May 14, 2013 by BettyCupcakes
I’m sure it goes without saying that I’m still digging my way out of boxes and packing tape. I’ve still been cooking, but it’s a bit less inspired than usual and more perfunctory. Can’t let the wee one starve!
I’m also in the middle of revamping our entire grocery/meal planning process. Since we moved, our expenses have increased a bit. Since there’s no more money coming in, it’s time to start rearranging the budget we already have. The easiest thing to cut are groceries, so I’m switching to monthly meal planning. I’ve got a crazy big spreadsheet in Excel going on with our meals for 4 weeks (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks!) and another that lists all of the items we buy, how much I think we need for a month, and estimated cost.
This weekend I’m going to do a big shopping trip at BJ’s (a wholesale club), Trader Joes, and Good Health to stock up for the next three weeks. Then I’ll save a bit of money for each week to buy milk, veggies, etc. Once I’ve finalized the meal plan, I’ll share it here. Maybe it’ll give you a few ideas of what to have for dinner!
Besides unpacking and meal planning, Sammy and I have also been hopping around our new area going from playgrounds to playgroups. I joined an awesome Meet Up group (if you’re in the South Shore area of Massachusetts, let me know and I’ll give you the name) that’s super active and full of friendly mamas and babies.
Last week, one mama held a playgroup at her house. Everyone brought different nibbles to share- brownies, guacamole, trifle, cupcakes, and more- you will not go hungry at playgroup.
I brought this blueberry bread. It’s easy, vegan, and thankfully, a huge hit among both mamas and babies! The pictures are from my phone- I wasn’t intending to write about this bread, but the mama’s asked for the recipe.
Healthy Blueberry Bread
For the bread:
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup frozen blueberries
For the sugar topping:
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan generously with non-stick spray.
In a small cup, combine the ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and water. Stir to combine and set aside. The mixture will thicken up- you’re using this in place of an egg.
In a measuring cup, combine the soy milk and the vinegar. Stir and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and frozen blueberries. With a wooden spoon, mix all dry ingredients well.
To the soy milk and vinegar, add the flax/chia/water mixture and the olive oil. Whisk to combine and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined. Dough will be thick.
To make the sugar topping, combine brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and olive oil.
Spread the dough evenly into the prepared loaf pan. Scatter the sugar topping over the top. Bake for 55-60 minutes. You will want to test this loaf with a knife or toothpick to make sure the middle is not still raw. Knife or toothpick inserted should come out clean or with just a few dry crumbs.
Makes 1 big loaf ~12-16 servings
May 4, 2013 by BettyCupcakes
Like the astronauts when they planted the flag on the moon, so have I staked my claim on my new house.
The rich buttery scent pervaded the kitchen and told every cabinet, counter top and left-behind crumb that I am here to stay.
This city mouse has taken up residence in the country. Or at least, it feels like the country when your backyard is woods and town center is only two blocks long. In reality, we’re still quite close to civilization, but with all the charm of rustic living (minus the outhouse, of course).
Our new house welcomed us with open arms- the previous owners left us four crystal glasses, a bottle of wine, and a matchbox car. The neighbors were just as kind. One woman brought us freshly baked pumpkin bread and peanut butter cookies and our next door neighbor came bearing brownies and an invitation to her son’s 2nd birthday party.
To return her plate full, and say thank you for all the suggestions and kindnesses she has shown the last week, I baked these lemon yogurt scones. They’re rich without being overwhelming, citrus-y without being tart, and just a bit sweet.
Lemon Yogurt Scones
For the scones:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 tablespoons
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately half a small lemon, juiced)
For the egg wash:
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 425. Get out one medium baking sheet- it does not need to be greased.
In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
Add in the cold butter and use a pastry cutter to cut it in. You want the butter to be in pea-sized chunks, so really work it in. If you prefer, you could use your hands or two knives to cut in the butter.
In a small bowl, add the yogurt and lemon juice. Stir to combine and add to the dry ingredients.
Use a wooden spoon to stir the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients. Once it’s mostly incorporated, use your (clean) hands to work the remaining dry ingredients into the dough. Leave no crumb behind!
Gather all the dough into a firm ball and place on the baking sheet. Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently flatten the ball into a disc that is one inch tall. With a pizza cutter, cut the disc into 8 equal wedges. If the edges of your disc are a bit ragged, gently press them into place with your hands. Leave the disc intact with all wedges still touching after being cut.
For the egg wash, whisk the egg white and water together. With a pastry brush, generously brush the egg wash all over the top of the dough. You will only use about 2/3 of the egg wash. Then, sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of sugar evenly over the wet egg wash.
Place the baking sheet into the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet and then remove scones to a wire rack.
Makes 8 scones
**Note: Scones are best served the same day they are made and ideally, still warm from the oven slathered with butter and jam!