Honey Corn Muffins

This weekend the boy and I rented a canoe, put it on a lake, pitched our tent and said BYE to technology.

We spent the days reading, canoeing on the lake, making s’mores and loon hunting, and boooooy was it nice! During the week I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done – and I realized something this weekend. HALF of these so called “important” things that need doing aren’t important at all! In fact, no one would even notice if I didn’t do them.

I don’t NEED to do my laundry
I don’t NEED to make a meal plan for the next month
and I certainly don’t NEED to read food blogs for 2 hours a day (although I love it).

So here we are. Back to basics. And with that thought I’d share with you an old and simple favorite of mine. Cornbread, baby.

To make these, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl lightly whisk the eggs. Then whisk in the buttermilk, honey and butter until combined and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, both sugars and salt.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and fold the dry into the wet until just combined.

Fill each muffin cup about three quarters full.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy! Slathering warm muffins with butter is a must!

Honey Corn Muffins
Adapted From: Baked Explorations
http://www.amazon.com/Baked-Explorations-American-Desserts-Reinvented/dp/1584798505
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray making sure spread evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup.

In a medium bowl lightly whisk the eggs. Then whisk in the buttermilk, honey and butter until combined and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, both sugars and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and fold the dry into the wet until just combined.

Fill each muffin cup about three quarters full. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy.

Strawberry Vanilla Fridge Jam

This summer has so far been deemed the “summer of lists”. I’ve been making lists like mad and crossing things off with determination. It makes sense. I have two jobs, am taking a summer course, and am marathon training, so this woman needs to get things done!

Two lists that I’ve shared with you on the blog are my 30 things to do before 30 list (which is coming along nicely) and my summer bucket list. I have 5 things on my summer bucket list to do and I’m going to share one of those things with you right meow now!

Item #1 – Picking strawberries and making homemade jam. I love everything about this.

I still need to make homemade dill pickles, go to a drive in movie theatre, and cross two things off of my 30 things to do before 30 list, but there is still time. And I’m determined!

To make this jam, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend until coarsely chopped.

Pour into a medium pot and stir in the lemon juice.

Add vanilla bean.

Add sugar and pectin and stir thoroughly. Cook mixture over medium high heat until it comes to a full rolling boil. Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking until the jam is slightly thickened.

Remove from the stove and allow the jam to cool slightly before pouring into glass containers.

This fresh strawberry jam has a slight hint of vanilla throughout and has a beautiful spreadable consistency. It’s my favorite in morning smoothies or on a cinnamon raisin bagel. Enjoy!

Strawberry Vanilla Fridge Jam
Recipe adapted from Cheeky Kitchen
Makes enough for six small jam jars

Ingredients:
3 pints of strawberries, washed and hulled
Juice of 1 lemon
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
4 cups sugar
4 tbsp powdered fruit pectin (I used Certo brand)

Directions:
Place the strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend until coarsely chopped. Pour into a medium pot and stir in the lemon juice, vanilla bean, sugar, and pectin thoroughly. Cook mixture over medium high heat until it comes to a full rolling boil. Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking until the jam is slightly thickened. Remove from the stove and allow the jam to cool slightly before pouring into glass containers.

Note: Will store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf {Guest Post on The Spiffy Cookie!}

Yesterday was my first guest post! I shared my Glazed Lemon Blueberry Loaf on The Spiffy Cookie, and am soooo excited to share it with you. Erin is a fabulous blogger who I’ve been following for a while now. I’m dying to try her Nutella Fruit Dip and Cosmic Brownies and have already made (and totally drooled over her Peanut Butter, Banana & Nutella Bars). Check her out! And fall in love. It’s easy.

This loaf is sweet, moist, and filled with a lemon flavour that isn’t too overpowering. I absolutely love it, and hope you like it too :)

Check it out!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping

This summer has truly been a fairy tale. Three of my best friends in the world got engaged, I started a great new (summer) job, and my boy and I have been getting out and hiking at least twice a month.

On Sunday my boy and I went on our best hike yet. As we were sitting down to a romantic packed lunch of pizza buns and cheese curds (serious), he…wait for it…asked me to marry him! CRAAAAAAZY!!

