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apple muffins and life

What happened to my second Tasmania post? Oh that’s right. I got sick of editing pictures. Woops. OK well… SURPRISE POST… at some point in the next year! Get ready. brace yourselves. it could come at any moment.

But for now, I’m organizing life. Filling in forms, photocopying every piece of identification that I have and cleaning my apartment like a woman possessed.

I’m also making bowls of cereal and pouring in vegetable stock instead of oat milk. it’s my life ya know? unedited.

I made things last week! I made pie! Apple pie! but I made it with butter as it was my boyfriends birthday and a crust made of vegan margarine is really nothing to brag about. Also Australia seems to be against vegetable shortening. Where is my CRISCO!?

I also made muffins! Apple ones. Kinda like mini apple cakes. I think I’m on an apple kick.

Apples, cinnamon, brown sugar. what could be better?

Apple Crisp Muffins!
a recipe adapted from Happy Herbivore

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. rolled oats

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 c. raw sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar (not packed)

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

sprinkle of salt

1 c. homemade apple sauce!* (the best kind)

1 c. of diced apple

1/4 c. maple syrup

*To make the apple sauce, peel and chop two apples. Place apple in a saucepan with a tiny bit of water on the bottom of the pan. Cover and let the water boil and steam the apples. When the apple are good and tender (can be smushed with a spoon or fork) Drain any remaining liquid and add a dash of cinnamon. Blend the mixture in a food processor or with a stick blender until smooth. Taste and add more cinnamon if desired.

Mix the dry ingredients and preheat the oven to 350*F. Line a muffin tin with papers, or lightly grease with margarine.

Add applesauce, sugars, and maple syrup to dry mixture and mix until almost combined. Then add the diced apple and mix until everything is just combined. Spoon mixture into muffin liners, about 3/4 way full. Sprinkle some oats on top.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Eat warm!

 

Enjoy muffins! Organize your life! Pour Vegetable stock on your cereal!

x

 

 

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Canberra, Thredbo and some unfortunate incidents…

ohhhhhhhhhhkaaaaay.
Here we go. Where to begin? At the beginning I guess… but this might get a bit rambley.

It was a Saturday like any other. But not at all really. Cause we woke up at the bumcrack of dawn and piled the car about ten stories high with camping gear and backpacks in our attempts to ‘pack light.’ We slowly drove the car over to my parents where we stopped momentarily to pile more luggage in, then gawk, get really nervous, gawk some more… and then order coffee.

After all the gawking and coffee drinking, we began to come to terms with the fact that the next two and a half weeks would, for the most part, be spent in this very car. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. In the grand scheme of things the car was fine. A mere 3000 km later and we are back in Sydney, safe and sound.

goulburn

So we started to drive. We drove for a while and then I sneezed. We drove some more. We stopped briefly in Goulburn for some site seeing. The Big Ram. Yeah for real… and also a light breakfast.

the ram! (he was anatomically correct as well...)

We started driving again. I sneezed again. and then again. And then my nose made noises that I’ve never heard. Then we stopped in Canberra. It was hot and Canberra is… um… a city of roundabouts. And a pinch of history. We visited the Parliament house. But first, I stuck some eucalyptus up my nose for some temporary relief.

ahhh sweet relief.

I’ve never been one for seasonal allergies, but I suppose that is what was going on. Eucalyptus is like a miracle plant or something, no? I dunno. But you can leave your judgements at the door, cause I could definitely breath 90% better after this little incident.

So we looked around, bought a spoon, and piled back in the car. Thredbo— camping on night one!

We just jumped in. Right on in. Both feet. In the water. CAMPING! Probably the first time my parents have camped since I was what… 10? So, we settled into a nice little campsite equipped with a fire pit and pet ducks!

duckie

Then the sneezing continued. Full on, rib cracking sneezes. I got up to nine in a row. I’m sorry to dwell on this, but it was a big part of my first day on holidays. Sneezes. One after another and then I stopped counting. My nose was running like a faucet. I had bought four packs of travel kleenex and I was already through TWO of them. Things were out of control. After another 6 sneezes in a row I felt my ribs poking my organs, I felt my lungs coming up my throat. I had just about enough of this nonsense.

