Carrot-themed recipes remind me of springtime and Easter—maybe because I tend to see a lot of product packaging with bunnies and carrots this time of year! I actually am not a big fan of raw whole carrots, but I do like raw shredded carrots. Strange, right? I’m not sure why! So I tend to have shredded carrots in salads mostly. But here’s another way you can use shredded carrots—in these tasty Carrot Spice Muffins! They’re dense and moist, with a mildly sweet-and-cinnamon-spice flavor. Raisins give them an extra punch of sweetness. And I really like how they rise so nicely!Continue reading
I’ve never been very crazy about raw carrots. But I do like them cooked or roasted. So when I found this recipe for Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots in my review copy of No Excuses Detox, I knew I wanted to make them! As the subtitle says, this book includes 100 recipes to help you eat healthy every day.
Written by Megan Gilmore, No Excuses Detox features recipes that are quick and easy, affordable, and yummy–not the kind of recipes you’d expect to find in a “detox” cookbook. In fact, I was surprised that there are recipes for lots of comfort food-type foods with a healthy twist–like Butternut Mac n’ Cheese, Skillet Breakfast Hash, Speedy Black Bean Burgers, and even Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Lots of great recipes to choose from! But the Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots recipe was calling my name and I had just bought some organic rainbow carrots at Whole Foods, so it was the perfect time for me to try this out.
I used large carrots when I made this, but you can slice your carrots or use baby carrots and if you do, your cooking time will only be about 10 minutes. Since I used large carrots I had to cook mine a little longer. So here’s the recipe–it’s a great way to eat your carrots!
CINNAMON-GLAZED CARROTS from No Excuses Detox
The addition of cinnamon and naturally sweet maple syrup makes these carrots taste like dessert, plus they can be ready in just 15 minutes!–Megan Gilmore
Makes 4 servings
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 pound baby carrots, sliced carrot coins, or halved large carrots
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of fine sea salt
In a Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 2 minutes. Add the water, which should start bubbling right away, and lower the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook the carrots for about 10 minutes, until fork-tender (note: since I used larger carrots, my cooking time was more like 15 to 18 minutes). Check the pot periodically to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate so the carrots don’t burn.
Once the carrots are tender, raise the heat to cook off any excess water, then stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt (adjust seasonings to taste). Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
There are other recipes I want to try in this book. It’s always nice when you can make great-tasting food that’s good for you, too. Do you have some favorite healthy recipes of your own?
Last fall, I made some homemade applesauce. I thought it was so much better than store-bought. After making that, I decided I needed to try making homemade apple butter sometime. Several friends have given me homemade apple butter the last few years–it makes a wonderful food gift, especially around the holidays. I discovered you can make apple butter with the slow cooker or on the stovetop, and for my first try I decided to make a stovetop version.
This recipe is really easy and it’s weetened with honey and apple juice or apple cider. You basically just put all the ingredients in a large pot and let it cook on low for an hour, until the apples get all tender and mashable. Then you let the mixture cool a little and puree to a smoother consistency in a food processor or blender. I love the cinnamony taste and I think that homemade apple butter, like homemade applesauce, is so much better than any you can buy!
STOVETOP APPLE CINNAMON BUTTER by NancyC
Makes 3 3/4 cups
- 8 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 8 medium, or 2 1/2 pounds)–I used Gala apples; if using organic apples, you can leave the skin on if you want
- 2/3 cup apple juice or apple cider
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large pot or saucepan, combine chopped apples with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, cover pot, and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes, then, in several batches, put mixture in blender and puree until smooth (be careful not to overfill your blender or food processor!).
Store in jars with tight-fitting lids or airtight food containers and refrigerate for up to one week.
This apple butter is great on toast, muffins, biscuits, and scones. You can stir it into plain or vanilla yogurt to flavor it up more, or layer it with yogurt and granola for a breakfast parfait.
Have you ever made your own homemade apple butter?
I’ve had homemade applesauce before, but this is the first time I’ve made my own. And let me tell you, it’s so much better than store-bought! It’s not as convenient as buying it, but I think it’s worth the extra effort to make homemade applesauce if you have the time. It’s really easy to make your own–the most time-consuming part is peeling the apples. After that, it’s just a matter of mixing the ingredients in a saucepan and letting it cook for 25 minutes until the apples are soft. If you like chunky applesauce like me, you can just use a potato masher to mash those apples into applesauce. If you like your applesauce smooth, you can puree the cooled apple chunks in a blender (you may have to do that in several batches).
I like sweetening my applesauce with honey or maple syrup. If you prefer using brown sugar, you can use that instead. The cinnamon and nutmeg also give this applesauce a great flavor.
HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup) by NancyC
Makes about 4 servings
- 8 cups (3 pounds) apples, peeled, cored, and chopped or sliced (this would be about 8-9 medium-size apples; use your favorite variety)
- 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or substitute 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
In a medium-size saucepan, combine apples, juice or cider, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir ingredients together, then cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, until apples are soft. Let apples cool, then mash them with a potato masher. Or you can puree them in a blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
You can serve this applesauce chilled as a side dish or snack. Or for dessert, heat it and use as a topping over ice cream. You can also serve it warm or cool at breakfast as a topping for pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, or a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt.
Have you made homemade applesauce before?
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Egg Nog is one of those foods that signal the beginning of the holiday season. I first noticed it this year in the grocery store about three weeks before Thanksgiving. I usually buy a few cartons during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and pretty much always have some left over after Christmas. Which is great, because it gives me an excuse to bake some egg nog goodies! Like these Egg Nog Mini Loaves, for example.
After having lots of super-sweet holiday treats, I was wanting something just a little sweet, and these little loaves turned out to be just the thing! They’re moist, slightly sweet, and have a mild egg nog flavor, so even those who aren’t crazy about egg nog may like them. These mini loaves rise really nicely, too (Note: I also tried making this recipe as a 9 x 5″ loaf, but since it sunk a little in the middle, I think it works best for mini loaves, and probably muffins, too).
If you’d like to sweeten these loaves up a little more, sprinkle on a dusting of powdered sugar after they’ve cooled or add an egg nog glaze on top (try the glaze that I used on these Egg Nog Muffins).
EGG NOG MINI LOAVES by NancyC
Makes three 5 x 3″ mini loaves
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup egg nog
- 1/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons rum extract
- Optional: Egg Nog Glaze
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour three 5 x 3″ mini loaf pans; set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In medium bowl, beat eggs, egg nog, yogurt, sugar, butter, and vanilla and rum extracts, blending well. Add this mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten.
Pour into prepared mini loaf pans. Bake at 350˚F for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I baked mine for 32 minutes).
Cool loaves for 10 minutes in pans, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. If desired, glaze with Egg Nog Glaze (click here for the recipe–I’ve used it before on some egg nog muffins).
As the holidays wind down, these Egg Nog Mini Loaves are the perfect treat with some coffee or tea. Hope you had an enjoyable holiday and wishing you a safe, healthy, and happy New Year!