Recipe: Easiest Bread Ever!!

     

I made bread on my own for the first time a couple of days ago, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was! I’ve  always thought of bread-making as being a long and complicated process, but this recipe was super straightforward and it took me less than 2 hours to finish. It’s called “soda bread” (because it uses baking soda instead of yeast), and it’s made with whole wheat flour, making for a really healthy snack.

Ingredients

  • 3.5 cups whole-wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • unsalted butter for greasing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the flour mix and pour buttermilk into the center, drawing in the flour to make a soft dough.
  2.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and shape it into a round loaf.
  3. Grease a baking sheet with butter. Place the loaf on it, shaping it and patting it down into a round, approximately 2 inches high. Using a sharp knife, cut across in the top of the loaf.
  4. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes or until it is well browned. Cool slightly on a wire rack.

* This makes 1 loaf of bread (approximately 16 pieces). It is super tasty when served with butter and jam, or marmalade. This recipe is from the book “DK Get Started Baking”, but I made some modifications, based on what worked best for me. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s day. I have an extra long weekend, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do some baking. This recipe makes one loaf of warm banana bread with delicious chunks of chocolate. Is your mouth watering yet?

  Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                              

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 beaten eggs

3 mashed bananas

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup chocolate chunks

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs
  3. In separate bowl, mix baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour
  4. Add dry ingredients with wet ingredients
  5.  Add buttermilk, and vanilla
  6. Fold in bananas, and chocolate chunks
  7.  Pour mixture into small loaf pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes

20 Before 20: My bucket list

  

Recently, I put together a “short-term” bucket list of things that I want to accomplish and experience before I turn 20. I had loads of fun putting it together, and it has gotten me really excited for the next few years of my life. I think having a bucket list is great because it gives you things to look forward to and it forces you to determine what kind of life you want to create for yourself. By having unique experiences, you will become a more well-rounded person, and people will love talking with you and hearing about your fun times! I decide to do a “20 before 20” list because it seems more approachable than a regular bucket list. I got a ton of inspiration from Pinterest, so definitely check that out for more ideas!

1. Get my driver’s license: In 3 months, I will turn 16 and I cannot be more excited to start driving. It brings a whole new level of independance, freedom, and responsibility….which I know I am ready to handle!

2. Participate in a colour run: A friend of mine did one, and LOVED it, so I really want to try it out for myself. It’s a really awesome idea for people who don’t feel motivated to excercise beacuse the race is plenty of fun all the way to the finish line.

3. Go camping with friends: I’ve never been crazy about camping, but I think it would be a very special bonding experience with my gals, and definitely something we would remember forever.

4. Get a summer job that I enjoy: Summer is a great opportunity to make a few extra bucks, but it is also supposed to be a time for relaxation and fun, so I want my first summer job to be positive and memorable one.

5.  Speak another language: I’ve always taken French in school, and this year I am also taking Spanish. I want to make sure that even after school, I keep up with these languages, and not forget everything I learned! Hopefully, it will make me more comfortable travelling in non-English speaking countries.

6.  Write in a journal: I used to write in a journal every day, but somehow it has escaped my routine. I really enjoy writing with no purpose, and not having to consider what other people will think of my work. I would like to incorporate lots of creativity into my journal, and make it something that will be fun to look back at in years to come!

7. Meet someone famous: My fangirling side may be getting out of control just a little tiny bit…but I do think it would be a crazy, and inspiring experience to meet someone who I have looked up to for a long time.

8. Travel with my best friend: Travelling can be a hard one to put on a “before 20” bucket list. I’m not expecting to travel the world next year, (I’d be down though) but I think it would be a blast to hop on a train or bus with my friend and explore a new city for a day or two.

9. Drive in movie: I’ve actaully already checked this one off! Last summer, I saw “Inside Out” at the drive in. It was a magical experience and an adorable movie, and I totally need to do this again…and again…and again.

10. Stargazing: Of course, I have seen stars before, but I’m talking about having THE BEST STARGAZING SESSION EVER!! I think it would be super cool to put some air-beds out on a clear night, and fall asleep under the stars.

11. Make more time for myself: I guess this is more of a resolution than a bucket list item, but I think it’s important nonetheless. I feel more confident and better about myself when I make time for self-care and healthy living.

12. Swim at night: Night-swimming is so much fun and definitely something that I want to do a lot more of before I’m 20. This would be super fun to combine with number 10!

13. Grow my blog: This has been a dream of mine for a little while now, and 2016 is finally the year that I’m making it happen! I’m not expecting to have millions of views by the end of the year, but I want to give it my all, and hope to make some progress!

14. Discover great music: I’m slowly morphing out of my “preteen bubblegum-pop” stage and enjoying a wider variety of genres and artists. I’m always open and enthusiastic towards new tunes, so let me know what you’ve been listening to these days!

15. Master hair-braiding: I’ve never been the best with complex hairstyles, and my naturally curly hair doesn’t allow me to do anything too extreme. My little cousins have beautiful long hair, and I would love to be able to do something for them, as long as they are willing to be my patient models!

16. Water park: In these chilly months, I can’t stop dreaming of sun, cold drinks, and water parks! I can be a bit of a chicken when it comes to the really tall slides, so I’ll have to bring my friends along to get me out of my comfort zone. That’s what bucket lists are all about, right?

