Oatmeal Jam Bars

Making my own bars has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite a long time now. For some reason I just never got around to it. Thinking it would be hard and that they wouldn’t turn out the way I’d like. Finally, I was inspired by a mother in one of my birth circles who would continuously be bringing different kinds of bars over for our get togethers. They were simple amazing and I knew I had to make some of my own. So combining some of her advice and some of my own research online I created my own recipe for some yummy oatmeal jam bars.

oatmeal jam bars

Oatmeal Jam Bars

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup coconut butter, softened

2 eggs (I like to use fresh ducks eggs if possible!)

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1 1/2 cups jam ( I used strawberry and homemade is best!)

Combine all ingredients except jam in a large mixing bowl till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press half of mixture in greased 13×9 inch pan; spread jam. Sprinkle rest of mixture on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, cut into bars and voila! Serves about 3 dozen bars.

Side note; adding shredded coconut to the crust is also a delicious add on, we simply did not have any left in the pantry today. Next time we will be sure to add some coconut!

Hope you enjoy!

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Christmas in Victoria

(This beautiful needle felted stocking was made for us by April!! April we love them!)







Spending Christmas in Victoria meant I could soak up every second of holiday while working away in my living room. Crafting this year was like a full time job! I started in November and worked away on knits and quilts almost every single day. It was perfect and so lovely. I was a bit in denial about taking down our tree a couple weeks ago, but we ripped the bandaid and now i’m happy to have that extra bit of space back. Still knitting though, as it is winter after all! I know it’s late, but Merry Christmas! All the gifts to come! – Jenna

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blackberry cobbler

Berry season is on in our little corner of the world and so the other day when I returned home with a box full of blackberries which we picked with some of Owen’s little friends I knew some baking was in order. I’m personally not a huge fan of blackberries, and neither is Owen, a bit too tart for us so I also knew something very sweet would be in order.I had never attempted to make a cobbler before, nor had I really ever had one but it sounded great so I picked a recipe off of cooks.com to try out and crossed my fingers it would taste good. And well it was AMAZING!! I can’t wait to go pick some more berries to try this out again or maybe venture out and try something else new!

Blackberry Cobbler

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen blackberries, thawed

Melt butter in a 2 quart casserole. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk in a small bowl, mix well.

Pour mixture over melted butter, do not stir. Spoon blackberries over batter; do not stir.

Bake at 350°F. for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

 


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banana crumb muffins

Once again I was faced with ripe bananas in our fruit bowl this morning. This is a usual happening in our house as we do consume a lot of bananas, but simply not always as fast as they need to be eaten. And so we are often (almost every week!) left with two or three ripe bananas that are simply not too appealing to eat on their own and so I usually resort to making a banana bread. I’ve spiced it up a few times by adding in blueberries or chocolate chips but we’ve been making banana bread so much around here that it was really time to try something new. In plus I was really graving something sweet today. I was actually day dreaming of making vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting but new I had to use up those bananas today. And so I found this delicious recipe with a sweet kick. By no means are these muffins healthy, they definitely have their fair share of sugar but hey thats what I was going for! Owen as always had a blast helping me out in the kitchen and had a very hard time waiting for them to be ready to eat. He downed the first one like it was the best thing he has tasted in ages and soon asked for another helping. I told him no more after that however since they really aren’t the healthiest snack, if it was up to him he’d probably have had all 12! He will simply have to wait till tomorrow. Now if your looking to indulge in that sweet tooth of yours but not go all out with cupcakes give these a try; they are delectable!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

 

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blueberry banana bread

Blueberries and banana bread are something my child could simple eat all day long and so this morning as I decided to make some banana bread for Owen I thought hey why not simply add in blueberries and make this double happiness for my lil guy. So we got out all the ingreadient, mixed away and once out of the oven and cool enough to eat my lil guy was in heaven. And well by the end of the day there wasn’t anymore bread left. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup soften butter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 milk (I used rice milk but you can use any kind really)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

Mash bananas well. Add all other ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes, and voila!

Hope you enjoy this recipe and if serving to lil one’s that they will take delight in it just as much as mine does.

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craving

It’s been about a month now that my cravings have calmed down however Tuesday night around 10:00 pm I was hit with the biggest craving for some homemade chocolate chip cookies. Seeing as how it was 10:00 pm and I was getting ready for bed there was no way I was going to start baking so I planned on having to satisfy my craving till the next day. Not being a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies (when not pregnant obviously!) I was in search of a new recipe, something a bit healthier and the perfect recipe was given to me by my friend Sarah.

Mix up dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mash 1 banana with 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or butter) and 3/4 brown sugar. Add dry ingredients to the banana mixture. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips (raisins or chopped walnuts can substitute) and 1 peeled and graded apple, although I added 1/4 cup of apple sauce. Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees and craving satisfied!

These cookies were the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had! Not too sweet and not too loaded with chocolate either as I’m not really a big fan of chocolate. I also loved the added texture and flavor from the oats. This recipe is definitely a keeper! This recipe was also great to make with Owen as I didn’t have to worry at all about him eating the uncooked batter and he did indeed love the batter. The cookies himself he didn’t try but fruits are about the most sweets he likes to eat.

Thank you Sarah for the lovely recipe, you definitely helped me satisfy my craving in the best way.

Enjoy!

