Carrot Squash Ginger Muffins (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free)

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When I first started on my journey in grain-free cooking (to accommodate my husband’s strict SCD diet) over 5 years ago, one of the first cookbooks I discovered that made me believe our restricted ingredients could actually still yield delicious results, was the Grain-Free Gourmet by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass.  Although I typically enjoy cookbooks with pictures on every page, here, the recipes for grain-free pies, tarts, muffins and cakes had me so excited and motivated that I didn’t even care what the foods looked like, but just the knowledge that these recipes existed gave me hope (and there are plenty of nice pictures, just not every page!). One of the first recipes I tried from Grain-Free Gourmet, all those years ago, was the recipe for carrot muffins, because we all need a good, easy carrot muffin recipe to fall back on…After trying several variations of the original recipe, my favorite has become my Carrot Squash Ginger muffins. I prefer the resulting texture of the carrot-squash combo, and I think the added ginger adds an interesting and unexpected kick.  Although the consistency of this muffin is a not as fluffy as a typical gluten-filled baked-good, this moist and delicious treat is a favorite side dish, breakfast food and snack, at my house.

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Carrot Squash Ginger Muffins

Ingredients:

2 medium or 3 small carrots, cut in chunksIMG_4362

approximately 1/2 butternut squash, cut in chunks

*total combined carrots and squash grated should be about 3 cups

sugar-cube sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled

2 eggs

1 tablespoon water

1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2.5 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

IMG_4365Preheat the oven to 325 and line 30 mini muffins with parchment baking cups. Place carrots and butternut squash in food processor (I use S blade) until very finely shredded. Make sure the combined ingredients yield approximately 3 cups of grated vegetables (extra can be reserved for other recipes, soups, etc).  Add ginger, eggs, water, honey and lemon juice into food processor until well blended. If your machine has room, you can add in all other ingredients. If not, mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add the wet ingredients.

IMG_4375Fill each muffin liner about 2/3 high, and bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out dry. Try one right out of the oven, it tastes so good!

 

IMG_4414yield: 30 mini muffins or 12 regular size

Tip: high quality almond flour makes a major difference in the quality of grain-free baked goods. I buy mine from wellbees.com for great quality and better prices (especially when buying in bulk)

5 Minute Honey Mustard Roasted Chicken

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I have always found honey and dijon mustard to be a delicious, no-fail duo. Whether for a chicken, salmon or london broil marinade, salad dressing or dip, the sweet and tangy combination always provides great flavor. A few years ago, I was hoping to take my predictable honey roasted chicken recipe up a notch, so I did what I always do when searching for cooking inspiration, I headed on-line.  I somehow came across the recipe for Honey Baked Chicken at allrecipes.com which intrigued me because of the addition of curry powder to the honey mustard dressing.  Not having any curry powder, I tried it with turmeric and the result was AMAZING! I served it one Friday night for dinner, and for the first time ever, I barely had enough chicken because everyone kept taking more. I was so excited to have found such an easy recipe (it only took me 5 minutes to prepare) that was so full of flavor.  Besides for switching turmeric for curry, I have adapted the original recipe a few ways, including substituting olive oil for butter to make it kosher and healthier (I also cut the amount of fat in half), and by slightly reducing the honey to save some calories.  This unbelievably easy and delicious dish has come to be a regular at my Friday night table

 5 Minute Honey Mustard Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken cut into 10

IMG_42821 large onion sliced in rings

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

3 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of baking pan with onion rings and garlic cloves.IMG_4299
Lay chicken pieces, skin side up, over onions and garlic. Mix together all remaining ingredients (salt, turmeric, honey, olive oil and mustard) and “paint” over chicken. Bake uncovered about an hour and 15 minutes. Baste with juices at least once during cooking, best after first 30 minutes of baking.

 

Tip: Chicken can be prepared in marinade the night before to really intensify the flavor (and also to save 5 minutes of preparation on a busy Friday)!IMG_4320