Healthier apricot carrot cake

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes

Cake with vegetables sounds healthy, but is usually far from it. This version lightens up the traditional recipe with dried apricots, applesauce, and coconut sugar; reduces the fat and swaps in coconut oil; and swaps out half of the white flour for whole wheat. Add in walnuts for Omega-3s (or leave them out to make this school safe) and you have a healthier option for your Easter table that’s equally delicious and showstopping.

Take me to the cake!

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I’m still struggling with the eternal question: Is it worth it to healthify desserts? If my kid factors into the equation, then yes. He’s often satisfied with a “healthy” sweet. I, on the other hand, really wanted a doughnut for breakfast and no amount of healthy treats was going to cut it.

However! If there’s a recipe ripe for healthifying, a dessert starring a vegetable is it.

I started recipe testing this cake by dumping everything into a bowl and calling it a day. The results were delicious, but dense, so I decided to do as others have done and whip the eggs and sugar at the start to make the crumb a bit lighter. Often, cake directions tell you to cream butter and sugar / butter and eggs / sugar and eggs (as in this case) until they’re “light and fluffy.” Unfortunately, the coconut sugar is so dark that you’ll never really achieve this. What you want instead is just to aerate the eggs, sugar, and other liquids. Don’t worry about it too much, just make sure that you see lots of bubbles once all of the liquid is combined.

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes

Alone, this cake is delicious, but tastes like a muffin or a quick bread, not a cake. But slathered in cream cheese frosting, this is a CAKE.

Can I tell you a secret about making the frosting? I don’t measure the sugar. You heard that: I don’t measure the sugar. I mix in a couple of large spoonfuls and then add more to taste. I like a frosting that isn’t too sweet and the beauty of cream cheese frosting is the tang, which gets totally masked by too much sugar.

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes

Apricot carrot cake

Adapted from Bake from Scratch and Natasha’s Kitchen

Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (about 45 minutes of active time, including frosting the cake)
Yield: 8 GIANT slices, 10-12 normal slices

1 cup apricots, chopped
1 Tbsp flour (AP or Whole Wheat)
4 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour (pastry or white whole wheat are also great)
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp fine sea salt
12 oz carrots; trimmed, peeled, and shredded (about 3 cups, lightly packed shredded carrots)
1 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 375.

Grease two 9-inch cake pans, or a 12-cup muffin tin liberally with melted coconut oil or cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a small bowl, chop the apricots and toss with 1 Tbsp of flour (either AP or whole wheat). Set aside.

Toast your walnuts in the preheating oven, keeping an eye to ensure that they don’t burn while you continue prepping your other ingredients. Set aside.

Trim, peel, and shred your carrots. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes on a medium high setting (or on high if your hand mixer isn’t very strong). The eggs won’t get lighter in color because the coconut sugar is quite dark, but you will see lots of little air bubbles formed and the volume of the liquid should increase.

Reduce the speed of your mixer to low (medium-low for a hand mixer) and slowly add the oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract.

Sift the dry ingredients together into the wet ingredients. Fold until just combined and no lumps remain.

Fold in the carrots, apricots, and toasted walnuts (if using).

Pour half of the mixture into each cake pan (or, fill each muffin cup until about 2/3 full).

Bake, rotating halfway through, for 20-23 minutes for the cakes or 15-18 minutes for the muffins. You want the cakes to be springy when touched and for a tester to come out with a few crumbs or clean.

Let the cake cool entirely before icing.


Cream cheese frosting
2 blocks cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more to taste

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer or your hand mixer, combine and whip the butter and cream cheese on high for 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and whip on medium to combine.

Add the powdered sugar a few Tbsp at a time and SLOWLY whip the sugar into the rest of the mixture on low (otherwise you’ll have powdered sugar all over your kitchen). Once the initial amount of powdered sugar is incorporated, add more, a few Tbsp at a time, to taste. When all of the sugar you want is incorporated, turn the mixer back to high and whip for 3-4 more minutes.

Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes
Healthier apricot carrot cake | Me & The Moose. This healthier carrot cake uses no refined sugar, reduces the fat, and increases the veggies to make a cake that is equally light and delicious. #meandthemoose #carrotcakerecipes #carrotcake #healthybaking #healthybakingrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthycake #cake #cakerecipes



Sloppy Joe baked potatoes

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

These baked potatoes are dressed up with healthier turkey sloppy Joe filling for a tasty, healthy, and easy version of this kid-friendly sandwich.

Take me to the recipe!

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner
Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

M used to love sloppy Joes. LOVE THEM. However, when offered these, he declined saying, “I didn’t order that.” SOMEONE GAVE HIM THE GIFT OF SASS FOR HIS FOURTH BIRTHDAY AND I AM NOT HERE FOR IT.

