MIMM #11: Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, which means I have today off but this weekend has still felt much too short. I suppose that is nothing new since time spent at home in the company of my marvelous family is never too long. This Thanksgiving definitely felt rushed. Last year I had the opportunity to press leaves, pick pumpkins and help my mom with fall decorations, but this year I barely had time to eat pie let alone bake one! MiMM

My mom and Emma came to pick me up on Friday morning after the completion of my three-hour morning Nutrition lecture. I was all packed and ready to go, so what should have been a fun and marvelous class seemed to drag on. I fed them lunch at my cafeteria before we headed back onto the highway (thankfully with minimal traffic) stopping only briefly at Ikea to look for a highchair (unsuccessfully). I did find a duvet to layer beneath my quilt since my residence room is already starting to get pretty chilly.1385625_351530854982699_1631944843_n

Three weeks away from home was much too long. Friday evening I caught up with Elyse, Caitlin and Carly over a marvelous bonfire. I never really realized how complimentary chocolate, roasted marshmallows and graham crackers could be since I usually eat them separately as opposed to in a s’mores. By 12:30 a.m. I called it a night, which was hard to do since we had so much to discuss.1373539_351530628316055_375718286_n 1384731_351530618316056_1310684331_n

We hosted Thanksgiving appetizers and dinner on Saturday for my Grandparents. Besides a batch of brownies I barely baked but I have a few recipes to try out later today before heading back to University. I’ll save the meal for Wednesday’s post but the eats were more marvelous than ever. With a 21lb Turkey and only 10 guests (…but Lottie prefers sweet potatoes so really 9) there were lots of leftovers for sandwiches. Lottie definitely entertained us for the night with her smiles, giggles and waves. She’s sitting proudly on her own and I can’t wait to see her again dressed up for Halloween. Last year she was not born yet so we were all very thankful to be blessed with her company this weekend. 1377174_351530868316031_810513216_n 1379028_351530624982722_165337714_n

Sunday we were all still tired from the turkey’s tryptophan (kidding), which meant a later start to my studying session. I worked on a Library Assignment and I reviewed a bit of Psychology and Chemistry for my upcoming midterms but I was easily distracted by PVR (I haven’t watched television in 5 weeks) running errands with my dad, preparing homemade turkey soup and baking gingerbread cookies. A less eventful but equally marvelous day to say the least!1380896_351530621649389_2025998700_n

Today I’m meeting Joyce and tonight my dad will be driving me back to residence. It seemed short but I guess that’s partly due to the commute and the fact that schoolwork isn’t easing up. No complaining here, Thanksgiving was marvelous. I’m so thankful for my entire life including but not limited to my family, friends, health, home, education, food, emotions, challenges, privileges and abilities. What are you grateful for?  Don’t forget to check out Katie’s MIMM roundup – Friday she featured some marvelous snacks and marvelous advantages of being a mom and this morning she posted a picture of Rocco (Now 15 weeks) as baby Dracula! He is so precious!  Here’s to making Mondays a bit more marvelous even if it means I have to go back to school and leave my family! ♥ Molly

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

MIMM #9: Weekend Home

Early last week I started to miss my parents a lot. As beautiful as my residence room is, it still doesn’t feel like home. It’s not as though I haven’t made friends but our relationships naturally aren’t as close as those that I have back in Oakville. Thankfully the commute is only 2 hours and my mom was able to pick me up on Friday afternoon so that I could spend the weekend in my own bed.

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Coming home to parents who will cook you meals, clean up after you and chauffeur you around is pretty marvelous after living independently for 2 weeks. London is full of marvelous opportunities such as the Covent Garden Market but it is a bit of a trek to walk or bus everywhere and the rainy weather has discouraged me from venturing off of campus. IMG_8110

I had an incredibly marvelous weekend and it started out with some marvelous mail. Joyce knows my obsession with tea and owls too well which is probably she sent along this variety of David’s tea (there is an owl on the package). Joyce also wrote a beautiful card and enclosed it with Owl stickers and sticky notes. As well, I received my Vega One French Vanilla and Vega Sport Vanilla, Silver Drinking Straws from the Maine Drinking Straw Company and the book “Whole Foods to Thrive”. Charissa put so much work into hosting the Colourful Smoothie Contest and I am so thankful that I was able not only to participate but win a prize.IMG_8173

