#Muffin Monday: Graham Cracker Muffins with Carrots and Raisins

fb5cd-muffin2bmonday2bcropIt’s time for another Monday filled with muffins!

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins to brighten their Mondays. There isn’t a theme to #MuffinMonday posts so anything goes, as long as it’s a muffin! (A big thank you to Kelly of Passion Kneaded for helping organize everything this month.)

You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday can be found on our home page.

Today’s muffin post was really supposed to be shared with another fun blogging group, Crazy Ingredient Challenge. This month’s ingredients were Graham Crackers and Carrots. I had all intentions to post with the group on the 20th but it never happened. (To see everyone else’s carrot & graham cracker combinations click here: 

My break from blogging over Easter weekend lasted into the week. My husband was out of town for work but my mom came to visit. And we had a blast! Instead of blogging at night, we were catching up on Once Upon a Time eating snacks and drinking mimosas. During the day we ventured to see the Hollywood Sign (I’ll probably do an entire blog post about our experience) and went to the Palos Verdes Lighthouse where we saw a whale! Firecracker and I had another preschool tour, too.

So, we made these muffins ON the 20th before heading to the lighthouse. We were out all day and there weren’t enough minutes left to my day to photograph, write, and post before the 20th was over on the east coast. So… I’m sharing it with Muffin Monday instead!

CIC-headerBut you know what, maybe my doing so will help pique someone’s interest about CIC? Join us!

These muffins are probably not healthy – even though they do have some fruits and veggies mixed right in. They are deliciously moist and full of flavor, though.

Graham Cracker Muffins with Carrots and Raisins

Ingredients:

  • 9 graham crackers, divided use
  • 2 1/4 C flour, divided use
  • ½ C sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/3 C canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ C shredded carrot
  • ½ C raisins
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 15 standard size muffin cups with liners.
  2. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they’re crumbs.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 C flour, 1 C of the graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the shredded carrot and raisins.
  5. Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 of the way with batter.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, ¼ C graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in the melted butter until crumbly. Top the muffins.
  7. Bake 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out cleanly.

*This recipe is adapted from HowSweetEats at http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2012/07/graham-cracker-chocolate-chip-muffins/*

Graham Cracker Muffins with Carrots and Raisins for #MuffinMonday and #CrazyIngredientChallenge

And don’t forget to check out these other muffin recipes:

Buttersquash Muffins by Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Lemon Crumb Muffins by Making Miracles

Strawberry Orange Muffins by A Day in the Life in the Farm

Carrot Cake Energy Balls #EasterRecipes

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Today is my last post as part of the Easter Week with “Holiday Fun with our Blogging Friends.” This week, 13 bloggers are sharing 46 recipes and tips to help you serve up deliciousness this Easter. Follow #EasterRecipes on social media to see what we’re serving up! I’ll be taking the Holy Weekend off from my computer and spending it with my family and friends.

Our brunch menu consists of those Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls I shared with you yesterday, eggs, and bacon. Our dinner menu will be my Parmesan Pork Tenderloin, a corn and green bean casserole from one of my cookbooks, and some crescent rolls on the side. For dessert, as is tradition, I’ll be making my grandmother’s Easter Pound Cake in her lamb mold.

To round out my carrot cake related offerings this week I provide you with a healthy option. These energy balls even qualify as raw vegan (assuming you leave off the drizzle of cream cheese icing)!

If you love carrot cake, you absolutely must stop everything you’re doing and make these energy balls. You won’t feel guilty in the slightest indulging in a couple.

Firecracker helped me make them – aka he dumped ingredients into and pushed the buttons on the food processor – so he knew there were a bunch of carrots in these treats. Even if I called it a cookie he wouldn’t actually try a bite.

Treat on the other hand, inhaled two of them with his lunch! He had two more of the bunch later in the week, too.

I brought them to Bible study, as I knew one of the moms follows a raw vegan diet. I brought that Caramel Apple Dip as planned, but as we’d made these carrot cake bites the day before, the lightbulb went off and I knew I had to leave cream cheese icing off half of them. They were greatly approved and appreciated.

You can customize these balls to suit your tastes, too. Use any nut you like and any nut or seed butter in your pantry. I actually used a honey sunflower butter!

