pamplemoussi’s pips, volume iv

Just a short one today! It’s been a really stressful week. And next week is going to be even MORE stressful as I’m travelling to Regina for work! That’s right, I get to go somewhere even colder than Toronto.  I’m probably 20% excited and 80% anxious. This will be my first work trip and it’s a very grown up feeling!

One thing I made this week that turned out amazingly was this one-pot pasta! I’ve been hearing about it endlessly but figured it wasn’t impressive as everyone was saying it was. But my friend Matt sent me a pin and raved about this recipe (don’t you love how pinterest lets you do that?). So I made it that very night and it was delicious!

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Before… and after!

I left out the pine nuts and used 1 tsp dried basil instead of the fresh. Oh, and I used 1 tsp on red pepper flakes… but that may have been a bit too much? Will and I liked it, but I think we always want slightly spicy food in the middle of a deep freeze. It was such an easy and quick meal, it’s definitely going to enter our weeknight meal rotation.

 

I really enjoyed this Toast story about scented markers. Why did the black ones always smell so disgusting? It’s a frequently used colour!

 

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You might ask, what have I been doing to try and relieve some of my stress this week? Well, mainly just shipping Tessa and Scott. I watched their entire show on the iPad during my lunch breaks this week and it’s amazing. They are just the cutest and so good at skating. I keep telling Will that we need to learn how to ice dance so people can find us that adorable. Probably not going to happen as the last time we went skating together,  he tried to skate really fast and drag me around and I found that terrifying enough!

Alright, I’m out! Tonight I’m headed to the grilled cheese fest, so I’m pretty excited about that. Grilled cheese is probably in my top five favourite foods so I’m excited to try some of the Toronto restaurants and food trucks that I haven’t made it out to yet.

Peanut Butter Brownies

pb brownies

I first tried peanut butter brownies at this cute little bakery in the basement of St Lawrence Market. I bought a massive behemoth of a brownie, intending to eat a bit for lunch and save the rest for after dinner… and then I scarfed it in a fit of midafternoon hunger. Oops.

And when I decided to replicate it a few weeks later, I decided to use my favourite brownies recipe ever. I wasn’t even a brownie person until I tried this recipe. I think I’d just had too many brownies at bake sales that had come from a mix and I was used to cake brownies. I don’t like cake, so I definitely don’t like cake brownies. But these brownies, they’re something else. They’re so fudgy and chewy. And foolproof! And I’ve now made them so many times I don’t even need to look at the recipe anymore.

pb brownies
OK, and I have to confess that this is the chocolate I use. Deb’s recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate, but for some reason I can never find it at our local grocery store! So this seems like a reasonable substitute. The secret is to wait until Shoppers has it on sale for 2 for $4 or something, so it seems less crazy to use fancy chocolate in baked goods. Although this is one of those things where if you’re going to make junk food, you should make the best damn junk food you can.

pb brownies

And from the recipe I learned the secret to not scrubbing baking dishes forever: parchment paper!

pb brownies

pb brownies

Ugh, that topping. I could eat it with a spoon.

pb brownies

pb brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies
The brownie part is inspired by Deb’s, although I’ve played around with the sugar since I use a sweeter chocolate to start with. And the peanut butter topping is based on Martha’s but I’ve aimed to make it a little less sweet and also added whole peanuts because I think they add such a nice texture to the brownies! Both recipes call for vanilla but I… don’t have any? How embarrassing. It tasted just fine without it, at least to my tastebuds!
For the brownie:
  • 100 grams dark chocolate (I used Lindt’s 90%)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • a pinch of sea salt
For the peanut butter topping:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup all natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy both work!)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper, and then butter the paper so the batter doesn’t stick (this also makes washing the dish later SO much easier).

Start with the brownie batter. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over medium heat (I used a heatproof bowl instead!). Once the mixture is 90% melted, remove from the heat and stir until the residual heat melts everything else. Stir in the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, one a time. Finally add the flour and the salt, stirring only as much as you need to get the mixture evenly mixed.

