Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shameless self promotion ;)

Not too much today.  I did some editing for a friend who's computer broke down and she didnt have access to a program she knew or enough time to learn a new one.  Finished up the final changes for a birthday invitation, and a did a word collage with the photos from my photoshoot on monday.

For $210 I will make up the collage using your photos, or mine, & have a 20x30 wrapped canvas sent to you, anywhere in Canada (and possibly the states).  I will work with you to create a peice of art that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Great gift idea for new parents, weddings, adoptions, anniversaries, and so much more!  Let only your imagination be your limit!  Gift certificates available. Find me on facebook!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

and the winner is.....

This recipe comes from the  Better Homes and Gardens Old -Fashioned Home Baking cook book that my mom gave to over 10 years ago.  It has lots of great recipes that I have made many times.  One of the my favourites in my collection.

Bagels are one of those foods that have gotten too big and too convienent.  A plain one about 3" in diameter has about 190 calories, 37 carbs, 368g sodium.   I dont think it is a food that should be eaten every day.  I heard the other day on Dr. Oz, have all the junk food you want.  As long as you make it yourself!  I think that goes with lots of the food we eat.  Our food has become to easy to get, too processed and too manufactered.  If we were to only have 'special' foods like bagels when we made them, we wouldnt have them as often. 

So for the next week, try and un-process your kitchen.  Find things in your fridge and cupboard you could do with out and get rid of them. Instead of the convenience of processed cheese slices, use real cheese.  Ban kraft dinner, and learn to make your own mac and cheese!  Get rid of juice, and grab the fruit and a glass of water!  Let me know if you feel better by the end of the month!


4 to 4 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 c warm water (120-130F)
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 beaten egg

In a large bowl combine 2c of the flour and the yeast.  Add the water, 2 tbsp sugar, and salt.  Beat with an electric mixer on low to med speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl.  Beat on hightspeed for 3 minutes.  Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderatley stiff dough that is smooth and elastic(6-8 minutes total).  Cover; let rest for 10 min.  Grease 2 baking sheets.  Working quickly, divide dough into 12 portions.  Shape each portion into a smooth ball  Cover and let rest for 5 min.  With a floured finger, punch a hole in the center of each ball.  Make about a 2 inch hole keeping a uniform shape.  Place 2inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Reshape so the holes are 2 inches in diameter.  Cover and let rise for 20 minutes (start timing after the first bagel is shaped).

Broil raised bagels about 5 inches from the heat for 3-4 mins or till bagels look set, turning once (tops should not brown).  meanwhile, in a 12 in skillet or 4 1/2 quart dutch oven bring 6 cups water and 1 tbs sugar to boiling.  Reduce heat; simmer bagels, 4-5 at a time, for 7 minutes, turning once.  Drain on paper towels.  Let stand on towel only a few seconds (If left too long they stick). Place drained bagels 2 in apart on well greased baking shees.  Brush with egg.  Bake in a 375F oven for 20-25 mins or till tops are golden.  Makes 12..

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

baby bump!

After getting new lights for my studio I thought FINALLY  I can start taking some decent photographs....  well wouldnt you know it...  My wireless trigger already is not working.  Hoping its just a battery issue. but if not Im going to try and get a wired trigger.  My studio is small and i have no issues about not being wireless!

With that being said, here is my favourite from my studio that STILL has no good lights!

Cinnimon Buns!

Many of my fondest memories growing up were made in the kitchen.  My siblings and I would often be dropped off at our grandparents house after school when we were little and my grandma would often have something going on in the kitchen or in the garden!  On occasion we would arrive to find a great giant bowl on the kitchen table, overflowing with mounds of dough.  After washing our hands we had the pleasure of being able to 'punch' down the dough.  She would then give us each our own portion of the rubbery stuff and some cleaned up soup can 'pans' and while she was busy making her large portion into loaves of bread, we would roll ours around for a while before finally stuffing it into each of our mini 'pans'.  When the loaves came out, we each would have our own tasty treat to pull apart and smother in fresh butter with a glass of cold creamy milk. 

