Vegan Apple Carrot Muffins


*Edited to add that I feel like an entitled jerk blabbing about vegan muffins when there are a lot worse things going on in the world. We recently had a few hurricanes barrel through here and fortunately did not have as much damage as Hurricane Florence has caused in NC (although we did get bad flooding and crazy amounts of rain). If you are financially able, the following organizations are accepting donations for those affected by Hurricane Florence (you may also use Charity Navigator to find the appropriate organization of your choice).

United Way

ASPCA

The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund

Click here for a Forbes article on more ways to help.

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I used to run quite a bit when I was younger, but I've slacked off for the past couple of years (knee issues, plantar faciitis, lack of time, etc.). Recently, I decided I really needed to focus on doing something for myself and thought running would be a good idea. I'm easing back into it, mostly to ensure I don't have another round of plantar faciitis since it is so hard to get rid of and is so annoyingly painful. I got new running shoes, new inserts to ward off the dreaded PF, and I've started following a bunch of running accounts on Instagram. Yes, I know, I'm 13. BUT, before you make fun of me, I've actually found them really inspiring and they've led to a whole bunch of running podcasts that are also inspiring (Another Mother Runner, Running for Real, and I'll Have Another). Through these podcasts I found Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky's cookbook Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.

I ordered the cookbook (it wasn't too expensive, so I went for it) and found the recipes to be fun, approachable, and made me want to make them! Most of the recipes are not too time intensive and the ingredients are not difficult to source, although some may be a little on the expensive side (but you can always substitute with what you have on hand). Granted, this is not a super fancy cookbook and you're not going to produce any Thomas Keller fancy pants meals (honestly, most days I just want to be able to put something that is somewhat healthy and resembles dinner on the table).

I do have an issue with the Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipe though; the cheese sauce is always going to be lumpy if you don't make a simple roux to combine with the milk and cheese. I'm not sure why this step was left out. A roux is a simple mixture of cooked flour and butter. You add the milk when the roux is ready and it creates a creamy, thick sauce that helps stabilize the cheese. You can make a vegan roux (oil and flour), or even a gluten free roux (GF flour and butter).

Whatever, they have a cookbook and I don't. Roux-less Mac and Cheese aside, the cookbook does what it set out to do; provide the reader with a bunch of easily thrown together recipes that are simple, healthy, and tasty.

In the breakfast portion of the book, there are three types of muffins that I really wanted to try out. I thought I would start with the apple carrot muffin, but when I went to start the recipe, I noticed I was out of old fashioned rolled oats (I do have fast oats, but those would not work). Shucks! Still, I was on a path of apple carrot muffins, so I decided to adapt a carrot-raisin muffin from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. They turned out great and satisfied my craving for a carrot apple muffin, but I'm the only one eating them so far...the kids and dad took a hard pass.

Carrot Apple Brekky Muffins

adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance

Ingredients

1/2 c raisins (optional, but good)

1 3/4 c Whole Wheat Flour (or your choice of GF cup for cup flour)

2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground nutmeg

1/4 c white sugar

1 c almond milk

1/4 c olive oil or coconut oil

1 t vanilla

2 c grated carrots

1 grated granny smith apple

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line muffin tin with muffin holders.

2. If using raisins, soak in a bowl of hot water while you assemble the muffins.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Since you can't really sift whole wheat flour, you could sift the baking powder and baking soda into the flour to ensure there are no lumps and bumps. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix until combined, taking care not to overmix the batter. Fold in grated carrots and apples. Drain raisins and add to the mixture. Batter will be wet due to the moisture from the carrots and apple.

4. Spoon batter into muffin tins; you can fill these guys up almost to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. My muffins took about 22 minutes.

5. Let muffins cool in tin for a few minutes or until they are cool enough to handle and then you can transfer them to a cooling rack.

These are not a hit with kids, but I liked them as a healthy addition to breakfast or as a snack to keep me full until a real meal.


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