recipe

Cookies in Springtime

May 12, 2015

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Landon-and-Emma-at-the-gardensCookies3Springtime has just been one of the most bizarre this year in Colorado. Our winter was so warm and beautiful, but our spring has been wet, and flooding, and grey. Those few days that have produced even a hint of sunshine have been met with us racing out of doors with boots, and sweaters, and smiles. Mother’s Day saw an epic snowstorm, with howling wind, hail, snow and sleet. This was the second year in a row that we were sidelined by little white flakes on this day. Thankfully we had the best time celebrating a little one’s 5th birthday. My girlfriend Heidi threw her daughter the funnest party ever, as she wanted a Halloween/Thanksgiving/Easter/Christmas party with wedding bell balloons. Somehow it was the perfect combination, with her presents sitting under a fake tree adorned with a giant spider on top. We wore Christmas pajamas, and the kids were in costumes. We listened to a combination of Christmas music, old school rap, and Halloween songs. How all of this worked, I have no idea, but you would have to know Heidi. She is the master of fun, and it certainly made for a great Mother’s Day.

Landon and Elwood have been spending time at the farm, enjoying goats and mud and natural egg dying. Emma Jeanne has been finding her way down every slide across the city, rain or shine, cold or warm. That child has no fear. I see her zip-lining across some foreign country in the near future in search of her next adventure. She is just too much fun for words. Thankfully she lets me knit and sew whatever pastel, ruffle infused combination that I can think of. She is a bit of a trooper with my girlie issues, and I appreciate her patience as she puts on yet another dress. Her latest sweater was one of my faves. The structure of Bloomsbury Kids is so neat to watch come together, and I love the way it sits on the shoulders. This is one of the first things that I have made for her where I was thrilled that they had the pattern in adult size. I think that mama has found her ski sweater for next year! Her Momo has also been getting a ton of use in this chilly spring weather, as it just goes so perfectly over any dress, and she seems to love wearing cardigans most of all.

The other day we ventured out in the cold and grey to take Emma Jeanne to her first little craft class. Oh my, how I loved that moment! The kids read a book about spring, and then made the sweetest May baskets to adorn the doors. Fresh cut flowers filled them, and Emma Jeanne carried hers all over the gardens, in her car seat home, and from room to room in the house. She wasn’t willing to part with it, and it even came to bed with us that night. It was so neat to take her to a place where the boys had all done the same classes, read the same books, and walked the same gardens. It is hard to believe that so much time has passed that my boys could teach those classes now, but also so nice to be able to experience all of this again with Landon and my little girl.

We are looking forward to the warmth returning, the sun coming out, and a lot of outdoor play to ensue, but for now we are content with the sound of rain on the windows and the smell of warm cookies coming out of the oven. I have discovered a new favorite recipe, and we just can’t stop ourselves from making them every few days. My girlfriend Misty introduced it to me, and it is a great recipe to modify as you see fit.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from this recipe

1/2 C smooth almond butter (or other nut butter of your choosing)
4T melted coconut oil
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T maple syrup
1/2C almond milk (regualr, coconut, or other nut milk will work fine too)
2 C flour (I used Cup4Cup)
1 t baking soda
1 t celtic sea salt
3/4 C rolled oats
1/4 c raw sunflower seeds
2 T ground flax
2 T chia seeds
1/2 c mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)

Preheat oven to 400*

Combine the first five ingredients until smooth. Add the baking soda and salt to the flour and whisk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients together, and add to the wet until just combined. Drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes of until golden brown on the bottom.

These cookies are thick enough to be made like a scone, or gently pressed down to make a more traditional cookie. If the dough seems to too dry, add more nut milk until you reach the consistency you desire.

 

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Sunday-Serenity-9Sunday-Serenity1 Sunday-serenity4 SUnday-Serenity5 Sunday-Serenity6 Sunday-Serenity7 Sunday-Serenity8

Summer has finally arrived. I love the solstice, every bit of it. I am a hot weather human, and the more the sun cranks up the happier I am. In many ways I am quite the opposite of my children, who would prefer a snow covered mountain to a blazing hot trail, but to each his own I suppose.

We mark this day a different way each year. Unlike the winter solstice, there are no traditions in the summer season. We take things as they come, as the weather permits, and as our life allows. This summer we are knee deep in painting the inside of our home, and we are pushing to get it done in the next three weeks. We promised ourselves that we would take the day to relax, which was much needed for all of us.

Last year Jacob and I decided to plant a patch of chamomile in an area of the garden that has been hard to break up the clay. It is an area that we wanted to use, but year after year nothing thrived. Last year we put in some rhubarb and chamomile, and what do you know, both have come back so strong. We have had more chamomile than we know what to do with, so we have been trying to come up with ways to use it before it goes to seed for the year.

When I first joined Pinterest, I remember seeing this picture of chamomile cakes that drew my eye. I think that it was one of the first things I ever pinned. The recipe came from Joy the Baker, and it looked amazing. I never managed to pick up Joy’s book from the library (still on my to-do list), but yesterday I just had a need to make some chamomile cupcakes. I used my favorite gluten free vanilla cake mix, and rather than water I substituted very strong brewed chamomile tea. The flavor was subtle, but noticeable. For the frosting I used a standard buttercream, but again instead of milk or cream, I substituted with 2 tbsp of the same strong tea, and left out any vanilla extract. It was magical. The cupcakes were gone in less than an hour (thank goodness I delivered some to a friend, or else I fear how many I would have eaten). I have to admit that when I first went to put together this recipe, I thought that maybe this was going to be an epic fail. I love the flavor of chamomile, but it can be very strong at times, and it doesn’t necessarily blend with other flavors easily. I am glad that I was wrong in this case, as this one was a winner all around, and will certainly grace our table many more times this season.

I had a lot of tea left over with these cupcakes, and as it was indeed a hot first day of summer we decided to make some popsicles from it. We simply took the tea, a few sprigs of fresh mint from the garden, a few chunks of fresh ginger, a tablespoon or two of honey, and some strawberries and simmered them with the chamomile tea. Once cool, we removed the mint, blended everything else together, and a few hours later we were sitting in the backyard cooling down. Fresh and pretty darn healthy. I wish my kids would be content with this kind of treat more often.

The night ended with sparklers, as all first nights of summer should. I feel like my kids really have a sense of the things that mark a holiday or special occasion for them. They were clear that we had to have watermelon at dinner, something yellow for breakfast (I think for the sun??), and sparklers before bed. There was no discussing it. I hit up the fireworks stand the day before, made the chamomile cupcake recipe up and called it yellow, and thankfully my mom saved the day by dropping off a watermelon as a summer treat. All was good, and the solstice was a success.

I wish for each of you a summer filled with the magic only this season can bring. Live like a child, free and relaxed.

For those celebrating in the southern hemisphere, I wish a warm beginning to winter. 

 

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