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Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies

This is a recipe that has been handed down from my great grandmother. It is not Christmas in our family until these cookies are baking in the oven. My best memories of these cookies are their required presence the day our family decorated the Christmas tree. The Christmas album would be queued up, cups of hot chocolate prepared, and a plate of these cookies.

This tradition I have carried on with my own family. The copy of the recipe I have in my recipe box calls for margarine sticks. We use unsalted butter. Feel free to make which ever way you prefer. The results are much the same. The butter version requires re-chilling before going in the oven to maintain shape and reduce the spreading from the oven.

The recipe yield is entirely approximated. Much dough sampling and cookie sampling happens before I have the chance to determine how many cookies are made each time. Grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy with these. Just try to save a few for Santa.

Hope you get a chance to make these soon. We would love to see the results. Share on social media and tag Mama Sparrow so we can see.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies

Yields 7-8 dozen

Melt in your mouth cookies

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 ½ cups flour

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the first 5 ingredients together. Then add the baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Finally, mix in the flour 1 cup at a time.
  2. Chill in refrigerator and then roll into ball and roll in sugar and then press out with a fancy glass bottom. Refrigerate 5 minutes before baking so cookies keep their shape.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes.

Notes

Crisp sugar cookie with a slightly tender inside. Each bite melts in the mouth. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee. Just be sure to save a few for Santa.

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Cauliflower “Bolognese”

We had our first snowfall of the season earlier this week. A brief glance out the back window of the apartment and I caught an old longing. It was that penchant for winter night photographs. The soft light from surrounding houses and general urban aura accentuate the starring features of winter photography – contrast and texture. It is moments like these, passions remembered and fascinations reacquainted, that illuminate with reasoned existence.

This recipe harkens memories of my mother’s famous meat spaghetti. She never made less than a crowd’s worth when cooking her spaghetti. The sauce simmered and noodles boiled. Meanwhile, loaves of crusty, french bread were buttered, seasoned and broiled open-face, till toasty and fragrant. The real secret to this vegetarian version is the spices and the texture achieved from the pan cooked cauliflower.

This pasta dish is about as cozy as they come and a sure crowd pleaser. We fully recommend an accompaniment of crusty bread. We hope you try this recipe soon. Be sure to take a picture and tag Mama Sparrow on social media so we can see the results.

 

Cauliflower "Bolognese"

Yields 3-4 servings

A traditionally meaty sauce converted to a vegetarian delight. Grab a loaf of crusty bread. This is your next cozy pasta meal.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tb olive oil; separated
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp sage, ground
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp marjarom, ground
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 12 oz of tomato pasta sauce
  • 10-12 oz spaghetti noodles

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together spices and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the cauliflower and toss till the cauliflower is covered in the oil and spice mix. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the seasoned cauliflower and reduce heat to low. Cook the cauliflower until tender on the outside with a slight crunch on the inside. May take 10-15 minutes. Splash in water to speed up the cooking and keep the cauliflower from drying.
  3. Once the cauliflower is cooked, add in the pasta sauce until warmed through. Serve over spaghetti noodles.
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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/12/09/cauliflower-bolognese/

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Vegan Pumpkin Cake

A few weeks ago, I began the recipe testing and planning for Thanksgiving. My preschooler came home from class singing a song about pumpkins on a gate. A witch flies by and says. “I’m going to make you a pumpkin pie.” My son requested a pumpkin pie making session inspired by this song.

Agreeably, the pie making was a blast, but he did not enjoy the taste of it. I’ve been adjusting the recipe and he’s been liking it better, but asked for this pumpkin cake for Thanksgiving dessert.

This cake is a great replacement for anyone not into pie or who had been “pied out.” Use of your leftover pumpkin gourds or puree for a tasty bite of sweet and spice. Enjoy this cake with your choice of cold weather beverage. The ingredients are vegan and icing is naturally colored from carrot juice.

If you want the complete pumpkin cake look, bake a single cupcake with part of the batter. Use spinach cooked and pureed to achieve a green colored icing. Spinach is the mildest tasting leafy green for creating a natural food hue that does not interfere with taste.

Hope your Thanksgiving and harvest celebrations have been filled with joy. Please be sure to share your results from this recipe and tag Mama Sparrow so we can see it.

Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Cake Vegan Pumpkin CakeVegan Pumpkin Cake

Vegan Pumpkin Cake

Tender, moist vegan pumpkin cake. Pleasantly spiced with a little extra kick of black pepper. This makes it really stand out from the usual pumpkin spiced products of the season.

10 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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Ingredients

    Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 14oz. can pumpkin puree (plain puree, not pie filling)
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground all-spice
  • ⅛ tsp ground clove
  • Icing
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ Tb. carrot juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a standard size bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree, non-dairy, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Fully combine.
  4. Sift the dry flour mix into the wet ingredients in 2 stages. Stir in between each addition. Careful not to overmix.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  6. Allow cake to cool slightly, remove from pan and finish cooling before icing. Mix ingredients together for icing. Adjust the wet to dry ratio based on preference. Drizzle over cake and allow to set a few minutes before cutting and serving.
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Lemon Asparagus Ricotta Galette

We had the first light snow flurries yesterday morning. Immediately our preschooler began scheming up all the activities he was going to do in the snow. Much to his chagrin there was not enough snowfall for his plans, yet.

The holidays bring out the child in me. In much the same way, I get giddy for the cookie baking, putting up the Christmas tree and decorating. I would be the person putting up a tree around Halloween if I didn’t have family with strict after Thanksgiving practices for such decorating.

The great news…this is Thanksgiving week so almost Christmas decorating time! That also means most of us are in the midst of harvest celebration meals. Today’s dish makes a nice light entree or great side for your harvest table.

The recipe for this asparagus tart has my wheat olive oil crust. Its a fairly simple crust recipe that is rustic and hardy. You could always use your own favorite pie crust or puff pastry recipe. Also, no shame in saving time with a store bought crust either.

The savory of Italian spices and the subtle sweet of lemon zest create a seasoned ricotta bed for the asparagus spears. I tried topping the tart with fresh shredded Parmesan and it was the right thing to do. Hope you get to try this tart soon. We’d love to see pictures so be sure to tag Mama Sparrow on your social media posting.
Lemon Asparagus Galette Lemon Asparagus Galette

Lemon Asparagus Galette

Serves about 1/4 of the tart

Lemon Asparagus Ricotta Galette

Yields 4-5 servings

10 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 olive oil pie crust* (recipe in notes)
  • 14-18 stalks of asparagus
  • 1 ½ Tb olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, extra for topping
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. If making dough from scratch, make this first. It will need to chill 30 minutes before rolling out.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Prepare the asparagus by breaking off the tough ends. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and garlic. Set aside.
  5. In a medium size bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Stir in the lemon zest, seasonings and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil garlic mix.
  6. Roll or press out the dough to a rectangle of 11 x 5 inches. Pinch the side up to form crust sides.
  7. Evenly spread the ricotta mix into the rolled out crust. Top the ricotta mix with the asparagus stalks. Optional: sprinkle a bit of shredded parmesan cheese over top the tart.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow tart to cool 3-5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

*Olive Oil Crust

¾ cup all purpose flour

¾ cup wheat flour

½ tsp salt

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup milk

Mix together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Put the olive oil and milk in a measuring pitcher; do not mix. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid contents from the pitcher into your mixing bowl of dry ingredients. Mix together until a ball of dough forms. The dough should be stick together well. If too dry, slowly add in more milk - 1 Tb at a time. If dough is shaggy, knead in more flour - 1 tsp at a time.

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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/11/20/lemon-asparagus-ricotta-galette/

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Maple Plum Crisp

Do you know why we perceived October to have a distinct smell? There are three reasons for this phenomenon. According to Pamela Dalton, an olfactory scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. the first reason is that odor molecules move more slowly in colder temperatures. This is why the smell of dumpsters and garbage trucks are more offensive in the summer. The second reason is physiological. Dalton explains that our olfactory receptors “bury” themselves further in our nose when it’s cooler. While the olfactory receptors bury themselves in cold air, the trigeminal nerve is stimulated, says Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychiatrist in Chicago. A smell is perceived as more intense when it triggers both these nerves. Further, psychological expectations affect the smells we perceive. As we anticipate the smells of spices, wood burning, and dying leaves, those are the things we experience.

