Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan}

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

I must confess, I've always been a sucker for muffins. I'd choose a sweet, moist, crumbly muffin filled with bursting fruit over a cupcake any day. Don't even get me started on the the muffin top crumbles. I have a collection of muffin tin liners above the microwave with colors and designs for every season. But you see, I have this issue where once I eat one muffin, I eat ALL THE MUFFINS. Like zero self-control. They are just so small and delicious, I swear they call my name, and before I know it my desk is covered in dirty muffin tin liners and I feel super guilty. 

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home
Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

So in attempt to get inspired while scrolling through my favorite food blogs last week, I discovered these cranberry orange muffins. I've never been much of a cranberry fan, but I knew we had a big bag of them left-over from when I made Dark Chocolate Cranberry Crumble Cake last month so I figured I'd give them a try. Knowing my muffin obsession, I attempted to make these a little healthier so I tossed out the 3/4 cups of sugar the recipe called for and poured in a nice 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (seriously, I put that shit in everything) instead. To make them more suitable for breakfast, I swapped out the all purpose flour and pulsed some oats into flour for added protein and fiber. While I was at it I trader butter for coconut oil and threw in some flax seed to replace the egg because why not make them vegan? How easy was that?! {cue Ina Garten} I added a touch of cinnamon for warmth and to combat the tangy citrus and topped things off with a sweet oat crumble. The results are so so good. 

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

They make the perfect breakfast muffins that won't leave you feeling guilty. They are bright and zesty (the fresh squeezed OJ does that!) which serves as the perfect pick-me-up for cold winter mornings. They are unbelievably moist and the oat crumble makes them feel like such a treat but somehow still healthy at the same time. Pop these guys in the toaster with a nice smear of butter/earth balance and you will thank me. 

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins {vegan} | Kneading Home

Orange Cranberry & Oat Breakfast Muffins 
Adapted from Pastry Affair 
Makes 24 muffins 

For the muffins:
2 flax eggs (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water + 2 tbsp flax seed meal + 1/4 tsp baking powder) or chicken eggs
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats 
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry 
zest of 2 oranges 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 cup pure maple syrup 
1 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (from about 4 oranges) 
2 heaping cups cranberries (fresh or frozen) 

For the crumble: 
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats 
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour 
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons coconut oil, cold 

Prepare the flax eggs. In a small prep bowl stir flaxseed meal, water, and baking soda together. Let sit for 15-20 minutes while preparing the other ingredients. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend oats in a food processor fitted with a blade until it becomes powdery, about 1 minute. Don't worry about getting it as fine as regular flour, it will have more body and chunkiness and that's okay. In a medium bowl, whisk the oat "flour", whole wheat pastry flour, orange zest, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder together. Set aside.

Make the crumble. Whisk the oats, flour, sugar and salt together until combined. Using a fork mix in the coconut oil until mixture becomes wet and crumbly. Refrigerate until right before use. Even 3 minutes in the fridge will help the coconut oil harden up. 

In a large bowl whisk together maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and flax eggs. The oil will look like it won't incorporate, but just keep whisking, it will. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, one third at a time, whisking to combine. Once incorporated it will be super thick and hard to stir. Pour in the orange juice and whisk until completely incorporated. Stir in the cranberries. Pour into lined muffin tins, top with oat crumble, and cook for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. 


Dark Chocolate Cranberry Crumble Cake

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Crumble Cake | Kneading Home

The week before Christmas is insane. Dealing with the flurry and excitement of family traditions and obligations, spending too much on gifts and stressing over what to buy people, rushing to get christmas cards out all while trying to relax and enjoy a season that is supposed to be magical seems somewhat impossible. We hosted Thanksgiving this year, a holiday potluck with almost twenty people two weeks later, had a friend from out of town visit last weekend, and I'm currently neck-deep in grad school applications, and honestly this year we are just over it. My plans for homemade butternut squash ravioli on christmas eve are going to turn into Indian food take out. And I'm ok with it. 

I've been projecting my exhaustion on my students this week by attempting to gift them with the 10-minute savasana, a rare gem in modern yoga classes and the ultimate christmas gift. It's something we could ALL use. Unfortunately I haven't been to a yoga class in over a month and I'm started to feel it big time. 

But seriously, my husband has never been a big fan of Christmas, he's always been all about Thanksgiving - gratitude, celebrating with family and friends, opening your doors to everyone, and being thankful for what you have, no gifts necessary. And I'm started to think he's onto something, because really who needs to collect more junk? We don't. I'm trying to embrace this by making edible gifts and gifting simple practical things. When my brother told me he wanted glass storage containers for food, preferably used, for christmas I about hugged him through the phone. Have I mentioned my brother pretty much lives off the grid? We have become our conservative consumerist parents' nightmare. My mom called me the other day stressing over whether to make ham, prime rib, or salmon for christmas dinner. I honestly don't know what kind of answer she expected from her vegetarian daughter but all she got was a big laugh. I say all of this being totally guilty myself. I worry about giving people the perfect gift, I stress about getting christmas cards out to the people we care about in time, and I've been obsessing over a holiday Pinterest board for weeks. 

