~ Lemon Poppy-Seed Muffins & a Morning with the Birds ~

I’m sitting out in the sunshine, on the boulders, just outside my condo, 13 C, little windy out, and waiting for my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins to come out of the oven. The batter tasted amazing, so I am hoping the muffins do too!!  I have been inspired to try lemon poppy seed muffin recipes because my son loved the ones from the IGA, but of course, they contain dairy, so I am working on finding a recipe that we love just as much as my Banana Bread (Feb. post: Banana Bread Veganized)….. or those Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Feb. post). I tried another recipe but didn’t really like them as much. I think I have to try them again and add more lemon, or sugar?

This morning’s Bird Watching Journey was enlightening…. I’m getting to know my Spotted Towhees better, the Yellow-Rumped Warbler, and the Ruby-Crowned and the Golden-Crowned Kinglets. I’ve become quite acquainted with some of the other birds, thanks to a couple of years of these monthly outings, but there are sooo many to discover. And then there’s their song, their calls, their language! Slowly but surely….

I just find Mother Nature so inspiring, so giving, so creative, so fascinating…

One of my first, and I think most magical, experiences with these particular birders was on a cold April morning at Rainbow Park. Perhaps last year or the year before, I can’t remember. Chris explained to me that if you pick up the tiny white fluffy duck feathers from the ground and throw them up into the air, the swallows will come swoop down to catch these little nest offerings in mid flight. Being a new comer to all of this, I was fascinated, curious and very excited to try. And so I proceeded to follow his direction, and no kidding, out of nowhere, so it seemed, a swallow came gliding in quite quickly and gently took the floating feather into it’s beak and simply continued to fly away. So smooth, no efforts, no troubles. I thought that was pretty amazing!  So with the excitation of a kid in a candy shop, I continued to throw these tiny white fluffy duck feathers into the air with a big smile on my face, and the game repeated itself over and over again.  I found myself laughing and giggling and enjoying every second of this new little adventure. Who would of thought, you could play with swallows?

There are new things to discover and learn every day, we just need to apply ourselves and find the fun!  It is out there, whatever it may be!  There is so much!

I had become so immersed in my new little game that I had not realized my birder friends had continued to wander off and left me to my amusement. I know this was old news to them, but it was such fun!

Today was also amazing…. a Hairy Woodpecker with a flash of red on his head and a gorgeous black and white coat, hung out for quite awhile pecking at the bark of a tree, so that I could observe and actually take pictures….

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….there were lots of American Robins to see, and a proud Stellar Jay who sat for awhile as he watched us, watching him/her….

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…. of course, at this time of the season, there are also plenty of Canadian Geese

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Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me….. perhaps you feel the same?

And at the same time that life is busting out of the earth, and Spring is showing its colours and glory, there still lie bits of winter here and there….

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…cross-country skiing has long come to an end, as has the sliding, the luging, and of course skating on the lake, but there still remains 300 cm’s of majestic snow on top of our mountains for plenty of skiing and snowboarding!

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Down in the valley, it’s time to shed the winter jackets and heavy boots and replace them with Spring clothing….. and according to this past week of 18 C, start breaking out the shorts and flip-flops too…

ok, so enough about the birds and the gorgeous morning I had…. what about those muffins?? I waited till they cooled and then drizzled the glaze on top….. and they are quite tasty!! I had them in the oven for 17 min., but then put them back for another 2 min. …. I’m not sure if it’s me, my technique, or a lack of heat in the oven, but they were quite soft inside and unfortunately, my son didn’t like them. Darn! I like them, but I was hoping HE would like them too. Back to the drawing board! Here is the recipe if you wish to try them….from Minimalist Baker.  (I will be baking these again. I think they would be great for breakfast, or a picnic, or for a road trip!)

Ingredients:
  • For the Muffins:
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup meyer lemon juice (I just used my own freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla or lemon extract (optional)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (sub honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional, or sub chia seeds)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (just blenderize your own slivered almonds)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or sub unbleached all purpose)
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice or almond milk (I used 1 1/2 tbsp of juice and 1 tsp of milk)

Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners, or lightly grease.
    2. Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl and let rest for a few minutes.
    3. Add applesauce, lemon juice and zest, oil, almond milk, maple syrup or agave, cane sugar, baking soda, salt and whisk for 45 seconds. It will foam up because the lemon juice will react with the baking soda.
    4. Add flour, almond meal and oats and stir with a spoon or spatula until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. If the batter appears too thick, add a touch more almond milk. But it should be quite thick and NOT pourable – rather, scoopable. Stir in the poppy seeds whisk once more.
    5. Divide batter evenly between muffin tins (should be enough for between 11-12).
    6. Bake for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove from tins and let cool on a cooling rack.
    7. If glazing, whisk the ingredients together until a thin, pourable glaze is formed and brush or drizzle on the muffins.
    8. Will keep covered for several days. Freezer for long-term storage

“Enjoy! And I’d like to leave you with this quote….. “In the end, people will judge you anyway, so don’t live your life impressing others ~ live your life impressing yourself.”

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