Tuesday, November 26, 2013

blueberry scuffins

what's a scuffin, you ask?
well, it's a scone-turned-muffin
or maybe it's a round mini scone
it doesn't really matter what you choose to call them,
all that matters is you make them

i made a dozen of these babies last monday morning
by tuesday morning, there were none left
they're that good
plus they're gluten free, dairy free and only lightly sweetened

extra bonus points:  the girls couldn't get enough of these and they were even daniel approved
(and not in that i-love-you-so-i'll-have-a-thank-you-helping way...he really, truly liked them!)

it all started when i spotted some cashew flour at Trader Joe's
while emptying the shelves stocking up in the nuts and seeds aisle
and since i've been doing a lot of gluten free baking recently
i thought it might be nice to try a different kind of flour
(vs. almond or coconut flour - both of which i love, but i also love variety, if ya know what i mean)

so i threw it in my cart,
made random small talk with the cashier
("oh, that's a new item we're carrying...i love gingersnaps and frozen berries...care to try a dark chocolate peanut butter cup?" etc),
then brought my loot home
and began my search for a cashew-based recipe

after sifting through a few search results,
i decided on this recipe,
and with just a few tweaks i was happily measuring and mixing ingredients
until it came time to pour my batter into my pan
and it hit me that my 9" metal pan was in storage!!!

but i decided not to let something silly like that faze me:
don't have the right sized pan?  just bake them in a muffin tin instead!
and thus, the birth of the scuffin

so, now that i've given you waaaaaaaaaay more background info that you cared for
i'll get to the good part and give you my version of the recipe

grain / dairy free wild blueberry scuffins

- 1 1/3 cup cashew flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder

- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries

 - 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg (preferably local / free range / organic - they totally taste better!)

- preheat oven to 350* and line or grease a muffin tin 
(i was feeling lazy so i lined mine with parchment paper baking cups)

- measure and set out blueberries so they can thaw out a bit while you get everything else ready

- in a medium sized bowl, mix dry ingredients (first "set" above) and put aside

- warm your coconut oil until it's just melted (preferably stove-top, but microwave works too) then add in the maple syrup and vanilla (if you went the stove-top route, remove it from heat first) and set aside while you stir your blueberries into your dry ingredient mixture

- next, add your warm liquids mixture into your dry ingredients
(**note:  you are going to want to move quickly, otherwise the frozen blueberries will harden your coconut oil and it won't mix in as well**)

- lightly beat your egg and add it to the batter

- divide batter into your prepared muffin tin (they won't fill up the way muffins do - think flatter and more dense) and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden on top

- once they're baked, transfer your scuffins to a cooling rack and resist the urge to dig in for 5-10 minutes


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

dear baby girls, 

this letter is long overdue, and i mean loooooooooooooong overdue.  i've written it time and time again in my head while drifting off to sleep, smiling over the things you said and did that day; while listening to you and daddy giggle and play; while watching you learn new skills; while stepping into your room and tucking you in long after you've fallen asleep...  there are so many little moments that i want to remember so that i can tell your stories back to you when you're older.  

the last time i wrote you a letter was exactly four months plus one day ago.  you had just turned 18 months old and were starting to say a couple of words - and now, four short months later, your vocabulary has grown so much!  i think you ask "what's that" about a hundred times a day, if not more - that's one of my favorite of your phrases.  you love barnyard animals (and making animal sounds!) and your rocking horses are a big hit.  we talk about birds and where they live, apples and the trees they grow on, bugs and fish and caterpillars too.  

you're so curious and it's amazing to watch your eyes fill with wonder as you learn so much each and every day.  you also love to play dress up.  you put on hats and layers of jackets, vests, dresses, socks - whatever you can get your hands on, really.  there's usually lots of giggling involved...and then you applaud yourselves.  it's really cute.  sometimes, if i'm lucky, you'll even pose for me to take a picture or two.  

another new skill you've been working on is using your very own silverware.  daddy and i went out and bought you a bunch of forks, spoons and even little knives made for toddlers (although you've not tried those yet).  you've really started to get the hang of using them though - such speedy learners!  speaking of learning, you've also gotten pretty good at building forts and climbing stairs - two of your favorite things to practice.  

ooooh, and here's another exciting thing that's happened lately:  your hair is kinda/sorta/almost long enough to put in pigtails and ponytails!!!  you have no idea how excited mama is about this...you, on the other hand, aren't so keen on having bows in your hair.  you love the idea and ask me to put them in over and over again, but it never lasts long.  oh well, it's a process, just like everything else about this parenting / growing up thing.  

on that note, i'm really loving being your mama.  as always, there are days and moments when i'm so frustrated, i want to pull my hair out; but they're outweighed by all the fun we're having along the way, all the moments when i feel like my heart would burst if i found a way to love you any more, all the times you say and do sweet things that turn this mama into a gigantic, cheesy puddle of mush.  