Carrot Cake Energy  Balls

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 C pecans
  • 1 tbsp sunflower butter
  • 1 C quick oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • cream cheese icing (optional)

Steps:

  1. Pulse carrots in a food processor until finely shredded. Remove and set aside.
  2. Place the dates and pecans in the food processor and pulse until combined. Return the carrots to the food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until the mixture starts to come together.
  3. Form into balls. If the mixture is too thin, add a little more oats; if it’s too dry, add a little extra sunflower butter.
  4. Optional: Thin out the icing with milk. Drizzle over the energy balls.
  5. Store in refrigerator up to a week.

*This recipe is adapted from http://www.superhealthykids.com/no-bake-carrot-cake-bites/*

Carrot Cake Energy Balls | Sew You Think You Can Cook | #EasterRecipes

Be sure to check out these other Easter recipes:

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Hot Cross Buns by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Classic Peanut Butter Confetti Bars by Making the Most of Naptime

Easter Muddy Buddies by Family Around The Table

Honey Cinnamon Quick Bread by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Linda’s Famous Carrot Cake by Cooking With Carlee

Mini Easter Cheesecake Bites by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

In case you missed them, here are the #EasterRecipes from the first half of the week:

Monday

Deviled Ham Bites by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

30 Minute Dinner Rolls by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns by Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

Easy Citrus Ham by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Sausage and Vegetable Strata by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus With Lemon Herb Sauce by Tip Garden

Strawberry “Carrots” by Family Around The Table

Easter Malted Milk Dip by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Sharadan’s Lemon Blueberry Parfaits by Cooking With Carlee

Easter Egg Cooking and Dyeing Tips and Tricks by Palatable Pastime

Tuesday

Italian Easter Bread by Palatable Pastime

Carrot Cake Pancakes by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Torta Salata Pasquale by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Dill Roasted Radishes by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus by Family Around The Table

Praying Arm Pretzels by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Creamy Coconut Mini Tarts by Making the Most of Naptime

Wednesday

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls by Tip Garden

Individual Easter Breads by Cooking With Carlee

Tomato Asparagus Quiche by Caroline’s Cooking

Peeps Whoopie Pies by Palatable Pastime

Rosemary Garlic Herb Rib Roast by Family Around The Table

Honey butter Peas and Carrots by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Pea and Pasta Salad by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Roasted Eggplant Salad by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls #EasterRecipes

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

Do you just toss and turn, stare at the dark ceiling and hope for rest to return?

Well, today (yesterday) I decided to do something productive with my restlessness. Maybe I’ll be regretting that later, but I was tired of feeling like I was keeping the hubs awake. (Pun unintended.)

So what did I do?

Wash dishes.

Everyone washes dishes at 2am, right?!

I don’t know why I couldn’t sleep. I have a slight head cold, but it’s nothing to write home about. (Hopefully this “just wake up” decision doesn’t come back to bite me with that cold. I’m off to get some Nyquil tomorrow!) I keep having these parenting dreams that seem all too real, involving unplanned pregnancy and horrible mothering.

I think the real culprit has something to do with the first of three preschool tours lined up this month in the morning. All yesterday, while he was playing with his trains and talking up a storm, I just looked at him and thought, “When did you get so big?”

We aren’t looking to start Firecracker in school until the Fall – he’ll be 3 and {hopefully} potty trained by then. He is definitely interested in going to school. My boy is such a social butterfly, it’s just something we need to do for him. He’ll be attending VBS at our church this summer, so it’ll be a great test! (Yep, typing that reminded me to go register him now. Look at all of the productive things one can get done in the 2 o’clock hour!)

Who knew picking a preschool would be such a big decision!? I have a spreadsheet on my computer with our top choices, breaking down stats, including the insane cost that is preschool. We’re only considering 2 or 3 times a week, and half days. Yikes!

Maybe typing out these thoughts will help calm my mind and I’ll be able to go back to sleep soon. Odds are I’m going to end up asleep on the couch, computer in lap!

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Absolutely none of that intro story has to do with the Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls I’m sharing with today’s Holiday Fun with our Blogging Friends group. Except that I have to write this post and might as well do it at 2:45 in the morning, right? That way I don’t have to pull out my computer during playtime with my growing boys!

This week, 13 bloggers are sharing 46 recipes and tips to help you serve up deliciousness this Easter. Follow #EasterRecipes on social media to see what we’re serving up!