So I'm posting this cake. Then signing off. Attempting to relax and take a break from standing over the stove. Let someone else cook for me, give grad school applications a break, and snuggle with my husband and my puppy. I hope you take some time to do the same. Maybe even go big and give yourself a 10 minute savasana. Then, if you have time, make this cake. It's simple, christmas-y and delicious. Rich dark chocolate and bright sour juicy cranberries become best friends and play beautifully together under the buttery pecan crumble sun. 

I am so tired. Can you tell? Over and out. Happy holidays. Merry Christmas. Be well, my friends. 

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Crumble Cake | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Cranberry Crumble Cake | Kneading Home

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Crumble Cake
Makes 1 large 9-inch cake
Adapted by Smitten Kitchen  

For the cake: 
2 cups minus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
8.5 ounces, or 2 heaping cups, fresh cranberries
7oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped 

For the crumble: 
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and cold

Heat oven to 375. Butter and lightly flour a 9" cake pan then line base with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugars and zest until light and fluffy - around 5 minutes at full speed. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, pour in 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated, follow with 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour, the other 1/2 of the milk, and finally the last 1/3 of flour beating until incorporated between each addition. Remove bowl from the mixer and stir in cranberries and chocolate until evenly distributed- because the batter is super thick, I found using a wooden spoon worked much easier than a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth over the top. 

Make the crumble. In a small bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, pecans and salt. Using your hands or a pastry blender cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembled chunky sand - there should still be small bits of butter. Sprinkle the crumble over the cake and cook for 40-50 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool, flip to remove from cake pan and serve. 


We left it at room temperature and like Deb says, it does get more moist the longer it's out. It was devoured within 36 hours, but she claims it will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature, after that pop it in the fridge. 

December 2015 update: I tried it with Trader Joe's Gluten-Free flour and it was tasty but the cake didn't hold together when cut. The lack of gluten made things really fall apart. 

Photography - our awesome neighbor came over the night I baked this and let me play with his camera. Needless to say it was far superior to my current camera which is an iphone...So if you're wondering why some of these photos look better than any I've ever posted that's why!




Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette

Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette
Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette | Kneading Home

I came home from teaching a private Sunday morning craving something hearty, healthy, maple syrupy and very Fall. This salad is epic and checks all of those boxes. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I've never been much of a "salad person", but I'm trying to be. And I'm finding the more things you put into a salad, the tastier it usually is.

This salad celebrates Fall in a big way. It's apple-forward, with a cozy maple-y dressing, crunchy warm toasted almonds, tart dried cranberries, hearty quinoa and creamy goat cheese. And let's not forget the king of the health food world, Kale. Oh hail Kale. But seriously, this salad is just lovely. It's definitely making it onto my Thanksgiving table and I hope it makes it onto yours. 

Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette | Kneading Home

And speaking of Thanksgiving. If you're still looking for last minute inspiration I've compiled a board of all my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from all my favorite food bloggers here and here

On another note, I'm taking the GRE tomorrow. And not to sound desperate, but I could use all the prayers/positive vibes/well wishes I could get. You see, there's math on the GRE, and I have to write, you know, academically for TWO essays. All I know how to write about is FOOD! So writing this post is my attempt at procrastinating on those last couple pages of vocabulary words. But seriously. Send those good vibes my way. Thank you! 

Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette | Kneading Home
Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette | Kneading Home

Autumn Kale Salad with Quinoa, Almonds, Cranberries, Apples & Goat Cheese in a Maple Vinaigrette 
Adapted from Cookie and Kate 
Serves 4-6 as a side 

For the Salad: 
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa 
1 cup water 
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1/8 tsp salt 
1 large bunch of Kale, (12-14oz) 
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled 
1 very large Honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced 

For the Dressing: 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
1 teaspoon dijon mustard 
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and add to boiling water. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in a large pinch of salt, fluff with a fork and set aside.

Preheat the oven (I use my toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Toss almonds with olive oil and salt and cook for about 5 minutes until almond skins begin to crack and turn a dark brown color (watch carefully so they don't burn). You want to bring them right to the edge of burnt so they are crunchy and extremely fragrant. (Note: these make a fantastic snack on their own!) Roughly chop and set aside. 

Wash and de-rib your kale. The central rib of the kale is very bitter, discard the ribs or save them for juicing. Chop the kale into bite-size pieces. 

Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients into a airtight jar (I use a mason) and shake until combined. Pour the dressing over the kale and using your hands, massage the kale and dressing together for a good 3 minutes until the kale becomes limp and the pile decreases in size. Add dried cranberries, almonds, quinoa, apples, and goat cheese. Toss and serve. 

Notes: Because of it's sturdiness kale salads actually make great left-overs. The kale does a great job of holding its shape and doesn't get soggy.