Archive for January, 2016

Applesauce oatmeal muffins 

  

A quick, easy kid-friendly muffin. I’ve made these a few times now and they’ve been a big hit with our one year old. 

My three year old nephew helped make the latest batch. He rejected them at first, but took a tentative bite today and I think we’d have him by tomorrow if they weren’t already all gone. That is the thing I like most about this recipe – the flavours are really simple, but these muffins seem to disappear very quickly.

Applesauce oatmeal muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup flour (all purpose or spelt flour both work great)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup applesauce
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine egg, applesauce and oil in another bowl, and then add to dry mixture. Stir gently until just combined. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.

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January 27, 2016 at 6:55 am Leave a comment

Almond pear cake

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I tore this recipe out of a magazine a few years ago. The increasingly tattered page has been stuck to the side of not one, but two fridges (the one in our Vancouver apartment, and then at our house in Victoria), and now it has earned a place of honour in the pine recipe box my grandfather made for me when I was about 15.

I made the cake early in December with some D’Anjou pears that took forever to ripen, and then got too ripe too quickly. It was amazing that such an elegant and delicious cake could emerge from those pears, which were mottled with brown spots and mushy parts. I planned to serve it for a dinner we were having with an old friend until I remembered his nut allergy, so I put it in the freezer and then brought it out on Christmas morning to munch on as “pre-breakfast” while we opened gifts.

Last summer we pre-ordered two pear trees from Fruit Trees and More, a nursery in North Saanich  (a truly inspiring place that deserves a post all on its own). This weekend’s project is to prepare space for them in our yard, so it seems like a fitting time to share the recipe for this lovely cake. It is perfect in so many ways: gluten free, so easy to make, stores well in the freezer, and it’s a little bit healthier than the average dessert thanks to almond meal and the fruit. I hope in a few years once our new pear trees are established that I’ll be able to go on a baking frenzy like I’ve done in the past the harvest from our other fruit trees, which gave us delicious plum cakes and apple pies.

Almond pear cake (adapted from Style at Home’s recipe for Almond Pear Tart)
Makes 1 cake (6-8 servings)

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups almond meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Zest of 2 lemons
3 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
Raw sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Plain yogurt for serving

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a round springform pan. Cream the butter and sugar in a mix master until just combined. Add the eggs, almond meal, flour, baking powder and lemon zest and process until all the ingredients are just incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the springform pan. Arrange the pears on top of the tart mixture and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the tart comes out clean. Sprinkle the tart with the raw sugar and cinnamon and allow to cool in the pan. Serve with yogurt.

January 21, 2016 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

A visit to the duck pond

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy the gardens at Government House, which are a short walk away from our house. They were a main stay of my walking regime during the new mama survival challenge this time last year, and I have to say it is such a joy (and relief) to be visiting the gardens with a much greater sense of ease.

As usual, spring arrives astonishing fast in Victoria. Snowdrops, irises, hellebores, primulas, cyclamen and more, all in bloom already. Little man was oh-so-patient while I took a few photos, but the real attraction of our walk yesterday was the visit to the duck pond. We’ve been there before, but this was the first time we were really there. All these months I’ve been singing a song about ducks and yesterday was the big click: ok, those are ducks! And then at home, pointing out everything with a picture of a duck on it with a huge smile. So neat to see the connections happening. Just like little flowers blooming.




January 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Learning to love winter

I struggle with this one, even living in Victoria, which is by far the most humane city in Canada as far as winter goes. It is Blue Monday, and I woke up today feeling about right for the occasion: a nagging headache from the cold that just won’t go away, and wishing oh-so-much can we please sleep in past 5 am! My dearest sunshine starts smiling early these days. No Blue Monday for the little ones, apparently.

Out the door for a walk with the dog, trees dripping over head, the sky painted grey and pink with the sunrise. There is something utterly restorative about striding through a wet morning in rainboots, breathing fresh clean air, watching birds swoop. Get lost headache. Get lost Blue Monday. I do not need to book a warm weather holiday. I just needed to go outside.

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January 18, 2016 at 10:54 am 1 comment


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