotta-have abs. If you’re looking for the secret to abs, please stop reading immediately and continue to search through the Oxygen Magazine sitting on the coffee table nearby for the answer- because I promise you, what I’m going to tell you will either disappoint you or bring you relief and peace. I’m hoping it’s the second option.

I’m going to share a little bit about my story on the quest for perfect abs. But before we go into that, I am going to be blunt and tell you that I am still on that quest. Everything I am about to tell you is for both your benefit and mine, because I too forget the truth behind what it takes to get a six pack for females. I often look at photographs of my favourite fitness models and competitors and drool over those tight tummies, and then get a little infatuated with reaching that level of chiseled..ness.

As you all probably know, I was 100% dedicated for my fitness competition last year. No fruit. No sugar. No almond milk. No gluten. No dairy. No cheese. Honestly, the only foods I had for 20 weeks were egg whites, chicken, brown rice, oats, protein powder, broccoli, green beans and asparagus. Oh and one tablespoon of peanut butter per day. Every once in awhile I switched out oats for a little sweet potato. But there was NOTHING ELSE. If you think I’m kidding…well, I’m not kidding so just believe me.

At first, this post may seem like I’m dissing myself or aggravated at my fitness prep but that’s definitely not the case. There is more to this, I promise. I have a point and a message I want to send but first I want to recap last year’s quest for the perfect shredded physique.

This was my grocery cart for 20 weeks.

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photo-9This cooler was with me every where I went, whether it was to a party, to a meeting, to a study group or what have you.

I mean, the water bottle still goes everywhere with me but that’s still a downgrade from what I usually carried.
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4774220004f811e290351231381b5983_7 I spent my Friday nights in the fitness room of my gym wearing my heels, walking up and down checking out my smile, turns and making sure my booty was “poking out” enough. This was indeed a little fun for me, but at the same time, I do remember turning down a few really fun parties to do this instead. Oh, and I had to retake this picture several times before I posted it on Instagram because I thought I looked fat in some of them.
photo-25I was eating calorie free chocolate dip, dressings and pancake syrup. Calorie/carb/everything free dips….do you know how many chemicals were in this thing to make it taste so good but be so guilt free? My body HATED me for this. I was not “healthy” I was skinny..and this was my secret. Deathly, disgusting fake products.

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This became the only thing I read because it was the only thing that I was really interested in any more.

Now PLEASE do not get me wrong. I LOVE FITNESS MAGAZINES with my life. It’s actually been a dream of mine since I was little to work for a fitness magazine. It’s a huge passion for me. But it definitely shouldn’t be my only passion, right? I was become information-overloaded and it was all I was starting to think about.

Until I started to look like this.

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Now, you may not know my face very well but I’ll just tell you, I have a very round face. I have always kind of had that child-like face and even my body tends to want to be a little on the softer side. This picture here scares me. You probably can’t tell, but this is not what I look like. My legs look like twigs here and I have absolutely NO muscle development. All gone! Thankfully, this was mid prep and I ended up filling out a little better right before my show and developed a little more muscle definition.

So dieting+no social life+ eating out of Tupperware religiously+ no freedom in food choices+cardio every day+fake food= MY abs. I’m not saying this is how you got your abs, but I’m saying, in 2012, this is how I achieved my abs because I did what I was told by my coach and followed the fitness competition norms.

There are different ways to achieve abs I’m sure. Some people have awesome genetics. Some people take fat burners. Some people diet and don’t need to do much cardio to get abs. We are all different. But this is my story, so I’m sharing how I got them. I would love to think that eventually I could learn how to have them again by doing it differently but for the mean time, I’m not stressing. I enjoy being lean just from choosing whole, clean foods and that’s good enough for me. I absolutely LOVE getting stronger and seeing muscle growth. As a matter of fact, my face is getting fuller. My arms are getting bigger and stronger. My abs actually FEEL stronger, even though they are less noticeable. I get to cook fun meals and post them on my blog! I could never do that before because I was too scared to eat outside of my normal diet.

If you are about to follow or thinking about following a similar approach to getting abs you need to simply ask yourself…is it worth it? Are abs worth giving up 90% of everything else? That’s the question I have to ask myself from time to time. I need to channel my energy elsewhere, like developing stronger relationships, getting lost in music, calling my family to tell them I love them, help others learn how to be more than just LEAN but how to LIVE.

My dream is to help females STOP fantasizing and drooling over fitness models and their perfect abs and thinking “Oh if only I looked like that.” or “I’ll never be that skinny.” Because I promise you, those ladies had to make some serious sacrifices to get there and that’s because to them, it’s worth it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. They had to give up some things and work really freaking hard. I know this because I had to do the same. And after my competition, I remember telling my mom exactly this, “Mah, I had the perfect body for a few weeks. The one I’ve always wanted. In return, I lost social skills, missed out on relationships and had nowhere to go with this ‘perfect’ body because i was so terrified of messing it up. I will never again sacrifice my life for a lean set of abs.”  I do not have a 6 pack naturally and I never will. I was not born with those genetics. It’s easier for some than others and if you’re one of the “others” you need to decide what you really, truly want in the one life you have. Laughter and stress free dinners with family and friends? Or sweat-inducing nervous breakdowns because you’re scared of what that banana might do to your body fat levels. Maybe you can have a little bit of both. And if you can, that’s amazing. That’s called balance. It’s a point I have finally reached. I am conscious of my food choices but I allow myself to live in the moment.

These days when I find myself fantasizing, I just remember what it took for me to get to that “dream” level of leanness. It’s not what I want for my one and only life. I want to be happy. That’s where my heart truly lies these days.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (dairy and grain free)

Besides one minor 8 page paper, school is done and over with for the semester. So to celebrate, I made a batch of delicious paleo pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for my sweet 80 something year old poetry professor. I was in a bit of a hurry, so an instagram picture is the best I could do. I usually hesitate to post a recipe without at least halfway decent pictures, but I really wanted to share this one!
931423_589041617781561_538340145_nPumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten, grain and dairy free)
Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour/meal
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 cup almond butter or sunbutter (sunbutter for the win)
1/4 cup honey
1 T maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup chocolate chip (dairy free, gluten-free)
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Blend thoroughly, that baking powder can be clumpy! Prepare a muffin dish with muffin liners or spray with non-stick spray. Pour the batter in evenly…mine made about 9 muffins. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until they’re firm and golden brown.  (I honestly can’t tell you exactly how long I cooked mine for, because I kept wanting them to be a little more crispier but it’s probably ended up more towards 45 minutes than 40. Definitely try 40 first, everybody’s oven’s is a little different I think:))

These came out super moist, light and fluffy. Even though it’s May, I will never get tired of smelling pumpkin in my apartment. I just wanted to light the pumpkin candle I STILL have sitting by my couch and drink some warm archer farms pumpkin flavored coffee. Is it Fall yet?!