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Coconut oil

Sweet Potato Paleo Muffin Recipe

August 18, 2015

Sweet Potato Paleo Muffins

I don’t own a measuring spoon.

In the beginning it wasn't intentional. I had misplaced the ones that I did own. But weird as it sounds, I found this freedom from measurement liberating. With all the other things I obsess and perfect over in my life, cooking should be the one thing I can do without rules. Everything I need, I can get from my silverware or the pinch of my fingers.

When I first taught myself to cook, I followed recipes as if it was the word of God. I could not begin the process until I had spent at least an hour looking for the perfect recipe. And then I might change my mind 10 more times. And then, if I was missing one ingredient, I'd change my mind 10 more.

Paleo Sweet Potato Muffins

But as I got more comfortable, I realized how much more freeing it was to close out of the recipe on my phone, drop the measuring spoon, and just eyeball it.

This is all well and good for cooking. But they tell me (you know, the imaginary kitchen police) that this approach can’t be done for baking.

Baking requires formulas. Baking requires science. And baking most definitely requires measuring spoons.

Umm, respectfully, I say, F that.

I baked the meanest muffins this weekend (mean as in AWESOME), and I totally ignored the rules. Yes, I did consult a few recipes first (to get inspired), but then I just went for it.

I realize that it may take awhile for newbie cooks to get to this point. Obviously for me it took years of trial and error and obsessing. Which is why, before I dive into the recipe, I wanted to share with you a post that I did awhile back that helped me understand why formulas are used in baking – cookies specifically. If I could understand that, then I could be creative within the parameters of the rules. I highly recommend reading it it if you would like to come up with your own recipes:

Healthy Stacey Cookie Creation Guide


Now, this time around, I didn't make cookies. I made muffins. But the process wasn't much different than cookies. (I'm sure many bakers would disagree with me)….

You've got your wet ingredients, your dry ingredients and your main ingredient – what creates the flavor. You mix them up seperately, then you mix them together. Then add in any finishing touches (i.e. a chocolate chip or a dried berry).

I knew I wanted something sweet. But not too sweet; something I could eat for breakfast, but also dessert. I had oodles of sweet potatoes that needed to be used before they went bad. And I wanted to use ingredients that boost the nutrition factor up a few notches.

And thus, Sweet Potato Paleo Muffins were born! Complete with nutrient-packed sweet potatoes, anti-inflammatory turmeric and healthy-fat coconut oil. Naturally sweetened with dates and a bit of maple syrup. And, best of all, the perfect dense/moist texture with just enough sweet to satisfy that nagging tooth.

Below is the recipe.

I realize the irony here that I’m writing a post about not following a recipe by giving you a recipe. But what I want you to do is feel inspired by the possibility that you don’t have to follow it to a T. You can be a little loose, and have a lot more fun.

So follow it. Don’t follow it. But whatever you do, don’t overthink it. Just test the batter as you go, add more good-tasting things if it’s not tasting good enough (your batter is a pretty heavy indicator of your final product), use common sense, and enjoy the process.

Sweet Potato Muffins Recipe

Sweet Potato Paleo Muffins


  • 6 pasture-raised eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, clarified butter/ghee, or coconut oil, melted – I like this one
  • 1 teaspoon pure star anise extract (because that’s what I had – feel free to use vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup of dates
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • 3 cups shredded sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup arrowroot flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • optional: 1/4 cup of some fun mix-in – dried cranberries, dried cherries, chocolate chiiiips!



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Put your cup of dates in a glass of water. You will let them soak for about the amount of time it will take you to do the next steps before you need to add in your dates (10 minutes or so).
  3. Prep your counter ahead of time with the following: 1 dry bowl (bowl for dry ingredients), 1 wet bowl (just guess what this one’s for), a muffin tin or muffin liners spread with coconut oil or butter so the batter doesn’t stick, snd a food processor.
  4. Pulverize the sweet potatoes in a food processor with a shredder. It took me about 10 sweet potatoes, but I was using the organic Trader Joe’s sweet potatoes which are unusually small. Unload them to a seperate bowl (you'll be needing the food processor for the dates).
  5. Mix together the dry ingredients: coconut flour, arrowroot flour, sea salt, baking soda, turmeric and cinnamon.
  6. Whisk eggs in wet bowl.
  7. Time to take care of your dates! Drain half the water out of the glass of dates. Throw them in your food processor (no reason to rinse out the sweet potatoes mess; it’s all going the same place). Pulse until it’s a smooth liquid.
  8. Add in melted butter/oil, anise (or vanilla) extract, maple syrup and date syrup.
  9. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  10. Fold in shredded sweet potatoes.
  11. Add in raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips – whatever floats your boat!
  12. Spoon the batter into your muffin tins or your muffin liners.
  13. Pop in oven for 25 minutes. Take out, check them with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Most likely, you’ll need 5-10 more minutes. But I’d rather you be safe than sorry.
  14. Once done, put on an upside down plate (or a cooling rack if you’re fancy like that). Do your darndest to wait until it cools off to eat one.


