So the boys slept for 2.5 hours today! And what did I do? I’d love to say I cleaned all the things that need cleaning or maybe acknowledged the massive pile of laundry that is permanently installed in my hallway, but no. Instead I binged watched Shameless, had a cup of tea and ate two of these delicious muffins. Sorry not sorry.
As a stay-at-home-mom I make a lot of muffins. They are easy to make and travel well and something a toddler (and who are we kidding – everyone) always wants to eat. So when we were following a grain free diet I still wanted to make sure we had some of our favorites to keep us motivated. Learning to bake with almond and coconut flour has been a bit of a learning curve (ongoing!) but I absolutely love the taste and texture these ingredients give to the finished product.
This recipe produces a moist and fluffy – almost cake like – muffin. I love the flavor of orange and carrot together. Its a classic combination and the added cinnamon really brings out the flavor of the orange. You can add nuts and/or raisins to this as well for a more traditional carrot cake feel. If you’re looking for a grain free cupcake recipe, these are a great option as well – just add your favorite frosting.
Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins
A new way to enjoy a old favorite.
- 2 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- zest and juice of one large orange
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup grated carrots
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and grease or line your muffin tin.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond flour through nutmeg). Set this aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, honey, vanilla, orange juice and orange zest.
- Add the dry mix to the wet mix just until combined and then gently fold in the grated carrots.
- Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- This are best stored in the fridge up to 3 days.
I am a comfort food cook. I confess. I love hearty and indulgent meals, the kind you have to loosen your belt for. Sadly, I’m not 24 anymore and can’t eat like this all the time. BIG SIGH. Even now when we do crave one of these meals, I try to find alternatives that make them “a little” healthier. I developed this recipe when I was trying to reduce the amount of carbs we were eating (a stepping stone to grain free). I had been making the chicken parm meatballs for a while – for some reason I have never really been into traditional chicken parm – but have loved the meatballs. So when we were reducing our carbs, I was looking for ways to still keep those “indulgent” meals without “cheating”. I came up with the idea of using nuts instead of breadcrumbs and it worked! Not only did it work, but it tasted so much better. The nuttiness goes perfectly with the chicken and adds depth to the entire dish. I’ve tried this with a variety of nuts – pecans, hazelnuts – but have found that coarsely ground almonds to be the best for taste and texture. This recipe should feed 4 or enough for leftovers. I might add that these reheat beautifully or can be frozen, thawed and baked.
Grain Free Chicken Parm Meatballs
- 500 grams of ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard (my secret ingredient that helps bind and keep the meatballs moist)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 package of mini mozzarella balls
- 250g of almonds coarsely ground
- freshly grated parmesan for serving
- 1 jar of passata
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1/2 courgette
- 1/2 aubergine
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 200C. Put your chicken, mustard and seasonings in a bowl and mix until combined. Be careful to not over handle the chicken, this can make it tough. Form your meatballs. Using your thumb, press one ball of mozzarella into each meatball, then roll in ground almonds. Place your completed meatballs on a lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until the nuts are nice and toasted.
While the meatballs bake, make your sauce. Saute your onion, carrots, courgette and aubergine until soft, add your oregano and cook for another minute and then add your passata and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the meatballs are done. My boys don’t like “chunky” sauces so at this point I add some more water and then blend. You can do this too or leave it chunky – which is way better to mop up with toasty garlic bread… when you’re not totally grain free 🙂
Put some sauce on a plate, add your meatballs and grate some cheese over top. Ta da…even the toddlers will eat this up! I might add that these meatballs made without the mozzarella taste really nice too…I make them and serve over pureed celeriac with a pomegranate reduction. So make extra for the freezer and mix it up!
Since I was pregnant with the boys, I suffered from pretty bad sciatic pain. Last October I was looking into different treatments and ended up reading about how grains in our diet can cause inflammation in our bodies….interesting. I decided to try a 30 day grain free diet. It was so successful that we ended up going 60 days and I have not had any sciatic pain since.
Although it was successful, it meant changing up a lot of our diet. One of our favorite snacks was popcorn, and on this diet it wasn’t allowed – and too tempting just to make it for the boys! So I wracked my brain for easy, healthy and low mess snacks that the boys and I could have in the afternoon – and came up with chickpeas! I have been frying up chickpeas for snacks at dinner parties for a while and thought – why not for our snack? To make it a little healthier, I now bake mine – which is also helpful since I don’t have to stand over a stove while two wild children run about. You can add any kind of spices you like: garlic powder, paprika, curry, cayenne etc. I went for simple and classic but have tried different combinations in the past, all with great success! You can also do this with cooked lentils and other beans like kidney and cannelloni beans. Check out the recipe below.
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder for grain free or you could use regular corn starch
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 200C. Rinse and drain your chickpeas. Shake off the excess water then place on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with arrowroot or cornstarch and toss the chickpeas to coat. Drizzle olive oil over and toss again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you choose. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Check them and they should be crunchy, if not, put them in for another 5 minutes or so.
Ready to eat!
Ok…since I talked about them so much in the last recipe, I thought I’d share how I make my duck fat roasted potatoes.
- Salt & Pepper
- Duck fat or olive oil
Preheat oven to 200C and place a baking sheet or roasting pan inside. Take your potatoes, peel and chop into them chunks. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil with a cover on the pot. When it begins to boil take them off of the heat and drain. Put them back in the pot and shake them around in the pot a bit. The rough edges will help the potatoes to get nice and crispy. If your duck fat isn’t already melted, take a generous helping (you really can’t go wrong with adding too much fat) and place it in the heated roasting pan. If it is already melted, pour over potatoes and mix to make sure they are coated. Pour the potatoes onto the hot pan and put into the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them and turn them at about 25-30 minutes. If they are sticking to the pan, wait a few more minutes before trying to turn them. Remove from the oven and try not to just stand over the stove shoving them into your mouth – at least wait a few minutes…they’re hot.