31 Mar

Food Blog Friday: Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter

It is Food Blog Friday!

This week’s recipe has been on my “To Make” list for quite a while. It comes from Ashley at Edible Perspective, the creator of a host of photogenic recipes that I often ogle but rarely make.

I decided to take on her Almond Butter recipe.

Almond Butter RecipeAlmond Butter Recipe (2)

 

I LOVE nut butters and I’ve been wanting to make my own for a long time. Nut butter, especially almond butter, is really pricey.

For about $4.29 I can get 1lb of almonds and whirr up my own almond butter OR I can buy a 1lb jar for $5.99. It’s definitely worth the time to make it.

Ashley’s recipe is pretty dead on. You can tell that she’s tested it a few times. The amount of time it took to roast and then process the nut butter was accurate. I didn’t need to add any extra oil to make the almond butter smooth, it came out just as creamy as a store bought kind.

Almond Butter Recipe (10)

If I had to change anything, I would add a wee bit more of the maple syrup (maybe 3 tbsp) and cinnamon because I like a little sweetness and any recipes that call for cinnamon never seem to have enough for me.

So I give this recipe…

3 Spoons!

Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter

from The Edible Perspective

  • Ingredients:
  • 1c raw almonds
  • 2.5T maple syrup
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/2t cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325*
  2. Line a pan with parchment if you don’t want to clean a sticky mess!  Do not use foil or wax paper.
  3. Pour the almonds on the pan with and mix with the maple syrup.
  4. Roast for ~15min watching so they don’t burn.
  5. Let them cool for 5min. [If you let them completely cool, they will be much harder to process]
  6. Almond Butter Recipe (4)Almond Butter Recipe (5)Almond Butter Recipe (6)
  7. Put in the food processor.
  8. Turn the processor on + let it go until it’s buttery ~6min.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  9. Add in the salt + cinnamon and process again until smooth + buttery.

Food Blog Friday recipes are ranked on the scale of 0-3 spoons

0 spoons – That was fucking horrendous
1 spoon  –  I doubt I’ll be making that again
2 spoons – I’ll probably make that again with some tweaks
3 spoons – That was perfect

30 Mar

flour girl: Best Chewy Bagels

Remember back in the summer when I went to Montreal and had those overrated bagels from Fairmount bakery?

Well these aren’t them.

Best Chewy Bagel

Best Chewy BagelBest Chewy Bagel

Best Chewy Bagel

I don’t get Montreal bagels and if that’s sacrilegious to admit then have me excommunicated.

Sure, they are a bit sweeter (thumbs up!) but they are too dense (thumbs down) and too dry (thumbs down) and the centre is too big (thumbs way down—I want more bread, not more air, thank you very much).

So, no, these aren’t Montreal style bagels.These are MY bagels: ever so slightly crispy crust, chewy crumb, and a hint of sweetness. They’re perfect.

At least I think so.

Best Chewy Bagel

The Best Chewy Bagels

Yields 10

Ingredients:

Dough
18 oz bread flour
4-1/2 tsp yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
12 oz warm water

Water Bath
3 L water
2 Tbsp sugar

Topping
1 egg white
1/4 poppy or sesame seeds

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients then slowly add in the 12 oz water. Mix until the ingredients come together.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed to created a firm, dense dough. The dough should pass the windowpane test for gluten development… if not, keep kneading!

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume (~1hour)

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll them into snakes about 25 cm long. If the dough wont roll out easily just let it rest for 5 minutes and try again.

Best Chewy Bagel

Wrap the snake around your palm to form a bagel shape and with your palm still in the centre, roll the bagel on the counter to seal the seams.

Best Chewy BagelBest Chewy Bagel

Best Chewy Bagel

Cover the bagels and let them rise for 10 – 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bring the 3L of water to a boil on the stove. Once the water is boiling, add in the 2 Tbsp sugar.

Add the bagels to the water bath 3-4 at a time being careful not the overcrowd the pot. Keep them in the water for 30 seconds on one side and then 30 seconds on the other. Remove them with a large slotted spoon and place them on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.

Best Chewy BagelBest Chewy Bagel

Brush the bagels with the egg white and sprinkle with seeds of choice.

Best Chewy Bagel Best Chewy BagelBest Chewy Bagel

Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes or until the bagels are golden brown. They will still be soft when you take them out of the oven but once they cool the the crust will firm up a bit.

Best Chewy Bagel

Best Chewy Bagel

 

This post was submitted to Yeastspotting.

