31 January 2012

Baking Up A Storm!

I'm not sure why but lately I've been in the mood to bake. We had a couple of bananas that were beyond my ridiculously picky standards, but of course that makes them perfect to be mashed up further and baked.

I found this recipe from a foodgawker.com search and voila! Easy banana-maple muffins!


I have a rather large sweet tooth. I love candy, cookies, ice cream (lactose free!), cakes, and probably anything else that falls into the desserts category that I can digest.

I have a few Donna Hay cook books and she is great at doing food in a simple way. I have made her chocolate mousse dish lots and lots of times and have refined it along the way.


What's interesting is that the recipe on the linked page is even a bit different from what's in her cookbook.

Here's my recipe in two parts, since I can't eat cream I make my own!

"Cream" - 1 mashed banana + 1 egg white (stiffly beaten) + 1 tsp white sugar.
Beat the egg, add the already mashed (I do this in a blender to get all of the chunks out), add the sugar and blend it together until well mixed. 
Chocolate Mousse - 1 C "cream" (I use all of what I make from the banana mix) +     ~125g dark chocolate + 2 egg yolks + ~30g butter + however much vanilla you like
Heat the 'cream' until it's starting to stream (stirring so it doesn't burn to the bottom), stir in the butter and yolk, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and vanilla until it's well combined. Chill the mixture in a metal bowl for as long as you can wait - an hour is good. Blend with an electric mixer just before serving.

Much appreciated electric mixer

Cream that I can get, warming up on the stove

Chopped up dark chocolate to mix in

Mixing it all together

In my excited state I forgot to take a picture before we ate it. Last night we dug in a bit too soon and there were parts that were more frozen than others - it was still very yummy. It kind of looked like what Donna Hay has on her website (or the first picture in this post) but much darker because of the darker chocolate we used.

30 January 2012

Trenton Park

This past weekend Greg and I soaked up some of the beautiful weather by passing time in Trenton Park. It was a first for both of us and Greg was particularly keen to find mountain biking trails.

Whomp whomp, dog humour

Check out how little snow is on the ground

A really windy stream

Looking up at the trees you might not
guess that it's winter

SUCCESS! We found an in to mountain bike trails. At this time Greg turned into a very giddy man, it was quite lovely.

Clearly marked trails

Trees have been cut...

others have just fallen over

You might be able to make out Greg in the middle of the picture, he's point up towards one trail and to the left towards another. He actually leap out of the woods after this find, again a very happy fellow.

Ducks, I scared them away trying to get a better picture.
This is the best I could do.

Fishing opportunities!

Trenton Park definitely isn't the same as Rockwood in Saint John, but it does offer some decent walking trails and of course mountain biking trails that Greg can bike to - hooray! They also have an amphitheatre with lots of seating and a picnic area, we will be back for sure!

29 January 2012

Baking & Beer

Sounds perfect, right?

Greg has been busy making his second batch of home brew since we moved. The first batch was a Red and this one is a Pilsner, and if the second is like the first I anticipate a fine outcome.

Sanitized bottles awaiting to be filled

Greg also made two yummy baked goods this weekend. If it seems like I've been slacking perhaps I have been, but I'm happy to post about Greg's productivity. On that note I have been working quite steadily so it turns out subbing in New Glasgow is a reasonably lucrative (I can pay bills).

Baked good #1: Homemade bread

It was from a blend of two bread recipes from Jamie Oliver and it was tasty! We had it with black bean soup, an excellent combination.

Baked good #2: Peanut butter cups


These tasted MUCH better than they look. They are actually flipped upside down in this picture because that's they only way for them to stick together. We didn't have graham cracker crumbs so Greg mixed together Oreo crumbs with peanut butter to make the base. That mixture went into a mini muffin tin and then I helped and poured melted chocolate to make the top. It turns out that when this stuff cools the chocolate and the peanut butter mixture doesn't really stay together as well as you would imagine.

Like I said, it might not look pretty but they were AMAZING!

Greg couldn't find the recipe he used but here is a page of lots to choose from if you're keen to try it out.

28 January 2012

Anniversary Yumminess

Earlier this month Greg and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary. And in the spirit of impressing me with his cooking talents when we first started dating, Greg put together a wonderful seafood spread.

Slow-baked salmon with honey mustard glaze and lobster risotto - omnomnom!

22 January 2012

Valentines Day Details

With the next 'holiday' around the corner I should start getting ready, here are some adorable ideas:

1. Clips (click caption link for a tutorial)


2.  Other felt hearts


3.  Nerd cookies


4. Printable valentines (ROAR!) click the caption for the printable


5. Valentines Day wreath (tutorial in the caption)


Next Crafting Project?!

My friend Matt sent me this awesome project:

Greg should be preparing to live with a dozen new squirrel friends.

14 January 2012

January Hike

Usually I don't participate in creating new years resolutions. I figure if you really want to start or stop doing things why not just do it when you think of it. Or if you need to 'start fresh' why wait until the year changes when you can start at the beginning of a month or even a week.

Anyway, on New Years Eve Greg and I started talking about resolutions. We enjoy hiking and over the last year we didn't get out as much as we'd like. Granted there were a few periods of time where we didn't see each other regularly (we were living in different cities) but this year that's not something to prevent regular hikes.

So, we resolved to hike at least once a month. For our January hike we went to a Provincial Park just outside of Pictou. In the map below you can see the shaded in green spot (Caribou and Munroe's Island Provincial Park) and the lovely red line I drew to show where we walked. We would have gone further but the tide was coming in and the way was blocked by water.

We walked in this direction

Looking back down the beach

It looks like the sea has brought in Nova Scotia's finest treasure

Neglected lobster trap

There was quite a bit of erosion all along
the coast, lots of dead and down trees

A flock of seagulls

Finally I remember to bring AND use the GorillaPod Greg gave me for my birthday. This is what a GorillaPod is if you forget:


I wrapped the camera around a tree where we stopped to have a snack. On the first go I didn't realize there was a twig in the way:

It was quickly pointed out by Greg and we attempted another shot. I'm not sure why moving the twig out of the way changed the colouring so much, but it did:

We brought along our single burner to make some much needed tea. The wind was pretty strong and cold along the open parts of the beach so tea was an excellent idea:

Nerdy, matching thermoses (I didn't plan
for them to be in the same orientation)

The root system of a dead tree moved in from the shore
by the tide, it's now perpendicular to the ground.

Grass can draw! From all of the wind the grass is actually
blowing back and forth enough to make marks in the sand.
I was impressed.


A few friends have shared this video on Facebook and even though it's an ad it is beautifully done. The colours are amazing and I am impressed by how someone can capture them on film.

Being from Newfoundland this video makes me want to go back even more. Greg and I are hoping to visit sometime this summer so if we are lucky we'll have reasonable weather and maybe see some of these beautiful spots.

12 January 2012

The Year of Tea

For Christmas Greg and I received a lot of tea. So much so that what started out as a coffee nook turned into a tea nook:

Entire nook

95% tea
Trying to keep the tea fresh I decided to store them in mason jars, but that meant I needed to make a few labels...really all tea bags look the same:

A space to better document my days and finds with visual aids and clickable links.