Whole Grain Carrot Muffins

I'm totally distracted by lots and lots of things in my life.  At the moment my big distraction is that I have no one to go to a concert with me.  I'm gutted.  I desperately want to go and see Kate Nash who is in town next week.  I sent a call out to my cyberworld friends and sadly, have gotten no response.  D is not into K enough to go to the show although, to be fair, we haven't talked about it yet.  Kate is definitely just weird enough to be just a smidge inaccessible to most pop-loving north americans but not weird enough to make it into the super fringe crowd.  Her music speaks to me.  She seems unafraid to be a 'hysterical' female.  I'm itching to go and it's my March Break week... do I go by myself... it's pretty late in the night... I'd feel weird standing there alone...
Then I thought about how far the tables have turned... and in the weirdest way.  When I was in university I was the girl that didn't go out.  I stayed home.  I put my favourite CD in the disk player and plugged in the headphones.  I would lie on the couch and get lost in the sound.  I would read.  I would go to church.  I would grab the local and free newspaper and read about what was going on... I would never do it.  My friends would ask me to do stuff... I wouldn't.  Sometimes I would go to a movie - usually either while I was supposed to be in class (ie. during the day) or at midnight (I wasn't afraid of the movie theatre... just of some movies).  Mostly I went to friends places for dinner if I did anything at all.  Once.  ONCE!  My friend dragged me kicking and screaming (and terrified on the inside) to a Bare Naked Ladies concert.  It was fun but I felt lost, I didn't know what to do.
It's taken me many years to be okay with not knowing what to do, to stop worrying about whether I looked the part and to actually let myself want to do something.  I am now at the stage of life when most of us slow down - kids, work, home - and yet now I feel finally ready to get out there and do somethings.  Let me be clear, I still don't want to do a lot.  I'm not and probably never will be much of a party person.  But there are some things that I just want to do.

It's weird how life does that to you.  Just when you feel good about yourself and you're ready to put it out there you discover that your boat just set off from dock and you're scrambling to find another solution.  I don't know if you've ever found yourself in that situation.  Wondering how it is in your circle of friends or in your family that you are the only one who's giving a crap about some special thing or whatever.  Thing is, I'm one week away from a great show and I've got no date.  Should I consider hiring someone?  Do I ask someone to go who doesn't know KN at all - then I have to explain her or feel all apologetic when she's not what they expected.  Do I just not go?  I can get her music online after all... it's not the end of the world right?
While contemplating my dilemma I made these muffins.  Muffins are still weird for me because I feel like they are cupcake's boring cousin except... they're not.  Aside from not rising as much as I might have preferred in a perfect muffin world, these were great.  I sat with a cup of coffee (which I'm drinking again for those with an interest) and let the carrot muffin pieces in my mouth lull my into a false sense of 'ok'.

Whole Grain Carrot Muffins adapted from Good to the Grain
makes about 8 - 10 medium sized muffins

Streusel: (I only used about half of this for the muffins - the other half can go in the freezer for next time)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp spelt flour
2 tbsp oat bran (I used quick oats instead)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp (or so) cold, unsalted butter, cubed


1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup oat bran (I used a mixture of bran and quick oats 'cause that's what I had)

1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg

Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl and using your fingers, pinch together the ingredients until they form a crumbly texture.  Do this quickly and then set aside in the fridge until needed.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line a muffin tin with about 10 liners and set aside.
Combine the flours, oat bran, both sugars, allspice, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together.  Mix just until combined.  Add the shredded carrots and mix until the carrots are mixed and coated with the dry ingredients.
In another bowl combine the buttermilk, melted butter and egg together and whisk until the ingredients are combined and just a little frothy.  Add to the flour mixture and stir together just until everything has incorporated to form a wet batter.
Fill each muffin cup just to the brim with the batter.  Sprinkle a generous amount of streusel on top of each muffin (about 2 tbsp or so, if you can manage it).
Bake for about 32 - 35 minutes, turning half way through baking.
Cool slightly before removing from the pan.
Keeps for about 2 days.

Turnip and Kale Soufflé

I know that what you are supposed to do is post all of the links that you wish people would read on Friday.  That way, when everyone is not working (on the weekend) they can check out all of the cool ass links that you've been reading yourself ('cause you're a cool ass person).  This is the correct order of things.  The way the blogiverse is supposed to work.  Except it doesn't work for me.  During the week I'm not reading online.  I'm working.  If I'm not working then I'm drinking ('cause it's late already and the kids are in bed).  If I'm not drinking then I'm reading - not online but in my bed... 'cause I'm tired and 'cause I actually read books still.  This being both my reality and my dilemma, I find myself not catching up on anything online until the weekend when I can catch up with all the links that every other blog known to the western world has posted.
Another thing that you are not supposed to do is post a crap load of links along with a recipe.  I guess that the thinking is that we readers need things to be compartmentalized for us.  It's easier to take in all of those links when there is not also a recipe to deal with.  It muddy's up the pictures as well (which are optional with a 'link' post.  Here I've even gone and messed that up.  The blogiverse may kick my cool ass for doing things this way and I'm ok with that.  I've got to send it out the way I get it.  I have the weekend time not just to read but to cook so I'm throwing them both your way.  I'm guessing that you're gonna be able to tackle it.

Holy Sugar - Can I just tell that I laughed and then nearly cried when I read this.  I just get his angle.

Then I read this article and it put a more political slant on the whole parenting 'over-kill' that we live in.

This girl loves every single one of her pounds.  She still runs.  She does it because she loves feeling good.

Here is an example of what is possible when we say no to GMO's and all the crap that comes with them.  Will we all starve?

Ah.. I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch what you said.  I thought that you just suggested that we SELL expired food to poor people.  Oh wait... you did just say that out loud.

And then there is the side dish that has been served with a kick ass roasted chicken, carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy.  The poor turnip and I are working at our relationship.  We've been negligent recently but if nothing else we are motivated to change.  We have agreed not to stop trying until we've found something that works for both of us.  This dish has been a positive step in our work together.

Turnip and Kale Soufflé adapted from Saveur
serves 6 - 8 as a side dish

2 1/2 - 3 cups turnip (peeled and diced), boiled 8 - 10 minutes in salted water and then mashed
3 1/2 cups kale or spinach greens, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
5 eggs, separated
5 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter an 8 inch round baking dish and set aside.
Have the mashed turnip ready (mine was still warm which turns out perfectly).
Using a mixer (hand or standing, doesn't matter) whip the egg whites until they are about tripled in size and form hard peaks.  Set aside
Heat a large pot over medium/low heat.  Add the butter until the butter melts.  Add in the flour and whisk until it forms a thick paste.  Add the cream and remove from the heat.  Whisk until it forms a slightly less thick paste but shouldn't be clumpy.
Add in the greens and the mashed turnip.  Mix everything well.  Add in the egg yolks, salt, nutmeg and parmesan.  Mix well.
Gently begin to mix in the egg whites.  Start with a smallish amount and gently fold in.  Continue to fold in the whites gradually until the egg whites have been entirely incorporated.  The mixture should be about double it's original size.
Pour into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the top with a little extra parmesan and bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until the middle of the soufflé feels almost completely firm when you press on it and the top should be golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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