Claire’s Spiced Carrot Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

I’ve been on the market for a new breakfast food.  Around this time I’m kind of done with oatmeal and its variants.  Granola and cereal just don’t seem appealing these days.  I can only eat so many eggs per week and the fun breakfast foods, i.e. pancakes, waffles and the more decadent players, are pretty much reserved for weekends.  Then I thought about a breakfast muffin.  I wanted something substantial, in that it was filling, nutritious, delicious and minus all the sweetness.  As I was thinking about this fantasy muffin, my daughter Claire was chewing on a raw carrot, an impromptu teething ring.  From there my imagination grew to include nuts and spices and oats.  No, these are not seasonal flavors, but they certainly satisfied my need for another breakfast option!

Let’s talk about carrots.  Most of us associate this incredible vegetable with good vision.  While they may be beneficial for our eyes (surprisingly not so much research has been done in this particular area), it seems carrots have much more to offer.  They are super-high in Vitamin A which is good for lung health and are potent anti-carcinogens, too.  All carrots, purple, red, orange, yellow, have incredible anti-oxidant properties.  This is important because anti-oxidants protect our cells from oxygen-based damage, especially critical in our cardiovascular systems.

“Antioxidant nutrients in carrots are believed to explain many of the cardioprotective benefits provided by these root vegetables. The many different kinds of carrot antioxidants are most likely to work together and provide us with cardiovascular benefits that we could not obtain from any of these antioxidants alone if they were split apart and consumed individually, in isolation from each other. The synergistic effect of carrot antioxidants is a great example of a whole food and its uniqueness as a source of nourishment.“*

That last bit is really important to keep in mind.  Read it again!  I couldn’t have said it better!

You’ll need:

3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 C spelt flour

1/4 C oat flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 t ground cardamom

1/4 t ground ginger

Pinch of sea salt

2 organic eggs

1/2 C maple syrup

1/3 C olive oil

1 t vanilla extract

2 cups grated carrot, (about 4-5 carrots)

1/2 C pecans, chopped and toasted

1/2 C golden raisins

a handful of rolled oats to top muffins

To make:

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Toast the pecans in a small sauté pan over low heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Combine dry ingredients (first 10) in a large bowl.

3. In the meantime, whisk eggs, maple syrup, olive oil, in a small bowl.  Add carrots and stir well.

4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir gently until just incorporated.  Fold pecans and raisins into batter.  (The trick to moist, yummy muffins is to NOT over mix!)

5. Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups and top with some oats.  Bake for about 25 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

*www.whfoods.org (emphasis, mine)


Butternut Squash Muffins (from February 13, 2012)

(adapted from Jamie Oliver’s, Jamie at Home)  makes 12 regular muffins or about 40 mini-muffins 

You’ll need:

1 lb butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 C coconut palm sugar
4 large eggs-free range and organic preferable
1 C spelt flour
1/2 C oat flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg 
Pinch of sea salt 
1 C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2/3 C extra virgin olive oil*

To Make: 

1. Place squash in a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Add sugar and eggs and pulse to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, add flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.  Whisk to combine well.  Then add to food processor and pulse to process 5 times.  Scrape down sides if necessary.
3. Add olive oil in a steady stream as food processor is mixing batter.  Process just until all is evenly combined.  Try not to overprocess!  Just looking to combine everything together.
4. Fill paper cases in muffin tin with batter.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  (If using mini-muffin tins it’ll be more like 15-20 minutes.)  Check to see if muffins are done by piercing with a toothpick in the center of center muffin for 5 seconds.  If it comes out clean, you’re in business.  Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
5. Enjoy!
*Coconut oil works great,too!