 


Previous Posts in the Flour Girl Series:

All About Enzymes

Gluten and Its Role in Baking

Baking Tips and Tools

How to get a Crispy Crust

German Bread

Italian Bread – Ciabatta

How to Fix an Over-Risen Dough

Multigrain Wheat and Barley Bread

Sweet, sweet Stollen

29 Mar

Dating in the Dark

Dating in the Dark, a British adaptation of a Dutch television show has 3 men and 3 women meet on a group date in total darkness then pair off with their best match for 2 more one on one literally blind dates.

I’m sure you see where this is going.

Between dates the girls and the guys congregate separately to gossip about how it went and giddily (or disapprovingly) talk about their match.

Then there’s the big reveal. The couple goes back into the dark room and stands facing each other. An unnaturally bright stage light shines at one person at a time while the other person finally gets a chance to see their date and judge their appearance.

So once they have dated in the dark and seen each other in the light, the couple decides to either meet their match on the balcony and continue dating like normal people (the kind that don’t drink blood for breakfast) or they will watch from the balcony as their match walks out the front door (an act that, in itself, screams “you’re too hideous for me to be seen with”).

Of course, this makes for some very compelling television. I was hooked and totally engaged. I caught myself yelling at the television, “What!?! You said you liked him! But he’s not good looking enough for you? Come ON!”

Of course the whole premise of the show hinges on the importance of appearance to a relationship.

I’m married to the only person I’ve ever had a relationship with and luckily enough, he’s cute. I dated a good looking guy once only to later find out that he was boring and insubstantial. I’ve dated a guy who felt the same way about me. I’ve accidently dated someone whom I wasn’t attracted to – accidently because I didn’t define the outing as a date since it was missing the prerequisite of attraction.

When I talk about attraction I really mean a combination of looks AND personality. There is a balance between the two that makes a person beautiful. Luckily the playing field is evened out by the fact that the balance is pretty subjective. For me, the balance always tips in favour of personality and a pretty face is near the bottom of the list of things that I look for in a man. Granted, it has been a long while since I have dated, but I have never felt a spark with someone solely because they were good looking. I get that spark from chemistry and synchronicity—you know, when something just “clicks”.

So it makes me very frustrated when people dismiss the less than perfect looking men and women as inadequate dating material and don’t even give them a chance. I know both men and women who do this– funnily enough, they’re single. But what I’ve come to realize is that these people aren’t just looking for beauty but they want perfection in all of dimensions. Beauty just happens to be the first thing that they can tick off their checklist without having to get involved.

These people want someone who will make them laugh to tears at every single one of their jokes, someone who will know what inconceivable thoughts are going through their mind and finish their sentences, someone they have intense passion for all the time even when they have a headache or a 6am spin class, someone with an IQ of 140, someone who always puts their needs first without even having to ask them what they are, oh yeah, and they have to be hot.

It’s Romantic Ideology and it’s getting out of hand.

Dating in the Dark is positioned so that participants that get along with their counterparts in the dark but in the end don’t like their appearance are somehow consumed with the idea that beauty is of utmost importance. I don’t think that’s the case. I think these participants can see quite plainly that their match doesn’t “have it all”. He or she is missing that one thing that would make them dating material and it just happens to be looks.

What are your thoughts?

28 Mar

Pasta Geiloglia

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Active Pursuits in Norway

While Matt and I were in Norway we tried to eat out as little as possible because of the astronomical prices of the restaurant food. We only ate out for two dinners and one lunch; the rest of the time we stuffed our faces with the included breakfast at the hotel or we cooked our own food.

In Geilo we had an apartment which ended up being better than I had expected. Matt was feeling pretty sick during the trip so he was able to sleep late in the mornings while I relaxed in the living room watching British television shows and eating skyr. FYI, the shows Customs UK and Dating in the Dark had me hooked!

The apartment had a fridge, stove, and oven which was exactly what we needed to cook up a delicious breakfast and dinner.

Pasta Geiloglia

I made this inexpensive pasta dish on our second night in Geilo and Matt loved it so much that he requested it again on our third night.

It was a really comforting and filling meal. The kind you eat out of a bowl, curled up on the couch with your legs crossed under a blanket after a long day of skiing 🙂

Pasta Geiloglia

Cost: 260NOK ~ $45 CAD for 4 people (or 2 people for 2 nights).

Pasta Geilo Norway

Ingredients:

225g (1/2 box) rotini
3 T Norwegian butter (okay, so it’s doesn’t have to be Norwegian, but it’s really that much better)
1 large onion, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
8 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. pitted and chopped black olives
2 T pasta seasoning (I don’t know what this was exactly…some mix or oregano and basil perhaps?)
1 t salt

Directions:

Bring 3L of water to a boil. Once it boils, salt it heavily and then add the pasta cooking until it’s to your preferred level of al dente-ness (that’s a noun now, in case you didn’t get the memo)

While the water is boiling, heat a sautee pan over medium high heat and add 2T butter. Heat the butter until it just begins to turn brown.

