Blueberry Raspberry Corn Muffins

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Good morning!

I have an incredibly easy breakfast for you today.

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Blueberry Raspberry Corn Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees/ Makes 15 Muffins

1 Package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix

2 Eggs

1 3/4 Cups Almond Milk

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

3/4 Cup Frozen Raspberries

Raw Sugar

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Combine cornbread mix, eggs, and almond milk in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Fold in blueberries and raspberries. Line muffin tin with papers and fill to top. Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes.

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Our Feathered Friends

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Until we moved to New Hampshire, I’d never seen a Blue Jay in person. That’s a peanut in its beak.

They were very excited about the peanuts.

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Their colors are stunning. And even though I’ve been told they’re the bullies on the block, I love to have them in our yard. So far, they are minding their P’s and Q’s.

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They’re very observant and I think they are finally getting used to me standing in the window with a camera. This one has spotted me.

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I’m hoping when spring comes they’ll allow me to sit quietly on the deck and snap a few shots. Then I can really get some photos of the fine details on their gorgeous tail feathers. Right now I’ll have to live with shots through dirty windows, camera experimentation, and standing very still with a very heavy zoom lens.

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The Dark Eyed Juncos must be the risk takers. This feeder is on our deck and so far, they are the only ones willing to investigate. For the longest time they ate only on the side of the feeder that protected them from the house. See how he’s keeping an eye on me?

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This one must have decided I couldn’t be all that bad if I was giving them good things to eat and staying behind the glass.

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This is a Black Capped Chickadee. It was more concerned with staying on the bird feeder in the high winds than worrying about whether I would come outside or not. This one was interesting because it would take a seed from the feeder and put it between its toes and then eat it when the wind calmed down.

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Peek A Boo.

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Another gorgeous and stunning visitor. So bright it looks like I stuck a fake bird from the craft store on the bird feeder. So far we’ve only had one Cardinal a day. They must not like to travel together.

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Right now it’s zero degrees with a wind chill of 14 degrees below zero. Looks like we’re stuck with some very frigid weather until next week. Then it will rise to a very comfortable 39 degrees.

Despite the frigid weather, we’re still loving New Hampshire. They have way more sunny winter days than what we’re used to in Washington state. We also have the pleasure of waking up to this view of Mount Monadnock out of our bedroom and living room window every morning.

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A state full of beautiful birds, lakes and ponds everywhere you look, hiking trails right outside our door, restaurants that happily serve gluten free food, and some of the most incredibly friendly and genuine people we have ever met.

What’s not to like?

Enjoy your day! ~ April

Battling The Bug

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Tony and I have been battling some kind of flu bug. It’s going on two weeks now since we’ve felt up to par.

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You know the kind of bug I’m talking about? The kind that doesn’t make you sick enough to think you need to go to bed for the day. But by the end of the day you feel worn down and horrible? That’s what we have. And it doesn’t want to go away.

I’ve been taking an herbal anti-viral tincture, loading up on water, and trying to rest. Tony has had to work, of course. Neither one of us are very good at the “rest thing”.

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I didn’t feel very hungry this morning after being up all night with a horrid headache, so I forced myself to eat an organic egg and then made this detox smoothie.

1 Small Organic Orange

1/2 Cup Frozen Organic Blueberries

1 Stalk of Organic Celery

1/4 Cup Packed Organic Flat Leaf Parsley

1 Handful of Organic Baby Spinach

1/4 Cup of Pineapple Chunks With Juice (in its natural juice)

1/2 Cup Ice

1/2 Cup Spring Water

Who knows if it will cure what ails us. If anything, it’s a great way to pack a ton of nutrients into a 16 ounce glass, and that certainly can’t hurt.

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It’s cold here. Very cold. Is it cold where you are? It’s negative 4 degrees and windy right now. They’ve predicted a high of 14 degrees today.

It’s so cold, we have ice inside the house. Right now I’m in a nightgown, fleece pajama bottoms, a sweatshirt, wool socks, and slippers.

Is it too early to wish for Spring?

