Cupcakes Always Win


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Vegan Chai + A Great Chai Wallah

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While travelling around India I met a numerous amount of incredibly inspiring people at chai stands. It was one place I could always expect a great discussion, story, or new friend(s). Each stand varies with which spices are used and where milk is sourced from, but just like any other delicious addictive beverage everyone has individual preferences. My most memorable chai wallah (tea seller/server) was found near my hostel, who’s art is pictured within this post. He was kind enough to allow me to take photos while he made tea, and now I can share them with you!

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His set up was nothing elaborate, but the end result was an explosion of flavour! The steps I followed to make my recipe were from watching him make tea multiple times. I don’t know the exact spices he used, but I have an idea. It’s good to keep some things a secret now and again. Especially if you want returning customers!

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Now chai isn’t a daily ritual which is probably a good thing! But with all this snow and cold weather my winter weekends usually start with a glass of chai. Be sure to check out Liz’s post on Lemongrass Ginger Chai, we met up in Mumbai and shared a couple glasses of chai, which was great!

My recipe is not a strict one, go with the flow, you might have to test run you spice mixture a couple of times but then you’ll have a secret of your own!

Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you again soon!
oxxoxo

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Vegan Ginger Spiced Hot Chocolate

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My family and I always visit a local tree farm to cut the perfect evergreen for the holidays. We’ve been doing it since we were young. It has always involved a labyrinth walk through a field filled with hundreds of Christmas trees to choose from. We always have trouble finding the one that is perfectly fitting for the occasion.

Some years there is snow, other years there is rain, but no matter what the weather we always strap on suitable outdoor gear and find the perfect tree! We always finish our tradition with some hot chocolate, or apple cider. Which is where this recipe comes in super handy. Having returned from adventures around the world, I wanted to make a more interesting hot chocolate that is loaded with spices! I loaded it with WAY too many marshmallows… just because it looked cool.

I also have been baking so many things because there is always a party, and everyone loves home baking. I had some leftover gingerbread and decided to make some gingerbread sticks that could be used to dip in the spiced chocolatey goodness. It was probably the best decision I made that day.

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The other nice thing about being home for the holidays is having extra helping hands. My sister was super amazing and helped me by being the prop in my little photo shoot. These photos wouldn’t have been complete without her 🙂

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Now the hot chocolate itself is vegan, but I added marshmallows, which are not very vegan at all. If you want to make it vegan, just omit the marshmallows or find some vegan ones in the shops around Kensington Market in Toronto.

Do you have any family traditions over the holidays? What is your go to hot drink when it is chilly? Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! Thanks for following me, and I hope to give you some more tasty treats worth making in the new year!

Anna xoxoxoxox

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Gluten-Free Cornbread

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When hosting a party, it’s clearly obvious food is the main reason why humans have gathered together. If someone is vegan, gluten or lactose intolerant they don’t deserve to miss out on being a part of the gobblers. This in between sponge cake/biscuit is the perfect way to keep gluten intolerant friends happy, especially if you make the wise decision of stuffing it full of whipped cream and strawberries.

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Speaking of friends and food, I am so wonderfully lucky to have the amazing friends that I do. They all know me so well, if they bring me an ingredient I will always make recipes with it…usually something delicious for the gift giver….

That is exactly what the above image is, a maple sugar cube! A gift received that has been sitting in my cupboard waiting for the absolutely perfect recipe to rejoice in. It’s called Ninutik “Cube 57” and is simply a crafted cube of maple sugar that can be grated, cut, or melted to become a part of any recipe. I used it in the actual cornbread and grated some on top of the plated dessert. If you don’t have a maple cube you can use brown sugar instead!

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Thanks to everyone that’s a part of my life large or small, you mean the world to me and I look forward to baking something for you very soon!

Much Love,

Anna oxoxoxo

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Brown Butter Pecan Cookies

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Butter pecan, pralines and cream, rum and raisin; three of my grandpa’s favourite ice creams. As a kid I remember my grandpa having a deep freeze full of gallons and gallons of these ice cream flavours. Those types of ice cream never seemed as enticing as cotton candy, tiger tail, bubble gum, or gold medal ribbon… until now. I love simple flavours, one or two additions/flavours is enough for the most perfect recipe. These cookies make simple ingredients look like a fancy bowtie.
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Due to popularity I have been baking these cookies to a point where I likely need a giant freezer to store all the dough, but thank goodness for hungry friends!

These cookies are a make ahead recipe, which is good in the future, not so good if you want cookies right this second. But trust me, this dough really needs to sit in the freezer for at least 24 hours before it is ready to be baked. Whenever I know I want to whip up a batch of these I do the hard work the night before, and bake em’ 30 minutes before guests start arriving. Warm cookies are obviously well-loved because they are 100% absolutely delicious.
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I know these are cookies and the holiday’s are over, but with an extra walk, or run you can afford to eat one of these as a treat!

