Apple Spice – Pecan Coffee Cake

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So after two weeks of uninterrupted gorgeous sunshine and uncharacteristically high temperatures in Vancouver, it got a little bit gloomy again here for a few days and I couldn’t seem to help but crave hot coffee and comforting baked goods to help me mourn the loss of the sun. Alright so I may have been being a tad over-dramatic about the weather, but what can I say… I got used to the sunshine. So to sooth myself, I decided it was time for some good old fashion comfort food baking.

Since I couldn’t seem to stop drinking warm beverages, I decided that I wanted something that would pair nicely with my morning coffee and perhaps an afternoon latte – yes, I drink too much caffeine... let’s just not make a thing of it right now. So when I began to look around my pantry for a some flavour inspiration, the Okanagan apples that I had just bought at the farmers market the other day immediately caught my eye. What about an apple spice cake?  I asked myself and since at the time I really didn’t have a nailed down perfect recipe for the perfect apple spice cake I decided this was exactly  what my baking mission for the day would be… coming up with a killer apple spice cake recipe.

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Espresso -Nutella & Pecan Sweet Bread

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Good morning everybody!

Alright so it may not be morning where you are in the world – but because today’s post features possibly the most amazing bread that is to be consumed as a breakfast treat, I thought it only made sense to hail the morning! This is definitely a recipe that you will want to get up out of bed for in the morning! This is the kind of recipe that I gladly get up out of bed at 7am on a Saturday morning to put together for Cole and I’s weekend brunch. Now if the title of this post and the picture above of this amazing bread isn’t enough for you to understand why the hell I would be happily getting out of bed at 7am on a Saturday… please allow me to elaborate.

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Coffee & Walnut Loaf with Coffee & Cream Cheese Icing

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Don’t you just love it when you dream up a recipe for something in your head, and then when you put the recipe to the test, it actually turns out exactly how you had envisioned it would on the first try? I personally get positively giddy when this happens in my kitchen, and lucky for me such was the case with these amazing Coffee & Walnut Mini Loaves!

As usual I awoke with a craving for a yummy latte made from my new Starbucks Verisimo machine <3 <3 – (for now let’s won’t discuss my new found extreme love this machine and subsequently my new found caffeine addiction.) But of course for me just a delicious caffeinated beverage is never quite enough, because according to me no morning is complete without a little helping of something sweet 😀

So as I often do, I savoured a few extra minutes in bed while dreaming up recipes that I could bake up in a flash and pair alongside my morning latte fix. Since I haven’t made a good loaf in quite some time, I thought I would try and think up something that would be good in loaf form. It didn’t take long for the idea of these amazing little Walnut Loaves that are infused with the wonderful flavours of what else but freshly brewed espresso to pop into my head… because you know a morning latte isn’t quite enough caffeine for this little one 😛 No Siree!

So I got out my mixing bowl, threw together this batter in under ten minutes – that’s right, under 10 minutes – and popped the mini loaves in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes while I took a shower and got ready for the day. When I stepped out from my bathroom, I was immediately hit with the aromas from the toasted walnuts and the fresh espresso baking together with the cakes into a heavenly bliss.

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Browned Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Griddle Cakes

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Pancakes are special… wouldn’t you agree?

I don’t know what it is, but cooking and eating pancakes now a days always evokes this incredible feeling of happiness and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now I don’t know if this feeling is brought on solely because of the prospect of filling up on warm, fluffy pancakes with plenty of butter and maple syrup or if it stems from the happy memories I have from my childhood pancake days… let’s just say that it is probably a little bit of both.

Growing up, my three brothers and I would gather around the table on Saturday mornings,just hoping and wishing for one thing… homemade pancakes. Although there was a lot of things we kids didn’t collectively agree on, pancakes were the one thing that we could collectively agree on for Saturday morning breakfast options. I’m sure my parents would have probably preferred to cook something a little bit more nutritionally sound for our family breakfasts but I think the simple fact that we could all quietly agree on what to have for breakfast was enough for them to whip them up without protest.

