For the first time, in a very long time, I will not be going ‘back to school’ next week. Well, as a student that is.
My mom and I were talking the other day and she said that now she has no children in school, of all of her ‘children’ (now there’s 5 of us! including step-children). I said “yea, I guess so.” It must be funny thinking no one in our family is a student anymore. I was the last one to finish school, being the youngest, with two degrees and a teaching certificate. I’ll have another graduation ceremony in October, my first was last June. While I’m not going back to school as a student, I will be going back to school as the teacher. Talk about a complete 180.
I’ve actually had a nightmare about teaching. I dreamt it was my first day as a TOC (teacher on call, aka substitute teacher) and I missed certain classes or subjects and then I left the school without leaving behind a note for the teacher when they return and tried to go back to the school later but it was closed. I know my first day will be nerve-racking, however I hope I don’t forget anything!
There’s a new H&M and Sephora opening at a mall near my mom’s house and she asked me if I wanted to go shopping on Friday to buy a ‘back to school outfit’ haha – I guess it’s more of a ‘back to school-teaching-outfit.” I remember when we were younger and we would go back to school shopping. I always loved getting new pencils, notebooks, binders and lunch boxes. I supposed as a teacher you never really have to give up that excitement of beginning a new school year, though I’ve only just begun I’m sure if you ask me 10 years from now I may not be quite as excited about ‘back to school’…. haha.
One thing I am not too excited about is the 5:30 am wake up call… every..morning. When you’re a TOC you can get called twice a day, either the night before or the morning of. They begin calling at 5:30 am and then you find out where you are working that day. Then, you go back to sleep for an hour or so then wake up again to get ready for work. I am not a morning person – ask anyone. Adam wakes up at 5:45 each morning for work, and I lie happily in bed until 8 am. I’ll have to get used to the early mornings, or just hope I get the call the night before!
So, in hopes to make my mornings ‘glorious’ while waking up at 5:30 am, these muffins can make for a quick on the go breakfast or mid-morning snack during recess. Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes, I really just love carrot anything. One of my recent favourites was this Vegan Carrot Cake (that I made for mother’s day). Morning glory muffins are full of coconut, raisins and nuts – they’ll keep you full for a busy morning.
Thankfully my morning routine is quite quick, I’m not one to spend an hour doing makeup (also the fact that I really don’t know how to do makeup other than mascara! but i’m ok with that). The other morning I woke up at 8:14 when my alarm didn’t go off and had to leave by 8:35 to go to work. I was up, showered, hair and makeup done and out the door in 15 minutes.
Are you a morning person?? I’ll have to work on my love of early mornings. For now, I’ll just love my morning muffins.
Morning Glory Muffins
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (gluten/wheat free use 1 cup quinoa flour and 1 cup brown rice flour) 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 Tbs. ground flax seed
- 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
- 1 large apple, peeled and grated
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 2 Tbs. cinnamon
- handful of trail mix/seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin - make sure to grease the entire pan including the top for when the batter spills over.
- In a small bowl, cover the raisins with 1/4 cup of the orange juice. Microwave for one minute. Set them aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, and walnuts.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and other 1/4 cup of orange juice. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened.
- Add the raisins and leftover orange juice.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pan. They will be very full. Sprinkle top with trail mix/seed mixture.
- Bake the muffins for 25 to 28 minutes, until they're nicely domed (this is why you want to grease the entire pan). You can test it with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked throughout.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes.
- Cover and store at room temperature for several days, or freeze for quick breakfasts.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
I made these this week and they would be great for an Easter dinner. They’re sort of like a bird’s nest cookie, except inside out. I filled them with homemade lemon curd, topped with a cream cheese buttercream and sprinkled with toasted coconut.
We’re away with some of my family at Osoyoos lake for the weekend – it was 18 degrees today. Definitely felt like summer. We walked into town for a couple hours and had lunch at a cafe, and walked back. We were out in the sun long enough to get a little bit red.
I’m really loving this warm and sunny Easter.
Hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend with family and friends. I’ll definitely be enjoying it before school begins again on Tuesday. I am also lucky enough to be going to the Rihanna concert Monday night – should be interesting.
You will need:
24 of your favourite Vanilla Cupcakes – baked and cooled.
To toast coconut place pan on medium heat, add ½ cup medium unsweetened coconut to the pan and allow to heat. Once fragrant, sift around coconut continually for 5 minutes until lightly browned and toasted.
Remove from heat and place in dish to cool.
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1 (one) lemon
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces (3/4 stick)
- Whisk together eggs, sugar and lemon zest in medium saucepan until light in colour.
- Add lemon juice and butter
- Cook, whisking over medium heat until the butter is melted. Then whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened and simmers gently for a few seconds.
- Place a medium mesh-sieve over a bowl and scrape the filling using a spatula into it. Strain the filling into the bowl.
- Let cool, cover with plastic wrap and push against the curd, so you do not have a film, and refrigerate to thicken.
To assemble cupcakes:
Using a small knife, cut a circle at a diagonal into the top center of the cooled cupcake. Make sure not to cut too far down, you still want a bottom to your cupcake. Take out the ‘core’ and cut off the excess and reserve the ‘cork’ to replace on to the cupcake.
Using a small spoon, fill the center of the cupcake and replace top ‘cork’ to cover.
