My girls wake up early. For us, 6am is sleeping in. Not only do they wake up early, they wake up HUNGRY! Unfortunately my older daughter has my quirk of only wanting to eat if something sounds like the perfect food at a given time. I will often skip eating if we don’t have exactly what I want, and so will my daughter. Also unfortunate is she has my tendency to get hangry. If she doesn’t eat within 15 minutes of waking she turns into, well, it isn’t pretty. To make it more difficult, she goes through phases eating the same thing day after day, until one day, that will no longer be acceptable. We just when through a tough couple of weeks where nothing sounded good to her, so getting her breakfast was a challenge. Then I remembered these little gems and we have been on easy street again.
This are paleo muffins packed with yummy ingredients that scream fall. They taste quite similar to pumpkin pie; bursting with warm baking spices, and hints of pumpkin. As far as nutrition goes I’m fairly picky about what my girls eat, and I’m ok with these. They have no grains and use almond flour instead, which is nice as they won’t eat a lot of nuts on the daily. It also has pumpkin so we get the touch of vegetables that makes me smile.
Pumpkin Muffins – Dairy Free, Grain Free, Paleo
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup neutral oil (coconut oil is good, but melt it first)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a mini muffin pan with 24 muffin liners.
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond flour through salt).
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla).
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the muffin liners, filling each liner until almost completely full. You’ll likely have enough batter for two large muffins, or a second batch of 6 little guys.
Bake for 11-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
These need to cool for at least an hour before serving, both because of taste and texture.
I talk about my girls on a fairly regular basis. They are my daily companions, and continually push me to be a better person. One of their greatest lessons for me is patience. I get to practice this skill daily, in many ways, but especially when my ladies help me cook. I have to let go of perfection, and allow them to try and try, and make mistakes, and be ok with things being “wrong.” When I do I can accept and appreciate their help, when I’m having trouble with this, it is a long and painful process to cook with them. Over time I have figured out where they can be successful, and a few tips to help us both feel good working together.
Pictured above is sourdough bread. We are working on sourdough bread and bagels today and it always reminds me of this quote from my three year old: “I’m making bagels; they take a couple days.” She is talking about sourdough bagels. She is used to working on projects that take a long time, she knows the reward is worth it, and is happy to help each step of the way.
Tips For Cooking With Kids
Give them to correct tools for the job.
They both have plastic knives they use to cut real vegetables we will actually be using.
Plan enough time.
Always, always, leave more time than you think you will need. Plan to clean up messes and spills, to mediate arguments, and to offer praise throughout the project.
Think ahead so they will have things to do the majority of the time you are cooking.
Idle time does not go well, so plan for things to be stirred, cut, or washed.
Doing dishes is fun.
It can be a bit of a mess, but nothing keeps them occupied longer than a sink of warm water and some dishes.
Give them real tasks.
My girls will help me with many things including: cut vegetables, knead dough, use a pastry brush to brush oil on vegetables, measure, and stir.
Let them taste.
The number of vegetables my girls have tried while helping is far more than they ever would have at the table. They love to take bites, to smell, touch, and explore everything we are working with.
Keep it safe.
Remember to move anything sharp, breakable, or unsanitary away from children before turning your back.
Labor Day marks the end of summer, and here we are with it fast approaching. Summer has flown by, and I’m pretty ok with that. It has been hot here in the northwest, and I’m not really into heat. Fall is my favorite, at least it has been historically, I’ve never experienced a northwest fall, so I’ll let you know. Labor Day itself will be fun for us this year. My 3 year old is running her first race! She has been watching and cheering me on for the triathlons I have completed this year, and has been asking to race herself. We found an opportunity and she’s going to go for it.
I have a few suggestions for your Labor Day plans, whatever they may be.
If your running a race, let me suggest fueling up the night before with my loaded pasta.
This is the birthday cake I made for both of my daughter’s this year. It is basically the same as my chocolate layer cake recipe, but with a bit of added zucchini. You can’t taste, see, or detect the zucchini, but I feel just a bit better giving them cake if there is even a tiny bit of nutrition in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for adding sugar to all vegetables, but if you are going to have cake, you might as well also have a vegetable. Pictured here I made it in a 9×13 pan for a sheet cake and used my regular vegan buttercream.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1 TBL vinegar
1/2 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups brewed coffee (or more milk)
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil 2 8″ round cake pans, put parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, oil and flour pan and parchment paper. Alternatively you can use a 9×13 pan, greased but no parchment paper. Bake for 22-27min for a 9×13 pan.
