Adapt, Apply

Disease-fighting Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s pumpkin season!  As soon as the crisp fall air hits here in the northeast, I immediately want pumpkin everything.  Since Thanksgiving is already next week, I want to start baking and cooking up some fun fall recipes.  Besides pumpkins being pretty decor and fun to decorate, did you know pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals?


Pumpkin is rich in immune-boosting vitamins A and C.  It is a nutritious food to incorporate into your diet.  Magnesium is another significant component in pumpkin. Magnesium is essential for building strong bones to reduce risk of injury.  Other components in pumpkin, including potassium, help regulate blood pressure and prevent heart disease.  Pumpkin is also linked to protecting the brain and reducing stress.

Baking and Adapting

Baking can be a difficult task, even for those living without a disability or physical limitation.  As an OT practitioner, it is my role to take ordinary tasks and adapt them to better suit my clients needs.  I put a lot of thought into my recipe today to try to incorporate as many modifications as possible. Before I started baking the muffins, I looked at the amount of energy involved first.  Here are some energy conservation techniques I used:

Energy Conservation


I was excited to receive my weekly meal plan and grocery list tear-off pad today in the mail.  Meal planning is an easy way to keep track of your meals for the week to prevent indecisiveness and making unhealthy decisions.  I included this as an energy conservation strategy to teach people how efficient it is to plan ahead.


Pulling out all the ingredients before you begin helps conserve energy throughout your baking task.  I made sure to have all ingredients I needed laid out on the counter top so they were all conveniently located when I needed them.  Another way to conserve energy is to declutter your workspace.

This is a great trick, especially for individuals experiencing low vision. I rewrote my recipe in a larger font and used a clip hanger to hang in front of me while I was baking. I took the hanger straight from my closet so it cost me nothing to make this adaptation.


My Zyliss electronic can opener makes opening cans so much easier and comfortable.  It is faster and requires little energy, for all it takes is a click of a button.  This recipe calls for only 1 cup of pumpkin puree so you can tightly seal can with tin foil and place remainder in the refrigerator


If you read my last post Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili, I used this multi-function hand tool to mash up the ground turkey.  In this recipe, I was able to use it to mash the bananas (don’t worry I washed it very well).  Pro tip for one-handed users: place bowl on a piece of non-slip dycem to stabilize bowl prior to mashing.

Happy Baking!

Sometimes the roles reverse and I learn something new from my clients like this egg cracking trick.  I have a client with Parkinson’s disease who loves to bake.  He told me you should never crack an egg on the dish/bowl/pan etc. you are adding the egg to.  It is best done right on the counter.  Make sure to wipe surfaces clean to prevent contamination.


Disease-Fighting Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe


1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid form

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or gluten free flour)

1/2 cup dark semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Gather all ingredients and place on workspace
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Grease muffin tin (I used coconut-oil spray). These can be made as mini muffins or regular-sized muffins depending on personal preference.
  4.  Whisk coconut oil and honey until combined.  Crack eggs individually and whisk into oil and honey mixture.
  5. Mash banana and add to bowl.  Add pumpkin puree, almond milk, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  6. Measure flour and add to other ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon until mixed well.  Add chocolate chips and fold into batter.
  7. Spoon batter into muffin tins and fill approximately 3/4 of the tin.  I used an ice cream scooper to fill the big tins and a spoon for the mini muffin tins.
  8. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for additional 15 minutes.  Check muffins by sticking a toothpick in the center.  Muffins are done if the toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove muffins from oven and place on a cooling rack or plate.  Enjoy once cool!

*Can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days or frozen.  To defrost, simply leave on counter top for 15 minutes or microwave for 10-20 seconds.

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