sunday muffins…. gluten free very berry

another lockdown weekend; another funny muffin story! 

yesterday i was absolutely exhausted. i had bitten off too many weekend projects, had too many meals to cook and way too many things to tidy and by the time our muffin baking rolled around i had really had it with the idea of being in the kitchen.  

my beautiful children came to the rescue! alegra loves all things cooking related anyway so she was ready to help and alara has been studying like a crazy person for her upcoming in-person exams.  we still don’t know if these exams will actually happen but, rightfully so, she really wants to be prepared.  give or take a few days, when she goes back mid-week, she will have not hand any in person learning for exactly 12 months. (the other two did have the opportunity to go to “real” school in the fall so alara holds our family record for number of days of online school.) 

i had planned to make some very berry muffins- one of my favorites- but i had not planned well enough to actually make sure we had all the ingredients we might need. oops.

we did seem to have an inordinate amount of coconut flour, so that is what we used. the end result was good, although very coconutty! if you do decide to recreate our coconutty berry muffins just be prepared to use a bit more almond milk as coconut flour tends to soak up liquid more than other gluten free flours.

ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour (in hindsight i recommend using an almond flour and oat combo)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¾ cup nut mylk (or more if using coconut flour)
  • 1 flax egg (or regular if not vegan)
  • 8 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries
  • ¾ cup brown sugar 

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (375 f)
  • prepare muffin tin with liners
  • combine berries and sugar and mix gently- set aside
  • mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger together.
  • in a separate bowl combine nut mylk, flax egg and melted coconut oil
  • make a well in dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in
  • mix until just combined; adding more nut mylk if necessary- batter should be moist and may have some small lumps
  • add berry mixture and mix gently
  • spoon batter into muffin tins – cook for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and tops are browned
  • cool slightly on cooling rack and serve warm for a perfect breakfast treat!  

**recipe loosely adapted from ina garten’s barefoot contessa cookbook**

beautiful boat bundt cake…

this week was the bayram, or eid, here in turkey, and we were lucky enough to manage to come to the south of turkey for a short escape from the city.

the weather has been typical late spring weather for this area. Hot midday and cool and crisp at night. we did some hiking, some swimming, a lot of reading and relaxing, and a whole bunch of cooking.

one of our favorite recipes to make on vacation is a very light, gluten free almond cake. (we also made a not at all light chocolate cake- not gluten free so not for me- and a banana bread that was a full flop- we combined two recipes and it did NOT work out at all!)

but this lemon cake is delicious. we served it warm out of the oven and it was gone within the hour. i was secretly hoping for a little slice for breakfast, but no dice.

it is so simple that i don’t know why we have never made it at home. but you know, some things just taste better in some places. so, this is our beautiful boat bundt cake… enjoy!

ingredients-

  • 4 organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh almond milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemond rind
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (alegra says to try chia seeds if you don’t have poppy)
  • 2 cups almond flour (we added a couple more tablespoons to make the dough more doughy)

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • grease bundt pan with olive oil
  • mix eggs, sugar, almond milk, and olive oil with hand blender
  • add baking powder, vanilla extract
  • mix in almond flour slowly until you reach a doughy consistency
  • fold in poppy seeds and lemon rind
  • pour into bundt pan and place in over
  • bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  • allow to cool for 5-10 minutes
  • invert on serving dish and serve warm with a glass of turkish tea 🙂

a special thanks to birdal abi for sharing this recipe with us!!

cinnamon bun heaven…

we are having a crazy day here at our house!

we have yet another LONG weekend lockdown (this time four full days); there is a mini-heat wave happening; supposed to be a pesticide spray happening in our neighborhood (so all our windows are closed and we are boiling); we spent 30 minutes chasing the chickens around to get them cooped up before the spraying started (it still hasn’t!); and the electricity just went out.  everything already felt a little surreal when we woke up this morning but now all this is just really a bit extra.

so, our usual saturday live cooking session has been postponed. but we didn’t want to leave you all hanging on a saturday!

so, here is a fantastic recipe for cinnamon buns that we first made last summer on vacation… it is relatively easy, just be sure to plan for some time to allow the dough to rise 🙂

ingredients-

            for the rolls-

  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter + some for greasing your pan
  • 1 package instant yeast- mix with small amount of warm water allow to sit 10 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups gluten free flour (regular flour works too if you’d prefer)

            for the filling-

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

for the glaze (completely optional)-

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • grease a baking dish with butter
  • melt 6 tablespoons butter and mix in milk
  • add in yeast, sugar, salt and vanilla extract, mix well and allow to rest for 2 minutes
  • slowly combine flour and wet ingredients – mixing well between each addition
  • add flour until dough if formed- you might need a little more or less that 4 full cups
  • knead the dough slightly then form into a ball
  • cover with a dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour
  • meanwhile mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and allow ¼ cup butter to soften
  • after an hour, sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll out dough
  • dough should be about 1.5 centimeters thick- cut edges so dough is straight
  • spread soft butter all over your dough and then sprinkle on the cinnamon mixture
  • roll the dough into one large roll and then slice into 2-centimeter-wide rolls
  • place in baking dish with each roll touching each other
  • bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes- check to make sure they are baked through
  • make glaze by mixing powdered sugar and milk- mix well
  • pour over warm buns
  • serve immediately with a cup of tea and enjoy!

this recipe was adapted from “she likes food”

sole simplified…

our latest fish at home meal was another great success!!

