Monthly Archives: December 2011

Top 11 Photos of 2011

I know a lot of people have been posting their top 11 photos of 2011, so I thought I would join in now that there’s essentially only one day left!

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Top: View of Mirror Lake in Castle Mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta, July 2011
Next Row:

Next Row:

Left Column:

Right Column:

I know that these photos aren’t of my kids (given that I don’t have any), but I can pretend that my photos are my babies, right?
Click It Up A Notch

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Vegan Gluten Free Ginger Crackle Cookies

Do you ever have a strong desire to make cookies? Yesterday I was feeling fairly Christmas-y and decided that Christmas cookies were severely lacking in the Bean household and I needed to remedy that! Instead of defaulting to the usual Bean-family Cherry Almond Crisps, I asked Mr. Bean what his favourite cookies were. As you can probably guess, they’re Ginger Crackle Cookies, one of his family staples.

Given that I am unable to make the cookies exactly how his mum does (the gluten free requirement is pesky like that sometimes), I decided to embark on the adventure to make a similar, more healthy gluten free ginger crackle cookie. I also wanted it to be vegan as I’m saving up my dairy and egg quota for eggnog later this week! I think I was pretty successful – the cookies are quite soft on the inside and slightly harder on the outside, chewy and had the appropriate amount of crackling. They are also pretty delicious to boot!

I based my recipe on this one from In the Kitchen with Kath. I made them vegan, refined sugar, soy, cinnamon and gluten free so that everyone in my family could eat them (as frankly neither Mr. Bean nor I need to eat that many cookies ourselves!)

Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Ginger Crackle Cookies

50g brown rice flour
75g sorghum flour
25g millet flour
50g sweet rice flour
50g tapioca starch
20g potato starch
1 1/2 tsp. xathan gum
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (if you can have it – I didn’t add it)
Scant 1/4 c. soy-free buttery spread, melted and cooled*
Scant 1/4 c. canola oil*
Scant 1/4 c. grapeseed oil*
3/4 c. sucunat sugar, finely ground
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg replacer (or 1 egg if you can eat them)
Sucunat or other granulated sugar – make sure that your sugar is coarse enough so that they don’t dissolve onto the cookie like mine did!

*I just poured about the same amount of each in the same measuring cup until I had 2/3 c. oil. Anything more than that is too much!

  1. Whisk together the flours, xathan gum, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oils, sugar molasses and egg replacer until combined.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until well blended and smooth
  4. Cover dough and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F.
  6. Shape the dough into 1 – 1 1/2″ balls. Dip in granulated sugar then place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 8 – 12 minutes.
  8. Then cool on a wire rack.
  9. Store in a plastic bag or sealed container.
  10. Enjoy!

What is your favourite Christmas Cookie?

Shared at: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Traditional Tuesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

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Filed under Baking, Food

A Big Reason to be Festive!

In case you can’t tell by my photos, I had some fun with this week’s Christmas Light Bokeh Prompt for this week’s Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit. Christmas lights are so pretty! And happy! And Fun! But that in itself is not the big reason I have to be festive.

I’m assuming that you want to know because you’re still reading. Here it is:

I’m no longer unemployed Bean; instead I’m going to be E.I.T. Bean! (That stands for engineer in training.) That’s right! I have a job!

It’s awesome because a) it was totally a God thing as I didn’t actually apply for the job, they just wanted to interview me and b) it’s a job I actually want! I’ve talked about my previous potential job angst before and about how I was hesitant to really go out and get myself an engineering job. This opportunity literally fell into my lap (praise the Lord!) and who am I to say no when that’s where God wants me to be?

How has God shown you his providence lately?

All these shots are Straight Out of the Camera (SOOC).

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Holiday Edits & A New Blog Header!

Now I feel like a bit of hypocrite, as I was feeling inspired yesterday and thus have designed a new Christmas themed header for my blog. Oops. I always find it interesting that after you’ve got something off your chest you can let it go and move on from it and I guess that’s the case with my new header! I’m still not listening to Christmas music, though. ;)

For this week’s Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit, I wanted to use gradual filters like what Cedar talks about in her tutorial. Fortunately, I did take a landscape photo, which works really well for that kind of filter. I also fiddled with the white balance and saturation to make it look better.

Original Shot

Looking at photos like that makes me so happy that I live in Alberta and have the Rocky Mountains on my doorstep.

What’s on your “doorstep” that makes you happy?

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Homemade Granola

As a kid, one of our favourite family activities was making granola – we could hardly wait for it to be done! We first mixed together the dry ingredients, then added the honey and oil, then spread out the sticky mixture onto cookie sheets (and of course conveniently getting some “stuck” on your hands), then waited for it to cook (why do things take so long when they smell SO good?) and finally getting to try some! (After waiting long enough so it didn’t burn our mouths!)

As I was looking through Emily of One Lovely Life’s blog for recipes to try for the Secret Recipe Club, I saw that she had quite a few granola recipes. (I made her Fall Fruit Pie and it was delicious!) I was suddenly reminded of my childhood activity of making granola and called up my mum to find how how she used to make it. This is tweaked from the original recipe – I used gluten free oats, rice bran instead of wheat bran, added some quinoa flakes and I used some applesauce to keep the honey content lower. We used to also add sunflower seeds, which I didn’t add because I didn’t have any. You can probably add some cinnamon, other nuts or dried fruits – it’s completely up to you!

Homemade Gluten Free Granola

4 c. GF rolled oats
1/2 c. rice bran
1 c. shredded coconut
1 1/2 c. chopped almonds
1/2 c. quinoa flakes
1/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey (more if you want things to stick together more)
4 – 5 tbsp. applesauce

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Measure out the oil first and then measure the honey on top of it. This helps you from having to scrape honey out of the measuring cup.
  4. Pour wet into dry and mix. Add more honey or applesauce to get the desired degree of moisture.
  5. Divide granola between two cookie sheets and spread out to an even thickness.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes then use a spatula to flip the granola over and respread it out on the cookie sheets. When you return the pans to the oven, switch pan locations and rotate pans so that they cook approximately evenly.
  7. Bake for another 10 minutes or until slightly less done than desired (it will continue to cook a bit once it’s removed from the oven.)
  8. Put on cooling rack and loosen granola from pan. In another 5 – 10 minutes, repeat.
  9. Once cooled, store in glass containers or in plastic bags.
  10. Enjoy for breakfast with fruit, on yogourt or added to another cereal!

Did you make anything regularly with your family growing up?

Recipe Shared at: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

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