Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Dear Jess,

People tell me the weather is getting cooler... my body isn't listening. I'm still wearing tank tops, as my belly acts like my own internal furnace. That being said... I am loving this time of year. The colours, the breeze, the frost and the food! (I am making a pot of Chicken Corn Chowder for dinner tonight!)

Whimsical is how I would describe this season. It is also how I would describe these muffins. I found them while looking for a 'different' muffin recipe. I make a lot of muffins, as Jason takes them in his lunch, and they're an easy little snack for me to throw in my purse as a 'just in case'. I was getting bored of my usual banana, or oatmeal chocolate chip, and wanted something a little more special. Apparently raspberries are the answer.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
adapted from www.sallysbakingaddiction.com
3 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl mix eggs and sugars. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Add to flour mixture.

Add chocolate chips and raspberries. Evenly distribute in lined muffin tins.

Bake for 5 minutes. Without taking muffins out, change temperature to 375F and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

This is great, as I usually get frozen fruit on sale. You could also use fresh, but I find that it adds too much moisture. People say the frozen ones will dye your batter... I don't mind it when this happens... and I haven't found that it makes a big difference in this recipe.

I hope all is well as you gear up for Christmas! Our church started Operation Christmas Child already, which always makes the holiday season a little more real to me.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chicken and Pumpkin Soup

Dear Jess,

First. I miss you. We NEED a phone date soon. Please let me know when you're available, and we can schedule something asap.

Second. Make this soup.

Mom and I signed up for an organic food box (by a farm called Circle Organic) that we split between the two of us once a week. We signed up because we thought it would be fun to try new things based on the local, seasonal, organic produce we get in our box. I must say: it is fun!

This week I got a pumpkin! My recipe was inspired by a recipe I found on the internet. I threw a chicken (which I got on super sale) that I defrosted over night, into the slow cooker on high for 3 hours, and cooked my pumpkin in the oven (cut in half, gut and cook at 325F for about an hour). Both of these take time, but (luckily) very little effort. I just put them in, and was able to complete my other tasks around the house. To make it 'easier', you could use canned pumpkin, and pre-cooked chicken from the store. Either way, it will be delicious.

Chicken and Pumpkin Soup
inspired by www.budgetbytes.com
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cooked pumpkin, mashed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups corn
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cooked chicken, pulled/chopped
1 (15oz) can kidney beans
5 large 'leaves' of collard greens, stemmed and chopped
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt

Put olive oil, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan. Simmer until onions are softened. Pumpkin and red pepper flakes, and let cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add corn and chicken broth. (I took my immersion blender to it at this point... totally optional though...) Bring to a boil.

Add chicken, beans, collards, hot sauce, cumin, chili powder and salt. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, and serve!

I'm warning you... This will make your house smell amazing!

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Autumn Apple Cider

Dear Sally,

     Please don't worry about how often you post. I felt better knowing that I am not the only one who hasn't made a post in a while.
          Life here in Bradford is a little bit crazy. I find I have forgotten how to enjoy cooking with the crazy schedule I have. Every now and then I have the time to just enjoy exploring in my kitchen and I cherish those moments.
      Jesse and I went apple picking a few weeks ago at the local organic orchard. As we were walking along all of the trees we started talking about cider and both really wanted to try making it at home. Jesse picked the apple tree in front of his parent's house a week later and our adventure began. This recipe is really simple. It says that you can save the apple mush (pulp) for a snack but we just put it into the compost.

Apple Cider

8 Red Delicious apples ( we used about 20 small apples)
10 cups water
1 cup sugar (we used less for a bigger batch)
4 cinnamon sticks ( we used 6)
1 tsp. fresh nutmeg
8-10 cloves
1 tsp fresh allspice
4-6 fresh slices of ginger about 1/4 inch thick


Peel and core the apples. Cut them into large chunks and place in a large saucepan. Add the water and spices to the pot making sure everything is submerged.

Do not bring to a boil! Start the pan on simmer and leave it there for two hours. After two hours strain all the ingredients with a thin mesh strainer into a large bowl. Use a ladle to push more of the liquid through. Pour the cider into mason jars adding a cinnamon stick in each and let cool before you put it into the fridge.

Let the cider sit overnight before you enjoy it. Cheers!

I am excited for the flavours of fall. There is something so soothing about a warm spiced drink or a delicious thick stew. I have been thinking about you a lot these days and not just because you are blossoming with child but because t

here is an aching in my heart to be near the ones I love in the places that I so often miss. Lots of love to you, Jason and baby Ufkus.