Peppered Strawberry Quinoa Muffins

My mother has a wonderful recipe to dress up fresh strawberries that never fails to wow friends and family: strawberries, sugar, and black pepper.

It is seriously — and surprisingly — amazing. The sugar breaks down the fruit and creates a syrupy juice and the black pepper’s spice brings out the flavours of the fruit. These strawberries can be eaten on their own or atop some yoghurt, ice cream, and all sorts of cakes.

So I thought: why not put them in muffins?

Read on if you want to see more of this… I promise it is worth it!

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Banana Hazelnut Bread

I have neglected my poor blog lately! I decided to take a bit of an extended break while I finished up my undergrad degree… and I am officially done! Come June 12, I will have a Bachelor’s diploma in my hand and a huge smile on my face. Right now, though, all I have to worry about is an entire summer stretching out ahead of me… bliss!

I can’t say that I cooked a lot while I was studying for my exam and writing my final paper, but I did manage to whip up a few snacks and meals here and there. I am really looking forward to cooking for myself more now that I’ve finished my coursework. I have big plans for May, including some Spring cleaning in my apartment (it looks like a tornado landed in here…) and in my tummy. I’m aiming for fresher food with lots of produce, vegetable-based proteins, and as little refined sugar as possible.

But enough about that and on to the recipe!

This particular loaf got me through a week of breakfasts, and was inspired by my mom’s recipe for hazelnut cake (which I’ve blogged about before). That cake is so nutty and sweet, I can’t get enough of it! Or maybe I can — after all, it is cake, and often I’d prefer a healthier alternative — that’s where this bread comes in. The nuts improve the bread’s nutritional profile as they are a source of protein, so this is probably one of the best candidates when it comes to having a baked goodie for breakfast.

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Tea Infused Shortbread, Take 2

I blogged about tea infused shortbread a while ago, but I decided to try it with Pumpkin Chai this time around because I wanted a stronger tea flavour to come through. My sister and I put these together and added a hint of Saigon Chai for a spicier cookie, without compromising the Pumpkin Chai’s yummy sweet flavour.

I love these. That’s all there really is to say.

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Chai Spiced Zucchini Loaf

Zucchini loaf is one of my favourite baked goods because it is positively delectable. There’s no two ways about it. Plus, I also pass it off as healthy. To be fair, I make my zucchini loaf with twice the amount of zucchini usually used in other recipes, so it is kind of healthy… right?!

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Tea Infused Shortbread

As you may or may not know, I work at a wonderful tea store (DAVIDsTEA) and am a bit of a tea fanatic. One of my coworkers has a blog where she cooks with tea, and if you are ever looking for a cool new recipe I would highly recommend you check it out. It is aptly named “Cooking With Tea.”

I found this recipe on her blog and simply had to make my own batch! I absolutely love, and I mean L-O-V-E, Quangzhou Milk Oolong and couldn’t wait to put it in some cookies. (The oolong from my own tin of Milk Oolong is pictured in the banner above this recipe!) Although I didn’t add the rosemary and lemon as my coworker did, I still loved my version… they are so rich and have a wonderful creamy aftertaste from the tea.

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Nectarine Lemon Shortbread Crumble

My mother came to visit me recently and left me with two mottled, overripe nectarines upon her departure. I didn’t want to throw them out, but they were definitely past their prime, so I decided to bake them. That’s the nice thing about fruit — when it goes brown, you can still enjoy it by cooking it.

I also happened to have some extra shortbread dough chilling in my fridge, left over from a rather interesting attempt at lemon meringue pie bars (a birthday cake substitute for my boyfriend). I had used a shortbread base for the bars as opposed to graham cracker crumbs, and I saved the leftover dough thinking it would come in handy eventually. And it did!

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Hemp Heart Cookies with Dried Cherries and Chocolate Chips

First things first: hemp hearts are UH-MA-ZING. They taste delicious, they’re crazy nutritious, and they’re versatile. They’re available at health food stores and you should go buy some right now. The only downside is that they can be a bit pricey, but a bag of hemp hearts will go a long way if you’re just using a tablespoon here and there (with yoghurt, on salads, in cereal…).

And then, there’s this recipe. I’m going to warn you right now, it’s not gonna be cheap, because it calls for a full cup of hemp hearts. But let me guarantee you that it will be worth it. These cookies are outrageously delicious.

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Ultra-Lemony Lemon Loaf

If a cookie, muffin, loaf, or cake is supposed to be lemon flavoured, mine had better be as lemony as it possibly can be. We’re talking industrial quantities of zest and juice, here.

That means that when I’m baking with lemon, I will always modify the recipe and double or triple the quantity listed. What can I say? I just don’t trust other bakers’ descriptions of their recipes.

I made this loaf a few weeks ago, modified from a ho-hum recipe I found online, and it was incredible. This lemon loaf is moist and tangy, with the texture reminiscent of a pound cake, but with a fraction of the fat (success!). The yoghurt gives it a creamy texture that I couldn’t get enough of. And the lemon. Oh, the lemon! I will definitely be making this again!

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