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Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Hooligan Squash Oatmeal Muffins

Hooligan Squash Oatmeal Muffins

Do you ever walk through your market and wonder what all those beautiful different types of winter squash are called?  Every time I see a new squash I go home and look it up.  So I have to tell you, I was feeling pretty darn smug about my squash knowledge… until last week.

As I was power walking through my local co-op market, I spotted two cute little pumpkin like squash I thought would be delish for these muffins.  I was sure they were Sweet Lightening Squash but when I got home I kept thinking they were a little small for Sweet Lightening.  I was right.  These little darlings are called Hooligans.  What a name, right?

winter squash muffins with oatmeal brown sugar topping

The name alone would make me buy these again.  But the taste is the real reason for purchasing these lovelies.  Sweet like a Delicata but the texture less starchy.  So lip-smacking good,  I was eating pieces of the roasted squash right off the baking sheet.

These little Hooligans made for a sweet, moist muffin.  I also think they’d make the most divine squash soup or a roasted squash side dish, sprinkled with my favorite Five Spice Powder or a little curry powder.  Hooligans are a nice little surprise during this very stormy and cold winter – and just enough to keep me going until spring.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


Hooligan Squash Oatmeal Muffins

Makes about 12


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups squash puree (recipe below) (from about 2-3 Hooligan squash, depending on size)  on occasion I sub with sweet potato puree

¼ cup coconut oil or healthy vegetable oil

2 eggs

½ cup coconut palm sugar or  brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger added to the squash puree

Topping: (optional)

3 tablespoons rolled oats

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine squash, vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Divide muffins among 12 prepared muffin cups.

Combine oats, sugar and oil in a small bowl. Divide mixture among the tops of muffin batter. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Let them cool before removing from tin. Because they are so moist, it’s best to store them in the fridge.

Roasting Squash for Puree

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the stem section off the squash first and then slice the squash in half, from top to bottom.  Scoop out the seeds.

Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little olive oil. Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish and add a little water to the pan.   Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and skins are golden brown and toasty.  Remove from the oven and  when the squash has cooled, remove the meat of the squash and place it in a medium mixing bowl, mashing it as much as possible.  Set aside.



Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

Confetti Muffins (Zucchini, Carrot and Pineapple Muffins)

Zucchini, Carrot and Pineapple Muffins

There comes a moment in time when Mother’s must do what must be done.  Tell a fiblet.

Not a fib or a lie or even a white lie.  A fiblet.  My youngest gal’s favorite word for a “slight truth”.  You might think me a completely terrible parent for telling a fiblet.  But alas, it’s been necessary a time or two.

Especially when my youngest gal announced she no longer ate vegetables. I was horrified. How could my child not eat her vegetables?  I’m a chef for Pete’s sake. Aren’t my children supposed to have advanced palates and eat absolutely anything I cook?  Apparently not.

Confetti Muffins

So,  I did what any good Mother would do.  I hid veggies in the food.   Mashed potatoes included mashed cauliflower, steamed and finely diced broccoli went into the meatballs and roasted zucchini went into our favorite grilled hamburgers.

I was on a role.  I was feeling so proud of my ingenuity and cleverness.  And not once did I have to tell a fiblet.  Until the muffins.

Zucchini, carrot and pineapple muffins.  Yep, I thought to myself, this was going to be great. I’d get my little gal eating veggies for breakfast and dinner.

As soon as the muffins came out of the oven my little gal was sitting at the counter, ready and waiting for her muffin.  She kept telling me how delicious they smelled, and that these were absolutely going to be her favorite muffins ever!

My Little Suzie Q

Then she broke one open and adamantly stated  “What’s all this stuff in my muffin?”  And here’s where that fiblet flew right out of my mouth.  “It’s called a confetti muffin”.  “You know, like those yummy confetti sprinkles we put on cupcakes”.

Ok, so I know what you’re thinking.  If she’d ask me what the “confetti” was made of I would have come clean and told her. I promise.  But she never asked. (Phew!)

My little Suzie Q… almost grown up.