We four little munchkins would all take turns hovering around my mom and dad as they happily cooked up those round little cakes of joy! My mom would prepare the batter, while my dad was in charge of carefully pouring and flipping the pancakes to ensure that they were perfectly round and golden brown. I would help my mom by whipping the whipped cream to go on the side with our pancakes (because clearly more sugar was needed) and my brothers would take turns learning how to flip the pancakes with my dad. And then once all the pancakes were cooked, we would  all squeeze around the breakfast table that was crammed off to the side of our tiny kitchen to enjoy the fruits of our labour. I love pancakes…

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Dark Chocolate Mocha Granola

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Stop what you are doing right now, and prepare to be floored by the most amazing granola ever! Okay that may be a slight exaggeration and I don’t want to be making claims that I can’t back up seeing as how I really haven’t tried all of the granola’s of the world- but this granola is pretty damn delicious if I do say so myself!

Not only is this granola damn delicious, but it is also made with healthy, all-natural ingredients! That’s right I said healthy, all-natural and delicious… has your mind been officially blown? Probably not, because if you are reading this post I am sure you are already well aware that healthy can be ultra delicious, but for the few of you out there who are skeptical, let this be your first lesson in the deliciousness that is healthy eating!

So one morning I was thinking to myself… I could really use a mocha right about now… but the reasonable part of my brain was telling me that I should really curb my need to caffeine and eat a good healthy breakfast instead, and then the genius in me was like… put your hands together my friend... and thus the idea for this granola was born. So instead of filling myself up with a 400 calorie mocha from Starbucks (which is literally a meal in itself, so I could forget about having some actual food on top of that) I decided that chocolate and espresso infused granola was the perfect answer to my dilemma. Now ordinarily I would not refer to myself as a genius… but I really do think that in this instance the title is justified.

But I didn’t just want to make any old granola – I wanted to make a granola that at its core is super healthy, and made extra delicious with just the small additions of chocolate and espresso. I mean really… how can you really go wrong with dark chocolate and espresso?

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Dark Chocolate Mocha Granola

Things you need… 
2 oz dates
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
1 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp freshly ground espresso
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds

How to make… 
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Set dates into a bath of warm water and allow so stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine maple syrup, peanut butter, molasses and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add espresso powder and cocoa powder and mix until cocoa powder is completely combined.

Once dates are finished hydrating, put them in a food processor or blender and puree until pasty. Stir into wed ingredients until moistened. Add the rolled oats, coconut, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Stir until oats are fully coated. Stir in almonds until evenly distributed.

Spread mixture onto prepared baking pan to make an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes being sure to stir the granola 2-3 times every 7 minutes or so to encourage even baking/crisping.

The granola will still be a bit soft when you remove it from the oven, but it will get crunchy as it cools. Lift the parchment paper from the pan and set it on a large cooling rack and allow the granola to cool completely.

Once the granola is cooled, break it into smaller bite sized chunks and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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So there is the recipe for this incredibly delicious, healthy and just downright addicting granola! Seriously, please exercise caution when making this recipe, because once you try it… it’s almost impossible to stop eating those espresso and chocolate infused chunks of deliciousness. I am one of those people who just keeps eating “one more little chunk,” until I look down at the tray and oh look at that, I’ve gone and eaten the whole tray to myself -oops… I mean, this doesn’t happen to me :S

Before I sign off for today I want to leave you with just a few of my favourite ways to enjoy this tasty granola! There are so many ways to pair it with other delicious foods that make it even better (if that’s even possible.) Here are a couple of my favourite ways to it…

1. All by its gorgeous self!
(This granola really is a slam dunk all on its own)

2. Mix it up with some dried banana chips, a few pretzels (and possibly a few yogurt chips)
(This makes for an amazing homemade trail mix!)

3. Warmed up with some skim,  almond or coconut milk
(Nommmmm…. that’s why – oh and calcium muaha !!!)

4. Half a cup served over a helping of 2 % plain greek yogurt!
 (Feel free to check off your fibre, protein and caffein intake for the day in a single bowl with this one!)

