Pumpkin Carrot Cake Muffins

Guest Post by Katie from goodLife {eats}

When I first saw Crystal and Jessica talking about freezer cooking, I shied away from it. I made excuses: That’s not for me. I don’t have a big freezer. I like being spontaneous and creative in the kitchen. I don’t have time to cook a whole month’s meals at once, nor did I want to. Being a food blogger, I wanted to be able to cook on my own schedule and as I was inspired.

BUT, eventually I realized that having a few things in the freezer would make life easier. Especially breakfast!

Our family loves muffins, waffles and pancakes for breakfast. I don’t always have time to whip up a new batch of whatever we’re in the mood for, and sometimes I’m out of the ingredients we need. That’s where freezer cooking came in for me.

Baking is easy and fun, something my kids love to do with me. And breakfast isn’t usually something I’m as spontaneous with, except for maybe on the weekends. Instead of tackling my freezer cooking projects all at once, I do them when the opportunity strikes and as time allows. Often times, my son will say “let’s make muffins!” just because he wants to. I take that opportunity to make a double batch and freeze the extra for later.

Here is one of our new favorite muffin recipes. I’ve doubled it for you below so you can have 1 1/2 dozen for now and 1 1/2 dozen to stash in your freezer. Or maybe you’ll even stash all 36 in your freezer.

They are super easy, healthy, and a great way to start the morning. You don’t have to frost them with the sweetened cream cheese. That’s just a little something to make them feel more special, but they are certainly just as good without it! I take advantage of the “frosting” and tell my kids that we’re having cupcakes for breakfast!

Katie Goodman believes that part of the goodness in life is sharing good food with friends and family. She’s a SAHM determined to make family meal time a priority while providing a variety of healthy and delicious food choices. Katie blogs at goodLife {eats} where she shares what she finds good in the kitchen and in life. She also contributes to Craftzine.com, Paula Deen Online, and Tablespoon.

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Comments

  1. says

    I know what I am going to bake this weekend! The muffins sound fantastic. I think I’ll try them with the cream cheese.

  2. says

    I plan to do some baking this weekend to put in the freezer. These will definitely be on the list. The orange cream cheese sounds delicious!

  3. Heather Holland says

    saying these are “healthy” is a little deceiving, esp, with one cup of sugar and 10 TABLESPOONS of butter

    • says

      @Heather Holland, I don’t think that’s deceiving at all. This recipe makes 36 muffins, so the butter comes out to 1/3 of a tbsp per muffin, and the sugar comes out to 1/36 of a cup per muffin. There are lots of healthy goodies in these, too: whole wheat flour, flax seed, pumpkin, carrots.

  4. Krista White says

    Does anyone have any thoughts as to where I can find the pumpkin puree? I’ve been to 4 grocery stores near me and none of them even have a spot on the shelves for it. I asked and was told it is a “seasonal” item.

    • says

      @Krista White,
      I don’t know what to tell you on that one. We didn’t experience the pumpkin shortage here in New Mexico. I usually buy it at Walmart because it’s cheapest there and have found it on the baking isle. My Smith’s (same as Kroger) has an organic version in the natural foods section of the store.

      There are a couple of options on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pumpkin+puree&x=0&y=0

      Sweet potato puree would be a good substitute if you can’t find pumpkin. Good luck! :)

    • amy says

      @Krista White, Yes, there is an issue right now (at least where I am in the Southeast). I haven’t seen pumpkin in any store around me since Christmas. Lately I have substituted other mashed up fruit for the pumpkin puree. I have seen (but not tried) where you can use cooked sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin..

    • Krista White says

      @Krista White, I’m in North Carolina, and I think I’m just out of luck until the fall. I’ve looked everywhere – discount stores, grocery stores, drug stores, frozen section, veggie section, baking aisle. Sweet potatoes are an idea – we seem to have an abundance of those, no matter what time of year, around here!

      • Lauren says

        @Stephanie,

        They’re still selling winter squash in the produce depts of my local grocery stores. You can cook that up and puree it, that is very similar to pumpkin for these type recipes, you may just have to cook down the puree a little to thicken it up like the canned pumpkin.

  5. Terri says

    I feel the same way about freezing. When I do make extra with dinner to freeze it it seems like we never get to it. Just as you, I, recently discovered I love having breakfast in the freezer!

  6. Crystal says

    If I don’t have cold milled flax, is there any substitute I can use for it. I’m not even sure what it is!! Thanks.

      • says

        @Andrea,

        I buy cold milled flax seed at Costco. It comes in a 40 ounce bag with a big red label. The brand is Flax USA. They also have a website with more information: http://www.flaxusa.com

        The difference between regular milled flax and cold milled is the process. Cold milled gently grinds the seeds without significantly raising the temperature, which preserves nutrients and extends the shelf life to 22 months.

        For a substitute, you can add additional flour, but flax really provides excellent nutritional benefits. 2 tablespoons = 2800 mg omega3, 3 g protein, and 4 g fiber.

        Hope that helps! :)

    • Erika says

      @Sarah, i realize this doesn’t help at the moment, but in recent years i’ve started stocking up on pumpkin in the fall–either in cans or buying/growing whole pumpkins and cooking/pureeing/freezing them myself. and last fall was an especially poor crop so the “shortage” probably hastened the lack of stock we now have.

      also makes quick and inexpensive baby food–much cheaper price per serving than jarred squash!

