Strawberry Cake Loaf

When asked as a young girl what my favorite food was I would never have said brownies, no chips were the best flavour, no Mcdonalds chicken nugget invoked true happiness for me to be my favorite food, the food I loved to eat by itself, with a tiny sprinkle of sugar, cut up into pancakes or with a dollop of whip cream for dessert like my grandmother would give us, it was the perfectly red strawberry.

To this day I will tell you I love my strawberries, I don’t often eat them by themselves sadly but I love when they are in something, cut up into yogurt, in a smoothie, cooked into pancakes or waffles and of course baked into delicious treats like this amazing strawberry cake loaf, its baked into a bread pan and is a moist and delicious cake reminiscent of a pound cake. IMG_2921

Strawberry Cake Loaf 

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup strawberry yogurt *
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper
  3. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, and salt in large bowl until fluffy (about 2 minutes)
  4.  Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until combined
  5.  Add flour, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture
  6. Add strawberries and stir until just combined
  7. Pour batter in prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. If top browing to quickly tent aluminum foil over bread.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes remove and cool completely on wire wrack, serve with whip cream. Perfect for dessert or to eat alone for breakfast.

* Try to find a strawberry yogurt that is flavoured with real strawberry pieces rather then an artificial flavouring or the taste will be a little off in the end.

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What Moms Really Want For Mothers Day 

a beautiful new coffee mug is perfect, the awesome Wonder Woman journal my daughter picked out for me this mothers day is absolutely amazing but if you have no idea what a mother in your life is really wishing for this Mothers Day I’ll let you in on the real list.

  • Let us sleep an entire night without having to get up because someone peed the bed
  • Don’t wake me up at the Crack of dawn after we spent hours outside running around yesterday…how are you not still exhausted!?
  • Stop chugging your juice! I just want to drink half just HALF my coffee while it’s still warm not sit down for five seconds then get up to refill your cup, please
  •  No a cookie is not breakfast food please stop crying 
  • PICK UP YOUR DINASOURS AND STOP HIDING THEM UNDER BLANKETS those things hurt more then Lego
  • Don’t ask me for a grilled cheese, eat one bite then say “my tummy says I’m full” …then ask for a cookie
  • Stop asking  for Frozen, I love the movie also but the DVR erased it because it was to full with shows I never get to watch
  • No you can not eat the baked goods that JUST came out of the oven please stop asking they will burn your mouth
  • Please don’t lean your head against the oven while it’s on, your scaring me 
  • I love that you tried to help by putting sunscreen on yourself but please let me do it myself
  • Stopping watering every random object you are pretending is a plant! The floor is soaked now, and so are my socks
  • Please take a bite out of the food on your plate instead of having me convince you for 15 minutes then you saying “yummy” we all know your going to like it
  • Please don’t bring three stuffed animals to bed then take over my side of the bed because you have no more room
  • Please fall asleep before I do tonight

And the most important one of all

  • Please keep giving me hugs today, and have a smile on your face so that I know im doing things right. 

A little dirt and a lesson 

kids make messes, kids push boundaries,  kids make mistakes, kids knock over the plant that you just finished planting all over your couch not even a minute after we finished planting it. 

That beautiful dream I had of picking the seeds from a strawberry and planting them in an indoor pot until they grew enough to plant outdoors, the plan that in my mind would grow into plenty of strawberries, enough to bake special treats. Well that plan had a standstill when Lily was standing on the couch looking at the pot on the ledge she somehow knocked the entire contents onto our couch. 

I can’t really be angry with her though (ok I won’t lie I did have an angry tone when I told her to step back while I vacuumed but I think I deserved to have a little bit of an angry tone) Lily offered to help, she pointed out areas I had missed and helped give me company when I went back to the strawberries and stared picking the seeds off again. 

Kids are naturally curious, they want to understand everything and we as parents need to let that curiosity blossom. Even though there’s some questions that are hard to answer or questions that you have answered before and can just not deal with answering it yet again we have to so that our children learn all the things they want to learn.

We have to understand our children are new, things that are obvious to us are not to them…why we put oil in a pan before we cook something, how worms come out when it rains, that we don’t need to water the flowers and the leaves but the dirt the plants come from so we get to the roots. 

There hands will get messy,  there’s going to be times you have to hose them down before they even get into the house because there so dirty, days your mind is so jumbled because you don’t even know how to answer that one mind boggling question. But take it how it is, a lesson. 

Add A Little Sprinkle To Your Life 

When you kid asks for chocolate chip cookies for three days straight you make her chocolate chip cookies.

I love baking with my daughter and I had gone two days without baking which feels like an eternity to me so I needed to bake and decided to treat my daughter with a little sprinkle to her day.

