Three Day Weekend + RECIPE: Paleo Carrot Cake Muffins

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Today marks the first paid holiday of my adult life.  Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day.  At home.  Blogging.  And cooking.  And getting paid for it!

I know, I know. I told you I didn’t take the big girl job. Well, technically, I didn’t. But I did keep my other office gig and turn it into something a little more permanent and a little more stable and a little more adult-like with a lot more hours.  And that came with some mega perks, like paid holidays!!!

I wanted to go on a mini vacation to celebrate this first ever paid holiday, but then Mr. Carrot very wisely reminded me that our 3-week long honeymoon wasn’t even two months ago yet and that we’re trying to be more responsible with our finances.  Then I also remembered that the farming season begins in just a little more than a month (seriously, onion seeds in seed trays in like 45 days!!).  I decided I needed to calm down re: mini vacations (for now) and take a long weekend to get my shit together. Three days to get my massive to do list of little loose-ends tied up. Psh. No problem!

Well….

You know how Saturday went (not well) and then yesterday was the devastating Packer game which put me completely out of the mood of doing anything other than sulking.  Aside from a trip to Target, I’ve again ignored my to-do list.  (Guess we should have just took off on that mini vacation!!!).  No.  Wrong.

Today I’ll focus.  Today I’m:

1. Uploading all the honeymoon photos to my computer, organizing them and getting all the pretty ones printed.
2. Finally finishing my half of the wedding thank you cards (sorry wedding guests– I get so very distracted by blogs and seeds and cakes!).
3. Opening up all the boxes of vegetable seed packets for 2015 (!!!!!) and sorting them into their appropriate pretty labeled boxes for ease of seed finding when planting time comes around!
4. Sending a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers to a very deserving and beautiful person.
5. Making this for dinner with my very first attempt at homemade spatzel on the side because my last name is Rudersdorf now and we need some good homemade spatzel in our lives with a name like that!!!

P.S. Here’s that recipe for the Paleo Carrot Cake Muffins I put on Instagram a week ago!!  I’m trying to be more accommodating of people fighting terrible food allergies and sensitivities because they deserve yummies too!  And up until now, I have been pretty much downright rude to anyone following a restricted diet.  2015 is the year of no more mean Lauren so here you are Paleo lovers, a delectable apology cake/muffin treat!  Sorry, I have been so terrible at supporting your lifestyle!

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-Leek

PALEO CARROT CAKE MUFFINS
This recipe is so fun and so easily variable!  You could use honey instead of syrup.  Grated beets instead of parsnip.  You could just the olive oil to coconut oil (which I would have 100% done had I had coconut oil on hand).  You could add pecans or walnuts for a little more texture.  You could add the coconut milk frosting and turn them into cupcakes instead of muffins!!  Go wild!

Makes 12 lovely muffins
Takes 1 hour

3 eggs
¼ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups almond flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup grated parsnip
1 cup grated carrot

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place paper cupcake liners in each cup of a 12-cup muffin pan.
Combine eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup, oil, vinegar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Mix until well combined, scraping down the sides once or twice.  In a small bowl, combine flour, spices, baking powder and salt.  Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring as you go.  Remove from mixer and gently fold in grated parsnips and carrots (or just 2 cups of grated carrots).
Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pan.  The muffin cups will be 3/4 full to completely full but not overflowing.  This recipe makes exactly 12 muffins, so feel free to add all the mixture and then even out at the end.  I would suggest also smoothing out the wet batter slightly before you bake.  Because the baked shape will look identical to the batter shape (if you plop the batter in and its lumpy, your cupcakes will be a little lumpy on top, but if you don’t care about pretty, ignore this).  Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out dry.

Optional Coconut Cream Frosting
This is definitely a bit putsy but I’m no paleo expert and this is all I’ve got in the way of frosting ideas.  If you aren’t paleo (or you bend the rules a little bit), feel free to stick to carrot cake tradition and make a maple infused cream cheese frosting ala Smitten Kitchen.

1 can full-fat Coconut Milk
Maple syrup, to taste

Open can of full-fat coconut milk.  Place it in fridge over night (or for at least 8 hours), allowing the heavy stuff to separate from the less heavy stuff (I know… sorry…).  In the morning (or whenever), very carefully scoop the very thick coconut milk solids off the top and into a mixing bowl.  Try and just get the thick heavy stuff and nothing milky in texture.  Add a touch of maple syrup.  Whisk on high until it fluffs up into something that resembles whipped cream.  Spread over cupcakes and enjoy!

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