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pumpkin scones in the spring time

How is it the end September already? I mean, really. It’s ridiculous. I’ve been here for almost five months now… no wait. I HAVE been here for five months. Today! Weird. Anyway, time is just flying by.

pumpkin sconesss

My body is confused though. I’m craving the heat. I want that warm sun on my face. I want that feeling of walking out of your house only to realize its warmer outside than it is indoors. I want to not wear a jacket to work. And I want to rock shorts and a tanktop without the fear of afternoon chills.

But again, it’s SEPTEMBER… this is autumn in Canada and for that reason my body wants pumpkin pies and warm tea. Maybe a wood burning fire, delicious treats and halloween.

I haven’t had a proper summer since 2009… It seems I’ve been chasing winter back and forth across the globe, so yes. Summer is what I need, but pumpkin is what feels right.

That, and every other recipe I’ve seen since September 1st has been Pumpkin themed. Honestly, Autumn needs some new flava. But I won’t complain. I love me some pumpkin. Even if I can’t find it canned in Sydney. And even if what Australians call a Pumpkin is ACTUALLY a butternut squash… its delicious none the less.

So what do I do? I make smoothies. With pumpkin. and breads. with pumpkin… and SCONES! with pumpkin.

So today I bring you those Pumpkin Scones. Autumn Pumpkin scones, in Spring. Yum.

delicious

Pumpkin Scones with cinnamon icing

Recipe adapted from here

1 c. spelt flour

1 c. all purpose flour

1/2 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 c. vegan butter

1/3 c. pumpkin puree

1/3 c. oat milk

Cinnamon Icing

1/4 c. powdered sugar

1/2 tbsp. almond milk

Cinnamon to taste

For the Scones
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Celcius and place the butter and milk in the fridge.

Mix together the flours, the spices, the baking powder and the sugar. Cut in the cold butter and then stir in the milk and pupmkin puree.

Mix the dough until a loose ball forms. lightly flour your surface and mold the dough into a rectangle. Cut into triangles. Mine made eight very small scones.

Bake the scones for 12-13 minutes.

For the Icing
Mix the ingredients together and add cinnamon to taste. Drizzle icing over the scones and allow to set.
make these! I bet they’d taste even better in cool, windy weather.
xxx
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Ode to Chocolate

For as long as I can remember I have loved one food in particular more than any other in the world. My love for this food started very young, but I believe it grew stronger when I became a vegetarian. I often used the excuse that since I didn’t eat fatty meats or fish, that I could make up for calories and saturated fats with this one incredible food. And I did. I do.

It is also the food that stopped me from becoming a vegan for many years because I didn’t know it existed without milk. But it does. ohhh how it does, and it’s tastier and more delicious than I could have ever imagined. It is delightful when frozen and sinful when melted. It is of course; Chocolate.

hello... lover

Funny story: In my formative years, I distinctly recall returning to school one day (or many days) after lunch only to have a friend of mine point out that I, once again, had brown smudges on the seat of my pants. Awkward. Devastatingly embarrassing when you’re in 6th grade. And let me tell you, 11 year olds do not take ‘I was eating chocolate and it fell onto my chair and melted’ as an excuse. No… The only logical answer to them was that, yes, you guessed it; I pooped my pants.

OH CHOCOLATE, you would think that at some point between having you stain all of my favourite pants and having you constantly, yet unknowingly, smeared upon my chin and cheeks I would curse you and attempt to cut ties. But no. I cannot resist you. Even in your messiest state, I will lick you from spoons, or forks, or even knives(!) putting my tongue (and dignity) at risk. But I digress…

A couple of months ago I discovered this ‘healthy’ chocolate fudge recipe. With only five ingredients and no refined sugar, this is one of the most delicious chocolate delights I have ever tasted. I’ve served it to many and not a one has said anything other than good things. It is divine. Please make it.

yes... there was cocoa powder EVERYWHERE

Chocolate Fudge

Adapted from this deliciousness

1 1/4 c. coconut oil (softened)

1/2 c. peanut butter (crunchy or soft)

3/4 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. cocoa powder (sifted)

pinch of salt

In a cooled bowl, combine the coconut oil and peanut butter. You can use an electric mixer, but I never do. Just mix ‘er up. When its thoroughly combined, add in the maple syrup and combine. Finally, add the cocoa powder and salt. Mix until combined and scoop the mixture into small cupcake moulds. If it’s a bit too thick, you can melt the mixture over a pot of boiling water until it is a pourable consistency. Once in the cupcake moulds, sprinkle a couple of grains of sea salt on top. Trust me… its a good thing.

