Tag Archives: baking

I baked a Cake

This weekend I baked a cake.

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There wasn’t really a reason, no birthday, no special occasion, nothing extra special to celebrate.

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I just felt like baking a cake. Mixing together some dry ingredients, whipping up some frosting. This cake has been on my to-do list of baking for a very long time.

But I didn’t get to it because in my mind I thought, “there is no special occasion for this cake. Nothing to celebrate, no person who would want it for their birthday.” So I put it off. I left it for a long long time.  And obviously you can’t make a cake without a good reason.

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But then I woke up on a cold frosty day with a baking itch that I knew had to be scratched soon. So I really scratched that itch, not with muffins, or banana bread, or some everyday fare.

I baked a cake and it was delicious.

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Somewhere in the past I’d made a rule that cake was only for a special day. Well maybe making a cake is just what makes that day special.

Or maybe, sometimes, we have to throw out our “food rules”.

PS the cake is a Vegan Red Velvet cake from The Vegan Table written by this lovely lady.

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Fall

Frost greeted me this morning.

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But so did the Sun, and he stayed around all day. Maybe that was why I was in such a good mood today. Or maybe it had to do with this girl.

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Meet Sadie, cutest, sweetest girl alive. But don’t we all say that about our dogs? She’ll be 5 months this Sunday, and she’s still scared of the camera. This was about as still as she would get.

Or maybe I was in a good mood because I got an early afternoon to work on some project work. And I might have made some half decent granola bars.

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There is a granola bar sold at the hospital in their cafe that is TO DIE FOR. It’s sweet, gooey and chewy, with chocolate and raisins, and peanut butter I think. But it’s also huge, oily, and full of SUGAR. I think it might be worse than a cookie. So I needed to replicate it. This version is a good start, but they’re not perfect.

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I’m not sure what to change, I’d like them to be gooier, maybe some more peanut butter? No egg? I’ll write the recipe, and if you have any advice, let me know!

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 tbsp margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (natural pb, none of that kraft krap)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup currants (I couldn’t find any raisins!)
3/4 cup nuts (I used walnut pieces, but I think sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds would be wonderful too)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325*. Grease a regular sized cookie sheet.
2. Beat together the margarine, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla extract until a smooth mixture occurs.
3. Mix in the oats, chocolate chips, currants, and nuts until it becomes a cohesive mixture.
4. Pour mixture onto the greased cookie sheet. Use your hands or a spatula to press the mixture flat, equal in height to edges of the pan (I couldn’t get it to quite cover the pan, there was an inch or two without any.)
5. Bake for 20minutes, allow to cool, then cut into however big of pieces  you want. I made about 18 smallish ones.

So blog readers, writers, what changes do you think might be made? What would leaving the egg out do to the texture?

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Another Monday

I feel like I should write something today.

But I’m not sure what to write about.

How amazing my Sunday was? I spent it biking, baking, grocery store shopping and hanging out with friends.

I fed them cupcakes.

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Not just any cupcakes. Mama Pea’s cupcakes.

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That Mama Pea, she knows her baking.

I replace the applesauce and almond butter with banana and peanut butter. But still delicious, and loved by all.

Or maybe about my busy, but normal, Monday. It was pretty mundane really. I started the 6 Week Pipes Challenge, Morgan is an amazing challenge organizer I have to say. I did my day one, week one of the 100 pushups.

Boy am I tired.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something more to say, or write.

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Kitchen Sink Granola

Well, it’s been a long week.

And it’s only Wednesday. My week has honestly involved a lot of me napping and watching Sex and the City. I know. How can that be a long week? Well, I’m sick, so doing anything is basically out of the question.

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I did however, make granola. And maybe it’s because I was sick when I made it, and basically can’t stop eating it, that I’m still sick. Just a theory.

It was seriously a gorgeous day on Monday. But I ran one errand, and felt too exhausted to do anything. Except make this granola, based on granola we made in class one and a half weeks ago.

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Do you see that sunny day?