Thanks for dropping in and catch you soon 🙂
Anna
xoxoxo
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French Toast Bites

untitled-14If you haven’t already guessed, I absolutely love breakfast. The only thing better than breakfast is waking up to the aroma of breakfast and knowing you’ll be eating very soon. I love being the first one up in the kitchen creating that delightful scent that will soon make its ways into the tummies of the one’s I love most!

This recipe was inspired by a loaf of bread I received for free! I was delivered a lovely box filled with one loaf of fresh Sunmaid Raisin Bread, recipe cards (ideas of what to make with the bread), and more coupons. I had to get into the kitchen immediately and whip something up. I thought back to an old post/recipe I made a year or two ago while I was living in Korea called Strawberry Shortcake’wich‘ which was a dessert bite that was a take on strawberry shortcake. The photos are not my best but it is really cool to re-read something I wrote (and photographed) a while ago.

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untitled-4Now french toast is super easy and I have blogged about it a few other times, like this French Toast Mash, or more recently Baked French Toast. Who doesn’t love using old bread to make a delicious breakfast treat? My next challenge will be to make vegan french toast which I am already working on. Roommates, get your forks ready!

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untitled-6My advice so the bite size pieces stay in perfect little cubes and not soggy un-shapely like bread pieces is to not let the bread soak in the egg mixture. A quick dunk and onto the hot frying pan works best. This may be obvious, but I somehow started out with a french toast scramble before correcting myself!

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untitled-9You can just use regular toothpicks, but I had some leftover toothpicks I made from an event and they worked perfect for these bites. The ones that say ‘eat me’ I didn’t make and are from vintagetwee on Etsy.

These bites are perfect because you get a mouthful of fruit, french toast and almond butter! Feel free to play around with what you stick on the toothpick with the french toast, the options are endless! What are your favourite brunch recipes? Have you tried making vegan french toast before?

Wishing you the very best this morning and hope you have many brunches this weekend, or at least 2!

Much Love,

Anna

xoxoxoxox

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Vegan Strawberry Basil Doughnuts

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Vegan doughnuts!  A doughnut made with mashed potatoes! Don’t let this scare you, it is a little different but it is super easy and delicious. There is no rising the dough, no rolling of the dough, cutting cute doughnut shapes or filling the doughnuts with a pastry cream or curd. Just mashed potatoes mixed with a few ingredients and fried. Super easy, delicious and not time consuming at all.

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I just got back from a grand adventure to Ottawa and it was fabulous to catch up with friends, see some awesome music, and enjoy the beautiful green spaces that Ottawa and Gatineau have to offer. It is a beautiful place and I totally recommend a visit. If you drive definitely check out Wakefield in Quebec as well!

There you have it! Vegan doughnuts can now be checked off the list! You can get playful too and switch up the flavours to whatever suits your taste. I still had freshly picked strawberries and basil that I wanted to use up so that was where this combination came from.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a lovely day,

Anna xoxoxo

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Cocoa Nachos with Berry Salsa + Toronto Picnickers

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When I want to test a new recipe like these cocoa nachos my favourite way to get an immediate review is to grab the nearest friends, a picnic blanket and a place to talk serious eats! Since I started my blog I have been blogging mainly on my own until I met my friend Liz from Noms for the Poor who is equally passionate about picnics/testing recipes and wanted to team up with me to picnic around the city. This has led to the beginning of an exciting project which Liz and I have taken on! That project being a monthly blogpost series, “The Toronto Picnickers” in which Liz and I will be doing with Swallow.

This is the first recipe of the series and I know I am excited! Each month Liz and I will organize a picnic with friends and foodies alike and invite everyone to bring a food item that is perfect for picnicking. We will share our recipes here while Ivy over at Swallow will have the more detailed story of how the picnic went.

Now let’s talk picnic! Our very first picnic was to be at High Park, but unfortunately the weather did not co-operate so we took the picnic indoors. Liz and I ventured around the park to take a few snaps when the weather was a little better. Obviously for more photos and tales check out the Swallow link!

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Now about these odd flavoured nachos. Recently I have been playing around with cocoa, I really love how bitter it is and how much it can really alter the flavour of a recipe. These Nachos are just that, bitter, which makes these nachos perfect for dipping in a tasty Berry Salsa.

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I made the pita just how I would normally but just adjusted the flour to cocoa ratio. It was the perfect picnic snack! Even though we weren’t indoors everyone seemed to really enjoy it.

I also brought along some Vegan Peanut Lime Cupcakes, and Liz brought some delicious Asparagus Pesto! There was enough food (and drink) to keep the chats going for hours.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe! I also hope you like our idea of picnicking in Toronto! Feel free to get in touch if you are interested in attending our picnic by emailing me at cupcakesalwayswin@gmail.com.

Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again! Have a great day,

Much Love,

Anna xoxoxo

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