Carrot Muffins

Dino Carrot Muffins

You can bring food to a toddler, but can you get him to eat? In my case, the answer is usually no, especially if it is veggies. I have taken to hiding veggies, but somehow he manages to eat around them. The only success I have had is to take those veggies, shred them beyond recognition and put said veg into a baked good.

Last week some random catalog had dinosaur chocolate molds, so I knew there had to be something  that I could bake muffins in. Thanks to Amazon and those geniuses at Nordicware, I am the proud owner of a dinosaur muffin pan and hopefully will successfully get those veggies into my toddler.

These muffins are super healthy – I swapped 2 cups of flour for a combo of oat bran, flax meal, and whole wheat flour. I cut the sugar down by over 1/2 and subbed out 1/2 the oil for apple sauce. They are tasty, and most important they have a serving of veg in them. Best of all – this recipe is super quick.

1/2 c oat bran
1/2 c ground flax
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
2 c shredded carrots (I do it pretty fine to disguise the veg)
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c shredded coconut
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c apple sauce
1 shredded apple (or 1/2 c more applesauce)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients with a whisk. Add carrots, nuts, raisins and coconut to flour and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs, then beat in sugar, oil, vanilla, apple sauce and apple.

Line or spray your muffin tins.

Mix wet with dry ingredients. Scoop into prepared muffin tins or pan, an ice cream scoop works great.

Bake for 20 min. Muffins are done when toothpick comes out clean or a cake tester (oxo makes a great one).

Cool in pan for 5 min then move muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

These freeze beautiful and produce about 24 muffins. Best of all my toddler loves them!

Dinosaur Muffin Pan

Apple Rum Cake

Apple Rum Cake

My husband loves apple pie, but pie always seems like so much work, and frankly this cook loves cake. This cake is a good middle ground for both cake and pie lovers. I use as many different varieties of apple as I can, but if you only have one that is fine. This is adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Special Equipment:
8 inch spring-form pan

Nice to Have Equipment:
Apple corer
Apple peeler

1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
3 TBSP rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 slick butter (8 TBSP), melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter the 8 inch spring-form pan.

Combine flours, baking power and salt with a whisk in a medium bowl.

Beat eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Whisk in sugar, vanilla and rum. Switch to a spatula and mix in 1/2 flour and 1/2 of the butter until well combined, then stir in remaining flour and butter.

Core and peel apples. Slice to about 1/2 inch thick, then cutu rounds into quarters. A mandoline makes quick work of the slicing.

Add the apples to cake batter and stir well. Pour into the prepared spring-form pan. Cook in oven for 45 – 60 min until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 10 min, then use an offset spatula or knife to run along the edge of the pan to loosen, carefully remove the spring-form and cool completely.

This cake serves 8 – 12.

4 WW PP (12 servings)

Rabbit Confit

When I was about 5 years old my Dad raised rabbits, we were allowed to play with the babies but not name them since they would soon be dinner. When it came time to butcher the bunnies, I would sing about how cute the bunnies were and how delicious they would be for dinner.

I love that we learned where our food actually came from, even though we lived in the suburbs. My Dad planted fruit trees, a garden, raised chickens and bunnies and my mom cooked almost everything from scratch, how many 6 year olds hate McDonald?

I still love rabbit, so when I saw this easy and decadent recipe in La Cucina Italiana I had to make it. I made a few changes – doubling the mashed potatoes and added more veggies.

1 3 lb rabbit cut up
2 lb butter, plus 2 TBSP
2 lb Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 c milk
1/4 c water
4 carrots, thinly sliced
4 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 bunch of green onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 lb asparagus, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 TBSP finely chopped parsley
2 tsp finely chopped thyme
1 tsp marjoram

Here is a great link on how to cut up a rabbit

Salt and pepper the rabbit and place in an oven proof 12 inch stock pot or casserole that has a tight fitting lid. You want the rabbit to fit snugly in the pan and 12 inch bottomed pots seems to work well.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put the butter in a 3 – 4 quart saucepan over low heat and simmer the butter for about 40 min, scraping off the foam with a slotted spoon every 15 min or so. It is done when it is clear and amber in color. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve over the rabbit in the large pot. Cut a parchment lid, place it on top of rabbit/butter, and put on the pots lid, slide into oven and braise for 3 hours until the rabbit is very tender.

Bunny in a butter hot tub
Bunny in a butter hot tub

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, toss in a 4 quart pot, pour water to cover plus 2 inches.

30 min before the rabbit is ready, put the pot with the potatoes on the stove over medium high heat and cook until tender, about 20 min. Drain and return to pan, add milk and mash until sooth.

Right after you pull the rabbit out of the oven start the veggies. Make sure you have everything cut and ready to go for the veggie step.

In a 12 inch skillet, melt butter over medium high heat, add water, onions, zuks and carrots, cook 2 min. Add asparagus and cook for 2 min longer. Remove from heat and stir in herbs

To plate, layer potatoes on the bottom of the plate or serving platter then spoon the rabbit over the potatoes and drizzle with the butter the rabbit was cooked in, and finish with veggies and another drizzle of the clarified butter.

Servers 4 – 6.