Movin’ On Up!

Hey Guys!!

I am so excited to share that I’ve finally purchased my own domain, and you can now find me blogging over at http://www.sugar-haven.com. The blog may have a new name, but the content is the same, and I am very excited to have more control over the look and feel of my blog. I hope to see you there!

-Bailey

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Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

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Ok, honestly..how many people actually have time to sit down and have a nice breakfast during the week?! I remember the days when I would wake up at my leisure, have a nice pancake breakfast, and take my time getting ready for a class starting at noon. Those days are long gone, out the door, can’t even really remember if they were a reality or not!

Now my schedule goes like this…alarm goes off at 5:40 am…hit the snooze…alarm goes off at 5:47 am…can’t hit the snooze again…better get up or I’ll fall back asleep and never make it to work…shower…go to the kitchen….put my lunch together…inhale a bowl of cereal or some pb toast…back upstairs to finish getting ready…out the door at 6:45 am!

Now, I really refuse to wake up earlier than 5:40 am, and I hate having less than 5 minutes to eat my breakfast so more often than not, I take something to work to eat at my desk. Breakfast is such an important meal that it really can’t be skipped, and it’s important to get something nutritious in to start off your day! When I saw these muffins, I knew they would be a perfect bring to work breakfast. They combine hearty oats, fresh blueberries, and super powered walnuts which are full of omega-3s! One of these little babies along with a banana or yogourt is a perfect breakfast, and something that’s easy to grab on the go when mornings are crazy. These will also freeze well so you could just take them out as you need them.

**The original recipe had 2 tbsp of honey as well, but I just completely forgot to add it in! The muffins are still delicious as they are, so it’s up to you if you want to add it in or not. If you do, add it when you’re combining the brown sugar, applesauce etc.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Slightly Adapted from Skinny TasteIMG_0268.JPG (2)

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine oats and milk in a small bowl and soak for 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, applesauce, egg whites, oil and vanilla, and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add oat mixture to wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, and stir until just combined.

Fold in blueberries and nuts.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, and bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy Treats, Muffins

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

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There has been a cool breeze in the air all week and I have to say it’s getting me excited for fall! It’s funny how the change of seasons is always so exciting whether it be the first snowfall, the first sunny days in the spring, or the first scorching weeks in the summer. While summer is definitely one of the most enjoyable seasons in Canada (let’s face it….we don’t have too many enjoyable seasons here…especially in Ottawa when 4 months of frostbite rolls around :|), I have always had a soft spot for fall. While summer desserts tend to focus more around fresh flavours, fall brings back warm flavours and comforting ingredients like spices, apples, and pumpkin. I don’t doubt that I will have a boatload of pumpkin recipes to share with you soon, but for now I’ll begin to ease you into the new season with some cinnamon raisin swirl bread…aka the best bread EVERRR!

I actually made this bread for the first time sometime early this year. Despite my constant failures with yeast, I was determined to try again with this recipe, because I was dying to create a homemade version of one of my favourite childhood treats, cinnamon raisin toast. The recipe is not difficult, but does take a bit of time due to the rising time. The first time I made it I started it way tIMG_0196oo late and it didn’t come out of the oven until midnight. It didn’t seem to stop us from consuming almost half the loaf while it around was still warm though, this stuff is SOO good! I honestly couldn’t believe I made a loaf of bread that tasted and LOOKED like one from the store. It was way too good to be true. If I can do it, you can too!

I made this recipe again when we went to visit my Mom a few weeks ago. We couldn’t help but eat almost an entire loaf between 3 of us while it was still warm. I’m telling you, it’s dangerous! The recipe makes two loaves of bread, you can cut it in half to make just one, but you’ll regret it when you eat the whole loaf in 10 minutes! You can always wrap the second loaf in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze it for later…or you can just eat it and call it a day.

If you’re like me and nervous about baking with yeast, give this a try, you will be pleasantly surprised!! I’m planning to try a savoury cheese version of this bread ASAP. Next time maybe one cinnamon, one cheese? Mmmmm….make me some of this bread now pleaaseeee..?

*My notes are for kneading the dough by hand, but if you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer, you can use the dough hook to do the kneading and to incorporate the raisins, making it even easier!

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

From The Kitchn

  • 1 cup raisins IMG_0194.JPG (2)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 1/2 -6 cups all purpose flour

Filling

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 tsp warm water

Put the raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them plump for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Reserve soaking water.

Pour 1 cup of water (use the water used to soak the raisins, just make sure it’s cooled to room temp) into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir to fully dissolve the yeast into the water.

Add the milk, melted butter, and salt into the water. Add 5 1/2 cups of the flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Knead by hand for 8-10 minutes to form a smooth, slightly tacky dough. If the dough is very sticky, add a tbsp of flour at a time just until it is workable. The dough is ready when it quickly springs back when poked.