Yesterday, I shared Carrot Cake Pancakes that came with a confused maple cream cheese topping. All of that leftover maple mixture didn’t go to waste. I simply made cinnamon rolls the next day! Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls, of course.

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 C warm water
  • 3 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 3 – 4 C flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp salt

Ingredients for filling:

  • 4 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 C raisins
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 C real maple syrup

Steps:

  1. Stir yeast into the warm water. Let bloom for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat butter, sugar, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined. Slowly pour in the yeast and water. Beat until combined. Add the flour about one cup at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Once the dough starts to form switch to the dough hook attachment. After all the flour has been added knead the dough for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until smooth.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise to double in size (about 30 minutes) in a warm place. (In the microwave or turned off oven)
  5. Roll out dough onto a floured surface.
  6. Roll into a rectangle. Spread the dough evenly with the softened butter. In a small bowl whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Sprinkle the mixture over the dough. Add the grated carrot, raisins, and walnuts, pressing into the dough slightly. Roll the dough into a log, lengthwise. Cut the dough into 2″ cinnamon rolls. Place cut side down in a 9×13 casserole dish.
  7. Cover dough with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes before baking. The rolls should have doubled in size again. (Or you can freeze the rolls and after thawing let rise until doubled in size.)
  8. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 7 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool, slightly.
  9. Meanwhile, make frosting. Using a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and syrup. Frost the cinnamon rolls!

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls Sew You Think You Can Cook #EasterRecipes

Be sure to check out these other Easter Recipes:

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls by Tip Garden

Individual Easter Breads by Cooking With Carlee

Tomato Asparagus Quiche by Caroline’s Cooking

Peeps Whoopie Pies by Palatable Pastime

Rosemary Garlic Herb Rib Roast by Family Around The Table

Honey butter Peas and Carrots by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Pea and Pasta Salad by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Roasted Eggplant Salad by A Day in the Life on the Farm

In case you missed them, here are the recipes from Monday and Tuesday:

Monday

Deviled Ham Bites by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

30 Minute Dinner Rolls by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns by Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

Easy Citrus Ham by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Sausage and Vegetable Strata by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus With Lemon Herb Sauce by Tip Garden

Dipped Strawberry Carrots by Family Around The Table

Easter Malted Milk Dip by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Sharadan’s Lemon Blueberry Parfaits by Cooking With Carlee

Easter Egg Cooking and Dyeing Tips and Tricks by Palatable Pastime

Tuesday

Italian Easter Bread by Palatable Pastime

Carrot Cake Pancakes by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Torta Salata Pasquale by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Dill Roasted Radishes by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus by Family Around The Table

Praying Arm Pretzels by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Creamy Coconut Mini Tarts by Making the Most of Naptime

Carrot Cake Pancakes #EasterRecipes

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I’ve recently discovered a blogging group who goes by “Holiday Fun with our Blogging Friends” and they do themed events or even themed weeks around holidays. How could I not join the fun!?

This week, 13 bloggers are sharing 46 recipes and tips to help you serve up deliciousness this Easter. Follow #EasterRecipes on social media to see what we’re serving up!

I’d already planned to do a week of carrot cake inspired recipes and figured, why not?!

I didn’t link yesterday’s Cocoa Carrot Cake in with the group because it was more of a cookbook review and even though it wasn’t a sponsored post, I didn’t know if it’d be allowed in the scope of the event.

Today I’m sharing Carrot Cake Pancakes from our favorite brunch cookbook Brunch at Bobby’s.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

We’ve made these pancakes twice. And twice I had issues with the cream cheese maple syrup. I’m sorry, Bobby, but I think there’s a typo with your recipe. Even a full block of cream cheese and a cup of maple syrup did not look like the thick syrup in that beautiful full page photograph accompanying the recipes. And I had a ton of this glaze-type sauce left over, which I used for cinnamon rolls (recipe tomorrow, so stay tuned!).

