Monday, 31 March 2014

Vegan Muffin Recipe With 7 Variations

There has been an epidemic of sorts in our house lately. A muffin epidemic. Twice a week or more they get mixed up, plopped into the liners, and plonked in the oven. They’re easy, and they're versatile, suiting a myriad of fruits, fresh or canned, nuts, seeds, or chocolate chunks. This is the basic recipe, with a few of the variations we've made over the last few weeks.

Base Ingredients.

2 ½ cups of plain flour.
2 tsp baking powder.
¾ cup raw sugar, more or less depending on the size of your sweet tooth.
½ cup desiccated coconut.
2 Tbsp cornflour mixed into a paste with 2-3 Tbsp soy milk (this is your egg replacer).
½ cup vegetable or canola oil.
1 ¼ cups soy milk or your favourite non-dairy milk.

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix together dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients and mix well.
Add the fruits and nuts of your desire, stirring carefully if the fruit is delicate.
Plop into either a 6 cup Texan style tin or a 12 cup regular muffin tin.
Bake for 20-30 minutes for 12 or 30-40 minutes for 6 large muffins, until golden on top.


Cherry Vanilla Muffins – Add a cup of fresh pitted cherries and 2 tsp of vanilla essence.

Peach and Basil Muffins – Add a cup of roughly chopped tinned peaches and a handful of fresh shredded basil.

Blueberry Muffins – Add a cup of blueberries, frozen or fresh. Add them at the end and don’t mix to much so you don’t break them up.

Double Choc Muffins – Add ½ cup of cocoa with the other dry ingredients and ½ cup of roughly chopped vegan chocolate at the end. You may need some extra soy milk because of the cocoa.

Choc Chunk Banana Muffins – Add a mashed banana and omit the cornflour paste – the banana is now the egg replacer, and half a cup of roughly chopped vegan chocolate.

Banana and Walnut Muffins – Add a mashed banana and omit the cornflour paste – the banana is now the egg replacer, and half a cup of walnut pieces.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins – Add peeled and chopped apple, and 2 tsp cinnamon.

Up the nutritional value of any of these variations by adding ¼ cup of pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds. 

Happy Baking!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Farrer Ridge - Canberra Nature Park

I live in a valley. The lovely things about living in a valley are the sunsets, the morning fog, and that there are lots of hills to climb. Any direction that I choose to walk, there’s bound to be a steep incline or a slow rise, the reward at the end of which is a view; a beautiful view of all the mountain ranges which surround the Canberra region.

The first time I walked to Farrer Ridge, it didn't occur to me that it’s a ‘ridge.’ And I live in a valley, remember? Which meant that my leisurely afternoon stroll quickly because a sweat-fest as I slowly, slowly, plodded up that ridge. I considered turning back several times, looking at the road stretched out in front of me. This is ridiculous, I thought, why would they make a road this steep?! But my stubbornness kicked in and I plodded on, June strapped to my chest and a bag on my back, and I made it up that hill.

I try to walk up the ridge at least twice a week. There are lots of entry points, so I try to head a different way each time, but I think I’ve found my favourite. The incline is the steepest, but it’s over quickly, and once you reach the top the grassy plateau stretches out before you, a path leading into the scrubby bush. There’s a few up and downs, a bench to enjoy the view, and then back down the other side.

I haven’t explored a lot of the ridge yet; I know there’s Farrer Hill to climb, as well as several other tracks up and down and around the peak. Once I can reach the top without huffing and huffing I will explore further - it’s a bit of a walk from our house so by the time I get there I’m often ready to go home again.

When I lived in Perth, I lamented the fact that there wasn’t any bushland close to my house. I love bush walking, I love feeling small and insignificant and alone (although now never alone with June strapped to me). We’ve been living in Canberra for just over two months now, and I think it’s spoiled me. I don’t think I’ll settle for living further than a slow plod from the bush again. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Dear Juniper - 6 Months

Dear Juniper,

You are, this very minute, 6 months old. That's half a year!

Your Uncle Alex, Granny, and Grandaddy are here for a visit this weekend. Uncle Alex pointed out that today you were as far from your birthplace as you've ever been. We looked at him, a little confused. In terms of the solar system, he explained. Oooh, of course, in terms of the solar system. But it's true, you're on the other side of the sun, half a lap, one of many laps around the sun. Even though in 6 months time you'll be back where you started, in terms of the solar system, there's no going back. You're zooming forward, growing and changing before our eyes. You have one little tooth now, it appeared this week after much drama and tears and sleepless nights. You've started on a few solids, some banana, cooled cucumber to gnaw on to sooth your gums, some beans, some carrot. Your favourite food is still your milkies, I hope it continues to be for many years.

You continue to amaze us, and everyone, with your tenacity and eagerness to be active, to get going and moving and running and jumping. Well, not quite running and jumping, but you are definitely on the move. Your crawling technique is flawless, you zoom across the floor after any cat who happens into your eye line. Luckily for them you're often distracted by something before you reach that tempting tail. Your latest trick is to try to stand up using a box. It's a file of our important documents. Somehow you found it one day and you're obsessed with it. You put both hands on it, hauling yourself up, feet firmly planted. Then up and down, up and down you go. It ends with a squeal, as you push up and fall down, with a plonk, on your nicely padded bottom. I tried to put the file away and you immediately started to try and climb the couch. I decided to give you the box back, it seeming less hazardous.

You are an intense little creature, constantly moving and squirming and crawling and pulling down books and banging on windows and chasing cats and pulling down my shirt, looking desperately for your milkies. The only time you're still is when I'm moving, which is why when it all gets a bit much for your Mumma, I strap you into our mei tai and get outside and moving. We live in an area with a lot of hills, and I'm really enjoying plodding up them. I'm a little slow, but we get there. You're still, taking it all in, twisting to see cars whizz by, gazing silently at people as they coo and try to get you to smile. I suppose because I've been carrying you since you were the size of this - . (a full stop) you don't feel heavy to me, despite you now being nearly 10kg. I stopped and talked to an older woman last week, she said how lovely it must be for both of us, to have you so close to me. It is lovely, I told her I'll carry you for as long as I can, she smiled and said that after that I'll still carry you in the same place, in my heart. That's just where you belong, my Juni.

I hope you enjoyed your half-birthday, surrounded by people who just adore you so. I've never seen your Grandaddy gaze at something with such affection. That's the power you have, you spread joy to everyone around you. Here's to another joyful month, my love.

Love, Mumma.

New Beginnings.

Hello world,

Welcome to our little corner of the internet.

We are starting this blog to share our adventures in parenting, vegan cooking and baking, gardening, crafting, and anything else lovely that takes our fancy. Our names are Matt and Zoe, and our daughter's name is Juniper. We have 3 beautiful cats, who have been slightly terrorised by the arrival of Juni, they are Maisie, Daisy, and Zelda. If you read my previous blog, agiraffeinascarf, you will be familiar with these three!

I hope you will join us in this new adventure.

- Zoe. xx