- 3 sticks of unsalted butter (1 ½ cups), room temperature
- ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups sifted icing sugar
1. Cream butter in stand mixer with whisk attachment for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides.
2. Add sifted icing sugar ½ cup at a time and whip well. Scrape down sides as needed between adding more.
3. Once all icing sugar is incorporated, add in the ¼ up of cream cheese. Whip again until well incorporated.
4. Pipe onto cupcakes and then sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Wow! November has been a super crazy month – and it’s not over yet. School has been busy, lots of prepping and work for my practicum in a grade 2 class. It’s been lots of fun too, I taught my class a dance and song for an assembly last week, and this week they are “exploring the world,” learning about different cultures in Canada, including things like what holidays they celebrate, and food they eat. Two things I am familiar with. As an Italian, my culture has a deep, and serious relationship with food.
Even though Canada has already had our Thanksgiving, this week is the American Thanksgiving, or shall I say another excuse for a crazy shopping, consumer-driven holiday. It’s become a little ridiculous, that American Thanksgiving. All I see in my inbox from Amazon is Black Friday Deals, which has now become an entire week of Black Friday deals?? I like that our Thanksgiving is so early, leaving a nice big gap between it and Christmas. However, I do like a good Pumpkin Pie.
I also like a good turkey dinner. I think I’ve convinced Adam’s mom to make a turkey dinner this Thursday to honour the American holiday. Plus, Adam and I get our house in TWO WEEKS!!!!! So it would be nice to have a big family dinner before we move.
I made this Pumpkin Pie, or tart, for our Thanksgiving and though I would share it for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a Paleo Pumpkin Pie. And two, It’s super ridiculously delicious and easy. No pie dough required.
Adam was on a Paleo diet for a while, he wanted to try it out and see how he felt while eliminating beans, wheat and dairy etc. from his diet. He was having two sandwiches a day for lunch, along with cheese, crackers, cereal, milk etc. A lot of dairy and wheat made up the bulk of his diet. He was always good at eating his vegetables too, but thought he would try the Paleo way of eating after talking to a cousin of his, who is also a personal trainer, and a friend who is an avid cross-fit instructor and Paleo enthusiast.
What is Paleo?
“The Paleolithic style of eating is based on the foods that our ancestors used to ingest before the introduction of agriculture (10,000 years ago). The idea is that humans are intended to eat certain foods, and evolution hasn’t caught up to digest or utilize the highly processed foods we see today. The Paleo diet was first suggested by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, who claimed that a carnivorous diet, high in fats and proteins and low in carbs, would improve health and prevent digestive problems. Since then, many doctors and nutritionists have jumped on the Paleo bandwagon and offer alternatives to the original plan which can include dairy and starches.” – The Fitnessista
Adam said it was pretty tough, and the first week sucked. He said he had a headache for a bit, from not eating those foods. But, he feels much better now that he tries to avoid those foods. He’s traded honey nut cheerios and milk in the morning for scrambled eggs with veggies and the occasional bacon, and he said it fills him up, and keeps him full longer. Which is a good thing when you work in a trade, and wake up at 5:30 am. I think eggs and veggies is a better alternative to processed cereals and milk for sure.
He did pretty good for a while, but he’s slipped the past month or so. I’ve been bad lately too with my wheat allergy, eating things containing wheat and then paying for it later. So does Adam. He said he can also feel it when he cheats, so we’re both trying to get back to that clean-eating lifestyle. I’ve made so many wheat-free main dishes for dinner, I’ll have to post them soon, because they were all delicious as well. We both are looking forward to the new house, getting into old routines and I’m most looking forward to my brand-spanking new giant kitchen.
I think I’ll need to maybe make this tart again for Thursday. I just baked and pureed my sugar pumpkins on the weekend, so I have lots of homemade Pumpkin Puree hanging around, even after making Butternut Squash and Pumpkin/Carrot soup last night for dinner. Also delicious.
I have always been a Pumpkin Pie lover, but I gotta say I liked the firmness of the pumpkin filing, and I prefer a nut crust over pastry!
This Paleo pumpkin pie is really easy, it’s Dairy-Free, Wheat-Free, and Gluten-Free. A perfect addition to your holiday table, to please all of your special diet-eaters.
Original recipe from here
Paleo Pumpkin Pie
1 1/2 cup nuts (pecan or walnut, or a mix of both)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups 100% pumpkin (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1/4 cup raw honey
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, or All spice, Ginger, Nutmeg and cinnamonDirections
Preheat oven to 350 degrees C.
Melt the coconut oil or butter and mix into the chopped pecans. Press this mixture into a pie dish/tart dish for the crust.
Place dish on top of cookie sheet, and partially bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool
Place pumpkin puree, coconut milk, honey and eggs into food processor. Pulse until combined, and then puree until filling is silky and smooth. Pour into partially baked tart crust, and bake for one hour, or until firm. Middle should be slightly wiggly if you tap it. Set aside to cool, can store at room temperature or in fridge.
Serve with Paleo Whipped Cream
To make dairy-free whipped cream, place a full fat can of Coconut Milk in the fridge 24 hours, overnight. Open can carefully, and scoop out top half of solid coconut milk. Discard the coconut water, or keep for later use. Using a beater, whip hardened coconut milk until fluffy, you can add some vanilla in if you like. Serve with Paleo Pumpkin Tart! Store extra in fridge.