Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring Celebrations with Lemon Coconut Muffins

Jan here. How are things going with all of you? Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and let's chat!

I want to tell you about the spring celebrations going on at our house!

First of all, the school year is over, and we now have a college junior and a college senior in the family. The boys are SO looking forward to only working at their jobs rather than working with a full-time academic load.

Second, last week I signed my third contract with Love Inspired!

The working title is "A Home in Deadwood." You'd never guess that this sweet little town nestled in the Black Hills is the notorious Deadwood - scene of Wild Bill Hickok's death, gun fights, Calamity Jane's final resting place, Al Swearingen's "Gem" Saloon and "theater", along with countless tales that have made their way into the folklore of the Old West.

This story has been so much fun to work on, and I'm thrilled I get to share it with you!

Third, the cover for my August release is available!

This one is Levi and Ruthy's story. Isn't the cover fabulous? The book is available for preorder here.

Even with all this celebrating going on, I'm still trying to stay on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

Can I really celebrate and stick to my healthy eating goals? You betcha.

These muffins are low carb, no sugar, and gluten free.

There is a warning though - since they're made with coconut flour, they taste like coconut. I happen to like coconut, but if you don't, be warned ☺

This recipe is from the Trim Healthy Mama book. I changed the name from the original "Light White Muffins" because I added a healthy dose of lemon (mmmmm!)

Lemon Coconut Muffins


2/3 cup store bought coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs
8-10 teaspoons Truvia
4 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 Tablespoons almond or coconut milk (you can substitute water)
1 teaspoon lemon extract

In a food processor, mix the coconut flour and baking powder until they are smooth and clump-free. 

Add eggs, Truvia, coconut oil, almond or coconut milk, and lemon extract.

Process until all lumps disappear and the mixture is smooth.

It looks a bit like polenta, doesn't it? It's about the same
consistency, too.
Divide the batter evenly between nine prepared muffin cups, and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.

We ate a couple when they were fresh on Sunday afternoon, but we had the rest for breakfast. I warmed them up and served them with some fresh berries. 

Just the thing for a spring morning, right?

Speaking of spring, we went to Custer State Park on Saturday afternoon after we finished our chores.

We saw a few Bison bulls like these scattered here and there, but the big herd (cows with calves) was hiding somewhere.

And we were welcomed by the official Custer State Park welcoming committee. These burros are semi-wild (they become very friendly if you offer to share an apple with them). They're descendants of burros brought into the Hills by the gold-rush miners in the 1870's.

And we did a little hiking. The views are breathtaking! This is looking south east, across the foothills and the prairie to the Badlands, about fifty miles away.

You can tell we're still early days when it comes to spring. The grass is just beginning to green up.

But we have wild flowers!

How is spring looking at your house?


  1. First, congratulations on a new contract!
    Second, sweet cover! I love the barn. I've tried to read a lot of Amish stories... but I've only ever read one to the end and that was your debut! Maybe your August release will bring my Amish fiction list to TWO.
    And love the muffins. Anything with lemon is high on my list.

    Question: does this THM recipe book have a lot of coconut? I have a friend who posts recipes and they seem to have a lot of coconut. Just my impression, since I don't usually use it and so therefore I notice it when it's an ingredient...

    1. Good morning, Virginia!

      Some of the recipes use coconut flour and dried, unsweetened coconut, but not many of them. I tend to use almond flour more.

      Coconut oil, on the other hand, is used extensively in cooking. It doesn't turn to trans fats at high heat the way olive oil does. I also like the texture it gives to baked goods that call for oil.

      And thank you for reading "The Prodigal Son Returns" to the end! I know Amish fiction doesn't appeal to everyone. I hope you like the next one :)

    2. I surprised myself making it through the debut book too but once I got into it I was hooked. August is a bad time IMO to be reading about a group with no air conditioning LOL - sometimes I look for a Christmas/winter story when the weather turns hot just to escape!

    3. You're in luck, Susanna! "A Mother for His Children" takes place in January through spring. I wondered why the Love Inspired editors scheduled it for August - and now I know. It's for people like you :)

  2. Wow! Beautiful photos! I happen to love coconut and can't get enough so this is wonderful!~


  3. Oh! And you signed your third contract too!~ Congratulations.

  4. Congratulations, Jan!!! Definitely worth a celebration!!

    Love these muffins. And love that the new book is out!!

    I also want one of those burros! He's so cute!!

