sunday muffins…gluten free apricot tart a la alara and alegra…

so remember how we are going with the flow and being creative this week because we have no muffin tin?

well, the results have been pretty amazing so far!

alara and alegra were itching to bake something gluten free and delicious for this sunday’s recipe and i was really craving a yummy breakfast treat to go with my morning coffee and here is what we came up with- a completely delicious, completely gluten free almond apricot tart! 

i adore fresh apricots and try to eat them as long as they are in season 🌱🌱🌱 we are lucky here in southern turkey because the land is so fertile that finding good fresh fruits and vegetables is always easy.

and so, with a big bag of ripe apricots ready to go, the girls set off on their next baking adventure…

ingredients: 

  • 1 cup organic almond flour
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs 
  • ⅓ cup butter- browned and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 apricots halved and pitted (you may need more depending on the size of your tart pan)

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • mix together almond flour, gluten free flour, baking powder, salt and ginger
  • in a separate bowl whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla extract 
  • combine wet and dry and mix well
  • pour batter into greased tart pan and spread evenly with a spatula
  • press apricots halves, skin side down, into batter- sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar if desired
  • bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean
  • cool completely on a cooling rack and then slice and serve for a great breakfast treat; or with your morning coffee or afternoon tea! 

**recipe lovingly adapted from blossoms to stem**

a tasty tart to go with this weeks books 🌟

sunday muffins…alegra’s special gluten free cookies…

so, we came to the boat last weekend…. and despite the many, many post-it reminders that i had set up for myself i completely forgot to pack the muffin tin! 

but not to worry, we are still baking- we are just getting a little creative in our definition of “muffin”! 

this week our baked goods come to us from the very talented hands of alegra! 

she had an evening all on her own at the boat and used some of her downtime to make these delicious gluten free cookies for her gluten free buddy, eva. 

these have a bit more sugar than our regular weekend treats, but with all the swimming, sailing, paddle boarding and canoeing that we have been doing late i think they are a perfectly appropriate summer splurge ☀️

ingredients:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar 
  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter-melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups gluten free flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 giant handfuls of gluten free oats
  • 2 giant handfuls of chocolate chips (you could also use raisins or cranberries if preferred)

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • mix melted butter and sugars in a medium sized bowl
  • add egg and vanilla extract and mix well
  • sift together salt, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and oats
  • combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well
  • add in chocolate chips and mix until just combined
  • bake in oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown
  • cool on rack and enjoy with a good book and a glass of homemade lemonade after a long summer swim!

sunday muffins… gluten free vanilla…

happy fourth of july!

this year’s celebration is a little different! alegra and i are on the way to the southern turkey where she will attend a sailing camp for 10days.  it feels very summery and july-like to be off to sail and i am so proud of her for taking a chance and trying something new! 

alara knew we would be leaving first thing today and so she very, very sweetly baked us fourth of july cupcakes for the road! she decorated them in red and blue with white sprinkles in honor of the holiday and i have to say i am pretty impressed 🙂 

alara tells me the recipe was super simple and foolproof- we added a bit less maple syrup than usual and she was so smart to add a whole bunch of cinnamon and ginger because she knows i love a little spice! 

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday whether you are celebrating or not- send us pictures if you have fireworks and tag us if you try the cupcakes too!

Muffins packed and ready for the road!!!

ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups almond flour
  • ¼ cups coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • frosting and sprinkles if desired

instructions 

  • preheat 180 degrees celsius , and line your muffin tin
  • whisk together butter eggs syrup and vanilla
  • next,add flowers baking powder and spices,mix well
  • scoop batter into muffin tin and bake for 12-15 minutes
  • once tops are golden brown remove from oven and place on cooling rack
  • frost and decorate as desired- for a less sugary version decorate with chopped strawberries and blueberries-perfect for the fourth of july!!! 🌟❤️💙

**recipe adapted from toasted peanuts**

sunday muffins…gluten free and vegan carrot raisin…

june was a crazy, crazy month for us! in just the span of four weeks we finished schools, celebrated two important birthdays, made it through alara’s really important final exams, closed out alegra’s pony competition season, celebrated the girls birthdays (again!), celebrated asya’s graduation and went to the boat for a rather hectic vacation!!!

not surprisingly, in the midst of all this excitement i not only forgot to read on two Sundays- but i also completely missed posting one of the best muffin recipes we have made yet!