The marvelous-ness continued when my mom picking me up from Chemistry class. The fact that she didn’t make me walk up the Brescia hill was not kind but pretty good door-to-door service. We had so much to catch up on the drive flew by. I’m pretty sure I talked my mom’s ear off. IMG_8187

Marvelous is being given Moon Cakes to celebrate the Harvest Moon. Our neighbours, the same ones who gave us Lobster from P.E.I, surprised us with Moon Cakes on Friday evening. They are so generous and thoughtful.The flavour and texture is definitely acquired and I can’t say I’ve ever had anything quite like it before. The box they delivered the cakes in was beautiful.

554664_342894899179628_1807322675_nMarvelous is getting together with Chelsea because we seem to relate on so many levels. It’s pretty obvious Chelsea’s blog is one of my favourites so I never turn down an opportunity to meet with her. It’s also pretty evident that our preferred places to meet up include Kindfood and Whole foods so it should be no surprise that I tried my first quinWOW bowl and fell in love with the marvelous miso gravy.1234268_342894942512957_1400790597_n

Marvelous is also attending Yoga class with Chelsea. We wanted to add in an extra component to our usual lunch date but the weather forecast was not promising which ruled out our idea of apple picking, frequenting the farmer’s market or hiking. Thankfully Chelsea had heard Be Yoga and Wellness was celebrating their birthday by teaching free yoga classes. We weren’t sure how hard it would be so we decided to stick to Hatha 1, but neither of us were overly challenged so we agreed to try Aerial or a more difficult level next time. I could definitely tell that my Pilates workouts have helped strengthen my core because I found myself more balanced while holding the tree pose. I haven’t practiced yoga in ages which is probably why I woke up sore the next morning. Amanda, the instructor, had a beautiful voice and finished the class with a powerful chant. The class was accompanied by live music so you could really feel the energy waves and rhythm of the beat. I found it a bit distracting because I wanted to watch the drummer and singer, but it definitely made for a positive atmosphere.1260869_342894869179631_1096412141_n1239528_342894962512955_1285484907_n

Marvelous is also discovering new local bakers. Nourishing Nook was giving away free samples at BeYoga and Welless so I got to try my first Sweet Potato muffin. She had kale chips that I found to be quite good since they were had a bit of a spicy kick to their crunch. Chelsea and I each had a granola circle and tried to decipher the recipe but found ourselves finishing the last bite before we had identified all the ingredients. I guess that just means I’ll have to purchase some which is definitely not a complaint on my end since they were marvelous.1368914_342894759179642_443416321_n 1371409_342894762512975_659219238_n1375906_342894845846300_507576849_n

Marvelous is also meeting Caitlin for coffee or watching Lottie blow bubbles and giggle. It’s having my last ice cream cone of the summer and then huddling with a blanket because Fall is definitely not frozen dessert weather. It’s hugging Emma, seeing Nathan, getting advice from my Mom and grocery shopping with my Dad.  It’s waking up to the smell of breakfast food and a full stocked fridge and winding down the evening with a cup of tea and in the company of my family. It’s being given the opportunity to go to university and to study a subject I am so passionate about. It’s taking time for myself just to be and it’s finally catching up on blog reading after being so behind. It’s being able to participate in things such as Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday tradition. What was marvelous about your weekend? What is marvelous about this upcoming week?  ♥ Molly

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey 

A Healthy Cookie Recipe

Many of you have mentioned that you enjoy reading my nutrition posts but I just want to remind you that I am not a dietitian and my knowledge about vitamins and minerals isn’t as extended as I hope for it to become. While my diet works for me, I would never recommend for someone to copy my lifestyle as there is no scientific calculation behind what I eat or reason why it should or would work for someone else. One day I overindulge in ice cream and the following day my body compensates by craving vegetables. I might not be the best person to quote nutritional benefits but I do enjoy doing it and I am sure to research my facts before publishing posts. These pointers are written in my own words but are based on knowledge I have learned in school and through nutrition textbooks or cookbooks. So I hope nobody is bothered by the fact that I don’t have a title behind my name but am still going to continue blogging about food and it’s nutrition!IMG_6439

