Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My man and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last month.

Nine! Where did time go?

I am utterly surprised that my husband still looks at me with amazingly bright eyes and is still in love with me. For some reason he likes being married to a neurotic woman with an obsession for ketchup and oatmeal. Not together…separate. Anyways I digress, I really think I got the better end of the deal. He is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me. Well, except at 5am when he sings random songs like “Highway to Hell” or “Baby Got Back”. (Really…we should have no singing rules until well after 8am, right? Right? or at LEAST after coffee!)

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But honestly, anniversaries like this remind me that time is passing so quickly. I hope that I can breathe in as many details of my life and not take things for granted.  I want to laugh more and not take things so seriously. (Except the singing before 8am…I take that very seriously.)

For our anniversary, my husband got me a Vitamix (the ridiculously amazing and over-the-top blender that does everything that you ever imagined, including make creamy nut butter, process ice cream, puree smooooooth soups, grind fine flours, clean your house, complement your hair, and check your email). This blender is sheer madness!!!!  She’s like a personal assistant…that is also your best friend and doesn’t annoy you…ever.

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

What was one of the first things I did with my Vitamix? No smoothies. I made oat flour and then made carrot and apple muffins. Ya, you heard me…muffins. Real muffins, not smoothie muffins. Well…I didn’t bake the muffins in the Vitamix.  C’mon! Ridiculous. That’s the next version…the easy bake Vitamix.

I created these quick gluten-free carrot and apple muffins by placing chunks of carrots and apples in the bottom of the high-speed blender and slowly processing them until they were finely shredded. It took 15 seconds! SECONDS! And you save your fingers! This step could also be done in a food processor, or with a grater.  But it won’t take 15 seconds….maybe 1 minute more. Not bad at all.

The resulting muffins are moist and delicate. They are perfect for breakfast. You could even top them with a cream cheese frosting and serve them as cupcakes for dessert. I will definitely be turning this recipe into a cake soon. Especially since I can cut down the prep time with my blender!

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Needless to say, although I thought that these high-speed blenders were a bit over the top, I’m not complaining that this beauty is now sitting on my counter waiting for me to make my next magical concoction.

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium apples, cored and cut into eighths
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup oat flour (from ground gluten-free rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces

Instruction

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place muffin liners in 9 cups of a muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. Place carrots and apples in the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender. Process on low until carrot and apple are diced into fine pieces. Add eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, greek yogurt, and vanilla to food processor or blender. Process or pulse until everything is well mixed.
  3. Place all dry ingredients (except walnuts) in a separate large bowl and whisk together.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir all together until just mixed and no dry ingredients remain. Stir in walnuts.
  4. Spoon about 1/4-cup portions into each muffin tin liner. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350F, or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the center of a muffin. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 days. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

Note – Recipe adapted from Edible Perspectives.

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Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free)

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Granola is where it’s at people! I’m in deep smit with this stuff…. but first let me tell you about my week!

My life was relaxing and simple this past week. I spent four gloriously relaxing days in Boothbay Harbor, Maine with friends in a seaside house that my amazing friend Lisa rented. It’s her favorite happy place and I’m eternally grateful that she shared the experience.

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I would wake up to a crisp breeze and the smell of the ocean. I would meander downstairs to the side room where light poured in through the million windows that faced the ocean and side yard.  I relaxed with fresh coffee, cool air, and great company. Breakfast consisted of greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and a friend’s homemade granola. This was perfectly light and fresh and served as the perfect fuel for each day. Then we would begin our days with long and beautiful walks along the seaside, over the ocean-worn rocks, and through forested trails. We would end the days sitting on a seaside dock with cool breeze, fresh lobstahs, wine, and plenty of laughter. It was perfect.

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It’s ok to be jealous… I’m jealous of my memories. I want more of it. Four days wasn’t enough!

I was so thankful that my friend Susan brought her granola along to share! Everyone needs a great granola recipe in their pocket. It’s the perfect topping for yogurt and also a great portable snack to bring along hikes or…. to Maine! Never leave home without it. It should on the top of a list of the 10 essentials to bring on a trip….right up there with your compass. Am I right?

