Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

It’s the last day of August, can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday we were talking about Canada Day and what was on our summer bucket lists!

It’s been a summer filled with lots of wonderful things though- road trips, hiking,  marathon Great British Bake Off watching, travels down south… but most importantly, this was the summer that we finally bit the bullet and started Fancy Dough. We thought that there couldn’t be a better way to celebrate than with a big pan of brownies!

We’ve made brownies before this summer, but these are special brownies (no, not that kind). They’re special because they have zucchini in them which makes them super moist without having to add a bunch of extra fat. Instead, they have 2 whole cups of zucchini in them plus walnuts for some heart healthy fats. They are also egg-less and use canola oil instead of butter which makes these friendly brownies for vegans and individuals with special dietary needs alike.

We added a quick chocolate frosting to ours because a brownie without topping is a sad brownie in our opinion, and we can’t let our brownies be sad. The frosting whips up in a flash using melted butter, cocoa, powdered sugar, milk, and a bit of vanilla. It has the consistency of your classic lunch-lady brownies which we are absolutely in love with.

If you’ve got some extra zucchini kicking around this is a great way to use some of it up that doesn’t include the words bread, loaf, or some kind of stir-fry. The zucchini completely melts away in this recipe leaving you with just its moisture to keep these brownies nice and soft, which makes it a great option for sneaking some extra veggies into your kids’ (or kid-at-heart’s) diet.

We added chopped walnuts to ours but you could also leave them out or substitute them for something like chocolate chips. Or heck, throw caution to the wind and add both! It’s the last days of summer right!

Go bake.

Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder*

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups shredded zucchini (from about 1 large zucchini)

1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts

6 tablespoons (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup (56 g) salted butter

2 cups (240 g) icing sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13″ baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until well blended. Add the shredded zucchini and stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until incorporated. Add the walnuts and stir until just blended. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top as you go. Transfer to your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the brownies spring back gently when touched, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Ours took 25 minutes.
  5. While your brownies are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a small bowl melt together 1/4 cup butter and 6 Tbsp. cocoa in the microwave. Start with 20 second bursts, stirring after each increment, until smooth. Allow to cool slighlty. In a medium bowl, blend together the powdered sugar, milk, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Once cooled, stir in the cocoa mixture and mix until well combined. Spread over the cooled brownies before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Missile Launch, Sarah Palin + More

August 30th, 2017

North Korea and Their Missile Launch at (or around) Japan

Ballistic Missile
A ballistic rocket is test-fired through a precision control guidance system in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) May 30, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS.

We feel like we say this a lot, but GOOD GRIEF!

According to the BBC, Pyongyang says “it is being provoked by U.S.-South Korea military exercises which it says are a rehearsal for invasion.”

If you recall from one of our earlier posts, we made reference to the fact that North Korea was not going to be happy about the scheduled exercise between South Korea and the U.S.. North Korea’s feathers have been a bit ruffled since these drills commenced, sending a missile over Northern Japan in an attempt to communicate their displeasure. We’re not so sure that was the best move.

According to CNBC, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, had this response after he was asked what actions his government planned to take as a result of the missile launch:

The ballistic missile launched by North Korea flew over our nation and landed in the Pacific Ocean. We, as the government, were completely aware of the movement of the missile since immediately after its launch and in order to protect the public we had a well prepared system in place.

This reckless act of firing a missile over our nation is an unprecedented, serious and significant threat, one that seriously diminishes the peace and safety of the region, and as a result we have lodged a firm protest against North Korea.

We have also requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. By working together with the international community, we will seek to further strengthen pressure against North Korea.

Under the firm Japan-U.S. Alliance, so that we can deal with any circumstance, while maintaining a sense of tension, we will do our utmost to ensure the public’s safety.

Trump responded by stating that “all options” were on the table, as their recent missile launch signals “contempt” for its neighbors and the United Nations.

Check out the full BBC Article here.

We found this very useful video for anyone looking to get a few tid bits of history under their belt. Enjoy!

Now that we’ve got that off our chest, let’s move on to something a bit more comical. Turn that frown upside down because we’ve got Sarah Palin to talk about! No, we’re not talking about her questionable intelligence level, we’re talking about the fact that her defamation case got thrown out against the New York Times!

Definitely not Defamed… According to the Law

Oh Palin… where to start… oh right! We’re talking ONLY about your defamation suit. For those of you who don’t know, Sarah Palin launched a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times.