A week ago, we took a family trip to a local nature center. Living in a city, it is nice to have a nature area with trails and wildlife near by. The boys enjoyed running around the trails to explore. Changing autumn leaves made for a lovely scene. We got the chance to have a close encounter with the deer in the park again. This time I was prepared with at least a phone camera. She watched us from a few yards off the pathway.

North Park Village Nature Center North Park Village Nature Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The autumn has a distinct smell that I had forgotten until we were out on the trails. In the city, leaves are quickly cleaned up and discarded. Out in the woods, they are free to travel through their life cycle. The smell is crisp, rich and earthy. I now appreciate this sensory experience.

Spices are more prevalent in traditional colder weather baking. Today’s recipe combines late season plums with spices, maple and toasted oatmeal crumble topping. This recipe has a clean option as coconut oil can be subbed for the butter and there is no refined sugar or refined flour. The warmth of maple, spices and subtle floral sweetness of plums is a welcome treat on a crisp fall day.

This crisp would be perfect for a quick harvest party dessert or a weeknight treat. I’d love to see your pictures when you make this recipe. Share them on social media with MamaSparrow tagged. Happy baking!

Maple Plum Crisp Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Serves 3/4 cup

Maple Plum Crisp – Clean

Yields 8-10 servings

The warmth of maple, spices and subtle floral sweetness of plums is a welcome treat on a crisp fall day.

10 minPrep Time

35 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 4 ripe, but still crisp medium/large plums (approx. 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 Tb maple syrup
  • 1 Tb wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, old fashioned
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (or coconut oil)*
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel, core and thinly slice the plums.
  2. Place the prepared plums in a 2 quart baking dish or 9x9 inch metal pan.
  3. Add the 1 1/2 Tb of maple syrup and 1 Tb of flour, stir till fruit is evenly coated. Sprinkle the fruit with the ginger.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, rolled oats and salt. Cut the cold butter into the oat mix. Stir in the 1/4 cup maple syrup.
  5. With hands, crumble the oat mix evenly over the pan of fruit.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes. May serve warm or cold.
  8. If your crisp survives past dessert, it makes a great breakfast the next day.

Notes

*Clean or Vegan option: substitute coconut oil for the butter.

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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/10/26/maple-plum-crisp/

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Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

This week we took the boys for the annual pumpkin farm trip. We arrive filled with excitement and took away some great pictures, a few pumpkins and endless family fall memories. C named his freshly carved jack-o-lantern Rooster. I’m not sure how this pet name came to be. He’s been telling us that one day when he gets a dog he wants to name it Rooster. Until then, a jack-o-lantern with the name will do.

Other than the lovely autumn festivities, fall usually means a brief mourning period for me. I know some folks enjoy this season. I love warm summer weather and don’t much care for the cold months of the year. This season only serves as a reminder of the impending winter. We have had some cold autumn rain that has sapped my energy. If you are like me this cake recipe is dedicated to you.

Cold rainy autumn weather makes me need a little bit of citrus-y sunshine treat. This lemon earl grey cake is the most tender, moist vegan cake thanks to the shredded coconut. Infusing the coconut oil with earl grey lets the richness of the bergamot shine through to compliment the lemon.

I hope you have the chance to enjoy the intoxicating aroma of this cake coming fresh from the oven. Please be sure to tag MamaSparrow on your social media pictures of this cake. I would love to see how your’s turns out.

Enjoy!

Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

The aroma of this cake coming out of the oven is intoxicating - bergamot, lemon and coconut. Hard to believe this treat is vegan. Tender, moist cake infused with earl grey.

20 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

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Ingredients

    Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup earl grey tea infused coconut oil, solid *
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced, separated
  • 1 14oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup non-dairy “buttermilk” (1 tsp vinegar and non-dairy milk)**
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • Icing
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ Tb. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a standard size bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and tea infused oil together. Stir in the lemon zest and ¼ cup lemon juice. Set the rest of the lemon juice aside for the glaze. Add the coconut milk, non-dairy “buttermilk”, and vanilla extract. Fully combine.
  4. Sift the dry flour mix into the wet ingredients in 2 stages. Stir in between each addition. Careful not to overmix. Once the mix is fully incorporated, fold in the shredded coconut.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  6. Allow cake to cool slightly, remove from pan and finish cooling before icing. Mix ingredients together for icing. Adjust the wet to dry ratio based on preference. Drizzle over cake and allow to set a few minutes before cutting and serving.
  7. Cake may be store at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for 6 months.