It actually looks a lot like that now, and the courtyard outside my window is full of people happily enjoying some vitamin D.

Maybe I’ll join them.

But first I’m going to eat more granola.

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The best part of this granola is how flexible it is, you could through just about anything in. Well, maybe that’s what’s great about any granola right? But just to give you an outline to work with, here is what I did.

Kitchen Sink Granola

Ingredients
1/4cup Honey
1/4cup peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice.)
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 cups large flake oats
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2cup chocolate chips
1/2-1cup raisins
1/2-1cup almonds

1. Preheat oven to 325. (I accidentally had it on 350, and some of my granola is definitely more on the burnt side).
2. Melt honey, oil, and peanut butter in microwave so it can easily be blended together and poured.
3. mix together the oats and ground flaxseed, then pour in the honey and peanut butter mixture. Thoroughly combine until all the oats are coated (there will be a few clumps of granola goodness).
4. Pour mixture onto cookie sheet, and spread into an even layer. Throw in over for 10minutes or so. Remove, toss around a bit, and again put in oven for 10min; repeat another 1 to 2 times, until oats are toasted and fragrant. Allow to cool.
5. Once cool throw the oats into a bowl, and add in remaining ingredients; mix and try not to eat too many while you’re at it.

WARNING this granola is addictive. I’ve already eaten one jar, even if it was the smaller of the two jars, it is still GONE.
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Yep it’s that good. And you could basically use any ingredients you have on hand; almond butter, peanuts, walnuts, apricots, dates, carob chips… Try whatever you like.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go and take another nap. All this writing has been exhausting.

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Splendor

I have to say I’ve had a splendid weekend. You know it’s a good sign when it starts out with this:

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I really should be studying for a midterm right now. But well, I’d rather be here writing than studying anything to do with the science behind cooking an egg.

The weekend was filled with good friends, some adventures, some drinks.

It ended with these:

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I had a dinner to cook for friends and I thought it should have a dessert. I was like, what can I make from my pantry, and “bing” light bulb moment: blondies.

I typed it into google, and up popped Simply Recipes. The blondies were simple. They’re definitely sweet, like brown sugar syrup in baked form.

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  Along with the sun streaming in my window, I feel like “goldies” is more appropriate than blondies.

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Our weather forecast says we’re supposed to get lots of sun this week. Of course it is Vancouver, so that might be a lie.

Still a girl can hope can’t she? Sun, baking, ignoring school work? What could be better?

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And after all spring could be just around the corner

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50 Percent

Don’t worry it’s not my grade average.

No, apparently, 50% of your happiness is genetic. Did you know that?

Cause I sure didn’t.

Yesterday in a fit of procrastination I turned on the TV and flipped through the channels to Oprah.

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(source)

50% of happiness is from birth. The other fifty is up to you. This was interesting to me. I’d never thought of my happiness as something that has a “set point” if you will. But it makes sense at the same time. I have friends who can get ridiculously excited about things that would barely make me react. And other friends who react even less than me.

Angela over at Oh She Glows also made a post about her Daily Glow. It was interesting to read what other people thought of sense of purpose in life, and the relation to happiness. I commented on it about my lack of a sense of purpose lately, because I used to associate “purpose” with “goal” and how I haven’t really had any goals lately. Goals to me are associated with improvement, or pushing yourself. That’s not to say I’m not trying hard, but rather just not trying to do better; I’m satisfied with where I stand and I’m trying to be okay with that. I got some great replies to my comment about purpose in life.

My original commentL

I’ve been feeling so without a purpose recently. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because I have always had a goal; a running goal, a school goal, this goal, that goal. And right now… nothing. I don’t feel like I need to improve everything, (dare I say anything?) about me right now… and that’s left me stuck… what can I do to invite purpose into my life if it isn’t about improvement? Maybe that’s a self-fish point of view for purpose, but it’s not like I’m not volunteering, or giving, or being a good friend and person. But I’ve felt directionless lately, and I more question what is “purpose” to me.