This was a total, complete, unbelievably awesome surprise. After my good friends got engaged, I got all sentimental and girly and excited and now I can be all crazy whacko excited for myself! I’m seriously floating.

I couldn’t be happier, and with that, thought I’d share with you another rhubarb pie. A favorite. A beauty of a recipe. This will be the third on my blog! The streusel topping is unreal. It makes this dish a pie and crumble all in one. I wish I had a piece right now…it isn’t impossible to make that happen.

So, here we go! Chop up your rhubarb.

And slice your strawberries.

Then combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Mix well.

The mixture should be thick and syrupy after being stirred well.

Roll out pie crust according to recipe and place in a 9-inch pie plate.

Pour the strawberry/rhubarb mixture into the crust to fill evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the pie.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes, covering the pie crust edges with foil halfway through in order to prevent over-browning.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting into pieces. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping
Recipe taken from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:
Filling:
2-¾ cups Sliced Fresh Rhubarb, About 5-6 Medium Stalks
2 cups Sliced Strawberries
⅔ cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch

Streusel topping:
1 cup Flour
½ cups Brown Sugar
½ cups Butter (1 Stick), Cold And Cut Into Small Pieces
1 Unbaked Single Pie Crust (store Bought Or Your Favorite Recipe)

Directions:
In a medium-large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well. The mixture should be thick and syrupy after being stirred well.

Roll out pie crust according to recipe or package instructions and place in a 9- or 9.5-inch pie plate. Pour the strawberry/rhubarb mixture into the crust, using a large spoon to fill evenly.

For the topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the pie.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes, covering the pie crust edges with foil halfway through in order to prevent over-browning.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting into pieces. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, if desired.

Honey Bee Cookies

Do you listen to audiobooks? Last summer while doing field work, I went through tens of books just listening to my ipod. It’s such a great way to get through a book when you’re too zonked in the evening to read for very long, and also helps pass the time.

One of my favorite books from last summer was Wicked, and since then I have been waiting and checking the internet like a crazy person to see when the show would come to Ottawa. Well, it turns out it came!! AND I went last night. It exceeded my expectations and I absolutely loved it!

After the show I came home to some cookies. Even with this crazy heat and no air conditioning, I still need a good cookie once and a while. A cookie to hold up and yell “Take THAT 60 hour work weeks”! They really are a necessity….and a great way to celebrate after a musical.

To make these, preheat the oven, and then beat together the butter, brown sugar, honey and egg in a medium bowl until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally.

Stir in all remaining ingredients.

Mix together. This dough is unreal.

Drop spoon fulls of dough onto a greased or lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the edges are beginning to brown. The cookies will still look shiny when they’re done.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy!

Honey Bee Cookies
Recipe taken from A Cozy Kitchen
Makes 18-20 cookies
Only 4 Weight Watchers Points + per cookie

Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
1 egg
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, honey and egg in a medium bowl until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. Stir in all remaining ingredients.

Drop spoon fulls of dough onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the edges are beginning to brown. The cookies will still look shiny when they’re done.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy!

Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk

After dealing with weird digestive issues and stomach problems for the majority of my life, I decided last summer to start experimenting with food and figure out what the problem was. Sure, it took me 23 years, but it’s better late than never!

I started with eliminating dairy from my diet for a month, and lucky for me that’s all I needed to do to fix my problems! No more pain! And I figured it out on the first try. From then on I started trying various kinds of “milks”, and found almond milk was by far my favorite – vanilla almond milk to be specific.

This recipe is ridiculously easy, and waaaay cheaper than buying almond milk from the store. I have a smoothie every morning for breakfast so almond milk goes mega-fast in this house. Hope you like the recipe!

To make this, first soak the raw almonds in water for at least 6 hours, and then drain them.

Pour the almonds into a blender and add the cold filtered water.

Blend well. When you see a froth on the top, stop blending.

Add the vanilla and honey. Blend again for another 20-30 seconds.

Take the cheesecloth, and fold to ensure it is at least 4 layers thick. Put the cheesecloth on the top of the pitcher and secure it with a big elastic band. Use your fist to push some of the cheesecloth down into the pitcher so that it is not tight on top. Pour the almond mix through the cheesecloth into the pitcher.

It’s like a science project!