Much Love,


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The Shitty Oils In Our Snacks + Plantain Chip Recipe

November 2, 2014

I try very hard to eat as much real, whole food throughout my day as possible – from my eggs in the morning and my sweet potato and hot sauce snack in the late morning, to my veggie-packed salads at lunch and my afternoon apple.

But every once in a while, I just need a REAL snack. You know what I’m talking about. The kind that crunches and maybe leaves a layer of seasoning on your fingers after you’ve reached into the bag 5 or 6 or 20 times. I’m not talking Doritos, Cheeze-its and Chex Mix, here. I ruled those out a long time ago when I realized how much crap they contained. I’m talking about the healthier snack options that give me all the satisfaction without ingesting unidentifiable ingredients. I’ll snack my heart out, but I made a personal choice that if I do, it at least had to begin as a whole food before it was transformed into a snack.  

Side note: Shout-out to my Cheeze-it-loving work neighbor Neil – you know I love you and support your snack choices as long as they make you happy 🙂

That’s why I fell hard and fast for the snack aisle at Trader Joe’s. Wasabi peas, dried snap peas, crispy veggies and crunchy chips made with every healthy ingredient imaginable – kale, flax seeds, chia, plantains, quinoa. For me, it was love at first sight. I thought, so I can have all of my favorite healthy foods in snack form? Bring. It. On.

But, as usual, I couldn’t just accept this delicious convenience at face value. Why? Because any packaged food has a lot of mystery to it. No matter how healthy the label makes it look; you know very little about how the “food” you’re eating was created.

When inspecting, nutrition labels are always my first step. Trader Joe’s does a great job at using a short list of ingredients, all seemingly identifiable. 

Here are the ingredients in a few of my favorites:

Plantain Chips: Plantains, Sunflower Oil, Salt

Wasabi Peas: Green peas, corn starch, wheat flour, rice flour, sugar, palm oil, sea salt, wasabi (mustard powder).

Inner Peas: Whole green peas, vegetable oil (canola oil and/or sunflower oil), rice, salt, calcium carbonate, vitamin C

Pita Chips: Pita bread (unbleached wheat flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water), sunflower and/or safflower oil, sea salt

APPARENTLY (said in the voice of the apparently kid), these ingredients are a lot more deceiving than they look because of one key factor.

The oil.

I know, I know. It sounds a little dramatic to hate on these snacks when there’s a lot worse you can do. But bear with me.

Not all oils are created equally. And we’ve been conditioned to believe certain oils are good for us (or at the very least, harmless). THEY’RE NOT.

Let’s break it down.

There are three types of oils: Saturated, Mono-Saturated and Polyunsaturated. Think of them like Goldilocks and the Three Bears (kind of). 

  • Polyunsaturated  = very unstable (too hot)
  • Mono-saturated = pretty stable (a little better)
  • Saturated = stable (just right)

Unfortunately, it’s the highly processed, polyunsaturated oils (also lovingly known as PUFAs) that are the most common ones used in packaged snack food.

Here are the PUFAs you know and love:

  • Canola Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • “Vegetable” oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Any fake butter product (yeah Fabio, I’m talking to you)


Well, there are a few reasons. But the number one reason is these oils – believe it or not – CANNOT TAKE THE HEAT. In other words, they are not strong enough to stand up to the high temperatures that they are regularly cooked at. When you heat them, they deteriorate chemically (AKA, they go rancid). THIS IS BAD. 

You see, contrary to what you may think, PUFAs are not natural at all. Although they call them vegetable oils; they are actually manufactured chemically.

