Carrot Cake Muffins

posted on: July 17, 2014

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Do you remember when I was trying out life as a health crazed vegetarian? I filled my house with all the vegetables I could get my rabbit paws on and every seed known to man kind. I was also a part time vegan, but only on Mondays and Wednesdays. My family thought I was the weird one, which I’m far from, thankyouverymuch. This was also the year I started feeling confident enough to experiment with a few of my own recipes… Or maybe all the chia seeds did something to my brain.

Somewhere along the line, I decided to try out vegan baking.

Things I learned about vegan baking:

  • What the hell a flax egg was. (It’s 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds + 1 tablespoon water.)
  • It can be almost as good as regular baking.
  • Butter still rules supreme.

It took some test batches to get these muffins right. The squirrels and birds became my best friends. I was Snow White with muffins instead of songs, and dare I say, the furry critters were much more appreciative of my (failed) muffins than her singing.

These muffins are wonderfully dense and soft. The best part? They’re incredibly healthy, and they were one of my favorite grab-and-go breakfasts/lunches/snacks for college life. If you’re a mom, these muffins are a great way to feed you kids their vegetables.

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 Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins:

yields 12 muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used truvia)
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping cup grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2-4 tbsp raisins
  • 2-4 tbsp chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk flax eggs, sugar (or truvia), vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup until light in color. Gently add the (liquid) coconut oil and whisk again. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix.

Fold in carrots, zucchini, raisins, and walnuts.

Bake for 8 minutes at 400 F, then lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Egyptian Okra

posted on: July 9, 2014

Egyptian Okra-8 Egyptian Okra-9

Today, I’m sharing one of my mom’s best recipes. Whenever she makes her okra, she always gets a mad amount of compliments from everyone. Mom absolutely loves it, because the dish takes relatively little effort from her. And she makes it a week before she needs it, freezes it, thaws it, and reheats it. She swears this actually makes it taste better and gives it a thicker consistency. After all these years, I decided it was time to share her recipe on the blog, and she was nice enough to walk me through it. Thanks, Mom! 
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Classic Egyptian Okra:

  • 2 pounds okra, size 0 (the smallest okra)
  • 2 pounds stew meat
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 14oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 lime, juice

Note: This recipe is excellent for dinner parties because it can be kept frozen for a week and reheated in time for guests!

In a large pot, melt the butter and heat the canola oil. Sauté the onion with salt and pepper until translucent, and then add the stew meat. Cook on high heat, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink. Reduce the heat medium low and allow the meat to simmer for about 40-45 minutes. The meat should be about 75% cooked. Add the tomato sauce. One the tomato sauce is simmering, add in the okra. Stir in the garlic. If the sauce doesn’t completely cover the okra, add 1/3 cup of water. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. At this point, you can also add some cayenne pepper for a spicy kick. Simmer on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes and check for doneness. The okra should be soft and slightly yellowish, and the meat should be completely cooked. Remove from heat and add the lime juice, starting with half the amount and adding more to taste.

To Market, To Market

posted on: July 2, 2014

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This vegetable vendor insisted on having his picture taken while he was selling his tomatoes.

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I love pita bread almost as much as I love pasta. Watching the little boy go about his work was inspiring, and his boss even let me poke around back a little.

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Mmmmmm seafood!

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Just a Lennon-loving baker turning out pita bread for the masses.

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The fish griller (is that a thing?) was waving and smiling so earnestly, it was contagious. For the record, he makes my favorite kind of grilled fish.

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Look at those smiles!

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A few days ago my mom, aunt, cousin and I went to the movies (Maleficent for the win!) and then took a sight seeing trip around Shidya Market in Alexandria. Two wholly different experiences, but both equally entertaining. I was the one who insisted on going to the market, because I hadn’t been there in ages and was dying to take some pictures. The market is charming in its own right, even if it’s bustling and a little bit dirty. The vendors were more than happy to have me photographing their products, although some of them insisted on being photographed as well. Some of them waved me over from across the street as soon as they saw the cameras, while others did the classic “smile and wave”, Penguins of Madagascar style. My cousin, Youssef, was more than a little bored with the experience; whereas I love nothing more than finding something new to point my camera at.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip to a classic Egyptian market. I still have a few more pictures to share next week. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to show you while I’m here!

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