According to the New York times, this suit was launched after a Times editorial was published earlier this year after a gunman opened fire on Republican congressmen during baseball practice in Washington DC.

The Times editorial, in discussing links between violence and “heated political rhetoric” cited a map published by Mrs. Palin’s political action committee, which it said featured crosshairs “targeting” 20 Democratic politicians.

While an error was made in the editorial, the New York Times quickly corrected their inaccuracies. It was determined that no malicious intent could be proven to demonstrate that defamation occurred. Judge Jed Rakoff stated the following in his final decision, “Negligence this may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not”.

Here’s a video from Newsy that describes the controversy perfectly!

A Perfect Storm, Pardon my Sherrif?

Pardon
Pardon

 

Covered by the rainy mists of the most devastating hurricane to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina, President Trump chose to pardon Joe Arpaio over a misdemeanor that would have landed the former Sherrif behind bars for up to 6 months; however, Trump had different plans. Trump is being ridiculed for his decision to pardon the former Arizona Sherrif by many prominent figures, including Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, John McCain, and Jeb Bush.

To make matters worse, Mr. Arpaio did not submit an application to be pardoned, he has not been sentenced, and his pardon was for a  minor offense.

Mr. Arpaio’s Lawyer, Jack Wilenchick believes that criticizing his pardon is wrong because he was unfairly prosecuted, with no jury.

Law professors in the U.S. have concluded that this might just be the thing that gets The Donald impeached… Stay tuned!

Check out the full BBC Article here.

Hold, on… we need to fill up our popcorn bowl!

Ok, we’re back… What’s next… AH YES!, let’s talk about the legal challenges of the controversial U.S. military transgender ban.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

President Trump’s actions immediately caused the individual plaintiffs and other transgender service members to fear for their careers, the well-being of their family members and dependents, their health care and, in some cases, their safety, the ACLU lawsuit states.

This is just one point of view that is shared across the country for current, past, and future transgendered military personnel who feel discriminated against for something they cannot control. Lawsuits have been launched all over the country after Trump declared that,

[the U.S. military] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.

Check out the full CBC Article here.

 

Check out last week’s post here.

NAFTA, Trump, Barcelona and a $417M Mistake?!

August 23rd, 2017

Made in the USA or Not?

NAFTA negotiations didn’t seem to go as planned for Trump. For NAFTA to be re-worked to support a more ‘buy America’ policy, it’s going to take a lot more than just a re-write. It’s going to require a complete overhaul.

NAFTA was put together in  1993 with the intention of providing a fair free trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. it is an active agreement that aims to benefit all three countries by moving products across each country’s border with ease.

The Problem with Trump’s ‘Deal’

How can anyone tell if something is truly made in the USA? Products are made up of several parts that come from all over North America. The parts change hands many times and can make for a very confusing accountability process when determining what percentage was made in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

NAFTA isn’t perfect, but it’s not a ‘bad’ deal. Free trade has brought opportunities to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that cannot be quantified in just a simple calculation of Gross Domestic Product.

Economists predict that if the U.S. removes itself from NAFTA, many businesses will perish, along with the jobs that support the economy.

Read the full CNBC article here.

Afghanistan and US Troop Deployment

Apparently we just can’t get enough of Afghanistan!

3,900 troops may be deployed to Afghanistan in a matter of days, according to President Trump. Trump has not released what his strategy will be for the injection of troops at this time; however, the 3,900 troop number comes from a report that was released by the pentagon in June 2017.

According to Trump,

Conditions on the ground – not arbitrary timelines will guide [the U.S.’] strategy from now on.

Despite some of the positive responses from the U.S. allies, some U.S. lawmakers remain divided and concerned about sending another ‘surge’ of troops into the embattled territory.

Read the full CBC article here.

A Hopeful End to a Terrible Tragedy

After a long manhunt for 22-year old Younes Abouyaaquob, he was finally found and shot to death on Monday just outside of Barcelona. He was found at a vineyard and possessed what appeared to be a suicide vest to police when he was gunned down.

The four surviving men have either been held without bail, detained or freed with restrictions after answering questions from a judge in court on Tuesday. The owner of the car that was used in the attacks was released on strict conditions.

Read the full CBC article here.

A $417M Mistake…?