After calmly explaining that I am, in fact, not his waitress, he proceeded to eat a dinner of pickles, cheese, and guacamole, all of which were the toppings and “safe” options I’d put out with the sloppy Joes. You win some, you lose some.

I’ve explained before how we started serving one family meal and adding lots of “safe” options as alternatives for M so that he can self-direct at dinner. Sometimes that means an apple and almond butter on the table or lots of condiments like pickles, olives, and cheese. Guacamole is usually reliable. But sometimes that means he doesn’t eat a ton for dinner and I’m slowly learning to be okay with that.

So, sloppy Joes, while traditionally a very kid-friendly option, were for the grownups in our house. But I have hope for the future.

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

What tends to appeal about Sloppy Joes is their sweetness, but I find that when the filling gets too sweet (like, when a recipe calls for a cup of ketchup), it can become cloyingly sweet. Also, who needs to eat all of that sugar for dinner?

However, the signature sloppy Joe flavor gets lost when you omit sweetener entirely, so I’ve included the bare minimum of brown sugar (2 tsp!) in this recipe. You can also wait to add it until the very end to decide for yourself if you really need it!

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes

Yield: 3 cups or 23 oz
Time: between 60-75 minutes (35 minutes active time)

4 large Russet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Flaky sea salt


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
½ medium white onion, minced (about ¾ cup)
1 medium stalk celery, minced (about ¼ cup)
1 small carrot, peeled and minced (a scant ½ cup)
2 large cloves garlic, minced 
½ cup water, divided
6 oz tomato paste (one small can, about 10 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp malt vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have on hand), plus more for the potatoes
2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
2 tsp flaky sea salt, divided

Optional garnishes: cheese, pickles, pickles jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream, yogurt, coleslaw


  1. Preheat the oven to 400.

  2. Scrub 4 potatoes thoroughly and prick all over with a fork or small paring knife. I usually do 10-12 stabs per potato.

  3. Brush the outside skin with a very thin coating of olive oil. You should have some of the 2 Tbsp left over. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

  4. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the skin is crisp and the potato is fork tender.

  5. While the potatoes cook, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground turkey and chop the meat into small pieces with the end of your spatula or spoon. Stir a few times and reduce the heat to medium low.

  6. Chop the onions and add to the pan, stirring a few times.

  7. Repeat with the celery, carrots, and garlic, letting each vegetable cook while you prep the next one.

  8. Cook and stir until the turkey is fully cooked and no pink remains. The whole process of cooking the turkey and veggies should take about 13-15 minutes.

  9. Turn the flame back up to medium and let the turkey and veggies brown slightly. When they begin sticking to the pan a bit (about 3-4 minutes), pour in ¼ cup of water and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

  10. Add the tomato paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp salt, and brown sugar (if using), and mix well. If the mixture seems too dry, add the other ¼ cup of water. If you’ve added all of the water and it seems too wet, let the mixture bubble for a few minutes until your sauce has thickened.

  11. When the potatoes are done, carefully remove the pan from the oven and, using an oven mitt on one hand to steady the potato, cut it open with a sharp knife, being careful of the steam that escapes.

  12. Pour a few drops of malt vinegar and a large pinch of sea salt into each opened potato. Top with 1/2 -3/4 cup of the turkey mixture.

Sloppy Joe baked potatoes | Me & The Moose. This lightened up version of sloppy Joes uses turkey meat and the bare minimum of sweetener in the filling and forgoes a carby bun for a crispy, salt, malt-vinegary baked potato. #meandthemoose #dinner #sloppyjoes #sloppyjoerecipes #healthysloppyjoes #healthyrecipes #healthydinnerrecipes #healthydinner #bakedpotato #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidfriendlydinner #familyfriendlydinner

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte

Don’t be intimidated by the “en cocotte” portion of the title. It’s just French for “cooked in a covered pot that you can also use for serving.” An alternative translation is: How to cook a really good turkey breast the lazy way; no overnight brine, no basting, nothing.

Take me to the recipe!

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte
Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte

A quick note before we talk about the ins and out of this recipe: Anyone who knows me, understands how very much I hate the word “moist.” (I refer to is as “the ‘M’ word.”) Even saying it in my head feels wrong. I’m not alone here, I know, but I do feel that I have a particularly strong reaction, which made my search for the easiest turkey cooking method particularly grueling. Because it’s damn near impossible to read a blog post, watch a video, or see a cooking show about poultry without people shouting it from the rooftops.

But figuring out this recipe made it all worth it! And I promise you, this is the easiest route to not-dry turkey.

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte
Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotteLemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte
Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte

I first learned about cooking “en cocotte” from an episode of Cook’s Country. They made “French Chicken in a Pot” and I wanted to try it with turkey. I’ve also wanted to make a version of the famous Greek Avgolemono Soup, which is broth thickened with a cooked grains and egg yolks, but soup isn’t always psychologically satisfying as a meal, you know?