Now for the peanut butter topping, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter starts to melt, add the peanut butter since the heat makes it easier to work with. Remove from the heat once melted, add the sugar and salt.

Pour the brownies batter into the pan. Drizzle the peanut butter mixture on top and use a butter knife to drag lines through the peanut butter to create a marble of chocolate and peanut butter on top. Top with the raw peanuts. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The brownies are ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and then cut into squares. They’ll last for several days in a airtight container, although I usually store them in the fridge to prevent the topping from getting too melty!

pb brownies

Mmmmmmm. Yesssssss.

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume iii

Wow, the third Friday in a row that I’ve managed to keep this up! Three times makes it pretty official, in my books.

So last weekend was Family Day here, and I planned to do a lot of cooking and baking and then I did… none. To be fair, we had some out of town guests, so we did what you do with guests and acted like tourists. Lots of eating in pubs and having brunch in restaurants where they put whipped cream on everything. My favourite part of the weekend was definitely going to the new aquarium that opened up right by the CN Tower. There were glowing walls of jellyfish and tanks were you could pet little sharks and horseshoe crabs, but my favourite part was the tunnel where you stand on a moving walkway and sharks swim RIGHT OVER YOU.

Aquarium! Aquarium!
Oh and there was also a blue lobster. Look at him! He’s beautiful!

 

My sister is travelling around California right now (lucky duck) and she’s been sending me amazing photos of stuff she was tempted to buy me, including some realty hilarious cat statues. And then she sent me this:
lays

WHAT?!?! Garlic cheese bread CHIPS? American friends, you’ve been holding out on me for not telling me these exist. It looks like they’ll the equivalent of the “pick your flavor” contest that Canadian Lays also had… but ours were so gross. Maple moose tasted like campfire, the caesar salad tasted like sour cream and onion chips that were slightly off and even the most promising ones, the pierogies were just more salty than flavourful. My fingers are crossed that my sister brings these ones back for me so I can try them!

I’ve got a post about peanut butter brownies coming soon, but I almost made Deb’s chocolate peanut butter cheesecake instead. Just look at those delicious layers! I will definitely make it for the next birthday around here.

Lastly, so my dad sends me Onions articles all the time, which is funny enough on its own, but this video he sent about Netflix’s new plan is PERFECT. That is exactly how I watch Netflix. Too many choices paralyzes me!

Healthier Taco Salad

taco salad

There have been times in my life when I lived on taco salad for weeks. Weeks. It’s a slippery slope: I’d buy some lettuce, cheese, beans and corn chips and think, hmm, maybe instead of tacos I’ll do taco salad, just for a change. And then I’d eat it for every lunch and dinner for like, two weeks straight! I don’t know what it is about taco salad that appeals to me, but I think a big part is that I’ve only ever had my own homemade version. Ugh, why can’t restaurants do a veg version of it? It would be so easy to omit the beef and just do beans. Or nothing! Sometimes a girl just wants some lettuce, cheese and salsa, ya know?

taco salad

This is my attempt at a healthier version. Instead of my usual iceberg lettuce (taco salad standard), it has kale! This is largely because Will noted conversationally that he felt like we weren’t eating enough veggies. Well, if that’s how he feels, we can eat green veggies as every meal! That’ll learn him to try and be healthier (slash bust my tomater).

taco salad

And this is the kind of recipe where I buy the basics and then just throw in whatever we have. I think I used to make it with sour cream for the dressing? But since I’m using kale, I thought I’d just do a really simple oil and lemon juice dressing. Then I added avocado, along with leftover beans from last night’s quesadillas, grated old cheddar cheese, crumbled corn chips and a diced red pepper.

taco salad

Healthier Taco Salad

  • 1 bunch kale, shredded into ribbons (just slice the bones off first, then use a knife or kitchen shears to cut into ribbons)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • A handful of corn chips, crushed
  • (optional) 1 small diced tomato (I skipped because they’re not in season and hot house tomatoes are always kind of flavourless)

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Start by chopping and washing the kale. Set it aside while you prep the other ingredients. Drain and rinse the beans, then place in a bowl and add crushed garlic, ½ tsp cumin and ½ tsp chili powder. Mix well and set aside. Once you’ve cubed/diced/grated the other ingredients, make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a measuring cup.