Toss the raisins in a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any moisture.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface and press it into an oval. Sprinkle half the raisins over the dough and fold it like a letter. Press it into an oval again, sprinkle the remaining raisins, and fold it again. Knead the dough for a few minutes to distribute the raisins.

Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour. In the meantime, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a one bowl and beat together the egg and water in a another bowl.

Split the dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out on the counter. Roll it slightly less wide than your baking pan and as long as you can make it.

Brush the surface of the dough with the egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll the dough. When it’s rolled, pinch the seams closed. Transfer to a loaf pan seam-side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Let the loaves rise until they pillow out over the top of the pans, 30-40 minutes. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool completely before slicing (Good luck with that part!! haha)

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Filed under Breakfast, Yeast Bread

I’m Alive!

Is anybody out there? I have been MIA for almost the whole summer and let me say, I am not proud of it! Time has just flown by and while my precious blog was always in the back of mind and on my to-do list, nothing ever seemed to come to fruition.

To give you the whirlwind quick recap of my summer so far, we moved from our cozy downtown apartment to a house in the suburbs at the end of June. We had 2 family moves (in addition to our own) to help out with in June, which left us frantically throwing our belongings into boxes and setting everything up for the new house before time ran out.

After our move, we took two weeks off to receive furniture and aIMG_0056ppliance deliveries, have everything installed, and to unpack and settle in. I don’t even know where the time went between then and now, it all feels like an insanely exciting and unbelievable blur. Finally the dust is starting to settle, (well, not really since we literally live in the middle of a dusty construction site) and we are beginning to get back to our normal routine. There is one minor difference though my friends, I now have a BEAUTIFUL kitchen to play with.

I have made a few things in my new kitchen, mostly for birthdays or celebrations, but in the rush of everything, most of it has gone un-photographed.

We hosted our housewarming party this past weekend and it was really our first test of preparing food for a large group of people. We had a lot of fun and are IMG_0247.JPG (2)very lucky to be surrounded by great friends and family. One thing that stood out at the party for me was these Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes. The peanut butter-chocolate flavour combo is always a winner, and let’s just say, I wasn’t complaining when there were a few of these babies leftover after the party! I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe adapted for mini cupcakes and I whipped up a peanut butter frosting which was TO DIE FOR. It is very rich and creamy, but light and fluffy at the same time. I will not look any further, this is my peanut butter frosting recipe forever. I have already hinted that a cake slathered in this frosting would be my birthday dream….mmm. I promise I will be back with a REAL recipe soon! I am working on delicious things 🙂

Peanut Butter Frosting

From Ina GartenIMG_0249

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Combine first five ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium low speed until creamy. Add the heavy cream and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Makes enough to frost about 24 mini cupcakes

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Filed under Cakes, Random Stuff

Mini S’mores Bites

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Gimme s’more of these s’mores! Do you ever wonder why they’re called s’mores? It is a pretty inventive name, and I would like to know who was sitting around a campfire dreaming up this delicious combination of flavours.

It seems like the s’mores flavour is all the rage right now. I come across cool s’mores inspired desserts every day on Pinterest, and I pin them all and (like most things on pinterest) forget about them for a few months. I don’t know why it is because there are soo many delicious things on Pinterest, and I have probably pinned ALL of them. I will make a point to consult my board of recipe pins for often for inspiration.

Well anyways, that is exactly what happened with these little babies. I pinned them back in the fall, and finally got around to making them for the first time a few weeks ago (yes I said the FIRST time…since that time, these have been made again!). But really, they are so freaking easy, and once you buy the ingredients for the first batch, you WILL have leftovers for another one… I promise. IMG_1653

I made these the second time as a last minute backup dessert to bring to a potluck when my first option was on the verge of failing. THAT’S how easy they are.

Everybody loves s’mores, and let’s face it…most of us probably don’t have access to a campfire everynight, so these little morsels make a stellar substitution. I like these when they are still warm and gooey from the oven, but they are equally delicious at room temperature. I’m gonna go scrounge up my leftover s’mores ingredients and make…..s’more s’mores!! Ohh it had to be done!

Mini S’mores Bites

From Texas Cottage via Pinterest

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 milk chocolate bars (the regular size of Hershey’s or Jersey Milk) * I only used 3 bars, 2 for the pieces under the marshmallows and one for melting to dip, but use whatever works for you
  • 12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and melted butter in a bowl.

Equally divide the graham cracker mixture between the cups of a 24 cup mini muffin pan. Press crumbs down to form a shallow cup. Bake 4 –5 minutes until edges are bubbling.

Break chocolate bar into rectangles and place one rectangle on each baked graham cracker cup. Cut marshmallows in half crosswise and place one half on each cup, cut side down. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes until marshmallows are soft.

Place pan on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove cups from pan and continue to cool completely.