Baby Powder
Baby Powder

Johnson and Johnson has been ordered to pay $417M to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer as a result of using Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder and other talc-based products. The breakdown is as follows:

  • $70M in compensatory damages
  • $347M in punitive damages

This isn’t the first claim of this nature. In fact, there are about 4,800 other cases, with over $300M in verdicts by juries in Missouri, alone.

Johnson and Johnson plans to appeal the $417M verdict.

Good luck!

Read the full CBC article here.

 

 

Check out last week’s post here!

Fresh Blackberry Ricotta Scones

Here in Victoria, it’s serious blackberry picking season. Our city is infiltrated with these prickly bushes that seem to sprout up just about everywhere. Along the sides of highways, country backroads, in people’s backyards, along bike paths…

Because of this, you see people picking blackberries wherever and whenever they have a chance. Whether that’s just popping a few in their mouth as they’re walking along the road, or a more serious approach involving buckets, multiple people, and some thorn-avoiding strategies, Victorians love their blackberries.

The good news for us is that blackberries are amazing in baked goods. So good. Especially, when they’re freshly picked and taste exactly like summer and sunshine.

Today, we decided to bring you blackberries in breakfast format, although they are equally scrumptious in things like crisps, cobblers, and cakes. But for now, we’re going to focus on how great they are when combined with ricotta and butter to create rich and buttery scones.

Ricotta isn’t just for lasagna! If you’ve never baked with ricotta, these scones are the perfect introduction. It’s a great complement to the sweetness of the blackberries and adds another dimension of flavour beyond the butter.

Besides the ricotta, these scones follow a fairly standard procedure for baking, starting with combining cold butter with your dry ingredients and then mixing in the wet ingredients. You should be able to easily whip these up for a weekend breakfast or brunch with little to no fuss. And, if you make them on Sunday, you may even have some left over for snacking during the week!

Go bake.

Fresh Blackberry Ricotta Scones

Ingredients:

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

6 tablespoons (85 g) salted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup (135 g) fresh blackberries

3/4 cup (190 g) whole-milk ricotta

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) for sprinkling the tops

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender (or two knives) cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are no bigger than the size of small peas. Toss in the blackberries, and use the blender or knives again to break them in into smaller pieces.
  4. Using a large spoon or spatula, add the ricotta and heavy cream to the butter mixture and stir them in untila a dough starts to form. Then, use your hands to knead the dough gently into an even mass, in the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Transfer the dough to a well-floured counter or surface, flour the top of the dough, and pat into a circular disk about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick. With a floured pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges. Sprinkle with tubinado sugar if using.
  6. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden at the edges. Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with butter and/or homemade jam!

Inspired by this recipe.

No-Churn Roasted Blueberry Ripple Ice Cream

Blueberries are amazing this time of year on the west coast. They are sweet and flavourful and perfect on pretty much everything (like this cake). Today, we’ve decided to bring them to you in ice cream form because ice cream is one of the most perfect foods invented (right alongside muffins and butter chicken in our opinion).

Thankfully, we didn’t have to break out our ice cream maker for this one! Instead, we used the incredibly popular no-churn method that uses the magic of whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk to produce the creamiest ice cream you can imagine, with only a fraction of the work it normally takes.

We also roasted the blueberries, which really intesifies and concentrates the flavour of them. We threw in a couple of sprigs of basil for good measure as well, as it adds some freshness and a slight earthiness to the blueberries that we found complements the sweet creaminess of the ice cream base.

Do you you guys see that colour?! We’re not sure anything but nature could come up with something that amazing!

Instead of just plain old vanilla ice cream, we added some lemon zest to really brighten things up. And because blueberry and lemon is one of the finer flavour combinations out there, and just screams summer.

Once you have your ice cream base and your roasted blueberries ready you simply mix the two together. Just a little bit if you want a lovely swirl running through the ice cream, or completely if you’re looking for something that’s a bit more consistenly blueberry.

Kick your ice cream up a notch this summer and make this ice cream this weekend! Once you do, you’ll never be able to go back to the store bought stuff!

Go make ice cream.

