Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Scones [MMAZ]

Spring is officially here! We even had a taste of summer last week, with a few days of 80 degree temperatures. Suffice to say I am craving lighter foods, fresh fruits, and delicate flavors like lemon (Meyer lemon to be exact).

Spring colors and flavors

Spring colors and flavors

Meyer lemons are actually a cross between a lemon and an orange, resulting in darker, deeper yellow skin and aromatic, less sour juice than a typical lemon. The taste is absolutely incredible in baked goods–light and “zippy”, taking a dish to a whole new level of “yum.”

It’s been a while since I cooked with new-to-me ingredients that required research… Enter the result of this weekend’s kitchen experiment: scones made with spelt flour and coconut palm sugar, inspired by the recipe Shanna shared, via her friend Kendra, last Tuesday. Shanna’s recipe used Einkorn flour, but I could not find any at the store, so I decided to use spelt flour instead.

Meyer lemon and blueberry oat scones

Meyer lemon and blueberry oat scones

Spelt is an ancient grain with a mellow, nutty flavor, and slightly higher protein content than wheat. Though it is not gluten free (it actually has more gluten than wheat), it is easily digestible. Sarah B of My New Roots explains more:

“Spelt is an excellent source of manganese, which helps protect your cells from free radical damage, keeps your bones strong, maintains nerve health, and promotes the function of the thyroid gland. Spelt is also very high in fiber and contains a good amount of protein.” (source)

Delicious!

Delicious!

Coconut palm sugar is made by tapping the nectar from the coconut palm tree and drying the juice in a kettle drum. It condenses into an unrefined brown sugar that can be used as a 1-to-1 replacement for white or brown sugar. It has a deep caramel flavor, perfect for baked goods. You can read more information here.

one scone

Perfect for breakfast or tea time

Meyer Lemon Blueberry Oat Scones

Adapted from Shanna’s recipe

Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (make your own by blending steel-cut oats until fine)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 – 2 meyer lemons
  • 8 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or, in a pinch, strained regular yogurt, per above note)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 2 – 3 Meyer Lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Method

Preheat your oven to 400°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, oats, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and salt. Toss the lemon zest with the dry ingredients.

Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients. Rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small, coarse peas (using your fingers or a pastry cutter). Add yogurt and honey, and toss everything together with a fork or your hands until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.

Add the lemon juice last. Use the juice to bring the batter together, adding a little at a time until the mixture forms a nice dough that will hold together in a disc shape–not too wet or too crumbly. Gently fold in blueberries.

Form the dough into a large, flat disc on the parchment paper, pressing with your fingers as needed. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces.

Cut into wedges, like a pie

Cut into wedges, like a pie

The “base” for these scones came from Shanna and Kendra, but the blueberry-lemon combo was inspired by this week’s Meatless Monday from A – Z link-up, hosted by Heather. Although I missed the last two weeks (avocado), I hope to make it to the party more often this round!

BWV-Round2-April-Blueberry_thumb

Though I did not notice a huge difference in taste using the spelt flour (versus my usual whole wheat), I like the idea of an easier to digest and higher protein grain. Have you ever cooked with spelt flour? Please share any recipes you have tried! 

Enjoy!

-L

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” (Source)

It’s no secret that I love oatmeal.

Mocha coconut oatmeal

Mocha coconut oatmeal

While a basic bowl is always delicious, sometimes I wake up feeling indulgent–and this bowl certainly is, with coffee AND chocolate mixed in. But an indulgent morning is about more than food.

Breakfast is served

Breakfast is served

Cooking helps me to slow down and to see the details within the everyday routine of my life. Starting my day with a bit of breakfast indulgence means more than adding chocolate to my oats, it means taking time to create a breakfast lovely enough to photograph and unique enough to make the day “special.”

Indulging in my morning means really noticing they way the soft spring sunlight streams into my apartment; feeling connected to my husband as we sit on the couch to eat breakfast and watch the Today show together; not responding to the inevitable buzz of my phone as work emails start to come in.

Coconut cream on top

Coconut cream on top

I increasingly find myself wanting to resist the “busy trap” of modern society, even as I say “yes” to too many things and inevitably overcommit myself. I need reminders that idleness is healthy, and spending time in the kitchen helps me to do just that. So oatmeal like this becomes a small way in which I am able to slow down and indulge a little, to notice the details and to enjoy my morning routine a bit more.

Digging in

Digging in

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat, from a can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • top with coconut cream*, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs

*Place can of coconut milk in the freezer for 30 minutes. Skim coconut cream off the top. Pour the remaining liquid into ice cube trays and freeze for later use (in smoothies).

Method

Combine oats, banana, coffee, coconut milk, water, cacao powder, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously to combine. Cook about 5 minutes; transfer oats to a bowl; top with coconut cream, cacao nibs, and coconut flakes. Indulge!

Morning indulgence

Morning indulgence

How do you find small ways to slow down and indulge throughout your day?

-L

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

When we started this blog almost a year ago, I wasn’t quite sure why I really wanted to try out this whole blogging thing.

I have worked to improve my food photography skills, sometimes with success, and other times, less successfully. But in the past few months I have realized that photography is not my passion.

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Sometimes the lighting in my apartment is just right, and I love taking photos of my food. I love that I have learned to use my husband’s DSLR, and I am very proud of how far my photos have come.

But sometimes, the lighting is just blah and I am more invested in the process of cooking and sharing the food I make with others than in the process of photographing my food.

Sliced bread

Sliced bread

In the almost year we have been blogging, I have invented some delicious new recipes, but in the past few months I have realized that recipe development is not my passion.

I much prefer to be inspired by other peoples’ recipes or to just throw “a little of this and a little of that” into a dish, no measurements required. By the time Friday rolls around, I have pinned and bookmarked more recipes than I could ever tackle in one weekend, and I don’t really feel like creating something “new” of my own.

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

But blogging has helped me to learn more about myself and to find a way to articulate my true passion(s). It has helped me to understand why I cook, and it has awakened in me a curiosity about why other people cook.

Blogging has helped me to learn more about our food system, and to understand how my personal choices can and do have an impact on our larger food culture and food systems.

Blogging has helped me to understand that the pursuit of self knowledge and taking time out for self care make me a better person not only for those I love, but also enables me to work towards something greater than myself.

Hello gorgeous!

Hello gorgeous!

Blogging has helped my sister and I connect over food in a new way, and it has created a platform by which my family has begun to share stories about out “kitchen history.”

After losing our Grandma last August, these stories are more important than ever. They are slowing coming out—like a few weeks ago, when my Aunt Kris followed up on my post about pizza with an email telling me that Grandma used to make huge batches of pesto, with basil that the neighbors left on the porch for her (the whole plant, roots and all!), and froze it in ice cube trays to have on hand whenever it was needed.

Freshly baked

Freshly baked

All of this is to say that as life has gotten busy in the past few months, the frequency of our posts has decreased, and will likely continue to remain at 1 or 2 posts per week rather than 3 or 4. But I will continue to document and recount my kitchen adventures when I can! I assure you that I spend most weekends on my feet making one thing after another, even when I forget to take photos.

I whipped up this lovely loaf of bread last Saturday to serve on Sunday morning for Easter Brunch with the East Coast portion of my family (Casey was sorely missed). Inspired by Smitten Kitchen, I did what Deb said was not necessary, and adapted Bill Granger’s recipe for Coconut Bread. I wanted to incorporate the dried apricots that my sister’s mother-in-law brought as part of a house-warming basket for my parents, and this bread seemed the perfect use.

While I have no doubt that the original recipe was fabulous, I really love the addition of the apricots.

Served for Easter Brunch

Served for Easter Brunch

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes 
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, coconut, and apricots and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.

Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan 10 – 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Hope you had a happy Easter with your loved ones!

-L

Buckwheat Granola and Other Musings

Spring is officially here!

Bust out the colorful bowls!

Bust out the colorful bowls!

Though winter is holding on tight (we have a chance of snow again this weekend…), there is a shift in the energy lately. The extra hour of daylight, the first purple buds popping up on the trees, and the daffodils offering a sunny “hello!” hint of the good things that are just around the corner. I for one am anxiously awaiting the opening of the City Market on April 6!

In the mean time, I’m making basics like granola, and busting out my bunny apron to use as a photography backdrop.

Buckwheat granola

Buckwheat granola

This week has been busy, but in the best way possible. Early in the mornings, my yoga practice has taken a step forward as I started learning the Advanced A series (just the first two poses), and returned to practicing tic-tocs after a few weeks of taking it easy. In the day time, work is going well, and I have been enjoying many new opportunities to expand my leadership in the past few weeks. On weekends, we have been seeing a lot of our family, with more to come next weekend for Easter.

Life is good.

So is this granola.

Simple and Delicious

Simple and Delicious

Inspired by many other bloggers, I have been exploring buckwheat in many forms lately. I bought a big bag of raw buckwheat groats in bulk, and have been using them as a crunchy topping for salads and smoothies, blended as breakfast porridge, cooked into oats, ground into flour for muffins, and tossed with oats, pecans, and sunflower seeds in this simple granola.