Last night on the news they said this is a record year for warm temperatures in New Hampshire. They’ve had the warmest temperatures on average ever. So I guess we’ll be thankful for negative 4 and wind, because if this isn’t their “normal” cold weather…yikes.

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Last weekend we managed to get out for a bit and walk the dogs around Goose Pond. It was gorgeous and I can’t wait to become more familiar with the area.

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This time we had a late start and neither one of us really knew where we were going. I had no desire to be stuck in unfamiliar woods in the dark so we had to make it quick.

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Those aren’t our footsteps on the iced over pond. You know I’m not crazy! People here aren’t afraid of falling through the ice. They walk on it, take their kids and pets on it, and set up cute little fishing houses on it. Maybe some of that bravery will rub off on me one day.

I’ve been fiddling with my new camera over the past few days. Bear with me, I haven’t found the “sweet spot” in our house yet for natural light food photography.

I’ve been able to catch a few of the birds that come to visit every day. Our neighbor told me the other day that we will see about 100 different types over the year!

Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to our little visitors. For now, enjoy your day, and stay warm!

Cheesy Grilled Tuna with Spinach

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The first thing I usually hear when I tell someone I’m allergic to gluten and dairy is,

“Wow, that must be really difficult.”

Does this look like I’m living the rough life to you?

Surely not.

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On the contrary, although I would say going gluten and dairy free makes things a bit more challenging, it is not difficult.

I can eat cheese, drink milk, eat ice cream, and enjoy pizza, enchiladas, even lasagna.

I can eat bread, pasta, pancakes, waffles, crepes, cookies, pie, cake

They just simply cannot contain dairy or gluten.

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There are more than 100 different types of gluten free grains and flours and there are numerous alternatives to dairy.

Eating at home is a breeze, of course. Just take a tour through my blog and you’ll be assured that we eat like “normal” people. Eating out can prove to be a challenge, but I’m always up for a good challenge. I would say only maybe 2 times out of 100 have we had to leave a restaurant because I couldn’t find something on the menu I could eat.

So if you are new to this life or even contemplating it, I will promise you, it is not as difficult as you may think.

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Facing a challenge and doing something truly difficult are two different things. Don’t allow fear of what your family members and friends may think or say, or overwhelming feelings of how you’re going to completely re-vamp your food life keep you from making the leap from your “I feel like crap all the time” life, to “I feel fantasic!” life.

Waking up every morning pain free, free of swelling, intestinal issues, free of shingles, migraines, and all of the other hundreds of issues food allergies cause, make the destination well worth the journey.

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If you are contemplating going gluten free, you can go here for quick tips and help in getting that healthier life you want:

Don’t Panic, Gluten Free Living Is A Breeze!

Where Do I Start?

Arm Yourself With Knowledge

Change Isn’t Easy, But It Is So Worth It

For the sandwich I used:

Udi’s Gluten Free Multi Grain Bread

Earth Balance Soy Free Butter Spread

Organic Spinach Leaves

Daiya Cheese

Olive Oil Mayonnaise

Tunafish

Pickles

Pepper

Peanut Butter Maple Rolls

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Peanut Butter & Pure Maple Syrup

A Marriage Made In Heaven!

 As I photographed this recipe with my iPhone…I couldn’t help but be torn between conflicting feelings of irritation and excitement.  As I explained in my last post, my camera is broken, yet again.

My feelings of irritation are probably obvious; my iPhone doesn’t quite hit the mark for food photography, something I’ve really learned to love and is equally as much a part of my blog as the recipes.

The excitement however, comes from the sweet, sweet, knowledge that my new camera will be arriving Friday. Yes, I ordered myself not only a new camera and lens kit, but a new, stronger, zoom lens.

The zoom lens isn’t for cooking, of course. Have I told you that New Hampshire has absolutely gorgeous birds? Just over the last few days we’ve had Blue Jays, Black Capped Chickadees, Dark Eyed Juncos, Red Breasted Nuthatch, and a breathtaking Cardinal visiting our bird feeders in the backyard. My neighbor informed me that we’ll be seeing at least 100 different species of birds throughout the year.

