All posts filed under: Better Baking

five spice pumpkin pie with spelt crust

Thanksgiving, like many holidays, involves a grand feast that centres mostly around animal-based products. Even though I do eat eggs and a bit of dairy, I think it’s nice to lighten up this traditionally heavy meal with some plant-based additions. While I definitely prefer working with butter when making pastry my poor stomach prefers a non-dairy option, so I decided to go for a coconut oil pie crust. I follow the same method as my regular pie dough, which you can find full instructions for here. Removing dairy and eggs doesn’t mean you’re destined for boring, bland Thanksgiving desserts. I swear. One of my goals for this winter (is it too early for me to say that??) is to work on my pastry game. I want to improve both my coconut oil and butter pie doughs, and just practice making pies and such more often so the whole process becomes second nature. I often second guess myself and just want to know ratios and cook times without looking at a recipe (basically I just want …

vegan multigrain sourdough bread

sourdough multigrain sandwich bread

I’ve been making some variation on this loaf for a couple of months now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the process of making the boules: the artistic touch with the lame before it goes into the oven, taking the lid off and seeing how much it has sprung, cutting it (after patiently waiting for it to cool) to look at the cross section. I love bringing them to friends and family and hearing their enjoyment of just tearing pieces off of a loaf, unable to resist a nibble each time they walk past. I love the crisp crust and the creamy interior, a perfect vessel for dips and spreads or simply some good olive oil. But really, sometimes you need a more practical shaped loaf. I’ve dripped a lot of peanut butter through the little air pockets!¬† I started developing a loaf pan bread mostly because I was thinking ahead to school, and imagined I would be packing a lot of sandwiches. Since Luke bought me a stainless steel lunch container for my birthday …

appeltaart (dutch apple pie)

appeltaart (dutch apple pie)

Around this time last year, I was frantically planning a last minute trip to Europe. I was WOOFing at a farm in the south of France for about a week, met up with Luke for a couple nights in Belgium, after which we made our way on the high speed rail to the Netherlands. Let me just say that I love it there, and if I wasn’t such a family-oriented homebody I would move there in a HEARTBEAT. I’m not exaggerating, I looked up apartments in Haarlem the other day and it is so incredibly charming. Also: everyone was so tall in Amsterdam, I felt right at home ūüėČ I love how there is such a culture of cycling there (though we didn’t actually rent any bikes, Luke thought we’d get run over). They dominate the streets more than the cars do. Instead of parking garages for cars, there are parking garages for bikes. The streets are lined with locked up bikes; they really are a fixture of Dutch living. Despite not renting bikes, we …

vegan banana oat snack bars

one bowl banana oat bars

I’m really in the back to school spirit this year, and not just figuratively! I am actually a student, once again. I even bought a new backpack, an insulated lunch bag, a new notebook and pens (nerd alert). I was texting my mom throughout my shopping process to which she replied, “You always loved back to school stuff.” And then reminded me about the sweet Sailor Moon lunch bag I used to have. Some things never change! Even the years I’ve been out of school, I still got an excited feeling every fall. In a way I still think of my year as going September-September. I think I feel about September how most people feel about January 1st: I’m amped to get back into weekly routines after the chaos of summer, I go through my closet and donate/recycle things, I get into a rhythm of baking bread every week and batch cooking. I think especially because there is so much change at this time of year (temps are dropping, different produce at the markets, leaves …

berry peach galette

berry peach galette with rye crust

I’m having some conflicting feelings right now about blog content. My initial hope was that the blog would be a source for seasonal, accessible, vegetable-heavy recipes that leave you feeling happy and satisfied. I also wanted to emphasize cooking because I want to be a better cook and develop the skills to make meals without recipes. I’m finding it somewhat difficult because I definitely have more recipe ideas with regards to breads and pastries, and tend to have more success with these earlier on than I do with savoury recipes. I would also like to put more of my fermenting adventures on here (think: sourdough, kombucha, lacto-fermented veg, etc), and also maybe my foray into natural homemaking things? Tell me your thoughts! Speaking of baking… let me introduce you to this easy galette! I love mid-late summer when the berries and stone fruit collide. My attention is usually drawn to strawberries and raspberries, but we’ve been seriously favouring bloobs this summer, if the stack of blue-ish cardboard pint containers on our kitchen counter is any …

