Tag Archives: bread

banana bread muffins

I’ve been in kind of a creative rut. And when I say creative rut, I mean more of a life style rut.

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Since I arrived home from my travels about a month and a half ago, life has been a little upside down. House guests (which were actually the best), new jobs, semi-new homes, lots of dining out and not a lot of time for thinking or baking. I’m not exactly complaining… I’m just sayin’. It’s been crazy.

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Even now, a week after my house guests departed, I still can’t seem to find a rhythm. I guess this might take a while.In the meantime, I’ll make muffins. It seems to be what I do when I’m having trouble re-adjusting.

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Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from Daily Garnish

1/2 c brown sugar (loosely packed)
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c coconut oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c oat milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c chocolate chips
1/4 c walnuts

Add sugar, syrup, and coconut oil to bowl and beat until well combined. You can do this manually, or with a mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine oat milk with the apple cider vinegar. Add this mixture as well as the mashed banana and vanilla to the sugar/syrup/oil bowl and combine.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients and slowly combine them into the wet. Fold in the walnuts & chocolate but don’t over mix.

Spoon the mixture into muffins cups and bake for 20ish minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Muffins

sunday morning bread

I’m obsessed with reading food blogs. I spend all hours pursuing the internet. Healthy living? Decadent desserts? Useful information? I want it all. I stumble on so many gems and yet I don’t have enough free time in the kitchen to replicate them all.

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This one was brought to my attention by a friend of mine. She made it last weekend and gave me a taste. I went home that night and immediately baked it up. It lasted only a couple days, so here I am again, in my kitchen baking this for second time this week. So delicious and wholesome!

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The thing is, this is easy as can be! Mix, set, bake. It’s really not rocket science and you can easily do it all in one bowl! Minimal clean up and a delightful Sunday morning breakfast.

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The recipe is from My New Roots. A fellow Canadian lady, blogging from across the world. At least I think she is Canadian… She went to school in Toronto anyway. I admire her immensely. She makes me want to take more pictures and learn everything there is too learn about Holistic Nutrition.

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She nailed it with this loaf. It totally is life changing and oh.my.god. soooo delicious.

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Go check out her blog if you haven’t already and make this loaf. It’s totally a good thing. (I’m channeling martha stewart here.)

xxx

 

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast

the walnut and the fig

Are the things in life that are more delicious than warm-out-of-the-oven bread? Are there?! Because I have yet to find them.

And speaking of bread… why does everyone think sliced bread is the coolest? I don’t think it is. I’d much prefer a huge hunk, maybe sliced thick or perhaps ripped off the loaf.

Mmm, I think the best way to make this all happen is to bake your own bread. It’s BYOB… yo. Let’s get into it.

Easy enough for me to say, but for years I have been avoiding the bread making process. I’m just gunna say it. I’m afraid of yeast. It’s alive and that’s weird.

But that’s also the problem… cause usually it’s not alive at all… it’s dead. I am the worst ever at keeping yeast alive, so my past forays into the bread making business have been… less than successful.

And similarily, sometimes when the yeast IS alive, I fail to let it rise properly.

Who knew there were sometimes 2 or even 3 rises? Not I. Not. I.

So I tell ya, no one was more surprised than me when this bread was a hit.

Granted, I have no idea how to knead.

Nor do I own a scale… and yeah, the measurements are in grams. So needless to say my google history looked something like this

uhhuh… I spelled cups “gups.” But google knew what was up. Google is alll OVER that.

It’s a miracle this bread even baked.

But it did. And I’m sure it will. Again and again and again. But I will buy a scale. I will. When I find a cool fancy retro one in mint green. ok?

Anyhoo, you can refer to the almighty Masterchef Australia website for this bad boy. I won’t take any credit here.

Fig and Walnut bread!

And hey, how sweet is this photo of the steam in my tea? I love you afternoon light. You make my sundays so warm and lazy.

and I totes downed that bottle of scotch too. Maybe that’s why I was so warm and lazy.
(not really. we used empty scotch bottles for cold water. scotchy infusion!)

xxx

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happy one year

Autumn is here! The cool, windy weather is making me giddy and has me itching to buy scarves and wooly sweaters. Although this autumn will never turn into a proper winter… not here in Sydney anyway. I’m still excited and sort of surprised to look at the ground and see fallen leaves in hues of burnt orange and red. I didn’t think that happened in this country. So ill informed, I am.

And here we are. It’s been a year. A year since I started writing this little blog and a year since I moved to Australia. (In fact I just checked and tomorrow marks exactly one year since I first posted here. It’s somewhat of an anniversary I suppose…)

It seems odd to me, that it’s been that long. Even as I write this, it seems wrong. Where has the year gone? Has it really been that long since I’ve been home? Since I’ve seen my puppy? Since I’ve slept in my own bed? I suppose it has. Sometimes It feels like eons ago and sometimes not so much. Either way, I have mixed emotions. I’m very happy at this moment in time, in this lifestyle. I get to live in a beautiful country with a beautiful man. I get to sip delicious coffee and eat delicious food, and I get to gallivant about Sydney. And there are Palm trees. PALM TREES everywhere! But I do miss my Canadian home, my friends and my family. Some days are harder than others…

I won’t be gone forever… but I think that somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that I might be back for a visit around now. Well, life is life. And it would seem that I won’t be visiting home just yet. Still, the weather is making me nostalgic for Canada. I am half expecting some winter winds and frosty mornings.