    1. The burros come in all sorts of colors. Later in the spring there will be foals running around, too. The mamas don't bring them near the road until they're older, so we don't get to see the bitty babies.

      And thank you! Yes, we are celebrating :)

  5. I love the burro too. How cute and he's chocolate brown. Who knew?

    Congrats on your new contract and your soon-to-be release. I'm looking foward to reading that story.

    I love coconut but have never heard of coconut flour. Will have to try and hunt that down. Also -- what is truvia? An artificial sweetner? I'm curious because I saw a nutrition segement on a show and the nutritionist said that using artifical sweetners could still cause weight gain because it reacts in your body the same way as sugar. Something to do with insulin. Anyway, she said to just use sugar but in reduced amount.

    1. Truvia isn't an artificial sweetener. It's stevia (a plant that's naturally sweet) mixed with erythritol (a sugar alcohol that's used as a filler in the Truvia). You can also buy stevia extract in liquid form. Each drop is VERY sweet, so you only need a little. I use the Truvia because it measures one for one with sugar, so it's easy to substitute in recipes.

      The great things about stevia (and stevia with erythritol) is that it's a sweetener that doesn't spike your blood sugar and it isn't made from artificial chemicals.

      A lot of people can just reduce the amount of sugar they eat, and once I get to my goal weight I'll introduce some sugar back into my diet. But for losing weight, THM recommends eliminating all sugars from your diet (including honey and maple syrup). The Truvia makes it possible for me to say no to sugar :)

      But some stevia that's sold in bags (like Truvia baking blend) has malodextrine for a filler, and that ingredient can spike your blood sugar, so you want to avoid it.

      And you can easily make this recipe with sugar - just substitute the sugar for the Truvia one for one.

    2. I love Truvia! I've used it for a couple of years now. Tastes very close to sugar. I even like it sprinkled on berries.

    3. another hand up for Truvia! I use it in my hot tea and other stuff whenever I want sweetener.

  6. waiting until August stinks :-( i"m gonna pout!

    some of those pics look like my 'hike' from the other day! I have some virtual active hike dvds where they walk through and film like you're walking- one morning I did Northern Rockies :-) today was Lake Tahoe area (slower music LOL!)

    1. Those virtual active hike dvd's sound great - you mentioned them before. Do you have the name of them? If I ever get a treadmill again, I'd love to have something like that to use.

      And believe me, August will be here before you know it! :)

    2. they're Virtual Active - that's the name of the company. there's also a neat one on youtube from another place that's free if you can stand the ad banner - virtual hike/light jog Mistra Malta - this one is along a road but nice (and free!) virtual active's website is some are for running and biking. I wish they'd put more than 1 hike on each dvd but the downloads are more reasonable. I got some of the dvds but bough them from and she has sales usually every major holiday plus there's a code for videofitness website you can use 10off to save 10% on the dvd (these suckers are 19.95 so you need all the help you can get with a sale and discount code -the downloads I think are around $8. so far I've walked/bounced on my rebounder (and floor for the Trinity Mountain hike - that sucker was challenging!), pacific northwest (my fave scenery), lake tahoe several times, and northern rockies. :-)

      I'm afraid you're right about August- May is already here and with teh overtime this year time has gone by me. I'm seriously considering after being at this place for nearly 24 yrs - to leave. never seriously considered it but I'm tired of the rotating shift and dont' want all this overtime. Already May and I dont remember March and April...

    3. I'm afraid I'd sit in front of the TV to watch them! LOL

    4. Missy I've thought about doing that LOL! scenery is beautiful! of course we could just get Jan to strap a webcam on her head and do the hikes for us! you can tell some on youtube were probably done that way - shaky walks LOL!
      Susanna who has ugly scenery in Houston

  7. BTW, Jan, you mentioned spring. I think we're past spring. It's pretty much summer here now. Trees are done blooming and everything is full green.

    1. Summer Missy? Really? We're just getting our first spring flowers.

      And there was snow up in the Hills last night. It's chilly enough in the house (and projected low of 36° tonight), so I'm thinking of starting a fire this afternoon!

  8. What do you know? I'm finally coherent enough to drop by the café. Jan, I can't wait until I'm able to eat these muffins. They look amazing. Then again, just about anything that's not in liquid form looks good to me lately.

    I'm SO EXCITED about your new contract. Even though I kinda already knew, we can never do enough celebrating. And I think Deadwood is a perfect setting. Can't wait to read it!