No-Churn Roasted Blueberry Ripple Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 pints fresh blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

Few sprigs fresh basil

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the berries on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the sugar. Add the basil keeping the leaves whole for easy removal.
  2. Transfer the blueberries to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until jammy and bubbly. Set aside to cool then place into a large bowl and cool completely in the refrigerator (about 1 hour).
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Using a spoon or spatula gently fold in the lemon/sweetened condensed milk mixture until evenly incorporated.
  5. Pour the blueberries in a gently mix it until swirls of blueberries appear, or mix the blueberries all the way in for a more uniform look.
  6. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe dish and freeze until firm. Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Real News, Swift, The Mooch + More

August 16th, 2017

A Train Wreck

Donald Trump’s judgement is not always sound (sorry, while we put ourselves together) and here’s another piece of evidence to support this statement…

As we are all aware, Donald Trump has been under fire lately for his “denouncing” of the Charlottesville attacks that took place over the last week. Trump, under pressure from literally everyone, took to the media to reconfirm and “reaffirm” his stance on white supremacist groups and neo-Nazis.

With all this blowing up in his face, the president thought it would be appropriate to retweet a photo of a train hitting a cartoon person covered by a CNN logo…

Good grief, Donald. Good grief.

So now you’re ok with people being run over by trains, if they work for CNN? What were you trying to say with your early morning tweet? We know you deleted it, but unfortunately whatever you put online can’t ever be permanently deleted. Maybe consult Barron, your youngest son, who’s probably more adept at technology and can show you how things work when you post something, and try to imagine that it never existed…

Again… once more for the crowd… GOOD GRIEF!

Another One Bites the Dust

Trump’s advisory council is quickly being depleted of CEOs who are taking a stand against Trump’s poor condemnation of the Charlottesville violence. Here’s the list of executives who have left and made statements of their own:

  • Kevin Plank, Under Armour CEO
  • Ken Frazier, Merck Pharmaceuticals CEO
  • Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing President
  • Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO

Here’s a link to the full BBC article here.

Let’s move on to something a bit more positive…

Suspended… At Least for Now

In another unsurprising turn of events, last week Trump sent another ‘clear’ or damaging message to the North Korean Regime in an attempt to demonstrate intolerance to the threats that they’ve been making to the United States.

The regime has since ceased their plans to send a military warning strike to the waters off the coast of Guam. It appears that Trump’s bombastic tactics are at least meeting the level of crazy prevalent within the Regime, as North Korea seems to be at bay… for now.

Kim Jung Un stated that he will watch the “Foolish conduct of the Yankees” before making his next move.

It’s clear that neither side truly wants to have a full out open war, especially since it will likely end up becoming the start of another world war.

The US and South Korea still plan to conduct their planned military drills off the coast of South Korea next week, so stay tuned…

Here’s a link to the full CNN article here.

Grappling with a Groping Problem?

Taylor Swift has received vindication after winning her countersuit against now-fired Denver DJ, David Mueller. The countersuit was in the amount of $1 and a gesture of solidarity for all women out there dealing with sexual abuse. A jury determined that Taylor Swift was assaulted by Mr. Mueller, with the jury determining that he grabbed Taylor’s backside during a backstage meet and greet.

Mueller had originally sued Swift for $3 million US for ruining his career after Swift’s mother and radio liaison were within their rights to contact Mueller’s bosses about the situation.

The judge was quick to announce that Mueller, if the Jury sided with his side of the events, would only be entitled to $300,000 (two year’s salary).

Get the full CBC article here.

British Columbia, Canada, Ends Grizzly Trophy Hunting

No Paws, Heads, Furs, etc… can be taken out of the province, so if you’re looking to hunt some Grizzlies in British Columbia, Canada, you may do so only for their meat.

The newly formed NDP/Green Government here in B.C., Canada announced that starting next season (November 2017) Grizzly Bears will no longer be hunted for anything other than their meat. The problem is not with their numbers, as approximately 250 are killed each year, but rather the barbaric practice itself.

Activist groups stated that this is a step in the right direction, but that there may be ‘loopholes’ that may still need to be fixed, as hunting for these animals may still see trophy hunters hunting them for sport.

The government believes there are no loopholes, and that the rules behind hunting Grizzlies in B.C. is very clear going into 2018.

Get the full BBC article here.

Lost: Moral Compass. If Found, Please Return

Derek Filderbrandt, an Alberta politician who has made his career out of holding governments accountable for their spending, is now under fire for double dipping on his own meal expenses. On top of receiving $2,555 in tax payer benefits, he also made mistakes when he wrongly billed the government for meals over several years. Filderbrandt blames this on administrative errors, despite the fact that this has been a hot topic in the media for quite some time now – Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin, etc…

Come on, Derek, someone of your background must have known to double check things after you, yourself, held the pitchfork to other government leaders…

*Rings cow bell* – Shame!

