Our usual Saturday tradition includes a trip to the Farmer's Market in downtown Santa Barbara. At some point during our shopping, there is always a detour to our favorite coffee shop, The French Press. Ewan has always enjoyed our coffee shop visits. He used to request to go just to watch the baristas grind coffee, but once Jason started including a scone with our coffee order, I believe the eating of the scone became his favorite part of our entire Saturday morning tradition.
Along with the scone comes a lesson in patience and a lesson in sharing. Our rule is that we all have to wait to start eating the scone until our coffee drinks are ready, and the scone has to be shared between everyone except Isla. Ewan is pretty good with both of these things, although he always wants the last bite to be under his control (mostly eaten by him, with possibly a little crumb or two handed out to Mama or Papa).
We've been missing our usual tradition sometimes lately due to busy work schedules and/ or Isla's napping, so I decided to make some scones at home to fill this void in my life. They don't quite live up to the ones from The French Press (which I highly recommend to any locals or vacationers), but they're pretty delicious, and I haven't seen the chocolate-blueberry combination yet...
My husband and I took several series of cooking classes through what used to be called Adult Ed at Santa Barbara City College. It was a lot of fun, and we both picked up some new tricks and many great recipes. We also met a lot of wonderful people and still keep in touch with our teacher, Jane. She is such an amazing person and a wonderful chef.
I love the way I feel when I regularly drink green juice. Unfortunately, I hadn't been doing a great job of regularly drinking it for awhile but recently started up again and am trying to stick with it for awhile. It is a bit of a commitment, one that I come and go with. But even if I only take the time to make my green juice once a week, I still enjoy the benefits and really feel great for a few hours after drinking it.
I have been juicing for almost a year and a half and have my sister to thank for turning me onto it and suggesting I get the same juicer that she had already tried out for awhile. I have been very happy with it thus far.
After my success with the maple and vanilla yogurts, I decided to try a few of my own variations. So far I have made cinnamon yogurt two different ways, once using ground cinnamon and once using a cinnamon stick, honey yogurt using local raw honey, and peppermint yogurt using peppermint extract. The honey yogurt and both cinnamon yogurts were good, but I didn't care for the peppermint yogurt eaten plain. It was good mixed into green smoothies though. I plan to try making it again using peppermint leaves and hope it will result in a milder taste.
These yogurts will not be extremely sweet like most sold at the grocery store, but if you are used to eating plain yogurt, you may enjoy having a bit of added flavor without all the processed sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you enjoy sweeter yogurt and are trying to quit or cut back on processed sugars, you can always add honey to the cinnamon yogurt and increase the amount of honey in the honey yogurt. Or come up with your own flavor. If you have any successes, please share them with me in the comments.
Jason bought me a wonderful new cookbook at one of our local bookstores, Chaucer's, when they were holding a fundraiser for our son's preschool. I really love how so many businesses in town are willing to help out the local schools by donating a portion of their sales on certain days back to the school. I imagine they usually get enough increased business during these events to more than make up for the sales they are donating, so it's a win for everyone involved. It also makes me more likely to return and recommend these businesses when they are willing to help their community.
I altered her Pear-Hazelnut Oat Muffin recipe to make this one. We hadn't been to the grocery store in over a week, and a friend I hadn't seen in quite awhile was coming over for coffee. I wanted to at least have something we could nibble on with our coffee but couldn't go to the store since my youngest was napping. I just used the ingredients I had on hand, resulting in quite a few changes to Megan's original recipe. But they turned out really nice. I especially love that they are free of processed sugars.
Click here for the recipe for open face tacos.
These pancakes aren't as fluffy as your everyday buttermilk pancakes, but they also don't leave you feeling like you have a lead weight in your stomach. They are made with all whole grains and have the option of adding millet for a bit of interesting texture. I'm kind of obsessed with adding millet to things these days; I love the crunch, plus it has great nutritional value.
We eat a lot of granola in our house. Almost everyday our breakfast consists of yogurt, granola, and fruit. I started eating this kind of breakfast back when I was twenty while I spent a semester abroad, working in Switzerland. I traveled somewhere via train an average of probably three weekends a month and almost always stayed in youth hostels. Several of the staple breakfast items offered were yogurt, muesli, and fruit. I can't even remember what I used to eat for breakfast before then.
As most of us know, the majority of granolas available in stores have quite a lot of sugar in them. I've been making my own for years. It's really simple to make and can be easily modified to your own tastes. You can also use natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup rather than processed sugars.
Making granola is an afternoon project that Ewan and I do together every week and a half or so while Isla naps. It involves scooping, pouring, reading, patience, listening, and following directions. And he of course loves the one-on-one time while his sister is sleeping.
I imagine I will be sharing many more granola recipes in the future, but this is our favorite at the moment.
I started making my own yogurt probably five years ago when a friend introduced me to the idea. I never realized it could be so simple and delicious. Ewan loves plain cow's milk yogurt and first tried it when he was eight months old. I can put a big bowl of it in front of him with nothing added, and it will be gone very quickly. He also likes to eat it with a scoop of frozen blueberries mixed in because when he stirs them, they make fun purple swirls.
There are quite a few methods that can be used in order to make yogurt, and my method has definitely evolved over the years. A trick I thought of very recently was to heat the milk in the jar in which I plan to ferment! I can't believe that I never thought of this before, especially since I was already making my yogurt in mason jars. A quick google search revealed that this is not an original idea of mine, but I had never happened upon this method in all of my reading. My biggest complaint about making yogurt was the burned milk that always got stuck to the bottom of the pot. Now that problem has been completely eliminated. You can't believe how excited I was to be the hundredth (okay, maybe thousandth?) person to think of this method.