Notes

*Directions for tea infused coconut oil

14 Tbs. or ½ cup + 2 Tb. coconut oil

21 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea

In a saucepan, melt coconut oil just until it becomes liquid. Mix in the tea leaves. Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve squeezing the tea leaves to release as much butter as possible. Set coconut oil aside till it comes to room temperature. If your kitchen is warm it may be helpful to put it in the refrigerator, briefly, till it is solid.

**I’ve been using Good Karma flax milk. It is a great allergen conscious milk - nut and soy free. Use your favorite nondairy that suits your needs. Make as buttermilk with vinegar to help cake fluff up.

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Honey Fig Jam Rolls

There are three kinds of baked sweets I can recall from my packed lunches as a kid – my mom’s homemade muffins, strawberry newtons and fig newtons. When it came to the newtons, the strawberry ones made sense to me, but I thought fig was a made up flavor. I had never seen or eaten a fig before.

Last week I had my first taste of fig and played in the kitchen with them. They look so beautiful photographed. When figs started showing up at my local grocer this season, I took them home on a whim. Not sure what to make with them, they sat overnight and were spoiled by the next day. Fragile little things, they are.

Determined to try them, I sketched out a jam recipe adapted from Tasty Yummies. As I cut and prepped the figs, I nerd-ishly explored their flavor and scent profile. The resulting jam was tasty. After popping it in the fridge, I had dreams of cinnamon rolls and honey plum jam dance in my head all night.

Honey fig jam rolls are born of sophisticated, sweet dreams. They are a little like a mash-up of honey buns and fig newtons. Here you have honey fig jam tucked into blanket-y sweet roll dough and drizzled with velvety lemon frosting,

 

Honey Fig Jam Rolls Honey Fig Jam

Honey Fig Jam Rolls

Honey Fig Jam Rolls

Honey Fig Jam Rolls Honey Fig Jam Rolls

Honey Fig Rolls

Yields 9 rolls

Honey fig jam tucked into blanket-y sweet roll dough and drizzled with velvety lemon frosting.

25 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

    Dough
  • 2 ¾ cup flour
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 Tb butter, unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • Filling
  • 2 Tb butter, melted
  • 1 cup honey fig jam* (recipe in notes)
  • Drizzle
  • ½ - ¾ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • warm water, if desired - a little to achieve consistency and tone done zestiness

Instructions

  1. Prepare the jam. The recipe makes 2 cups. Only one is needed for the rolls so make two batches of rolls, make a second batch of rolls soon or use your jam for other goodies.
  2. Mix all the dry dough ingredients together in a medium size bowl. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the water, milk and butter. Heat for 45 seconds, or until the butter is melted. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mix. Stir the egg in. Knead the dough for 4 minutes. Dough should get smooth, have a bit of grip and bounce. Rest the dough in a lightly greased bowl for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  4. After the dough has rested, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 9x15 inches. Spread the melted butter over the dough. Then spread about 1 cup of fig jam over top the butter on the dough. Leave 1 inch without jam on one of the long sides of the rectangle; this will be the seam. Starting at the long, not seam side, begin rolling the dough jelly roll style. End the log roll with the seam side down. Use a sharp, floured knife to cut the log into 9 sections to make rolls.
  5. Place rolls into a 9x9 inch pan lightly greased and covered with greased parchment paper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Turn off the oven and place the covered pan of rolls in the oven to rise for 20 minutes.
  6. After rising, remove the aluminum cover from the rolls and leave in oven while turning on to 375 degrees F. Bake 16-20 minutes until the rolls just start to get golden. Remove from oven and top rolls with drizzle.
  7. To make frosting, combine sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk together and add in warm water to adjust consistency and taste.

Notes

Honey Fig Jam* - recipe makes 2 cups jam Adapted from Tasty-Yummies.com 15 figs, stems removed and quartered (1 Lb), ¾ cup honey, ⅛ cup water, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest

Place figs, honey and water in a medium saucepan. Let sit and soften for 20 minutes. Then place over burner on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Reduce to low and keep on a simmer for 45 minutes. Stir often. Mash figs with a spoon while they cook. After 45 minutes, keeping pan on the heat, stir in lemon juice and zest. Simmer an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place cooled jam in jars. Store in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or the freezer for 3 months.

