Happy Monday, readers. Once again, I am lucky enough to get to share another blogger friend with you, and once again, you are in for some amazingness. I met Aravinda (“Arv” to her friends) in a class we shared during our first year of college in Chicago. A couple weeks into it, we realized that my roommate, Anjli, was one of her best friends, and we all ended up hanging out quite a bit. The next year, Arv and I lived together with four of our other friends in a campus townhouse (Townhouse 8, represent!). It was quite possibly one of the best years of my life, and I have so many fond memories of the laughter and love that filled our home. <3
Fast-forward nine years (omg, I’m old), and now we are both food bloggers, living in different cities, but staying in touch—often through our blogs! You may remember her blog, Linguini & Collette, showing up in the Friday Five, because I’m always blown away with the gorgeous pictures, amazing recipes, and her unique and eloquent voice.
The funny thing is that I don’t really remember either of us doing much cooking when we lived together….I have a feeling we’ve both gotten a bit more domestic since the days of undergrad. ; )
Enjoy this beautiful, seasonally-appropriate muffin recipe!
First of all, I’m so proud of my friend Raechel and the amazing rebelgrrrl she is –in the kitchen, classroom and on the streets. Couldn’t be more excited to be a guest in this house!
Last weekend, I spectated the 2012 Chicago Marathon. Inspired and humbled, I cheered on everyone I knew (and some I didn’t) who was running from the sidelines, and spent the better part of the chilly but gloriously sunny morning buried in a warm fleece, clutching hand warmer packets in my freezing palms.
Yup. It was a roasted butternut squash kind of a day.
Butternut squash is a beautiful yield of the fall harvest. It’s skin-and-insides contrast contain the palette of autumnal leaves, and it roasts up warm and sweet and comforting — a worthy opponent for a brisk fall day.
Speaking of seasonality, I also managed to get my hands on some beautiful, farm fresh apples:
Naturally, I thought, I’ll roast the butternut squash and whip up some butternut-apple muffins….naturally.
This is a legitimately healthy breakfast! I love muffins, but I find that they can often be a bit more like dessert than breakfast. Here was my attempt to reclaim the muffin as health food — packed with nutrient-dense squash and apples.
I got started by roasting the squash. This is me slicing a still steaming-from-the-oven butternut:
And this is me removing the skin:
…and cutting into chunks. Doesn’t it almost look a bit translucent and glow-y?
I used a pastry cutter to mash it all down:
And, though it’s not pictured, I used a stick blender to purée the butternut.
I mixed my dry ingredients — whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, a dash of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger.
I sweetened the “wet” ingredients using honey and molasses, (but if you don’t eat honey, you can use agave or sweetener of your choice!). The bowl of wet ingredients contained puréed butternut squash, almond milk, honey and molasses. In retrospect, I wouldn’t have been mad at some vanilla being added to this mix.
I whisked away:
And combined wet ingredients into dry:
I chopped an apple and mixed that in, too:
Into lightly oiled muffin pans the batter goes:
and to the oven!
Voilà! Cooled, topped with walnuts and ready to savor.
The muffins were hearty and nutritious and sweetened naturally and conservatively. Definitely to be enjoyed in good conscious, and easily manipulated to be made gluten free. Or, if you find them a bit too “crunchy granola,” to be made a bit sweeter and more dessert like. Either way, enjoyed.
To make Butternut-Apple Muffins, you will need:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (sub your fave combo of gluten-free flours for a GF recipe)
1/2 cup honey (or any sweetener of choice; 1 whole cup for a sweeter recipe — mine was definitely on the healthy side)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cup pureed butternut squash
1 medium apple, diced into ½ inch pieces
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup grape seed (or expeller pressed canola) oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1. First, roast your squash.
- Place squash on baking sheet, and put in the oven for like 90-110 minutes at 425 degrees F (no need to pre-heat)
- How long it takes depends on how big of squash you’re working with (science!)
- Just keep an eye on it — when the skin starts to get really brown and papery, and the intoxicating aroma of caramelizing butternut begins to waft from you kitchen (and 90-110 minutes have gone by), you’ll know your squash is ready to come out
- Carefully slice in half and let cool for a few minutes
- When the squash has cooled down enough to be easily handled, slip off the skin and scoop out the seeds using a spoon
- Cut into chunks, and use a stick (or a regular) blender to purée the squash. You’ll probably need to add some water or additional almond milk to get a pudding-like consistency
2. Turn your oven back on. This time, heat it up to 400 degrees.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together prepared butternut squash, almond milk, oil, honey and molasses. Pour wet ingredients into dry. Add diced apple. Mix.
4. Grease muffin tins with a little additional oil and fill them about 2/3 of the way full. Bake about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Arv! Thank you so much for sharing your words, photos, and food! You’re the best!