Pumpkin Cranberry Oat Agave Muffins

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I still enjoy baking with agave instead of cane sugar and I recently found a fabulous recipe for pumpkin agave muffins (I added the cranberry part) on the blog, Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!  (This link will bring you right to the recipe.)  They are moist, not too sweet and full of pumpkin-y goodness.  The only other tweak I made was switching regular flour for whole wheat flour.

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I made them a second time around and reduced the flour to 1 and 1/4 cup to make way for adding 1/3 cup of Coach’s Oats (also interchangeable with Old-Fashioned Oatmeal).  And Pumpkin Cranberry Oat Agave muffins were born!  I brought them to a morning work meeting and they were a hit!

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Sweet Baby Cherries!

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Southern California finally had some much anticipated rain and the heavy showers uncovered some welcomed residents: my first ever cherries.

Southern California finally had some much anticipated rain and the heavy showers uncovered some welcomed residents: my first ever cherries.

There's probably about 20 cherries that were successfully pollinated with hopefully more to come.

There’s probably about 20 cherries that were successfully pollinated with hopefully more to come.

DSCN1399I’m unsure if this is typical, but Royal Lee has out-bloomed Minnie Royal by a long shot, but as long as one produces, I suppose that’s the key.  Going outside this morning to see these cherries filled me with a calm, inspired satisfaction.  I asked for just one cherry and I got many more.

Unlikely Friends

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DSCN0528I’ve known for a while now that we have a new (ah-hem) resident in and out of our yard but today was a first.  Our hens and the squirrel seemed to be getting along and were munching alongside each other on the grass for a few minutes.  They were almost hanging out like old friends, neither one too concerned about the other.

And while there are a few holes under our fence now and a couple cherry tomatoes missing, I really haven’t had too much of a problem with the fuzzy guy (or gal).  My large red tomatoes and peaches have been left untouched.  I’m hoping that we may be able to peaceably co-exist ( you can always hope, right?) without having to take drastic measures.

Sunday Family Dinner Harvest

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On the menu tonight is a summery salade nicoise for some family coming over for dinner.  Growing up my grandmother loved making this salad in the summer.  She always added capers to the typical ingredients of green beans, boiled potatoes and eggs, tuna, tomatoes olives and artichoke hearts.  Tonight I’ll also be adding basil and a side of grilled peaches with a honey butter glaze.

Mohawk Chicken

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It’s been a hair-raising morning with extremely rare San Diego summer rain.  Our Silkies appreciate a nice rainy day, particularly because it gives them a chic hairstyle (note the dyed tips), but also because it allows them to see better!

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DSCN0439It’s hard not to smile at these silly hens as they cruise the yard and visit the back door to see if any scraps will get tossed their way.  Yesterday our Ameraucana, Henrietta (seen above in the background), walked through the open back door and was caught hanging out in the dining room!

Tomato Baby

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IMG_9628I just noticed this afternoon that the Celebrity tomato in the grow pot is the first to set fruit for the season!  It’s an exciting time when the promise of juicy, red tomatoes starts dancing in my mind.  Last year many of the early tomato flowers were just dropping off due to lack of heat and/or pollination.  This Celebrity won’t let anything get in her way.  Perhaps she thinks she’s in Hollywood?

Green Bean Seedlings

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IMG_9526This year I’m growing three types of green beans: Alabama #1, Blue Marbut and Rattlesnake.  I love that green beans germinate at close to 100%.  The ease and speed with which these guys get going really is impressive.  They don’t like to be soggy, but don’t let them dry out or they’ll droop.  I caught a snail munching on them the other evening, so now they live on top of the patio table until they go in the ground, some in a few days, the rest in a week or so.  Once in the ground, I’ll protect them from rodents with clear plastic beverage containers that have had their tops and bottoms cut off.

Ahhhhhh, Spring!!

Baby Mulberries

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My adored mulberry tree (it’s technically in my neighbor’s yard, but it might as well be in mine) has suddenly broken out of it’s wintry spell and produced baby berries right along side it’s first leaves.  The clear mulberry hair reminds me of those clear rice noodles used in Asian cooking.  A little over two months from now, this is what they turn into.