*In My Kitchen* Lactose-free carrot raisin muffins

A little background:
In late 1999, I was feeling sick on a regular basis and I went to see a holistic practitioner who recommended that I remove all dairy products from my diet as she felt that my body was reacting negatively to it (I’ll spare you the details of what that looked like 🙂

I did that and saw amazing changes- my asthma attacks stopped (I haven’t been hospitalized since then with an asthma attack) and my gut issues were pretty much cut down 90%. In the last year I’ve come to realize that wheat was another irritant for me, so I’ve cut wheat/gluten out of my diet by 90% and in addition to weight loss, more energy and a clearer brain, I still suffer very little with my asthma.

Esperto appeared to have a lactose intolerance early on, so he eats similarly to me. He does still eat wheat, and I’ve been experimenting with gluten free versions of these muffins so that we can enjoy them together.

Children learn a lot by cooking with an adult- especially when the adult describes what she and the child are doing as they cook together. In addition to the social-emotional benefits and bonding that comes with creating and eating food together, they develop:

*fine and large motor skills (mixing, stirring, pouring and cracking all require the strengthening of muscles in fingers, wrists and hands which help children to hold crayons, markers and pencils more easily).

*math concepts: they learn to measure, estimate and count and are exposed to important math vocabulary by the adult: half, whole, double, teaspoon, cup, ounces

*science concepts: classifying wet and dry ingredients, noticing what happens when the wet and dry are combined, discussing how heat impacts the ingredients (changes form), wondering about where ingredients come from (egg—chicken, flour—-wheat, raisins—-grapes)

*literacy concepts: watching an adult read and refer to a recipe helps young children understand that words (symbols) have meaning and that they serve an important purpose in our daily lives. As children get older, they can begin to practice reading recipes (with support) and copying favorite recipes and creating their own.

Takiema’s Lactose-Free Carrot and Raisin Muffins (adapted from the Vitamix “Whole Foods Recipes book” http://www.vitamix.com)

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups unbleached white flour with wheat germ (purchased from our local food cooperative, but unbleached plain white flour will suffice)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (can use just cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to mix up the flavor)
2/3 cup organic black thompson raisins
3/4 cup organic whole carrots peeled and grated (or chopped in the Vitamix blender)
2 eggs
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2/3 cup unrefined organic coconut oil (must be room temperature otherwise it will be a solid)
splash-1/4 cup water, unsweetened almond milk or other milk subsitute

Recipe:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Wipe down a 12 cup muffin tin with a little coconut oil OR line with paper liners OR use silicone muffin tins which require neither!
3. Place flour, baking soda, spices and raisins in a medium size miixng bowl and stir lightly. Set aside.
4. Grate the carrots on the medium size shredded section of a grater (not the smallest or largest sizes). If using the Vitamix, blend until finely grated.
5. Put carrots in a bowl, add egs, sugar and oil and mix all the wet ingredients together.
6. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold or stir lightly until it’s all incorporated. If the batter is a little dry, add the splash of water, unsweetened almond milk or other milk substitute.
7. Scoop about 1/2 cup of batter into each muffin cup in the tin.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack to cool, then remove the muffins from the tin and enjoy!

The original recipe states “these can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month” but I can’t verify that because these muffins don’t usually last past the 2nd day in my house!

Celebrating Esperto’s 8th birthday at a Thai restaurant in Atlanta- yes I did bake these the night before and transport them in my carry on luggage so he could have his favorite muffins at his birthday dinner away from home:

20131007-192124.jpg

And to solidify my crazy-ness I proceeded to bake 96 of these muffins over the next weekend to share with his soccer teammates, more friends and family and with his class at their September birthday celebration.

Both of his teachers emailed me after to say how much the children (& they) loved the muffins and if I’d be willing to share the recipe.

If you try them, let me know what you think!

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