So I did what any other normal person would do. I stuck a kleenex up each nostril. Well low and behold, the sneezing stopped.

By this time I was in a foul-ish mood, so I decided that I should go for a wee nature walk and see what the creek had to offer. I had been warned of uneven terrain, so I stepped carefully. I was taking pictures of the creek and what I thought was a platypus when it began to rain… sprinkling at first, so I took little notice, but then a couple of big drops fell and I decided that it was time to head back. I didn’t want my camera to get waterlogged on the first day.

the creek

However, I decided to take the long way round. The path that I hadn’t come down. It was a bold move, I KNOW. I’m a dare devil, what can I say…

Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as I was replacing the saturated kleenex in my nose I failed to look where I was placing my feet and I fell right into a Wombat hole. At this point I had yet to see a wombat, but I had heard that they can get pissed off quite easily. I immediately pictured a cylindrical creature waddling after me at an alarming rate with a distinct rage in it’s eyes. So I did what you do; 1. I checked to make sure no one saw me fall, and  2. I ran. I rannnnnnn fast. Away from the non-existent wombat that I was SURE was chasing me. I had real fear.

...

And then, just for kicks, I lost my footing again and rolled my right ankle. Falling over briefly, I looked around once more, made sure no one saw (always so vain, I am…) And then attempted to keep running. Which at this point, lets be honest, was not really my best bet. I finally slowed. Realizing there was no angry wombat, no crazed animals chasing me. No. I was the only crazy one on that creek. But I don’t think that’s news to anyone.

I stopped for a second and took in all my bad fortune, then hobbled back to the campsite for some good eating and really really horrible pictures.

Really.

oh jeeez.

But here is a cute one of my parents:

mom and dad

I swear this trip has more to it then sneezing and imaginary wombats. Really. There might even be some REAL wombats in the next post.

just two of my favourite animals eva...

xxx

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twenty-four

My dad wrote me an email the other day. It was October 31st and that is precisely my birthday. He titled it: 24! I swear to you that upon reading that number I immediately felt sick to my stomach. It shocked me. Both the number and my reaction to it. When did I become 24? How long ago did I graduate high school? What have I accomplished? Shouldn’t I be a wife, or a mother… or at the very least, a career woman? I am exactly one year away from being twenty-five years old and that is exactly one quarter of a century.

Cue my quarter-life crisis.

After reading the very sweet email and sheading a single tear at my silly little office desk, I felt less ill, and yet it got me thinking. Why is this so scary? I’ve accomplished things haven’t I? But I want to do so much MORE. I want to travel, I want to take pictures, I want to bake, and have babies. I want to bake for babies! I want to have my own business, I want to see the entire world. All of it.

I started making a list in my head of things I have done, to make me feel better about the things I have yet to do… it helped. I have done quite a bit, seen a lot, I’ve been educated in a field that I love and so what if I don’t have a career? I made the choice to travel and see as much as possible before I pinned myself down to one job. And it may be a while before I actually take that step. But I think I’m ok with that.

For now, I am living in Sydney, Australia with an incredible man that I met when I was traveling Canada. We have a cosy little apartment, two full time jobs, and a beautiful city at our fingertips. The world is my metaphorical oyster and I should stop analyzing the number of years I have been alive and instead start planning the next 75 (or so…). I have a lot to do. So I better get to it.

xxx

This post seemed to warrant it’s own space, so the next one is a recap of my birthday weekend. weee!

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Camping in the cold…

Just two short years ago I decided that before I travel to any more exotic parts of the world it was important that I experience my own country. Too many times, had I been traveling and meeting new people only to have someone ask me about Western Canada… to which I would reply with a smile and a nod, agreeing that it’s sooo beautiful, without ever having seen it for myself. What a poser. To remedy the situation, I took a three week backpacking trip to British Columbia and Alberta. I hoped on a plane, then transferred to a train, and then covered the west in an automobile.

