Friday, October 21, 2011

21 Day Vegan Challenge

Hi Folks!

Today marks the first day of my 21 Day Vegan Challenge!

First of all, I'm not doing this with a group or following a plan. I decided after an over-indulgent week, this week past when Hughie was home for a visit, that I needed to get my act together. My running mileage per-week has gone WAY down and I've allowed myself to eat a few things [bacon] here and there that I wouldn't usually eat, in return I've gotten a little... soft.

So, the plan.

Well... I don't really have one.

I ideally would like to stay between 90 and 100% vegan for the whole 21 days, however, I'm not going to feel defeated or quit if I slip.

I was a strict vegetarian for many many years and currently follow a flexitarian diet sans red meat, so I'm hoping the transition to vegan will be gentle.

Any advice?

Take care,
Alanna

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wildflower Honey Pumpkin Muffins

I love the Fall.

And it's just around the corner. In fact, here in Newfoundland we are already having beautiful, crisp, sunny days.

Don't get me wrong, I love summer. But this summer was a total dud, where we experienced mostly grey, dull, rainy days.

And Fall has so much to offer. Beautiful colors, crunchy leaves, sweater weather, Thanksgiving, warm comforting meals, scarves, Halloween, and Pumpkin!

What's your favorite thing about Fall?


So, trade in your summer dress for a cozy sweater and appreciate all that is Fall!

Wildflower Honey Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe adapted from 'The Joy Of Cooking'
Makes about 1 1/2 Dozen Muffins

Ingredients:

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour [feel free to use only all purpose]
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 796ml Can Pumpkin
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Canola Oil
2 Large Eggs
3 Tsp Vanilla
4 Tbsp Wildflower Honey [or any honey you prefer]
Sesame Seeds [optional]



Method:

Preheat over to 350

In bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the brown sugar.
In another bowl, combine all wet ingredients and brown sugar.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine, do not over-mix.
Spoon batter into greased cupcake tins and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30-35 minutes, this would also be great baked in a loaf tin.



You can thank me later for just how intoxicating these make your home smell :)

Take care,

Alanna

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Little Bike Grease

It has been raining in my city for over a month, literally.
Everyday there has been rain except for a day here and there!
So, I've really had no training at all to blog about, my runs have been on the treadmill and my riding has been on the trainer. That said, the bike is all tuned up and ready to go!

There is just something about having bike grease under your nails :)

On the baking front there has been an exciting new addition! A brand new, shiny, red, kitchen-aid stand mixer! More about that later!

What have you guys been up to? How is the weather in your little part of the world?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Toffee Bars

Tomorrow I am going to visit the mister in Halifax for a few days.
Since he is being starved of my sweet treats while we are living apart it's only fair that I whip up something to soothe those pangs during my visit, right?






















Enter 'old school' toffee bars!

I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker cookbook from the early 1950s and it is about as easy peasy as it gets. But don't think easy equals bland. These bars are a mix between buttery shortbread, sweet toffee, and comforting chocolate chip cookies.

Toffee Bars
*Adapted from Betty Crocker
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Method
Mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk with wooden spoon. Stir in flour and salt, you can get your hands in there if you feel like it. Now, the actual recipe calls to top the fully baked bars with the chocolate chips and smooth them out so you have a layer of chocolate but, I decided to just mix them in with the batter like you would a chocolate chip cookie.
Press into a 9x9 inch glass baking dish and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. 

Let cool on a wire rack and start winning hearts :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding Cupcakes

I don't know how it happened but I have somehow been swept up into the Royal Wedding madness! I blame it on my Royal watching friends, the fact that I live under the Commonwealth, and of course Kate Middleton's keen fashion sense :)

I've been invited to several tea parties on Friday to celebrate the Royal wedding so I thought it would be a good occasion to use the cute tea cup cupcakes holders that I received as a Christmas gift.

But what to fill them with?

Earl Grey cupcakes with Marmalade buttercream of course!



Earl Grey Cupcakes
1 cup salted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
2 bags early grey tea
Few drops of vanilla

Method: 
1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
2. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition
4. Add a few drops of vanilla, you don't want vanilla to be the prominent flavor.
3. Whisk dry ingredients together (open tea bags and empty each into the dry ingredients)
4. Add dry ingredients and milk to wet mixture alternately ending with flour, be sure to fold in gently.
Back at 350 degrees for 19 minutes or until toothpick is removed clean.

Marmalade Buttercream
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, creamed
Add 1/3 Cup Milk and 3 to 4 Cups Powdered Sugar alternately to butter 
Add 3 to 4 Tbsp of good quality marmalade
 * Careful what piping tip you use, the orange rind can block up small tips. 


So throw on an apron and your most outrageous fascinator and start mixing!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cupcake Marathon 2011

So, I just found out about the Cupcake Marathon this morning, I think I can get in the Half Marathon distance within the next couple of days!

Am I too late? I haven't gotten confirmation of my registration yet. Here's hoping :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup'cakes'!

If you haven't noticed already my little blog has been hanging out way more on the cupcake side of thing, then the blood and sweat side of things.

Well, that's because it's winter here. Now, while some of you may be lucky enough to be enjoying a nice mild winter with very little snow, going on Donut Runs, or even enjoying summer on the other side of the world! I am surrounded by the white stuff! So, I've been banished to the treadmill.

Don't get me wrong, I've been running lots! It's just nothing to get excited and report back to you guys about. There's only so many photos of a treadmill control panel one can take.

So, instead I share with you more baked goods!

 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup'cakes'

For the cupcakes:
1 Cup [Vanilla] Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 3/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Veg. Oil
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Boiling Water [This step makes all the difference.]

Method:
Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer for about two minutes. Add boiling water and beat until just blended.

Bake at 350F for 19-20 minutes in lined cupcake pan.
Yields 24 Cupcakes.

Peanut Butter-Buttercream
3/4 Cup Butter [softened]
3-4 Tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter [like Skippy, I wouldn't go natural here but you could try]
1/3 Cup Milk
3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar [depending on how thick you want your frosting]
2 Tsp Vanilla

Method:
Beat sugar and milk into the butter and peanut butter, making about three additions of sugar and two of milk. Mix in Vanilla at the end.You may have to play around with how much peanut butter and powdered sugar depending on the desired consistency. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Finally, top with mini peanut butter cups and watch your friends drool :)