Carrot, Walnut, and Raisin Muffins

Carrot, Walnut, and Rasin Muffins

I fell in love with these muffins as soon as the aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves began to permeate my apartment. Trust me, people will run into the kitchen to see what magic you are cooking up. I could barely wait for them to cool. They smelled that fantastic!

Grain and dairy-free, this recipe uses almond flour as the base and maple syrup for the sweetener. Throw in those shredded carrots, coconut, raisins, and walnuts, and your taste buds will be dancing with delight.

Nutritionally, I love that almond meal muffins keep me feeling so full and satisfied. These ones are packed with mono and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. AKA a winning combo for satiety. They make a fantastic sack on the go, or the perfect sweet treat on a cold winter's eve. 

The original recipe comes from Katja over at   

Carrot, Walnut, and Rasin Muffins2.jpg

Carrot, Walnut, and Rasin Muffins

Makes 12 muffins
Adapted slightly from

½ cup raisins
2 cups almond flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 eggs
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cup grated carrot
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners. 
  2. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, salt, baking soda, spices, and shredded coconut.
  4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, maple syrup, and apple cider viengar.
  5. Drain the raisins. Stir raisins and grated carrots into wet ingredients. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined, then stir in walnuts.
  6. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins. Batter will fully fill the liners. 
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. 

Raw Pepermint Brownie Bites

Raw Peppermint Brownie Bites and A Dessert Ground Rule for the Holidays

Raw Peppermint brownie bites

We all need some sweetness in our lives. So no, desserts are NOT off the menu in a Wellness Kitchen. But instead of choosing treats with refined flours and enough sugar to send you on a blood sugar roller coaster ride, you can keep your mind and body in balance by sticking to this dessert ground rule.

My Dessert Ground Rule: Pair sugar with fiber and healthy fats.

Sugar is at the top of the Glycemic Index (GI). That means it is broken down incredibly quickly and sends our blood glucose levels soaring. A high GI meal often leaves us feeling hungry shortly after eating, results a drop in energy (think afternoon slump), and can make concentrating difficult. One way to avoid this spike – and subsequent nose dive – in blood sugar is to balance the overall meal with fiber and healthy fats. Fiber and healthy fats will slow down digestion so that your body is not suddenly overloaded by all that sugary goodness. These two nutrients will also help keep you satiated and satisfied so that you’re not digging into the cookie jar twenty minutes after that slice of cake.

What foods have fiber?

Plant foods! Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains are all fiber-rich foods.

How can I pack fiber into my desserts?

  • Add pureed beans. Black beans are great for brownies, cannellini beans for blondies. Trust me, no one will even know.
  • Sub refined flours for whole wheat flour or try almond meal (high in fiber and protein). 
  • Add nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.).
  • Sub pureed pumpkin or banana for some of the liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, or agave). Less sugar, more fiber!
  • Flax meal can replace an egg (Google Flax egg).

What are healthy fats?

The fats from nuts and seeds (flax and chia too), coconut, avocado, cold water fish, and pasture-raised, grass-fed animal products.

 How can I pack healthy fats into my desserts?

  • Sub coconut oil for butter.
  • Sub almond meal for refined white flour. 
  • Add nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.).
  • Make a frosting out of avocado.
  • Choose pasture-raised, grass-fed butter and dairy.
  • Did you know you could make whipped cream out of coconut milk?!?

What if I don’t want beans, pumpkin, and avocado in my desserts?

Just try to eat the fiber and healthy fats along with the sugar, applying the same ground rule to the entire meal. Basically, you simply don’t want to eat the sugary food alone, after skipping lunch, as soon as you enter the holiday party. Fill up on plant foods to get that fiber in your belly and then savor your choice of dessert with mindful intention in each bite.

Bringing it all together....

Now, let’s use this Raw Peppermint Brownie Bite as an example of how this Dessert Ground Rule comes to life on the plate. First, there are no added sugars. All the sweetness comes from the Medjool dates, which are plenty sweet on their own. Second, there’s tons of fiber in these little guys from the walnuts, almonds, and (did you guess it?!) dates. Third, the healthy fats from the nuts, as well as the shredded coconut, provide the richness and fullness-factor. They feel like a treat, but are also full of nourishment - the best kind of dessert!

I make variations of these truffle-like, raw brownie bites all year round, but, today, I felt inspired to add some peppermint extract for a festive holiday version. I'm taking them to an end-of-semester pot-luck for my Nutritional Ecology class and, after tomorrow's Advanced Nutrition exam, am very excited to announce that I've completed my first semester in graduate school.

Wishing you all peace, joy, and soul-filling wellness in the New Year!


Raw Peppermint Brownie Bites

These brownie bites provide a dose of sweet without the sugar spike. Full of blood sugar-stabilizing fiber and satiating healthy fats, and free of refined sugar, dairy, and refined flours, they're not your average sweet treat. They are super simple to make and come together in ten minutes flat. I find they evoke memories of peppermint patties and family celebrations, and are a sure hit at any holiday or New Year's party.

Makes 22 brownie bites

1 cup walnuts
1 ¼ cup almond meal
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 oz medjool dates, pitted (14 dates to be exact)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (optional, but a fun flavor for the holidays)
½ teaspoon sea salt
Shredded coconut, for rolling

1.     Place the walnuts, almond meal, and cocoa powder in a food processor and process into a fine meal.
2.     Add the dates, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and sea salt. Process for 1-2 minutes until the dough, when pressed together, easily forms a ball.
3.     Roll dough into small balls and roll each ball in shredded coconut.
4.     Freeze or refrigerate until serving.