I would highly suggest starting with half a block of softened cream cheese, a hand mixer, and adding maple syrup until the consistency and flavor profile meets your preferences. Next time I make these pancakes, I’ll take my advice and update the recipe with the ratio that worked best for us.  (**)

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C shredded carrots
  • 1/4 C chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/8 C crystalized ginger, chopped
  • 3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature**
  • 1 C real maple syrup**

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, zest, and vanilla. Mix in the carrots.
  3. Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts and ginger.
  4. On a hot buttered griddle drop 1/4 C of batter into pancakes. Flip pancakes when batter starts to set and bubbles form in the center of the pancake. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and syrup until smooth. Transfer to an oven safe bowl and warm in a 250 degree F oven until easy to drizzle.**

**This cream cheese syrup recipe did not work, see my suggestion above.

*This recipe is adapted from from Brunch at Bobby’s*

Carrot Cake Pancakes #EasterRecipes Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out these other Easter recipes, too:

Italian Easter Bread by Palatable Pastime

Torta Salata Pasquale by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Dill Roasted Radishes by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus by Family Around The Table

Praying Arm Pretzels by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Creamy Coconut Mini Tarts by Making the Most of Naptime

And here are the recipes from Monday:

Deviled Ham Bites by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

30 Minute Dinner Rolls by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns by Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

Easy Citrus Ham by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Sausage and Vegetable Strata by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus With Lemon Herb Sauce by Tip Garden

Dipped Strawberry Carrots by Family Around The Table

Easter Malted Milk Dip by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Sharadan’s Lemon Blueberry Parfaits by Cooking With Carlee

Easter Egg Cooking and Dyeing Tips and Tricks by Palatable Pastime

Wild Rice and Carrots from The Migraine Relief Plan

When the opportunity arose to review The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver I jumped on it. While I’ve been lucky enough, at least in these first 28 years of life, to not be a sufferer of migraines, migraines do run in my family. My grandmother, great uncle, aunt, uncle, and mom have all dealt with varying versions of them. As a young child even my brother would suffer from headaches! Thankfully he’s outgrown them. I hope that means our family history of migraine attacks ends with our generation.

My mom’s headaches seem to be the least severe of the group, but I remember not even being allowed to utter the word “headache” around her, resorting to simply calling them an “H” when I was younger. I don’t know if that’s still the case, but I won’t use the word in her presence to this day. My aunt seems to suffer the most of the bunch and continues to get severe migraine attacks. These migraine attacks would result in days spent in bed and helped contribute to an early retirement. I can’t wait to share this book with her. As a doctor, I know she would appreciate the amount of research Stephanie put into developing the Plan. When I asked if it’d be okay to mention her in this blog post, I discovered that she’s already heard of the book and I look forward to giving her more information about it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Migraine Relief Plan in exchange of my honest review. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health is an incredible resource for anyone living with migraines. Stephanie is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. She has a Master of Public Health in Nutrition Education from the University of Illinois. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA.

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The book is broken down into 5 parts: Creating the Plan, The Plan, Maintaining the Plan, Creating a long-term lifestyle, and Migraine-friendly recipes and meal plans.

In Part I you’ll read about Stephanie’s story. Part II explains the 8 week Plan. Stephanie’s 8 week plan is a perfect way to completely change your eating habits and lifestyle without “quitting cold turkey.” Even as a non-migraine patient I can look to her plan for ways to improve my own lifestyle. While near every processed grocery item contains “triggers” Stephanie’s well thought out way of eating and cooking is a fantastic guide for cutting out those boxed and packaged foods. (Something we said we were going to do when we moved back in April that still hasn’t happened…) Part III takes you through months 3-6 on the Plan, focusing on adjusting your lifestyle to reduce the onset of migraine attacks. Part IV is all about how to maintain your new lifestyle by slowly, thoughtfully, and carefully introducing potential trigger foods into your diet. Part V contains over 75 recipes to make your journey along the migraine relief plan delicious. Each recipe includes nutrition facts, helpful cook’s note, budget friendly indicator, and diet indicators.

I think the biggest game changer is cooking without salt. I’ve already tried 4 recipes from this book and not once did my husband comment on a lack of salt. Honestly, I was shocked! Stephanie has really succeeded in creating recipes that are full of flavor and healthy.

I made Herbed Cheese Spread (which I used as a pasta sauce for a quick dinner), Firehouse Turkey Chili, and Peachy Pulled Pork. All three were adult and kid approved!

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The recipe I’m featuring today is Wild Rice and Carrots. We served this side dish next to simply sautéed fresh tilapia for a great weeknight dinner. I had the leftover rice for lunch the next day. It’s been a while since I’d cooked with carrots and we found them to be delectable! They’re perfectly tender and subtly sweet. Wild rice was fun to work with, too! I think I’d only ever had the grain once before and I’m looking forward to utilizing it more as a side dish option.