Wishing all you Mom’s loads of love, lots of laughs and giggles, quiet time for yourselves, and true joy.


Confetti Muffins (Zucchini, Carrot and Pineapple Muffins)

When I created these muffins I wanted them to be as delicious and health friendly as possible.  So I made lots of substitutions that I believe are all in good health.  Most of the ingredients can now be found at any major grocery store chain.  However, if you have a local natural market or a Whole Foods close by, you’ll definitely find a good selection of these ingredients.  I’ve also included a gluten-free recipe following the whole grain recipe.  Happy Baking!

Makes 12 muffins


½ cup coconut oil (softened) or grapeseed oil

½ cup brown sugar or Agave syrup

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup grated fresh zucchini

½ cup grated fresh carrot

½ cup diced pineapple (fresh or organic canned with no added sugars)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I like King Aruthur)

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt


Pre heat the oven to 350F.

Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Whisk together the softened coconut oil and brown sugar until nicely combined.  Add one egg at a time and whisk until creamy.  Then mix in the vanilla.

Fold in the zucchini, carrot and pineapple.

In a separate bowl mix together the wheat and all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Gently stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and try (really hard) not to over mix. (I’ve been known to over mix a time or two)  All you want is for both mixtures to be nicely combined.

Fill the muffin cups about ¾ full.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are firm to the touch.

Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before serving.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Confetti Muffins

If you are looking for a simple gluten-free muffin mix, I love Pamela’s gluten-free baking mix.  Follow the basic muffin recipe,  adding in the same amount of veggies and pineapple as the recipe above.  If the muffin batter seems too thin, add a bit more of the gluten-free baking mix.  Bake as directed.

I prepare these muffins with Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.  I get a lot of my almond flour recipes from the brilliant gluten-free and paleo blogger, Elana’s Pantry.  She has a delicious selection of gluten-free and paleo friendly recipes on her site.  Here are some blanched almond flour confetti muffins I whipped up… adapted from Elana’s Pantry.


Makes about 8-10 muffins

2 cups Honeyville blanched almond flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 cup agave syrup

1/2 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup diced pineapple


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line a muffin tin with 8-10 muffin cups.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Fold in the veggies and pineapple.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and firm to the touch.  Enjoy!


Fresh Pear and Cardamom Muffins

Fresh Pear and Cardamom Muffins

These are my favorite muffins.  Mostly because I’m in love with cardamom.

I wish my house smelled like cardamom.  And I wouldn’t mind a perfume smelling of cardamom.  I’d probably bathe in this lovely spice if I could.

Ground and Whole Cardamom

Sometimes I open my cardamom spice jar just to stick my nose in and inhale the blissful fragrance.

I love it in apple pie, peach crisp, banana bread, curried chicken, soups, stews, and in mashed sweet potatoes prepared with coconut milk.  I’ve even sipped hot chocolate with a hint of cardamom.  Wow, talk about an explosion of flavors!

If the flavor isn’t enough, cardamom also has health benefits.  A relative of ginger, cardamom is also used to promote healthy digestion and is known to aid in lowering blood pressure.

Truly, I could write another 500 words about cardamom and the benefits of incorporating this lovely scented spice into our diets.  So I’ve listed a few excellent websites for additional information.  You know, just for a bit of light reading.

But for now, I’m enjoying the fragrant flavors of cardamom with seasonal pears… all deliciously blended into my most favorite muffins.

Fresh Pear and Cardamom Muffins

Makes 10-12 muffins


2 cups organic all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 rounded teaspoon ground cardamom

1/3 cup grapeseed oil (substitute with 1/3 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine just a tad less than one cup milk with one tablespoon white vinegar. Let it sit for about five minutes)

2-3 pears peeled and small diced


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  Line the muffin tin.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.  Set aside.

In another bowl, or kitchen aid mixer, beat together the oil and sugar.  Once combined add the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Gently mix in the buttermilk.

Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the diced pears.

Ladle into muffin cups.  Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes or until done.  The muffins will be nicely golden brown on top.

Let the muffins sit for 5-10 minutes to cool.  Enjoy!