I love to watch birds. In fact, I could stand at the back windows and watch birds all day. I could cook all day, watch birds all day…not a bad life here in the granite state.

But alas, reality calls and a dusty house and laundry await me.

See you soon ~ April

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Peanut Butter Maple Rolls with Streusel Topping

4 Tbsp. Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Butter Spread

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Almond Milk,warmed but not hot to the touch

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

2 tsp. Pure Vanilla

1 1/2 Tbsp. Yeast, stirred gently into the warmed almond milk

1/2 Cup Buckwheat Flour

1/2 Cups Sorghum Flour

1/2 Cup Mama’s Almond All Purpose Almond Flour

1 3/4 Cups Potato Starch

3/4 Cup Tapioca Flour

4 tsp. Xanthan Gum

4 tsp. Baking Powder

1 Good Pinch of  Kosher Salt

1 16 0z. Jar of Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

Streusel Topping

1/4 Cup Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Butter Spread

1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Heaping Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

Pinch of Kosher Salt

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Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, and set aside (do not mix). Warm the almond milk and add yeast. Set aside.

In a large bowl add the buckwheat, sorghum, all purpose flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch. Whisk. Add the xanthan gum, baking powder, and kosher salt. Whisk again to combine.

Pour the almond milk yeast mixture into the bowl with the other wet ingredients. Mix, scraping down sides to combine thoroughly.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients until incorporated. Scrape down sides and mix on medium to high for 1 minute.

Flour parchment paper and place dough on parchment. Sprinkle with flour.

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Pat out dough and roll out with a floured rolling pin to about a 1/4 inch thickness.

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Spoon half of the peanut butter onto the dough. Carefully spread the peanut butter with the back of a spoon. Add the remaining peanut butter and connect “the dots” with the back of the spoon. Once the majority of the dough is covered, it will be easier to smooth.

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Sprinkle the peanut butter with the dark brown sugar.

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Carefully roll the dough.

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Slice and place into a prepared 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.

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Place all of the streusel ingredients in a medium bowl and crumble together with fingers quickly until it resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the rolls. Cover the rolls with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

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Drizzle half of the pure maple syrup over the rolls.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Start checking at 25 minutes.

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Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining maple syrup.

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Wild Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Muffins

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IMG_0215[1]Well, it appears as if my camera issues are beyond my expertise. Really irritating. I’ve cleaned it, oiled it, and fiddled with all of the doo dads…and it still won’t take pictures. I’ve fixed it twice in the past, but I guess the inevitable has finally happened. I will have to pay someone a ridiculous amount of money to take my camera for a ridiculous period of time to get it back into shape. So until my camera is returned to me, I will have to live (and so will you) with pictures from my iPhone.

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Now that we’ve all come to grips with that…

I’ll give  you yet another reason why I love New Hampshire. It is full of quaint beautiful towns, as you’ve seen in my previous posts. And with quaint beautiful towns, come really interesting local and neighboring state goodies. The shops are full of locally made crafts, jewelry, homemade jams and jellies, maple syrup, goat’s milk caramel, local milk, eggs, cheese, and cream, furniture, hand-made soaps, lotions, candles, pottery, quilts, scarves…I could go on and on. I love that I can support my local community as well as the neighboring New England states when I shop. New England takes pride in its communities. You can see that by how beautifully the towns are maintained and decorated, by the genuine kindness of the people that inhabit them, and by the support that is given to local craftsmen, jewelers, and other crafting gurus.

While my mom and son were here visiting and we were out exploring, they wanted to check out a cheese shop in Brattleboro, Vermont. Something I don’t get all that excited about, because of course, if I ate the amount of cheese they consumed while perusing the cheese shop, I wouldn’t want to get out of bed for at least the following three days. But, as with most of the quaint shops in New England, there were plenty of other goodies for me to see.

This little 7 ounce jar of Wild Maine Blueberries (touted The Caviar of Maine), has added its delectable flavor to our  pancakes and the muffins I made this morning. It went a long way. It’s just beautiful, little blueberries in white grape juice. Nothing freaky added and no artificial sweeteners. Yum!