I’ve been spending the past few months trying to find the perfect cookie recipe, something that is still gooey on the inside but not undercooked, something that does not go rock hard in a day and a cookie that tastes delicious even when there is no chocolate chip (or sprinkle) in that tiny bite and I think I have finally made a cookie that fits all those criteria…finally.

These cookies are packed full so most bites will have you chewing on at least one chocolate chip and sprinkle. The mini chocolate chips make sure its not to much chocolate overtaking your taste buds (but if you can not find or have on hand mini chocolate chips then add either the same amount of regular chocolate chips or go a little extra and add a full 1 cup) IMG_2826

Sprinkle Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  1. In medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda,  cream of tartar and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar,  granulated sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix again.
  3. Slowly add in flour mixture into sugar mixture until combined. Add in chocolate cops and sprinkles.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using cookie scoop, scoop dough onto sheet and cook 10-14 minutes (depending on ovem)
  7. Perfect is lightly browned and soft and doughy. IMG_2803IMG_2819

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

My grandmother moved to a new home earlier last week and I wanted to make something easy for her and my family to snack on while packing and unpacking and wanted something that was not to sweet that they would have a sugar rush with the inevitable crash. 

I looked through a few of my baking cookbooks and this one snack cake that used cream cheese in the recipe stuck out to me so I decided to try to make a vanilla snack cake that used cream cheese to keep it moist and chocolate chips to add more flavor. 

I was able to use measures new Kitchenaid for the first time, Lily enjoyed pouring in the ingredients and every last crumb was eaten. 

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. Cream cheese,  softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×9 baking pan and line with parchment paper. 
  2. In large bowl beat butter and cream cheese together, mix in sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and eggs one at a timebeating well after each addition. 
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt  mix well. 
  4. Stir in milk and chocolate chips. 
  5. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes. 

Lily in The Kitchen

When Lily was around 9 months old I borrowed this one book from the local library titled “The Homemade Pantry” and it’s exactly what the title suggests, an entire cookbook packed full of recipes that show you how to make all the pantry staples at your home instead of buying everything pre-made and processed with ingredients you might not even be able to pronounce. 

That idea of the book stuck with me all these years.

I want my daughter to grow up understanding how to make her own bread, that mayonnaise doesn’t just have to come from a Hellmans container but can be whipped up in our kitchen, I need her to know early on that pizza doesn’t come prepared and frozen in the freezer section of the grocery store, heck I want it to go so far that she understands she can even make her own crackers and cheese!

This is why Lily has grown up in the kitchen and will continue to do so. As a little girl, I would place her in her high chair, roll it into our tiny kitchen and give her a wooden spoon while I baked zucchini bread, graham crackers and even when I wilted spinach in a pan with Garlic to make her a personal toddler person that became a staple in her diet as a toddler.

As she’s grown older she grown from just sitting in the kitchen to her helping us gather our ingredients throughout our kitchen, to her even grating chicken and help dice carrots with a safe knife and learning to scoop the sides of a bowl while stirring and hold to lightly fold chocolate chips into a batter. 

I’m a Baker and I hope to one day own my own bakery and I hope for a little while that Lily will be along to help with odd jobs in the kitchen while I work…I even have this dream that I would have a tiny table for her to sit at off to side where she can do her homework. 

We have a bit to go for my dream of a fully homemade pantry but my daughter is along for the ride and I couldn’t pick a better kitchen helper. 

Eat Local

We are lucky to live in a society that still believes in fresh farmers markets each weekend, we’re lucky to have farmers open their fields for families to go anywhere from apple, pumpkin picking to strawberry picking. Kathleen Wynne

But we won’t be for long.

If we don’t continue to purchase from our local farmers, our local cheese makers, the farmers that surprise us not only by growing wheat, but grinding it down into a flour and baking with it and having that all done in time to sell at the local farmer’s market, if we don’t continue to support our local food growers one day will not have enough money to support not only themselves but also their homestead which means no more local food.

When we purchase our foods from farmers markets and directly from the people that are making and producing the product then we have so much more information available. We are able to learn information like the positives of drinking milks and eating cheeses from other animals not just from cows, which I learned about last weekend at the farmers market. I’ve been loving Brie in this one sandwich I’ve been buying premade at a indoor market grocery store and decided to buy my own brie, when I asked for some from the man at the market he asked which one I wanted, cows milk or buffolo. Know I like to think I’ve tried more foods then most and I’m to trying most things once, but I have never heard of local buffolo milk, luckily when asked which he recommended he went into an amazingly informative conversation that I was happy to listen to and discuss. I would have never gotten anything similar to that from a grocery store. 