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Tomato Basil Sauce

Today is the first day of preschool for my oldest. I just dropped him off. The flood of emotion hit me strongest as I walked away from the school pushing my littlest bub in a stroller. I’m excited for him to enjoy this milestone. I’m also anxious for him to be comfortable and confident in his new environment. Fear is another part of this complex of emotion. Having a child with a food allergy makes trusting him in someone else’s care unnerving. The last feeling has only been heightened by the rawness of an serious reaction he had at a family potluck a couple of weeks ago.

While sending him off to school, several questions are bouncing around my mind. Will he inadvertently be offered food he shouldn’t have? Will classroom staff recognize a serious allergic reaction? Will he always be with someone who knows how to use his EpiPen? I have worried of being perceived as neurotic and rude. Naturally, it feels like a hassle to insist on reading the label oneself, inquire about the ingredients, ask if someone has washed their hands, used a different knife, if toys have been cleaned etc.

I can only speak from the experience I have had and understand that my experience may not be the same as yours. Perhaps this all does sound crazy to you or perhaps you may be able to relate. I am fine with either reaction. Today I am sympathetic of all parents sending their children off to school. Extra hugs go out to parents of children with allergies.

All this talk of emotion needs a little comfort food, I think. I am sharing a tomato basil sauce that is versatile and capitalizes on the peak season of tomatoes. The sauce is nice and light if made by the recipe. For a “meatier” version, toss in a bit of fennel seed. This sauce can been made in bulk and stored in the freezer for later use in the coming months.

If you have the chance to this sauce, please photos and tag mama_sparrow on social media. I would love to see how you use the sauce in your home. Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Sauce Tomato Basil Sauce

Tomato Basil Sauce

Tomato Basil Sauce

Yields 2 - 2 1/2 cups or 8 servings

Fresh stove top roasted tomato sauce with fragrant basil, oregano and marjoram. Enjoy on your favorite noodles, vegetables or pizza. Preserve in the summer to freeze and enjoy through the winter.

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, ground
  • ¼ tsp fennel seed, optional for richer, darker sauce - best for “meat” or spaghetti use
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 Tb fresh oregano, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion, garlic, marjoram, salt, pepper and optional fennel seed if using. Saute for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Stir in the tomato, turn heat to high until it simmers. Reduce the temperature to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes.
  3. Remove pan of sauce from heat. Pour into food processor and blend till desired consistency. Add in the herbs and pulse a couple of times until they are incorporated.
  4. Serve sauce immediate or store. May be kept in refrigerator for 4 days, 3 months in a standard freezer or 6 months in a deep freezer.
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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/09/06/tomato-basil-sauce/

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Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Recently, my little ones and I had an opportunity to travel and see family. Time with loved ones is cherished and seems to pass too quickly. While visiting, I made an observation. There are several trees in my folk’s yard that we planted as children. My favorites are the willow trees. This visit, they displayed noticeable growth indicative of trees, no longer saplings.

Since I have not stayed long enough in one place the last 10 years to observe nature’s progression, this observation of the trees was an impactful experience. I was struck with an awe of nature’s cadence. Well into adulthood, the marching of seasons has taken on the perspective of occurring at a rapid pace. The ripple of years has become a more visible breathing of nature. The rough intricacies of nature’s pattern provide a certain comfort and joy – perpetual and dependable.

While on the journey of eating fewer processed foods, I’ve been more attentive to what the earth provides in seasons. Eating the bounty of each season draws us into the cadence of Mother Earth. There is something deeply beautiful about this concept.Conscious eating is an extension of conscious living.

Peaches are rich with flavor, right now. This tart was inspired by my hope of making berry jam from the fleeting summer supply. The smashed raspberry layer is reminiscent of jam. No refined sugar here, the fruit layers are sweetened with honey. Topping with sliced peaches allows the star of the dessert to shine. These peaches were bursting with flavor.

