A foray into the world of baked goods

Growing up, I thought it was normal to have a bottomless cookie jar, fresh cinnamon buns every morning and the smell of freshly baked goods dancing around the house on a consistent basis. This is what happens when your mom grew up in a bakery.

Pair these muffins with low fat cream cheese for an added flavour kick

My grandfather Babak owned a small bread bakery in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, and its obvious he passed on his love for baking to my mom.

There was nothing better than pulling out the wooden stool and being given an important responsibility as a child, such as mixing the batter, or cracking the eggs. This may have accounted for the crunchy addition of egg shells in my mom’s baking from ages two to 10. I still strongly believe enthusiasm is the key to a good recipe, though!

In keeping with the pattern, I have also developed a love of baking, though- I do not do it enough. On top of this, in keeping with a healthy lifestyle its hard to find treats that can accomodate everyone. I’m making it my goal to use this blog as a portal to discovering the joys of baking, with a focus on keeping it natural and wholesome, so you can enjoy with the minimal amount of guilt.

First stop: pumpkin muffins. I had made pumpkin spice cupcakes for a birthday party the day before, and was left with half a 28 oz. can of pumpkin puree loitering on the counter. Instead of throwing out the remains, I made a few substitutes and whipped up this batch of hearty, tasty muffins. And this was even after the haze of the party.

Enjoy!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 18 muffins

Nutrition facts: 86 calories, 3 grams fat

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. neutral-tasting oil (vegetable, canola etc)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 Tbsp. molasses — a substitute for this is equal parts HONEY
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. 1% buttermilk — a substitute for this is equal parts YOGURT (use Greek for extra protein)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins (or try dried cranberries)

Method

Preheat oven to 400° F. and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar and egg. Add the pumpkin puree, molasses and buttermilk and mix until well combined.

In another bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon and raisins. Add to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until combined. Do not over mix.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Source: http://www.ilovemuffins.ca 

These muffins are perfect to grab when you're on the go in the morning

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My dream library. Reading is one of those things that is neglected far too much.

Homeschool Happymess: A Naturally Inspiring Approach to Education

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read. 
 – Abraham Lincoln

In our continuing pursuit of the joy of the written word, we have embarked upon creating our own homeschool library.  The actual collection of books was started in my father’s childhood, continued in my own and has been vastly added to through the childhoods of our own eight children.  Prior to building the actual bookshelves we found that we had piles of books in every room, every corner, and on every surface.  We all knew where our favorites were so location was not a problem.  Literally  every corner of our lives was happily consumed by books.  Ultimately it was time for a bookcase. Well, actually a library.  So with this in mind we have been building a “school house” and “library.” …

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Light up the Night

Sometimes it takes the smallest things to create something beautiful. In this case, it was three. A talented friend, a pair of skates and a lone sparkler.

Late night skate along the waterfront.

Camera settings: 

ISO: 100 

Shutter Speed: two seconds 

Aperture: 4.6

“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” 

– Erica Jong


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An old post, revisited. Dear me.

This is a post I wrote a year back on bullying and its effects. Someone mentioned it to me today, and I thought its message was timeless, and I personally needed a refresher on the material.

If I could give my 15-year-old self some advice?

I’ve thought about this question more than a few times. The most obvious answers are ones like “easy on the eyeliner,” or “trust me, you won’t even care about this guy by graduation.”

Today, I figured out my answer. If I could tell my 15-year-old self one thing, I’d tell her to grow a set.

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Photography: a lot to learn, a lot to love

Last year I tried and tried, to no avail, to be enrolled in the “Introduction to Photojournalism” course that is offered at Ryerson University.

I’ve always felt a connection to photography, and though I consider myself the very definition of an amateur, that does not matter once you’re looking through the viewfinder and trying to freeze those one-second glimpses into the spontaneity and beauty of life.

A year later, I’m finally in, and our first assignment was to capture the recent weather here in Toronto. Winter finally decided to make an appearance mid-way through January with a quick blanket of snow.

That was all- no special instructions, so it could be interpreted in any way that your heart desired. What did I end up with? Frozen fingers, a demolished Starbucks latte and about four pictures out of 300 that I could hand in.

But believe me, even with all my moaning and caffeine shakes, its all worth it to get those few shots that made you feel like you captured a moment in history. Anyone with that creative urge will agree. It does not have to be photography… just the creation of anything that inspires a certain thought, feeling or emotion in simply one person.

And then you have done your job.

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Words from the man

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Stunning Sedona sunset

Stunning Sedona sunset

Caught this image at 6,000 feet in elevation. Natural beauty at its best.

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January 1, 2012 · 8:02 pm