Now before I start tearing up over my keyboard (ooops, too late) let’s move on to a sweeter subject. Banana Bread! Cause who doesn’t need a little comfort food when the cold weather hits (bringing with it just a dash of reality…)

so dense and delicious

Well, I sure needed it this week. And I might need a little more right now. In fact, as I sit here typing this, there is a second loaf of bread baking in the oven. Yes, cause the loaf I made last night is nearly gone. (this recipe is REALLY yummy)

raspberries look sooo sophisticated when cooked.

I think it’s kind of fitting that I post a Banana-bread on the one year anniversary of this blog. When I first arrived in Australia Bananas were a whopping $14 a kilo… all I wanted in the world was to bake with them. Haha… Well this week I stumbled upon a bounty of bananas for just 99cents! So as fate would have it:

Raspberry-Banana Bread
to soothe your soul

1.5 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. raw sugar

2 tbsp. ground flax (+ 1/4 c. water)

2-3 bananas (mushed up)

1/2 c. rice milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

3/4 c. raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. whisk the flax seed with the water and allow to sit and thicken for about five minutes. Mix the wet ingredients and add in the flax seeds, then add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until just combined. Now fold in the walnuts and raspberries. Pour into a loaf pan(greased or lined) and baked at 350* for about an hour.

Eat warm, eat cool, eat at the coffee shop with a delicious cold coffee. Eat after it has been smushed in your bag by your ginormous camera, because honestly… it’s still good.

I guess a lot has happened in a year. I mean just browse through this little ditty. This here marks my 45th post. Almost one a week. Not too shabby Hicks.

For now I will just have to keep baking, it calms any storms a’brewing in my mind and reminds me of home. And to ease the pain of being away from my puppy, I snuggle up with this little guy.

Odin

He’s no dog.dog.DOG… but he’s as close as I’m going to get for a couple more months. And he is pretty cute.

hello adorable.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breads

Zucchini-Apple bread… with toasted walnuts

Last weekend the boy and I got to go on another wine tour. We’re pretty much experts now.

While swirling his glass, ‘I’m definitely picking up notes of… grapes. Yes. definitely grapes.’

Swoon. He’s such a high society man. However, I won’t bore you with the details of more boozy afternoons.

It’s Spring here… and feeling like almost summer. The mornings are getting much much lighter, so much so that I am able to run at 6am. The only other people out at that time are other morning joggers. I never realized what a nice time of day it is. The light is so perfect, and the sunrise is beautiful. I kinda wish I could run with my camera… but that might be pushing it.

I’ve got heaps of extra time now at lunch and after work. So what better way to fill that time… than to drool over baked goods on foodgawker and then promptly march home to make them.

I’ve noticed that zucchini cakes are really bursting onto the scene lately… and I’d call it fate, since I had numerous zucchinis in my fridge.

On a mid-week grocery shop last Wednesday I happened to walk into Woolies at the exact moment when a stock boy was putting out crates and crates of discounted fruits and vegetables. Without even thinking twice, I grabbed a bag and stuffed it full with TWO bananas… (the last two) 3 zucchinis, 4 tomatoes, 1 lime and a cucumber. The total cost? TWO DOLLARS. Man o man. I was buzzing. It takes a certain personality to get this excited over discounted food. But combine my love of a sale, with my low potassium and my budget-savy mind… and I tell ya. There was so much reason to celebrate. I mean come on! Two bananas ALONE woulda been a deal. Though I must point out that my beloved bananas have recently dropped from 14.99/kilo to just 10.99! Summmmmer’s a-comin!

Anyhow, the point of the story was the zucchinis and how I had an abundance of them. The only logical thing to do would be to bake a zucchini bread. So I did.

It was delicious. By far, the most deliciously healthy bread eva. Check out the ingredient list… its amazing. No dairy, no refined sugar… no white flour. AND an entire fruit and a vegetable. Innncredible.

Zucchini Apple Bread

Adapted from this recipe

1 1/2 c. whole wheat spelt flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. all spice

 

3/4 c. grated zucchini

3/4 c. grated apple

1/2 c. roasted walnuts

 

1 tbsp. chia seeds with 3 tbsp. water (chia egg)

1/2 c. maple syrup

1/4 c. coconut oil

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.

In a large bowl mix the wet ingredients. Partially combine the dry and the wet before stirring in the grated zucchini and apple and walnuts.* Mix until just combined, and then pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to start, however mine took closer to an hour.

*I’ve made this bread twice now, once without straining the zucchini and apple. It was extremely moist. So much so that when I stuck a knife in, it came out with what looked like raw dough on it. However, even after leaving it in the oven for an extra 15 minutes, the middle didn’t completely bake. It was still delicious, just very moist in the center. The second time I baked it, I strained about 1/2 c. of liquid from the zucchini and apple and the bread was still VERY moist. In my oven, it still took at extra 15 minutes to bake. I’m not sure, but it was still amazing, so unless you hate really moist or dense breads… this is still a must bake!

