These muffins are a perfect comfort food on a cold fall or winter day. I make a batch of these and eat them a couple of times during the week. They also freeze well so if you have leftovers, you can pop them in the freezer in a Ziploc freezer bag. However, my son and my husband also love this recipe so we usually never have enough leftover to make it to the freezer.
Harvest Pumpkin Muffins
1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¾ cup honey
¼ cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. Beat together butter, honey, egg, and pumpkin. Gradually add dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts. Spoon into 12 paper lined muffin cups, and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Whole wheat pastry flour is one of my favorite secret foods that not many people seem to know about. It is just normal whole wheat flour, but it is ground super fine so that tastes like white flour. It has all of the health benefits of whole wheat flour. You can find it in the flour aisle of most grocery stores or in the bulk section. Once opened, I recommend storing it in your freezer to help maintain its freshness. It will go rancid quicker than white flour since it contains the germ and bran.
One of the biggest benefits of whole wheat pastry flour is the increased fiber content, which is especially important during pregnancy to help prevent constipation. Constipation affects nearly 50% of pregnant women so it is important to get a high amount of fiber (~30gm/d), drink plenty of fluids, and continue regular exercise to prevent and treat constipation.
Pumpkin is a superfood for anyone, but especially for pregnant women! One of the reasons is the impressive vitamin A content of pumpkins—just ½ cup pumpkin provides more than 100% of your daily needs. The vitamin A in pumpkins comes mostly from beta-carotene which is responsible for the bright orange color of the pumpkin’s flesh. Beta-carotene is essential for proper lung development in fetuses and in newborns—making it important both in pregnancy and during lactation. Pumpkins are also high in fiber and vitamin C.
Walnuts are full of good fats—particularly the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. Omega-3 fatty acids are important during pregnancy for proper brain and eye development. Walnuts are also rich in antioxidants and are high in B vitamins.