Paleo Carrot Banana Muffins

Some recipes just work.Maybe it's because you are comfortable with the ingredients, or the results satisfy your taste buds in some kind of a primal way that is rarely achieved, or maybe you were in a good mood the first time you tried it.  Whatever the reason or reasons, some recipes strike the right chord and become instant favorites.

This is one of those recipes. You don't have to be paleo to love these gems. Non-paleo friends love them and gluten-free friends really love them, maybe because so many baked goods labeled gluten-free taste similar to what cardboard or sawdust would taste like so people are wary of the term. Baby Girl found the recipe on Paleo Plan but when I went to access the link, I saw they were actually from Elana's Pantry, and when I went to her site, Elena says she was inspired by Heidi at another site.  I'm sure the inspiration goes on.  I wasn't inspired to change them at all.  I thought they were just right.

The muffins entered our kitchen because our new paleo eaters wanted something different for breakfast. They are sweet, but not too sweet, and contain no refined sugar.  They feel hearty but not in the way that a bran muffin leaves you feeling like you ate a brick. When Baby Girl found the recipe, she took to it with a passion.  She made the muffins over and over and over.  She made them to take on road trips.  She took them to the beach.  And, of course, she kept a stash in the freezer for whenever she needed a quick breakfast.  They never lasted long when she made them, so she made them a lot.

Then Baby Girl went back to school and I had no one to make my muffins for me. Can you picture my sad face? They are easy to make so that is no reason to complain.  I just miss my Baby Girl so I allow myself time to wallow in self-pity while making the muffins. I give that to myself. I want her to be here making her muffins.


I enjoyed a little wallow-fest recently when I made the muffins for my book club.  I served them as the "bread" part of the main course which was a chile rellano.  The slight sweetness of the muffin worked well with the spicy food.  My book clubbers loved them and multiple people asked for the recipe so in the spirit of sharing, I give this to all of you.  Go forth and bake paleo muffins.  Feel free to wallow in sadness over those you miss while you bake.  They don't take long, so wallow quickly.

"Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them." -Paulo Coelho


Paleo Plan Carrot Banana Muffins

This recipe makes about 12 muffins, but leftovers can be frozen for quick use at another time. 

2 cups almond flour 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp sea salt 1 Tbs cinnamon 1 cup dates, pitted 3 ripe bananas 3 eggs 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 1 ½ cups carrots, shredded (about 2 medium carrots) ¾ cup walnuts (or nuts of choice),  finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350℉. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a food processor, combine dates, bananas, eggs, vinegar and oil. Puree well. Add mixture from food processor to dry mixture in the large bowl and combine thoroughly. Fold in carrots and nuts. Spoon mixture into paper lined muffin tins. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.


Eric's Gin

Today marks the one year anniversary of my first blog post.Yep, it has been a whole year since I wrote My Food Baby Is Born. When I started a year ago, I thought it would be a great way for me to organize my stories and recipes and a simple solution to the constant requests from my children to make a cookbook for them.  Who wouda thunk people would actually want to read it?  And I'm talking about people outside of my mom and children and a few bored friends.  I am thrilled to announce that I have followers, actual readers who like what I do. This deserves a toast!


Eric's Gin is technically a Gin & Tonic. But anyone who has been served Eric's Gin & Tonic, and there are lots of you out there who request them on a regular basis, knows that the secret is in the Gin. Lots of it. I dare you to have more than one.

"I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast." -W.C. Fields


Eric's Gin (Serves one.)

Fill one 16-20 oz glass with ice.  Yes, fill it almost all the way to the top. Add Bombay Sapphire Gin to fill the glass almost 3/4 full. (Remember, there is a LOT of ice in there!) Splash Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water on the top and mix well with the ice. Slice 1/2 a lime into thin slices and push 4 or 5 slices down the sides of the glass so you can see them. Squeeze the juice from the little piece of the end of the lime into the glass. Give it another stir and serve.


Sheridan's Favorite Apple Cake

Baby Girl loves her sweets.Starting from the bottle, if we tried to water down her apple juice, she would throw it across the room like it was poison.  One day when she was about three or four years old, my Brother Bill came for dinner and brought me a box of See’s chocolates, wrapped from the store in festive paper.  I placed them on the counter so we could have them after dinner.

We had other family and guests and a bit of time passed before we were sitting down to dinner.  Baby Girl didn’t come to the table when we called so I sent her sister to get her.  She came back saying she wasn’t in her room so we all set off to look for her.  Our home, an old Spanish-style hacienda, had been outfitted with door and window chimes to catch escaping children so we were not worried she had run outside somewhere.  But where was she?  We called and called to no avail and I went back to her room to look closer.  Under the bed, behind the curtains, in the reading bath-tub (yes, the girls had a pink, unplumbed, pillow-filled, claw-foot tub for reading in their room!), and finally, in the closet.

