I recently started volunteering with Cooking Matters. This is a program growing across the country to provide food and health education. I’m part of a 6-week class for parents of pre-schoolers. Each week the class goes over a new topic, like how to read nutrition labels, explaining different types of fats, whole grains, etc., and then we cook some recipes based on the day’s lesson. As a support volunteer, I facilitate the class, set up ingredients, wash lots of dishes, and generally help out whenever I can. So far it’s been a great experience. I’m learning new recipes, remembering why certain foods are “always” foods and certain foods are “sometimes” foods, and exploring new environments.
Last week we were talking about whole grains and fiber. As part of the meal we made a side dish of carrot muffins. Essentially little totable carrot cakes. Except they’re vegan. And low-fat. And the participants, volunteers, and the kids all loved them.
I bought the ingredients and made a batch to test it out at home. And then another batch. They’re a great addition to our grab-and-go breakfast rotation. I know it’s hard to believe (wink, wink), but sometimes we do get sick of oat squares. Of course, I can never leave a recipe well-enough alone. So here is my interpretation of these healthy makeover muffins.
They were a nice addition to a recent potluck picnic. Even though my friends are not taking Cooking Matters classes, they somehow all brought along healthy options full of whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins. These muffins were a great “dessert” at the picnic. I had every intention of photographing them outside, resting in the grass, or being devoured by a fellow picnicker. But then I got there, and saw this spread and all the lovely people. And thoughts of food photography were completely pushed from my mind. Oh well. There are many more important things in life. You can see them in the blue tupperware. (Someone else brought muffins in a bag – also delicious.) Next time I make these muffins I’ll add a “final product” photo.
Carrot Zucchini Muffins
makes 12 muffins
1-2 medium carrots
1 small zucchini
1 c. canned crushed pineapple in juice (not syrup)
5 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin pan or use muffin papers to line pan. Don’t forget to grease the top of the pan as well.
2. Rinse and peel carrot. Use box grater to shred carrot and zucchini. You should have about 1 c. of shredded vegetable.
3. In a medium bowl combine carrot and zucchini, pineapple, oil, water and vinegar. Stir well to combine.
4. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients: all-purpose and whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, nutmeg and brown sugar. Mix well to combine.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until everything is well mixed.