I am so sorry! not only for the confusion, but also for having kept your from these amazing muffins! they are hands down one of the best things i have had for breakfast in a long time- especially now that the weather here in istanbul is getting really hot, these are a filling but light and easy way to start your day. 🙂

ingredients: 

  • 1 ½  cups grated fresh carrot
  • ⅓ cup seedless raisins
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnut bits 
  • ¼  cup organic almond butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup 
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 ½  cups gluten free oat
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger 
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1 tbl vanilla extract
  • 2 tbl fresh almond milk 
  • 2 tbl ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tbl water

instructions: 

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease your muffin tin with coconut oil
  • combine flaxseed and water and set aside
  • mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • create a well in the middle of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients one at a time
  • mix well
  • add carrots, raisins and walnuts and stir gently 
  • bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  • serve warm with a cup of coffee for a perfect easy breakfast or snack! 🥕

**recipe adapted from “from my bowl”**

sunday muffins…gluten free and vegan chocolate chocolate chip…

today’s muffins are MINI muffins and they are amazing! the perfect bite sized muffin to eat with a cup of afternoon tea and a good book!

stuck in another Sunday lockdown here in istanbul, making these muffins were a perfect midday distraction for me and alegra. because they are mini muffins they bake quickly and this super easy recipe can be made in only one bowl- making it ideal for easy cleanup too!

our book reading of the day featured a mouse and a brownie and i enjoyed a chocolatey treat along with the mouse…

easy to make, easy to eat 🙂 and easy to pack as a healthy snack- we hope you enjoy these muffins as much as we did!

ingredients:

instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line 2 mini muffin tins. 
  • Prepare flax eggs and set aside. 
  • Mash bananas in the bottom of a large mixing bowl and then add wet ingredients and mix well. Add coconut sugar, baking powder, and sea salt mix once more. 
  • Next stir in cocoa powder, gluten-free flour, oats, and almond flour. Our batter was a bit thick so we added a little more almond milk, but don’t worry it will be thicker rather than thinner- perfect for scooping! 
  • Finally stir in the chocolate chips and then fill up the mini muffin tins.  
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes and then cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  • Will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge, enjoy with a cup of tea and a good book 🐭

**recipe adapted from the always amazing, minimalist baker**

today’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Brownie

sunday muffins…. gluten free and vegan lemon poppyseed…

sunday muffins…. gluten free and vegan lemon poppyseed…

i am happy to report that with the exception of not having any muffin tin liners left at home this recipe went off without a hitch! and, as an added bonus- just as i was contemplating prepping for the muffins one of my best buddies here in istanbul sent me a giant bag of lemons! it was fate.

i woke up early to bake these for our breakfast and it was so worth it.  nearly sugar free, the lemony taste with the poppyseeds was just perfect and i savored my muffin with a fantastic cup of morning coffee.

it was early enough that i was moving a bit slowly, but i would say these muffins could be ready in one-hour tops. have your ingredients ready and a hot oven waiting, and you will be set.

ingredients

  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seed with 6 tbsp water- mix and set aside)
  • ½ cup nut mylk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil-softened
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

instructions

  • preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. (400f)
  • line muffin tin with muffin liners or grease with coconut oil and sprinkle with almond flour
  • mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, poppy seeds and lemon zest
  • in a separate bowl mix flax eggs, lemon juice, coconut oil and nut mylk
  • combine wet and dry ingredients and spoon into muffin tin
  • cook for 20-25 minutes (mine were perfect at 22 minutes) and cool on baking rack
  • serve warm with a good cup of coffee… enjoy!!!