Use a big spoon to help push the milk through the mass of almond and into the pitcher. You can scoop out the thick paste when it builds up.

Enjoy! It’s best when it’s cold. Mmm.

Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk
Recipe taken from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 cup raw almonds, unsalted
4 cups cold, filtered water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Honey

Directions:
1. Soak the raw almonds covered in water for at least 6 hours, and then drain them.
2. Pour the almonds into a blender and add the cold filtered water.
3. Blend well. When you see a froth on the top, stop blending.
4. Add the vanilla and honey.
5. Blend again for another 20-30 seconds.
6. Take the cheesecloth, and fold to ensure it is at least 4 layers thick.
7. Put the cheesecloth on the top of the pitcher and secure it with a big elastic band. Use your fist to push some of the cheesecloth down into the pitcher so that it is not tight on top.
8. Pour the almond mix through the cheesecloth into the pitcher.
9. Use a big spoon to help push the milk through the mass of almond and into the pitcher.

And voila, you have Almond Milk!

Note: For a sugar-free option, eliminate the honey and add Stevia instead to taste.

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad

After my sister and I were about 3 km (1.9 miles) in to our 6.5 km walk today, I noticed that I did not have any sunscreen on…or any protective clothing or water in my backpack. It’s 33 degrees C (90 F) outside.

Shit. Yes, that was the only word that came to me. Now I’m at home, can barely touch my arms, and find sitting painful. WOO HOO! Sunscreen matters people. Don’t be silly like me.

Since my brain and body are a bit fried, I can only handle cold salads and ice cream right now. That’s it! And this salad is perrrrfect! It’s filled with black beans and grapefruit and totally made me happy.

Hope you like it too! I recommend in on non brain-fried days as well.

To make this, bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing.

Toss well and serve.

Now that’s a summer salad.

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad
Recipe lightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run
Serves 5-6

Ingredients:
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, minced
1 large grapefruits, divided into segments and chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels chopped off’
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large (ripe but firm) avocado, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, minced (optional)

Dressing:
juice of 3 limes
2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:
Bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing. Toss well and serve.

Salad will keep in sealed tupperware containers for up to five days in the fridge.

Roasted Corn Guacamole

After an awesome long weekend of friends, Canada Day celebrations, and a Monday OFF, it’s time to get back to the grind.

Boo work! In this heat I could seriously sit in my air conditioned bedroom and eat popsicles all day reading Game of Thrones – which I’m obsessed with by the way. Ohhhhh and speaking of books, if you’re feeling sad, deprived, and lonely after reading the 50 Shades of Grey series, there is this new book out called Bared to You by Sylvia Day that all the 50 Shade-ers are buying now and getting hot over. Check it out!

Now on to guacamole. Tied with hummus, it’s my favorite summer dip. I have a favorite recipe for guacamole that I made a while ago, but since it’s summer I added some fresh roasted corn to the mix (which could also totally be grilled) and turned the heat down a bit. What a treat!

To make this, first roast corn under your broiler and wait until a few of the kernels turn good and dark. Rotate the corn to get this darkness on all sides. Allow to cool a bit, then cut the kernels off the cobs. Set aside.

Halve avocados and remove pit. Cut avocado into a dice inside the skin, then scoop out with a spoon.

Add in tomatoes.

In a bowl, combine corn kernels, diced avocados, diced tomato, jalapenos, minced garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin. Stir gently to combine. Add cilantro if you like it. I don’t sadly :(

Roasted Corn Guacamole
Serves 10
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
3 ears Corn, Shucked
6 whole Avocados, Diced
1 whole Large Tomato, Diced
1/3 cup Onion, Finely Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1 Diced Fresh Jalapeno
2 whole Limes, Juiced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves (optional)

Directions:
Roast corn under your broiler and wait until a few of the kernels turn good and dark. Rotate the corn to get this darkness on all sides. Allow to cool a bit, then cut the kernels off the cobs. Set aside.

Halve avocados and remove pit. Cut avocado into a dice inside the skin, then scoop out with a spoon.

In a bowl, combine corn kernels, diced avocados, diced tomato, jalapenos, minced garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin. Stir gently to combine. Add cilantro and stir in.

Enjoy!