Monday, August 26, 2013

Wheat Free Morning Glory Muffins

I visit Peet's Coffee more than I care to admit. And I also eat their baked good more than I should. Recently, I've been digging their morning glory muffins. They are listed as gluten-free, which is fine, but not particularly important to me. The funny thing is, their strange chewy texture has grown on me. So while wheat and I are still good friends, I decided to pick up some rice flour in order to try to recreate the muffins at home.

I searched high and low (or on Pinterest and Google) for a recipe that had all the ingredients I was sure were in my beloved muffins. Nothing was quite right! So I threw caution to the wind and frankensteined some recipes together to create what I thought would be the perfect copycat muffin recipe.

Sadly, these are not exactly like the muffin I was hoping for. The good news? They are still really yummy! Where I expected a dense, gummy muffin (I know, I'm weird!) I ended up with a fluffy muffin! I'm suspect it's the eggs. Any guesses? Thanfully, the spice and the crunchy carrot and coconut, and sweet pineapple bits were all on point. Hooray for that.

So while I continue my search for the perfect reproduction, we can all enjoy this happy accident. And of course this can be made regular flour also. I couldn't tell the difference.

Wheat Free Morning Glory Muffins
adapted from the interwebs

   * 4 large carrots, shredded (or 2 cups)
   * 8 oz can of crushed pineapple (drained)
   * 1/2 cup raw shredded coconut
   * 2 1/4 cups brown rice flour
   * 1 cup sugar (I used a combo of brown and white)
   * 1/2 canola oil
   * 3 large eggs
   * 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or some combo of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon)
   * 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
   * 1/2 tsp baking powder
   * 1 tsp vanilla extract
   * 1/2 tsp salt
   * 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix dry ingredient. Mix wet ingredients. Mix together. Mix in carrots, pineapple, and coconut. Fill muffin tins. Sprinkle each one with sunflower seeds. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until they are done. Store in an airtight container. (I didn't and they weren't slightly drier on day 2, but still tasty.)

Bon appetite!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cool Beans- Volume 2

1// I have unending pride for my city. Maybe it's an underdog, thing? In any case, I enjoyed this article about the growing art movement in Oakland. Actually, I hella liked it.

2// I watched this documentary a little while ago and it was both eye opening and depressing (aren't all the good documentaries that way though?)

image from here

3// If you have never grown potatoes, you really should. They are the most fun thing to harvest. It is like finding buried treasure! (And if you're a lazy gardener, your potato crop won't really suffer. Bonus!)

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Beaune and Aix en Provence, 2013

When we left Paris, we wanted a taste of the French Wine Country and settled on a stay in the small town of Beaune, just south of Dijon. 

In my mind, this picturesque little village would serve as perfect home base while we rode rented bicycles through the Burgundy vineyards. In reality, it was cold and dreary when we arrived and we were more tempted to hole up in our hotel with hot beverages.

Between rainfalls, we ventured out to explore the little town and it was quite charming. There were many tasting rooms and wine shops, so we made a point of finishing our evenings with some local wine.

Our second day here, which was B's birthday, was still a bit dreary. And on top of that, it was also Labor Day, so many businesses were closed. We laughed about our misfortune, but obviously being stuck in a quaint French village is not the worst thing we could doing.

We decided to visit the local attraction, the Hospices de Beaune at the Hôtel-Dieu. It is a striking building with a colorfully tiled roof, and was essentially a free hospital for the poor for five centuries. It was relatively interesting and  a fine way to finish off our short visit since the whole bike-riding adventure was out of the question. (Seriously, could those clouds be any more menacing??

After Beaune, our next stop was Aix-en-Provence.

Our train ride was uneventful, until the point when something was announced over the speaker which presumably explained that our train would not be stopping in Aix as planned, but would instead continue right on to the next stop in Marseilles. B's understanding of French is better than mine, but even he was unsure. When we got off the train, we tried to determine what had happened and what we should do to get back to our destination. After several unsuccessful conversations, we shrugged and got onto a train and headed back to Aix. Then (and I blame travel fatigue for this) I got super panicky that we would be kicked off/fined/imprisoned once we were found to be riding a train that we hadn't purchased tickets for. B begged me to keep it together and I barely did before the ticket checker came by and approved our wrong tickets without hesitation. Crisis averted.

Once we found our hotel and settled in, we were anxious to head out into town as it was warmer than Paris or Beaune had been and seemed to have a large population of young people. It was a pleasant place to walk around and full of shops. B and I are not big shoppers, but the people-watching was good too.

Obviously, we made an exception for macaron-shopping. We are not monsters.
One of the more enjoyable things we did during our stay in Aix was to visit Cézanne's studio. It was an easy decision to make since the city seems hell bent on making you visit something Cézanne-related. There are literally little C's embedded in the streets to help navigate you towards Cezanne's great aunt's best friend's house, or something as questionably "historically relevant".

But the studio was legit. We could have taken a bus ride up the hill, but we were happy to hoof it.

The studio was a small 2-story building, so the actual tour was more of a look around a room filled with items you might recognize from Cézanne's paintings.

this image from here (no cameras were allowed inside)
 The grounds were really peaceful and lovely though.  We spend a good amount of time there before deciding to head further up the hill out of town. We didn't realize how much we'd missed the sensation of walking without worrying about cars and bikes and pedestrians.

We stayed up in the hills for a good part of the afternoon, enjoying the views of Mount Ste.-Victoire that peaked out above the homes.

Painting of Mount Ste.-Victoire by Cézanne from here.
By the time we made our way back into town, we realized it was time to figure out how we'd be getting to Barcelona...