We have been under a blanket of fog here in Vancouver for the past two weeks. Every morning I wake up, drive out of the garage and into the haze. It’s thick and grey and makes it impossible to see 5-feet in front of you. It also makes it hard for other cars to see you.
This past week I have had two after school meetings, meaning I also drive home in the fog 12 hours after I left the house in it. We live on a mountain/high point so the fog is worse in the valley then slowly subsides as you gain altitude.
Weekends are made for sleeping in and waking up after the fog has lifted. The last week it hasn’t lifted until quite late in the afternoon, when the sun is almost ready to go down again.
It’s the last weekend before Hallowe’en – I’m happy to say our large bag of halloween candy is still unopened, and the other small bags have not been compromised. The CRUNCH bag however has been devoured by one tall, thin gangly man. How he never gains a pound is beyond me. He could eat CRUNCH bars for days and actually lose weight. Believe me – I’ve seen it happen.
Weekends are also meant for baking, and eating said baked goods for breakfast. I won’t admit to how many of these mini-muffins I’ve eaten for breakfast, because like 4 or 5 equals one whole muffin – right?
Plus, they have oats on top. Oats are healthy, and a breakfast food. Win.
I’ve made these both as regular muffins and mini-muffins. The large will yield 12 muffins and the mini yields 24. I’ve also made them gluten/wheat free, recipe found here.
Mini Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
- ¼ cup Butter
- ½ cup Organic Cane Sugar
- ¼ cup Dark Brown Sugar
- ⅔ cup Pumpkin Puree
- ½ cup Almond Milk / Coconut Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Molasses
- 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (or Gluten free flour alternative)
- 2-3 tsp. Pumpkin Spice
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cream together butter and sugars until creamy.
- Beat in pumpkin, almond milk, eggs and molasses.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk and mix into the batter.
- Stir just until combined.
- Fill greased mini-muffin tin (I use coconut oil spray)
- Combine 2-3 Tbs. rolled oats, a dash of cinnamon and 1 Tbs. melted butter - toss to mix. Sprinkle on top of muffins.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in centre come out clean.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
This past weekend was glorious. Not only was it a long weekend (though, I did have two weeks off for spring break), it was also the warmest Easter I can remember in a long time. There were record-breaking temperatures all over the lower mainland.
Adam and I went to Osoyoos to celebrate Easter with my family. Osoyoos is ‘Canada’s only desert’ – so it’s
already usually hotter than elsewhere – and this weekend it was especially hot. I couldn’t believe that it was March and we were walking into town in shorts and dresses, I even got burnt. Definitely a nice welcome to Spring.
It’s amazing and scary that my practicum for teaching is over next week. Four months has absolutely flown by and I am going to be very sad to leave my little grade two’s. Although, it was a breath of fresh air having two weeks off to regroup – with plenty of time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking. My ultimate stress relief and relaxing pastime.
In other news – Lainey finally got a hair cut. She is also the perfect size for our small throw pillow.
I always make a road-trip snack, it’s about a 4 hour drive up, and apparently I like to make something hearty that consists of banana and oats. Last May long-weekend I made these Blackberry, Oat & Banana Muffins for Adam and I to eat on the road.
Ever since we went to Seattle the weekend before, I had been craving and dreaming of the cookies we ate at Chaco Canyon Cafe. My two favourite fruits are Apples and Bananas – both are even better smothered in a nut butter, or perhaps my new love of sunflower seed butter (school approved. allergy safe). However, in baked goods I prefer bananas to apples. I think I’d take a slice of banana bread over a slice of apple pie (sorry Adam; apple pie is his favourite).
Both cookies at Chaco Canyon had a hint of banana in them, and I loved it. Adam liked the other cookie better, but I devoured the Vegan Cowboy Cookie – again, I like hearty baked goods, which is probably why I prefer a dense piece of banana bread with nuts than a piece of flakey apple pie.
This cookie is hearty.
It’s packed with nuts, toasted coconut, banana, oats and chocolate. It’s almost Vegan – they contain no egg, though I did not have vegan butter but if you have it on hand feel free to use it. I used two medium sized ripe bananas in place of half of the butter. Note they were not overly ripe bananas as in they were not brown or spotted like the type used for banana bread; just ripe with no green showing and still semi-firm. I love the combination of banana and chocolate, and I wanted to re-create the cookie from Chaco. I used leftover toasted coconut from my Bird’s Nest Cupcakes last week and Trader Joe’s Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free rolled oats. I subbed 2/3 of the flour for Coconut Flour that I received from iHerb and Trader Joe’s Almond Meal.
