Monday, 31 August 2015

Bread #1 (The Original No-Knead Bread)

It's begun! I've actually made no-knead bread before but thought I'd ease myself into this whole yeast challenge and start with something I'm slightly familiar with. This time I followed the original recipe created by Jim Lahey, a fancy pants baker in New York. The beauty about this recipe (aside from the obvious no kneading) is that you can forget about your rising dough for 3 days (like I did) and when you finally get around to baking it it still tastes amazing! In fact the longer you leave it the more sourdough flavour it develops, score!

I'm ridiculously impressed with this bread. I mean, look at it! One thing I did learn from this recipe though was that you never cut into the bread hot, you must always wait for it to cool completely or it will be all gummy inside. Who knew!

Here's the recipe I used if you wanna try it out for yourself! I used bread flour and found it better than when made with regular flour. 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Craft Night

Well craft night is alive and running still! This will have been our 3rd monthly gathering. This month Mary hosted and decided to have a campfire and craft outside, which why didn't we do this before?! We picked something easy that we could do while sitting around the campfire and ended up making God's Eyes which sound a little creepy but are essentially a glorified weaving camp craft. As for food we stuck with the campfire theme and had jiffy pop, grilled maple pecan peaches and this strange biscuit peach "cobbler" that you cook in the can that Katherine saw on Pinterest (see below). 

I'm really loving these craft nights!

Here is the video we watched to learn how to make them :) 

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.

I have been looking for years YEARS (!) for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe and I think I've finally found it. I've tried them all, cakey chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough cookies, crispy chocolate chip cookies, but I think this one is the best one yet. I recently took out this amazing cookbook called Milk Bar Life  which is written by the lady who created Momofuku Milk Bar and was intrigued by her cookie recipe because it calls for skim milk powder, which was something I've never baked with before. Needless to say, I've made these cookies every week for the past 3 weeks. Today I actually made a double batch of this cookie dough just to keep in the freezer so I can have fresh baked cookies whenever I want (read: after every meal).

Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and just warm to the touch
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
Make It! 
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. With a wooden spoon, mix together the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl, until homogenous, about a minute. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until combined.
2. Mix in the flour, milk powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until just combined. Add the chips and mix until evenly distributed.
3. Portion 2 ¾ ounce scoops of dough about 2 to 3 inches apart onto a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely on the pan.
I bought my skim milk powder at Bulk Barn but you can find it near the powdered coffee creamer in the grocery store.
Want to try something amazing (I learned this from the cookbook as well) ? Take a frozen cookie dough ball, bake it at 500 for 3-4 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown, pop it in the fridge until firm and enjoy a cookie dough cookie. Part cookie, part cookie dough . Just make sure you eat it cold! 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Newest 20 Project!

Well I'm moving on to the next 20 project. This time I'm doing bread! Or rather, yeasty things! Is there anything better than fresh bread? Uh, nope! As of now I've only managed to make a few yeast breads and would really love to build on that skill. I feel like baking with yeast can be kinda intimidating so I'm hoping to prove that wrong. Wish me luck!

Photos from 1-2-3-4

Saturday, 8 August 2015

July Book Report

Relish, My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley: I've read this graphic novel before but I picked it up again because it's so great. A book about life that revolves around food with a few drawn recipes thrown in there. Love love love.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes: Good lord. This book. I have to be honest that I only read the first third then skipped the middle and read the last third of the book (I had a feeling where the plot was going and was getting impatient). I hated how this book left me, which was a sad sobbing mess. I hate sad books! I want to feel great after reading a book, not terrible! Not for me.

The Storms of War by Kate Williams: I read this behemoth while camping and it was addicting. I personally love historical fiction and this one centered around a rich family during the arrival of WWI.

An Age of License by Lucy Knisely: This girl can do no wrong in my eyes.

The Storied Life of A.J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: A cute, easy read. I have a feeling this one may be a movie one day.

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons: Totally picked this one based on its vintage cover, but so glad I did! I really really enjoyed this one. The characters were all very traditional Jewish so there were a lot of customs and phrases that I didn't understand so I felt like I missed out on some things, but still worth it.

