Carrot Cake Muffins (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Paleo Carrot Cake Muffins by My Little Jar of Spices

Happy Birthday Blog! One year ago on May 6th, I was having breakfast (Baked eggs in sauteed greens to be precise) in my sunny kitchen in Brazil and said “Screw it. I’m a-starting a food blog man!”. I was terrified to fall flat on my face and have people post awful comments on my page, but I was also feeling so jealous of all the food bloggers I was following. They seemed to be having so much fun. I wanted in on that. I was already cooking so much on a daily basis and wanted to channel that into something that could also involve writing and photography which I also enjoy a lot as hobbies. I of course did not know what managing a food blog actually entailed and had no idea how addictive food blogging was about to become. It really became a true passion and pushed me to improve my cooking skills every day a little more. For the first six months, I was photographing everything I cooked and ate. Even if it looked like meat loaf gone bad. I published recipes three times a week and tracked several times a day how many visitors the blog was getting or how many new facebook likes I could score. I still do that by the way so go like the facebook page here 🙂 Continue reading

Fudgy Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread with Pecan Streusel

Decadent, Fudgy, Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread with Pecan Streusel by My Little Jar of Spices

This bread is AM-AZING, I just couldn’t wait to tell you. Oh-so perfectly moist banana bread with a decadent dark chocolate batter delicately swirled in and a caramelized pecan streusel sprinkled on the top. Oh my, look at that I’ve salivated all over my keyboard. I like long, extravagant recipe titles so this sounds more complicated than it actually is, trust me. The first time I had banana bread when I was a child was when we lived in New York, and my mom bought this divine banana walnut loaf, and I remember thinking that I had never eaten banana that way before but somebody was definitely on to something. Shortly after that, we moved back to France and that put an end to that – in fact we didn’t have oreos, pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, donuts, and lots of other American goods in France in the early 2000s. So nicely sheltered from the mass food industry as we swam in a sea of artisan-made cheese, cured meats and crudités. Anyways, when they started opening Starbucks coffee shops in Paris, I was pretty happy to rediscover banana bread and even set out to learn to make my own recipe. And then I stopped eating gluten. And THAT put an end to that, and a lot of the above-mentioned.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mug Muffin 2.0 (Paleo, DF, Vegan option)

Cookie Dough Mug Muffin 2.0 by My Little Jar of Spices

It’s no surprise that the most popular recipe on this blog is the paleo (and vegan) 5-minute Cookie Dough Mug Muffin that I published back in June of last year. It has gotten over 3,000 pins and is constantly at the top of the list of most viewed recipes. There’s nothing I can post that will take it down from first place. For a while, my Creamy Chicken, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake was getting dangerously close to bumping it down and becoming number one, but the Cookie Dough Mug Muffin stuck on for dear life, showed everyone who was boss and let the Creamy Chicken Bake take second place. I’m always wondering if the next recipe I’ll publish will beat it, but nope. And to be fair to the mug muffin, it is a pretty awesome recipe, not to mention it’s adorable. It comes together in 5 minutes – preparation and cooking times combined! -, is the perfect comfort food without any added-sugar, and it tastes like cookie dough for crying out loud. Plus, it’s a single-serving recipe so it’s great for a little sweet craving without actually tempting you to go overboard like if you bake an entire batch of cookies. I should have known it was going to have that kind of mind-blowing success. The funny thing is that when I made it, I had absolutely no intention to post it on the blog. I just wanted to make a mug muffin for Freddy one rainy Sunday afternoon, adapted a  chocolate chip cookie recipe with what I could find lying around my cupboards and popped it in the microwave in a mug. It looked so cute, so I took a pretty lame picture, and it tasted so good that I ended up posting it as a recipe. Continue reading

Pumpkin Scones (grain-free, Paleo)

Pumpkin Scones by My Little Jar of Spices
Everyone’s celebrating Thanksgiving and making pumpkin pie and leftover Turkey sandwiches, getting into the Winter holidays spirit with mulled cider and hot cocoa, baking Christmas cookies and lighting their chimneys…. and I’m sleeping in the starfish position in my bed without the sheets on because it’s getting hotter and hotter around here. Aah yes, Summer is upon us in Brazil. And it just feels awkward when I’m strolling down São Paulo’s big Paulista Avenue with my flip flops and sunglasses on and there’s a gigantic inflated Snowman standing there with a scarf on and Santa Clause’s just cruising along with his reindeer pals. It just feels… wrong. Continue reading

Apple Spice and Maple Scones (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

