Note: I’m sharing more personal details than usual in today’s post. If you’re interested in the recipe only, please scroll to the bottom.
He was the most supportive reader of this blog, always sending me messages after a new recipe post saying, “You need to make this at the cabin!” or “This looks great!”
Actually, he was probably my biggest supporter in life, and I was his too.
If you’ve noticed a lack of recipes over the past couple months, it’s because I lost my dad suddenly at the end of July. Since then, life has been one big blur of sadness and disbelief. But in the midst of my pain, I am so deeply blessed and thankful for the outpouring of support from friends and family who cooked us meals, sent me texts and emails to check in, offered to watch the kids if we needed a break, and shared their memories of my dad with me.
In the days after he died when the pain was still new and raw, the words “you’ll always have the memories” or “he’ll live on in your memories” meant nothing to me. All I could think about was the fact that this happened way too soon… How I’m too young to be without a dad. How years down the road my kids may forget just how awesome their grandpa was because they were so young when he died.
Nearly two months later, it’s the memories that are helping me cope. They make me smile while flooding my eyes with tears. But my tears and the deep pain I feel are evidence of the special “daddy’s girl” relationship we had. It’s the memories, especially those recounted by my kids, that give me hope that he will live on in our hearts and minds forever.
Many of those memories were made up at our cabin on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Lutsen, Minnesota. This is our s’mores table down by the fire pit. My dad was a handy, fix-it guy, but I never knew him as an artist. Last year for Father’s Day, I gave him a gift certificate to one of those paint and sip classes and we both left the place saying, “There’s a reason we don’t paint!” But I think our experience there prompted him to try his hand at a new hobby. He must have really been practicing because he left us with this beautiful piece that we were barely able to enjoy together this summer. But we will treasure it forever.
I dug this recipe out of the archives because it needed some tweaking and fresh photos, and because my mom made a version of these muffins at the cabin a couple years ago. My dad had the biggest sweet tooth, so the muffins didn’t last long. But they remind me of everything I loved about mornings with my dad at the cabin: the sounds of my him brewing coffee early in the morning and the subsequent cozy smell of it streaming into the bedroom, hearing the pitter patter of feet going out to family room to watch Mickey Mouse while my dad poured the Cheerios into little dishes, my mom cooking up a storm in the kitchen, which included something freshly baked, like these muffins, and all of us sitting down to a big family breakfast, anticipating our day of rock-skipping and relaxing by the lake, golfing with grandpa, and of course, making s’mores by the fire.
These muffins are grain-free, dairy-free, and egg free. The recipe’s so easy, you can whip them up in one bowl with a fork. Store them in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze them, but note that they crumble easily after reheating because of their delicate and already soft and gooey nature.
I’m confident that my dad had no clue what coconut flour or non-dairy milk even was, but he was never one to turn down any kind of sweet treat. So in honor of my dad, indulge your sweet tooth with these secretly healthy muffins, pair them with a cup of coffee, and take some time to cherish the memories you’ve made with your family.
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ cups shredded zucchini
- ½ cup almond butter
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk)
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips
- 12-24 raspberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon even amounts of the batter into a 12-cup muffin pan.
- Place 1-2 raspberries on each muffin top, slightly pressing them into the batter.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Check at 15 minutes and each minute after. The muffin tops/edges should be golden brown.