i'm nowhere near the mother i thought i'd be, but that's ok - what matters is that i'm your mother, and some of the best advice i've been given for this journey of motherhood is this:  "you are the best mother for your baby."  i can't place when or where i heard it, but it's comforted me in those moments when i wondered if i was "doing it right" or struggled with those insecurities that so many mothers face.  if you have your own babies one day, i hope you remember these words.  i hope you know that the Lord will never give you more than you can handle.  that He will strengthen and sustain and encourage you through His word, through those He's placed in your life, and yes, even through old letters and strangers' advice.  you just have to focus on those things when you're feeling down.

i love you, girlies.  daddy and i both do...so so so much...all the way to the moon and back, in fact!  but seriously, we pray for you all the time and hope so many good things for you. 

until next time, with much love, 
your mama

Friday, November 8, 2013

keepin' it simple

sometimes, simple is best
take for example, the things i've been thankful for these past couple of days:
that these two have each other - usually the best of friends, sometimes the worst of enemies,
but there's no denying they love each other

for spinach and eggs...for reals, guys, this is a combination i couldn't live without!
warm soup + the stillness of naptime - a rare combination, but oh-so-wonderful

you know what else is simple and awesome?
roasted broccoli
3 ingredients, 3 steps - you can't get much simpler than that!

you guys know i'm not one for complicated recipes
and this one is no exception!
i needed something to serve alongside the simple salmon we were having for dinner
and i threw this together using whatever i had on hand
it was so good, we didn't have any leftovers
but if we did, i'm sure they would have been delicious thrown into a salad for lunch the next day...
(that was my original plan)
anyway, try 'em for yourself and see what you think
- 4 cups broccoli (chopped into medium sized florets)
- 1 shallot / small onion (roughly chopped)
- 1-2 tbsp bacon grease
1) use a large pan to melt the bacon grease on medium heat
2) add onion and broccoli and stir so that everything gets coated nicely
3) transfer to a large cookie sheet and roast them for 20 minutes, pulling them out halfway through to flip them (i decided to be lazy and lined the cookie sheet with foil to help with clean-up)
i made them earlier in the day then gave them a quick pan-fry (no added grease) to heat them up just before dinner
if this is a bit too simple for you
i'm sure you could do all kinds of flavor variations,  
like maybe a sprinkle of parmesan just before serving?
or lemon zest and fresh ground pepper might be good too...
let me know how it turns out if you change it up!

Monday, November 4, 2013


one of my favorite blogs
(one of the few that i regularly "follow")
is Sheena's blog
it's full of funny little stories, amazing recipes, gorgeous photography...you get the picture

i stumbled upon it one day 5 or 6 years ago
and just kept coming back day after day
in fact, if you've followed my blog for some time, 
you might have noticed a few links back to her blog from time to time

now, you may be wondering why on earth i'm randomly talking about another blog
and what on earth that has to do with my bizarre hashtag title
...allow me me string it all together for you:

one of the things i love about Sheena is how conversational and interactive she is on her blog
and one way she does that is by inviting her readers to "play along" when she's up to something
last year (at least i think it was last year), 
she came up with the idea to share something you are thankful for everyday of november on instagram
and use the hashtag #novemberthanks
then, if you wanted, you could see what everyone else was thankful for too

i thought it was a fun idea so i played along
and it turned out to be so much more encouraging than i ever expected
i think when we are intentional about being thankful, 
we begin to realize just how blessed we are
...at least i did!
and when november came to an end, 
i actually felt a little sad having to wait till this november to use the hashtag again, for reals!

these have been my #novemberthanks so far
(please excuse the crappy quality...my phone camera is on it's last leg!)
November 1st:  my girlies watching Alice in Wonderland for the first time...this was my favorite movie as a kid, and i am super thankful to have the opportunity to spend my days at home with them, sharing little moments like this one

November 2nd:  i'm thankful that although our saturdays go by in a total blur, that blur includes these two and their daddy

November 3rd:  this was a legit conversation we had in church...so thankful to get to do life with Daniel; he makes me laugh, even when he's not trying to, and you can never have too much laughter in your life, right?

November 4th:  my old, beat-up espresso machine - i got this thing for $2 at an estate sale when we were still in university.  we didn't even know if it worked, but we figured we'd take the chance and it definitely paid off.  the only reason we even pulled over was because they were giving out free hotdogs and when you're in school, free = awesome...actually, that's the case most of the time, but it's especially true when you're a student!  
and now, every time i use this thing, i can't help but smile and think back to garage sale-ing on a sunny afternoon and giggling with Daniel as we perused all they had out, munching on our hot dogs as we went... :)

now it's your turn - what are you thankful for?
feel free to use the hashtag on instagram 
or write up a blog post and share the link in the comments - i'd love to see it!  :)

i'll try and share my #novemberthanks on here as well as my instagram, 
but if you want to follow me there as well, have at 'er!
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