Indian Simmer Loves- Family Fresh Cooking

A dear friend came over to spend the night with us while her husband was away on a trip. Little A was so excited to see her maasi (aunt in hindi) entering the door that she practically jumped off her high chair with a mouth full of rajma chawal. She was a “husband’s close friend’s wife” 5 years back when we first met and I don’t even remember us acknowledging each other for the first time. But now she is one of the closer than the closest. That’s what happens when you spend time with the right person. One such friend that I am proud to know and love, thanks to my blog, is Marla from Family Fresh Cooking. We were virtual friends for quite sometime before we met for the first time face to face at a blogger conference. The moment I met her the first thing that came to my mind was- fire cracker, because that’s what she is! She is always bursting with energy, wearing a smile on her face she loves to listen to what you have to say and is one of the wittiest people I know. The only thing you need to do to love her is to meet her or in our case, read her blog. Family Fresh Cooking is all what Marla is- colorful, fun and informative. So let me present to you Marla Meredith and her beautiful blog because Indian Simmer loves Family Fresh Cooking.

Pear Muffins Marla Meridith-IMG_5612

Hi there! I am beyond thrilled to be guest posting here on Indian Simmer today! I’m Marla Meridith & I publish the blog Family Fresh Cooking. Some of us might all ready know each other and I hope others of you might become new friends. I love making new friends around the web! When I was contacted by Prerna about the wonderful opportunity to guest post on her beautiful blog I leapt at the chance. Today i’ll tell you a little bit about myself and share a few of our favorite recipes.

Pear Muffins Marla Meridith-IMG_5630

Tell us about yourself and what you would say is your food philosophy? I grew up in NY and spent my life there until my mid 20’s. NY is such a vibrant place. People take each and every meal very seriously. We always poke fun at my dad because he is always planning the next meal….I realize I have become the exact same way! We also spent a good part of my youth at my family’s organic dairy farm in Devon, England. It was in the UK and my mother’s passion for cooking that built the awareness and passion that I have for food today. I am all about using whole food ingredients in my cooking and participating in mindful eating behaviors.

Mindful to me means savoring each and every bite. Sitting down and really enjoying a meal. Spending time together with loved ones and friends over great food. Completely nourishing the mind, body and spirit with each and every bite. For myself and my family food should taste wonderful, but it should also make us feel our best. This is why I steer away from refined, processed ingredients. For us the benefits from eating whole food ingredients is the most mindful practice we can do. I select organic, sustainable ingredients when available.

Carrot Pear Sauce Parfait Recipe-collage1

Thankfully in our house we do not have food allergies, but I do however post many vegan and gluten free recipes. I like to mix things up in our kitchen and share my colorful recipes with all of you!

What led you to starting a food blog? At 26 I moved to Southern California and worked as a freelance textile and graphic designer for the likes of Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and many other fun kids based brands. In 2003 I had my daughter and then in 2006 my son. Being a mom is the most gratifying job I have ever had. My creative passions took a back seat for a while and then I realized how much I missed that part of my life.

Carrot Pear Sauce Parfait Recipe-IMG_5511

I launched in 2009 as a fun little space to share healthy, creative recipes for active families and for all people no matter what stage of their life they are in. When I started out, my photos were taken with my iPhone and I had really had no idea what Twitter, Facebook or blogging were really about. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that my blog would become more than a full time job and the most amazing portal for creative expression.

These days food, travel and lifestyle photography has become a giant passion. Along with sharing my creative recipes with all of you.

Carrot Pear Muffins Marla Meridith Photography-IMG_5579 collage

What would you say “Family Fresh Cooking” is all about and please share a recipe that best describes your blog? Family Fresh Cooking is all about embracing all of the colors of life through delicious, healthy food and a vibrant active lifestyle. Lately my readers have been very engaged in Project Lunch Box. An online event I created to get people packing their own homemade meals for work, school and travel.

Pear Sauce Marla Meridith Photography-IMG_5526-2

The recipe I am sharing today is for Chai Carrot Pear Muffins. These are based off a delightful Chai Carrot Pear Sauce I came up with. The sauce is wonderful on it’s own or in a yogurt parfait. It is also great to use in baking, as it is used in these muffins. This sauce can be integrated as you would applesauce in baked goods. It adds a nice sweetness, subtle flavor and allows you to reduce the amount of fat you use. These recipes keeps us fueled for a busy day at school, hiking with camera gear or skiing the slopes of Telluride. It is tasty for breakfast, brunch or snacks throughout the day. Also great tucked inside your lunchbox.

Pear Muffins Marla Meridith-IMG_5617

Here is the recipe for the Chai Pear Carrot Muffins and you can dash on over to my blog for the Chai Pear Carrot Sauce recipe:


Yield: 12 standard sized Muffins

  • 1 cup Gluten Free Oat Flour or Quinoa Flour
  • 1 cup blanched Almond Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Chai Pear Carrot Sauce
  • 1 cup light Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Almond or Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 droppers full of Vanilla Stevia Drops Adjust to taste
  • 1 large Carrot, peeled and finely shredded
Optional Toppings
  • Your favorite nuts
  • Raisins
  • unsweetened Coconut Flake
  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Prepare standard sized muffin tins with liners or cooking spray. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring well. Fold in the shredded carrots last. Adjust spices and sweetness if desired.
  • Fill muffin cups evenly with batter. Top with pistachios or other nuts if desired. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out virtually crumb free.
  • Enjoy with whipped cream, thick yogurt and/or coconut flake.

  • You can also use homemade or store bought pear or applesauce in this recipe. The spices add the chai flavor.

Let’s stay in touch! Visit me at Family Fresh Cooking and I am all over the web: on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon & Instagram too!


  1. This recipe sounds absolutely divine! I am gluten intolerant and I’m always on the hunt for natural, healthy gluten free recipes. I never thought to combine pears and carrots, but I love both so why not try it! I’m very into cooking and baking and I’m a beginning food blogger as well. Aside from being gluten free, the recipe also fits with my other dietary restrictions, so I will definitely be trying this recipe!

  2. Good to know about you Maria.. you have a lovely blog space. Beautiful Pictures.

    Prerna, you have to blog more often gal, some of your readers are missing reading your posts 🙂

  3. Prerna! 🙂 good to be back reading Indiansimmer.

    Marla, your lovely blog is an inspiration and so good you see you here, full of life and beauty. Nice reading about you. Beautiful photographs and recipe .. as always.

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