Diversion: “An instance of turning something aside from its course -or- an activity that diverts the mind from tedious or serious concerns; a recreation or pastime.”
These are the moments in my day when ideas spark. Creativity shines. When the “I should be…”, becomes a captured photo, a creative twist on a recipe or a fun little project. These are the sunny spots that add warmth to my life. They help define who I am.
And this is my opportunity to share my “Sunny Diversions”.
A few years back I came across a recipe for Zucchini cupcakes that I really enjoyed. However, the frosting was very sweet and my family is not particularly fond of lots of frosting. So I did some alterations and came up with a muffin recipe. After all my tweaking, my muffins had a flavor profile of their own. They are moist and delicious and unique. There is not too much of any one flavor, yet they blend together well to give it a rich bakery flavor. I hope you enjoy them.
When using freshly grated zucchini, it calls for one and a half cups. When using frozen grated zucchini, thaw out 3 cups and drain off the liquid. The remaining zucchini will equal about one and a half cups.
Almond Zucchini Muffins
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or dairy free almond yogurt)
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 teaspoon almond extract
1teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup finely ground almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Sanding Sugar (Optional)
Whisk together eggs, sugar, oil orange juice, yogurt and almond extract. Stir in grated zucchini. In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients into wet mixture and stir until just moistened.
Line muffin tins with papers, silicone muffin cups or spray tins with non stick spray. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake muffins at 350º for 25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.
Today I started a rescue mission. Outside of our front door is an older, bricked in landing. I am used to pulling out various weeds from the sand between the bricks throughout the spring and summer. But this year, it wasn’t just weeds. Those nice pots of petunias I had on the landing last year seeded to the sand between the bricks. Lots and lots of tiny little petunias, some with flowers about as big as a dime. I had noticed a few over the past weeks, but now they were popping up everywhere. I love petunias; their color and scent. So I am making my summer mission to see how many of the little plants I can grow into mature petunias.
I filled up two planters with potting soil and wiggled the bricks just loose enough to let go of the flower roots. Some of the tiniest plants had amazingly long micro thin roots. I kept poking them into the potting soil until there was no real room left. I used two different pots. One for the petunias that were more purple in color. And one for the little platelets that were growing about a yard away. There was one tiny flower that was a light rose color, maybe the ones growing with it would be the same.
As they grow bigger, I will need to divide and repot them, but for now, I just want to see how many will grow.
I haven’t tried to count them all, (there is a lot!) but as they grow, I will share their progress throughout these summer months.
One thing is for certain, the are not going to be any “lonely little petunias”!
This is my own version of a sweet and salty trail bar. The goal was a treat that my husband and sons could grab as they headed out the door, be it school, work or for fun. I would make up a big batch and wrap each bar in plastic wrap and set them in a bowl right by the front entry. They loved their chewy goodness. When first developing the recipe, I spread a thick layer of chocolate mixture on top. My guys thought it was too much, so the amount of chocolate/butterscotch layer was decreased and converted to a drizzle. If you are not in a chocolate mood, they are also wonderful plain. You can also cool the mixture a bit before pressing them in the pan. When cooled, you may add M&M’s or your favorite flavor of chips to the mix and leave them unfrosted. That is the fun of making a trail bar. They adapt to your imagination and taste. As long as you add approximately 10 cups of dry ingredients to the bowl you can be creative with the out come.
“Out the Door” Trail Bars
4 cups Special K cereal
3 cups Old Fashioned Oatmeal
2 cups broken pretzels
1 cup peanuts
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan combine:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Stir mixture frequently. Bring to a boil long enough to melt sugars. Pour over dry ingredients and toss together, coating well. Dump mixture into lined jellyroll pan. Use a second piece of parchment paper or greased hands to press mixture into the pan, until it is evenly spread out.
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
Melt in top of double boiler until smooth. Pour into a ziplock bag. Cut tip of corner off of the bag to use to drizzle melted chips over the the top of the bars. Cool and cut into 48 narrow bars. Each bar has approximately 190 calories.
I have been reflecting on hospital gowns. Their drab colors and patterns are easily faded by numerous washings. They are shapeless, ugly, and certainly “breezy” in the back.
But, to me, as a hospital nurse, they have a attained a beauty beyond their functionality.
Hospital gowns are the great equalizer. When you are in the hospital, you are striped of everything else, except the gown. When caring for you, I see your humanity only, you as a person.
I do not see your social status, financial state, religious affiliation, cultural or political ties. I just see a person. An individual who is entitiled to be treated with dignity, respect, care and compassion.
What a privilege I have been given, as a nurse, to be able get to know and care for individuals in this capacity.
(I wouldn’t mind though, if they could make a more modest, nicer looking “equalizer”.)