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Recipe photography copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar

Wild Rice and Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 2 C (500 mL) filtered water or unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 C (150 g) wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil or unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 ribs celery, finely minced
  • 1 handful fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. In a medium saucepan set over high heat, combine the filtered water and rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the rice, parsley, and black pepper. Cook 1 minute more until everything is warmed through.
  3. Serve right away or refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days.

Vegan/Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free

Cook’s Note: Wile rice is only grown in North America and may not be available overseas. You could substitute a hearty brown rice instead. I wash the parsley, then roll it up in a clean kitchen towel to help absorb extra moisture. Finely chop just before adding to the recipe.

Budget friendly: Very

Per serving: 6 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 54 mg sodium, 381 mg potassium, 4 g fiber

*This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Migraine Relief Plan, copyright 2016 Stephanie Weaver. Published by Surrey Books, an imprint of Agate Publishing, Inc.*

Wild Rice and Carrots from #TheMigraineReliefPlan from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Because my carrots were smaller than the ones photographed by Laura Bashar, I used 5 little colorful organic carrots instead of 2 large ones. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly to very happy reviews. I used water to cook my rice and olive oil for sautéing the veggies.

An Orange Potluck Party

Instead of choosing a Fall or Halloween theme for our October potluck, we decided to broaden the category a little bit by going with “orange.” Anything orange in color, containing an orange ingredient, or using the flavor of orange was fair game. Understandably our menu contained a lot of pumpkin and squash.

I brought sweet potato chili. This chili recipe was inspired by my October CLUE assignment Eliot’s Eats. I made quite a few changes to Debra’s recipe, the main one being that I added ground beef to make a hearty chili versus something a little “soupier.” I swapped out the beans for adzuki beans, used crushed tomatoes instead of diced, removed the kale, and forgot about the orange zest.

I first made this chili as football grub when some friends came over. I needed something gluten and lactose free and chili seemed like the perfect solution. And it was a huge hit! Everyone went back for seconds and there wasn’t anything left the next day. Top your chili with tortilla chips and cheese, if desired.

I thought it’d be a perfect fit for our themed potluck and easily transportable in a slow cooker. Be sure to read past my recipe for the amazing collection of “orange” foods. We had a spectacular turn out of over two dozen friends.

Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 C dried adzuki beans
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided use
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp chili powder, divided use
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 C peeled and diced sweet potato
  • 2 – 2 1/2 C broth (I’ve used both chicken and vegetable)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp finely diced chipotle in adobo
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley

Steps:

  1. Soak beans for 1-2 hours. Rinse. Cover with water by 2″. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered 50-60 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef in 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Season with 1/2 tsp chili powder, S+P. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook onion in 1 tbsp vegetable oil until tender. Add 1/2 tsp minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the diced sweet potatoes and cook for 2 minutes, allowing them to get some color. Add 1 1/2 C broth and the cooked beans. Simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
  4. To the chili, add the crushed tomatoes, 1 chipotle in adobo, 1/2 tsp chili powder, coriander, parsley, S+P. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked ground beef to the pot. Add 1/2 – 1 C more broth and simmer until the beans are completely tender, approximately 30 minutes. (Note: If you want a meatier chili, cook uncovered. If you want more liquid cook partially covered, and add more broth as needed.)

*This recipe is modified from Debra at http://eliotseats.com/2012/03/01/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili/*

Sweet Potato Chili | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Here are the other recipes brought to the orange potluck:

