Cupcakes Always Win


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Vietnamese Baguette (Bánh my)

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When travelling in Vietnam it’s not uncommon to see baskets upon baskets of Vietnamese style baguettes. Bikes loaded up with the crispy loaves wheeling their way around each city block. It’s extremely difficult to resist purchasing one of these delicious snacks. It was also easy to find sandwich stalls on street corners which would usually serve a pork on bread style sandwich with loads of toppings. It was possible to get vegetarian options as well but that depended largely communicating correctly with the vendor. Thankfully I had a non-vegetarian friend who would gratefully accept extra pork on his sandwich.

Now that I am back in Canada, I was given a Vietnamese cookbook for Christmas Real Vietnamese Cooking by: Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl, and I have been studying it as though every time I enter the kitchen there will be an exam as to whether or not the food is exactly how I remember it. The first recipe I attempted is the Vietnamese baguette, which was not an original food to be found in Vietnam. It was introduced by the French during the colonial period. The main difference between the French and Vietnamese baguette is the addition of rice flour in the Vietnamese version.

I made this recipe several times to test it out and get it just the way I wanted. I settled on making three baguettes vs. six which is what the recipe suggests. This way I have larger baguettes and can make beautiful sandwiches to share. The baguettes do require a little longer baking time though, but it’s totally worth it!
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I’ve also included a few snaps from our adventures in Vietnam. We spent a month there and had an amazing time hiking, walking, biking, meeting new people, and of course eating! Every city/village/town has a dish specialty, and it was always exciting to see what that dish would be upon arrival.
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In Vietnam we didn’t always arrive at our destination with an arrangement for a place to stay. This was usually ok, but there were a few times when we were walking in small towns and really didn’t know where we were and couldn’t find any sort of lodging options. The locals were always so helpful in showing us the way to a safe place to stay! We were even invited for dinner one night with the friendliest family, it was such an amazing evening. It’s super inspiring that strangers are so accommodating, I hope to help other strangers whenever I can, and maybe even feed them a few cookies and tea!
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Back to the bread! An opportune moment for butter is fresh bread from the oven. Now you can devour this loaf instantly with the butter melting on a warm(HOT) slice. Or you can wait a few minutes until is cools enough to make a sandwich! I made vegetarian sandwiches like I would have ordered in Vietnam with scrambled egg, veggies, cilantro, and a spicy chili sauce.
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Hope you enjoy this recipe, and thanks for stopping by! See you again soon,
Anna
xoxoxo
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Refreshing Cucumber Salad

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Most veggies taste amazing on their own, but sometimes adding a little salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice takes them to the next level. This is a common salad I found throughout India. When I was to going to order some sort of fresh food, it was usually the cucumber salad.

It’s simplicity made it easy to re-create while on the road in New Zealand, especially with lemon trees on every block.

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There are so many types of lemons available in New Zealand. I don’t know the variety that was most common but it was a lot sweeter than lemons I buy in Canada. For this salad, I decided to add sliced lemons along with the fresh lemon juice because of the awesome flavour profile of the lemons. But if that is a little too tart for your liking, then don’t bother with the lemon slices!

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If you want a quick snack for a hike chop large pieces of cucumbers and spritz with lemon juice before putting them in a container. You’ll be super thankful for this hydrating veggie once you are mid-hike!

I also included a few snaps I captured while in New Zealand! Hope you enjoy! xox

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Baked French Toast

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Breakfast is one of my most favourite meals, it is the way in which I always start my day. Being obsessed with food makes me want to begin the day with only the tastiest meal. When I have friends over I have to step up my personal breakfast to the next level that will please a crowd. French toast is one of those things that is so easy to make for a large crowd with not many ingredients. To step it up I bake it with whatever fruit is in season like my French Toast Mash I made a while back.

Now it may not be near breakfast yet but we can always dream…

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I also took some nifty shots over Thanksgiving weekend that I thought might be worth sharing. I couldn’t resist on such a sunny blue-skied day!
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But back to cracking eggs, 8 whole ones! It seems like a lot, but just make sure you have at least 6 faces to feed so you don’t have anything go to waste!

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Thanks to you for stopping by and stay tuned for some more exciting photos and recipes!

Much Love,

Anna xoxoxox

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Vegan Peanut Lime Mini Cupcakes

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A peanut lime cupcake is a unique flavour combination.  A moist citrus cake paired with a simple and sweet peanut butter frosting is delightful. I got inspired while eating a salad. How does something super healthy (like a salad) inspire a unique cupcake? Well first off, I eat a lot of salads, so the likelihood of me being inspired while eating a salad is pretty darn high.

