Pear, Speculoos, Oat & Lemon Zest Muffins

A Star Muffin.

A tasty combination of awesome in one compact muffin. Are you ready?

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This is a time for warmth and comfort. For flavors that and a little heat and zing to your average ho hum day. As January comes to a close Spring begins its slow creep forward from the shadows. Their is a smell of hope in the air..it may be slight..and disappear at times like tonight when the weather drops down below freezing again..but alas it exists. With the combination of cinnamon, pear, lemon and that magical concoction known as speculoos you are sure to jump right out of bed in the morning just to have a bite.

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Pear, Speculoos, Oat & Lemon Zest Muffins

makes 10 small muffins or 6 large muffins

1 pear, diced (roughly a cup)

1 large egg

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3.5 tbsp coconut oil

2 heaping tbsp speculoos spread

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup millet flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour/almond flour mix

1/2 cup oats, plus more for topping

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

zest of 1/2 an organic lemon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl mix the flax and water and set aside (for 5-10 minutes). In a Large bowl combine the millet, brown rice and almond flours, oats, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, flax egg, vanilla extract, coconut oil (make sure the coconut oil is not solid), light brown sugar, and speculoos spread until fully combined with no lumps. Stir the lemon zest into the wet ingredients last. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir, once combined gently stir in the diced pear. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with parchment paper and fill with batter. Sprinkle muffin tops with extra oats before placing in oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. If you decided to make 6 larger muffins they will need more baking time, at least 30-35 minutes.

~ Enjoy, and as always..stay warm ~

Apple Yogurt Upside-Down Cake

A Morning Worthy of Cake. Apple Cake.

apple_cake_1I am back! Shall I do a little dance? I think YES. It has been a busy busy past couple of months, the highlight being a romp through the Scottish highlands and Dublin in December. But it is a new year and I can’t wait to start putting more time in here.

This tasty treat is meant for fall, when the leaves are just starting to turn and the first cool breezes make themselves known…but when you have all the ingredients on hand and the exact number of crisp pink lady apples staring at you from the side of the counter…I say go for it. This is the coldest week I’ve experienced yet in New York (I actually NEED one of those face-sweaters..) and this cake is as delicious in the middle of Winter as it is in Fall. Full of warmth and comfort it is meant to be eaten at any time of day, while sitting on the couch, with thirty quilts, a thick pair of woolen socks and a cup of hot tea.

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Apple Yogurt Upside-Down Cake ~ adapted from Small Plates & Sweet Treats

3 pink lady apple

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp + more honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown rice flour + 1 tbsp

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 cup millet flour + 1 tbsp

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 heaping tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup packed dark muscovado sugar

1/2 cup whole-milk plain yogurt

1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8 by 8-inch square cake pan (or an 8 by 3-inch round cake pan) and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Core the apples, quarter them, then cut each piece in half once more. Heat the coconut oil, 2 tbsp of honey and vanilla extract in a large saute pan (any soup or sauce pot will work, you may just need to cook the apples for a bit longer) over medium heat. Add the sliced apples and cook for about 10 minutes or until apples are soft but not mushy. Let cool for a few minutes before handling. Arrange the apples on the bottom of the cake pan as tightly as possible and pour any remaining liquid in the pot over the apples.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl mix the eggs, dark muscovado sugar, honey (I did about 2 tbsp add more for a sweeter cake), olive oil, and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan making sure that it is evenly distributed over the apples. Bake for about 50min-1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before carefully flipping. Allow to cool before serving. Keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days or freeze.

Serve warm by itself or with a speckled vanilla bean ice cream.

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~ Stay Warm! ~

Red Cabbage Summer Salad with Roasted Walnut Oil

As rain dances were invented in the hopes of bringing rain, this salad was concocted in the spirit of Spring. May it bring to you warm weather and soon.

I feel sorry for red cabbage. It does not get the glory and honor it deserves. As a child, in my lovely school cafeteria, I would always pick this usually stringy vegetable out of my salad. Why would anyone want this squiggly purple stuff messing up a perfectly good meal of iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing, right?! Even when working as a waitress in college we were instructed to leave it out when preparing salads (bags of it would be included with the lettuce). Where does all the red cabbage of the world go?? Thanks to a new found interest in vegetables of all kinds, and a little lemon zest, I am proud to say red cabbage has found a new place in my heart.

 While walking through my neighborhood market I spotted a box full of these crazy purple orbs. I continued walking by. Stopped. Turned around… and walked back. Don’t you love those moments. They were eye catching, a real beauty. A color so deep, so rich, there is no way they can’t be tasty. Throwing my doubts of cabbage and anything slaw related out the window I put one in the shopping basket. Summer slaw for dinner.

