Monday, January 31, 2011

Baked - Velvety Beet Cupcakes. Yes, beets.

Did you all have a nice weekend? Hope so! If you're in Vancouver, wasn't it great to see sunshine on Sunday? Ahh, I can feel spring...almost.

I came across this recipe in Chatelaine magazine. I have to say, this magazine really does have some of the best recipes....and the finished product always turns out. I love that there are beets in this chocolaty cupcake, adding folate and some fibre to this delicious treat. Does not taste "beety", if you're wondering ;)

Velvety Beet Cupcakes with Raspberry Icing - makes 12 cupcakes

1/4 frozen raspberries
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 of 398ml can of beets, rinsed, drained and patted dry
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 of 250g block light cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Measure out raspberries and leave on counter.
Line a 12 cup cupcake tin with paper cups or spray with oil. Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Puree beets in a food processor or blender. Beat sugar with oil until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, then beets and vanilla. Gradually beat in one third of flour mixture until just combined, then half of buttermilk. Repeat additions, ending with the last third of flour.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.

Bake in centre of oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer, inserted in cupcakes, comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove cupcakes and place on wire rack to cool completely before icing.
To make icing:
Push raspberries through sieve, into a bowl, using the bottom of a ladle. Discard seeds. Stir in cream cheese and icing sugar until evenly mixed. Spread over cupcakes.

Have a great day! Back Wednesday.

P.S. Since I've been asked about my 2011 calendars, I've added a few more to my shop. Thanks so much to all who purchased one!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Seven Things

A very big thank you to these lovely bloggers for passing along the "Stylish Blogger" award to me.
These women have beautiful blogs, so be sure to check them out.
White Cabana
Nesting the Journal
A Home in the Making

In order to accept this award, I must do the following:

• Link back to the blogger that awarded you. Check
• Share 7 things about myself, kind of scary, but done.
• Award a few more bloggers out there, and let them know. Done and done.

Seven things about me (I'll try to make this painless!):

1. My husband calls me the "eccentric queen of impracticality". This is not a good thing.
2. I can't seem to stop watching Young and the Restless. A deeply guilty pleasure. Damn that Victor!
3. I'm a bird nerd. I love seeing a variety of birds hanging out in our back yard.
4. Writing about myself makes me a little uncomfortable, to tell you the truth.
5. I make almost all my own house cleaning products. It's cheap, easy, non-toxic and smells great.
6. I have a new sponsor child through Plancanada. Her name is Nadjiba and she's 10 years old.
7. I love a good refund policy. It's crucial for someone like me. See #1.

I'm passing the Stylish Blogger award to the following pretty blogs:
The Diversion Project
The Southern Hostess
Eat Live Shop
Flourish Design + Style

I hope you all have a lovely rest of the weekend! Back soon.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beautiful Colours of Australia

First let me say "Happy Australia Day"! I know it's over now, in Australia, but we're celebrating here today.

The scent of eucalyptus, and the soft pretty colours are two of my favourite things about Victoria.   Pale greens, grays, blues, gold and pink with a little rusty tin thrown in. Absolutely beautiful and calming. 

I'm feeling a little homesick for my adopted country, so I created some soft, pale floral arrangements using vases in blues and grays. Just wanted to share them with you!

I've been adding images to my Flickr page, so for some more Australia click here!

That's that for today. Have a lovely day all! Back soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked - Coconut Bread

Hello Monday! Hope you all had nice weekends. I baked a loaf of Coconut Bread from the fantastic Bills cookbook, yesterday. It's the perfect Sunday morning (or any morning) treat!

Coconut Bread - makes one loaf, 8-10 slices (depending on how greedy you are)

2 eggs
300 ml (10 oz) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup berry (caster or superfine) sugar
150g (5 oz) shredded coconut
75 g (2 1/2 oz) melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Together, lightly whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla.
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl, then add coconut and sugar and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre, and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is just smooth, but be careful not to over mix.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 8 1/2"x4" (21cm x 10cm) loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer, inserted in bread, comes out clean.
Leave in tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into slices, and serve toasted with butter. Outrageously good.

Happy Monday! Back on Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shopping in Kyneton

I've been going through my pics of our trip, and thought I'd share some great new shops and cafes in Kyneton, Victoria. Such a pretty place. Nothing but rainbows! Really. I still can't believe how many great shops and restaurants are packed into this very small town. I could live in any of these shops.

Prunella is a beautiful flower and gift shop. We bought a piece of the lovely pottery and an olive tree for my in-laws. Caris and Vanessa, the owners, make a talented duo!

The Vintage Yard Sale is a brand new shop on Piper Street. Lots of collectibles, and some fantastic re-worked furniture. Their mid-century pieces are almost free compared to the cost of that particular style here in Vancouver. What's up Vancouver?

We went to Steam Mill Cafe pretty much every day. I loved their avocado and dukkah (an Egyptian spice) and their scones and Devonshire cream.

While away, I did a post for Poppytalk about another amazing shop in Kyneton called StockRoom. Click here for the story. You'll want to move right on in!

Have a lovely day! Back soon.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Back Home and Baking

Hello everyone. Hope you're all well! To those of you in Queensland, Australia,  my heart goes out to you. We just returned from Australia, and just missed the flooding that is now occurring in Victoria. Such a disaster. Damage is massive, so if you are interested in donating, click here.

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, now that we're back, but it didn't help that we had Christmas decorations to dismantle upon our return.  I baked some cookies this weekend as I needed something to clean the house by. The best part was that I had all the ingredients in the cupboard. They're pretty flipping good - hope you like them.

Double Chocolate and Sour Cherry Cookies - makes about 30

8oz/250g unsalted butter, softened
12oz/350g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped white chocolate
3/4 cup dried sour cherries

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir well. Sift in the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt, and mix to just combined. Fold in the cherries and chocolate.

Place large spoonfuls of dough on parchment paper lined baking sheet, and flatten the dough slightly. Make sure to leave room, between each spoonful, for spreading. Top with an extra piece of white chocolate.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until the bottoms are cooked. Cool on wire rack.

I will definitely be back soon! Now to catch up on your lovely blogs.

I leave you with a picture of my new Australian friend. He walked right up to us. Love him.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Brighton Bathing Boxes

I wanted to share one of my favourite spots in the Melbourne area; the Brighton Bathing Boxes. We made a quick pit-stop on our way to Phillip Island.

There are about 80 of these happy little boxes dotted along Dendy Street Beach. It would be fantastic to hang out on the front stoop of your bathing box, sipping a cold beer. Sigh. Apparently, if you would like to own one be prepared to dole out around $200,000. I'm out.

That's it for today. Looking forward to really catching up with you all when we get back to Vancouver!
Have a lovely day!