Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

My favorite season has arrived yet again! It's been officially Fall for a few weeks and I am taking full advantage of everything pumpkin, spiced, and cozy (even though during the day it's still been a bit on the warm side). Today I made one of my all-time favorite things in the Fall- Pumpkin Muffins!
This recipe didn't take long to make. I used my new favorite measuring cups, just for fun (what else are owl measuring cups made for, if not fun?)
And before I knew it, there were freshly baked muffins coming out of the oven.
These muffins go along perfectly with pumpkin butter. Luckily, I had picked some up this week, in my pumpkin buying frenzy, hoping I might need it for something.
So where can you find this delicious recipe? Click here for The Best Pumpkin Muffins, which are by Isa Chandra... so THAT'S why they are to die for- I have never known her to create a disappointing recipe. I did make a few slight adaptions.

  • Instead of 1/2 cup vegetable oil, I used 1/4 of cup melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup of apple sauce. 
  • Instead of soy milk, I used almond milk.

I have made several vegan pumpkin muffin recipes over the last few years and these are by far the best.
Make these in celebration of the new season!
Happy Autumn!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Black and Blue Mojito

Today's post is brought to you courtesy of my iphone. I hadn't planned on posting it on my blog, but I snapped a few photos with my phone, just because it looked so pretty! Then I tasted it and realized: This mojito is too tasty not to share!
Black and Blue Mojito
Makes one serving

3 blackberries, plus additional for garnish
8 blueberries, plus additional for garnish
4-5 mint leaves, plus additional for garnish
Juice from 1/2 lime
1-2 teaspoons sweetener of your choice (I use Truvia or Agave)
1 1/2 ounces white rum
Club soda

Place the blackberries, blueberries, mint, lime juice, and sweetener in the bottom of a glass. Using a muddler (or handle of a wooden spoon), crush the berries and mint leaves. Pour the rum over the crushed berries. Add your desired amount of ice. Top off the rest of the glass with club soda and stir. Garnish with a few additional berries and mint leaves.
This is the perfect summer cocktail- The fruit is fresh and in-season, and adds a sweet juicy flavor to an every-day mojito!
Summer cocktails are the best.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Orange Peach Carrot Juice

I'm back with another juice recipe! This one comes in a close second to the beet juice I previously blogged about, and it is my husband's favorite so far. This orange peach carrot juice has a beautiful orange hue to it, almost like an orange creamsicle.
Once again, you start with simple, fresh ingredients, blend them, strain them, and sip all the delicious vitamins and nutrients through a straw.
Orange Peach Carrot Juice
Makes 2 servings (about 4 cups)

2 peeled oranges
2 peaches, quartered, seeds removed
4-5 medium carrots, halved
Juice from one lemon
1/2 inch ginger
2 cups water

Place all ingredients in the Vitamix (or other high-speed blender), blend on full speed 1-2 minutes. Strain through a nut milk bag, into a large bowl. Squeeze to release all excess juices. Serve in a chilled glass and enjoy!
I love having fresh juice for breakfast. I especially love having fresh juice for breakfast when it's already made for me, because the second serving is waiting in a mason jar, from yesterday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lavender Vanilla Lemon Potpourri

Lately I have been making homemade potpourri and it makes our house smell so good! It is super easy just to throw together and let simmer- just minutes later, your whole house will be filled with the delicious smell of lavender, vanilla, and lemon.
Lavender Vanilla Lemon Potpourri

15 drops lavender essential oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 lemon, sliced
2 sprigs fresh lavender (optional)
2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then turn down to a simmer. Allow the potpourri to simmer until the water has evaporated- add more water if desired, and continue to simmer.
And there you have it- a few simple ingredients that will help make your house smell fresh and clean!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beet Carrot Apple Juice