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I’m committing myself to eating locally as much as I possibly can. I’m going to find a farmers market that I can find most of what I need, my cheese and dairy needs, my jam needs, produce needs and pre-made but locally made foods (like the gorgeous pizzas at our market). I mostly shop at the London’s Western Fair Market which has all of this and more, but now that the spring is here and more produce and outdoor markets are beginning to pop up and I’m going to be as happy as can be to try every single new market that pops up in our area.

I’m proud to eat in season, I’m proud to support local food, and I’m proud to eat local!

Zucchini Muffins and A Thank You

I have my daughter to thank for opening my world to baking,  before her I had given up baking years before because I just always messed up, burnt edges, little pockets of flour that was never mixed in and that legendary mishap of a burnt on the outside angel food cake and get completely raw dough in the middle. But when Lily started eating solids shequickly disliked most food put in front of her and with a new moms anxiety I started to stress about the nutrients she was lacking because she really only ate the same things every single day.

I needed to get her to try different foods,  and I finally accepted I might need to start by hiding veggies in her food. Zucchini Muffins was my first thing I tried, I hadn’t baked in close to five years at that point and I was a little nervous if it would even come out edible but I  was a determined mother, my kid needed veggies and I would find a way to get them into her.

Luckily they came out perfect and I began to bake even more, pumpkin bread, other veggie breads, even began making our own graham crackers. If Lily had never had been a little picky as a toddler I would have never found my passion for baking.

So thank you little one for helping your mother discover her biggest passion,  something that brings me joy and something we can happily  do together…bake.

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Zucchini Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in large bowl and stir thoroughly. Make well in the middle of the ingredients and set bowl aside
  2. In a smaller bowl beat eggs until they are frothy. mix butter, sugar together with the eggs. Add the zucchini and milk and mix together.
  3. pour the smaller bowl contents into the flour mixture and then add the chocolate chips. The batter will be lumpy.
  4. Bake at a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

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Grow Your Own Food

I want my daughter to learn where food comes from.

I want her to know chicken doesn’t just naturally come in nugget form, that seeds that you find in your fruit actually can grow an entire new plant, I want her to know that milk comes from a cow, I even want her to learn what she can forage from a field or forest and what is edible and what is not (which I will be learning along with her) 18193096_1367245056704513_8455789411148102898_o

The past few days I have been reading The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon and it has opened my eyes to plenty of new information, shocking statistics and how much I really should be doing to make not only my life a healthier life for me but for my daughter and the planet that my daughter will grow up on.

This week I have decided to make some changes in my life and my daughters, we will be starting to compost so that we have healthy compost to sprinkle over our new garden we will be planting shortly that will be full of vegetables and berries. I will be planning on growing green beans and tomatoes and Lily wishes that we could plant carrots which I will be looking into. Yesterday I spent quite some time picking the tiny seeds off of strawberries so that I could rinse them off, then dry them and plant them in a tiny area so they can begin regrowing inside our home. IMG_2773.JPG

I’m hoping in the next few months that Lily and I will be able to travel to a few different farms around us and pick some fruit and learn some new things about farm animals and we will be going to try some different farmers markets now that the warmer weather markets begin this weekend in our city.

Through all of this I hope my daughter learns to try new foods because shes comfortable that they are safe, because she feels proud to eat them because shes helped grow them with her own hands. This is going to be a change for us, but one I believe is needed to teach my daughter to be grateful for the food that she eats, to be grateful for our earth and that we are still able to grow our own food.

 

Toblerone Meringue Cookies

I have had one meringue cookie in my entire life, I’ve never sat in the kitchen or peered over a shoulder while they were being made in the kitchen, in all honesty I have never seen meringue be made before, I did not understand what a “soft peak” or a “stiff peak” even looked like. I also dislike using a hand mixer or even a stand mixer because I prefer to use recipes that I can mix together on my own. So it was risk for me to make the decision that I wanted to make a meringue cookie for the first time with only a few hours to go until my family was to leave to celebrate our family Thanksgiving.

I am very proud to say that these cookies turned out perfectly, which I will be honest I was surprised, I did end up over beating my eggs when I was supposed to end up with stiff peaks, I only ended up with soft peaks, but they still ended up being an airy, cloud like cookie that everyone enjoyed and I myself sneak a cookie when my daughter is not looking because I really do not want to share such a delicious cookie!

Toblerone Meringue Cookiesimg_2121 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bars (100 g. each) Toblerone, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  1. Heat oven to 300 F
  2. Beat eggs whites and cream of tarter in large bowl with mixer on high speed, 3-5 minutes or until soft peaks form. Beat in granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until stiff peaks form.
  3. Mix the chocolate and flour, gently pour into the egg mixture and gently fold in (do not over stir!)
  4. Drop tablespoonfuls of egg white mixture, 1 inch apart, onto 2 parchment paper covered baking sheets.
  5. Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Transfer to wire racks, cool completely and enjoy! img_2117img_2120