Add the onions and pepper and cook until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and olives and cook until the mushrooms just begin to brown. Stir in the salt and pasta seasoning.

Drain the pasta reserving about a tablespoon of the starchy pasta water. Add the other 1T of butter to the pasta and stir in the sauteed vegetables.

Pasta Geilo NorwayPasta Geilo Norway

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Active Pursuits in Norway

28 Mar

Pasta Geiloglia

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Active Pursuits in Norway

While Matt and I were in Norway we tried to eat out as little as possible because of the astronomical prices of the restaurant food. We only ate out for two dinners and one lunch; the rest of the time we stuffed our faces with the included breakfast at the hotel or we cooked our own food.

In Geilo we had an apartment which ended up being better than I had expected. Matt was feeling pretty sick during the trip so he was able to sleep late in the mornings while I relaxed in the living room watching British television shows and eating skyr. FYI, the shows Customs UK and Dating in the Dark had me hooked!

The apartment had a fridge, stove, and oven which was exactly what we needed to cook up a delicious breakfast and dinner.

Pasta Geiloglia

I made this inexpensive pasta dish on our second night in Geilo and Matt loved it so much that he requested it again on our third night.

It was a really comforting and filling meal. The kind you eat out of a bowl, curled up on the couch with your legs crossed under a blanket after a long day of skiing 🙂

Pasta Geiloglia

Cost: 260NOK ~ $45 CAD for 4 people (or 2 people for 2 nights).

Pasta Geilo Norway

Ingredients:

225g (1/2 box) rotini
3 T Norwegian butter (okay, so it’s doesn’t have to be Norwegian, but it’s really that much better)
1 large onion, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
8 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. pitted and chopped black olives
2 T pasta seasoning (I don’t know what this was exactly…some mix or oregano and basil perhaps?)
1 t salt

Directions:

Bring 3L of water to a boil. Once it boils, salt it heavily and then add the pasta cooking until it’s to your preferred level of al dente-ness (that’s a noun now, in case you didn’t get the memo)

While the water is boiling, heat a sautee pan over medium high heat and add 2T butter. Heat the butter until it just begins to turn brown.

Add the onions and pepper and cook until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and olives and cook until the mushrooms just begin to brown. Stir in the salt and pasta seasoning.

Drain the pasta reserving about a tablespoon of the starchy pasta water. Add the other 1T of butter to the pasta and stir in the sauteed vegetables.

Pasta Geilo NorwayPasta Geilo Norway

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Active Pursuits in Norway

28 Mar

Norway: Activities

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Homecooked Meals

Maybe you’re sick of reading about my trip to Norway yet, but I’m not yet sick of talking about it! Just one more recap and then I’m back to regularly scheduled (or irregularly scheduled as the case may be) blogging.

When I go on vacation I like to DO things. I like sightseeing, going to museums, and getting some exercise. If I wanted to sit around and relax I can do that at home. I’m on vacation to explore!

Matt had a terrible cold while we were away so we tried to take it easy but we were able to get a lot of activities in during our trip. We spent 2 days in Geilo a small tourist town in central Norway in the mountain region of Hallingdal. It’s a big time ski town with A LOT of snow and I learned that the ski season goes straight through to the end of May. That is one looong winter.

I was hoping to be able to do some ice climbing while we were in Geilo but it wasn’t cold enough for the ice conditions to be safe. Apparently a couple of weeks ago someone drowned while ice climbing with a tourist group so no one was taking any chances.

We did however get to go dog sledding(!) and a quintessential Norwegian activity — cross country skiing.

Dog sledding was pretty sweet. It was a 16 km loop through a gorgeous part of Hallingdal. Each sled had a driver and a passenger and was led by a team of 6 dogs (huskies, mostly). The dogs were so excited to get out on the trail and I was excited to see 40 adorable dogs wagging their tails and jumping up for a little attention. They were definitely a friendly bunch.

Dogsledding

Dogsledding

These dogs can go fast. There was a break on the sled to keep their speed in check, but for the most part you just stand and steer while the dogs do all the work. It really is as easy as it looks.

Huskies

Dogsledding

Dogsledding

The other activity that we did in Geilo was cross country skiing. Norwegians are serious about this sport the same way Canadians are serious about hockey and there were a lot of people out on the trails on a Wednesday afternoon.