Now make your salad! I tried to make it pretty by dressing the kale on the plate, then adding the other ingredients on top, but you could also just toss them all together if you’re prefer. Voila! Now go eat a super un healthy dessert, because, come on, you had raw kale for supper! You can totally justify it.

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume ii

How embarrassing, a whole week without a recipe. Sorry guys. But there is a long weekend coming up, and I’d like to spend some of it cooking and blogging. Because, as a woman I work with said in a group email, “Don’t forget Monday is Family Day. Spending time with your loved ones. Young and Old. Tell them how much they mean to you and enjoy the day together.” And I like to think of my blog readers as my family, mainly because my only blog readers are family members. Haha. Ha.

But I do have a quick meal idea for today, complete with a super fancy instagram picture! So that makes up for it, right?

This sauteed kale pasta was a pinterest find, but I think the original recipe was even simpler. I add a few extras, but they’re all things I always have laying around. Like for some reason I always have a couple lemons in the fridge. And ever since I discovered how good crushed red pepper is in oh, everything, I add it to all my pasta dishes. This uses a whole bunch of kale for just two people, but if it’s for more people I think you can get away with just increasing the pasta and seasonings and leaving the kale the same.

pips volume ii

Start a large pot of salted water boiling, and when it boils, add 1/2 a package of spaghetti (this is for two people mind you, you may need to increase it for more). Meanwhile, chop 3 cloves of garlic, and cook them in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat in a frying pan. Chop one bunch of kale into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. When I got Will to do this, he put it in a colander and then used kitchen shears to chop it into very small bits, which worked well! Saute the kale in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. While it cooks, season with a pinch of salt, lots of fresh ground pepper, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, and the zest of one lemon. The kale is ready when it’s cooked down and soft. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the frying pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the pasta, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon. Toss to mix, and top with a little freshly grated parmesan. Delicious! One of the best 15 minute dinners we make.

pips volume ii
If you ever want to know what my life was like from oh, ages 10-24, please go read this book. So so good. I was obviously reading sections aloud to Will to be like, “She also wrote entire diaries just about boys she had crushes on!” And I was so excited to finish it that I stayed up super late on a work night. A work night!

I loved this story about the division of domestic labour in a relationship. It’s funny how these tasks just become yours on some unspoken agreement. Last night Will was tired and asked me to fill the humidifier with water (god, we’re so old), and I was definitely like, “But that’s your job!” He also always handles cable and internet accounts, and cleaning the tub (he finds it weird that I refuse to clean with bleach). And his coffee is way better than mine (which is especially weird because I worked at Starbucks for years!). When I asked Will which tasks he thought of as being mine, he immediately was like, “Cleaning my glasses! You just get the smudges off so much better.” Good to know I’m bringing some good skills to this partnership.

pips volume ii
Lastly, sometimes we try to be all fancy with our cheese and crackers, but I have to be honest with you, this is just Smuckers. So lazy.

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume i

A surprising number of my posts never get posted because they don’t work out as I wanted them too or I deem them too short to be a proper recipe. And that’s sad! Some of these things are little tidbits that I think might make your cooking lives easier, as they have made mine. So I’m starting a weekly feature here, I’m going to call it “pamplemoussi pips” because I have an unhealthy love of alliteration, and it sort of works together (pamplemousse = grapefruit, pips = seeds). But if you can think of a better name, I’m open to suggestions.

With that, the inaugural pamplemoussi’s pips!

food tips
Someone at work gave me some of this MIYU beauty tea, and although I’m obviously not going to believe that a tea will make me pretty, it is really delicious. Plus the tea itself is pretty, full of rose petals and candied pearls. And it’s a nice alternative to my millionth cup of coffee in the afternoon.