Since then I have always loved making bread.  Learning how to go from a sticky mess to a workable dough with out having any stick to my hands was a small acheivement in my kitchen, and now one that is easy acomplished everytime.  Ive made so many types of breads over the years aquiring many blue ribbons in the adult section of our local fair (beating out even my own grandmother) before I was 13!  I've even had my hand at making crossiants which take hours upon hours, and bagels with their rising/bake/boil/baking.  So Im not scared of the odd challange. 

Cinnimon buns have always had a love-hate place in my heart.  Ive never been able to get them to taste good, or they turn into candy or they dont rise...  So incredibly frustrating!  BUT yesterday I finally did it!  They rose up wonderfully and when they were finished baking and I lifted the parchement out of the baking pan they fell apart into beautiful individual buns with just the right amount of gooey goodness to afford having more then one at one time!

Please keep in mind that with all recipes that I 'make up' in my kitchen, I dont really measure.  I use my hand to measure, and often do not keep very good track of the exact amounts, so you can play with them a bit!

Even though flour is pre sifted, it is important to 'fluff' your flour.  Simply whisk it a bit before addying to your recipe!


1 tbsp fast rising yeast ( I actually used bread machine yeast!)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
2 cups VERY warm water (you could use very warm milk as well)

3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 tbsp cinnimon

4-7 cups of flour
2-3 tbsp oil


1 1/2 tbsp cinnimon
1 1/2 cups margerine (or butter), softened
3/4 c brown sugar

Whisk together the yeast, sugar, salt & 1 c flour.  Whisk in the water and stir until there are no lumps.  Add the eggs, 1/3c oil and 1 tbsp cinnimon.  Using  a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time until you can begin to knead it.  Do not all too much flour. Keep it light, and knead quickly only until the dough forms a nice ball.  Cover the ball with the 2-3 tbsp oil, place back in the bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 30 mins. 

Mix together the cinnimon, sugar and butter to make a spread.

cut dough in half, and working one half at a time, roll out very thin.  Spread with half of the cinnimon butter mixture, and roll up.  Seal the roll by wetting the edge with a bit of water and pinching closed.  cut into 1 in sections and place on a parchement lined pan about 3/4 in apart from each other.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  Bake in a preheated oven at 375F for about 10 minutes. (metal pans will finish faster then stoneware).  Remove from oven when tops are golden brown.  Let cool in pan for 5 mins then lift the parchment onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Feel free to add raisons or nuts if you like them in your buns, double the butter mixture if you want more goo, or top with your favourite icing. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Soupy Sensations!

Although it has been awhile, I have no excuse. Well no real interesting one anyway. I could give you dozen's of less exciting ones, however I wouldn't want to bore you right off the top. We will get right to the good stuff!

Have I mentioned just how much I love soup? It's so easy and tasty with very few ingredients, and it completely changes depending on the veggies used. LOVE it's simplicity and elegance! Canadian winter's definetly provide the mood for some hearty hot recipes too!

Last night my inspiration was a baked potato! Keeping lots of peel on the potatoes provides it with more texture and authentic 'baked potato' flavour! Not to mention the health benefits!

The skins are nutrient packed and a large potato with the skin, is only about 270 calories, and low in fat! It is said to help lower blood pressure, may even help to provide protection against heart disease and cancer! They are full of vitamins & minerals and lots of iron & protein too! Seems a shame to ever toss them knowing all that doesnt it?

Baked Potato Soup

4-5 cups potatos - washed, eyes removed, cubed
1 large onion, finely diced
1 can beef broth
1 cup water
*optional 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp
1/4 cream

*optional toppings
  • sourcream
  • chives/green onions
  • salsa
  • cheddar cheese
  • bacon bits
  • whatever you like on your baked potato!
Put all but the cream & bacon in a large pot and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer on low until potatoes are almost tender.

Remove from heat and in a blender, in small amounts, puree about 2/3 of the soup with bacon. Mash the remaining potatoes with a fork or potato masher just a bit leaving lots of small chunks. Return to low heat and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Add cream and serve with optional toppings.