 

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colourful drinks – homemade juices and smoothies

Recently Tristan and I inherited two wonderful machines (thanks to his parents) that have been changing the way we eat around here. One is an amazing blender that just pulverizes your food….as opposed to my regular blender that seems to just spin it around a bit. The other is a juicer!

I’ve always been a fan of fruit smoothies and my mother drove it into my head that fruit is best in the morning. So i’ve been known to enjoy my blended fruit. Now with this new blender i’ve been able to add vegetables to them too!!! It is amazing how you can completely cover up the taste of veggies with fruits! The first smoothie I made was strawberries, banana, flax oil, blueberries, raspberries, carrots, ginger and spinach. YUM! I couldn’t taste the spinach or carrots at all, nor could I see them. But since then i’ve moved onto even greener smoothies, so that i’m still able to have fruits as a smoothie on it’s own. Fruit alone in the morning and just a tad added to the veggie smoothies to sweeten the taste. The last one I made was so very green that I didn’t photograph it, but it was still delicious. It was a combination of strawberries, banana, carrots, kale, spinach, sunflower seed sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, spinach and ginger.

As for the juicer, well, i’m in love. I know everyone says that once you have a juicer you use it two days and then get over it but I so hope that doesn’t happen. Yes, it’s kind of annoying to clean but how satisfying is it to have a cup of freshly squeezed juice? I started to get on the juicing kick when spending a day with an old bride of ours in Vancouver in February. She is obsessed with organic juicing and made me carrot, apple and ginger in the morning. Again, YUM. So once we got a juicer (which was a total perfectly timed surprise) I started with that and have been really happy with it.

After using the carrot, apple ginger recipe quite a bit, I started adding beets and kale. This is my latest favourite and still includes all the flavours I love only with more! The kale pretty much disguises itself in there with the beet, which I should embarrassingly admit i’d probably never eat if it weren’t in a juice. Oh how these two machines have opened my eyes and nourished my tummy.

Oh, and just a warning. They look just as pretty on the floor as they do in your glass.
– Jenna

 

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no-knead bread round two

As promised, I attempted to make the no knead bread yet again. This time I used all spelt flour, and half a teaspoon of active dry yeast as opposed to a quarter of a teaspoon. The dough was so pretty and smelt so great. The actual bread? Well that came out looking a little crispy. Next time I think I won’t bake the bread for as long after the cover is removed. I’ve been doing that for 15 minutes as suggested but I’m guessing my oven might be a bit hotter than 500 degrees. I also don’t have the proper pot for baking this in, so the bread seems to spread out a bit wider than I’d like it. I will have to go in search of a good bread making pot and see if it doesn’t help the bread rise a bit more instead of spreading.

As for the taste? Delicious! The rye version from last night was so tasty and worked perfectly with all the cheese that everyone brought! Like today’s loaf, it was a bit crispy on the outside and we were all joking about the brick of a loaf I had brought… but to my delight the inside was fluffy and soft. I will definitely be making this bread a lot and hopefully with the right baking device i’ll finally get the shape i’m looking for!

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no-knead bread

Recently while searching for the perfect sweater pattern (i’ve decided to knit my first sweater) I found Elly’s blog. She recently posted bread that she had made using Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe. No Knead? Sounds good enough to me! I decided to try making it yesterday only to realize you need to leave the dough for 10-8 hours, so I waited until the evening and threw together the dough and left it overnight. This afternoon I went through the rest of the steps and made a beautiful loaf using half rye and half regular flour. As you may already know Victoria is a rainy city and some days are not the brightest. By the time the bread was out of the oven it was so dark I could barely take any pictures. After holding my breath and using a painfully slow shutter, I bring you my first no-knead loaf. Listening to the advice on Elly’s blog, I watched this video to help me through the process, not that it was too hard. I didn’t have any bran or cornmeal on hand which they suggest using, so instead I covered my dough with seven-grain. I’d love to tell you that it tastes delicious but I have yet to taste the loaf! I’m taking it with me to a ‘bring your own cheese and wine night’. The host is a bread expert so i’m hoping for some future bread making advice. Fingers crossed that there won’t be much of this loaf left after the evening, so i’ll be starting up another batch of dough tonight to bake again tomorrow!

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Italian Almond Macaroons

Being back at work I’m finding it hard to stay on top of all my crafting. I’ve been knitting a row here and pinning back hems on sewing projects there but getting to the final result has been a bit slower now. However, I’m still finding the time to bake and cook. I feel less overwhelmed when thinking of a batch of cookies to make as I know I could have them done in only a few hours. It’s also something Owen loves to join in on. Of course Owen also loves to help out when I’m sewing or knitting, however in those cases I don’t exactly get much sewing or knitting actually done. I tell ya its hard to sew a straight line with a toddler crawling in your back! So here’s a favorite recipe of mine, hope you enjoy!

Italian Almond Macaroons

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 16-oz. package of finely ground almond meal flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • powdered sugar

1. Beat egg whites until foamy in a large bowl. Stir in almond meal, sugar, extract and salt; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill.

2. Preheat oven to 300F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Press almonds with your fingers to break into smaller pieces. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch crescents and roll in almonds; place on baking sheets.

3. Bake for 20 minutes for softer macaroons or 30 minutes for firmer macaroons (we did 20 minutes). Dust with powdered sugar one cooled.

These are delish! Enjoy!

-April

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