 

We eat a lot of nachos around these parts, and earlier this week I discovered the secret to making them even tastier: homemade taco seasoning. Because like, regular taco seasoning is full of salt and if there is anything nachos do not need, it is more salt (also after watching a bunch of Heart and Stroke ads this week, I have learned that I do not need more salt). So! The recipe is:

  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Mix that together and add it to nachos, along with mozzarella and cheddar cheese (after they come out of the oven, some diced avocado and a squeeze of lime would be nice too).

food tips
Two minutes after I took this picture, the fire alarm went off in my hallway, and I was forced to evacuate, leaving the precious nachos behind (I must hasten to assure you that it wasn’t my nacho cooking that set of the alarm, although it wouldn’t be the first time). Eventually we were cleared to go back inside as it had been just a faulty detector, but nonetheless, we had four fire trucks and at least eight fire fighters show up within minutes! Toronto Fire, you are highly impressive.

One of the reasons that I finally stated a food blog was that I was really inspired after I read orangette’s book (so good, so buy it immediately and buy a copy for your mom too, it seems like the kind of book that moms would like). Reading Molly Wizenberg’s speech about food blogging made me feel all the things. It’s true, I started this because I need to write! And being forced to write is amazing.

Lastly, I made this Cookie and Kate kale salad for dinner the other night and it was AMAZING. The dressing was really spicy and delicious. Plus I always try to eat citrus fruits with kale because the viatmin c makes it easier for your body to absorb the iron in green leafy vegetables.

food tips

Garlic Cheese Bread

garlic bread sticks

On nights when I just don’t feel like cooking, we often end up ordering pizza. And pretty much every time I push for Dominos. Not because they’re the cheapest or the most delicious, but because they have GARLIC CHEESE BREAD. Will always jokes that he’s going to give up on ordering me pizza and just order me garlic bread, to which I’m like, “Yes, that sounds good, please do that,” but apparently that’s not a healthy way to eat in his opinion. Bah humbug, I say. I’m not eating garlic cheese bread for my health! That’s what all those kale salads are for!

garlic bread sticks

So I decided I needed to copy them. I started with my mom’s pizza dough, which is just the easiest dough in the world. Look at it, sitting there all soft and content (why yes, I am anthropomorphizing pizza dough. I blame the cabin fever). And then I added a little homemade garlic butter and 3 cheeses.

garlic bread sticks

So this is my best attempt at Dominos garlic cheese bread. It’s not quite there yet – they must be using some secret ingredient (sugar? MSG?)  because my attempt was good but it’s not Dominos good. Oh well. Just an excuse to do a little more experimenting.

garlic bread sticks

Garlic Cheese Fingers

(makes enough for two loaves worth – if you only want one at a time, the remaining dough will do fine in the fridge for another night!)

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp yeast (just plain old active dry, please!)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour

for the garlic butter:

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried parley (by all means, use fresh if you have it!)
  • 2 cups grated cheese (I used a mix of mozzarella for the stretch and old cheddar & parmesan for the flavour!)
  • olive oil and cornmeal for the pan

Start by making your dough. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup warm water in a large bowl. In a 1 cup measuring cup, mix 1 cup warm water, honey, olive oil and the salt. Once the yeast has dissolved for 10 minutes, add the water/oil mixture and stir. Start adding flour one cup at a time until you have a soft dough. Knead it in the bowl a few times to ensure the flour is properly distributed, then cover with a tea towel and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the garlic and cook just until the oil is bubbling – you don’t want to cook the garlic until it’s crispy, you just want to soften some of the raw garlic bite. Once it’s softened, take off the heat and add the butter, sea salt and parsley. Don’t worry if the butter melts a little, it’ll melt in the oven anyway!

Once your garlic butter is ready, preheat your oven to 400. Prepare your pans with a little olive oil and a fine layer of cornmeal on the bottom. Divide the dough in half (if you’re going to save half for later, place it in a large tupperware container – at least twice the size the dough is now, so it has room to rise a bit!). Flatten dough into ovals – you can either do this by hand or with a rolling pin. It should be about ½ in thick, so a rolling pin might make it easier to get an even thickness. Top each bread with half of the garlic butter mixture, and then around 1 cup grated cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, turning the pans halfway through to get an even browning.