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I decided to share my person granola recipe that I have tweaked and twisted around through the years. I really like adding as many goodies in my granola as possible.  From batch to batch, they taste different depending on what I have on hand in my cupboards.  This recipe is an adaptation of many many many recipes that I have used over the years. The main twist is that I use a trick from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, where an egg white is used to retain large clusters in the granola. The protein in the egg white are a great binding agent and cut down on the amount of oil needed.

Also, I like to kick up the nuts and seeds ratio and lower the amount of sweetener. Nuts and seeds increase the protein content of the granola which helps keep you satiated and controls blood sugar spikes. This recipe also only has 1/2 cup of sweetener.  I prefer to use maple syrup as the sweetener because it adds a great warming aroma and flavor to the granola, while being a 100%-natural sweetener.  You could also use honey or coconut palm sugar.

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And let’s NOT forget about the spices! Cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and crystallized ginger are great additions, providing a warm punch of autumnal love to this healthy granola.  I added a handful of dried cranberries to the end mixture for great tart/sweet combo.  Dried cherries and/or dried apple chunks would also be great additions.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I love this granola in fist fulls or sprinkled on top of greek yogurt with fresh fruit or applesauce. I have also eaten it as homemade cereal.  It’s also an easy and quick dessert option sprinkled on baked fruit.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free)

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 cups assorted nuts and seeds (I like a variation/mixture of different nuts and seeds such as pistachios, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup diced candied ginger

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients except egg white, cranberries, and candied ginger in a large bowl and mix well. Whisk the egg white in a separate small bowl until lightly frothy. Pour over granola and mix well.
  3. Spread out the granola mixture evenly onto prepared baking sheet. Place on middle rack in oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, lightly mix and try to not break up too many of the yummy granola clusters. Return to oven and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Mix in cranberries and candied ginger. Place in an airtight container and keep tasty for up to 3 weeks!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Remember that time that you thought you tasted the best zucchini bread ever?

I think you were wrong. I’m so sorry to bust your bubble… but….

THIS gluten free zucchini bread recipe that I am presenting to you today is literally the best zucchini bread I have eeeever had. literally.

Ever. Had.

I’m serious. And I sort of think of my self as a zucchini bread expert. Not to brag, but I’m a bit of a big deal in the zucchini world. Just saying.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But back to these muffins. These are soooooo good. And they are gluten free and only made with two types of flour: oat flour and almond flour. Ya. Gettyup!

After my first bite of these gluten free zucchini and chocolate chip studded muffins that are sweetened with pure maple syrup…I had to sit down, regain composure, and do a double take…and then shove the rest of it in my mouth. Gluten free eaters and gluten lovers alike will be amazed. They are moist, light, and fluffy.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I was really really really sad when I was finished with my muffin. It was the “watch your childhood best friend move away and all you could do is run to your room and write a letter as soon as possible so that she had it waiting for her when she got to her new home” kind of sad. And then I realized how thankful I was that there were 11 muffins left…shhhhhhh! I can’t say it too loud, or others will here and come steal my little precious precious precious zucchini muffins and their melty delicious chocolate chip bitsies.

Snack time just got a HUGE boost. You are welcome!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Note – I made these muffins with a white skinned zucchini that I bought at the farmers market. Although the white skinned version was easier to shred, I missed the green flecks of zucchini skin in my muffins. But if you have pick eaters in your family, removing the skin of the zucchini or using a white skinned zucchini is a great way to add this vegetable to muffins without them knowing. Muahahha.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins (Gluten Free and Dairy Free Option)