Get the full CBC article here.

The Mooch on the Late Show

Check out these vids… They’ll put a smile on your face…

Part 1:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esK9TkuEQc0

 

Part2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–bIeUkeWRM

 

That’s all folks! Until next week!

The “Real News”

Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s an update on the “Real News”. We’re pretty sure that this is the modern-day version of the very ‘best’ propaganda out there, so before you watch this, make sure you’re sitting down. We don’t want any giggle fits to result in any serious injuries.

Here’s a link to last week’s post.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies

We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled summer fruit recipes to bring you something that is pure chocolate and peanut butter. No blueberries, cherries, or raspberries found their way into this post!

These brownies are all about deep, dark chocolate and rich and creamy peanut butter. We’re not sure  there’s a better combination.

We took regular brownies up a notch with this recipe by whipping together a quick flourless peanut butter cookie dough, and then dolloping it on top of our brownie batter before baking. The result is pools of underdone peanut butter cookie dough that beg you to return for a second (and maybe even a third!) square of indulgence.

Full Disclosure: The peanut butter cookie dough we made used granulated sugar as a sweetener. This produced a final product that was slightly grainy but still tasted amazing! We weren’t bothered by it, but if you think you may be, we suggest that you use a slightly reduced amount of icing (powdered) sugar to replace it. We’ll leave detailed instructions in the recipe below.

The best thing is that these brownies use ingredients that you already have in your pantry- butter, sugar, flour, and cocoa. No need to worry about melting unsweetened chocolate or pulling our your pots and pans. We made things even easier by melting everything together using the microwave. This may be sacrilege to some people, but sometimes, you just need brownies. Stat.

After the brownies were finished cooling in their tray we transferred them to the fridge for safe-keeping. We originally did this so that they’d be easier to cut, but the chill from the fridge when eating them cold adds so much more fudginess to these brownies than if you keep them at room temperature. We highly recommend it!

Go Bake.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies

Ingredients:

10 tablespoons (140 g) salted butter

1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) Dutch-processed cocoa

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (65 g) chocolate chips

1/2 cup (120 g) smooth peanut butter (we used Kraft)

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar; or alternatively, use 1/3 cup (80 g) icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with tinfoil leaving an overhang on two sides so that you have handles to remove the finished brownies (no need to grease!).
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 second increments until the butter is fully melted and the mixture is smooth, making sure to stir after each increment. Remove the bowl from the microwave and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
  3. Meanwhile, make your peanut butter cookie dough. In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter, sugar (whichever type you’re using), and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and stir will to combine. Set aside.
  4. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla into the chocolate mixture with a spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the spoon. Stir in the chocolate chips and then spread evenly into your prepared pan.
  5. Roll the cookie dough into small bowls, or just drop dollops of the dough evenly over the top of the brownie batter. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips if you’re feeling particularly feisty!
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly mois with batter, and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Let cool completely in the pan then lift up the ends of the foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. As we mentioned earlier, we find that it’s way easier to cut brownies when they’re slightly chilled.  To do this, place your cooled brownies into the fridge for at least an hour, then remove from the pan and cut as per usual.

Inspired by this recipe.

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf

Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf surrounded by cherries.

Guys, can you believe it’s almost mid-August? Which means that September is right around the corner!! Where did the summer go?

Cherries and lemon zest.

On the radio today they were talking about Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Costco has their Halloween merchandise on display already, and so by next week, I’m sure we’ll have to start thinking about hanging Christmas lights.

Lemon poppy seed batter with cherries.

Even with all the focus on future seasons going on around us, we still wanted to pay one last tribute to one of our favourite summer fruits. Cherries! We’ve brought you a cherry recipe before in the short time that we’ve been friends here, but they are so good we couldn’t resist bringing you one more before we say good-bye to them until next year.

This recipe is slightly more reserved on the sugar side than our previous one, but it’s definitely no wallflower when it comes to flavour! Packed with juicy cherries, lemon zest, poppy seeds, and a cinnamon cardamom streusel, this loaf is the perfect ode to BC summer cherries.

Now, we’re going to be honest here, and mention that the original recipe labels itself as a cake, but if you bake it in a loaf pan, and it looks like a loaf, then chances are you’ve got a loaf on your hands and therefore, something that is perfectly acceptable to eat for breakfast. Right?