Instead, I used the broth and egg yolks to thicken the grains instead of the other way around.

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte
Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte
Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte

A couple of cooking notes:

  • After roasting the turkey, there should be about 1/4 of an inch of liquid at the bottom of the Dutch oven. If there isn’t, add another 1/4 cup of stock before cooking the couscous.

  • The only extra step in this recipe is to blend together some broth, egg yolks, and lemon juice to add to the cooked couscous. I really recommend using a blender EVEN THOUGH it’ll dirty another appliance. If you don’t get a really good emulsion of the liquids, you can end up with scrambled eggs rather than a rich, thick sauce over your couscous.

  • The oven temperature (275!) will seem very low and it is. But the Dutch Oven with a lid and an extra layer of foil really seals in the heat and moisture and cooks the turkey despite the low oven temperature. Our oven runs very hot, so I actually set it 10 degree lower.

  • The only downside to this cooking method is that the steam softens the turkey skin. If you like crispy skin, just strip it off and seer it on a really hot skillet to crisp it back up.

  • I love serving this with a quick tzatziki sauce.

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte

1 bone-in turkey breast, about 2 ½ lbs
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small onion (or ½ of a large onion), chopped
4-5 extra large garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped 
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
1½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
4 cups low sodium chicken stock or water, divided
3 cups Israeli couscous  
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup lemon juice (juice of 2 large lemons)

Preheat the oven to 275.

In a large Dutch oven or oven safe pot with a lid, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Seer the turkey breast on the top, bottom, and both sides, adjusting the heat if the turkey browns too quickly or if the oil starts to spit uncomfortably. When browned all over (this should take about 10 minutes), remove to a plate.

Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the same Dutch oven and heat over a medium low flame for a few seconds. Saute the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the rosemary, smoked paprika, and salt. Cook for 1 minute more until fragrant.

Turn off the heat.

Add the turkey back to the pan. Cover the top of the Dutch oven tightly with a large piece of tin foil and then top with the lid.

Bake for 1 hour. Check the internal temperature of the turkey with a thermometer in the thickest part. When the thermometer reads 165, the turkey is done. If the turkey isn’t up to temperature yet, return it to the oven and check it every 5-10 minutes to avoid overcooking.

While the turkey is cooking, blend together 1 cup of chicken stock, 2 egg yolks, and 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Set aside.

When the turkey is done, remove the Dutch oven and carefully take off the tin foil from its top (watch the steam!). Remove the turkey to a plate or cutting board and cover tightly with the tin foil. Let rest.

Add 3 cups of stock to the turkey cooking juices in the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all of the stock. (Check after 4 minutes to make sure the couscous isn’t cooking too fast or sticking too much. If it is, turn down the heat.)

When the liquid is absorbed, add the broth/ egg yolk/ lemon juice combination. Stir it into the couscous and bring the mixture back to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat and stir a few more times.

Slice the turkey and serve with the couscous.

Yield: 5-6 large servings

Lemon and rosemary turkey and couscous en cocotte | Me & The Moose. This one-pot (ish) meal has a low and slow cooking time, but is mostly hands-off and a much faster way to make delicious turkey breast without brining or drying out the meat. #turkeyrecipe #roastturkey #onepotmeal #avgolemono #israelicouscous #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #encocotte

Sheet pan dinner: Sausage and purple cabbage

Sheet pan dinners are the easiest way to get dinner on (and off) the table. Purple cabbage, potatoes, and chicken or turkey sausage combine for a universally appealing dinner. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #purplecabbage #potatoes #sausage #Oktoberfest

Is there anything better than October? Everyone has settled into new routines, the weather is (generally) cooler, the leaf peeping and apple picking are in full swing, and it’s finally acceptable to buy enormous bags of candy and maintain the fiction that they’ll last until October 30th.

KIDDING! I would never pretend that that candy is making it to the end of the month.

Thick cuts of cabbage lead to crispy edges and softer interiors. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #purplecabbage #potatoes #sausage #Oktoberfest
Purple cabbage is magical. Look at that purple! #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #purplecabbage #potatoes #sausage #Oktoberfest

But really, we are trying to maintain a modicum of healthy eating now that we’re super busy again with school and activities and the faster pace of non-summer months. That’s where sheet pan dinners like this one come in handy.

Dijonnaise is a simple combo of dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and magic. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #purplecabbage #potatoes #sausage #Oktoberfest
Sheet pan dinners are the best and easiest way to get dinner on the table and cleanup done quickly. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #purplecabbage #sausage #potatoes #Oktoberfest

The combination of sausage, cabbage, and potatoes with a mustard-y sauce feels very Oktoberfest, which is obviously on-brand for this month.