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated zucchini meat (try to avoid the seeds)
  • 2 cups GF oat flour (grind 2 cups of GF rolled oats in a food processor to a fine oat flour)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened (or melted and cooled coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or applesauce)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Remove items from refrigerator to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place paper liners in 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside.
  3. Shred zucchini (with or without skin) in a bowl. Press with a clean towel to remove excess moisture. Set aside covered and allowing to drain.
  4. Place oat flour and almond flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a food processor or mixer, beat eggs for 1 to 2 minutes or until frothy. Add maple syrup and butter and process an additional minute until well incorporated. Add greek yogurt and vanilla. Pulse until combined.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix together until just combined (don’t over mix). Gently stir in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips. Allow to rest for 1 minute.
  7. Fill muffin tins to 3/4 full. Place muffin tin on middle rack in preheated oven. Back for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tops are browned and slightly cracked. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack for at least 30 minutes (if you can!). Get ready for zucchini muffin heaven!

Note –

1. This recipe was inspired and adapted from Edible Perspectives Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cake.

2. Dairy Free – sub out the greek yogurt for applesauce and use coconut oil instead of butter. Dairy free chocolate chips can also be used in place of the regular chocolate chips.

3. These muffins will freeze well for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in microwave for 30 second intervals. Makes a quick and easy breakfast or after school/work snack.

Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Some days can go by without me noticing what the date actually is. But August 8th and August 9th never go by without me knowing. These dates creep up every year with a solemn presence to signify a defining moment.

Twenty six years ago, on 8/8/88, was the last day that my father was alive. As most dads do, he was a man that carved out a significant spot in my life despite being present for only 8 years of my life. I wanted to be just like him…loud, smart, athletic, intuitive, mechanical, reckless, thoughtful, artistic, funny, and tenacious.

This year, instead of focusing on his death, I want to celebrate his life. I want to celebrate his last day,  August 8th. I want to put a positive spin on these dates instead of remembering them morosely and feeling as though these dates also signify the death of my childhood.

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sorry to put a downer on today’s parade, but I’m hoping to bring it quickly up with an Ice Cream party. A BOURBON Butter Pecan Ice Cream Party to be exact. Butter pecan ice cream was my father’s favorite flavor. We would take long summer drives to the local Braum’s ice cream store in Oklahoma and share a butter pecan mix. This flavor gives me INSTANT childhood love and gratification.

So what better way to improve on any ice cream party than with BOOOZY ice cream. I think my dad would have approved of the boozy bourbon addition…in fact I KNOW he would have doubly approved. He probably would have even drizzled more on top like a bourbon float…hooooyah! Come and get it. So grab a spoon and dig in. Raise your ice cream goblets and glasses to THE man, Jimmy “James” “Jim” Hinman!

Cheers to you, Jimmy Hinman, and the brilliant and quick-burning roman candle life that you had. You touched so many lives in the short amount of time that you were alive. I’m jealous of those that knew you longer than I did, but thankful for the time that I did have.  You are missed every minute. 

Bourbon Butter Pecan // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pecans for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add butter and turn off heat. Stir until butter is melted and pecans are coated. Sprinkle salt over pecans. Remove buttered pecans to a plate and allow to cool. Once they are cooled, store pecans in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Place a large sealable container in the freezer. The ice cream mixture will go in this container when it is ready.
  3. Combine cornstarch with a few tablespoons of milk in a medium to large bowl. Whisk together until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and there are no more clumps. Add the egg yolks and whisk mixture together. Set aside.
  4. Heat milk, cream, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes just to a boil. Remove saucepan from heat. Ladle a little bit of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly because you do not want to scramble the eggs. You are tempering the egg mixture. Add a few more ladles at a time of the milk mixture until the egg mixture is warmed and thoroughly combined. Now add the warmed egg mixture to the milk mixture in the sauce pan, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes. Do NOT allow to boil. The mixture will become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (170 to 175°F ).
  5. Pour custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla and bourbon to taste. Place syran wrap on the surface of the custard in the bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  6. After the mixture is completely cool, process it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions until almost firm. Pour in the buttered pecans and allow to process in the ice cream maker for about 5 more minutes. Transfer the ice cream to the pre-frozen airtight container and store in the freezer. Prior to serving, remove from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes.