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Be forewarned… long day of fun with lots of pictures

This glorious Sunday morning started with an outing to the Milwaukie Center dog park to meet new puppy Jack.  what a cutie and so sweet!  Coe was only interested in chasing her ball and stopped only briefly to sniff a new bootie when it ran by.  I’m not a fan of fenced off-leash parks because it gives dog parents who aren’t interested an opportunity to let their little hellion run wild and abuse good natured folks.  This morning was cold and bright, so only the dedicated parents and pooches were out.  With only a few minor skirmishes, we had a lovely time playing.

Coffee followed at the new and darling Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine.  Beautiful pastries, local products, cooking classes, coffee from Ristretto Roasters, and amazing wines all in a great space.  The moment I walked in I was wrapped in the aroma of baking croissants.  The wall to the left is a giant chalkboard that touts the menu and upcoming classes.  The rest of the shop spreads out to the right.  I’d love to say, this little shop is what I someday see Lula Harp growing up to be.

Note to self… NEVER go to Winco on a Sunday morning again.  It was sheer chaos.  Thank goodness I needed less than 10 things, so I got the hell outta there as quick as I could.  Penzey’s on the other hand was delightfully quiet.

When we got home, I turned off the heat and threw the door open to let the beautiful day in.  We had a lovely 50-something spring day here today!  Coe paced around the house looking for the perfect spot to take her nap, but would not lay down.  Finally, I opened the front door for her and she promptly laid down for her nap in the sun.  Settling in for an afternoon of watching the cars drive by.

Then I began work on my Morning Glory Muffins.  I’ve had a local variation on this tasty treat.  Today’s recipe hails from King Arthur but I had to put my twist on it.

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) raisins (I used dried cranberries)
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar (3/4c)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (omitted and added ginger simple syrup…see below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (7 ounces) carrots, peeled and grated (probably halved, not entirely intentional)
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut (I used unsweetened coconut)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts (probably increased)
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sunflower seeds or wheat germ, optional (I added 1/3 cup BOTH sunflower seeds and flax seeds)
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice (omitted oj, added ginger simple syrup and reduced by about half)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line it with papers and spray the insides of the papers.

TO MAKE THE MUFFINS: In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water, and set them aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, nuts, and sunflower seeds or wheat germ, if using. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and orange juice. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. Drain the raisins and stir them in. Put all ingredients, except flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix well.  Add flour and baking soda and again, mix well.  Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan (they’ll be full almost to the top; that’s OK).

TO BAKE THE MUFFINS: Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes in their pan on a rack, then turn out of pans to finish cooling.  Mini muffins took 15-17 minutes.

My variation came out, I’m sure, less sweet than the original, but as moist as the reviewers said it would.  They taste super yummy and I’ll be working them into the regular rotation for an easy grab and go breakfast.

Nutrition information based on the ORIGINAL recipe per serving (1 muffin, 106g): 20g whole grains, 342 cal, 18g fat, 6g protein, 26g complex carbohydrates, 19g sugar, 4g dietary fiber, 53mg Cholesterol, 347mg sodium, 322mg potassium, 541RE vitamin A, 3mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 47mg calcium, 131mg phosphorous.

The day ended with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.  3 Doors Down had a $19 spaghetti bowl dinner.  Since I don’t like football and the Saints didn’t make it to the super bowl, I had even less reason than normal to care.  So, I was game for the spaghetti bowl!  As many times as I have eaten at 3 Doors Down over the years, I’d honestly tell you if there was a disappointing experience.  There genuinely have been no none.  There are dishes that are good instead of great, but nothing terrible.  The service is always nice and tonight was no exception.

Once we started looking at the menu, we all opted for something other than the special football dinner.  Our server brought a cheese plate that the folks worked on and I started with a golden beet salad.  N and I each had the Carlton Farms pork chop with brussel sprouts and is truly one of my favorite dishes on the menu.  Dad had a seafood linguine with a spicy tomato broth.

This day could not have been better.  I got lots done and got in quality time with friends and family.  Here’s to another beautiful week.

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