  7. Erika says

    this is the way i keep my freezer stocked with my essentials–baked goods, rice, beans, and meat are all great to do extra all at once (and even additional varieties if i have the chance). if i want to make chili and my freezer beans are depleted, it’s not that much harder to cook 2 bags of beans and freeze most of them. i’m still able to save some on dishes and prep time even if it is still spread out throughout the month.

  8. Julia Phillips says

    I used to buy frozen winter squash (in the ‘squares’ in the freezer section) and use it as baby food – I would guess that would probably work in place of the pumpkin.

  9. yenna says

    I wonder if pumpkin comes frozen? btw I’m not a baker at all they always stay raw in the middle :(. I wonder if one can bake muffins in a microwave. jeje

  10. Amy says

    I tried to bake it last night as soon as I read it. It was really really good. Guess we won’t freeze them we will eat them all. Thanks a lot!

  11. Lanie says

    Any ideas on how to make this wheat free? Any GF gals out there with some advice would be awesome because these sound delicious!

    • Kelly says

      @Lanie,
      Hey Lanie,
      My husband has been GF for life (celiac since birth). We use Pamela’s GF pancake and baking mix for everything. It usually substitutes well in equal porportions to whole wheat/white flour. If Pamela’s isn’t readily available, Land O’ Lakes has some great recipes on their site and their recipes use a gluten-free flour blend that also works well (2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum). I would sustitute either two cups of Pamela’s or two cups of the LOL blend each for the 2 cups of whole wheat and 2 cups of all-purpose flour in this recipe. I admit I haven’t had time to try this yet (I have a FT and PT job and a 7-month-old), but good luck!

  12. Rachel says

    Silly question – on the grated carrots are you measuring before or after you grate them up? I assume after, but would hate to have really carrot-y muffins if that’s not the case.

    Also – if I didn’t have any whole wheat flour (i know i know it’s really healthy) can I just double the reg flour?

  13. Rachel says

    Hmmm…..I thought I just commented but don’t see it – hopefully I don’t double up.

    On the grated carrot – are you measureing before or after you grate. I’m assuming after, but hate to end up with way too much carrot-y-goodness :)

    Also – if i don’t have whole wheat flour (i know it’s super healthy) can I double the reg stuff?

  14. says

    I am definitely going to make these! I have pumpkin puree in my freezer in 1/2 cup increments! Awesome!!!! Thanks so much for posting this!!!

  15. Heather T. says

    These do sound good and I do the same just make extra of whatever like pancakes or waffles, french toast they freeze great and you can just pop them in the microwave or toaster and instant homecooked breakfast or snack when you are in a hurry.

    I also am not liking the butter, but I substitute applesauce for all yes all the butter or oil in a lot of baking recipes, like cakes and muffins or cupcakes and they always turn out great and its my homeade applesauce so I know its good and low sugar.

    Was not aware of the pumpkin problem, but yes you can use sweet potatoes in place of they turn out tasteing the same, they just take on the spice flavor. A lot of times when you think your eating pumpkin pie its sweet potato found that out at church functions lol. I have a lot of frozen pumpkin in the freezer so I haven’t bought it at the store will have to pay attention next time I go to see if they are out here in WI.

    Also can you just substitute the same amount of flour for the flax? This is not something I usually have on hand!

  16. Melissa says

    What kind of yogurt is used? Just asking because my current favorite vanilla yogurt is Dannon All Natural (you can only get it in large containers). Very few ingredients, and I think it’s much lower in sugar. But because it doesn’t have stabilizers it separates. I wonder if it would still work?

    • says

      @Melissa,

      I use either Brown Cow Vanilla, Wallaby Vanilla Bean, Stoneyfield Farm Vanilla. They are all organic and all natural. I haven’t used the one you mention so I can’t speak for that. Sorry! Hope this helps.

  17. Jennifer says

    Hey, everyone: I am a dietitian and I ran the numbers on this recipe– not bad, and it’s vitamin and mineral-packed!

    If there are 36 muffins to this batch:
    130 calories per muffin, 4.6 g fat, 3 g protein, 2 g fiber. :)

    • says

      @Jennifer,

      Thank you Jennifer!!!

      I knew they couldn’t be that bad for you. Most muffin recipes have way more butter in them than that. :) I’m sure you could probably get away with subbing up to half of it with Smart Balance, apple sauce, extra pumpkin, or yogurt.

      What type of yogurt did you input for the results? I use low-fat in the recipe.

  18. Diana says

    I made these and stored them in plastic containers on my counter. After a few days they started to smell (spoiled) so I put them in the fridge but that didn’t help. I ended up having to throw some of them away. I guess I should have stored them in the fridge right away. Did anyone else have this problem?

    • says

      @Diana,
      If you plan on trying to keep them for longer than a day or two, I would freeze them for freshness as the recipe instructs. Sorry you had difficulties. We never try to store muffins in the cupboard because they last longer if you freeze them and it is easy to take one or two out of the freezer at a time. For us the probably is typically that baked goods go stale here since we live in a desert climate.