Arktis & 26

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I turned twenty six last Saturday, an age that I felt much better about turning than the one previously. I'm not sure why exactly, if it's because my situation has changed, or if I've gotten better at being happier with where I am. Or maybe twenty six just has another ring to it, less definitive than a quarter of a century but starting to sound old enough to be really comfortable and confident in yourself. I hope that's what this year will be like. So far I think that one of the benefits of getting older (relatively, of course) is knowing what you like, and not having to make excuses for it. So I chose to spend my birthday quietly, at a museum, looking at depictions of icy expanses and out the windows to another grey landscape of blending sky and sea. It was the perfect setting to take some time to reflect on the past year, and what this next year might bring. They did a beautiful job with the exhibition as well, bringing together art history, natural history, science, and contemporary art to discuss some of the big issues that surround the region. It also seemed fitting that the Arctic is a place where Canadian and Danish (Greenlandic) history and geography overlap. Of course I forgot to take any photos (I forgot at Thanksgiving too!), but my birthday buddy Julie and I also had a smallish gathering on Sunday to celebrate. Lots of cake was eaten and cups of tea drank. I'm so thankful for my family and friends, here and there.

I think twenty six will be a good year.

All images via Lousiana's great exhibition site 

Pumpkin Crumble Muffins

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I know it's a blog cliche to say that I 'love October and pumpkin spice blah blah', but I do. It's always been my favourite season. To me, things start to seem magical once the calendar flips to this month. The golden hour of fall afternoons, the sound and smell of the leaves, and the darker undertones of the evenings. Etc, etc. You all know what I mean. We don't always have the best autumns here, sometimes it seems to switch from summer to winter overnight, or it just rains and rains and rains. This year has been pretty good so far, but I still like to make the most of this time by burning cedar incense, simmering apple cider on the stove, and by baking. I'm trying to get back in the habit of doing a bunch of cooking on Sundays for the week ahead, and these muffins were the incentive. Having one of these for breakfast along with a mug of chai is definitely a treat. Unfortunately, Tolmie is also crazy for them, so fending off a semi-maniacal kitten is *not* so much of a treat in the mornings. You win some, you lose some. So anyway, do yourself a favour make some of these this weekend. And hide yo' kittens.

Pumpkin Crumble Muffins
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod


1 3/4 cups gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup cane sugar 

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk (or almond or soy)
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs (or flax eggs for a vegan version)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Crumble Topping
1 1/4 cup gluten free oats
1 tablespoon gluten free flour mix
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons cold coconut oil, cut into chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/200 degrees C. Line two muffin tins with paper liners or use silicone cups. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and combined.
4. Slowly stir in the flour mixture. Mix until ingredients are combined.
5. For the crumble topping: in a small bowl mix together the oats, flour, and brown sugar. Mix in the butter with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
6. Fill muffin cups half way full with the pumpkin batter. Top each muffin with crumble topping.
7. Bake for 20-25  minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and cool on a wire rack. 

Summerhouse Weekend

This last month since I've started architecture school has been a bit of a whirlwind. There has been a lot of newness and busyness, for both Mark and I. So the timing couldn't have been better the other weekend when we were asked if we'd like to borrow a summerhouse just up the coast from Copenhagen. It was so nice to replace all the technical drawing and model making I've been doing with long walks on the beach and reading novels by the fire, just for a change of pace. We even had some friends join us for an afternoon adventure and a cauliflower pizza (surprisingly good!) one of the days. It was such a nice time of year to be there, as you could really tell that fall was just starting to arrive. And even though they are called summerhouses here for a reason, to my west coast self, fall will always be the best time to spend a weekend in a cabin.

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