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 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 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**

beautiful boat bundt cake…

this week was the bayram, or eid, here in turkey, and we were lucky enough to manage to come to the south of turkey for a short escape from the city.

the weather has been typical late spring weather for this area. Hot midday and cool and crisp at night. we did some hiking, some swimming, a lot of reading and relaxing, and a whole bunch of cooking.

one of our favorite recipes to make on vacation is a very light, gluten free almond cake. (we also made a not at all light chocolate cake- not gluten free so not for me- and a banana bread that was a full flop- we combined two recipes and it did NOT work out at all!)

but this lemon cake is delicious. we served it warm out of the oven and it was gone within the hour. i was secretly hoping for a little slice for breakfast, but no dice.

it is so simple that i don’t know why we have never made it at home. but you know, some things just taste better in some places. so, this is our beautiful boat bundt cake… enjoy!

ingredients-

  • 4 organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh almond milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemond rind
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (alegra says to try chia seeds if you don’t have poppy)
  • 2 cups almond flour (we added a couple more tablespoons to make the dough more doughy)

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • grease bundt pan with olive oil
  • mix eggs, sugar, almond milk, and olive oil with hand blender
  • add baking powder, vanilla extract
  • mix in almond flour slowly until you reach a doughy consistency
  • fold in poppy seeds and lemon rind
  • pour into bundt pan and place in over
  • bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  • allow to cool for 5-10 minutes
  • invert on serving dish and serve warm with a glass of turkish tea 🙂

a special thanks to birdal abi for sharing this recipe with us!!

cinnamon bun heaven…

we are having a crazy day here at our house!

we have yet another LONG weekend lockdown (this time four full days); there is a mini-heat wave happening; supposed to be a pesticide spray happening in our neighborhood (so all our windows are closed and we are boiling); we spent 30 minutes chasing the chickens around to get them cooped up before the spraying started (it still hasn’t!); and the electricity just went out.  everything already felt a little surreal when we woke up this morning but now all this is just really a bit extra.

so, our usual saturday live cooking session has been postponed. but we didn’t want to leave you all hanging on a saturday!

so, here is a fantastic recipe for cinnamon buns that we first made last summer on vacation… it is relatively easy, just be sure to plan for some time to allow the dough to rise 🙂

ingredients-

            for the rolls-

  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter + some for greasing your pan
  • 1 package instant yeast- mix with small amount of warm water allow to sit 10 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups gluten free flour (regular flour works too if you’d prefer)

            for the filling-

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

for the glaze (completely optional)-

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • grease a baking dish with butter
  • melt 6 tablespoons butter and mix in milk
  • add in yeast, sugar, salt and vanilla extract, mix well and allow to rest for 2 minutes
  • slowly combine flour and wet ingredients – mixing well between each addition
  • add flour until dough if formed- you might need a little more or less that 4 full cups
  • knead the dough slightly then form into a ball
  • cover with a dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour
  • meanwhile mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and allow ¼ cup butter to soften
  • after an hour, sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll out dough
  • dough should be about 1.5 centimeters thick- cut edges so dough is straight
  • spread soft butter all over your dough and then sprinkle on the cinnamon mixture
  • roll the dough into one large roll and then slice into 2-centimeter-wide rolls
  • place in baking dish with each roll touching each other
  • bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes- check to make sure they are baked through
  • make glaze by mixing powdered sugar and milk- mix well
  • pour over warm buns
  • serve immediately with a cup of tea and enjoy!

this recipe was adapted from “she likes food”

sole simplified…

our latest fish at home meal was another great success!!

