Sunday, 15 September 2013

Meeting Noms (lime-coconut cupcakes)

We're having a production meeting at our house tonight and so, as I am wont to do, I did some baking. Astro makes this to-die-for lime yoghurt that I'm kind of obsessed with right now and I really wanted to try baking with it, so I decided to make up something that (in my head, at least) sounds divine: lime cupcakes with coconut frosting. All it needs is tequila, right?

I'm really into texture (fabric, food, anything) and I have to say the batter for these was possibly the sexiest cake batter I've ever seen. Like, wow. So excited to eat these!


I adapted a recipe from this awesome KitchenAid cookbook I have and the only problem I ran into is that the recipe yields 24 cupcakes but I only have tins for 18. This is only sort of a problem. See photo:

Oops. Oh well. 

The frosting was made using flour, which I've never tried before. It's delicious, but more of an icing. The coconut oil has such a low melting point that it's keeping the frosting rather liquid-ey. I put it in the fridge for a while before putting it on the cupcakes, then only frosted what we were going to eat right away.  The original recipe used butter and shortening; I think I'd like to try it that way next time, but this was still so good!

Recipe (adapted from KitchenAid's The Cakes & Cupcakes Book)

Lime Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup Astro Lime yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 tbsp lime juice or to taste
3 eggs

1) preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper liners
2) mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in electric mixer until well-blended. Add butter, beat at medium speed for 30 seconds. Add yoghurt, vanilla and lime juice; beat for 2 mins. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes. 
3) divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
4) bake 20 or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 mins; remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Coconut Creamy Frosting

1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Dash salt
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar

1) combine flour and salt in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in coconut milk until well-blended. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, cool. 
2) beat coconut oil and butter with electric mixer at high speed until creamy. Add sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Add cooled flour mixture, beat till smooth. 
3) ice cupcakes, eat!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Free furniture rehab

When we took possession of our house, we discovered that the previous owners had left us a bunch of furniture. Thankfully, mostly nice stuff, but there were a few questionable pieces. This double deck chair, though useful, was badly painted and peeling, matched nothing an had two cushions that were probably made when I was 10.

We did not have a ton of money to spend on this project, so after sanding and scrubbing, I painted it using leftover paint from our bedroom topped with several coats of outdoor varathane. The cushions we found in the superstore end-of-season sale; don't you just love the colour?

Funny story: we went for a walk the other night and discovered that a house two blocks from us has a similar piece of outdoor furniture painted the same colour and with the same cushion. Great minds, amirite?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sneaky veggies (Coconut-carrot oatmeal cookies)

I have small children. This means I am forever trying to find ways that they will eat vegetables. I try not to be too sneaky, I want them to realize what they are eating when they enjoy it. Sometimes, though, I just want to be able to feed them something I know they will eat (i.e., cookies) and be happy in the knowledge that they are also eating something healthy (i.e., carrots). 

I toasted the coconut before putting it in. It makes my house smell so good and adds a nice nuttiness to the cookie.

tried to make the recipe as healthy as I could (cutting most of the sugar, swapping out most of the butter for applesauce...) but they are still cookies. 

They aren't a meal, but they're a reasonable snack. 


They would probably also be good spread in a 9" square baking pan and cut into bars, too....

Recipe: (adapted from Joy of Cooking oatmeal raisin cookies)

Preheat oven to 350, grease or line two cookie sheets.
Whisk together
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg

Beat together until well-blended
1 cup applesauce and butter (about 1-2 tblsp butter, the rest applesauce)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Add flour mixture, stir. Mix in:
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 1/2 cups toasted unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Drop by tablespoon fulls about 2" apart on cookie sheets. Flatten to about 1/2" thickness. Bake until lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Let stand briefly, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

I'm Really Rather Proud (recycling bag)

We have two cupboards for recycling, one for deposit returnables and one for regular recycling picked up by the city. For the last two years, we've been trying to decide how to contain the mass of paper and plastic in the regular cupboard. Particularly in the winter, we're not the best at taking it all out as often as we really should and so end up with a cupboard so full that you have to open the door, toss whatever you have in and slam it closed as fast as you can to avoid an avalanche. 

We've discussed boxes, sub-doors and all manner of hard-sided solutions, but the shape of the cupboard makes all those awkward. The best solution came down to a bag of some sort, so the other day I decided to just go for it.


I made the bag out of some light canvas that has been sitting around for years, and bound the top edge with some green bias tape.

I made a cutout in one side of the top edge as an opening for the recycling to go in, then added four webbing loops at the corners. 

I bought four heavy-duty cup hooks from Canadian Tire and screwed them into the corners of the cupboard. And viola! No more avalanches!