Also, I haven’t yet found a vegetable that wasn’t made more delicious by roasting and purple cabbage and potatoes may be among my favorites. Find the smallest potatoes you can, or halve anything larger then a golf ball.

Roasting at high heat with plenty of olive oil and salt leads to a delicious, quick dinner. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #purplecabbage #potatoes #sausage #Oktoberfest

If you leave off any bread on the side and check your labels for the sausage, this dish is also gluten-free, dairy-free, and Whole 30 compliant.

A quick note about the sausage here: We always pre-cooked sausage. The timing gets tricky when starting with raw sausage and the chicken/turkey varieties are usually pre-cooked anyway.

SPD: German red cabbage, potatoes, and sausage

1/2 small head red cabbage, ¾ inch thick slices
1 lb small potatoes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1 lb pre-cooked turkey or chicken sausage (we use Wellshire Farms turkey kielbasa)

Dijonnaise

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

 

Heat oven to 425.

Thickly slice the cabbage into ¾ inch thick steaks. Spread out on your baking sheet along with the small potatoes. Brush or spray with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Cook for 20 minutes or until the cabbage starts to singe in the sides.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and tuck the sausage in with the potatoes and cabbage. I have cooked the sausage from frozen and when already defrosted, and it takes about the same amount of time.

If desired, smash the potatoes slightly with the bottom of a mug or measuring cup and spray or brush on more olive oil for a crispier, crunchier potato.

Return to the oven and cook for 10 more minutes or until the centers of the cabbage steaks are fork tender.

Yield: dinner for 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children (with possibly some leftovers depending on how much your kids actually eat.)

Sheet pan dinners are the fastest, easiest way to get dinner on the table and clean up done quickly. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #purplecabbage #sausage #potatoes #Oktoberfest

Almond butter quinoa muffins

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What these muffins have: Good fats, protein, Omega-3s, deliciousness.

What these muffins don't have: Gluten, dairy, refined sugar, wheat, eggs, soy.

Bonus feature: The muffins only require one bowl!

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The new school year already started for lots of the country, but here in CT, M's preschool starts again on Monday. I've been thinking about quick ways to begin our day with protein that don't require cooking in the morning. These muffins are the answer!

Half of the flour is ground quinoa, which has lots of protein. The other half is oatmeal. I originally made these muffins with almond flour instead of oats for even more protein, but the almond flour was so dense that the muffins stuck to the roof of your mouth. You could just feed your kid a spoonful of almond butter and save yourself the trouble.

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With the oatmeal, the muffins are still substantial, but they're no longer dense. They're actually a smidge crumbly because I omitted eggs and any other binding agent. I wanted them to stay vegan and I don't always have the patience to make a flax egg. Letting them cool completely before eating them made them sturdier too. 

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For the first day of school, I thought it might be nice to add some blueberry chia jam and a quick icing to make the muffins more special. (I also called them breakfast cupcakes, which went over VERY WELL.) The jam is simple and free of any added sugar. I used cream cheese and maple syrup for my frosting, but you could also use coconut cream or a pre-made dairy-free topping.

You could also mix the chia jam with some yogurt for a delicious breakfast for the younger set (or the parental set, if I'm honest).

If you're avoiding nuts, substitute coconut or rice milk for the almond milk and use sunflower seed butter in place of the almond butter. Still delicious!

Important note: These muffins are best when fresh, so I recommend freezing 3/4 of the batch and then either defrosting a serving at night for breakfast the next morning, or toasting a frozen one right before eating it.

 

Almond butter quinoa muffins

2 large mashed banana
1 cup creamy natural almond butter, well mixed (or nut butter or seed butter of your choice)
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or rice, coconut, or other non-dairy milk of choice)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup quick oats
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pie spice (or cinnamon)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla extract and mix well.

Add the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Mix well. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix again. Let the mixture sit while you prep the muffin tin and prepare the jam and icing (if using).

When ready, spoon the mixture into your muffin tin until each opening is half full.

Bake for 12-14 mins or until the tops turn golden brown and the muffins are firm to the touch.

Let cool completely in the muffin tin before serving.

Yield: 18 muffins

 

For the Blueberry chia jam:
1 pint blueberries
1 ½ Tbsp chia seeds

Put the blueberries into a small sauce pan and cook over a medium low flame until the berries have broken down and become syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes and add the chia seeds. Mix well.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or until ready to use.

Yield: 1 Tbsp per muffin

 

For the frosting (optional):
2 ¼ cups whipped cream cheese
6 Tbsp maple syrup

Mix the cream cheese and maple syrup well with a spatula. The mixture will look curdled at first. Continue mixing until the two ingredients have come together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 2 Tbsp per muffin

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