Categories
Baking Inspiration Lifestyle

Getting Back Into Writing + Blueberry Scones

First things first. I am not a professional baker but I love to bake and I figured during my temporary unemployment, this would be a great time to start sharing some things that I love on this platform again. Plus, I have to keep my writing up to snuff during this time, or I’ll literally spend majority of my time binge-watching HGTV.

For those of you who may find yourself in a similar situation, I hope that you’re also doing something to keep you inspired. It’s hard right now. So if some days you feel like couch surfing all day, then do it. I know that I’ve had my mix of feelings since this pandemic started – fear, sadness, anxiety, worry. But I figured this was finally the time to start things back up that I’ve been passionate about — I’ve wished for more time and now I have it. Maybe not quite the way I wanted it, but it’s all about shifting perspective.

So with that being said expect more content on here and I hope that it brings you some joy and inspiration during this hectic time in our world.

Recipe Review – Fraiche Food Full Hearts

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Inspired by my lack of baked goods readily available, and determined to become a decent cook by the end of this isolation period, I decided to try out the Vanilla Cherry Scones recipe from Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer’s cookbook, Fraiche Food Full Hearts. I’ve actually made a few of their recipes during this social distancing period and I can say that I’m pretty impressed, and I really love the plant-based, dairy-free options.

I’m a cherry fanatic. I love them. Some of my fondest memories of my summers at my Grandparents house is sitting with a bowl of cherries with my grandfather. However, frozen cherries (since they aren’t currently in season) aren’t great in my opinion. My husband also happens to dislike cherries, so I figured it would be a good idea to swap them out for frozen blueberries this time around.

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Overall, the recipe is quite easy and calls for few ingredients. The only part I struggled with was shaping the dough. This was my first time making scones, so I learned the hard way that flour on your hands is a good idea. Also, the least amount of handling, the better as the blueberries were starting to burst and melt as I continued shaping the disk.

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They aren’t overly sweet, but I do wish there was a glaze or topping recipe for this. Luckily, my best friend, Lindsay over at The Lekker Kitchen, is a formally trained cook and gave me some insider tips to make this recipe even better. AKA lemon glaze. Yes. So much yes. Check out her latest amazing creations over on her site!

Regardless of the topping you choose (or don’t choose) I would definitely recommend trying out this recipe – even if you’re new to baking! Makes for a yummy breakfast or snack option. And it’s probably worth doubling up if you have more than just two people in your household. 😉

I’d love to know — are you doing anything new or picking up an old hobby during this time?

Stay healthy friends!
xo

Categories
Holidays

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

I had never really been a fan of Gingerbread anything (sorry!)…I always found the spice was a little too nice and it never really tasted that good. I’m realizing as I’m getting older (sigh) that my taste-buds are changing and things I never used to like, or be drawn to, I’m giving another try – and liking them! To my surprise this Christmas season, Gingerbread Cookies happened to be one of those things.

Follow along to see some snaps on making and decorating the Gingerbread Cookies! The recipe below was adapted from Gimme Some Oven. I didn’t include the icing sugar recipe, since I prefer to use the already pre-made and pre-coloured icing from the grocery store or bulk barn!

A very special thank you to @MagicInColours Photography for the great shots! You can follow her on Facebook to see more of her work or if you’re in the GTA and want some shots taken – get in touch with her there!

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Ingredients:

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • Icing + Sprinkles/Decorations

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs and molasses, and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball.  Then flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  4. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Unwrap the dough and place it on a large, lightly-floured hard surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/4-inch thick.  Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more.  Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Once the cookies are room temperature, DECORATE!

 
Don’t have the time to whip up this recipe? Check out my fast (and easy) holiday baking favourites here!

Merry Christmas!

lxiv

Categories
Lifestyle

Easy Meal Prep Ideas for Lunch or Dinner!

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Yesterday I participated in my first ever CrossFit Competition for our box, CrossFit Canuck, who turned 5 years old today! The gym hosted a in-house competition, “The Canuck Games”, in true CrossFit fashion to celebrate this milestone!

The Canuck Games was an all day event with 5 partner WODs total and let me tell you – it was HARD. I would consider myself fairly athletic, but I was never part of any sports teams during High School or University (even though I was asked to join a few). Instead, I focused on Student Council, my singing and my studies. I never thought I had time to work out or join a sports team. But since I’ve been doing CrossFit, I can’t tell you how happy I am! Sure, there are bad days and good days like anything else, but I can’t explain how wonderful it feels when you lift something above your head that you never thought you could. The strength portion surprises me every time I step up to the bar.

I’ve been a little more aware of how I’m fueling my body since joining CF. I knew before joining CrossFit that I didn’t feel like I was getting the proper amount of nutrients (honestly, I still don’t feel like that 60% of the time) and I’ve been putting in a lot of time into researching this and ensuring that I’m nourishing my body properly! Meal prep has been a savior for me since I’m a very busy person and want to do a million things all at once. If I don’t meal prep,  I am so so guilty of picking up fast food because with a billion excuses like “time is of the essence” and/or “I’m too tired (or lazy) to whip some actual food together”. This is a continual challenge for me and something I will keep working on!

