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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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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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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the unexplainable joy of homemade pasta

I can’t begin to describe the feeling in my belly when I ate this pasta for the first time. I’m not talking about the lightness of the fresh pasta or the taste of olive oil. It is the joy that I am referring to. I couldn’t stop saying “i’m so happy”, between bite after bite of what can only be described as bliss in the form of a noodle. If you think i’m exaggerating, try it yourself.

I have mentioned before that we bought our pasta machine in the fall, and haven’t gotten around to using it yet. After making bread for the first time it only seemed fitting to continue on the homemade road and make our own pasta. Our good friend Lana who is a huge fresh pasta lover came over to help us make it. We decided to try two different gluten free recipes that she found, using millet flour in one and quinoa flour in the other. We made this is with caution knowing it might not be what we were expecting, but in the end we proved ourselves quite wrong. Both recipes were beyond delicious and it was hard to stop eating even after our plates were cleaned. You would have had no idea that they were gluten free either. Contributing to the taste was the sense of accomplishment that comes from making pasta yourself for the very first time.

I was so in love with this pasta that I couldn’t wait to make it again. I made it the next day in perfect timing for our friends Justin, Jaimie and baby Layla to arrive home after 3 weeks in Cape Breton. They wouldn’t want to be cooking that night so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at the pasta again and so this time I went it alone. It only took me 1.5 hours to make two recipes from scratch into beautiful thin noodles. I will most definitely be making this again and probably often.

The recipes we used were a gluten free millet pasta which you can find here: http://realsustenance.com/recipes/gluten-free-millet-pasta/ and a gluten free quinoa pasta that you can find here: http://www.grain-free-gluten-free.com/quinoa-pasta.html

As a dressing we used extra virgin olive oil and pecorino cheese, combined with pesto, mushrooms and onions. I have to say though, I would even eat this pasta with olive oil alone.

If you’ve ever been curious about making your own pasta, just try it. It seems like such a simple thing but it was an amazing experience. It is really fun to make with friends, and I hope we can do so with our compadres soon!

– Jenna

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winter soup

bluebirdbaby is a blog I read regularly, Erin is the author and a few days ago I was reading through her blog when I came accross a soup recipe but didn’t think too much more about it at the time. However, only a couple of days later Sal came down with a pretty bad cold and this soup emidiatly came to mind. I went out to the market, collected the ingredients we were missing and surprisingly it was a very quick soup to whip up and delishious too. This is definately becoming a winter staple in our home, thank you Erin! Bellow is the soup recipe from Erin’s blog which again can be found here .

Nourshing Soup for Winter Days ::

  • 10-12 cps broth (we used chicken)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 medium leek, sliced and chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced (yes…one WHOLE head. it’s good for ya!)
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced and halved
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed (we used 4)
  • 1.5 cup peas
  • 1.5 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 lb ground chicken, cooked (we used some grilled chicken from the night before)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. I think butter makes everything taste better, so I heated a half stick of butter in the bottom of a soup pot. When that is hot, add leeks. Cook until tender.
  2. Add minced garlic to leeks and stir. Do not let brown.
  3. Add broth, bay leaf, carrots and potatoes. Let boil, then simmer until all are tender.
  4. While the soup is cooking, cook the chicken in a frying pan. (We already had grilled chicken from the night before and so simply used that).
  5. When the veggies in the soup are tender, add chicken, peas, white beans, and thyme.
  6. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
  7. Serve with fresh bread.

Enjoy!

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happy 2011!

The beginning of the year usually looks the same for Tristan and I. We go for breakfast or to a coffee shop and list off the things we want to do in the new year. Normally this is business related. This year, for some reason we didn’t end up at any coffee shop or breakfast restaurant. We watered our friends plants and came back home to our still decorated apartment for the rest of the evening. Instead we knit, read, napped and cooked together.

When I woke up new years morning I thought to myself, I want to do all of the things today that I want to do in the new year. That list included knitting, sewing, weaving, cooking, yoga and reading all while spending quality time with my husband. Photography is a no brainer for us so it doesn’t get put on the must do list, it gets done list or no list. So anyhow, I clearly didn’t finish this entire list of to do’s, but that is okay. We did enough of them that I feel good about how we rung in the new year. And there is plenty of time left in January. Including today!

Today we continued on that list. I’ve been knitting, Tristan has been sewing, and in between it all we have started our first loaf of bread in our new bread machine. We got the bread machine in the fall eager as anything to bake with it but haven’t touched it. (That or the pasta machine we bought around the same time) Finally today we decided it was a good time to give it a whirl and it’s bouncing around in the kitchen now as I write. It’s dark already so i’ll have to make another one some morning so I can photograph it.

What I can show you is the recipe! For Tristan’s birthday my parents bought him Tartine Bread, a book we can’t wait to experiment more with. But there are no machine recipes in there so we were searching around google aimlessly until I remembered that there was a WHO Bread Machine recipe over on the Soulemama blog, one which April introduced me too and we both love. Since we have been stocking up on bread ingredients for months now we luckily had everything in the cupboard and so WHO Bread it is! If you’d like it please head over to this link to see Amanda’s tutorial. She also has a recipe for the same bread without the bread machine, here.

What is really fun for us is that we also had an excuse to use the anniversary present that our wonderful friends Justin Jaimie and baby Layla gave to us… a big beautiful blank hardcover notebook to keep recipes in! So Soulemama, thanks for our first bread of the year, and the first recipe in our book!

Happy new year everyone! I hope you can start it off doing the things you love!
– Jenna

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