You could add coconut flakes or dried fruit, but I decided to keep things simple. Pecans are by far my favorite breakfast nut (yes, that is a thing), especially when they are toasted. I used the overnight method, and was once again pleased with the crunchy result (not to mention the delicious aroma in my kitchen).

Granola

Granola pile

Buckwheat Granola

Inspired by Kath Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 3/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • scant 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring at 15 minutes intervals. Turn the oven off and leave granola in the oven overnight. In the morning, it will be perfectly crunchy!

This week's breakfast, on repeat.

This week’s breakfast, on repeat.

Simple, no fuss, perfectly delicious, homemade granola–what more could you ask for?!

I have been enjoying the same breakfast all week– Greek yogurt, sliced banana, a drizzle of coconut milk, a drizzle of Blackstrap molasses, and granola on top! I’m not usually a “repeat” kind of girl when it comes to breakfast, but this combo is so good, I’ve just wanted more and more of it.

Hope your Spring is off to a wonderful start!

-L

Spinach, Pesto and Sausage Pizza

Pizza is often used to teach math, especially fractions and percentages.

I recently finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which, for one year, Kingsolver and her family ate almost entirely locally. They live on a farm which enables them to raise poultry and tend an incredible garden. At the end of each chapter, Kingsolver’s daughter Camille shared her thoughts, recipes, and seasonal weekly meal plans. I was inspired by the Kingsolver’s weekly pizza night to make my own pizza as close to 100% from scratch as possible.

Let’s see how I did with my “pizza math”.

The Elements

  • Crust
  • Sauce
  • Pesto
  • Cheese
  • Sausage
  • Spinach

Crust: 100% made from scratch

Pizza Dough, pre-rise

Pizza Dough, pre-rise

I often purchase pre-made pizza dough from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to have on hand to make pizza at home. But this time, I overcame my “fear” of yeast, and whipped up Camille’s recipe for pizza dough.

It was so easy, and delicious!

Note to self: make your own dough more often…

Sauce: 50% made from scratch

Pizza sauce ingredients

Pizza sauce ingredients

For the sauce, I followed my typical “recipe,” which involves throwing canned tomatoes and some seasoning into a pan. I used 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes (I like my sauce chunky!) 1/2 cup red wine, a generous sprinkling of dried basil, a dash of red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine all ingredients and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.

Combined sauce, simmering

Combined sauce, simmering

While I have taken the step away from pre-made tomato sauces, opting instead to make my own from canned (no salt added) tomatoes, I give myself 50% on this one because I have yet to take the step towards canning my own tomato sauce. This is a definite goal for me this summer! I plan to grow tomatoes again this year (and maybe one or two other vegetables, but that is a story for another day), and I will definitely be canning my own 100% from scratch tomato sauce.

Pesto: 100% made from scratch

Pesto ingredients

Pesto ingredients

Our favorite pizza from Mellow Mushroom (our go-to take out pizza place) is Kosmic Karma, tomato sauce base topped with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, and a pesto swirl.

When I asked my husband what he wanted on our pizza, he asked me to recreate the Kosmic Karma. I was pleasantly surprised to find nice, local basil at the store, and jumped on the opportunity to make my own pesto, using walnuts instead of pine nuts (since that is what I had on hand).

Raw Basil Pesto

Raw Basil Pesto

Raw Basil Pesto

Inspired by Edible Perspective

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and puree until smooth. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency (I used 3 Tablespoons).

Pre-baked pizza

Pre-baked pizza

The Toppings: 0% made from scratch

I decided to add a bit of sausage to our Kosmic Karma imitation. I used a Tuscan sausage made in-house at my local Whole Foods using local pork. While I am happy with this choice of meat, no from-scratch points for me here… though I’m not sure I will ever reach the point of making my own sausage…

As for cheese, I chose mozzarella and goats milk feta. Kingsolver has a chapter on cheese making, which peaked my interest in this unexplored area of kitchen science. Kath makes it look easy… I might be ordering rennet and experimenting with cheesemongering in the near future…

His and Hers pizza slices

His and Hers pizza slices

The spinach also gets 0% made from scratch since it was neither local nor home grown…

So, let’s add things up:

“Made From Scratch” Pizza Math

  • Crust – 100%
  • Sauce – 50%
  • Pesto – 100%
  • Cheese – 0%
  • Sausage – 0%
  • Spinach – 0%

Total: 41.67% made from scratch

Delicious!

Delicious!

Had I made this without the sausage, my percentage would have been much higher… Not bad for my first foray into homemade crust.

This pizza was delicious, and it gave me great joy to know that I had made so many of the elements from scratch. The added time spent making crust, sauce, and pesto was time well spent in the kitchen.

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

-L