In actual fact, this loaf does have a fairly reasonable amount of sugar in it, and gains added moisture from Greek yogurt not oil, so it’s not a complete right-off in the breakfast department. You could totally leave off the streusel, but we thought that the crunchy topping perfumed with cardamom and cinnamon was the perfect finish.

If you’re looking for a baked good to have with your next cup of tea or coffee, or just a way to re-purpose some old cherries that you have hanging around in your kitchen, this is the perfect recipe! Ok, we’re off to research pumpkin spiced baked goods (just kidding!).

Go bake.

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cherry Poppy Seed Loaf

Ingredients:

Streusel:

1/4 cup (35 g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and cardamom

pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Loaf:

1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

grated zest of 2 large lemons

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 cup (225 g) plain 2% Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from roughly 1/2 a lemon)

1 1/2 cups (210 g) pitted fresh sweet cherries

Directions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Make the streusel by mixing 1/4 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons poppy seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and stir together until the steusel is in small bits. Set aside.
  3. To make the loaf, whisk the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds and salt together in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest with a spoon, encouraging the lemon oil to saturate the sugar (it should smell heavnly at this point). Whisk in the oil, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice. Add the flour mixture all at once, stirring with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it’s almost completely incorporated. Fold in half of the cherries and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Dot the remaining cherries over the top of the batter and then sprinkle with the streusel. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown on top and it feels set in the center, about 45-55 minutes.
  6. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack. When cool, run a knife almong the outside of the cake to help it release from the pan and tip the loaf gently out of the pan.

Inspired by this recipe.

No-Bake Almond Butter Oat Bars with Cranberries and Chia Seeds

We love when we can combine things that taste good into something that is actually good for us. This creates a no-guilt situation which you simply must capitalize on every chance that you get.

These oat bars are packed with all the superfoods you hear about on TV, but have no clue what to do with when it actually comes to making something with them. They are a friendly introduction to utilizing and eating nutritional powerhouses like cacao nibs and chia seeds.

Ok, this is your warning guys… we’re about to nerd out on the nutritional benefits of eating these things for a bit here! Feel free to skip ahead to the recipe if you want to!

Chia seeds are a source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and protein. They’ve also been shown to decrease belly fat by fighting insulin resistance, and to be a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of their ability to slow down digestion. Here’s a great article if you’d like to read more.

Cacao nibs are a source of magnesium, fibre, iron, antioxidants, phenylethylamine (PEA), anandamide, theobromine, and contain mood boosters that act on the neurotransmitters in your brain. Some of those nutrients are a mouthful, but if you’d like to read up on the benefits a bit more we’ve included a link to a great article here.

What we really love about these bars though, is that they come together in a snap and don’t require us to turn on the oven. When you can just pour a bunch of ingredients into a bowl and come up with something that tastes fantastic- we’re sold. The chocolate topping requires a bit more effort, but if you’re feeling really lazy, they would still be fantastic without it!

We used 72% dark chocolate which added the perfect sweetness to the finished product, and offset the flaky sea salt that we sprinkled on top.

And guess what? The chocolate coating is the only source of sugar in this recipe.  All the sweetness for these bars comes from maple syrup which is a definite plus in our books. It makes these bars the perfect anytime bar- pre-workout, post-workout, breakfast on the go, camping treat, hiking snack, you name it! These bars will leave you feeling satisfied and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you!

Go bake. Actually…go chill things in the fridge! ?

No-Bake Almond Butter Oat Bars with Cranberries and Chia Seeds

Ingredients:

1 cup (256 g) smooth, unsalted almond butter

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 1/2 cups (226 g) old-fashioned oats*

1/2 cup (48 g) sliced almonds

1/2 cup (62 g) dried cranberries

1/4 cup (41 g) chia seeds

1/4 cup (28 g) cacao nibs

3/4 cup (106 g) dark chocolate, chopped (we used 72%)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top (We used the Maldon brand)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Place the oats into a large pan over medium heat and toast until golden and fragran, stirring frequently, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and the oats to the bowl with the almond butter mixture in it. Wipe out the skillet and add the almonds, toasting over medium heat and stirring frequently until golden, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the almond, cranberries, chia seeds, and cocoa nibs to the bowl with the oat/almond butter mixture. Fold the mixture until well combined.
  4. Line an 8-inch square pan with a sling of tinfoil, leaving an overhang on each side to use as handles when removing the finished bars. Scrape the oat mixture into the pan and press down firmly with the back of a large spoon or damp hands to pack the mixture down into an even layer.
  5. To make the topping, place the coconut oil and chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-25 second increments, stirring after each session, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the bars, spreading to the edges to coat evenly. Sprinkle the top with a few pinches of flaky salt and leftover cacao nibs.
  6. Transfer the bars to the refrigerator and chil until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Gently lift the bars out of the pan using the tinfoil sling, and using a sharp knife, cut the bars into squares.