Once out of the oven, place on a cutting board and slice into the traditional garlic stick rectangles!

Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas

Quesadillas
Oh gosh, it’s been cold out there lately, eh? I mean, I feel like I should be able to just shrug off Toronto cold weather after living in Ottawa for 5 years. But apparently I’ve softened in my old age because this cold snap has been awful!

And in addition to the cold, the lack of sunshine has really got me down lately. I’m trying to fight it, I really am. I’m taking lunchtime walks to suck up whatever tiny ounce of sunshine I can! And I’m taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D which are both supposed to help energy levels. But I still get home from work just totally exhausted. If it’s a good day, I do some yoga and then make dinner. On bad days, I watch Kardashians and hope Will feels up to cooking when he gets home.

Quesadillas
Quesadillas

If you’re anything like me, there’s maybe one night a week where you want to get home from work and cook a real fancy dinner, like one with side dishes and constrating flavours and slow cooking. The other four weeknight dinners need to be fast and easy but also have some nutritional value. I think these quesadillas do an awesome job of that! The black beans mean that you’re getting plenty of folate, fibre and protein. Plus cheese is good for you, right? Wasn’t there some study done about cheese increasing happiness? Am I just basing that idea on personal experience?

Plus you can definitely customize these with all sorts of veggies. Tonight I wanted to go simple and have just beans and cheese, but some sauted red peppers or spinach would be delicious!

And I made some guacamole for dipping because Will could happily eat guacamole for every meal. Plus guacamole is something I taught him how to make. We all know that rule about kids boyfriends being much more likely to consume food that they make themselves, right?
Quesadillas
(this photo is from a while ago, but just look at him scoop those avocado guts out with a spoon, all proper-like!)

You can use corn tortillas or flour tortillas. I used…

DSCN0992
both! Because we are apparently Mexican food hoarders. Have you tried these corn tortillas yet? They’re so good. They do tend to stick to the pan a bit more than the flour ones, but I find if you use a touch of oil, that helps.

 

Quesadillas
Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas

Serves two very hungry people.

Quesadillas

  • 8 flour or corn tortillias
  • 1 540 ml can black beans
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used extra old)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • To dip: salsa or guacamole

Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

Start by making your bean mixture. Drain the can of beans and rinse it well. Add to a bowl with the garlic, lime zest and spices and mix well. Set aside while you finish your other ingredients. The nice thing about the beans is they get even tastier the next day, so you can have more quesadillas!

For the guacamole, finely chop your onion and garlic and place in a small bowl. Slice your avocado and add it to the bowl – we’re all using this method already, right? Add lime juice and spices and give it a taste test, adjusting the spices if you want it a little spicier/saltier.

Now make your quesadillas! Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan over medium heat. While it’s heating, assemble the quesadillas with one thin layer of grated cheddar cheese, than about a 1/4 cup of beans, a few tablespoons of crumbled feta and some more cheddar on the top so it all sticks together. You can also add some guacamole to this if you’re my boyfriend who tries to consume the maximum amount of guacamole possible. Grill in the frying pan for around five minutes or until the tortilla is brown and the cheese is melted. Flip, let the other side cook until it’s brown. Et voila! Serve with salsa, guacamole or sour cream for dipping.

Roasted Veggies and Chickpeas with Cheese Sauce

cheese sauce

Does winter just make you crave a big bowl of beige stuff? Like risotto. And mac and cheese. If I could live on various forms of mac and cheese until April, I so would.

But luckily I came across Oh She Glow’s Buddha Bowl yesterday. And OK, I decided I still wanted cheese sauce instead of the dressing she suggested. But at least this way I’m eating chickpeas and cauliflower and quinoa instead of white pasta, right?

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Sidenote: check out this adorable chalkboard sticker I got for my fridge! All the fun of a chalkboard wall but without the commitment (slash without loosing our rental deposit).

