Pumpkin Chip Protein Muffins

With temperatures in the 80s and humidity firmly above 60%, this October has felt more like a late August afternoon here in the Carolinas… Yet the leaves continue to turn their vibrant fall colors, football consumes Saturday and Sunday afternoons and everything pumpkin flavor becomes all the rage at grocery stores, bakeries and coffee shops alike.

This Pumpkin Chip Protein Muffin came from the desire to limit refined sugars and wanting to sneak in protein where possible… as well as being dairy and gluten free.

Ingredients mater. Truly! Fresh, organic spices and extract will go a long way. Additionally – using a quality protein powder is key to both deliciousness and nutritional benefits.

Pumpkin Chip Protein Muffin

1/3 cup Vanilla Protein (I prefer Shaklee Life Shake)
1 2/3 cup Gluten-free all purpose flour (if flour does’t include anthem gum, add 1 teaspoon)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1 cup canned organic pumpkin
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2/3 cup real maple syrup (with no high fructose corn syrup)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbls ground flax (optional)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400°. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil,  syrup, almond milk, vanilla and flax. Slowly add the dry ingredients till completely incorporated. Add Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and lightly mix.

Batter will be thick. Spoon batter into muffin liners and bake 15 – 18 minutes (10-12minutes for mini-muffins) or until a toothpick comes out clean (without batter).

These muffins are good without the chips or with. Add a frosting to the top to jazz it up for school parties.

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