Put the fudge in the freezer to firm up and then enjoy! It will never fully harden because of the coconut oil. Always melty and amazing.

xxx

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The (Baking) Bucket List

For the past couple months I have been making a real effort to post at least once a week. The posts usually revolve around my weekend and if I’m lucky, they involve some sort of baking or recipe. I have to admit though, sometimes my life isn’t as exciting as all that. Sometimes I have nothing to write about, nothing to report… and I’m left feeling a little bit empty, having no baked goods in my tummy, no pictures of food and no humorous anecdotes to regail you with. It’s a shame when this happens, but it happens. I am only human and my life can’t revolve around pictures of food. Not yet anyway, though that is the goal (!).

This week… is one of those weeks. I’m currently house sitting and dog sitting for a friend so it’s been a bit of a write off for me. I’m all turned around, I’ve barely turned on my computer, or even picked up my camera until now. Yeeesh.

With all this non-baking going on, I’ve had the chance to think about some of the things I’d like to try. I’ve browsed Foodgawker and Tastespotting, bookmarked way too many blogs and ordered a cookbook on amazon specifically for one recipe. You know… the usual.

With that being said, I’ve taken some ques from other food blogs and started my very own “Top 100″… Although, mine is not 100, yet. It’s kind of like a random Baking bucket list. I will add to it as I see fit… but for now it is just some things that I’d like to attempt or re-attempt and document here.

I think its a fine starting point. I’ll aim for one attempt per week… but I make no promises. My fast paced life may not allow it, what with all the going to bed at 9.30pm and watching 30 Rock in its entirety.

Anyhoo, I DID make a little somethin soemthin last Saturday for my boy. By request:

Mmm Saturday mornings.

Banana Porridge with Poached Apple
(Banana and apple doesn’t sound like the best combination to me, but each on it’s own? Delicious! So… I mean I geuss it’s all the same in your stomach)

2 small bananas (one chopped one mushed)

1/2 c. of rolled oats

1 c. oat milk

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamin

pinch of ginger

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. of coconut cream

Raisins for garnish

Coconut for garnish

1 Apple, peeled and sliced in quarters

water or juice for poaching

First, place the apples in a saucepan with the water or juice and bring to a boil. You can add sugar if you prefer a sweeter poached fruit, but I think the apples are fine on their own. Add a slice of lemon or cinnamon stick for extra flavour. Allow the apples to boil for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce them very easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk together your oats, milk, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, salt and maple syrup. Using a small saucepan on medium heat, heat up the mixture, stirring occasionally until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the vanilla and coconut cream, continue to heat until desired consistency.

Spoon oatmeal into a bowl, and top with some poached apple. Sprinkle with raisins and coconut and drizzle some maple syrup on top.

The combo was actually quite delish.

Sweet Saturday Mornings, you smell of overpriced Bananas.

xxx

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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.

amazing...

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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The week that it rained forever…

Sydney... pre-rain

On Monday evening I was on my usual stroll home from work… it was darker than usual, but I thought nothing of it. Perhaps I’d left a little late, maybe there was some minor cloud cover, no big deal. As I came out of the park I took a deep breath of the fresh air and admired the night.

…And then the heaven’s opened up and the rain began to pour.

I was almost home, but it didn’t matter… I ran the rest of the way and still ended up looking like a drowned rat.

The next morning I woke up and looked out to find more rain… but I thought little of it, and just slapped a scarf round my head and took my umbrella for my walk to work. I remember thinking, as I jumped over a puddle, that this was kind of nice. My feet were still dry and that was all that mattered.

…And then it started coming down in sheets.

Cats and dogs even. I waited at the crosswalk, but the green light never came. I could see people in their cars looking at me, feeling sorry for me, laughing at me, as the rain fell sideways and soaked me through.

