31 December 2011

in the new year


Images found here

The end's not near; it's here
Hallelujah, spread the cheer
And watch the millenarians
Throw a party for a thousand years

-- "The End's Not Near" by The New Year

HAPPY 2012!


30 December 2011

spiced pear and oat muffins



These muffins are perfect because not only are they relatively healthy, but they're also easy and convenient to make. I already had everything I needed in my pantry, and while I'm sure you could add fresh fruit, you don't need to, which makes them good for produce-less winter mornings.

As you can see by my changes below, the recipe is a great base for modifications. I had "pear sauce" and raisins on hand, but feel free to mix up the add-ins -- dried cranberries or cherries, candied ginger, brown sugar crumb topping, chopped apples, a mashed 1/2 banana in place of the applesauce or egg, or even peanut butter and chocolate chips all sound great to me with this simple oaty muffin. (Although the combination below was particularly satisfying, if I do say so myself.)

Spiced Pear and Oat Muffins

(Makes one dozen.)

For the muffins  (recipe adapted from here)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk  (I used almond milk)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
Pinch salt
1/2 cup brown sugar  (I used white sugar)
1/2 cup applesauce  (I used pear sauce)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
Raisins or other mix-ins (see above)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Grease or line 12 muffin tin cups. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and sugar. Add oats, milk, applesauce, vanilla, and egg, mixing well. Stir in raisins or other mix-ins. Pour into prepared muffin tin and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

(Note: The original recipe called for rolled oats, which it suggested you soak in the milk for two hours prior to using. I didn't soak my old-fashioned oats and had no problems.)

These are not too sweet, and they're DIVINE with a thick smear of unsalted butter. Also try with jam, honey, clotted cream, or cream cheese!


29 December 2011

wanderlusting after.... iceland


What more is there to say, really? I feel like everyone I know dreams of visiting Iceland, and I'm no exception. These images feel particularly soothing on these busy holiday days.

-- grandchildren.tv.

-- Hound via Lovelorn Unicorn.

-- Kris Atomic.

-- Mani Katz via Mayhem and Miscellany.

-- Let's get lost.


24 December 2011

happy holidays


An unseasonably warm December and workworkwork right up until today made it fairly hard to get into the holiday spirit this year. But last weekend I had quite a few reasons to feel merry inside:

  • The insane Christmas lights across my street (there was even someone dressed up as Santa in the yard most nights!)
  • Mailing out cookie gift boxes from the bakery where I work
  • Mexican hot chocolate and making our family's traditional holiday treats (Ritz crackers sandwiched with peanut butter, dipped in white chocolate, and topped with M&Ms...so good)
  • Curling up with a loved one in front of a "fire" (it's on Netflix Instant haha) and listening to good tunes

All I need now is some cookie decorating time with the fam and I'll be good to go. (Not sure if I'm quite ready for snow yet, haha.)

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

23 December 2011

a foodie post


September, October, November....this fall was full of good foods.

WHITE RUSSIAN MILKSHAKES, then mini golf at a fun bar complete with a photobooth, endless baskets of cheese puffs, and an inflatable moose head on the wall.

More DC adventures with friends. Knowing my love for donuts, they kindly took me to the Tabard Inn, known for its homemade sugared donuts and vanilla whipped cream. We then wandered and took in the gorgeous surrounding architecture....

This Thanksgiving we played some serious Jenga, ate several strangely delectable casseroles (Pineapple cheddar? Sweet potato coconut?), and let our immaturity shine when we decorated cookies and gingerbread houses....

We also returned to the Blue Talon for one of the best brunches I've ever had. Those are "truffled" eggs, or "two eggs over toasted brioche with asparagus, parmesan, and white truffle cream." Simply. Amazing. And don't get me started on their famous chocolate mousse;  when you order it for dessert, they come by and scoop it into your bowl until you say "when." It's heavenly.

Finally, another favorite brunch that I made twice in one weekend (always a good sign). Raspberry Cinnamon Crumb Cake. Replacing some of the cream with yogurt really made it amazingly moist. See below for the recipe!

 Raspberry Cinnamon Crumb Cake

(adapted from here)

For the cake:
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk (almond worked fine)
1/4 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries

For the topping:
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan. Cream together sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar mixture, alternating with milk and yogurt. Stir in berries. Pour into pan.

To make topping: Combine 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, cinnamon, and butter. Sprinkle over cake batter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until knife comes out mostly clean.