Let’s take canola oil. There is no such thing as a “canola.” It’s actually made from a hybrid version of the rapeseed. But they couldn’t use natural rapeseed to make oil because it contains high amounts of acid called toxic euricic acid. This baby is poisonous to the human body (say WHAT?). So to make it edible, they lowered the acid level by genetically modifying the seed.

To produce canola oil, they heat the rapeseed and extract the oil using a petroleum solvent. Then they do another round of heat to remove the solids that occur during the first processing. This is then followed by adding more chemicals to improve color, texture and smell. It gets more complicated, but I have no business explaining it because I am no scientist. Which is exactly the point.

I shouldn’t have to be a scientist to understand how my food is made. 

Saturated, stable fats like butter and coconut oil on the other hand, are made in a few simple steps with little-to-no processing, don’t release foreign chemicals into your body when ingested and CAN TAKE THE HEAT (they’re stable. Duh). Milk cow, let cream separate naturally, skim off cream, shake until it becomes butter. DONE.

Unfortunately, these stable fats are expensive. They’re the last thing that food companies want to use when processing mass amounts of a snack. PUFAs, however, are nice and cheap to use. Which means they are EVERYWHERE. If you’re not cooking with them, you’re definitely eating them in any pre-packaged foods, i.e. SNACKS. The worst part is, now that I’ve told you, you won’t be able to ignore it (please don’t hate me for doing that to you). Yep. Every time I turn over a snack package to read the ingredients, 95% of the time, one of the aforementioned oils are on the list.

Sometimes it really sucks knowing this much. 


With all this said, I don’t fault Trader Joe’s at all for their ingredients. In the grand scheme of things, their snack options are worlds healthier than a lot of the other shit out there. And I am eternally grateful to them for providing me with those options for me and others on tight budgets.

However, in my quest to make the healthiest choices for my body (and be a test dummy for you, my readers), I am going to do my darndest to make sure my snacks are made with the right oils.

Wouldn’t it be nice if that just meant picking the good-oil snacks up at the store? Yeah, when pigs fly out of my butt (said in the voice of Wayne Campbell). Of course, there are options out there, but they are expensive and hard to find. So what is the best option? (Yell it out if you know it).


As always, if I can make it myself (and get it right), not only will I feel better about what I am eating, but it will taste better too (way better).

If I had to pick one packaged food snack that I love the most it would be Trader Joe’s plantain chips – hands down. If you’ve never tried them, I encourage you to ignore everything I said in this post, run to Trader Joe’s, and devour a bag in one sitting, just so you can understand where I am coming from.

Okay, back to the point. I made it my mission to create Trader Stacey’s Plantain Chips: A whole-r, better plantain chip made with the oils of my choice.

The result? Well, they don’t taste like the TJ brand. But they are pretty damn good. And I plan to make them many more times, which means they are bound to get better with every try. So please proceed with an open mind and an open jar of saturated, stable oil. Here’s the recipe.



  • 3 GREEN plantains (the less ripe, the less sweet and the more savory)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Coconut oil or Ghee (eyeball it)
  • Seasonings of choice (I used garlic, cayenne and paprika)
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Slice open peel by chopping the ends first and then scoring the sides with a knife
  3. Slice the plantain VERY thin (I don’t have a mandolin so I just used my steady hand, but if you have one, I’m sure it would make things easier). I also sliced them on the diagonal so they would be flatter and wider.
  4. Repeat with the other two plantains
  5. Toss in a bowl with the melted coconut oil
  6. Sprinkle seasonings on both sides
  7. Place on baking sheet over parchment paper
  8. Put in oven for 15 minutes
  9. Pull them out of the oven, flip them over and MASH THEM DOWN with a spoon, a spatula or the bottom of a glass. THIS IS WHAT HELPS THEM GET CRISPIER without frying them.
  10. Stick them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Check on periodically until they are a little browned and you’re happy with them. I think it depends on personal taste how “done” you want them. I like to err on the side of undercooked rather than overcooked.


I only just scratched the surface of this oil discussion in this post. And it made me realize, this has HEALTHY STACEY SERIES written all over it. So far I’ve told you that most of the oils we eat (in packaged foods) are chemically processed. And although we all know that’s not a great sign, it doesn’t necessarily translate to how it hurts you by eating it. And it doesn’t tell you what oils you should eat instead? Or what packaged foods ARE out there that are safe to eat? SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. So get excited. Because I just got inspired to write THE OIL SERIES.

Next Up:

Omega-3 is from Mars, Omega-6 is from Venus