A lot of my recipes surmount as a way to use up expiring ingredients, cravings I have been having, or because I am lacking a particular nutrient in my diet. I bought an abundance of dates back when I was making No-Bake Energy Bites and I’d like to try to use them up before they harden. I’ve tried them in Smoothies as they are wonderful sweeteners, but in all honesty I figured I could better utilize their chewy texture. So I figured why not bake them into cookies because they are soft, moist and sweet. I don’t remember eating that many store-bought cookies as a child because my Mom baked often, but when we would have packaged cookies I really liked Fig Newtons. I suppose I had sophisticated taste buds in comparison to Rainbow Chips Ahoy because they are not only pricier, but also not as eye appealing. Sorry, I didn’t come up with a much more aesthetic or kid-friendly looking recipe but I can promise you they have some nutritional benefits. Not only does this recipe contain wheat bran which is a great source of dietary fiber since it is the outer layer husk of the grain, but more importantly it contains dates.IMG_6431

Did you know Dates contain…

  • Vitamin A: While it is a small amount, Dates contain Vitamin A which can help facilitate vision. Vitamin A is also required in maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin.
  • Dietary Fiber: Dates contain both insoluble and soluble fiber which will help to keep the body feeling fuller and satiated longer. Fiber prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut and can aid with constipation since it is a natural laxativs. Dates also contain Tannins which like Fiber, help to rid the colon of harmful toxins which can reduce the risk of developing an intestinal disorder or cancer.
  • Simple Sugars: The simple sugars of dates are easily digested making them a fast source or energy.
  • Antioxidant Flavanoids: Dates have many antixodiant flavonoids such as Beta-catotene, lutein and zea-xanthin that protect the bowel from free radicals and toxins. Eating dates has been linked to increased protection from colon, prostate, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers amongst others.  Zea-xanthin also protects one’s eyes from age-related macular degeneration since it is a dietary cartenoid that is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea (yellow spot within the eye).
  • Iron: Dates are rich in iron which is used in the red blood cells and determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
  • Potassium: Consuming dates helps reduce blood pressure as potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids. For this reason Dates also contribute to controlling a healthy heart rate.
  • Minerals: Dates contain manganese, copper, magnesium and calcium. Copper increases red blood cell production, Manganese is a co-factor in an antioxidant enzymatic processes, Magnesium is essential for healthy bone growth and Calcium is important for bone growth and strengthening. Calcium is also required for blood clotting, nerve impulse conduction and muscle contraction.
  • Vitamin K: Dates are a great source of Vitamin K which serves as a blood coagulant that helps with bone metabolism
  • Vitamin B- Complex: Found within Dates, B-complex vitamins metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

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When consumed in moderation, Dates definitely make a healthy snack on their own. They’d be perfect for an energy boost mid-day and also contain many cancer-fighting and anti-aging nutrients . These cookies will definitely leave you satisfied because of their fiber content, but don’t lack on flavour because of the filling. I hope you enjoy. ♥ Molly

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.”  – Buddha

Date Newtons

FillingIMG_6457

  • 1 ½ cups dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup orange juice (½  orange)
  • ½ tsp ginger, grated

Dough

  • 1.5 cups oats, ground in a blender
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup wheat bran
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the filling by blending together dates, orange juice and ginger in a food processor on high until combined and smooth, approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Grind the oats into a fine powder using a blender or food processor. Pour into a mixing bowl adding with it, whole wheat flour, wheat bran, baking powder and cinnamon.IMG_6407 IMG_6410
  4. On low speed, beat together dry ingredients while gradually adding in vanilla extract, water, applesauce and maple syrup. A thick, dough like consistency should form.IMG_6412
  5. On a piece of wax or parchment paper, roll out dough into a rectangle.IMG_6415
  6. Spoon filling into the centre of your rolled out leaving at least 2 inches on the top and bottom, and ½ inch on each end.IMG_6419
  7. Using the parchment, fold the top segment of the dough over the top of the filling. Peel back parchment paper to lay flat on the surface of your workspace.IMG_6422 IMG_6423
  8. Using the parchment fold the bottom segment of the dough so that it overlaps with the top segment of dough. Fold in both ends.IMG_6424
  9. Slice into ½ inch cookies and transfer onto baking pan leave space as the cookies expand slightly.IMG_6425
  10. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a chilled glass of milk.IMG_6448