Once cool, melt remaining chocolate bar in the microwave for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring until completely melted. Dip the top of each marshmallow in the melted chocolate and turn right side up to cool.

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Filed under Candies/Truffles

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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The warm weather has arrived, everyone is getting into summer mode now and I can’t complain! Although I can’t say my hair likes it…humidity + curly hair = some interesting hair days.

Our moving date is now just over a month away, and I have been on a mission to eat things lurking in the back of the freezer to reduce the amount of food we have to transport to the new casa. A few weeks ago, I was successful on using up a lonely pie crust, and this week my mission involved some frozen rhubarb. Rhubarb recipes are rampant this time of year and despite the fact that my rhubarb was not fresh, I was still determined to use it up!

I spotted this recipe and already had the majority of the ingredients on hand, so it was a winner. I took the rhubarb out of the freezer one day ahead of when I was planning to make the cake. I put it all into a colander over a large bIMG_1642owl to catch the water that would drain off as it defrosted. I also squeezed as much water as I could out of it once it was fully defrosted. I don’t know if this was necessary, but I was afraid of excess liquid because it had been frozen. If you use fresh rhubarb, this shouldn’t be an issue.

This cake was honestly so so sooooo easy to whip up and in the end was a crowd pleaser. I had to scramble to take a picture of the last piece before it got devoured. The crumble topping is definitely the star in my opinion. The cake itself is light and not overly sweet due to the tartness of the rhubarb. Combined with the sweet buttery, cinnamon sugar topping, it’s perfect.

When I was a kid, I would eat a piece of rhubarb like celery, but dipping the end in brown sugar before each bite. While this was delicious, I see this cake as the grown up evolution of that snack. If you aren’t sure about rhubarb, give this cake a try, and then wait for the fight over the last piece! After all, rhubarb is technically a vegetable, and we’re all looking for ways to eat more veggies…riiiiight?

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

From Canadian Living

CakeIMG_1622

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb (I probably used close to 2 1/2 cups)

Topping

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (or any other nut)
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Grease a 9 inch spring form pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first four ingredients of topping in a small bowl and stir to combine. Pour in melted butter and mix with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of flour, and 2 of buttermilk. Fold in rhubarb just until combined.

Scrape into prepared pan. Sprinkle topping over batter.

Bake for 1 hour – 1 1/4 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine was done around 1 hour, so keep your eye out around that mark.

Let cool in pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Remove sides of pan and cool completely.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cakes

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

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Ok..so it’s no shocker that I adore peanut butter. I eat it pretty much every day in some form or another..I can’t get enough of it!

So you can imagine my despair when our peanut butter stocks were depleted for almost one whole week…my body was in denial..severe peanutty deprivation had set in.

I finally picked up a jar of pb on the weekend and the only cure I could imagine for my peanut butter denial was…..peanut butter cookies! It’s shocking, (especially to me!) but I don’t make peanut buttery desserts very often. Don’t get me wrong, I drool over peanut butter filled treats on Pinterest every day, but actually cranking one out in the kitchen doesn’t happen often. As I have mentioned before, I live with someone who could leave a plate of cookies or brownies and a jar of peanut butter untouched for a week. This is unfathomable to me…I would probably slather the peanut butter ON the cookies AND brownies and eat them all in one day. I may have a sickness.

I knew that I wouldn’t be getting much help eating these cookies around here. Sure I could share them with friends or coworkers, but really..let’s be honest…I don’t want to share my peanut butter cookies. At least not in my state of peanIMG_1618ut butter deprivation. To ensure that I didn’t spend two days binging on dozens of cookies, I made a small batch (only 1 tray -12 cookies) and health-ified them slightly by using whole wheat flour and natural peanut butter.

I am hesitant to say this, but they may just be the best peanut butter cookies EVERRR. They are very rich and peanutty, which is exactly what I want in a peanut butter cookie. I am not interested in cookies with a slight hint of peanut taste, if it’s a peanut butter cookie, it better taste like one! These are taken up a notch with the addition of salted peanuts AND peanut butter chips. You could leave them out, but I personally like the extra dimensions and textures that they add. Next time I might try this recipe with all whole wheat flour as it was honestly undetectable in this recipe.

I can’t think of much better than a peanut butter cookie dipped in a glass of cold milk….mmmm. I can’t believe I went so long without doing any peanut butter baking! What was I thinking?!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from Cookie Madness

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flourIMG_1598
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup peanut butter (natural will give you a richer peanut flavour)
  • 1/2 egg (I know this is wasteful….but you can always double the recipe to make a full batch! To get half an egg just beat the egg slightly and only use half!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars and beat on medium for about 1 minute until creamy. Add peanut butter, egg and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

Stir in flour mixture by hand until just combined. Stir in peanuts and peanut butter chips.

Form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen cookies

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Filed under Cookies