* To make t his recipe completely gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free oats.

Inspired by this recipe.

 

Here’s Some Real News to go Along with Your Morning Java!

August 9th, 2017

Real News – Finally “Reported” Thanks to Donald Trump TV

Well, on Monday, President Trump decided to fight CNN and other widely-known news agencies with his very own “real news” show! It’s very hard for me to write that without feeling a bit nauseous. Here is a link to his Facebook page where you can catch up on all the latest Trump propaganda. Oh – By the way… Trump doesn’t report on anything scandalous within his own administration, so if you’re looking for the real news on that, you’ll need to head back to CNN or the New York Times.

Oh… we’re not done yet! The best part is that Kayleigh McEnany is the “News” Anchor! If you’re not familiar with this lovely woman, you’ll probably remember her from episodes of CNN where she defended Donald Trump and his brand of crazy. We think this will be some great morning entertainment to go along with your morning java!

Stay tuned… we’re going to be watching Trump’s page closely, as he reports on the “real news”!

Just in case you were wondering what the purpose of the ‘real news’ show vs. the mainstream news, here’s this clip!

“And that is the real news”

I think I’ll Have my Cake and Eat it too!

Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter

Moving on to something a bit more interesting than US Politics, Aaron Carter came out this week as Bi-Sexual. Remember the dancing, singing, boy crush from the 1990’s (viewed in the pic above)? Well, he’s taken to twitter to let everyone know that he’s liked boys and girls since he was 13. At age 17 he had his first experience with a boy.

Aaron posted this on Twitter,

“There’s something I’d like to say that I feel is important for myself and my identity that has been weighing on my chest for nearly half of my life,” Carter wrote. “This doesn’t bring me shame, just a weight and burden I have held onto for a long time that I would like lifted off me.”

We love hearing when people come into their own – Good on ya, Aaron! Check out CNN’s full article here.

Google Strikes Back!

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai

While it’s not as interesting as Star Wars, Google’s dealing with a problem of its own!

We’ve all heard about the tech industry trying to do a better job of diversifying their workforce, as the vast majority of their coders and leadership team are white or Asian males. Well… One software engineer decided to memo out his feelings on the situation and provide his own rational as to why women are not in leadership positions or prevalent in the tech industry.

He wrote,

“Distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,”

Suffice to say, pointing the finger at biological reasons and drawing conclusions based on stereotypical reasoning didn’t work out for this gent! Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, and newly appointed Head of Diversity, Danielle Brown, weighed in on the employee’s memo, stating that his views don’t represent the company’s perspective in any way shape or form. Danielle wrote a memo to all employees, where she said,

“Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.”

“But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our code of conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”

In addition to the responses crafted by Mr. Pichai and Ms. Brown, other executives of the organization denounced the employee’s essay. The employee was later fired for his essay and discriminatory views.

Here’s a link to the full CBC article here.

Oh, No you Di’n’t!

China, one of North Korea’s only allies, announced this week that they support the sanctions against North Korea. Check out the clip below to see what China had to say:

China would like to see a nuclear-weapons-free zone and is willing to jeopardize their economic relationship to do so – Awesome job, China!  Here’s the link to the full CBC article here.

Kill it with Fire!

Wasp Nest

Do you hate those yellow flying things that infiltrate everything at the most inopportune time? Wasps are one of the most annoying pests of all! We’re so glad we found someone who feels the same way we do. In fact, a homeowner in Thunder Bay, Ontario burnt his house down in an effort to get rid of a wasp nest!

Fire crews were called to the scene of the incident after he doused the nest with gasoline and set it on fire. Don’t worry man, we completely identify with this situation. You did the right thing ?.

… This section of the blog wouldn’t be complete without a responsible message:

John Kaplanis, the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue District Chief, said,

“Applying gas and lighting it would not be recommended at any time,” he said. “Things can go wrong in a hurry.” ?

Here’s a link to the full article here.

 

Check out last week’s post here.