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I’m on a buckwheat and coconut oil kick. Have you done your research on both? The benefits of coconut oil are particularly amazing to me. If you haven’t already watched this video on the benefits of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s disease, please do so. It will leave you in awe. Truly amazing.

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According to organicfacts.net, coconut oil has all kinds of benefits. “The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties.” Crazy, huh? And so simple to add to your diet.

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Did you know that buckwheat is a fruit seed? It’s related to rhubarb and sorrel. That of course, makes it gluten-free and a fantastic substitute if you and certain grains don’t get along. Not only can you bake with it, but you can eat it as a porridge as well. Something I wasn’t aware of until I researched the benefits.

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(buckwheat seed photo courtesy of smallbites.andybellatti.com)

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But there are also some other very interesting benefits of buckwheat. It’s high in manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc. It also contains all 8 essential amino acids. It’s high in fiber and studies have shown that it slows down the rate of glucose absorption making it a healthy choice for people with diabetes and blood sugar issues. It has been shown to have significant cardiovascular benefits for post menopausal women, it helps prevent gall stones, breast cancer, and when you combine the whole “grain” benefits of buckwheat and fish oil, it’s been shown to be highly protective against childhood asthma.

When everyone decided that carbs and fats were bad for us and mass quantities of protein or even just living off of vegetables and raw foods were good, we didn’t take into consideration the benefits of certain grains and seeds and fats that would be missing from our diets. Carbs and many fats are not bad for you, in fact, according to the information above, they can be very beneficial.

Combine the benefits of buckwheat, coconut oil, a little protein, the benefits of banana (vitamin A, iron, phosphorous, potassium, high fiber), the benefits of blueberries (high in fiber, the highest in any fruit in antioxidants, and 1/4 of your daily need of vitamin C), and you have a pretty tasty and pretty healthy muffin. You could probably even replace the brown sugar with a grated apple or applesauce.

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Wild Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Muffins

Preheat convection oven to 350°

3 organic free range eggs

2 overripe organic bananas

3 Tablespoons wild blueberries

1 Cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 Cup organic coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon organic cinnamon

1 1/2 Cups Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1/2 Cup buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Lightly mash the bananas ( I like mine chunky) in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and blueberries.

In another bowl add the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold with a spatula carefully until fully combined.

Fill muffin papers almost to the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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I promise that very soon, this page will return to a gluten-free, dairy-free, food blog! I’m up to my ears in unpacking, organizing, and running errands.

On Christmas morning I made a gorgeous batch of cinnamon rolls which I took a picture of and posted in my last blog entry. You can find the recipe for them here. What I didn’t post a picture of was the horridly overdone eggs that tasted like shellfish because they were cooked in the same pan I had steamed mussels and shrimp on Christmas Eve. They were really gross.

My husband said I should post a picture of them and that he thought I shouldn’t just always post pictures of recipes that have turned out perfectly in a perfect setting…that a little bit of mess and mistakes lend “reality” to my blog. No one wants to see overdone eggs that smell and taste like fish. No one. But I did understand his point.

Last night I unpacked the last box. I was so relieved, I can’t even tell you HOW relieved I was. However, once the packing afterglow wore off, I then realized I had a mess in almost every single room of the house.

So here’s a dose of “blog reality” and my chores for today:

A gazillion photographs that need to be framed and hung. Which is hard to do quickly because I keep getting pulled down memory lane.

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A guest bedroom that needs organization, window treatments hung, and decorating completed. 

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Another room that we’ll use as a guest bedroom but will mostly be used as an exercise room and craft room. It has become the catch-all room with all kinds of things I haven’t had time to deal with. I keep walking in circles when I enter this room. So much stuff…we’ll definitely need some more shelving and storage. I found the Triscuit box nestled next to a pillow after our son left. 

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And lastly, this will be my final project today. My camera is malfunctioning…yet again. Thank goodness for Google. You can figure out how to fix almost anything. You may notice, it’s not very clean. I should give it a proper cleaning to remove all of the flour and sugar…but really, it will just return with the next recipe.

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Wishing you a lovely and productive day!