I will leave you with the encouragement to live present, playful and peaceful days. Hopefully your present or near future will include enjoying late summer harvests that bring you true bliss. If you get the chance to make this tart, be sure to drop me a line and share your results on social media with MamaSparrow tagged.

Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Peach Raspberry Tart Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Wheat shortcrust with fresh smashed raspberries and honey drizzled prime season peaches. Enjoying the late season berry bounty, this tart is summer on a plate.

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Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar*
  • 10 Tbs butter**
  • Berry Layer
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (add a little more cornstarch if using frozen berries)
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 1 Tb cornstarch
  • 1 Tb lemon zest (zest from one lemon)
  • Stone Fruit Topping
  • 3 medium/large peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • More honey to drizzle over top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the flours and powdered sugar. Slowly add in the butter while mixing. Use a pastry blender or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Blend until the dough forms together.
  3. Press the dough out by hand in a 9 inch round pie pan lined with parchment paper or tart pan. Sometime I like to make rustic free-hand formed tarts. Use fork to prick several holes in the bottom of the crust that will be covered with filling later. Place pressed out crust into the refrigerator for 5 minutes to help the butter in the crust keep shape. Bake the crust alone for 15 minutes or until crust is firm on the outside and slightly puffed.
  4. Place ingredients for berry layer in a small bowl, mixing them together. Set the bowl aside while slicing the peaches.
  5. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. Spread the berry layer evenly over the prebaked crust. Arrange the peach slices over the berry layer. Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until the peaches are fork tender. Drizzle honey over the tart while still warm. Enjoy either warm or room temperature. Store at room temperature for a day or a couple of weeks in the freezer.

Notes

*to make refined sugar free, use coconut sugar ground to powder in a food processor **to make dairy free & soy free, use Earth Balance soy free buttery sticks or your other favorite alternative

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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/08/29/peach-raspberry-honey-tart/

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Spice Shortbread Cookies with Lemon Earl Grey Curd

I have a spicy confession to make. Are you ready for it?

Cardamom spice is my new love. It has been added to most of the baked goods I’ve made the last few months.

Anyhow…the weather has been so hot and humid lately that today’s moderate weather felt surprising. We also spotted some fallen leaves this afternoon. Gasp. I cannot believe that summer has so quickly neared the end.

This is the first year we are prepping back to school things for our oldest’s first day of school. Another kind of turn in seasons. It seems like crazy talk when one’s babies are little and other parents say, “it goes so fast.” With little ones, each day seems an eternity. Now I understand “the days are long, but the years are short.”

Because I am not ready for this change in seasons, I am sharing a blooming cookie recipe with you. These spiced shortbreads with earl grey cream were one of those happy kitchen accidents. I tossed some spice in my cookies. While prepping the cookies I was savoring a spoon of lemon earl grey cream.

The flavors were perfect together, these cookies were born and I am urging to make a batch this weekend. In fact, don’t even wait till the weekend. Drop everything and run to the kitchen now. Then be sure to drop me a line and share your results on social media with MamaSparrow tagged.

Happy Baking!

Spice Shortbread with Lemon Cream Spice Shortbread with Lemon Cream

 

Spice Shortbread with Lemon Cream Spice Shortbread with Lemon Cream Flowers Close - Watermarked

Spice Shortbread Cookies

Peppery butter cookies with cardamom deepened flavor - hint of honeyed floral.

10 minPrep Time

13 minCook Time

23 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 Tbs granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 ⅛ cup all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter with the first 3 Tbs of granulated sugar. Blend in the vanilla extract, black pepper, and cardamom. Mix in all the flour just until dough forms. Use hands to form dough into a log shape. Cover or wrap the dough and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Once dough has chilled you can either cut cookie rounds directly from the cookie log or roll the dough out with a rolling pin and cut with a cookie cutter.
  3. Place cookies 1-2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes just until they set. Allow to brown lightly on the edges.

Notes

Tips for Cutting Cookies Log cut: if dough is firm enough, simply cut with a butter knife creating 1/4 inch thick cookie rounds. If dough is on the softer side, use a 6 inch piece of plain dental floss to cut the rounds. Slide the floss under the log about 1/4 inch in from the end. Grip each end of the floss. Cross your hands in opposite directions over the dough to create a "cut." Repeat until all dough has been cut into cookie discs.

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