Strawberry Ginger Muffins

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My favorite blog, the first site I go to when I sign on to the computer each day, is Soulemama.  I've been reading Amanda Soule's blog for years now and it has changed my life.  I am grateful for the internet, for blogs, and the way they can expand our lives.  I am most grateful to Amanda and her family because their willingness to live and share their authenticity has blessed my life in so many ways.

I discovered Soulemama not long after I had my first child six years ago.  New to motherhood, I looked to Amanda's example.  She reminded me of my own mother, of my grandmothers, and since my own family lived far away, her daily words and photos became a comfort and a guide as I stumbled into parenthood.  Her blog was a good friend I sat down with every day.

Inspired by the Soule's way of life, their commitment to living simply and encouraging family connections, I became more aware of the choices I was making as a parent and how they affected my family.  I wanted to live more deliberately.

I am so grateful for Amanda's blog and books.  Because of them, I learned to make my own bread, which we couldn't live without now.  I learned to knit, which has saved my life on more than one occasion (remind me to tell you sometime how knitting got me through a failed divorce settlement meeting).  I learned to sew, to cook from scratch, to make art and music a priority in our home, to watch and learn from my children rather than try to mold and direct them, to let nature guide our days, and to slow down and pay attention.


I also have Amanda to thank for these delicious Strawberry Ginger Muffins.  Adapted from her Berry Muffins (recipe published in this book, which I wrote about here last year), these are my family's most favorite muffins.   They are healthy, and simple, and taste incredible.

As a single parent, living in the suburbs of a western desert, I sometimes think I couldn't be more unlike the Soule family on their dreamy homestead in Maine.  But then I pull a batch of these muffins out of the oven, and as we gather around the table I can imagine Amanda, surrounded by her little ones, doing just the same thing, and I think, perhaps we're not so different after all.

Strawberry Ginger Muffins

adapted from The Rhythm of the Family

Ingredients

1 cup spelt flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup honey (or to taste)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 drops ginger oil*, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced

Directions

Grease each individual cup in a 12 cup muffin pan, set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in wet ingredients.  Stir only until just combined.  Gently fold in strawberries.

Batter will be thick, almost like dough.  Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each cup approximately 2/3 full.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and a tester comes out clean.

* I use doTerra ginger oil and it is superb in these muffins.  Ground ginger works as a satisfactory replacement, but the oil is preferred.

"Wonderful things happen in our family when we choose to move slowly through our days. When we stop running and rushing about, we discover more time, energy, and space for the things most important in our lives. By slowing down, our connections with our children and as a family inherently become deeper, our creativity thrives, and we find meaningful ways to fill our time."  Amanda Soule, Rhythm of the Home

A Back to School Feast + Family Theme

Monday, August 27, 2012

There is nothing I love more than being a mother.  My kids are my favorite people in the world and they bring me endless joy.  No amount of sibling rivalry, laundry, legos on the floor, or peed pants can diminish the happiness I feel every day that I get to spend with my girls.  I feel so blessed.

This year I have two kids in school.  Esme is in first grade at a lovely Montessori school across town (lovely minus the fact that it is across town, gah) and Eila is in preschool for three hours/day, four days a week.  I hate it when they're gone.

I always imagined that I would home school, long before I even had children.  But life is all about bending in the wind, or something like that, and so here we are.  Right now, this is working for us and aside from the fact that I miss them something terrible when they're gone, everyone is happy with the arrangement.


To celebrate the school year ahead of us, mark important milestones, and console this mama's heart, we had a Back to School Feast.  Inspired by NieNie (because it's impossible to be anything but inspired by NieNie), we also picked a family theme for the school year.

"Be kind and be grateful that God is kind."  Jeffrey R. Holland

If our Back to School Feast is any indication, I think our year is going to be a really good one!

Cupcakes from Caked, my favorite local bakery!




Sometimes we play with our food.  No big deal. It's a tortilla frame.
I made each of the girls a journal for the school year.

"This was the best day ever"

Oh, how I love these girls.  God truly has been kind to me, and I am so grateful.

How do you mark the beginning of the school year?  Any family traditions?

Fancy Picnic Birthday Party

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August is Birthday Month for Esme!  She still hasn't asked for a friend party yet - you know, the kind of party where there are 20 kids running around with frosting on their faces expecting pinatas and clowns and goodie bags - phew.  Someday maybe, but not yet.

