Gettin' down with real food.

Crumbly Carrot Rhubarb Muffins and Raspberry Chia Jam

I enjoy curating lists. I realize this is not a unique character trait; I know and love many fellow list-makers. Two lists I keep, inspired by the movie Amelie, are my likes and dislikes. The things we embrace and those we shun are windows into who we are, a way of showing rather than telling our life stories. What do you keep close? What do you recoil from?

A recent addition to my "likes" list is "cookbooks organized by season" (showing). Cooking seasonally is important to me (telling). I recently borrowed Sarah Britton's new cookbook My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season from the library and devoured its pages in less than a day. The photos are full of life and light, the recipes sprinkled with highlighted ingredient notes where Sarah shares her holistic nutrition wisdom in a completely accessible voice. I ordered three copies of My New Roots (two for gifts) and have been scheming to cook from it nearly every day. 

Two of my first successes from the Spring chapter were these delightfully chunky yet tender oat-flour-based Carrot Rhubarb Muffins and a riff on her Strawberry Chia Jam (I used raspberries). For the muffins, I swapped eggs and coconut oil in for the applesauce she suggests in her version as  I wanted my muffins a bit more dense and filling, with protein and fat to satiate my voracious morning appetite. My rhubarb supply hailed from my neighbor's backyard (with permission of course), but I suspect there should be plenty coming into markets soon for your baking pleasure. 

oat flour carrot rhubarb muffins |

The raspberry chia jam is a breeze to make; all the ingredients are combined in a blender or food processor and refrigerated overnight, no cooking or pectin required. This ruby red, pleasantly seedy jam is amazing on waffles, toast, ice cream or yogurt. I imagine it would be pretty good on carrot rhubarb muffins as well (though I can't say for sure as we gobbled those up before I could locate some berries and whip up the jam).

raspberry chia jam |

In other news, I've been published!  My food writing appeared in this Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Check out the link below to find the online version of my story on how to throw a laid-back picnic party complete with light and tasty recipes to impress your friends without turning on the oven!

Recipe note: If you are gluten intolerant, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats and oat flour as many brands of oats contain trace amounts of gluten due to cross contamination. Also, these muffins are a bit on the crumbly side, I suggest using a plate and fork to catch any stray morsels of goodness.

Crumbly Carrot & Rhubarb Muffins

Adapted from My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season 

Makes 12 muffins


  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 free range eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 lb carrots, grated
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 4 thin stalks rhubarb, sliced into thin disks (about 1/4 lb)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tin with liners or cooking spray.
  2. Add oat flour, oats, sugar, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to a large bowl. Whisk well. 
  3. In a food processor, pulse walnuts until roughly chopped (or chop manually). Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk honey, eggs and melted coconut oil until combined. Add to flour mixture and stir just until moistened and no dry spots remain.
  5. Fold grated carrots, chopped walnuts, and sliced rhubarb into batter.
  6. Distribute batter evening among 12 muffin cups and bake for 25-30 minutes, until muffins tops are golden and glistening and toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.  Enjoy warm with jam, butter, or coconut oil. 

Raspberry Chia Jam

Adapted from: My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season 

Makes about 1 cup


raspberry chia jam |
  • 1/2 lb fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp honey (I used wildflower)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds


  1. Wash raspberries and place in blender or food processor. Add honey, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chia seeds to blender and blend again until just incorporated.
  3. Pour mixture into a jar and refrigerate until thickened, about 20 minutes. 
  4. Keep in fridge for up to a week.

Rustic Roasted Applesauce

For me, receiving fruit in a CSA basket is the equivalent of getting a king size candy bar during trick-or-treat at age 10: so special. That's why when organic apples appeared in our veggie box two weeks in a row, I hoarded them away like a greedy squirrel and started searching for a recipe to honor these rosy, perfectly imperfect gems.

local apples

The farmer's newsletter said he wasn't sure what variety these apples were, but that they were organic and therefore slightly blemished, but mighty tasty. A mystery apple! Joy! Their flavor was tart but not pucker-inducing, the flesh was firm and robustly textured, they were generously juicy, and perfect for making applesauce. 

This recipe hails from the infamous Zuni CafΓ© Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.  I borrowed it from the library after seeing several of my favorite cooks and bloggers site it as one of their must-haves. So far it hasn't disappointed.  This applesauce is nothing like the kind that comes in a jar at the supermarket.  It is at once chunky and silky, and absolutely sings with apple flavor.  My mouth is watering as I write this and so are my eyes because my apples and the sauce I made from them are long gone.  I ate it plain, also in oatmeal and swirled with plain yogurt and cinnamon.  I loved every bite. If you have any apples hanging around, you betta' make this applesauce toot sweet.

Recipe note: If you don't have 4 pounds of apples, scale the recipe back and adjust ingredients accordingly.  It's still worth it to make a small batch.  The sugar is pretty minimal, letting the apples' flavor shine and making it a versatile sauce for serving with anything from ice cream to pork chops. 

rustic roasted applesauce |

Rustic Roasted Applesauce

adapted slightly from the Zuni CafΓ© Cookbook
makes about 3 cups


  • 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Up to 1 Tbsp of sugar, depending on the sweetness of you apples
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar


Roasted apples
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the apple chunks in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and sprinkle with sugar and salt, toss to coat. 
  3. Shave butter into thin slices and "drape" over the apples (cookbook wording, beautiful).
  4. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the apples begin to soften slightly, 15-20 minutes. Remove apples from the oven and carefully uncover the pan. 
  5. Raise the heat to 500 F and return apples to the oven.  Roast until the apples begin to turn golden brown on their edges, about 10 minutes.
  6. Let the apples cool slightly, then slide them into a bowl and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon until you have smooth, yet chunky sauce,  Taste the sauce and season with more salt and sugar to your taste.
  7. Add the apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor if desired. (Judy Rodger's advice: try a drop of cider vinegar on a spoonful of the applesauce first to see if you'll like it.)
  8. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.
rustic roasted applesauce |