sunday muffins…. gluten free very berry

another lockdown weekend; another funny muffin story! 

yesterday i was absolutely exhausted. i had bitten off too many weekend projects, had too many meals to cook and way too many things to tidy and by the time our muffin baking rolled around i had really had it with the idea of being in the kitchen.  

my beautiful children came to the rescue! alegra loves all things cooking related anyway so she was ready to help and alara has been studying like a crazy person for her upcoming in-person exams.  we still don’t know if these exams will actually happen but, rightfully so, she really wants to be prepared.  give or take a few days, when she goes back mid-week, she will have not hand any in person learning for exactly 12 months. (the other two did have the opportunity to go to “real” school in the fall so alara holds our family record for number of days of online school.) 

i had planned to make some very berry muffins- one of my favorites- but i had not planned well enough to actually make sure we had all the ingredients we might need. oops.

we did seem to have an inordinate amount of coconut flour, so that is what we used. the end result was good, although very coconutty! if you do decide to recreate our coconutty berry muffins just be prepared to use a bit more almond milk as coconut flour tends to soak up liquid more than other gluten free flours.

ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour (in hindsight i recommend using an almond flour and oat combo)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¾ cup nut mylk (or more if using coconut flour)
  • 1 flax egg (or regular if not vegan)
  • 8 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries
  • ¾ cup brown sugar 

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (375 f)
  • prepare muffin tin with liners
  • combine berries and sugar and mix gently- set aside
  • mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger together.
  • in a separate bowl combine nut mylk, flax egg and melted coconut oil
  • make a well in dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in
  • mix until just combined; adding more nut mylk if necessary- batter should be moist and may have some small lumps
  • add berry mixture and mix gently
  • spoon batter into muffin tins – cook for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and tops are browned
  • cool slightly on cooling rack and serve warm for a perfect breakfast treat!  

**recipe loosely adapted from ina garten’s barefoot contessa cookbook**

sunday muffins- gluten free and vegan banana…

funny story about this sunday’s muffins- alara and i were cooking a bunch of food for the lockdown weekend and i decided we would “try out” this recipe i had come up with.

but truth be told, i really was not concentrating on the muffins and so the whole thing turned into a bit of a joke!!!

i added extra ingredients, put in a bit too much baking powder, and completely forgot to preheat the oven 😅

oh well! the results were still delicious, and we tried out the recipe again today for a loaf of banana bread and so now the recipe is tried and true and ready to be shared…

covid and lockdown have been really stressful for us all and a bit of baking and laughing this week did us all a lot of good…

my wish for you is to have the (maybe unexpected) chance to enjoy the baking process with one of your children too; and be sure to get some laughs in too!!!

these muffins are perfect for breakfast- serve with a large dollop of nut butter, a sprinkling of chia seeds and a cup of coffee for a perfect winter treat.

oh! and i forgot, this is a blender recipe, so you only need one mixing bowl- or a blender- and you are set…

ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar 
  • 3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup nut mylk
  • ¼ cup nut butter 
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees 
  • line a muffin tin with muffin liners 
    • use a bread pan lined with parchment paper if you would rather make banana bread
  • blend bananas, sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, nut mylk, nut butter in blender or with hand mixer
  • add in oats, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and chia seeds
  • for muffins bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  • for full loaf of banana bread bake for 25-30 minute

the whole load turned out amazing too… perfect for breakfast in the snowy winter weather we have these days here in istanbul ❄️

sunday muffins- gluten-free double chocolate mini muffins!

nothing beats a little bit of chocolate and these mini muffins really just hit the spot!

last weekend we were away and fortunate enough to get to spend sunday morning on the beach.  our short vacation was much needed and we all returned feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. the thought of travelling internationally during the pandemic had us all on edge but everything went better than we anticipated and being able to spend most of our time outdoors helped to assuage our fears of being around strangers for the first time in months.