She did go back and forth between wanting a Star Wars birthday celebration and a Fancy Picnic for a few weeks.  She finally settled on the Fancy Picnic, and then I sighed with relief because I have never even seen Star Wars.  I know I'm probably like one of three people that have never watched Star Wars.  I tried once, but it felt sort of like, well, yawn. enough of that already.  you know?

 
"What does a fancy picnic look like?", I asked.  "You know," she said, "just Fancy."  Right.  So, we had a Fancy Picnic birthday celebration with our family members that live in town here.  And, to borrow the words of A.A. Milne: Now, we are six!   Though it wasn't really so very long ago that my girl was five . . .

"When I was five I was just alive
But now I am six, I'm as clever as ever;

I think I'll be six now for ever and ever."

Yes A.A. Milne, I think I'd like that.  This mama wouldn't mind Six for ever and ever at all.

P.S. Huge thanks to my mom (or Grammie as she's more commonly known these days) who took on the project of making the handmade birthday dress this year because, though I did give her the fabric, I also gave her some pretty specific instructions for how I wanted it to look and she more than pulled it off.  

Zucchini Quiche + Pioneer Woman {GIVEAWAY}

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's that time of year when those of us who garden have far more zucchini than we know how to eat.  You can't go wrong with zucchini bread and zucchini soup, but once your freezer and tummies have had their fill of the garden prodigy, what happens next?  Zucchini Basil Quiche, that's what!   My kids, who sometimes give zucchini the evil eye at the dinner table, gave this recipe two thumbs up (and a whole lot of crumbs on the floor), so I'm calling it a summer bounty mess success!

{Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter a giveaway to win Ree Drummond's favorite kitchen essentials + both of her cookbooks!}


I recently had the pleasure of attending a webinar with Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.  Being her usual charming self, she introduced a few of us bloggers to her newest kitchen find - Land O'Lakes Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt.   Oh butter, delicious butter, of course!

This butter can knock a piece of toast or a bowl of popcorn out of the park.  It also adds a new burst of flavor to so many ordinary recipes.  As Ree demonstrated, this butter works so well with savory dishes - chicken, veggies, etc.    And it takes this simple Zucchini Basil Quiche to a new, very satisfying level.


Cooking the zucchini in Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt brings out all of the vegetable's best flavors.  Adding some of the Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt into the pie crust makes it even tastier.  Combined with some cream, some cheese, and some fresh basil, this quiche will be your new summer favorite.  I'm already lamenting the end of summer and all of its fresh fruits and veggies.   I love Autumn, but I'm not sure I'm ready for it yet.  Just a few more weeks . . .

Zucchini Basil Quiche


Ingredients

 one 9-inch baked pie shell (I like this recipe, but a Pillsbury crust works too!)
2 tablespoons Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 small onion, grated or sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated fontina cheese
2 tablespoons whole milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using food processor with grater attachment, grate unpeeled zucchini and peeled, quartered onion.  Heat butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add zucchini, onion, garlic and stir to coat well with butter.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables have released their liquid and are tender, about 6 minutes.   Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until bottom of pan is dry, approximately 3 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer zucchini mixture to a medium bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped basil and flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg.  Stir in zucchini mixture and cheese.  Pour into cooled pie crust.  Brush edges of pie crust with 2 tablespoons whole milk.  Place on center rack of oven and bake until crust is golden and center of quiche is just set, approximately 30 minutes.  Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes 8 servings.

{Pioneering with Butter GIVEAWAY}

Prize:

Two cookbooks from Ree Drummond + Ree's favorite kitchen essentials + a full value coupon redeemable for  Land O'Lakes Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

Requirements:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post. 
  • Contest ends September 5, 2012 at 5pm MST. 
  • Open to US States only
  • Winner will be chosen via random.org
Optional Extra Entries - Leave a separate comment for each entry:
  • Follow Some the Wiser on FB
  • Follow Some the Wiser (Allison Ruth) on Pinterest
  • Share your favorite butter recipe (or link to it) in the comments
  • Share this giveaway on twitter or FB and leave a link to your post here. 
  •  
    And the winner is Marlies: "this recipe looks delicious . . .i can't wait to try it" .  Thank you everyone who participated! 
Disclosure: The author received a gift package from Land O’Lakes, including two cookbooks, awhisk, a slotted spoon, tongs and a full-value coupon redeemable for LAND O LAKES® Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt, for recipe development and review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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