Apple Spice and Maple Scones
I’m SO excited! Think 5-year-old-on-Christmas-morning-with-ADD-and-a-sugar-high excited. And in fact, Christmas came early. My package from Vitacost finally arrived!! Let me rewind a little. On August 28th, exactly 45 days ago, I placed a big order on Vitacost.com for a couple of things I absolutely can’t find in Brazil. Roasted almond butter, Rapunzel organic vegetable broth, raw 100% cacao nibs (weird for such a big cacao producer like Brazil), Chicory root coffee, Green Chai Yogi Tea (I finally have my Yogi Tea sayings of the day back!). Yes, it was a little out of my budget and the shipment was almost as much as the total value of the products, but I decided to not guilt-trip myself over it, after all I’ve worked hard and deserve to indulge a little. Plus, it’s not like I’m buying an umpteenth pair of shoes, I’m paying for healthy stuff here.  Continue reading

Pumpkin and Chestnut Bread (Nut-free option)

Pumpkin Chestnut Bread
So it’s pumpkin season for everybody… except me. It’s amazing how following the whole food blogging community really gives you the feeling of being in sync with the seasons. In December, everyone is about chocolate and holiday foods. From May to July, everyone is posting recipes with berries. In August, you just know it’s time for peaches. Come September, there’s a friggin’ pumpkin epidemic falling upon the world. That is, in Brazil of course. When everyone was barbecuing and having coleslaw in their backyards this summer, the only thing I wanted to have was a huge bowl of chicken soup with the temperatures nearing 6°C in São Paulo. It’s a bummer being in the opposite hemisphere when you blog about food. Australians can join me on this. Now that everyone is on the soup page and making pumpkin-everything, Summer is coming here and I just want an ice cold fizzy drink and a light salad for lunch.  Continue reading

Chewy Banana and Cashew Butter Cookies

Chewy Banana and Cashew Butter Cookies

The official title of this recipe should be Chewy Banana and Cashew Butter Cookies with Toasted Honey-Cinnamon Cashew Bits on Top but a title that long is just recipe marketing suicide. I stuck to the short version but I did make sure that the long version was right there in the first sentence of the introduction that way you’d really get the whole drool-triggering story from the beginning. Continue reading

Coconut Milk and Sesame Seed Bread Rolls (gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free)

Coconut milk and sesame seed bread rolls

I’ve been experimenting more with bread rolls in the bread department than actual bread loaves over these past months. Partly because for the past months I had to cook (painfully) with a teeny-itty-bitty-tiny oven that none of my bread molds could fit in! Despair! But I discovered other gluten-free bread making techniques that involved making buns instead of loaves. One of the good things is that I got to play around with new binders that I didn’t use a lot before, such as arrowroot, which gives a firm, compact and crispy bread – perfect for making biscuits – or psyllium. Continue reading

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Rolls

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I’m travelling back to France today for one month, which is very exciting since I haven’t been home for almost a year since I came to Brazil in August 2012. I’m prepared for a few slips in the food department, some gluten here and there (how can I possibly avoid French bread?), more dairy than I’ve been eating lately (god how I’ve missed Brie), more wine, more sweets – it definitely won’t be a Paleo friendly month all the time – but heck, it’s vacation and it’s France. However, having said that, if I’m going to slip and make exceptions, it better be for things that are stinking worth it. Hence, delicious French pastry yes, bad airplane food no. I generally don’t feel at my best when I’m travelling, tummy-wise, so I want to avoid eating things that would make it worse. So I got a little busy in the kitchen yesterday to make some travel-friendly, gluten-free food, including these little bread rolls which I’m very excited to share. Continue reading

Cookie Dough Mug Muffin, gluten-free, vegan, sugar free

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See the Cookie Dough Mug Muffin version 2.0 here.

My very first blog post was for a breakfast teacup muffin recipe that could be baked in under two minutes in the microwave for instant gratification or a very quick on-the-go breakfast, a concept which people really seemed to like, sort of to my surprise as it didn’t involve any sophisticated cooking techniques and I thought I would have to put in more effort to wow readers. But then I remembered just how blown away I was when I discovered muffins could be made in a microwave: just combine ingredients in a mug, pop in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, watch it rise in child-like astonishment with your eyes glued to the microwave door (very important part of the process) and chow down. Now, whenever I feel like a quick treat or when we have people over for dinner and everyone’s munching on delicious Italian bread rolls and I’m all left out because there’s no gluten-free version for me, I just make a 5-minute salty muffin and I can join the bread feasting party with the rest of the cool kids. Freddy also loves the concept when, after a nice and fulfilling meal I lazily turn to him and ask “want a muffin for dessert?”, and he knows it means within the next five minutes. Continue reading