Apple-Carrot Birthday Muffins + Homemade Drums

 

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It's easy to celebrate when the birthday boy knows it's his birthday.

 

I woke up yesterday to a series of sweet-smelling open-mouthed baby kisses all over my face.  He's so serious with those kisses, it's a reverent thing for him.  I have to be very careful not to smile or say, "Oh, boy, kisses!," or he'll just walk off.

 

 The boys helped me whip up a some birthday muffins for breakfast.  I admit I was risking rejection from the boys here ~ one won't touch apples, while the other won't touch carrots or cream cheese.   Actually, it's just Mahal.  He won't touch all three.  And Lake just does what he does.  But these were very, very popular.

 

Between the four of us, we finished 24 muffins yesterday.  Really.  They're very sweet & super-healthy all at once.

 

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Mekhi liked them very much, indeed.  He just kept climbing the Learning Tower, poking around at another muffin & then devouring it, before dropping the paper on the floor.  Oh, the assumptive behavior of little guys.  ("I'll clean it up, ahem, Thanks Mommy.")
 
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Not that you're worried, but we tempered all that goodness with a hard-core Pilipino breakfast ~ fried fish, rice, eggs, chopped tomatoes & green onions in soy sauce + lemon juice.

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The boys went to an African Drums workshop at a gallery in town.  There was an old-school Afro-Cuban drummer playing & explaining his instruments.  They had tons of materials available, & no two drums were even remotely similar.  The boys were very proud to make Mekhi his birthday presents, a shaker & a drum.  I was & am just amazed that they chose to work on these items together, instead of making their own.  With each step they discussed their ideas & came to an agreement.  

Lake picked this wonderful tie-dyed fleece & Mahal beaded the strap on this shaker.

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Lake chose a large coffee tin covered in newsprint & feathers.  He was so very determined to use the low-melt glue gun himself, & I only have one small scar from it.  He & Mahal took turns applying feathers & then covered the drum in this lovely rice paper.  The little guy knew exactly what to do with it.

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And even though a one year-old doesn't really need us to buy anything...
I've been saving these footsies for a long, long time.  

You know how I was feeling about this guy growing up?  Well, I still feel that way.  And I'm grateful that I can say he's 12 months & 13 months instead of 1 year-old.  

And, this is fun, watching him toddle around, telling us what he wants  & getting things on his own. This is gratifying, watching his two big brothers mix rough love with graceful modeling.  And mostly, this is exciting, to think that soon, my kitchen floor will stay clean-ish, my arms will be less full, & I will really have 3 helpful helpers at my kitchen counter, 3 eager elves at my sewing table.  A wonderful year behind, a sweet year ahead.  I think these are the best times of my life.

Apple - Carrot Muffins (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Pamela's makes a great GF baking mix.  You could add the carrots, apples & spices to any muffin recipe, actually.  Almond meal might not be that easy to find, but it's so worth it.  It's full of protein, flavor & healthy oils, while working as a flour.  It makes muffins really moist & chewy.  

2 apples, peeled & shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 C real maple syrup
3 t EnRgy Egg Replacer+ 4T warm water OR 2 eggs
1/4 C olive oil
1 splash vanilla or 1/2 bean's seeds
2 C Pamela's baking mix
1 C almond meal
1/2 C crushed walnuts
2 t chinese 5 spice
2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350'.
Mix all in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.  Place liners into 2 12-muffin pans.  Fill them only 1/3 full.  We just used one Chinese soup spoon.  Bake for about 12 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar & almond meal.

If you want to add frosting, blend in a small food processor:

Vegan ~ 2 slices of pineapple + 1/2 C juice, powdered sugar 'till thick.  This will be more of a glaze.  If you have soaked cashews, then you could add 1/2 C & it will be the consistency of cream cheese.

Vegetarian ~ 1/2 block of organic cream cheese + 2 slices of pineapple + 1/2 C juice + 3 T powdered sugar.