There she sat, torn paper on the floor, box in her lap, chocolate all over her face and hands and discarded half-eaten candies scattered about.  Apparently, although she loves sweets, there were fillings in some of them that didn’t meet her expectations so she discarded those and continued to work her way through the box.  It had been a long enough period of time that she managed to make her way through most of the one-pound box by the time I found her guilty little cherub-face looking up at me from the closet floor.

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Baby Girl matured over the years and even though she still loves sweets and is quite discriminating as to which she indulges, she no longer steals them from me.  In fact, she quite often is the one baking and always the one suggesting we whip up a little dessert.  Back to her days of apple juice, she has a serious addiction to the apple cake that entered our home when she was about ten years old. The recipe came from my Mother-in-Law Nancy, given to me on a photocopied piece of paper with a number of different recipes that Nancy thought the kids might like including M&M cookies, lemon bars and poppyseed butter cake.

The first time I made the cake we were spending the summer in a rented beach house on Sandyland Cove in Carpinteria, California.  The kids were in grammer school and junior high, none of them could drive, and we sequestered them away in a beautiful beach community for two months of family fun.  Nancy had just been to visit us and had left the photocopy on the counter in the kitchen.  I had picked a basket full of summer apples from the tree at my house and when I looked at the paper that Nancy had left for me, I  noticed the simple recipe for apple cake.

It was probably meant to be baked in a square pyrex or metal pan as you would bake brownies.  But we were living in a rental and I had to make do with what I could find.  Way in the back of the cluttered and dirty kitchen cupboards was a thin aluminum pan that looked like an angel food pan with it’s tall thin spindle up the middle, but the bottom didn’t come out like a modern day angel food pan.

Most of the things in the beach house had not changed since it was built in the 1930s and we loved that about it.  It was designed by landscape architect Lockwood de Forest, Jr., with a vision of the house feeling like a boat.  It was long and thin, with portholes from bedrooms and a large room with a garage door that opened up to the sand.  The upstairs was just one room like the helm of a ship and the rest of the upstairs was the ship’s deck.  There was even a mast used as a flag pole.  It was a restful and simple place during a wonderfully simple time in the life of Hubby and I and our three young children.

The Boat House in Sandyland.

The children were off at their junior lifeguard training the morning I decided to make the apple cake.  I found the pan, and made the simple batter, adding lots of apples, extra cinnamon and no walnuts to suit the tastes of my children, and put the cake in the oven.  I wasn’t sure if it was the pan, or the weather, or the apples, or the fact that I had changed up the recipe a bit, but the cake took much longer than the recipe said to bake.  I kept checking it but the middle wasn’t quite done.  By the time it was baked, the edges were dark brown and very hard.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste but the smell was heavenly.  The kids came bounding back from the beach and the cake was cooled and out of the pan by the time they arrived.  The smell made them eager to taste.  Their enthusiasm upon tasting it informed me that it was a winner.

I had to leave the special pan at the beach house when we left but I found that a bundt pan, while it doesn’t have the magic of cooking in a 1930‘s boat house, can make a delicious apple cake.  Something about this batter and the extra time it takes to bake it in a bundt type pan makes this cake crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside with the fresh apple taste and the lovely sweet, cinnamon flavor.  It was baked many, many times that summer and requested twice as often.  It is a favorites of all my kids and most of my kids friends.  It is deceptively simple and delightfully good, especially near the ocean and with the laughter of young children.

It is also the perfect cake to celebrate my Baby Girl on the day she is no longer a teenager.  Happy Birthday my lovely daughter!


"Let them eat cake." - Marie Antoinette


Sheridan’s Favorite Apple Cake

4 generous cups peeled and sliced apples 2 eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 cups sugar 2 cups flour 2 tsp baking soda 2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp salt 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts, optional sifted powdered sugar for top fresh raspberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and add apples. Add the oil and sugar, mix well and let sit while you prepare dry ingredients and grease the pan. Combine flour, soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl and add to the wet ingredients.  Stir in nuts if using. Spoon batter into greased bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick.  Cool in pan on rack. When entirely cool, use a knife to carefully pull the hard edges away from the pan and work the cake off the sides of the pan.  Dump cake over with force onto a plate.  If parts of the cake stick onto the pan, scoop them out and stick them back onto the cake.  The cake is very sticky so reconstruct it as necessary. Dust with powdered sugar to cover up any damage and if desired, sprinkle with fresh raspberries as garnish.