Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year Everyone!  All the best to you and yours for 2010!

Thank you to everyone for sticking around and reading my blog – it’s been fun! Here’s hoping the 2010 is as good or better than 2009! I’m looking forward to the Olympics and finally being done my chemical engineering degree. What are you looking forward to?

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Cross Country Skiing

Mr. Bean and I went cross-country skiing yesterday – the first time in 5 years for me and the first time since Mr Bean was a Scout as a kid! Luckily for us, there wasn’t much of this:

And more of this:

Had we gone downhill skiing, which I never would do as I am terrible with the whole height thing, the former picture would be more representative of what had happened. I didn’t used to be afraid of heights – I even took downhill skiing lessons as a child! – but then, I fell out of a tree fort, had a few meltdowns while hiking by cliffs and/or falling down huge hills on skis. So, now I am quite happy to stay in places where my gravitational potential energy is much lower, thank you very much.

We had absolutely beautiful day for skiing in the mountains:

There’s something very peaceful about skiing through forests, especially when I’m not fearing for my life every second like on a ski hill.

Even Mr. Bean had fun and did quite well despite being dragged out on a ski that was 5 km longer than he had hoped.

So what are you: more of a downhill or cross-country skier or neither?

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Christmas Baking Exchange (And December GAHIGF)

This Christmas, my brother’s girlfriend and I decided to exchange baking instead of presents. I was quite keen about it because I love baking, but not the tire it creates around my belly, so I’m quite happy to give it away!

On my end, I first made these gingerbread cookies

Vegan Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

1 1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. each of potato and tapioca starch
¾ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ c. dairy free margarine (cold)
1-½ tsp. xanthan gum
½ c. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. cloves
Egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg using cold water
1/2. tsp. cinnamon
½ c. gluten-free molasses
extra rice flour

  1. Combine flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, xanthan gum, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Cut in the butter or margarine until the mixture is in crumbs the size of peas.
  3. In a small bowl beat the sugar, egg, and molasses together. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides. I ended up adding another 1/4 – 1/2 c. flour as the dough was too sticky.
  4. Form the dough into a flat ball shape and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Dust some freezer paper (not wax paper) with potato starch or confectioners sugar.
  6. Put the dough on the freezer paper and sprinkle with starch or confectioners sugar.
  7. Roll the dough to ¼ inch thick and cut out shapes as desired.
  8. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

You can also ice them – use 2 c. of confectioner’s sugar and enough lemon juice to get the icing to the right consistency. Then decorate to your heart’s content!

An updated version of these Cherry Almond Crisps

Vegan Cherry Almond Crisps – Version 2

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/3 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. each of potato and tapioca starch
1 tsp. xathan gum
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Egg replacer equivalent of 2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon juice or vanilla
1 1/2 c. glace cherries
1/2+ c. slivered almonds
rice milk or water to make dough to the right consistency

  1. Cream coconut oil and sugar.
  2. Add flours, xathan gum, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add egg replacer, lemon juice/vanilla and mix in.
  4. Add rice milk/water until the cookie dough is somewhat sticky.
  5. Stir in chopped cherries and almonds
  6. Shape into long square rolls (ie. a rectangular prism), wrap in wax paper and chill for several hours in fridge.
  7. Slice 1/4″ thick and bake at 350F about 12 minutes or until very light brown.

And these Eggnog Cupcakes

Gluten Free Eggnog Cupcakes

¼ c. brandy
1 c. eggnog
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. potato starch
1/2 tsp. xathan gum
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

For the frosting:

¼ c. butter or margarine, softened
3 tbsp. eggnog
1 tbsp. brandy
generous pinch of nutmeg
2 (or more) cups confectioners’ sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the nutmeg, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  5. Divide evenly between prepared muffin wells.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.
  7. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For Frosting:

  1. Cream together the butter, eggnog, rum, nutmeg and confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Add in more confectioners’ sugar if needed to make the frosting stiff, but spreadable.
  3. Frost the cooled cupcakes.  (Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.)

I received a cake in return – I think it was some type of pumpkin spice cake with maple cream cheese icing.

Unfortunately, it was a casualty of the tin foil it was wrapped in, but it was delicious regardless!

What did you bake this Christmas?

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On the Matter of Christmas

First off – this semester is over! Praise the Lord! I am so glad that I made it through and now I have a two-week break before it’s back to the daily grind.

Now, that that’s out-of-the-way, onto this whole Christmas thing. I was finding it somewhat difficult to get into the “Christmas Spirit” due to school. I would turn the radio to a different station when Christmas carols came on – I swore off the Christian radio station because all they play in December is Christmas music. When you’ve got a lab report, a design report and 3 major exams to study for, Christmas seems like a wonderful, unattainable beacon that will never arrive.   But now that I’m done, I’ve dived head first into an accelerated Christmas experience.

I’ve danced around my kitchen to this:

I’ve almost cried listening to this:

I’ve had a (my first mind you) pioneer woman eyeliner moment at Mr. Bean’s Christmas party:

Any tips on putting it on? I’m a terribly inexperienced make-up wearer.

I’ve also baked up a storm (more on that later), finished Christmas shopping, eaten enough sugar to send a diabetic into a coma and welcomed my sister back from the first part of her DTS. I’m also terribly excited because this Christmas will finally be a white one!

I do have one annoyance – a contentious issue for many Christians and the “politically correct:” how Christmas is no longer named Christmas anymore. Sadly, I don’t know which one bother me more: that everywhere it’s “Season’s Greeting” or “Happy Holidays” or that I expect it to be that way. It’s called Christmas! (Thank you very much.) Is it sad that every time I see a Calgary Transit bus blink “Merry Christmas,” it makes me smile?

How have you celebrated Christmas thus far?

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Happy Birthday Jesus!

It’s t-minus 7 days until Christmas and I thought that I would start our celebrations early with this cake for our bible study. C’mon, even Jesus needs a birthday cake – complete with Angels.

I thought it would be appropriate to make a gingerbread cake, so used this recipe from Good Housekeeping and it didn’t disappoint. I used 2/3 of the recipe, and used 1 c. of brown rice flour, 1/2 c. each of potato and tapioca starch and 1 tsp. xathan gum for the flour and didn’t reduce the number of eggs. So moist and light, even after a day of sitting out!

I had some re-learning experiences with this cake – I remembered why using a cake board for fondant cakes is sooo much easier than a plate and that heating up the fondant in your microwave for a few seconds can make a world of difference. Oh yeah, and how cake decorating can be so much fun!

This cake entertains me as it reminds me of a kid’s production of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that Mr. Bean and I saw over a year ago. Hagrid was walking out with a baby Harry to give him to the Dursley’s, only to have a young girl behind us say: “Look, Daddy, it’s baby Jesus!”

A very happy birthday, indeed, Jesus. 🙂

How is your Christmas baking coming along?

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