MIMM #4: The Little Things

I got to see a lot of Lottie this past weekend. She truly embodies a personality I strive to achieve; free-spirited. Her curiosity and genuine happiness is not only fun to watch but also to be around. Her smiles are contagious and her hugs are oh so cute. Some of the sounds Lottie is learning how to voice (mostly giggles and shrieks) melt my heart. It’s inspiring to see how small things light up her life. Pictures just don’t do her character justice because she focuses on the camera, which takes, away from her true charm.12337_320806111388507_1107668_n

My life hasn’t been extremely exciting these days, but like Lottie, I am finding value in the marvelous world that surrounds me. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to just sit still because there is always something preoccupying my time. Lately it’s been a last minute coffee or ice cream date so who am I to complain?541725_320841111385007_681069601_n 946307_320841194718332_1623604002_n

On Thursday Lottie, Emma, Caitlin, my Mom and I all went to the new “Toronto Premium Outlet”. It is beyond my knowledge why they decided to call it “Toronto” given that it’s location is in Halton Hills which could not even be considered Toronto’s outskirts. Fortunately it is easily accessible as it is situated directly off a major highway. The name is a bit misleading to tourists but if they do happen to visit the mall they won’t be disappointed. It’s an outdoor concept, which is rare design for Canadian Malls because of winter weather. Based off of “Prime Outlets” in Buffalo New York, the mall features popular stores that carry both the regular clothing line and garments designed specifically for the factory outlet stores. To name a few, Kate Spade, Coach, Nike, Lucky Brand Jeans, Fossil, Banana Republic, American Eagle, Oakley are some of the well known brands. Since we went on the opening day it was busy, but it was truly marvelous when we found a parking spot quickly.533709_320841348051650_1119198784_n539627_320841368051648_2009733506_n

Friday I met up with Chelsea for the opening of Lululemon Athletica in Mapleview Mall. We both enjoyed taking some snapshots in the photobooth. I think I’m too good at making funny faces. : ) We went late enough in the day that there wasn’t a lineup which was marvelous, but unfortunately all of the free cupcakes from Kelly’s Bake Shop had been given away. I ended up buying a shirt but I loved almost all of the apparel they were featuring. I will have to watch out for sales because I still have money left on my gift card.1005473_320841328051652_479868278_n945952_320847491384369_75177439_n

I spent a lot of the time in the kitchen this weekend, helping to prepare meals or baking away the day. The aroma of freshly baked muffins filling the air is pretty marvelous. I baked “Date Newtons” and can hardly wait to share my recently created recipe with you later this week.  It’s marvelous when a recipe works out the first time around. Warm cookies dipped into a glass of cold milk is pretty marvelous as well.IMG_6449 IMG_6448

Marvelous is also when the flavours you throw into a blender compliment each other perfectly. I love using almost-too-ripe fruit in smoothies because they tend to be naturally sweeter. I have been following through with my one smoothie per day challenge.IMG_6384

Since today is a Canadian Civic Holiday, meaning it’s a long weekend, the gym has been empty since many took the opportunity to travel or visit their cottages. It’s truly marvelous to have a lane to yourself as you swim. In addition the long weekend means that my Dad is home for an extra day – what’s not marvelous about that?

