All-Natural Homemade Wholegrain Carrot Bread

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All-Natural Homemade Wholegrain Carrot Bread

We all know how healthy carrots are, but we throw away some of the most nutritious parts every time we peel a carrot and throw away the tops. Many of the beneficial nutrients in a carrot are contained in the carrot's peel. By removing the peel of a carrot, you are removing much of the nutrients naturally present in the vegetable. Also, did you know that carrot tops are just as healthy as the root? They are highly nutritive, rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. They contain six times the vitamin C of the root and are a great source of potassium and calcium!

This delicious homemade loaf I dreamed up uses the whole carrot — root, peel, and top! Make sure you buy fresh carrots for this one — none of the bagged variety.
The bread is not sweet like a carrot cake but has a lot of that same yummy aroma and taste. This recipe is whole grain, uses skim milk, and just a touch of natural maple syrup for sweetness. Serve warm with a dab of butter. Yum!

Homemade Wholegrain Carrot Bread


4 cups Irish wholemeal or wholegrain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots (not peeled & with their tops!)
1 tablespoon butter


 In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

 Top and tail the carrots reserving the carrot tops. Wash the carrots well under cold water and using the large holes of a box grater, grate the carrots.

 Cut off the woodiest part of the carrot tops (the inch or two closest to the carrot) and discard. Place the carrot tops into a food blender along with the olive oil and blend until it resembles a chimichurri or pesto. 

 Add the grated carrots and carrot tops to the dry ingredients. Mix to combine.

 Make a well in the mixture and pour in the milk. Stir together until blended (not too much, lumps are ok!)

 Grease a loaf pan and pour the mixture in, smoothing the top. Melt the butter in the microwave for 20 seconds and brush onto the top of the loaf. Score the top with a deep cross.

 Bake the bread in a preheated 400F oven for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.


Buttercup Squash and Mushroom Medley

To Everything There Is a Season

Buttercup Squash and Mushroom Medley

I look for food inspiration everywhere and anywhere but one of the things I've learned is that it's crucial to buy produce that is in season. Feeding my family fruits and vegetables that have been grown to handle a 2-week trip across the continent on the back of a truck just so they can eat strawberries in February is NOT the right decision.

Costs are naturally high, flavour and nutrition is compromised, and the produce is grown to maximize this travel time. Thicker skins and vibrant colours take precedence over flavour and freshness. You'll also be amazed how much lower your grocery bills are when you only buy in-season fruits and vegetables!

I often use the following two charts to help me choose what I'm going to cook up for my family. It's a great way to find inspiration before heading to the market or grocery store!
In that same light the following dish was an inspiration purely from looking at all of the wonderful squash in season. I knew my wife Ali would absolutely love this tasty concoction I plated last weekend.
For the flour, I used some Irish wholemeal flour we bought after a trip to Dublin last year, but feel free to replace with any whole grain or whole wheat flour.
Buttercup Squash and Mushroom Medley
Serves 6 - 8
Wholegrain Dough
1 3/4 cup wholegrain or wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick butter, cold
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
 Mix dry ingredients together and put in a bowl or food processor.
 Cut butter into 1/2 cm cubes and add to dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Butter should be slightly broken up but not fully incorporated into the flour.
 Add vinegar. Add 6 tablespoons of ice water and mix together. Test dough's consistency — if it’s too crumbly, add more ice water, one tablespoon at a time.
 When the dough is ready wrap it in plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
Squash and Mushroom Medley:
1 small buttercup squash, approximately 1 1/2 pounds
2 small  yellow onions, quartered
16 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 cup beer
 Preheat oven to 375F. Peel the buttercup squash, cut it in half length-wise, and scoop out the seeds. Dice the squash and place in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and stir to coat. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until tender.
 While the squash bakes, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add onion slices. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. 
 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes until mushrooms are amber. Add beer and stir until reduced.
 Combine the squash, onions, and mushrooms in a bowl. Sprinkle with sage and 1 teaspoon of salt, mix well. 
To Assemble and Bake
Squash and mushroom medley (above)
Wholegrain dough (above)
Frisee or mixed salad, for serving
1/4 cup grainy mustard
tsp beer
1/2 teaspoon olive oil 
 Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a large baking sheet.
 Unwrap chilled dough on a floured surface and roll it into desired thickness (I roll to about 1 cm thick).Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
 Bake dough until edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes.
 In a small bowl whisk together beer, mustard and oil.
 To assemble use a ring mould to plate the squash and mushroom medley. Use the same ring mould to cut cooked dough. Top each squash mixture with a wholegrain biscuit, carefully stack some of the frisee on top and drizzle with mustard-beer sauce.

Halloween Franken-Turkey

Horrify them with this frightful main dish!

Halloween Franken-Turkey

This Halloween terrify your whole family with this Franken-Turkey. It gets served looking like a bird with 8 wings!

You simply insert chicken wings into incisions in a turkey breast before you roast it. As the fat and skin render and roast the whole thing fuses together so that your dish looks like some creature from a sci-fi film. An easy trick that will have them squealing with delight when you bring it to the table this Halloween. 

Your kids will be talking about it all year!

What you'll need:

 1 large turkey breast

 8 chicken wings

 2 tablespoons olive oil

 1 tablespoon honey

 1/2 teaspoon paprika

 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1/4 teaspoon black pepper



 Preheat oven to 325 F. 

 Place your turkey breast skin-side up on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife make incisions through the skin about an inch from the bottom of the breast (make sure to go through both the skin and the flesh). Continue around the breast until you have 8 such slits.

 Use a finger to expand each slit into a round hole. Taking one wing at a time force the fat end of the drumette side (not the flat) through a hole. Continue for all eight wings.

* I know... I have MAD MSPaint skills!

 In a small bowl mix together glaze ingredients and brush onto the Franken-Turkey.

 Roast the turkey in a large roasting dish until a probe reads 185 F.

 Using two spatulas carefully lift from the roasting dish onto your serving platter.

Want more frighteningly festive Halloween recipes? Check out my Halloween' Lady's Fingers Recipe and Halloween Guacamole Exorcism Recipe.

Check out more scary secrets for making this Halloween terrific-ly terrifying.