17. Hot air balloon: Speaking about getting out of my comfort zone, I’ve decided that a hot air balloon ride would be terrifying, but overall the coolest experience ever!

18. Stay fit: I’ve just started going to the gym regularly, and it has been so beneficial. I genuinely look forward to that part of my day, and I love the sense of community there is at my gym. This is something I want to continue through my teenage years, and for the rest of my life!

19. Send a message in a bottle: I saw this on someone’s “bucket list” board on Pinterest. Right away, I loved the idea, and I’m so excited to try this next time I’m by the ocean. I mean, how cool would it be to receive one??

20. Make my room the coziest place in the world: This is pretty self-explanatory, and it is very high on my priority list haha. I’m talking about dozens and dozens of blankets, pillows, candles, and Christmas lights.

DIY Valentines

It may feel like Christmas was just yesterday, but I can’t help getting excited for February 14! I got inspired to do this DIY from browsing through Pinterest, (where I find pretty much everything!) I thought it was adorable and a super sweet gift to give a loved one on Valentine’s day…here it is!



 

What you’ll need: 

Brown construction paper

-Heart-shaped chocolates

-Pencil/ Black pen

-Scissors

-Tape

Step one: Sketch out some cute creatures on the brown paper. I chose to do a bunny, a bear, and a monkey. It’s totally ok if your drawings aren’t perfect, (mine certainly aren’t.)

Step two: Carefully cut out your animals. I doubled up my paper so that I got six instead of three!

Step three: Place a loop of tape on the “heart” of each animal, right in between their arms.

Step four: Place one chocolate heart on top of the tape loop for each animal.

Step five: Place a second loop of tape on top of the heart for each animal.

Step six: Fold both arms over the heart, as if the animal is giving itself a hug. And your done! These guys are really fun to make, and a yummy gift for Valentine’s day. Enjoy!!

New Years Resolutions: How to develop new habits

image

Everyone has ideas of how to make themselves a better person. Sometimes we need to ditch old habits and sometimes we need to build new ones. The New Year is a great time to make a positive change in the way you live, so that you can become a happier and healthier person for the months ahead. Here are some goal-setting tips and ideas to inspire your New Years resolutions.

 

  1. Be realistic: Many people set high standards for themselves when making resolutions. They aren’t necessarily impossible, but they may be far-fetched or extremely demanding and time consuming. Often, when they realize that their goals aren’t realistic, they get intimidated and forget the goal entirely! Set attainable goals for yourself so they seem more approachable and easy enough to achieve.
  2. Make monthly goals: Studies have shown that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Consider setting simple monthly goals instead of a  major resolution at the start of the year. This means 12 improvements made to your life instead of one!
  3. It’s OK to change your goals: It is easy to become to “destination-oriented” when making resolutions. It’s always acceptable to improve, tweak or even ditch a goal. People’s values and aspirations can change, and sometimes your goals must change with them. Before making any major changes, try to remember why you set the goal in the first place, and why you want to make a change, so that you won’t have any regrets about your decision later on.
  4. Write it down: Write your resolution somewhere where you will see it everyday. This way it will always be in your mind, and you can make progress towards it every day.
  5. Tell people your goal: Your friends and family can be great motivation for you when working towards a goal. They will check in with you and make sure you are on the right track. Maybe you will even inspire them to work towards the same goal!
  6. Remember why you set the goal: Every time you feel like giving up, remember why you set the goal in the first place. For example, if you feel like skipping a workout, think about how you wanted to improve your health and self- confidence at the start of the year.
  7. Find a mentor: Find someone who is really good at what you are working towards being good at. You can seek advice, feedback, encouragement and inspiration from them along your journey. Make sure you are able to identify exactly what you admire about them so you are able to focus on that specific thing.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Merry Christmas Eve everybody! Today I have a quick and simple hot chocolate recipe to share with you in hopes that you can serve it to your family tonight and throughout the holidays. For the base, I use almond milk because I love the flavor it gives the drink, but you can use regular milk or soy milk as an alternative. This recipe serves one person, so make sure to adjust depending on your number of guests.

image

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 Tbsp sugar

1 drop peppermint extract

crushed candy canes, marshmallows (optional toppings)

Steps

Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and peppermint extract in a small pot.

Heat mixture over the stove on medium heat until it bubbles . Whisk occasionally.

Serve in mugs or latte glasses and add toppings if desired.

Fall Baking: Pumpkin Donuts

I would like to share this awesome recipe with you guys that I’ve already made twice this fall, because it is soooooo delicious. This is Martha Stewart’s “donut-muffin” recipe. For a fun variation, you can make them in mini-muffin cups so they are more like timbits/donut-holes!

FullSizeRender

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BATTER
• 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted (or salted) butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
• 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon coarse salt (do not add if you used salted butter)
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/3 cup buttermilk
• 1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree (from a 15-ounce can)
• 3/4 cup light brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
FOR THE SUGAR COATING
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Butter and flour your muffin cups.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice.
4.In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree.
5.In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture, and beat to combine.
6. Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon.
7.Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
8.Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture.
9.Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.
*Baking hack: If you don’t have buttermilk available, you can use 1/3 cup regular milk, with 1/3 tablespoon of white vinegar. (Just combine and let sit for 10 minutes).