Instructions For a Heat Wave by Maggie O'Farrell: A little tough to get through at times. It felt like a winter read, a little more dense and cozy than something I would read right now.

Beneath the Surface, Killer Whales, Sea World and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove: I don't usually pick up books like this but I've always been a big anti-Sea World/Marineland lady and really loved the documentary Blackfish. The book was written by one of the former Sea World trainers who worked with the orcas his whole career. It was interesting to see it from a point of view of someone who grew up wanting to work with whales, land his dream job and then make the decision to leave it.

Friday, 7 August 2015

The (DIY) Toddler Garden

Now that my mat leave is way over and I'm not going back to my full-time job, we've decided to take a couple of friends toddlers on for daycare in the fall! I'm excited for Iris to have some other kids her own age to play with during the day and to make some extra money while being to stay home with her. Now that it's getting closer to daycare Dave and I have been working on a few kid projects around the house. Here's our first one, the toddler garden! 

Iris is still too young to really understand gardening and growing things, but she does like digging, getting dirty, and scooping so we thought it would still be a great idea. All we had to do was dig up a small patch beside the patio and outline it with some dollar store garden edging. After that I just thrifted some garden tools and pinwheels for $2, added some small rocks and a little tree stump. 

Iris spent most of the time filling up the flower pots with dirt and dumping it on to the patio, but since the garden plot is right off the patio, all we have to do is sweep the dirt back into the garden when she's done, easy! 

The entire thing cost us a whopping $8, a good investment I'd say! I'm excited to use it in different ways, I'm thinking about making it really wet and muddy, or sticking things in it like popsicle sticks and fake flowers. When she's a bit older, we can plant some actual plants in it for her too. 

Love it! 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Camping with a Toddler

I remember when we took Iris camping with us last year when she was a mere 8 weeks old, thinking "this is going to be insane!" and it turning out rather well. Granted, she didn't move and was happy to sit in her bouncy chair or snuggle in the wrap while we did our thing. This year we've graduated to a walking, "talking", eating-real-food toddler and boy oh boy is that ever crazy! Totally do-able, but still kinda crazy.

This year we joined my parents and their puppy at Inverhuron to stay with them in their tent trailer. The plus side of this was that we'd have 2 extra people to help look after Iris, along with getting to hang out with them for the week. This year we also brought Gus, who really is like another child. 

The great things about camping with toddler-Iris vs a baby-Iris:

  • she can wear sunscreen now! Which means we can actually go to the beach during the day!
  • she's at that age when everything at the campsite is fun, picking up twigs, playing with the water jug, throwing balls to the dogs, we didn't have to pack any toys
  • she's a lot more fun! At the beach we can all actually play together, plus taking her in the water was more exciting than last year
The tough things about camping with a toddler
  • they need to be watched pretty much all the time. Especially since she's walking around exploring everything (hello, poison ivy and picking up caterpillars a little too roughly!)
  • trying to keep a hat on her while we were outside in the sun (aka the whole time)
  • crying it out just does not happen in a forest full of other people vacationing (at home we let Iris fuss for a bit when she goes down for a nap and when she wakes up too early) so naps and sleeping at night were a bit tough
  • not being able to relax as much as I remembered (although having my parents there allowed us for much more relaxing than if it was just Dave and I)

We spent our days visiting the beach, throwing beach balls in the water, trying to get Iris and her feet used to sand (she would promptly lift her legs way up as soon as we went to put her down on the sand), reading while Iris "walked" the dogs (following them around while holding onto the leash), making really great food, and playing card games while sipping wine after Iris went to bed. Plus I know my parents were in heaven having a week of Iris all to themselves :) Not to mention how much we loved how my mum got up early with Iris so we could get some more sleep! Thanks mum!

What a difference a year makes! Click here to read how camping went last year.

My friend Laura's mom gifted us the bonnet and it really is the best sun hat! It covers her neck and ties up so she can't pull it off, I highly recommend one! 
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