…And then I misjudged the depth of a puddle and water rushed into my boots.

By this point, there was nothing I could do. I kept my umbrella up… but it was pretty useless. My skirt was dripping wet, and my feet were cold. I sloshed through the puddles. However, I made it to the homestretch with my good mood intact.

…And then a car drove up onto the sidewalk and plowed me in the side, clipping me with the side mirror.

I was startled, confused and then just like that my good mood was gone. Who drives up onto a sidewalk and hits a pedestrian? And then just holds up his right hand in a half-wave. The very same wave you use when the car beside you lets you into their lane. Was it an apology? Was it a ‘thanks for moving when my car hit you?’ I dunno. I barely even got eye contact.

Honestly, it’s no big deal… I’ll just move along. Thanks for the raised hand apology. I appreciate that.

So I hit his van with my inside-out umbrella and screamed some profanities that I can only hope he heard. I’m pretty sure that makes us even. No?

Well, in any case, I made it to work in one piece. One soggy piece. I spent the rest of the day airing out my boots and sitting on tea-towels. It was joyful. The brightside? My hair looked amazing, thanks to the scarf I wrapped around my head before leaving the house. Yes… I’m a babushka now. jealous?

This rain continued straight-through until Friday night. It was incredibly persistent. And I love the rain, but I gotta say it put a damper on my mood. I did, however, learn my lesson about walking to work. I finished out the week by taking the bus and wearing a different set of clothes for the commute.

In other news, I did some baking this week… but it wasn’t much to write home about. And I didn’t get any pictures. That’s sort of the problem when I only bake at night. I need a good reflector and flash system. Working on it.

Hopefully next week will bring some better light and better opportunities for more picture taking. I’m getting restless.

In lieu of any pictures that even remotely relate to this post… I’ll leave you with this. Pancakes a la Caitlin.

Hopefully I can recreate and take better images soon for more recipe love.

Apple pancakes with coconut, granola and dried fruit. Oh and maple syrup.

xxx

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Canad-ia Day!


Being a Canadian in another country always makes you feel like you need to be extra patriotic.

All.the.time.

You constantly cheer at inappropriate times when you see things related to your home country. You jump into every conversation that is even remotely about the great white north. You pretend you are actually educated on and are concerned about the Stanley Cup, and who wins… and most of all, you keep that Canadian flag sewed to your backpack, no matter how many people make fun of you for it.

With that being said, when July 1st rolls around you have no choice but to dig out your red and white clothing and wish everyone that you encounter a Happy Canada Day. And in my case, you make mini-cupcakes with cinnamon-vanilla icing and maple candied pecans. obviously.

I had little time this week, what with haircuts and office parties, but Canada day woke me at 6am to finish off these babies. I took them into work and displayed them proudly in the communal kitchen. I was only kind of pissed when the first cupcake eater stole the C in Canada… honestly? Cause now it says Happy Anada Day. No one knows it’s Canada day to begin with, let alone ANADA day. However, I allowed my inner Canuck shine through, I took some deep breaths and I bit my tongue. I put up a sign beside the cupcakes to educate everyone on the date and occasion.

delightful

After work, my lovely boyfriend and I decided to hit the one bar that was throwing Sydney’s Canada Day Bash. The Art House Hotel. Their website advertised real live Huskie dogs and a show called ‘The Full Mounty.’ It promised a good night.

We decked ourselves out in our finest Canadian threads and headed out. Immediately after arriving, we found the Huskies. Adorable. I don’t know why they were wearing leis… but we fed them treats before heading to the bar for Canadian beverages. And just then… we spotted the other lone Canadian rocking the very same Black bear hat that I was. Amazing.

A couple friends joined us and we danced the night away,

the crew... haha minus the guy whos head I cut off. oops.

as mounties stripped down to nothing on stage in the much anticipated ‘Full Mounty’ and BNL, Avril Lavigne and Sum 41 serenaded us with some sweet tunes.

Black Bear Lovin'

Sean got a bit carried away and began making out with the black bear. That’s not actually what we do in Canada… but I let him be.

After we’d had enough drinking and enough dancing we left the bar and wandered back to the train station. After a brief drunken stop at Woolworth’s and some croissants and soy-yogurt, we headed back to North Sydney for a snack and early sleep.

