Friday, November 28, 2014

Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Muffins

What to do with the Thanksgiving leftovers?  I'm all reliving the experience at lunch the next day.

My original plan was to have a lazy morning and let my kiddos concoct their own breakfast the day after, allowing me an extra cup of coffee and time to slowly get my day started.  The amazing part is that my kiddos love mornings that they get to fend for themselves!  Perhaps because it doesn't happen that often.

However, after sending the Thanksgiving guests home I discovered stowaways in the form of cousins.  (Kidding! Of course they had been pre-approved to stay.)  It seems like poor form to have the cousins fend for themselves, so this mama made muffins for everyone.

Having extra sweet potatoes made easy muffins.  Adding streusel topping made them a special occasion.  Here's the recipe so you can use up those yummy leftovers too!

Sweet Potato Muffins

1 1/4 c all purpose flour (can use gf flour)
3/4 c sprouted spelt flour (sub in any whole grain flour here)
1/2 c quinoa four
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 c mashed sweet potato (or pumpkin, or squash- I've used them all.)
2/3 c unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice (I use hemp.)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 c safflower oil

Streusel Topping

1/2 c all purpose flour (or gf flour of choice)
1/4 c cane sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c Earth Balance soy free margarine
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375.  Line muffin pan. (These liners rock.  Nothing sticks.)  In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients together.  In a smaller bowl mix mashed sweet potato, milk, vinegar, and oil. Set aside.

Now make the topping.  In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Cut in margarine until mixture is uniform and sandy.

Time to pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently until fully incorporated.  I use an ice cream scoop to evenly fill the muffin pans.  Sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Tip muffins up at a slight angle to allow steam to escape from the bottoms- no one likes a soggy bottom- and serve at your leisure.  These are good warm or cold.

Carefully made these are nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, can tastily be gluten-free, rice-free, vegan, and delicious.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Clawson: Why resignation is not an adequate solution.

Earlier in the week a video was released showing a discussion of how to accommodate children with food allergies within the Clawson Public School district.  During the discussion one employee made an extremely irresponsible and offensive remark, at which her colleagues laughed.  Her remark was not the only inappropriate suggestion made, but was by far the largest misstep.

It has been announced that she has voluntarily resigned her position after the allergy community called her behavior into question publicly.

I am saddened by her loss of employment.  Her mistake was grave, and in need of serious corrective action.  It saddens me to think that job loss is the first answer the public jumps to when large errors have been made.  If she leaves quietly, her attitude goes with her.  She will not be required to learn more about why her statement was so unacceptable, she can not be required to take additional training on sensitivity, appropriate conduct, or disability awareness.  She needs these things.  Leaving the position does not provide resolution for her impulsive and offensive conduct.  It simply allows her to take this attitude with her to another position.

More, her resignation only impacts her behavior.  This is not an appropriate solution.

The woman who resigned is not the leader, not in charge of the board.  She is an employee.  She felt comfortable launching that statement into the discussion with her colleagues, in the presence of her manager.  There was no reluctance, and no reticence.  Neither her co-workers or the president of the board called her out on her remark.  There was  no stunned silence, or jaws dropping.  ( I know mine did!)  In fact, a few others had less offensive but equally inappropriate suggestions.  There was laughter at a few of the suggestions, both uncomfortable laughter and the type that acknowledges that a suggestion is not feasible but fun to toss around.  This seems to indicate a culture of acceptance for such attitudes and remarks.

My impression is that this in an issue at an institutional level.  I hope that the Clawson Public School district does not accept that removing the outspoken person solves the problem.  We, as an allergy community, can not afford to let the discrimination expressed here go underground and fester quietly.  There needs to be a way to rebuild the culture within the institution to support children with special needs, to embrace the challenge of including diversity and difference in the classroom respectfully.

To that end, I sincerely hope that the district will accept the offers of help that the national allergy organizations have made, and obtain additional training for their board, and even their staff at building levels if needed.  While we can offer training to help them better understand the seriousness of food allergies, I hope that the effort does not stop there.  There needs to be follow up to provide additional training on appropriate work conduct, sensitivity, and disability awareness.

I am proud of many in the allergy community for offering to provide support to the district in the form of training.  I am proud of the members of our community who were able to quickly mobilize to respectfully request corrective action to be taken.  I am in awe of the collective response, asking for children with food allergies to be treated respectfully, with their disability treated with the gravity it deserves.

