I am that friend that doesn’t have a garden, but absolutely loves sharing your yield! Anytime-seriously, I am a grateful taker and will probably make you something with my bounty. You know, that bounty that you provide? I feel very blessed that I have many friends who garden, because I do not.
Last weekend, my kids and I went to the garden center to pick up some flowers and they were so interested in the vegetables. They were begging me for a garden which I knew was just not a possibility with the lay out of the yard (and my husband’s resentful behavior if you try to block one bit of his yard for mowing purposes). You know how it goes right?
But they were so insistent. When you have three, very cute and well behaved in that moment children begging you for something healthy and beneficial, let me tell you, it is hard to say no. Did I mention we were at the garden center on Memorial Day weekend on an absolutely beautiful day when probably everyone else in my town was there too? Yeah, that gives you a little sense of urgency as well. So, I am sure you can finish this story.
We perused the vegetable aisle and came home with lavender, cucumbers, strawberries, a bag of potting soil and a large box to grow them in.
Stop laughing right now.
Ok, go ahead, because it is actually pretty funny.
So, that was pretty random, but we went with it and we came home with our…er…bounty. I think the funniest moments came when my gardening friends saw what I was trying to do.
“Um…cucumbers?” One friend asked, trying her best to be nice. “In that box?”
I nodded and pretended to have some idea of what I was doing.
She saw right through me and I caved. I admitted to have no idea.
Another friend a few days later said in her nicest tone, “You need something for the cucumbers to grow up on. Were you going to put that in soon?”
Um…OF COURSE! I mean, what did you think? That I DIDN’T know that cucumbers need something to climb. I mean, everyone knows that…right?
Except me. Because honestly I had no idea. I am not sure what I really thought actually. Well, I guess I did. I thought I would come out one morning and several plump cucumbers would just be laying in the box.
I mean, if it happened that way, I would garden all the time.
So, back to the moral of the story, thank goodness for friends who garden and share with other friends. (that should be on a tshirt!)
Recently I have had a few friends offer me some rhubarb which just happens to be one of my favorite things to eat. I love the tart flavor and the texture of rhubarb and have had fun trying it in a bunch of different things. A friend and I were recently laughing about rhubarb (seriously that is where I am in my life I suppose. Laughing and telling stories about rhubarb.) She was saying how everyone says that they LOOOOVE rhubarb, but really, what do we love about it? That it is drowning in sugar and mixed with strawberries right? I mean, does anyone really love rhubarb just on its own? Is anyone out there crunching away on delicious rhubarb? Anyone?
Just today I visited a friend’s garden and her husband told me that he eats it raw, dipped in sugar. He let me try it and it was actually good. Not sure that I would prefer that over a buttery, crumbly rhubarb cobbler, but it was fun to try!
So naturally I will make all sorts of tasty desserts with the rhubarb, but to start I thought I would try out a healthy, yet delicious muffin recipe that we can all enjoy without drowning our rhubarb in pounds of sugar.
These muffins are tender and moist and filled with healthy ingredients. My kids love these for breakfast or a snack. Feel free to swipe them with a bit of creamy butter, or just eat them on their own. The sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb just remind you that summer is just about here.
Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 18 muffins
*I tried to create a rhubarb recipe with no refined sugar. That being said, the rhubarb still remains a little tart in the muffins unless you sprinkle with a little sugar and let it sit. I like them without the brown sugar or with it, but if you have picky kids that will notice the tartness, you may want to add the brown sugar step. It is still only 1 tblsp in a whole batch of muffins, so we are still doing pretty well!*
1 cup rhubarb, sliced in in 1/2 inch slices and then cut in half
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tblsp brown sugar (optional-see note above*)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tblsp honey
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil, but you can use canola or a light olive. Or, use 1/4 cup melted butter)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a small bowl and sprinkle brown sugar over it if you are using the sugar. Let it sit to the side. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg until yellow and creamy. Add the milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, honey, applesauce, and oil. With a hand mixer on low, mix until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients mixing just until mixture is wet and combined. Do not over mix. Fold in fruit mixture. Let batter rest for 10-15 minutes. This “resting” period allows the batter to absorb the liquid in the fruit making for a better muffin. Do not skip this step! When you are letting the batter rest, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. I use an ice cream scoop to fill the liners, but fill them about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then serve. Muffins can be stored in a sealed container for two days, or you can freeze them for about a month.