I’ve heard it said again and again – that you can’t change a man. That if there’s anything about him you think you can “fix” within the first few years of marriage, you’re better off accepting or moving on.
But I know that’s not the case. Because when I tell my husband I’m making vegan, sugar-free asparagus muffins – with creamy cashew frosting – he says, “Cool. That sounds good.” See, he gets it. Eight years ago, when we first met, he most certainly would not have got it.
Then again, neither would I. Back then my idea of a healthy snack was something involving artificial, fat-free whipped topping and instant pudding mix. And as far as cooking went, my signature dish involved an entire box of pasta and a half cup of peanut butter. For the two of us.
Apparently, people do change. I learned that wholesome, natural food can most definitely be tasty food. And just because I’m not medically or ethically required to avoid things like dairy, gluten, or sugar, for example, I’m not about to leave those who are with all the fun. One thing that’s never changed is my love for food, and I love a good foodie challenge.
That’s exactly how I felt when Ricki and Kim announced the ingredient for this month’s SOS Challenge: asparagus. The SOS Challenge is a monthly event inviting bloggers to create a sweet or savory dish with a specific ingredient in mind, that is wholesome, vegan, natural, and free of refined sugars. Sounds easy enough for asparagus, right? Unless you choose to make something sweet. That’s just plain weird, right? Well, so am I, because I immediately knew I was going to make something sweet with asparagus.
It’s actually not that far-fetched, if you consider all the vegetables that make cameos in dessert: zucchini, carrots, and pumpkin, for example. Would asparagus in a wholesome, spiced muffin be any different, especially when topped with a fluffy mound of sweet and tangy frosting? I had only one shot to find out, since I had to wait until after Passover to make these and be sure to post them by the end of the month. More than I was craving a slice of pizza at the end of the holiday, I was dying to try an asparagus muffin.
I can tell you that it actually works quite well. The asparagus taste comes through, yes, but as long as you like asparagus, there’s nothing to fear. The muffins are warmly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and get their healthy sweetness from stevia and golden raisins. They are surprisingly moist and tender as well, with a wholesome crumb achieved with a mixture of graham and spelt flours. The frosting is creamy and lightly sweet, with a touch of tang from lemon juice, just like I would expect from a cream cheese frosting. The one thing I would like to improve upon with these muffins if I made them again would be to get a better rise out of them; I’m not quite sure what happened there. But given everything else they have going for them, these muffins deliver quite the winning combination of good taste and good nutrition, and we’re more than happy to have them around.
Asparagus Muffins with Cashew Cream Frosting
1 cup / 120gm graham flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup / 120gm spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup / 2oz coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup / 4oz unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup / 4oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract, such as NuStevia White Stevia Extract Powder
1 cup finely grated asparagus
1/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a muffin pan with either nonstick cooking spray or paper lines.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a another bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, vanilla extract, and stevia extract.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the melted coconut oil and the applesauce mixture. Gently mix to combine, then fold in the asparagus and raisins.
Divide the mixture among the muffin cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the muffins, then ice with the cashew frosting.
1 cup / 135gm cashews, soaked overnight
30 gm dates, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
6 tablespoons / 3 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 drops vanilla flavored liquid stevia extract, such as NuNaturals Pure Liquid Vanilla Stevia
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. (I found that my hand blender worked best.) Process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use (the frosting will thicken a bit while chilling.)
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 10.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 202.6 mg
Total Carbs: 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 5.4 g
Wondering about that giveaway? Coincidentally, the NuNaturals Stevia products I used this recipe were part of a prize package I won by submitting my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies to the February SOS Challenge. The ingredient was, of course, stevia. If you want to try stevia for the first time, or stock up on your beloved stash, you’re in luck: The kind folks at NuNaturals are offering FOUR of my readers a prize package which includes a 50ct. box NuStevia Packets and a 2oz. bottle of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia Liquid.
-Tweet about this contest mentioning @Carascravings and @NuNaturals, with a link to this post
-Stumble this post
-Mention this post on your blog or Facebook page
And a few more tidbits…
– All readers will receive a 15% discount on NuNaturals products by entering the code BLG531 at checkout, and continental US orders will receive free shipping on orders totaling $35.
-All contintental US readers are eligible to receive FREE samples of NuNaturals Stevia packets . All you need to do is send a SELF-ADDRESSED, STAMPED, # 10 envelope to the following address:
NuNaturals , Inc.
2220 West 2nd. Ave. # 1
Eugene, OR 97402
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