5. I love to eat it with a little helping of peanut butter
(because… Well I really don’t think this needs explanation :p)

6.  Last but not least… lets get desserty!!
One of my favourite ways to eat this granola is atop of a little (large) dollop of freshly whipped cream
with a freshly sliced banana… seriously this is the ultimate in somewhat healthy desserts.

I’m sure there are about a million more ways to eat this amazing granola, that I haven’t tried, so please whip up a batch and share your ideas with me! I would love to hear them… and obviously try them!

Happy Baking!

KP xoxo

Blackberry Jam Cornbread Muffins

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Good morning lovelies!

I know, I know, it’s Monday morning so good might not be the exact word you would use to describe the morning, but the sun is shining in Vancouver and that is enough to make me smile – even if it is a Monday :p

So is anybody else as stoked as I am about daylight savings? We just switched out clocks ahead this weekend and the extra hour of daylight yesterday evening and the prospect of the days to come getting longer and longer is definitely enough to keep me exceptionally excited for a good long while! Yayyyy daylight savings!!! (I have said it before and I will say it again… it really is the simple things that make me happy :D)
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Apricot-Orange Honey Butter

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Happy Friday everybody!

This morning I was just so jazzed about the fact that is it Friday and we are heading into what will be an exceptionally sunny and gorgeous Vancouver weekend, I felt like a sweet and simple blog post was in order – so in keeping with that theme, I am going to make this one nice and short and sweet 🙂

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Fresh Strawberry Crumb Coffee Cake

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Around our house, Friday nights always call for a little bit of a celebration. Now I know what your thinking… Friday night = Party night, but since Cole and I are just about the only 25 year olds on this planet who would much prefer to have a quiet night in rather than party it up on a Friday night, our Friday night celebrations are a little more on the subdued side, but that doesn’t make them any less special for us.

Our Friday night celebrations usually consist of Cole taking me out for dinner to one of our favourite restaurants such as Big Feast in Maple Ridge – Nom! Other times we catch the latest flick at the movie theatre, (usually he lets me choose :D) But more often than not, Cole and I opt for my favourite option, which is to get cozy and stay in on a Friday night. I know that to some people this may sound incredibly boring, but for Cole and I, it is a chance to really catch up on the events of each others week and make exciting plans for the weekend ahead of us.

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Triple Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate & White Chocolate Butter Cream

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I often get asked the question…  “what is your favourite thing to bake?” You would think that as somebody who loves baking so much that I would have a definitive answer to this question on standby at all times… but I have to confess, I really have no idea what my favourite thing to bake is.

I don’t know why, but I find the fact that I don’t have an answer to this seemingly simple questions super concerning. I mean I am constantly making claims about my love and passion for baking, and yet I can’t tell you what my favourite thing to bake is…What does this say about me exactly? That I don’t really have a true passion for baking? That I am secretly just a hack? These are the questions that circle in my mind every time somebody asks me this question and I come up blank.

Okay, so maybe I’m reading a little (a lot) too much into this, but I think that the reason why I don’t have a definitive answer is honestly because I truly just love to bake everything. Whether it be cookies, layer cakes, muffins, scones, loafs, cheesecakes, brownies, cupcakes, pies, pastries – As long as something starts with butter and sugar that I can whip into a fluffy frenzy, I am officially in baking heaven.

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Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins

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Hello every body!

Today I had a thought, and I realized that I don’t thank those of you who have been checking out my blog on a regular basis nearly enough, and for that I apologize! So allow me to rectify this injustice right now by saying thank you SOOOO much for stopping by today! Honestly, I am so grateful to everybody who takes the time to check out my website, read my blog posts and try out my recipes in their own homes. It truly means so much to me that you are even remotely interested in my baking escapades, so thank you so much for reading :):):) xoxoxox

And now back to the goods – and lets be honest what you really came here for… and that would be these Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Is it just me or are all baked goods more desirable when they are in miniature form??? I personally think so – in fact I would go so far as to say that most things in life are more desirable when they are in miniature form… wouldn’t you agree?

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