The replies I received:

Hi Bronwyn, can’t the purpose in your life, if only for now, just being? You say you feel like you are a good person and friend, and you don’t need improvement in yourself. isn’t that a great thing? much more important than achiechiving some running goal? I think if you live from goal to goal sometimes you can miss out on the REAL purpose of life, just being yourself and enjoying life and being a good person. I know it’s sometimes hard to see wat you have but pleasure treasure where you are now and how good you have it and live in the moment. – Sabine

Hi Bronwyn!
I can really feel with you. When your live is dominated by tangible goals like finishing school it’s so hard when this changes! I had a rough time after I finished my master degree and started a “real” job because there wasn’t something I could work towards.
I agree with Sabine that it’s important to take time to just enjoy your live and acknowledge what you’ve achieved so far – which IMHO is a lot from what you write! Your individual purpose should not solely be defined by goals and personal improvement. Those can be a part of it.
Maybe you should take a step back and ask yourself why you think you need improvement. Why do you feel that you and your life don’t seem to be good enough right now? – Julia

That is such a great question that you have touched on. I think it is actually great how you feel. It tells me that you feel very balanced in your life and I think that is a great thing. :) I think as Sabine mentioned, sometimes you can focus on just ‘being’ and focus on being present in your life. It sounds so easy, but for myself, that is one of the biggest challenges that I face each day. I don’t think it necessarily has anything to do with self-improvement in the traditional sense, but just to be mindful of things we encounter each day can be a prupose in itself. Of course, only you can define what purpose is in your life obviously…I am glad the post got you thinking about it. – Angela

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with my post, but I guess I’m trying not to associate my happiness with just the achievement of goals, but maybe more with the process of just living. Yes there are things that I want to achieve in my life, but is there anything I need to rush towards? No, not right now.

What does make me happy?

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Sunsets from my window. Best part of my day.

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Huge piles of biscotti.

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Okay, or maybe just a couple at a time. 😉

Also being able to say that biscotti was my homework makes me really happy.

What makes you happy? Do you believe you have a happiness set point? Or an expectation of what will make you happy?

I used to be the type of person who said “once I achieve _________ I’ll be happy” or “If only I had ________ then I’d be happy” or “If only I was _______ then I’d be happy”. Then I realized that won’t make me happy. I must admit, I’m happy most of the time these days, I have ups and downs. But I don’t have an expectation of what will make me happy. Sometimes you seek out happiness, sometimes it’s a struggle, but there are totally moments where it just sort of happens, and that’s always great.

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Filed under baking, emotions

Week’s End

That’s what today is. It’s been a normal productive week I would say. Nothing too spectacular has happened.

Thought on Wednesday I did spoil myself, by picking up a couple books.

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Isn’t it pertty? Ok, you can’t see all of it. But I basically opened this book and drooled over the pictures, recipes, and layout. I also got The Joy of Vegan Baking, by the same author. I didn’t intend to buy two books by only one person, but really, they were just both so good looking!

I’ve already marked pages of recipes I intend to try.

Still I haven’t made anything from them yet, but I’ve picked up some ingredients I might be needing in the next week.

I did however hit up my kitchen today.

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I was browsing my many bookmarked sights, and stumbled across this recipe on Joy the Baker. I ignored it for awhile. I would move on with my day.

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But I would go back a look at the photos on her website. Just you know, looking. No harm in looking right?

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And I mean, sometimes looking turns into thinking. Just thinking about how easy it is to throw a chocolate bar into my cart. How I have some oranges that need using.

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Then you know, that chocolate bar appears in your shopping basket. It goes through checkout with you and ends up back home, and well, you know, you can’t not use it right?

These were good. Not healthy really (too bad orange zest doesn’t add all those benefits of an orange.) but oh was it good.

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I’m talking melt-in-your-mouth good. And I didn’t even use real butter, I can only imagine how delcious they’d have been then.

Just writing about it makes me want another one.

Well I’m off to… procrastinate some more. I might not be going out tonight but somehow studying on a Friday just doesn’t seem right.

What have you baked or cooked recently that’s been delicious? What are your weekend plans?

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