XC Ski

XC Ski

I’ve done alpine skiing before but never cross country. It’s a really easy sport to learn but definitely tough to master (I’m not sure I got the technique down yet). It was really tiring too! I fell in love with it and I think I’ll try to do it next winter somewhere around here. (At Point Pelee perhaps?)

XC Ski

Cross country skiing is a mix of both lower and upper body work so my legs and back were quite sore the next day. Geilo has groomed trails for skiing which have grooves to place your skis in. This made the strides a little easier at first but by the end of the day we were able to ski over an ungroomed lake with no problem.

XC Ski

I stuck with the “diagonal stride”  method for most of the trail except when going uphill. That was tough. I learned that the best method was to spread my skis into a V and sort of walk up the hill that way.

I wanted to try the skating technique that Olympic skier make look so easy. It’s not. It’s really really tough. Maybe next time I go I’ll take a lesson so I can learn that technique.

Skate Technique

(source)

p.s. Congrats to the Canadian Men’s XC Sprint Team of Harvey and Kershaw who inched ahead of the Norwegian team to win the gold at the Nordic world skiing championships. Apparently it was a major upset — one that most Canadians probably knew nothing about!

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Homecooked Meals

28 Mar

Norway: Activities

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Homecooked Meals

Maybe you’re sick of reading about my trip to Norway yet, but I’m not yet sick of talking about it! Just one more recap and then I’m back to regularly scheduled (or irregularly scheduled as the case may be) blogging.

When I go on vacation I like to DO things. I like sightseeing, going to museums, and getting some exercise. If I wanted to sit around and relax I can do that at home. I’m on vacation to explore!

Matt had a terrible cold while we were away so we tried to take it easy but we were able to get a lot of activities in during our trip. We spent 2 days in Geilo a small tourist town in central Norway in the mountain region of Hallingdal. It’s a big time ski town with A LOT of snow and I learned that the ski season goes straight through to the end of May. That is one looong winter.

I was hoping to be able to do some ice climbing while we were in Geilo but it wasn’t cold enough for the ice conditions to be safe. Apparently a couple of weeks ago someone drowned while ice climbing with a tourist group so no one was taking any chances.

We did however get to go dog sledding(!) and a quintessential Norwegian activity — cross country skiing.

Dog sledding was pretty sweet. It was a 16 km loop through a gorgeous part of Hallingdal. Each sled had a driver and a passenger and was led by a team of 6 dogs (huskies, mostly). The dogs were so excited to get out on the trail and I was excited to see 40 adorable dogs wagging their tails and jumping up for a little attention. They were definitely a friendly bunch.

Dogsledding

Dogsledding

These dogs can go fast. There was a break on the sled to keep their speed in check, but for the most part you just stand and steer while the dogs do all the work. It really is as easy as it looks.

Huskies

Dogsledding

Dogsledding

The other activity that we did in Geilo was cross country skiing. Norwegians are serious about this sport the same way Canadians are serious about hockey and there were a lot of people out on the trails on a Wednesday afternoon.

XC Ski

XC Ski

I’ve done alpine skiing before but never cross country. It’s a really easy sport to learn but definitely tough to master (I’m not sure I got the technique down yet). It was really tiring too! I fell in love with it and I think I’ll try to do it next winter somewhere around here. (At Point Pelee perhaps?)

XC Ski

Cross country skiing is a mix of both lower and upper body work so my legs and back were quite sore the next day. Geilo has groomed trails for skiing which have grooves to place your skis in. This made the strides a little easier at first but by the end of the day we were able to ski over an ungroomed lake with no problem.

XC Ski

I stuck with the “diagonal stride”  method for most of the trail except when going uphill. That was tough. I learned that the best method was to spread my skis into a V and sort of walk up the hill that way.

I wanted to try the skating technique that Olympic skier make look so easy. It’s not. It’s really really tough. Maybe next time I go I’ll take a lesson so I can learn that technique.

Skate Technique

(source)

p.s. Congrats to the Canadian Men’s XC Sprint Team of Harvey and Kershaw who inched ahead of the Norwegian team to win the gold at the Nordic world skiing championships. Apparently it was a major upset — one that most Canadians probably knew nothing about!

(source)

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Homecooked Meals

23 Mar

Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Active Pursuits in Norway
Homecooked Meals

Everyone’s been asking me the million dollar question: “Why Norway?”

True, seeing Scandinavia has been on my bucket list since Joan Lunden, Charlie Gibson, and Spencer Christian went there back in ‘97. . .

The Good Old Days of GMA

. . . but the true reason is that I caught wind of a great deal on the flight through Scandinavian Air and the next day I found myself with two tickets to the hinterlands. So, I guess “why Norway?” is more like a $900 question.

