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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Easy Butter Crunch

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This recipe has been passed down through generations in my family. One of those heirloom recipes that just screams nostalgia every time a bite is taken. Whenever I take a crunch into this candy I flashback to 8 year old Anna on Christmas at my Great Aunts house. The table was filled with homemade everything; sauces, breads, vegetables from the garden, cookies, and pretty much anything delicious you could imagine. After dinner was cleared there would be trays of treats, pies, and little bowls overflowing with easy butter crunch delicately placed around the house. Now, as an 8 year I was only allowed a certain number of candies, cookies, and squares. That didn’t stop me from sneaking to one of the tables with a bowl of easy butter crunch. It got easy once the adults retired to the sitting room and fell into deep conversation. This was when I ate my actual threshold of easy butter crunch.
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Whenever I find myself re-creating this classic masterpiece, I always reflect and remember how much I admired my Great Aunt. She worked so hard to make the best meal for all the people she loved. Everyone attending these feasts would always go for seconds, or thirds, without even being asked because the food on the table was the most delicious.
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Now it is my turn to keep this addictive treat in the family for generations to come, and the internet is a good spot for that! This recipe is EASY! it is only tough if you get frazzled when the butter looks a little wonky, or separates from the sugar. You just have to keep whisking, and remind yourself that it is a simple recipe and it will work out.
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If you want to add some nuts to this crunch when you set aside your lined baking tray, fill the tray with about 1 cup of chopped peanuts, almonds, pecans, or cashews (whichever is your favourite!) and once the sugar mixture is cooked pour directly over the nuts, and continue following the recipe.
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Is this recipe a classic among your family? What recipes does your family cherish?

Thanks so much for dropping by, I can’t wait to share more delicious recipes with you! Have a happy day:)
Much love,

Anna xoxoxo
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6 Comments

Vegan Walnut Brownie Cookies + The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

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I have always loved cookie swaps. It is an excuse to make an extra big batch of cookies only to trade half of them (or more) for an assortment of other delicious cookies. These swaps always inspire me right before my big holiday bake-off! I have hosted a cookie swap in the past with friends which was awesome! But this year I went to the virtual world with the end result being three boxes of different types of fresh baked cookies delivered to my doorstep. Obviously, this is awesome.

I discovered The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap last year but missed the sign-up deadline. I didn’t want to miss it this year so I marked it in my calendar and here we are now, blogging about my experience!

I decided to work on creating a recipe that was vegan, and came up with these sandwich cookies. These cookies are a little on the cakey + delicate side, but really delicious. I used walnuts and ground them into a walnut butter, but feel free to use any nut you like. I chose walnuts because they make me think of Christmas’s spent at my grandpa’s farm where it wasn’t the holiday’s unless there was a bowl of large assorted nuts near a nutcracker.

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I tested these cookies a couple times in order to get the recipe I wanted which has a brownie texture that is just sturdy enough to handle. It is also super important to let the dough rest in the freezer over night for 1 or even 2 days. This helps to allow time for the dry and wet ingredients to settle into each other.

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One thing I forgot to add in the recipe is that I added some extra chopped walnuts to give the cookies a little extra texture.

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The best part of this cookie swap is discovering other amazing food blogs in Canada! I sent a dozen of these cookies to The Tasty Gardner, Cheap Ethnic Eats, and Forever Faith and Food. I received delicious Kris Kringle cookies from Hot Pink Apron, chocolate and vanilla biscotti from Kate’s Plate, and Cardamom Quince Layer Cookies from The Yum Yum Factor. It was a really fun time baking and discovering new blogs! I will definitely be checking out these recipe hubs from now on.

Now it is back to the kitchen to bake, bake, bake, especially now since I am inspired from all these awesome cookie ideas! Good luck with your holiday baking and hope to see you soon!

Much Love,
Anna xoxox

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3 Comments

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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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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