Mix together the milk and vinegar, set aside to curdle.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in sugar and salt.
Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add the milk mixture, coffee, oil and extracts mixing with an electric mixer briefly until there are no lumps.
Fold in shredded zucchini and evenly divide batter into prepared pans and bake 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cake rest in the pan about 10 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on cooling rack before frosting.
I haven’t written a post about oatmeal in a while. I’m sure you have been dying for a new version of oatmeal the whole time. This should do the trick. This is a favorite of both by girls and they love to help make it. They can both eat dates while I chop, then my 3 year old helps me shred the zucchini. They take turns dumping in the ingredients, and impatiently wait as it cooks, and cools enough for them to eat. We rarely eat this for breakfast, but often make it for our mid-morning snack, or lunch. The girls also like it cold and room temperature so it is a stable in our snack bag. This oatmeal is sweet, cinnamony, and filled with vegetables! Everything you could ask for in an oatmeal. If you are serving it to a green vegetable averse person you can peel the zucchini before shredding.
Zucchini Date Oatmeal
2 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
1 cup shredded zucchini, one small
11/4 cups water
pinch of salt
heaping 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 TBL hemp seeds (optional)
cinnamon to taste (optional)
In a small saucepan combine dates, zucchini, water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Once boiling stir in the rolled oats, hemp seeds, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently until the water is absorbed and the oatmeal is the consistency you prefer.
The summer is flying by! I cant believe it is already the weekend before the 4th of July! We have already done lots of summery things – the beach about a 1000 times, biking, walking on the bike path, picnics, and strawberry picking. My girls loved picking strawberries and we picked WAY too many. I had plans to make pie, jam, and freeze some. I forgot that I have small children and those are all time consuming activities. I did make a pie, this pie specifically and it was glorious. I also froze a bunch. The jam will have to wait until next year. Or maybe we’ll do raspberry or blueberry when that time comes. For now, make and enjoy a fresh strawberry pie for your 4th of July.
Fresh Strawberry Pie – Vegan
¾ C. unbleached flour
¼ c. whole-wheat flour
¾ tsp. salt (divided)
6 TBL solid vegetable shortening
6TBL. Plus ¼ C. cold water (divided)
¼ c. cornstarch
¾ c. boiling water
1 c. sugar
2.5 lbs fresh strawberries (about 7 cups hulled and haved)
1 TBL. fresh lemon juice
1 TBL Earth Balance or other margarine
To make crust:
preheat oven to 350.
In bowl, combine flours and ½ tsp salt.
Cut shortening into mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
Add 4 TBL cold water while stiffing with a fork, and mix lightly to form a ball.
Let dough rest at least 5 minutes at room temperature, then roll out to fit a 9-inch pan.
Slip into pan, trimming as needed and crimping edges.
Fill crust with dry beans, rice or pie weights and back 30 minutes or until light brown.
Remove from oven and cool.
To make filling:
Mix cornstarch thoroughly with remaining ¼ cold water.
Add boiling water, stirring until smooth.
Place in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat.
Add sugar, remaining ¼ tsp. salt and ½ cup of the strawberries, stirring constantly and crushing berries against sides of pan as liquid comes to a low boil, thickens and clears, about 10 minutes.
Reduce heat and cook 3-4 minutes.
Add lemon juice and margarine and mix gently.
Remove mixture from heat, add remaining berries, mix gently and pour into prepared shell. Refrigerate pit at least 2 hours before serving.
My husband is amazing. He is incredibly kind, thoughtful, and considerate. He takes the time to listen not only to me, but to our daughters, and everyone around him, and his puts time and effort into being a better person, better father, and better husband every day. He is my inspiration, my strength, and my favorite person. I am so happy I get to celebrate him on Father’s Day for being the most incredible father I have ever seen. He notices so many things about our daughters every day and takes the time to celebrate them with them. He takes joy in the small things, and shows how much he loves his girls each and every day. Happy Father’s Day AGW! Your ladies love you.
Because we love my husband so much for his birthday, instead of cake (which my daughters and I wanted) we made him this chocolate peanut butter cup slab and decorated it. This recipe is from the BraveTart cookbook, which you should all get.
For Father’s Day we celebrated early, and we will celebrate again later as my husband will be out of town on the actual day. My 3 year old LOVES to celebrate things right now so it’s super fun to make a big deal every chance we get. We like to make yummy food, the girls make cards, and we eat outside. She thinks eating outside is the absolute height of indulgence. When my husband gets back from his trip we will do all those things. Possible Father’s Day celebration food…