Quilting: It’s in my blood
It’s a long standing tradition in my family to gift a quilt to babies when they are born. My Grandma was an avid hand quilter and she made every baby that entered her world a quilt. She then taught the craft to my mom (her daughter-in-law) who has gifted quilts to new babies for decades.
Grown men have told me that they still have the quilt my mom gave them when they were born. This makes me feel old but it also warms my heart that pieces of fabric stitched together with love have become family keepsakes.
Initially taught to quilt by hand by my mom, I have slowly started to make more pieces by machine.
Project by Project
I will admit that not every baby has received a quilt over the past few years from me. Raising my own young family has taken priority but every chance I get to sew for a baby, I do.
I had the pleasure of making an extra special quilt this year for my first niece. I knew exactly which fabrics I wanted to use from my stash and quickly found inspiration online for a 60 degree triangle pattern. Using 6″ strips of fabric and a 60° marking on my ruler I set off.
Triangles of Love
Old Family Recipes
I had not made gingersnaps in a long while. They have been on my long list of “must make” all season. When my cousin asked about our Grandma’s recipe it was the push I needed to get baking these beauties.
What we think is the original recipe from our youth calls for shortening – well, that wasn’t happening! So off to the kitchen I went.
I know that Canola Eat Well has a fabulous Gingersnap cookie that uses canola oil so I set out to make the flavour of our youth into a modernized, non shortening containing cookie.
It was relatively easy to make the update to canola oil. The newer version has the same great chew and spicy flavour I remember.
Time to go #EatAllTheCookies!
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup fancy molasses
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream the oil together with the sugar until well blended and it looks like wet sand.
- Add the egg and molasses and mix well.
Tip: measure the molasses in the same liquid measure cup as you used for the oil and it will slide right on out like magic!
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well.
- For consistent cookie size, use a 1 tsp self releasing scoop, to help form balls. Shape the balls with your hands to be smooth and symmetrical. The dough may not roll in your hands the same way as a solid fat dough but it does hold together and will make smooth balls. If you are exact with your 1 tsp scoop you will get 48 balls.
- Put the 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl or shallow dish. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat evenly and place 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes before gently moving the cookies to a cooling rack.
Dough can be pre-made. After step 5, form the dough into a large ball, place in a resealable bag or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours prior to baking.
Keep in a resealable container on the counter for 2-3 days or freeze for up to a month.
A Taste of Fall
As the daylight shortens, the air chills and the leaves turn, I crave a taste of fall.
The combination of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg with a touch of chocolate in these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins hits the spot.
More Pumpkin Please
It was my goal to pack in 2 cups of pumpkin puree into one batch of 24 muffins. One pie pumpkin can yield upwards of 4-6 or more cups of puree. Most recipes I was testing only used 1/2 cup to 1 cup of pumpkin and so began my journey.
These are not large muffins and they are also not too sweet. If you have a sweet tooth you’ll want to increase the chocolate chips or add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar.
I add 2-3 chocolate chips to the top of each muffin before baking (as indicated in the recipe below). This trick catches the eyes of my children and has them gobbling down a batch in no time.
I’ve been making and tweaking this muffin recipe for a few seasons and I hope you enjoy them as much as my family.
It starts with the right pumpkin or the right can.
Canned: an economical and convenient option. Be sure to buy 100% pure pumpkin. Do not buy pumpkin pie filling, buy only 100% pure pumpkin. Canned pumpkin pie filling already has seasoning added and sometimes added sugar. Purchase 100% pure pumpkin so you can control the flavour and sweetness.
Make your own: my personal favourite. Making your own puree starts with acquiring the right variety of pumpkin. Sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins are the two names I seek out. They are typically small and round, the flesh is thicker, has more flavour and they are not as watery. You can eat the large pumpkins sold mainly for decorations and carving but your end result will not be as delicious. Fellow Professional Home Economist (PHEc) Getty Stewart has an excellent “How to Make and Freeze Pumpkin Puree” instructional post. Go check it out!
Now, go to the kitchen and bake something delicious!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp wheat germ
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips, plus a few extra
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare pan(s) with parchment muffin liners.
- In medium size bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and nutmeg.
- In a second bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, canola oil, eggs and vanilla.
- Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just to combine ingredients.
- Add 2/3 cup chocolate chips and stir just to combine ingredients.
- Add batter to prepared muffin pans using leveled 1/4 cup measure. Drop 2-3 chocolate chips to the top of each muffin.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.
Regular muffins – makes 24 if you are precise with the 1/4 cup measure. If not, you might get a couple less.
Mini muffins – makes 48 if you are precise with a 2 tsp scoop. Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes.
Keep in a resealable container on the counter for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
A Little Blue Bin
Important conversations have started to take place in our home and they all began with a little blue bin of veggies and a farmer with a passion to feed people.
A passion to feed people
“I just love to Feed people” said Will Bergmann to a group of food enthusiasts this summer. And that he does. This growing season my family had the opportunity to join our first ever CSA garden with Bergmann CSA.
The end of a season
Today, Will handed over our last bin for the season. It was a bitter sweet moment. I’m sad that our weekly mystery box of locally grown, seasonal veggies will not enter our home again until spring but I’m also truly thankful to have been a part of this magical vegetable journey.
Lessons from our CSA bin:
1. You will #EatMoreVeggies
When you know a fresh bin of veggies is arriving each and every week you will eat more veggies. Veggies become the focus of every meal and you literally stuff yourself with them every chance you get.
2. Your heart will grow
Your heart will grow three sizes as you watch your kids literally vibrate with excitement over veggies. They couldn’t wait to unpack and pick out their first bite from the bin each and every week.
3. #FarmToFood conversations will take place
Something magical will happen when you get to know a farmer. The personal connection that my kids made with our farm family paved the way for many conversations at our dinner table.
I answered questions about: where our food comes from, who grows it or raises it, different types of farms and interestingly food waste.
It also created an “ah-ha” moment for my kids. My sister and her family farm too. They operate a mixed farm with beef cattle and grain. My kids suddenly realized the importance of all farmers. That all farmers feed people. My kids started asking deeper questions about where their Uncle’s crops go and who eats his animals.
These important questions are being asked, conversations are being had and it all started with our blue bin of veggies and a farmer with a passion to feed people.
Thank you Bergmann CSA for filling our plates, for entering our hearts and for feeding our souls!