Here are some other activities that I found to be pretty marvelous

  • Enjoying the first scoop of soy nut butter out of a fresh jar
  • Getting a parking lot pull through while I practiced driving
  • Arriving at the go-train station (unplanned) just before the train was about to leave
  • Starbucks Treat Receipts
  • Meeting up with Joyce
  • Lottie Hugs
  • Reading by the pool because it was finally sunny and warm
  • Trying a new Frozen Yogurt Flavour while catching up with Heather

1080839_320805528055232_1990466839_nThere are many marvelous activities awaiting me this week. For instance, the Bachelorette! Call me crazy but I am really looking forward to the season finale tonight. I started watching the Bachelorette as a way to get together with friends since they previously were Bachelorette fans. I never thought I’d enjoy reality television shows but I’ve (gasp) become a bit addicted, especially after last week’s cliff hanger. Desiree gets to go on some pretty marvelous dates, it’s no wonder they have so many contestants. I’d go on the show just for the travel perks! Kidding…

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What was marvelous about your weekend and do you have any marvelous plans awaiting you? Thanks again Katie for hosting Marvelous In My Monday! It’s easy to dwell on the fact that the weekend is over but MIMM is a great way to reflect on the fun things present within a workweek.  ♥ Molly

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

Zucchini Spice Loaf

Many summers back we hired a landscaping company to design our front gardens and cover our porch with flagstone. It was a family based business, and we really got to know the workers, as they were all extremely outgoing. My mom always provides construction workers with coffee, Gatorade, granola bars and muffins and this situation was no different. The father, an older fellow, was so appreciative of the beverages and food that he brought us a ginormous zucchini from his garden along with other home grown vegetables. I was able to make three loaves of bread just from that one zucchini. To this day, no zucchini has compared in taste or size. They always say small to medium sized zucchinis are the most firm and flavourful, so his went against all norms!

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To be honest our gardens look completely different now , as my parents both have quite the green thumbs, but my zucchini recipe has stayed the same. Despite wanting to add in hints of orange or chocolate as complimenting ingredients to the spices, I never want to tamper with the recipe since it is extremely moist and flavourful. I don’t make it that often, but when I do, no crumb goes uneaten. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does. Have you ever tried chocolate zucchini loaf? What about orange spice? Do you prefer zucchini or banana loaf? ♥ Molly

Fun Fact About Zucchini: The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69.5 inches long, and weighed 65 lbs grown by Bernard Lavery of Plymouth Devon, UK.IMG_6121 IMG_6141IMG_6137

Zucchini Spice Loaf

Makes One 8×4 Loaf, 8-10 thick slicesIMG_6140

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups grated, unpeeled, zucchini
  1. Preheat over to 350°F and line a 8×4 pan with parchment paper (or grease).
  2. Sift  flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into a small bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together brown sugar and oil until creamed. Beat in vanilla, milk, applesauce and egg. Reduce speed to low and add in sifted dry ingredients beating until smooth. Stir in zucchini just until combined.
  4. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. The exterior of the loaf should turn golden brown. If the top is getting very dark, cover with tinfoil for protection and continue baking.
  5. Let cool, remove bread from pan, and serve with a side of fruit, alongside tea or with a coconut oil or butter as a spread.

Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp

We’ve never really had a vegetable garden per se. My parents take great care of their floral gardens, and while I do love the tulips, hydrangeas and peonies, it would be sort of neat to pick fresh tomatoes from your backyard. When I was little and still lived in Peterborough, we had great big snowball bushes surrounding our house. Nestled between two big bushes, you also could find a rhubarb perennial. Of course rhubarb is meant for baking, and its flavour was much too tart for my “young” taste buds to eat. Lucky for me, I had a sweet tooth, so I’d dip the end in sugar to counteract the sourness. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that dipping rhubarb in sugar isn’t exactly healthy or something that I truly enjoy as a snack. Even though I might not eat it fresh these days, I do like to have it in the form of a sauce, jam or pie. Want to know more about Rhubarb? Continue reading and you’ll be surprised to find some interesting facts, and a yummy dessert. Rhubarb has many nutritional benefits! ♥ Molly

‘Promises and Pie-Crusts are meant to be broken.” – Jonathan Swift

IMG_5885Fun Facts about Rhubarb

  • Rhubarb belongs to the buckwheat family so it is in fact a vegetable, not a fruit. It starts out as green and matures into a deep ruby-red.
  • This perennial plant grows thrives in moist soil.
  • Rhubarb is originally from China and Tibet and has been used in medicine for thousands of years.
  • The stalks of Rhubarb were first grown as edible vegetables in Italy during the seventeenth century.
  • It’s nickname is “pie plant” since it is commonly baked into pies since it’s tart flavour is too strong for most to eat fresh.
  • Wrapped in saran wrap, Rhubarb can keep for a week in the fridge after being cut.
  • When cooked for twenty minutes, the cancer-protecting chemicals that rhubarb contains increase.
  • The leaves of rhubarb are poisonous. Use this to your advantage to ward off flies and insects that attack your gardens. (Try making a spray by soaking the leaves in water for three weeks).