DSCN0955
I’ve attempted roasted chickpeas before but for some reason they just did not work. This time I made sure to dry them really well.
DSCN0957

Roasted Veggies and Chickpeas with Cheese Sauce

(inspired by Oh She Glows!)

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of stock (or water and a bouillon cube. I used a pre-seasoned quinoa so I just used plain water)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1.5 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup old cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

Start by preheating the oven to 400. Place your drained and rinsed chickpeas on a tea towel and blot them to remove the moisture. Put the chickpeas on a cookie sheet with 1 tsp of the olive oil, mix well and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and place on another cookie sheet, mixing with 1 tsp oil as well as salt and pepper. Place in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Fill a pot with 2 cups of broth (or water and a bouillon cube). When there are two minutes left on the timer, start the water boiling. Once the water boils, add the quinoa, stir well and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook for 12-15 minutes. After you’ve added the quinoa, stir your chickpeas and cauliflower. Set the timer for 12 minutes.

Now start your cheese sauce! Melt butter over medium low in a small saucepan. Once melted, add the flour and whisk well. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes until it begins to thicken – it will nicely coat the back of a spoon when it’s ready! Add the grated cheese and stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce has a smooth consistency. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Take the pot off the heat and set aside, covered, while you finish the other components.

Once the final timer goes off, check on your oven and the quinoa. Ensure that the cauliflower is thoroughly cooked and browned in some spots. The chickpeas should be golden brown and crispy. All of the water for the quinoa should have been absorbed. Now assemble your bowls! I did quinoa on one side, veggies and chickpeas on the other and coated the whole thing in sauce, but it depends on how well you like your food separated!

DSCN0963
Three seconds after I took this picture, I’d mixed everything up into one delicious mess of roastiness and cheesiness and crunchy chickpeas. I highly recommend eating it that way!

Sunday morning cinnamon buns

I’m trying to write a biography for this here blog and it’s strangely hard. Writing about yourself, eugh. I do have an amazing photo that illustrates how long I’ve been cooking though. It was from an article about my parents’ environmentalism (You can tell we lived in a boring city when caring about the environment was big news).The caption says ”Cam and his daughter Nicole, 6, prepare a vegetarian dinner for the family.” I swear that I can remember having this photo taken, even though it was oh, two decades ago.

cinnamon buns

So there you have it, I’ve been grating cheese for at least 21 years now!

cinnamon buns

The nice thing about cooking for so long is that you start to look for recipes outside your comfort zone. I always find yeast bread recipes a little intimidating, so I mainly stick with pizza dough. But yesterday someone posted a photo of sticky buns on Instagram and I was immediately inspired. I’d pinned Dinner with Julie’s ultimate sticky buns recipe when she posted it last week,  and I just happened to have all the ingredients already. I won’t post the recipe here since my rule is that I’ll only repost a recipe if I make at least a couple changes to it and I followed hers to the letter. They were perfect - Will said they were the best cinnamon buns he’d ever had! – so just follow her recipe. Mine aren’t quite as pretty as hers, but pretty good for a first try! 

cinnamon buns

A few notes:

  • I used honey instead of the corn syrup because I never have corn syrup in the house, and it was fine. Sometimes I find honey overpowering when used as a full sweetener, but it just lent a nice stickiness
  • After I’d formed the buns, I covered them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. Before I baked them, I covered them with a tea towel and let them hang out near our radiator to warm up again.

cinnamon buns

  • They do rise quite a lot, so don’t worry if they look a little sparse when you first put them in the pan!
  • Since it makes two pans, I covered and froze one, so next time I want them in the morning, I’ll just thaw them in the fridge overnight and bake them first thing

cinnamon buns

  • The dough was quite easy to work with. The only tricky bit was incorporating the softened butter into the dough, but I just kneaded it on my counter until it was evenly distributed in the dough.

Now that I’ve got sticky buns figured out, I’ve going to try some other kind of sweet bread. Maybe one of those braided breads with jam in the centre? Yum!