Spring came to New York. It teased us for a few days. A few days. Everyone was outside, flooding the streets and parks, in sun-dresses and sunglasses. Then right as I was settling into the idea of beaches, fruit sorbet, and drinks with cute garnishes the weather plunged back into the 40’s. I refuse to accept this. In rebellion I made this salad. It brings the feeling of summer to your tongue at least! I also am continuing to wear open-toe shoes and no stockings. I am cold and stubborn and hope that, combined with this salad, rays of sunshine grace us once more. I recommend if you still live somewhere with winters chill just trying the salad.

Red Cabbage Summer Salad

zest and juice of one lemon

1 tbsp + 2 tsp roasted walnut oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste – I use pink Himalayan salt

1/2 head chopped red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 green onions chopped, diced

2 large carrots ribboned

sesame seeds

thinly sliced radishes (use as many or few as you like)

In a small bowl add lemon juice, zest and walnut oil. Whisk with a fork and set aside. In a large bowl toss cabbage, carrot ribbons, radish slices and chives. Add dressing and sprinkle in sesame seeds, at least 1 tbsp. Toss. Garnish with lemon slices and sesame seeds and serve immediately! If you are making this ahead of time save the dressing for last. Whisk together the ingredients and toss right before eating, the fresh lemon flavor dulls overnight in the fridge.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

It’s still not to late for soup.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Spring is around the corner, you can smell it in the air. I find myself daydreaming at work of beach towels and lemonade.

Unfortunately, at least here in New York, the weather has not completely caught up with my mind yet. So pull out that soup pot and take advantage of our last few chilly weeks. This soup is simple and warms you from the inside out, the ginger gives it a spicy kick and when topped with chopped pear the combo of chilled/sweet with spicy is quite pleasant.

This recipe was scribbled down on a piece of scrap paper at work, I cannot remember where I found the inspiration for this wonder, but will update if I come across it again.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Olive oil

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 minced garlic clove, or 1 to 2 tsp of already minced garlic

3 tbsp diced and peeled fresh ginger (use less if you don’s want your soup to have a kick)

1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash

1 peeled and diced apple (I used pink lady)

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

12 ounces coconut milk

diced pear

In a large soup pot heat about 2 tsp of oil (I used olive oil) over medium heat. Saute carrots and onion until soft, then add the garlic, ginger, butternut squash, and apple. And continue to saute for another couple minutes. Add broth, and salt if desired, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for around 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Blend, then stir in coconut milk and add any additional spices to taste. Serve hot topped with fresh cut pear.

Have a lovely Sunday ~

Vegetable Broccoli Soup

Of the best variety.  You know, the knock your socks off variety of vegetable soup.

During the past week, winter finally struck the south.  Down to 20 degrees, and in the teens in the early morning.  This is crazy cold to me.  crazycrazycrazy.

SO. I present to you:  Vegetable Broccoli Soup ~

about 2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 large yellow onion

2 large to medium potatoes

2 medium sized carrots

2 stalks of celery

1 can of corn {or frozen}

8 cups of broccoli

8 cups of broth of choice

2-4 cups fresh spinach

1/2 milk of choice

garlic powder to taste

salt and pepper to taste

cheese 🙂

Serves at least 8

First things first.  Chop up the onion, nothing neat…as long as it in in random sized chunks and pieces you are more then good {!}

Cover the bottom of a large {tall} pot with olive oil.  Roughly 2 tbsp.  Add onion and cook on low to med heat for about 5 -8 minutes.  Until onion is soft.

Example of large hearty soup pot

While the onion cooks go ahead and chop up the two potatoes.

And the celery and carrots.  I used a bunch of baby carrots for a lack of larger ones.

Add chopped potatoes, carrots, and celery to the pot.  Give a good stir.  With a rustic wooden spoon if you prefer.

Add garlic, the 8 cups of broth {I used chicken but would have normally used vegetable}, the corn, and the 8 cups of broccoli {I used frozen broccoli}.  Give a good stir.

Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for about ten minutes.  Potatoes and broccoli should be tender and cooked through.  Since I made this in the morning I turned the heat off after about 10 minutes and let the soup cool down a bit before blending.

Since this is a family sized recipe you can cut it in half for smaller portions.  A hand blender probably would have been a smarter option, but instead I blended it in my regular blender in three batches.  Pouring into a large metal bowl as I emptied the pot.  Yes.  I had a a lot of time on my hands on this cold winter morning.  OR I was avoiding having to brave the outdoors. . .

As I blended each bath I would leave room at the top and add a few handfuls of the spinach.  Do this all three times.  Blend completley.  Then put in fridge if your are serving later.  If you are serving immedietly, pour all the blended soup back in the pot and heat on low to medium heat.

Add the 1/2 cup of milk.  Stir.  Garlic powder to taste.  Salt and pepper to taste.  And a large handful or two of cheese if desired.  When hot everything is ready to serve.

Topped with cheese and a garlic hot sauce.

In all honesty.  Some of the BEST soup.  I.  Have.  Ever.  Ever.  Had.

Now GO.  Go and keep yourself warm and out of the cold with some soup<3