Almost-Vegan Cowboy Cookies
adapted from: Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!
- 2 cups unsweetened medium coconut, toasted
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 medium ripe bananas
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups chopped nuts pecans/walnuts
** If you don’t have coconut flour or almond meal you can use whole wheat flour, or all purpose for all amounts. And if you have vegan butter sub for regular butter **
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Toast coconut over medium heat in pan for 5 minutes until fragrant and browned, stirring frequently.
- In mixer with paddle attachment, whip the butter until creamy. Add in Banana and beat until incorporated on medium speed.
- Add in the sugar and splash of vanilla and mix again.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flours. Add in the almond meal along with cinnamon and use a whisk to stir together.
- Add dry ingredients 1/4 at a time to the banana mixture incorporating together.
- Remove from stand and mix in oats, chocolate chips, coconut and nuts by hand using wooden spoon.
- Create 1” balls of dough using scoop or by hand, and roll into ball. Flatten slightly with palm of your hand, then using the tines of the fork flatten the centre.
- Bake on very lightly greased cookie sheet or baking mat for 10-12 minutes until golden on the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to cookie sheet. The cookies will set once cool, so be careful not to over-bake, the centre may look a little soft.
These cookies are crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. They’re great for a snack on the go.
You can freeze the dough easily, once formed into balls freeze flat in Ziploc bag, or in tupperware placing wax paper between layers.
To bake from frozen, place on cookie sheet and allow to come to room temperature. Flatten slightly with palm, and place in oven. After 5 minutes, use a fork to flatten again. The dough will be too cold and crumble if you try to flatten it with a fork before placing in the oven – I’ve tried. I also recommend snacking on frozen cookie dough while waiting, there’s no eggs so it’s all good. And it is - so, so good.
Last week before we left on our long weekend getaway, I made cupcakes once again for the Heart and Stroke foundation bake sale. The Big Bike Team that I was baking for previously had some money leftover from their funding for the first bake sale, and we thought why not use the extra money to raise even more money. Once again it was a success! I made a few new flavours this time, Oreo Cookies & Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, and since it was so popular last time, Coconut Cream. Once again I was more than happy to help out, and I am very proud to be part of such a great cause that has affected my family, and many others.
I had hoped to make some banana bread as well, but had some time restraints and was only able to make the cupcakes. Though, I aimed for about 70, and ended up baking about 93 cupcakes. Cupcake calculations are difficult, oh well, the more the better! However, that meant I still had some very ripe bananas at home. I figured I had better use them up before we go away. I’m a fan of muffins, but I usually end up with stout muffins, instead of large fluffy overflowing muffins. I sort of threw this recipe together before jumping in the shower to get ready. I took a simple muffin recipe, and added a few more ingredients to it. They turned out great – moist, fluffy, overflowing. The way a muffin should be.
We brought them along for the road trip, 4.5 hours there, 5 hours home (traffic :S). They also served as part of the ‘breakfast buffet’ we had each morning, eggs, lots of fruit, toast, green smoothies, turkey sausages. Being on vacation usually warrants extra snacks and large breakfasts. Luckily the condo has a full kitchen so we brought up our food and were able to cook each meal at home. We actually didn’t eat out once. Not even for a coffee! haha. Adam tried to get A&W on the way home, but the 40+ people in line deterred him, so he had to rely on the second box of Cheez-It’s he brought.
You can really use any berry in these. We picked a TON of blackberries last year, and still have a huge zip-lock full in the freezer so I tossed them in. Raspberries, or blueberries would be delicious as well. Even strawberries. Perfect for a road trip, breakfast, snack, or picnic.
Blackberry, Oat & Banana Muffins
Adapted from Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition Banana Nut Muffins
- 2-3 Very Ripe Bananas
- 1 Cup Berries of your choice, fresh or frozen
- 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (can also use whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup, plus a little more whole rolled oats, or quick cooking oats
- 2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup Canola oil
Pre-Heat oven at 375
- Whisk together in medium bowl, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- In another large bowl, combine egg, brown sugar, bananas and canola oil. Using a mixer, hand held or stand, mix together thoroughly until the banana is smooth.
- Switch to a wooden spoon, or spatula, and add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until just combined, do not over mix. Last, fold in the berries and oats until just moistened. The batter should not look smooth at this point.
- Divide the batter between twelve medium muffin cups/liners, or a well greased muffin tin.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
These will keep 2-3 days, and can easily be frozen for a quick snack.