Fun Nutrition Facts about Rhubarb

  • Rhubarb is rich in antioxidant polyphenols, which help prevent the development of cancerous cells.
  • If you have a history of kidney stones or gout, watch out. Rhubarb contains oxalic acid in its stems, which prevents the body from absorbing the calcium and iron rhubarb naturally contains.
  • The leaves of rhubarb are poisonous.
  • Rhubarb is said to alleviate symptoms of acid-reflex.
  • It is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Manganese, Calcium and Potassium.

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Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp IMG_5926

Filling

  • 2 cups of rhubarb, diced
  • 2 cups raspberries, halved
  • Juice of 1 orange (approximately 3 tbsp)

Topping

  • ½ cup pitted dates (approximately 6 whole)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup whole oats
  • 2 tbsp. Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a 9inch by 9inch baking dish, layer the rhubarb and raspberries on the bottom of the dish, and drizzle with orange juice . Set aside. (Note: A smaller dish such as the one I used, makes for a deeper crisp which is equally good!)IMG_5902
  3. In a food processor, pulse the dates into small pieces. Add in the remaining “topping” ingredients and process to combine. The mixture should stick together without being too moist or too dry.IMG_5893 IMG_5901
  4. Pour the topping onto the filling and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until crisp.IMG_5912
  5. Serve warm, alongside a glass of milk or ice cream.

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“Jam” Packed Wednesday

On Wednesday, I had a “jam” packed day (Pun intended). After we finished picking strawberries, I was dropped off at the pool. Normally I have a swimming buddy, but my lack of company actually made me a bit more productive since I had nobody to chat with during breaks. I ended up swimming 4km, which is the furthest I have swum since starting to track my lengths. It was also in record time, 1 hour and 10 minutes. I probably could have done it faster, but I did take a couple of water breaks. Also, I targeted my arms and legs, doing flutter board kicks (Which I am terribly slow at) and swimming just with my arms. I chose to work on endurance rather than speed, which is why I did not swim continuously in a freestyle motion.

Freezer Jam

When I got home, my sister, mom and I made jam. Not only did we have a ton of strawberries to use up (fresh local strawberries don’t keep very well), but we wanted to give some jam to friends as housewarming gifts. We all agreed that they’d be cute wedding favours as well. Emma printed off some cute labels that really helped to make the jars presentable. The recipe called for 8 cups mashed, 3 cups sugar and 2 pectin crystal envelopes. We got a little bit carried away, and ended up slicing a few too many strawberries. Thankfully I had been craving something sweet, so I decided to use the extra in a strawberry sauce. Has anyone read “If you Give a Moose a Muffin” or “If you give a Pig a Pancake”? My situation fell true to these childhood classics.  When you make strawberry sauce, you need to make something to go with it! Scones immediately came to mind, and since I had used lemon juice in the sauce, I opted to make a buttermilk lemon zest recipe, courtesy of Canadian Living (The only substitution I made was using 2 tbsp. of lemon zest instead of 1 tbsp.). With my luck I was missing a few essential ingredients, so I had to run out to grocery store. Finally, I returned home, with an hour and a half left before I had to meet up with some friends! Talk about “jam” packed! Check out my two Instagram video (First ones yet) that features me forming the dough and stirring the syrup! The scones were delicious and quite pretty. It is neat to cut them open as they feature speckles of yellow zest inside!