Recently I've been making fresh juices, using my Vitamix. I know it's not quite the same as drinking juice from a juicer, but I am making due with what I have, and I have to say it's been pretty tasty! I've made about 5 different concoctions so far, and this Beet Carrot Apple Juice has been by far my favorite.
Basically you start with these simple, fresh ingredients...
Blend them in the Vitamix, strain them through a nut milk bag, and your juice is ready! Here is the process in a nutshell.
Since I am using a Vitamix, not a juicer, I need to add some water too, which is fine, because that equals more juice for me to drink (and it doesn't taste too watered down to me at all)! This recipe makes two servings, so I save one for later, in a canning jar in the fridge.
I like to drink the freshly made one in a chilled glass with a few ice cubes- I prefer my juice ice-cold! This process definitely takes some time, and has a good amount of clean-up involved, but it helps that it makes TWO servings, not just one.

I had a little helper who came out back to watch me shoot photos... but she soon found a "comfy" bed to lay on and heat up in (aka, our grill cover that had blown off). I don't know how she could stand it- it was already at least 80 degrees outside.
Beet Carrot Apple Juice
Makes 2 servings (about 4 cups)

2 beets, peeled and quartered
2 apples, quartered and cored
4 carrots, halved
Juice from one lemon
1/2 inch of ginger (or more, if you prefer)
2 cups water

Place all ingredients in the Vitamix, blend on full speed 1-2 minutes. Strain through a nut milk bag, into a large bowl. Squeeze to release all excess juices. Serve in a chilled glass and enjoy!

Note: If you do not have a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, I am not sure how well these ingredients would blend up, to make a juice. Please let me know if you try!
I plan on making lots more fresh juices throughout the summer- and will hopefully be back to share a few more favorite combinations!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Coconut Sugar Scrub

My Pinterest has been full of projects I'd like to do, ever since I discovered this addictive little website, last summer. I have done a few things, but there are plenty more I always want to do! I decided to start with an easy one this weekend. I made coconut sugar scrub, for hands and feet. It was super easy to make, smells so good, and makes your hands and feet feel super soft!
Here is my final product.
The recipe was really easy. It is one part coconut oil to two parts sugar. I used a half cup of coconut oil, with one cup of sugar. I slightly melted the coconut oil, to make it easier to stir. I also added about ten drops of lavender essential oil, but I still mostly smell coconut. I think next time, I'll either omit the essential oil, or add more of it. The jar tops were easy and fun to make. I just used watercolors and painted sheets of white paper. Here is an Instagram photo I took, while doing it.
This is a cute and easy idea to add to a gift basket! It would also be a perfect mother's day gift- but I guess I'm a little late on that one.
It's the perfect excuse to paint with watercolors!
It brings me back to my childhood.
I have to say, this little craft was very relaxing and fun! A hand and foot massage with coconut sugar scrub would be a perfect way to wrap up the weekend.

Strawberry Jam

With all the delicious fresh strawberries I have been seeing at the Farmer's Market recently, I decided it was finally time to make my first batch of homemade strawberry jam. I remember "helping" my mom make jam when I was young (I think this consisted of mostly eating berries, and maybe a small amount of mashing the berries for her, followed by eating more berries). We bought 4 over-flowing quarts and brought them home. This is less than half of the berries.
Here they are on my lap, on the way home, compliments of my Instagram.
I admit, I was a little nervous about ruining the whole batch, so I called my mom a few times before starting the jam, asking for advice. After searching the internet and looking at several strawberry jam recipes, I decided to use the same recipe my mom has used for years- the one that comes with the "Sure-Jell" fruit pectin. It calls for 5 cups of crushed strawberries (about 4 pints), 7 cups of sugar (yes, you read that right) and a package of fruit pectin. After some slightly burned finger tips, here is what I ended up with!
As I was in the process of making jam, I also had homemade bread rising! Nothing beats homemade bread, topped with freshly made jam. It reminded me of after-school snacks, when I was growing up.
On another note, we made hummingbird food yesterday for the first time this season, and they have already returned to our backyard!
They were loving the rain today.
I had a busy but relaxing weekend, finally completing some little crafty projects I have been wanting to do for awhile. More blog posts to follow soon (I hope!)