…and we managed to use up some of the freezer food to boot!

sole meuniere has always been one of erim’s all-time favorite dishes to order. the girls like it too; i mean really, what’s not to like- delicious fish and a ton of butter 🙂

but cooking a traditional sole meuniere at home has always felt a little daunting, a little decadent.

so, i started digging around to find a version that might be even just a little bit lighter; both in terms of process and product. this simplified oven version turned out to be perfect. it was also a huge relief to be prepping the fish for the oven since i also realized that i didn’t have a skillet large enough to hold the whole fish- so the classical stovetop version would have literally been impossible.

you only need a few basic ingredients and the cooking time is short too.  we also made a lovely green salad, some roasted new potatoes, and some fresh grilled baby zucchinis for a simple, satisfying spring dinner…

ingredients-

  • 2 dover sole fillets (feeds 2-4 people depending on age and size)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 180 degress celsius
  • line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • place clean fillets onto baking sheet
  • season with salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkle chopped parsley and small pats of butter on top of fish
  • place 2-3 lemon slices on top of each fillet
  • squeeze juice of any remaining lemon slices onto fish
  • bake for 10-12 minutes- fish should be light and flaky
  • transfer to serving dish and serve immediately
our grilled baby zucchinis…

this recipe was adapted from andrea beaman’s life is delicious

a little challenge…

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE this week we have a little challenge for you… with all the cooking going on at home- three meals a day, (and some snacks too) everyday, is a lot! add to this the nervous grocery shopping that seems to happen each week before the weekend lockdown; we have found ourselves with too much food! and as more and more people are affected by the pandemic globally, it is a hard truth that while we find ourselves with too much; there are SO many people who find themselves with not nearly enough. according to the world food program, a united nations agency, disruptions in the food supply chain, decreases in donations to food aid programs, and school closures could cause the global number of people facing acute hunger to double this year.  this would mean that up to 265 million people could be in danger of being malnourished, or worse starvation. around the world, the repercussions of these changes, coupled with strict lockdowns in many countries such as india and kenya, have made finding healthy, nourishing food extremely difficult for at-risk groups. and, as a result of school closures an estimated 368 million children have lost the nutritious snacks and meals they normally receive; creating a significant risk of underdevelopment and other growth issues. with all this in mind; and looking at the abundance that we are so privileged to have, we have started a little challenge for ourselves.  this week, with the exception of fresh vegetables and fruits sent from a local farm, we will not buy anything new. no new bread- if we run out we can try baking our own. no new sweets- we will bake, or just skip the cookies this week. if someone doesn’t like the kind cheese we have left- that’s ok, we can make hummus or try something new. no new drinks or juices- we’ll finish what we have. no more meat- if we finish what’s in the freezer then we can have a couple of vegan days too. we have plenty. And focusing on what we have rather than what we don’t have seems like a pretty good plan these days… so feel free to follow along- and join us too! i’ll be posting a daily picture of our fridge as it empties out, and sharing more recipes too as we go through the week; stay tuned

PS: this recent article from new York times explains the global situation in a very clear, child appropriate manner… you can find it here

a little peanut butter connection…

the other day alegra and i made peanut butter cookies and read some great bedtime books on instagram…

live instagram, facetime, houseparty, zoom… these have all be hugely important tools for us during these times of self-isolation and social distancing.  honestly, if you had told me two months ago i would be doing at least one live video on instagram every day i would have thought that you had lost your mind!

i am actually terribly shy and really pretty self-conscious too; so the idea of being live daily in front of an audience, even a virtual one, would have been something hard for me to believe.

but i have to say that i am enjoying it immensely. i have reconnected with a lot of old friends and their children, students from my lola days have been hugely supportive, and new followers have found us too!

here is the recipe for the cookies, it is a basic peanut butter cookie recipe that is pretty much foolproof… feel free to add in the chocolate chips at the end like alegra did, or use chunky peanut butter instead of smooth. i am thinking about trying almond butter next time to see how that works- i will keep you posted!

ingredients-

  • 1 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large organic egg (or 1 flax egg)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • optional add ins- chocolate chips, raisins, shredded coconut

instructions-

  • preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius
  • line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • mix all ingredients together- adding in extras if you want
  • form dough into small round balls and place on baking sheet
  • cook for 5 minutes and make cross shapes using the back of a fork
  • cook for another 7-8 minutes depending on how crumbly you like your cookies- (cook shorter for chewier cookies)
  • remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes of baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack

serve with milk or tea for a perfect afternoon snack!!