…and we managed to use up some of the freezer food to boot!

sole meuniere has always been one of erim’s all-time favorite dishes to order. the girls like it too; i mean really, what’s not to like- delicious fish and a ton of butter 🙂

but cooking a traditional sole meuniere at home has always felt a little daunting, a little decadent.

so, i started digging around to find a version that might be even just a little bit lighter; both in terms of process and product. this simplified oven version turned out to be perfect. it was also a huge relief to be prepping the fish for the oven since i also realized that i didn’t have a skillet large enough to hold the whole fish- so the classical stovetop version would have literally been impossible.

you only need a few basic ingredients and the cooking time is short too.  we also made a lovely green salad, some roasted new potatoes, and some fresh grilled baby zucchinis for a simple, satisfying spring dinner…

ingredients-

  • 2 dover sole fillets (feeds 2-4 people depending on age and size)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 180 degress celsius
  • line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • place clean fillets onto baking sheet
  • season with salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkle chopped parsley and small pats of butter on top of fish
  • place 2-3 lemon slices on top of each fillet
  • squeeze juice of any remaining lemon slices onto fish
  • bake for 10-12 minutes- fish should be light and flaky
  • transfer to serving dish and serve immediately
our grilled baby zucchinis…

this recipe was adapted from andrea beaman’s life is delicious

a little challenge…

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE this week we have a little challenge for you… with all the cooking going on at home- three meals a day, (and some snacks too) everyday, is a lot! add to this the nervous grocery shopping that seems to happen each week before the weekend lockdown; we have found ourselves with too much food! and as more and more people are affected by the pandemic globally, it is a hard truth that while we find ourselves with too much; there are SO many people who find themselves with not nearly enough. according to the world food program, a united nations agency, disruptions in the food supply chain, decreases in donations to food aid programs, and school closures could cause the global number of people facing acute hunger to double this year.  this would mean that up to 265 million people could be in danger of being malnourished, or worse starvation. around the world, the repercussions of these changes, coupled with strict lockdowns in many countries such as india and kenya, have made finding healthy, nourishing food extremely difficult for at-risk groups. and, as a result of school closures an estimated 368 million children have lost the nutritious snacks and meals they normally receive; creating a significant risk of underdevelopment and other growth issues. with all this in mind; and looking at the abundance that we are so privileged to have, we have started a little challenge for ourselves.  this week, with the exception of fresh vegetables and fruits sent from a local farm, we will not buy anything new. no new bread- if we run out we can try baking our own. no new sweets- we will bake, or just skip the cookies this week. if someone doesn’t like the kind cheese we have left- that’s ok, we can make hummus or try something new. no new drinks or juices- we’ll finish what we have. no more meat- if we finish what’s in the freezer then we can have a couple of vegan days too. we have plenty. And focusing on what we have rather than what we don’t have seems like a pretty good plan these days… so feel free to follow along- and join us too! i’ll be posting a daily picture of our fridge as it empties out, and sharing more recipes too as we go through the week; stay tuned

PS: this recent article from new York times explains the global situation in a very clear, child appropriate manner… you can find it here

a little peanut butter connection…

the other day alegra and i made peanut butter cookies and read some great bedtime books on instagram…

live instagram, facetime, houseparty, zoom… these have all be hugely important tools for us during these times of self-isolation and social distancing.  honestly, if you had told me two months ago i would be doing at least one live video on instagram every day i would have thought that you had lost your mind!

i am actually terribly shy and really pretty self-conscious too; so the idea of being live daily in front of an audience, even a virtual one, would have been something hard for me to believe.

but i have to say that i am enjoying it immensely. i have reconnected with a lot of old friends and their children, students from my lola days have been hugely supportive, and new followers have found us too!

here is the recipe for the cookies, it is a basic peanut butter cookie recipe that is pretty much foolproof… feel free to add in the chocolate chips at the end like alegra did, or use chunky peanut butter instead of smooth. i am thinking about trying almond butter next time to see how that works- i will keep you posted!

ingredients-

  • 1 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large organic egg (or 1 flax egg)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • optional add ins- chocolate chips, raisins, shredded coconut

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius
  • line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • mix all ingredients together- adding in extras if you want
  • form dough into small round balls and place on baking sheet
  • cook for 5 minutes and make cross shapes using the back of a fork
  • cook for another 7-8 minutes depending on how crumbly you like your cookies- (cook shorter for chewier cookies)
  • remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes of baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack

serve with milk or tea for a perfect afternoon snack!!

hummus cocktails and sunday lunches…

sunday lunch has become one of the major highlights of our self-isolation…we get to sit around and chat and just really relax…

the girls all have midday lessons on sunday, i get to take a nice long shower (and actually wash my hair properly!), and erim does his sunday yoga session… and then we have a late, long lunch. no matter how agitated we all seem to be by the time we sit down to eat, by the time lunch is finished we have delved into any number of deeper issues- talked about some hard truths- or made some decisions that might have been unexpected.

this week alegra proposed a little pre-lunch cooking…

our brand new food processor has been hugely inspirational and so once lessons and showers and all the rest were finished we got to work! here are the ingredients and some instructions- our “cocktails” were perfect and we hope yours are too 🙂

ingredients-

  • 1.5 cups boiled chickpeas (save ½ cup water for later)
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a bunch of your favorite dipping veggies-thinly sliced

instructions-

  • blend garlic and lemon juice in food processor- let rest for 3-5 minutes
  • add chickpea and cooking water and blend until creamy
  • add tahini and olive oil and blend well
  • season with cumin, salt and pepper as desired
  • add extra lemon juice, olive oil and tahini to taste (I LOVE a little extra tahini!)
  • place 3 generous scoops of hummus in a wine or cocktail glass
  • garnish with sliced veggies and enjoy!!!