Thank you to each and every person who sent a respectful message asking for this issue to be addressed.  I applaud your effort and your restraint.  It can be difficult to remain focused on facts, and not be pulled into the emotional discussion that this video evokes.  Kudos to each of you who managed to represent us well, and to help our voice be heard.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monday Menu Plan

It's turkey week!  I am looking forward to spending some quality time in the kitchen churning out delightful treats and a meal to share with my family.  I do hope that the week brings you a meal with the people that you love.

Monday (beef)
Breakfast: raspberry muffins
Lunch: potato leek soup
Dinner: burgers, cherry applesauce, green beans with shallots

Tuesday (fish)
Breakfast: breakfast cookies
Lunch: beef hot dogs
Dinner: citrus sesame salmon, cauliflower rice, peas

Wednesday (pork)
Breakfast: zucchini pancakes
Lunch: salmon sandwiches
Dinner: spaghetti with meat sauce

Thursday (turkey- of course!)
Breakfast: sausage and green smoothies
Lunch: on your own
Dinner: turkey, maple mashed sweet potatoes with bacon, cranberry sauce, roasted rainbow carrots, applesauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pumpkin roll, coconut whipped cream, whatever else I throw in at the last minute!

Friday (vegan)
Breakfast: cream of buckwheat
Lunch: leftovers of course!
Dinner: lentil soup, cornbread

Saturday (beef)
Breakfast: sweet potato hash
Lunch: veggie wrap with hummus
Dinner: meatballs and mystery veggies

Sunday (fish)
Breakfast: coffee cake
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: fish sticks, lemon pepper pasta, garlicky spinach

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Menu Plan

Today was our first big snow, and I admit that soup sounds so heavenly!  I had to resist putting it on the menu every night!  Here's what our week looks like:

Monday (pork)
Breakfast: cranberry orange muffins
Lunch: sunbutter and jelly
Dinner: Italian sausage soup, corn muffins

Tuesday (vegan)
Breakfast: pork sausage, cinnamon roasted butternut squash
Lunch: breakfast sausage
Dinner: two bean chili, whole wheat zucchini herb bread

Wednesday ( turkey)
Breakfast: sunbutter coffee cake
Lunch: chili
Dinner: bbq turkey thighs, cauliflower rice, garlicky spinach, applesauce

Thursday (beef)
Breakfast: turkey sausage, sautéed veggies
Lunch: beans and weenies
Dinner: beef stroganoff, pasta, peas, spiced peaches

Friday (fish)
Breakfast: sweet potato hash
Lunch: hummus and veggies
Dinner: almost tuna noodle casserole, green beans

Saturday (pork)
Breakfast: donuts
Lunch: tuna melt
Dinner: ribs, fried cabbage, honey glazed carrots

Sunday (vegan)
Breakfast: bacon, herb roasted potatoes
Lunch: sausage balls
Dinner: potato leek soup, spinach salad with balsamic berries

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Caramel blanketed Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Caramel apples are an iconic fall treat, and feeling a bit of fall in the air this morning, I opted to carry them right into my breakfast.

The apple cinnamon muffin is wonderful on its own, fluffy and light with tidbits of apple in every bite.  Add a bit of caramel sauce drizzled over the top to elevate this into a perfect Sunday brunch treat.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

1 c all purpose flour (*see note for gf)
1/2 c sprouted whole wheat flour (or spelt, or other whole grain option)
1/2 c cane sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 c safflower oil (or oil of choice)
1/4 c non-dairy milk of choice + additional as needed
2 Tbsp flax meal + 4 Tbsp warm water, combined and set aside
1 tsp vanilla
1 c grated apple (Do this with the large holes on a box grater to avoid mush, or chop fine.)

Caramel Sauce (borrowed from here)

1/2 c Earth Balance soy free margarine
1 c light brown sugar
1/2 c maple syrup (the real stuff)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

For the muffins:
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine evenly. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to combine.  Add wet to dry and stir to mix well.  Depending on how juicy your apple was, you may need to add up to 1/3 c of additional milk to achieve a moist muffin batter.  Spoon into lined muffin cups and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Now make your caramel sauce!

For the caramel sauce:
Combine the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat and stir to combine.  Once fully combined, step away!  Do not stir.  Allow mixture to come to a boil, and boil gently without stirring for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the salt, soda and vanilla.  Drizzle (or pour- it's your muffin!) immediately over warm muffins.  This sauce will harden as it cools, so make sure to pour warm!  You may also add 1/4 c of the milk of your choice after pulling it off the heat to increase the creaminess and prevent the sauce from getting as stiff upon cooling.

