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A Whack-load of Photos and a Recipe

Yes, this is gonna be a photo-laden post.

But that’s because it’s been a week of friends, fun, and food!

Our dear friend, Kathleen, was visiting from Toronto:

And what terrific timing, as she was here for our Gamesmas party last weekend! (Christmas + Games = Gamesmas!)

‘Twas a merry evening full of laughter, fun games and crafts, good conversations, food and drinks galore, and wonderful friends…

Kathleen and I also went on a couple of refreshing outdoorsy excursions…

New Brighton Park and Burnaby Heights Trail (at least that’s what I think the trail was called):

No matter how long I’ve lived here, the sight of those mountains never fail to take my breath away…

And the next day we wended our way through misty Lynn Valley Park:

Classic Kathleen look :-) :

Somebody decked out a park bench with some Christmas cheer:

It was, as always, a great visit with Kathleen!

I’m officially in the holiday mood! I’m fully immersing myself in all things Christmas, from humming Christmas tunes all day, to writing Christmas cards, to holiday baking…I’m lovin’ it all!

Speaking of which… We were left with a full, unopened carton of eggnog after Gamesmas, and as no one in our home is a huge fan of drinking it straight up, I decided to use some of it up in the form of muffins:

Eggnog Muffins

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 C brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 C eggnog
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts today)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, eggnog, oil, and vanilla until combined.

Pour wet mixture into the dry and mix together until just combined. Do not over-mix; a few floury lumps are fine.

Fold in nuts and cranberries.

Spray a muffin tin with oil. Divide batter amongst the 12 tins. Bake for 15 – 17 mins.

Lightly spiced, nutty, and with just enough sweetness, these muffins made our whole house smell like Christmas.

And because this post isn’t photo-laden enough, I’ve two more for you…while I was outside doing my little photoshoot for my muffins, I discovered this beautiful frosted spider web:

Happy Friday everyone!

 

Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Hanging Out, Kitchen Adventures

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Energy Bars

Can you believe July is drawing to a close already?! Goodness, with the almost non-existent summer weather we’ve been getting, it feels like summer has barely even begun!

My globe-trotting mother is currently traveling through Eastern Canada and US, where I’m sure she’s getting her dose of scorching heat! Before she left, I made these Energy Bars, adapted from Mama Pea’s Vegan Energy Bars, for my mom to take on her trip:

My mom and I prefer granola bars that are hearty and barely sweet. I have searched high and low for a store-bought bar that isn’t too sweet, and while I do like the Kashi bars, they’re still too sweet for my mom’s palate. So I used Mama Pea’s recipe as a basis to create a granola bar that suits my mom’s tastes:

Energy Bars (makes 10 bars)

2.5 TB ground flax seeds + 7 TB warm water

2 C quick oats

1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C smooth natural nut butter (I used peanut butter with no sugar/salt/extra ingredients added)

1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

3 TB maple syrup (*see note)

2 TB lightly packed brown sugar (*see note)

1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

2/3 C roughly chopped nuts (I used a combination of almonds, pecans, and walnuts)

2/3 C dried fruit (I used raisins, dried cranberries, and chopped dried apricots)

1/3 C sunflower seeds

* Note: Like I indicated, I don’t have a very sweet palate, so if you prefer a sweeter granola bar, use up to 1/4 C maple syrup and/or 1/4 C brown sugar. The great thing about vegan baking is that you can taste and adjust as you go!

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together ground flax and water. Let sit for a few minutes so it “gels up” while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, stir together nut butter, applesauce, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Add flax+water mixture and mix until smooth and well combined.

Stir together together dry and wet ingredients. Add shredded coconut, nuts, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds. Continue stirring until well combined.

Use a spatula to spread mixture in a 9 x 9 pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Lightly wet your hands and press down firmly on the mixture until it is all evenly spread in the pan. Press down firmly, as this will really help your granola bars to achieve the right texture and stay together after baking.

Bake for 17 – 20 mins until lightly browned. Let cool in pan for about 1/2 hour, then use the parchment paper to lift bars out of the pan. Cut into bars, and let cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping in plastic wrap.

These bars are a good balance of chewiness and crunch, with just the right amount of sweetness. They are the perfect filling snack for when you are on the go. Hope my mom’s enjoying them while on her whirlwind travels!

 

 

Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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