  • Orange Julius: Mix 1 can (12 oz) frozen OJ concentrate, 2 C milk, 2 C water, 1/2 C sugar, 2 tsp vanilla. Add approximately 16 ice cubes and blend until smooth.
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattehttp://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/09/crock-pot-pumpkin-spiced-latte/
  • Buffalo Chicken Diphttps://www.franksredhot.com/recipes/print/?re=re1242-1
  • 12 Recipes for an Orange Themed Potluck | Sew You Think You Can CookMacaroni and Cheese: Cook 1 lb pasta, drain, and set aside. In skillet, cook 1/2 onion (diced) and 2 tsp minced garlic in 2 tbsp veg oil until tender. In a large pot add 4 tbsp butter, 1 C milk, 1/4 lb Velveeta cheese until melted. Add in pasta, onions and garlic, and 2 C shredded cheese until mixed completely.
  • Gnocchi with Squash, Spinach, and Prosciutto: Cook 1 lb gnocchi according to package instructions, reserve 1/2 C cooking water, drain and return to pot. In a large skillet, cook 6 slices chopped prosciutto in 1 tbsp butter, transfer to paper towel lined plate. Add 3 tbsp butter to same skillet and brown 1 1/2 lb cubed butternut squash 4 min, add 2 tbsp fresh thyme and cook 30 sec, deglaze pan with 1/2 C white wine until reduced by half, add 1 C chicken broth and cook 4 min until thickened. Add squash, 4 oz baby spinach, and cooked prosciutto to gnocchi, adding reserved pasta water as needed.
  • Carrot Pudding: Boil 5 lb peeled and chopped carrots until tender, drain, and mash. Cream 1 C melted butter, 1 C sugar, 1 C brown sugar and add to carrots. Mix in 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cloves, 6 eggs, 1 heaping tbsp baking powder, and 1 tbsp vanilla. Pour into a 9×13″ casserole dish and bake 1 hr at 350 deg F.
  • Sweet Potato and Orange Puree with Almond Streusel: Make Streusel: Combine 1/3 C flour, 1/3 C whole almonds, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp paprika, 1/2 cold cubed stick butter; refrigerate at least 1 hr. Make Puree: Mix together 4 lb worth cooked peeled sweet potatoes, 1/3 C OJ, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp room temperature butter, 1 1/2 tsp orange zest; place in 9×13″ casserole dish, top with streusel, bake 40 min at 400 deg F.
  • Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Sage Browned Butterhttp://www.melskitchencafe.com/butternut-squash-stuffed-shells-with-sage-browned-butter/
  • Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookieshttp://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/09/oatmeal-pumpkin-cookies/
  • Met in your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies: Beat 2 C butter until fluffy, mix in 2 C sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg until combined, add 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla until combined, mix in 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin, slowly add 4 C flour until combined. Drop spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet and bake 10-12 min at 350 deg F. Make icing: Beat together 1/2 C butter, 1 pg (8 oz) softened cream cheese, 3 3/4 C powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla. Frost baked cookies. Garnish wish cinnamon.
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Barshttp://roxanashomebaking.com/pumpkin-cheesecake-bars-recipe/

Carrot Risotto

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you might have noticed a lot of “sneak peak” photographs utilizing some sponsored item. All of those goodies will be shared for #BrunchWeek which starts next Monday. I am so excited!

One of our generous sponsors is Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic/True Juice Family. A beautiful box of fresh organic produce and juices arrived on my doorstep. The kale and radishes will be utilized next week. The baby carrots have been a perfect healthy afternoon snack – reminding me how much I enjoy carrots! Cal-Organic also sent a bag of Colorshred carrots. The beautiful bag of carrot confetti was used to create a colorful spring time risotto.

We grilled up some chicken to serve alongside this side dish. As a side dish, the recipe below will serve four people. My little man really enjoyed this risotto and even had some of the leftovers for lunch the next day. Look who’s coming around to carrots after all!

Carrot Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided use
  • 1 1/2 C shredded carrots
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 C arborio rice
  • 1/4 C white wine
  • 3 – 4 C chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp parsley

Steps:

  1. In a dutch oven over medium-high heat melt half of the butter and half of the oil. Add the shredded carrots with 1/4 C water, salt, and the sugar. Cover and cook for five minutes. Uncover and allow to cook until the liquid is evaporated. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.
  3. In the dutch oven melt the remaining butter and oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the arborio rice, stir to coat, and cook about one minute. Deglaze with white wine.
  4. Once the wine is absorbed add the warm stock a ladleful at a time, stirring, waiting for liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking this way until the rice is creamy and tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the carrots, ricotta, Parmesan, and parsley. Season to taste with S+P. If needed, thin the risotto with additional stock.

*This recipe is adapted from Debi at http://lifecurrents.dw2.net/spring-and-caramelized-carrot-risotto/*

Carrot Risotto | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: I was provided a bag of Colorshred carrots and other produce through #BrunchWeek, however all opinions and statements are my own.