Since I’ve been doing so much research myself, I figured I would share with you my meal prep for this week. Mind you, it isn’t everything that I will eat all week and I did make some Healthy Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies to go with this that I will post in a later blog post, but it does give you an idea of some of my go-to favourites for meal prep.

The amount of food I made today will last my hubby (I can finally say that now!!) and I about 2-3 days of lunches or dinners. I usually will pre-pack the food and then leave some extras in separate containers to mix in with different meat or different sides for variation because I can get really bored, really fast and I am definitely the type of person who will leave food in the fridge for months because I didn’t feel like eating it….

IMG_0259On the menu this week was Italian seasoned Chicken Breast with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots with Green Beans. For snacks this week I packed Veggies with Roasted Red Pepper Hummas, some Dark Chocolate and Cherry Kashi Granola Bars, Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Fruit!

IMG_0260I used the Club House Italiano seasoning blend as a dry rub on the chicken breasts and cooked them in the oven first. Then for the sweet potatoes and carrots, I peeled them and diced them, used about a tablespoon of olive oil and seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper. My favourite way to prepare the sweet potatoes is by Grocery Girl. I season the potatoes differently and add other vegetables, but the cook time is how I prepare them! Finally, nothing fancy for the green beans – they are boiled and seasoned with salt and pepper. You could easily add some Parmesan and Garlic for some extra taste.

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I usually roast beets with the sweet potatoes and carrots, but opted to boil them this time and then peel the skin off. I seasoned them with garlic, salt and pepper, diced them and put them in a separate container in the fridge to grab as a side for any other meal.

IMG_0262Below is the recipe breakdown for how I made our meals this week.

Italiano Chicken Breast

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Club House italiano seasoning
  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place chicken breasts on sheet and season both sides of the breast evenly.
  3. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip the chicken and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The time may vary depending on your oven!
  4. Allow to cool, and cut into desired sizes for meal prep!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Peel and dice the potatoes and carrot.
  2. In a bowl, mix the potatoes, carrot, olive oil and seasoning until well combined and all of the vegetables are coated.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Ensure all of the vegetables are flat on the baking sheet and ensure you don’t overcrowd the veggies!
  5. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then give them a little mix with a spoon for even baking and bake for another 10 minutes. I usually test the vegetables with a fork to see if they are the right tenderness for me, so adjust your cook time for your preference!

 

What are you go-to meal prep foods? Share them with me below!

lxiv

Categories
Holidays Lifestyle

The Best S’Mores Bar Recipe

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I’m sitting here dreaming of Christmas, and what better way to kick off the Holiday Season than by posting a yummy, cozy, gooey treat?! I adapted this recipe from Wine & Glue and made these on a whim! I am so happy with how they turned out. This is a simple recipe to follow and I break it down into three separate layers to complete the entire bar.

The final product is 100% messy to eat – but well worth it! I thought this would be a nice post before I kick off the 12 Days of Christmas here on lxiv. Christmas is absolutely one of my favourite times of the year. I love the cozy warm glow from the Christmas tree, to the crisp cool air and the hot beverage in a beautiful mug. It’s a time to bring people together and enjoy the company and laughter of others. Stay tuned for some fun DIY, Christmas decor, recipes, some collaborations and more!!

Follow along below to see how I made these tasty treats.

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients

  • Graham crackers (enough to line your pan, then crush!)
  • 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Cookie Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Top Layer Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray or coat with butter or coconut oil.

Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Crush the graham crackers (easiest way is to put them in a bag and use a rolling pin to crush them!).
  2. Mix together the crushed graham crackers, butter and sugar. Then press onto bottom of baking pan.

Cookie Layer:

  1. In a new bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer for about two minutes.
  3. Add egg and vanilla until just combined. Next, add flour mixture until completely combined.
  4. Ensure you do not handle the cookie dough too much! You will need to spread the dough on top of the graham crust. This was the trickiest part! Work your way from the corners of the pan into the middle by spreading dough in your hands and gently pressing it on top of the crust. In other words, make mini pancakes by flattening the dough between your hands and place on top of the graham cracker crust. You cannot move or spread the cookie dough once placed, as it will start to lift the crust off of the pan. Another idea would be to pipe the dough onto the crust, using a clear plastic bag and cutting a little hole in the corner.

Top Layer:

  1. Next, spread the marshmallows and chocolate chips over the cookie dough. Then pour the condensed milk.
  2. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the marshmallows turn golden brown.
  3. Wait for the pan to cool before cutting! The bars are very crumbly, so don’t be surprised if they do not cut or serve perfectly.

Et, Voila! Yields approximately 20 squares (depending on the size you cut them!).

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What’s your favourite holiday dessert? Let me know in the comments below!

 

lxiv