This recipe I borrowed and tweaked to suit what I had in my kitchen. It comes from a favorite web site of mine – Lisa Leake’s 100daysofrealfood.com – that features using only unprocessed and organic foods and poses a 100 day challenge to its viewers to eat unprocessed food for 100 days. I told my students if they went on her web site (I teach college English to Freshmen and sophomores) and did a seven day unprocessed food challenge, kept a diary and wrote a commentary about their experience, they would get an A grade comparable to a quiz grade.
The challenge was a hit with several of my students and reading their food diaries was hilarious and eye opening. For one thing, our university boasts the largest naturopathic college of medicine in America, yet the cafeteria, while it did have healthy foods, featured the same fried “fast food” items that kids devour everywhere. My challengees had a hard time finding unprocessed choices for meals and snacks. They also missed cafeteria deadlines and had to make do with snack machines which don’t carry many healthy choices. It was eye opening for them as well as for me. So thank you Lisa Leake for your wonderful web site devoted to unprocessed foods, healthy recipes, and healthy choices.
At the same time that my students were doing the food challenge, they were reading about one of our students, several urban mayors and other politicos who took another kind of challenge – eating healthy on SNAP, a food stamp program for those on a limited income.
One of my lectures used the SNAP essay and the unprocessed food challenge to see if those on a severely limited income could also eat healthy. The answer was surprising. The young woman taking the challenge had $35 a week to spend on food. She made out a very healthy menu, but many issues cropped up to sabotage her plans. Initially, she had to put back items when she shopped for her week of groceries; then, her schedule prevented her from eating her planned meal on time , so she had to depend on snacks to get her through. Then she became ill and needed certain foods to help her with her illness, but she had no more money. Fortunately her mother stepped in and bought the food items and medicine that she needed. Not everyone on SNAP has that option.
Meantime, students asked if the 100daysofrealfood.com web site considered people on SNAP, so we went on to see. Sure enough, Lisa did consider the SNAP program and had a menu and grocery list for people to follow and still use unprocessed, organic foods. Yay Lisa!
So anyway, I shared this muffin with some of my students who came to class without breakfast and it was very popular. When I told them that it fit the food challenge criteria they were surprised. People think that unprocessed recipes are boring and tasteless, when in reality, processed foods are boring and tasteless.
I hope you will consider going on Lisa’s web site and taking her 100 day food challenge. Even if you do it for a shorter period of time, you will still be amazed at how delicious your meals taste and how much better you will feel. (Lisa has no idea I am doing this. I better go on there and tell her, and I am going to ask her to put a link on my blog to her site.) Also, read Fast Food Nation folks. It will make you want to eat unprocessed foods.)
Whole Wheat Carrot Applesauce Banana Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used Trader Joe’s white whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter or 1/4 butter and 1/4 cup Greek yogurt(vanilla)
1/2 cup honey or 1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1 large organic egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup slightly sweetened applesauce or peach sauce (homemade if possible)
3/4 cup shredded carrots (finely grated)
1 banana, mashed up
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your 12 cup muffin pan with paper, foil, or silicone liners and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.In a large stand up mixer fitted with a whisk or beaters, mix the softened butter, honey, egg, vanilla and yogurt (if you are using it) together on medium speed.
Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, salt and spices until the mixture is well combined. I usually have to stop the mixer and clean off the beaters before continuing until all the flour mixture is added.
Stop the mixer. The batter at this point becomes fairly thick. Don’t panic. Instead prepare the applesauce. if making from scratch.
Here is how to make the homemade applesauce or peach sauce.(If you are using store bought, just skip this step and continue to the next step.) Peel and core your apple or peach and cut up into slices. Put into a small frying pan with 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp of sugar. Cook on medium until soft, water has reduced slightly and fruit is mashable. Whirl banana, mashed fruit in a food processor. Then measure out one cup of sauce. Save the rest for your next batch of muffins. Sauce freezes well in a small plastic container.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and applesauce or peach sauce and the mashed up banana.
Keep folding until the batter lightens up and becomes moist. At that point you are ready to scoop the batter into the paper liners, making sure to divide it evenly among the paper cups. I sometimes have to take from one too big one to bolster a too small one. This might call for finger licking, but I never tell and the oven kills all germs. Yay.
Now slip your lovely pan of muffins into the oven and set your timer for 22 minutes. Make sure the muffins are done, but still moist, and golden brown on top. I use a toothpick to test. Because of the mashed banana in there, the tooth pick will still be slightly damp, but not loaded with batter.
When the muffins are done, remove the pan and place it on a rack for 10 minutes to cool. Then remove the muffins from the pan to the rack and keep them there until they are totally cool. At this point you can freeze them in a large freezer bag and take them out whenever you want one. 20 seconds in the microwave defrosts them perfectly.
OR you can eat two or three right now at your kitchen table with butter and raspberry jam while looking at the springtime outside your window.