Now normally I don’t like salad dressing on my salads, but at this particular restaurant I was at they had a peanut lime salad dressing. It perked my interest as a different sort of flavour. Which than made me think it was a challenge to make this savoury sauce a super sweet and delicious dessert! After a couple of times trying it out I think I was successful. My friends will have to be the ones that let you know their thoughts (if you want a balanced opinion).

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Now when it comes to curds I am a strong believer in using eggs and butter. I am still working on developing a vegan curd but my logic says it may not be possible. There are recipes out there that use interesting ingredients to replace the eggs and butter but ultimately I really think it is difficult to recreate a curd without animal products. BUT, feel free to prove me wrong, if you have a recipe for a curd that was super, share it with me! I would love to see!

In saying all that I actually did make a tasty vegan curd using parsnips and coconut oil along with lots of limes! It tasted good but there was a slight parsnip flavour. Which I enjoyed, but you may not. If you have any leftover curd you can refrigerate  and use it as a nice spread on a cracker.

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There you have it! Peanut lime cupcakes are a thing!

Thanks again for stopping by and yay for spring! See you on the sunny side 🙂

Much Love,

Anna xoxoxox

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Spiced Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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A chocolate crinkle is a classic cookie dressed up with a double sugar coating to create a crackle white coating which makes these cookies stand out. I decided to spice this classic up by adding loads of fresh ginger and chocolate that I spiced with a chili pepper.

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I know that chocolate and spice may not be for everyone but if there is one request (maybe demand) that I must have, it is that you need to try some sort of spiced chocolate at one point in your life, before you write-off the flavour explosion that will happen when you participate in the chocolate spice phenomena.

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These cookies take a little bit of patience so I wouldn’t suggest it if you want something super quick.  They are perfect for a party or even a potluck! A black and white themed party was clearly made for these cookies.

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I would love to hear about your experiences with chocolate and spice if you have had any! Share below, we can have a conversation:)
Thanks for stopping by!

Much Love,
Anna xoxoxo

P.S. I love writing and taking photos for my blog but sometimes life gets in the way… or technology in this case. I am back and will be blogging regularly again! So don’t fret!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Ginger Muffins

peanut butter mufffinsThis recipe post was a team effort with my friend Liz from Noms for the Poor. She is super talented and has some really great recipes. I invited her over for some baking and food photo fun. It was a really great time and we hope to hang out again soon to whip up some more delicious treats!

butterchopWe adapted the recipe from How Sweet it is, and were super happy with the results.

These moist, and dense mini muffins are definitely more of a tea time treat.

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chocolateandgingerOn a day like today with flakes of snow falling into place to form heaps of snow, a warm muffin oozing of chocolate does go down quite nicely.

A big thanks goes out to Liz and totally stop by her site to see some more cool ideas and recipes!

Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for visiting,

Anna xoxoxox

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Sticky Toffee Pudding Mini-Cupcakes

I recently went to dinner at an Irish pub that had phenomenal food. Sticky toffee pudding was on the menu for dessert and it was obviously ordered. I had never had it before and was pleasantly surprised. It was so good, I couldn’t put my fork down, I just kept eating it. It was one of those desserts that gives you the urge to lick the plate when you are finished… trust me it was really hard to maintain my good manners.

I thought why not take away the plate and make a cupcake! That way there is no dilemma, you get it all! I found this recipe for sticky toffee pudding from the New York Times, and adjusted it slightly. I doubled the recipe because I wanted to have a little extra for friends that were coming over for dinner later in the day.

 I have been a little absent from my blog the last week or so but my excuse is that it is still summer time! When I am not working I have been trying to do as much as possible outdoors before it gets too cold! 

When I made these cupcakes I wanted to add something a little special on top so I made a condensed milk buttercream. For those of you that follow me regularly you will understand when I say I very rarely use condensed milk… mainly because I haven’t made it from scratch myself. But I wanted to experiment a little. I didn’t include the recipe for the condensed milk buttercream below because I was eyeballing and tasting as I made additions so I don’t have exact measurements. But the ingredients I used were butter, icing sugar, vanilla, milk and condensed milk. It was a really heavy icing hence the small dollop on top of the mini-cupcake.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to brush a simple syrup over the cupcakes before putting the toffee sauce and condensed milk buttercream on top. The cupcakes were a little dry and the toffee sauce was too thick to be absorbed by the cupcake. Other than that these little cakes of goodness were pretty tasty! I think I discovered a new treat to make for special occasions.

I hope you all make the most of the last week or so of summer and I will see you back here very soon! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Much love,

Anna

xoxoxox