Our flight landed early Sunday morning in Oslo. I had read that cab fares into the city from the airport were obscene ($100+) so we took the Airport Express Train (Flytoget) into Oslo Sentralstasjon. With trains departing every 10 minutes to and from the airport, it was convenient, but wasn’t much cheaper—the 20minute train ride cost 180NOK ~ $32 CAD. Yikes!

With a little planning you can take the NSB train for ~ $20 CAD per ticket but the trip times aren’t as regular as flytoget.

Oslo Sentralstasjon

Matt and I took the NSB train to get around from Oslo to Voss to Geilo and back again. Since I had planned our itinerary well in advance I was able to buy train tickets early and score some really good rates (~$35 CAD per ticket for each train ride! ) which made getting around the country cheap and easy. If you’re travelling with friends for a long trek, tote along a bottle of aquavit. Evidently, drinking shots on the train is welcomed. Skål!

Voss Norway Rail Station

Geilo Norway Rail Station

My favourite part of the trip was probably the Norway in a Nutshell round trip bus/boat/rail tour that Matt and I did of the fjords. We took a bus from Voss to the Nærøyfjord and a boat through the fjords to Flåm where we took the scenic Flåmsbana railway from sea level to 800 metres in elevation at Myrdal.

There was a lot of hype about this Flåmsbana railway and its beautiful scenery. If you do the NIAN tour in the opposite direction (which is more popular) then the railway might be more exciting, but after a boat tour through the breathtaking fjords, the Flåmsbana didn’t quite live up to the hype.

Flamsbana

This tour was by far the highlight of my trip. I thought the whole scenery was just absolutely stunning! I was totally blown away by how beautiful the landscape was—the sea cutting into ice and snow covered mountains which were dotted with colourful wooden homes of the isolated farming villages. It’s one of those things that you just have to see.

Naerofjord

Fjord Voss

Sondefjord

Naerofjord

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Active Pursuits in Norway
Homecooked Meals

23 Mar

Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Exploring Norway by Train, Boat, and Bus
Active Pursuits in Norway
Homecooked Meals

Everyone’s been asking me the million dollar question: “Why Norway?”

True, seeing Scandinavia has been on my bucket list since Joan Lunden, Charlie Gibson, and Spencer Christian went there back in ‘97. . .

The Good Old Days of GMA

. . . but the true reason is that I caught wind of a great deal on the flight through Scandinavian Air and the next day I found myself with two tickets to the hinterlands. So, I guess “why Norway?” is more like a $900 question.

Our flight landed early Sunday morning in Oslo. I had read that cab fares into the city from the airport were obscene ($100+) so we took the Airport Express Train (Flytoget) into Oslo Sentralstasjon. With trains departing every 10 minutes to and from the airport, it was convenient, but wasn’t much cheaper—the 20minute train ride cost 180NOK ~ $32 CAD. Yikes!

With a little planning you can take the NSB train for ~ $20 CAD per ticket but the trip times aren’t as regular as flytoget.

Oslo Sentralstasjon

Matt and I took the NSB train to get around from Oslo to Voss to Geilo and back again. Since I had planned our itinerary well in advance I was able to buy train tickets early and score some really good rates (~$35 CAD per ticket for each train ride! ) which made getting around the country cheap and easy. If you’re travelling with friends for a long trek, tote along a bottle of aquavit. Evidently, drinking shots on the train is welcomed. Skål!

Voss Norway Rail Station

Geilo Norway Rail Station

My favourite part of the trip was probably the Norway in a Nutshell round trip bus/boat/rail tour that Matt and I did of the fjords. We took a bus from Voss to the Nærøyfjord and a boat through the fjords to Flåm where we took the scenic Flåmsbana railway from sea level to 800 metres in elevation at Myrdal.

There was a lot of hype about this Flåmsbana railway and its beautiful scenery. If you do the NIAN tour in the opposite direction (which is more popular) then the railway might be more exciting, but after a boat tour through the breathtaking fjords, the Flåmsbana didn’t quite live up to the hype.

Flamsbana

This tour was by far the highlight of my trip. I thought the whole scenery was just absolutely stunning! I was totally blown away by how beautiful the landscape was—the sea cutting into ice and snow covered mountains which were dotted with colourful wooden homes of the isolated farming villages. It’s one of those things that you just have to see.

Naerofjord

Fjord Voss

Sondefjord

Naerofjord

Related Norway Posts:

Norway in March
Norway Travel: The Food
Active Pursuits in Norway
Homecooked Meals