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I quickly cleaned up my mess and headed off to Whole Foods where I was meeting two of my favourite people, Chelsea and Joyce! The three of us have been meaning to get together for quite some time, but our schedules are always conflicting. Eventhough we are only a half an hour drive apart, none of us meet up as often as we’d like. Of course, you can’t go to Whole Foods without being tempted by the hot and cold food bars, so we pre-arranged to have dinner there. While it isn’t cheap, there is no denying that it is tasty. I plan on posting about my Whole Foods trips tomorrow, but for today I’d just like to share my simple sweet strawberry sauce recipe! I hope you are able to enjoy it as a topping on pancakes, swirled into oatmeal, drizzled on ice cream or even sandwiched between these lemon scones! It is simply delicious (and slightly addicting). I could probably even eat it by the spoonful as a source of vitamin C (provided I omit the sugar). Did you know that 8-10 of these strawberries pack in 160% of your daily vitamin C needs? Yum! ♥ Molly

“Indulge, Life is Sweet” – Unknown

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Sweet Strawberry Sauce

Makes 3.5 cups IMG_5588

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar (Optional)
  1. In a small pot over medium heat, combine all ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil whisking gently.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes.
  4. Serve plain or as a topping.

Going “Bananas”

There is seldom a day where I crave a banana. As a kid I didn’t go “bananas” over bananas. In fact I probably preferred to use them as a pretend telephone rather than eat them sliced on toast! While I’d have the odd banana peanut butter tortilla roll-up, (Before I grew into my allergies of course) and I didn’t mind the banana flavoured penicillin doctors often prescribed, you typically didn’t find me eating that yellow fruit straight from it’s peel. What still bothers me today about bananas is the fruit’s texture. Mashed into oatmeal or blended in a smoothie bananas are okay (and add a delicious taste), but on their own the banana’s phloem bundles are too stringy for my liking.

So whenever the bananas in the fruit bowl on our island counter start to turn brown, you shouldn’t be surprised that I am contrary to upset. After all, mushy bananas are key ingredients for so many delicious recipes.

Today I’d like to share with you a healthy twist on a favourite banana muffin recipe. When I was baking the muffins, I noticed I had an extra frozen banana (I typically freeze the brown bananas in a ziploc airtight bag) so I threw it into the food processor to make banana soft-serve. I’ll also share that formula!

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Banana Blueberry MuffinsIMG_5116

Makes 16-18 Large Muffins

  • 1.5 cups + 1 tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup agave nectar (or sugar)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cup blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 18 muffin tins with wrappers (or lightly grease with oil)
  2. In an mixing bowl, sift 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in the sugar or agave nectar.
  3. On a low speed, beat in the egg, applesauce and vanilla until dry ingredients are moistened. Add in the mashed banana, beating until until large banana clusters are gone. Note: Unlike some muffin recipes, you cannot really over mix/beat. It is okay to have some small clumps of banana.
  4. In a separate bowl, coat the blueberries with the remaining 1 tbsp. of whole wheat flour. Note: This prevent the blueberries from exploding in the heat. Stir the blueberries into the mixture, distributing them evenly throughout.IMG_5082 IMG_5084
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins, filling 2/3 of the way.
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 15-18 minutes or until firm to touch. A toothpick inserted into the muffins should come out clean.

Note: For a special treat, why not substitute in ½ cup chocolate chips for the blueberries! 

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Banana Soft-Serve

Serves 1-2, 1 Banana Each (The picture is 1/2 a serving)

  • 1-2 frozen bananas
  • A pinch of cinnamon for taste
  1. Freeze 1-2 bananas in saran wrap overnight. Be sure to peel the banana ahead of time.
  2. Blend the banana in a food processor for approximately five minutes or until the banana has a fluffy consistency. This does not work in a magic bullet or blender.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

Note: Try adding 1 tsp. of vanilla extra to the bananas as they are being mixed. This gives the banana a sweeter taste.

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Both of these recipes are a great afternoon snack or even healthy dessert. There is no denying that muffins can be brought almost anywhere and this soft-serve recipe can be whipped up when a craving strikes. I hope you’ll start peeling past-prime bananas to keep in a tupperware container in the freezer! ♥ Molly

“I’m getting so old, I don’t even buy green bananas anymore.” – Chi Chi Rodriguez