Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

I am a complete morning person. I love waking up early and getting my workout out of the way first thing in the morning. Then it's time for breakfast, one of my favorite parts of the day. Relaxing over a mug of coffee and some sort of baked good along with some fruit or a fruit smoothy. It doesn't get much better than that. I hate having to rush around in the morning shoving some breakfast down as I walk out the door, it just doesn't cut it for me. This means I always have something in my freezer, most often muffins or slices of a quickbread, ready and waiting for me. All I have to do is pull one out the night before and I'm done, ready for the next day. 

Last week the freezer was running a little low on baked goods so I decided it was time for some pumpkin muffins. Sometimes I go all out and bake something rich and decadent, but this time I decided to go with something on the healthier side and I baked up these spiced pumpkin muffins with oats. I really liked how they turned out, moist and full of spicy fall flavors. They are hearty and dense, most definitely not decadent, but a wonderful way to start a cold fall morning off right. 


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Maple Muffins

Growing up in my house, pancakes and waffles were served with a side of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, and I loved the stuff. Super thick and ubberly sweet, I loved dousing my fluffy stack of pancakes with this delicious liquid sugar. In later years my mom started making her own syrup with a bunch of corn syrup, plenty of butter, and some maple flavoring and I liked this concoction even better; thick, sweet and buttery. However, as time went on, my palate improved and my love of real foods and simple ingredients became a passion, and I knew it was time for a change. 

Then, a few years ago I went to a sugar bush in the early spring and saw the whole process of maple syrup processing, from tapping the trees to getting the sap to the sugar house to boiling the sap down into syrup, I was in love. I found the whole process completely fascinating. It is amazing how a benign looking watery liquid that drips out of a tree can be transformed into liquid sugar with some time and some heat. From that day forward, I decided to only use real maple syrup, I'm never going back. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Snack Cake

Last week Sunday, Lara and I were invited over to our friends' apartment for coffee after church. Wayne and Suzanne have had us over multiple times and it is always a wonderfully pleasant and relaxing way to spend a late Sunday morning. They serve us steaming hot, delicious coffee, and I usually offer to bring over some kind of cake, because really, what is coffee without cake? This past weekend I was ready to break out the pumpkin, so I came up with this simple pumpkin cake to snack on as we all enjoyed our mugs of coffee. It was the perfect addition to our Sunday, the ideal complement to a morning full of good conversation and hot drinks. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Blueberry Cobbler Bars

October is here, fall has officially begun, the weather is getting colder by the day, the trees are finally changing color, and I even pulled out my winter jacket to go to the farmers market yesterday morning! Fall recipes are everywhere, and pumpkin is the main topic on seemingly every food blog. Before I jump on the band wagon with some more fall-ish recipes, I have one more more summery bar that I just had to share. I saw these blueberry cobbler bars a few months ago, and knew I had to get them made while blueberries were still around. A sweet, buttery crust covered in a sour cream custard and tons of fresh blueberries, finished off with more buttery crumbles. It's a quick and easy recipe, full of freshness and reminiscent of summer. If you have any summer blueberries floating around your freezer that just want to be used, this is the perfect opportunity. 


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Simple Maple Granola

I've been making my own homemade granola for years now and I absolutely love it. I see absolutely no reason to buy a bag of granola at the store. First of all it's expensive, way more expensive than oats and sugar need to be. Second, it's never anywhere near as good as what I can make at home, customizing to my own individual preferences. My Homemade Granola Bars are still at the top of my list of favorite recipes, and they are the most popular post on this blog by far. If you've ever wanted to try making your own crunchy granola bars I highly recommend you give this recipe a try! I've also done Chocolate Granola, and Spiced Pumpkin Granola, both fun, a little different, and delicious. The pumpkin granola would be perfect to make right now, just as pumpkin baking season is taking off!

Recently though, I was looking for something simple, an easy recipe that I could whipped together quickly, and that was a little on the healthier side so I could eat it as a snack without feeling too guilty. A lot of granola recipes delicious, but they have tons of sugar and fat in them. I wanted something a little lighter. I decided to try out The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook's Big Cluster Maple Granola with a few adjustments to fit my needs. It's a winner folks! Just what I was looking for. Light and simple and perfect for snacking!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I baked this lemon poppyseed cake on a whim one afternoon a few weeks ago, I knew it would be good, but I didn't know just how good. It turned into one of the best things that I have baked this year without a doubt. I'd had the recipe pinned for quite a while now, but it was one of those things that I never did anything about, just looked at the pretty picture and thought, "that looks good." Then, a few weeks ago there was a ton of yogurt in my fridge for whatever reason, and I knew I wouldn't be able to eat it all before it started to go bad. That's when I started brainstorming ideas for using it up, ideas that consisted of mostly baked goods to be honest! This cake originally called for sour cream, not yogurt, but I decided to give it a try anyway. Besides, cutting a few calories sounded like a good idea.

Believe me, I didn't even notice the missing fat. There's plenty of butter in this cake to begin with, so no worries there! Anyway, this cake baked up beautifully and was absolutely delicious, light and moist, packed with poppy seeds and a hint of lemon. The perfect everyday cake to keep on your counter for snacking all week long. It took Lara and I a week to finish it off, and even on the 7th day it was still tasting pretty darn good, definitely not too difficult to force down. I'm still thinking of this cake weeks later, and waiting, not too patiently, for the next time I can find an excuse to make it. Maybe I need to head back to the store and "accidentally" buy a little too much yogurt....


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

I don't know where summer went, but this weekend is definitely feeling like fall. It's so funny though, the leaves have not even started changing colors yet which is super late. So even though it feels like fall, it has yet to look like fall, a very strange combination. I'm not quite ready for the cool weather to start moving in, I want to eek out every last drop of summer that I can. Pining for summer, but dressing for fall, this soup is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds. A creamy and comforting tomato soup using fresh, perfectly ripe tomatoes from the farmers market and basil straight from the garden. It's pure summer in a bowl, yet warming enough to fight off the beginning of autumn chill that has decided to drop by, a winning combination.