Let me start by saying how much I enjoy coming here. That it feels like an escape in every sense of the word: like alone time, but also like the best kind of friendship, where there are comfortable silences followed by periods of intense discussion. It is hard to get here these days, but in some ways that makes it all the more enjoyable when I'm able.

I didn't get much of note done today. I washed a set of sheets, hung them out in the sun to dry. I vacuumed the house and cleaned out the fridge and put the girls down for a nap by walking them around the neighborhood a few times in the stroller. I folded three loads of laundry. 

But Sally and I had a long conversation about frost heaves, and Nora spent a happy afternoon exploring the grass outside. We made muffins, and talked about what it means to adapt a recipe. We took an idea that didn't fit with our mostly local, no-sugar, no-white flour ingredients, and shaped it into something both healthy and tasty. And while it wasn't inventing a self-driving car, or eradicating diabetes, it was satisfying in the way that so many mundane tasks are. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.


The basic idea for this recipe comes from The Apple Lover's Cookbook by Amy Traverso. We've made some pretty heavy adaptations, and the result is a muffin that's packed with fruits and veggies but is also wonderfully satisfying and light. They are best warm, served with big pats of cold salty butter.

A note about the apples: I used a Macoun that I got at the Wellfleet Farmers Market. Anything would work, but I think this was an especially nice variety for muffins, because it's simultaneously tart and sweet and is crisp enough to stand up to a little heat. 

2 and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 large apple, unpeeled, cored, and grated
2/3 cup mashed banana 
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Fold in the dry ingredients until just mixed. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin; you will likely have enough for about 15 muffins. Either bake in two batches, or spoon the remaining batter into a small loaf pan and bake it in there. The muffins will need about 20-25 minutes; bake until just cooked through, taking care not to overcook.

P.S. If you need a good Sunday evening read, try this on motherhood and smartphones. And in case what you need more is a good laugh.


SEPTEMBER 4 // elspeth

School starts Tuesday. In the meantime, we are savoring the last few days of crazy. The thing is, as hot and busy as this summer has been, it has also been wonderfully unplugged. I can count the number of hours I've spent working on a computer at home on two hands and two feet. We've been working hard, both mentally and physically, but it's been a more old-fashioned kind of work. I'm looking forward to more time to write, but I'm going to try and keep this place in my head: more focus, less wandering. Essentials, exploring. Following curiosity. 

On that note, here's what's got me thinking this week:

Crispy peach cobbler with with a side serving of cute baby. Yes, please!

When Did Parents Get So Scared? Lot of food for thought there.

—An update on Patrick and Thomas, and all the research in between.

—Huh. Will service charges or price increases take the place of tipping?

—My mom is raving about this buttermilk squash soup, which means when I finally get around to making it (in five years?), I'll be kicking myself for not getting to it sooner.

Watermelon popsicles with a tiny splash of vodka. 

—And finally, last but not least: what should I make with the last three Meyer lemons from our tree? Help! I've done one tart, but I need something new. Suggestions would be much appreciated, and whatever I end up making, I promise to share.

See you soon friends.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.