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breads

The bread of my dreams…

cinnamon pull-apart bread

I’ve been dreaming of making this bread for weeks, months even. And since Monday I have had the uncontrollable urge to stare at pictures of it and study every recipe and every version that I could find. It didn’t take much to find a vegan version… so I’ve been researching and gathering ingredients since my Monday evening grocery shop. With all that being said, the research, the studying, the drooling… its actually kind of impressive that I STILL misread the recipe and forgot a step. But… that’s not unusual coming from me.

This past week was beautiful and such a stark contrast to last week. Not a drop of rain. Beautiful sunny days, crisp mornings and cool evenings. Perfect running weather, very ‘autumn in Canada’-esque. The days are definitely getting longer, too. The sun is just setting as I leave work. I’m so ready summer nights…

But in the mean time, the best baked good are those suited to the cool weather. Conditions were perfect; beautiful day, gorgeous light, Sean was going biking… the apartment would be empty and I would be able to play music, throw flour and dominate as much space as was necessary for baking and photography needs, which is of course the entire apartment. 🙂

apples and raisins

I started as soon as I woke up. I can never find applesauce at Woolworth’s, so that was my first task, fresh applesauce. Next I whipped up some dough, and then left it to rise for the next hour as I doodled about and went for a run.

When I returned, I tried my hand at the kneading process, something I have zero experience in… so I really have no idea how I went at that. I’m seriously considering taking the bread making course at the North Sydney community centre in August. I seem to have quite a few gaps in my bread baking knowledge.

I allowed the dough to rise for another 5 minutes and then rolled it out for filling and constructing the pull-apart deliciousness. The rolling was especially hard, for a couple reasons. First of all, I don’t really have a flat working area… and second of all, my working area was just a hair bigger than how big the dough was supposed to be rolled. Dilemma.

The entire kitchen... post-baking.

After to some strategic rolling, pulling, rotating and measuring, I smeared the filling over the dough with my pastry brush fingers, and then sliced it, stacked it and bunched it up into the bread pan.

pre-bake

It was looking kinda pathetic, yet still delicious, so I snapped some pictures and popped it into the oven. It wasn’t until 10 minutes into baking that I realized I had forgotten the all important second rise. Idiot.

Well… not bad for a first attempt. I’m thinking next time I’ll work on my kneading skills, remember to let it rise, and then perhaps add some pumpkiny goodness? Yummm…

before and after

The result was still gorgeous. Deep golden tips and a lovely cinnamon-raisin insides. I think it needed a bit more moisture, but it was amazing with a nice strong cup of coffee.

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Even with my minor screw-ups, Sean managed to enjoy half a loaf when he got home later.

yummm...

That boy might just be growing tired of my photographing his every meal. He was whining through most of my pictures, particularly when I moved outside to get better light. He was not impressed. Perhaps if he didn’t eat all of my baking in one sitting I wouldn’t have to take so many pictures of it in such a hurry. Just sayin…

Cinnamon-Raisin Pull-apart Bread

Adapted from Kohler Created

Ingredients

For the dough:
3/4 c. non-dairy milk
1 packet active yeast
3 c. white bread flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 c. raw sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. fresh unsweetened applesauce

For the Filling:
1 tbsp. fresh unsweetened applesauce
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
In a small saucepan, gently warm 3/4 cup non-dairy milk and sprinkle yeast in letting it dissolve. This takes about five minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and 1/4 salt. Add 5 tbsp applesauce and yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add in another 1/2 cup flour, stirring to combine with a spatula. Continue mixing until you have a sticky dough ball. It will take a while to all come together, but it will.

Place the dough in large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm area and allow it to rest until doubled in size, or about 1 hour.

While the dough rises you can whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and applesauce for the filling. I found this filling very thick, and not very good for spreading, so I added a bit more applesauce, but this is probably where I would add pumpkin instead of applesauce, and maybe more than a tablespoon. Maybe a 1/4 c.(?)
Grease and flour a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan. Set both aside.

Sprinkle remaining flour on a flat surface and knead dough, kneading in most of the flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a large thin rectangle, about 12-inches tall and 20-inches long, or roughly as large as you can make it, depending on the size of your petite kitchen.

Using your fingers, or ideally, a pastry brush, spread the filling across all the dough. Sprinkle with additional brown sugar if desired. Sprinkle raisins evenly across the dough and eat a lot of them.

Slice the dough vertically into strips and stack strips on top of one another and slice into strips again. Be sure they will fit into your baking pan. Layer into your greased pan and cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 30-45 additional minutes. (don’t forget this part… idiot)

Preheat to 350 degrees F and put the baking rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until tips are deeply golden brown. Mine was a bit doughy in the center, so be sure the tips are quite dark which will ensure that it had been in for long enough.

Allow to cool for up to 30 minutes before removing from pan and onto a clean surface or serving dish. Serves 2 greedy people. just yank it in half.

mmm…

xxx

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