It was a really amazing trip, for a number of reasons. The west is very beautiful, and it’s calm. The air is different, the people are all smiles, and the nature is abundant. However, the highlight of that trip, for me… was meeting a lovely young Australian man.
It was pretty much love at first sight… and two years later, after countless skype dates and the longest possible distance relationship ever, I sit in my humble little North Sydney apartment writing a blog about baking (sometimes) and adventures in Australia.

Cuckburra sits in the ol' gumtree...

Well this past weekend was yet another small adventure. Sean and I decided that to celebrate we would go camping somewhere outside the city, and perhaps jump on some horses and see what happens.
So we did just that. Instead of spending heaps of money on a weekend getaway, we simply pitched a tent and tried out our new camping gear that we bought at Christmas. We ended up spending the heaps of money on food though. Naturally.

more carrots?

Our camping took place in Glenworth Valley. It was nice to escape the city for a couple days… even if the weather was creeping towards sub-zero. We bundled up real good, zipped our sleeping bags together and started a lovely fire.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by an impossibly nice ‘cowboy’ named James. I use the term ‘cowboy’ loosely as he probably only worked the front desk and stables, but I could see a cowboy brewing inside. He was pretty young, and rather doe-eyed. He did everything in his power to make sure we had the best campsite, the best horse-riding experience, the best firewood and the best price. By the end of our two minute encounter, I pretty much wanted to be his best friend.
Our campsite was located next to a little creek which made for some soothing night-time sounds, and we had neighbours on both sides. To our right was Ethel and Randolph (as named by yours truly). Two friendly horses who greeted me with open arms every time I said hello. Open arms… or open mouths. They were a bit cheeky, but then again, I did give them my carrot scraps. To our left was the ‘historical’ grave of Owen Maloney, a 22 year old Irishman from Limerick. I don’t actually know the story there… or why we camped beside him.
And I DID NOT wake up in the middle of the night and pull the sleeping bag over my head when I heard a rustle in the bushes outside. And when I heard that rustle… I definitely did NOT think it was Owen rising from his grave to haunt those who sleep next to him. Cause that would be ridiculous.
Our dinner that night was the minestrone soup that I had made earlier that week, and garlic bread toasted on the open fire. It hit the spot and warmed the soul. We paired it with the Two-figs Rose we bought on the wine tour a couple weeks ago… and maybe a splash of scotch as a night cap.
The night was very cool, but nothing a little spooning couldn’t fix. In the morning we feasted on blueberry pancakes, granola, fruit and toast. Amazing… the coffee took forever, but was well worth the wait.
At two o’clock we headed up to the reception area for the much anticipated horse-riding. It was pretty cool, but left us wanting more. We were thinking our next trip might be a little more city-slickers-esque? If you catch my drift… I want to live on a ranch. ok? but one that doesn’t send the cattle off to be killed. ok. Working on that.

curious horses, Ethel and Randolph

The horses we rode we named Deisel and Forrest. And yes, I did tell him to ‘run Forrest, run!’ but I assure you it did not work. He was dead set on following the horse in front of him… he barely even flinched when I tried to give him some gentle direction. oh Forrest.
After the horse-riding, our fingers were just about ready to fall off from the cold, so we packed up and headed home. It was only one night, but it was just enough to make me want to quit my job, buy a farm, raise some goats and chickens and grow my own vegetables. Yeah. If I stopped shaving my legs and armpits right now… you could probably call me a full-blown granola-crunching hippie. And I even make my own granola.

carrot-cake granola!

Carrot cake Granola

adapted from this recipe at chocolate and carrots

2 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats

2 1/2 c. quick cooking oats

2 c. rice crispies

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

2 tbsp. dessicated coconut

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. sesame seeds

1 c. natural unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 c. honey

1/4 c. molasses

1/2 c. light brown sugar

2 tbsp. canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. grated carrots

2 c. chopped pecans

1 c. raisins

1/2 c. craisins

It’s easy… combine the wet, combine the dry (minus the raisins and craisins). Combine them together and pop in an oven at 300 degrees for 40ish minutes, stiring and flipping until golden and crsipy.
Allow to cool and add dried fruit. yummm.
yum yum yum
x

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