Eat and enjoy!

*Note: for gluten free muffins you can substitute gluten free all purpose flour of your choice, and 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum.  I like to use 1/2 c sprouted millet flour, 1/2 c sprouted sorghum flour, 1/4 c potato starch, and 1/4 c tapioca starch for the flour mix in this recipe.

This recipe is dairy free, egg free, nut free, soy free, vegan, can be gluten free, and fully delicious.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Down and dirty, here is the plan for the upcoming week.  (Subject to change based on market specials of course.)

Monday (beef)
Breakfast: pumpkin muffins
Lunch: turkey slices
Dinner: chili bake

Tuesday (fish)
Breakfast: blueberry muffins
Lunch: beans and weenies
Dinner: honey sesame salmon, cauliflower rice, roasted beets

Wednesday (pork)
Breakfast: zucchini muffins
Lunch: sunbutter and jelly
Dinner: Italian sausage, pasta with marinara, peas

Thursday (vegan)
Breakfast: sausage balls, fruit
Lunch: pepperoni "lunchables"
Dinner: carrot ginger soup, berry spinach salad

Friday (turkey)
Breakfast: green tea muffins with cranberries
Lunch: hummus and veggie wraps
Dinner: mulligatawny soup

Saturday (beef)
Breakfast: turkey sausage and roasted veggies
Lunch: on your own
Dinner: chipotle shepherd's pie with sweet potato crust

Sunday (fish)
Breakfast: cinnamon rolls, green smoothie
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: crispy baked lemon cod, garlicky spinach, lemon pepper pasta

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dear Strong Mama, a note of Thanksgiving

Dear Strong Mama,

I've never said it to you, but you inspire me.  You get me through days when life is hard, and heavy.

I watch you show up everyday.  I watch you balance the challenges of your own life, plus those of caring for a child with challenges of her own.  Some days you look tired, and I know you didn't get any time to yourself to replenish your tank.  But you still show up.

Some days you talk and share a window into your day.  And it's real.  It's your life, your experience.  I'm amazed at how much you can see in a positive light, and I love it.  I appreciate it more because it's not a front that you hide behind, and you do share less than shining moments.  They don't claim your focus, and you don't dwell in the world of pessimism.

Thank you for modeling how to do that.  How to see the sunlight more often than the shadows.  How to be strong in the face of opposition.

We've haven't talked often.  I know you have no idea how much influence you have had on my life.  How watching you go through your day with such courage and authenticity gives me the courage to face my own challenges.  How seeing the huge hurdles in your life gives me perspective on the hurdles in my own life.

I'm so glad that you asked for support when you needed it.  I am honored that I was able to put a hand out and offer support to you in a dark moment, after getting support from you for so long.  I know that I didn't sign my name.  I think it is fitting to support you quietly, without asking for attention or recognition, the same way that you have been supporting me.

Thank you, Strong Mama.  Thanks for being my support, and living an example that helps me to wade through life's hard days.  Keep on, I'll be over here cheering for you quietly.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

And another week rolled by, fast and furious!  In preparation for the upcoming one, I have my meal plan.  It's really quite hard to believe how much this little habit helps me to maintain my sanity when the day is long and bumpy.

Monday (vegan)
Breakfast: apple cinnamon muffins
Lunch: apples and sunbutter
Dinner: Bharta, quinoa pasta, peas (this is held over from last night as our dinner plans changed!)

Tuesday (turkey)
Breakfast: lemon sesame muffins
Lunch: hummus wraps with shredded veggies
Dinner: turkey sloppy joe over baked potatoes, roasted orange peel broccoli, melon

Wednesday (beef)
Breakfast: turkey sausage and veggie saute
Lunch: sloppy joe
Dinner: beef stew, quinoa, garlicky spinach, mandarin oranges

Thursday (fish)
Breakfast: beef sausage and cinnamon roasted butternut squash
Lunch: beef stew
Dinner: fish tacos and corn cake

Friday (pork)
Breakfast: cranberry orange muffins
Lunch: sunbutter and jelly
Dinner: italian sausage soup, melon

Saturday (vegan)
Breakfast: bacon, herb roasted potatoes and pepers
Lunch: raid the leftovers!
Dinner: vegetable soup, zucchini herb bread

Sunday (turkey)
Breakfast: pumpkin waffles with cranberry syrup
Lunch: vegetable soup and grilled cheese
Dinner: corn dogs, green beans, pears