we visited a hotel in dubai where we had stayed before; but quite some time ago- our last visit there was in 2013-and we found many pleasant changes upon our arrival… more restaurants to visit, a whole new wing of the hotel, and tons of gluten-free options. full gluten-free menus are now easily available in all the dining areas and asking for gluten-free bread was not met with looks of uncertainty! at breakfast i was even offered a whole basket of gluten-free pastries- first time that has ever happened!

the mini muffins were my favorite and they are the inspiration behind this week’s sunday muffins. i’m not sure which recipe the hotel used but here is one with shredded zucchini that we love in our house- not vegan but thoroughly gluten-free and delicious too!

ingredients:

  • 1 cup zucchini- shredded 
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 large handful dark and milk chocolate- roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut oil- melted

instructions: 

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • line mini muffin pan with muffin liners
  • combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • combine eggs, almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract in another bowl- mixing well
  • pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined
  • add in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips
  • use a small spoon to fill muffin cups
  • bake for 10-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean

*** if making regular sized muffins please increase cook time to 20-25 minutes***

a new routine- sunday muffins!

join us as we embark on a new routine- sunday muffins!

as a virgo through and through i am a very big fan of routines.  

knowing what is coming up centers me. it helps me to keep some of the more anxious thoughts and “what ifs” at bay. not only do i love living the routine, but i also adore planning the routine.  i have all sorts of notebooks- one for daily to-dos; one for our weekly meals; one for recipes; one for bigger, long term plans- and tons of lists! books to be read; articles to check out; yoga classes to take; things to buy; things to give away… all listed nicely and neatly.

as much as i love a routine life, over the years i have learned (sometimes the hard way) to let go and go with the flow (sort of).  juggling the needs, wants and schedules of three kids; living in the beautiful chaos of istanbul; being connected to other people socially and professionally- all these have been known to cause glitches from time to time! 

and of course, this year we are living through the biggest glitch of all! not in a million years would i have ever thought we would be on month 10 of staying home, at home learning, curfew and weekend lockdowns.  i really somehow thought this would be a couple months long blip in an otherwise normal year.

the first couple of months were better; alegra and i had a really great whiteboard, and we had a schedule for every day- it was great! i knew what was coming, everyone at home knew the plan.  it was as “normal” as one could have hoped for.

but these days, as covid wears on and on, i am finding it hard to even consider creating a routine.  i had hoped new years would inspire me but here i am halfway into the month and still a bit lost.

so, as i baked these muffins for sunday morning breakfast, i realized these might just be the perfect way to start a new routine! 

i’ve had food projects before; you can find a whole year of vegetable fritters (mucver, in turkish) here … and a year of gluten free kid-friendly treats here 

and so, it seems 2021 will be the year of muffins! the muffins will always be gluten-free; though not always vegan nor sugar free (sometimes we need a little treat too, guys!) i hope that you enjoy this new routine as much as i do 🙂

gluten-free vegan blueberry muffins

ingredients:

  • 2 vegan flax eggs (mix 2 tablespoons ground flax seed with 6 tablespoons water and set aside to thicken)
  • 2/3 cup vegan buttermilk (mix nut mylk with 2 teaspoons vinegar and set aside)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup gluten free oats
  • ¾ cup gluten free flour mix **
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup blueberries (can be fresh or frozen)

instructions:

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • line muffin pan with liner cups
  • combine flours, oats, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix well
  • add flax egg, buttermilk, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract and mix until just combined
  • fold in blueberries carefully – 
    • batter should be thick at this point, if not add 1-2 tablespoons almond flour
  • spoon batter into prepared muffin pan 
  • bake for about 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean
  • cool on rack for at least 10 minutes
  • serve warm with a cup of tea or coffee! 

** recently, i have been using organik bahce’s gluten free flour mix here in turkey**