July 1st ended for me, but it was just beginning in Toronto… so naturally I celebrated on Saturday as well.

xxx

Chocolate cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla frosting and Maple Candied Pecans

Cupcake recipe adapted from Vegan cupcakes take over the World

1 c. soy milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. canola oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. flour

1/3 cocoa

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a mini-muffin tin.

Whisk the soy milk & apple cider vinegar and set aside to allow it to curdle. Add the oil, sugar & vanilla. Beat the mixture until foamy.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder & salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches. Beat out all the large lumps.

Pour about a tablespoon or the mixture into each liner. Bake for about 14 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now make some bad ass frosting.

Vanilla-cinnamon Frosting

1 3/4 c. icing sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. margarine

Beat the margarine until fluffy and add half the icing sugar. Add the other half and beat until smooth with the vanilla. Add in the cinnamon… delish.

Maple Candied Pecans

1/4 c. maple syrup

1/3 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. pecans

Toast the pecans lightly in the oven. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium high until it comes to a boil. Stir often, careful not to burn. Reduce to simmer for ten minutes.

Toss pecans in mixtures and set.

Frost each cupcake and top with a maple pecan!

cuppy-cakes...

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The Saturday I ruined the carpet.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning… there was a definite chill in the air, but it was crisp and bright. Sean was going riding, so I had the whole day on my own and I was determined to make it as good as any other Saturday. Only better. I had high hopes. Markets? Runs? Swimming? Coffee? There were so many options, too many really. I wanted to do everything.

However, all week I had been itching to bake. I have very little time for baking since I started working. I’ve gotten up early, I’ve stayed up late… all in the name of scones and granola. And while that has been somewhat fufilling, Sartuday morning really isss the best time for a sweet breakfast. So I woke up nice and early churn out some delightful Strawberry pancakes before my boy left for the day.

I must say, they were perfect. Whole wheat, complete with strawberries, almonds, coconut and some chocolate covered fruit from dessert the night before. I was really happy with these babies. Especially since vegan pancakes can be tricky. Paired with a strong black coffee… it was delicious.

I was enjoying a small portion when I greedily got up for seconds (and lets be honest… more chocolate.) Anyhoo, I somehow knocked over my coffee mug bowl, which was still half full. I watched as it spilled in slow motion, crashing onto the beige carpet and brown sofa. I paused for a split second to let out a silent scream of terror and then tried to hurdle over the coffee table to grab a towel. In the process of doing that, i tripped over a bag, or the table, or my foot and thus spilling Sean’s cup of coffee as well.

After a couple minutes of sopping up coffee, I quickly googled coffee stains and came up with a quick vinegar/water mixture that actually seemed to get most of the stains out. But not before I dissolved into tears and began cursing the tiny apartment.

I’m sorry apartment. I really do love you. Despite you’re stainey carpets and non-existant counter top space. I DO love you.

I continued to throw shit around for a while. Ordering Sean to go riding, wiping the counter in anger, washing dishes with fury. He tried to help, but there was no point. I made him leave and then threw some more stuff around when the door shut behind him. It felt damn good. That hamper never saw it coming.

So, crying aside, I ended up cleaning the whole apartment and I felt much better for it. It also only took about an hour since my beautiful little North Sydney home is so small. 🙂

ready for the jog.

Finally ready to start the day, I decided to take a jog to the Rock’s Markets just over the bridge, maybe take a wander and then jog back.

I debated taking my camera and ditching my water. Ultimately, I decided to suck it up and take the camera… until I realized there was no way it would fit in the tiny camel back. Hence, there are no more pictures from this day.Which is a shame really. At least I stayed hydrated.

I shoulda photographed those pancakes, they were ridiculous amazing looking. Just ask my non-biased boyfriend.

On my merry way to the markets, I stumbled upon the Kirribilli Markets… another HUGE market spread compelte with second hand clothing and home-made treats. I bought both. I had bypassed it on the way to the Rocks, but stopped on the way back before they closed for the last-minute deals. Score.

Back home, I devoured a smoothie and tried on my pretty new threads.

Sean walked in not long after… “You’re smiling!”

He was expecting something else?

pft.

xxx

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