asparagus nettle shiitake pizza

asparagus, nettle, and shiitake pizza

Real talk: this was a spur of the moment post, which is not usually how I roll. I have a few ideas sketched out for this month, but as this week was rolling along I wasn’t feeling motivated to work on any of them. But it just sort of happened organically, one of those situations where what I have in the fridge also happens to be seasonal and also jives with a bookmarked recipe I’ve been meaning to try out.¬†

vegan raspberry rhubarb buckle cake

raspberry rhubarb buckle

Normally this is the time of year when I’m so ready to bust out of my winter cocoon and flip on the extroverted switch. Usually I’m feeling so prepared to go out and socialize after months of hibernating, to host a BBQ, and plan some fun summery adventures. But I haven’t hit that mode yet. For the past while I’ve been more focused on looking inward rather than outward, trying to figure out how to feel healthier and happier.

vegan pistachio olive oil loaf

pistachio date olive oil loaf

We have recently been getting into a good stride with meal planning. It’s something we’ve tried off and on for a while but it never really picked up momentum until now. It’s such a game changer, seriously. Even if we don’t follow the plan to a T (cause you know, life happens), it’s still made our lives a heck of a lot easier. I’ve started batch cooking a grain and a pulse/legume/bean/whatever at the beginning of the week, as well as making granola, yogurt, and date energy bites on an as-needed basis.¬†This planning has also streamlined our grocery list and helped to trim our grocery bills and food waste –> double happy dance.¬†It also means my cooking is slowly but steadily improving, and that we are covering a lot of territory in our cookbook collection. Often times we will each grab a couple cookbooks, sit down at the kitchen table, and bookmark a few things we each want that week. This totally prevents a cooking rut: a wide array of spices and a couple different …

vegan chocolate coffee cardamom scones

chocolate scones with coffee + cardamom

Here is my little tip on how to survive the winter: bake. All the time. Everything. Savour¬†that rush of heat leaving the oven when you pull out a tray of cookies. Revel in the aroma of freshly baked bread filling your kitchen. Not only will you be rewarded with the heat generated by your baking venture, but also the warm (hehe) gratitude of your friends/family/coworkers when you start showing up with a buffet of baked goods. Another method for tackling the trials of winter is the pursuit of hygge¬†(pronounced hoo-guh),¬†of which the entire internet seems to be obsessed. Simply put, it’s the Danish lifestyle notion of coziness or well-being. And no wonder there’s such a frenzy: who isn’t looking for the silver lining in the bitter cold days of February? Danish winters are known for being especially dark and long, so if anybody knows how to endure this time of year, it’s the Danes (also pretty sure they’re ranked the happiest nation in the world, so…). So what’s the secret to capturing the elusive hygge? …

whole wheat no knead bread with chestnut jam

no knead whole wheat bread + vanilla chestnut jam

This has been my go to bread while I have been without a sourdough starter (somehow mine ended up in the cupboard instead of the fridge, RIP). It’s almost entirely whole wheat, but it tastes surprisingly sweet due to a recent addition to my pantry: white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour IS 100% whole wheat, so don’t let the name fool you. The whole wheat you’re probably used to seeing in the grocery store is made from red wheat, which has a darker colour and stronger flavour. White whole wheat flour is made from white wheat, which is lighter and much milder. I tried chestnut jam for the first time when I was in France WWOOFing on an organic farm last month. Since they grew their own chestnuts, their¬†confiture de marron¬†was homemade and a staple on the¬†breakfast table each day. I slathered it onto my bread and stirred it into my porridge, so taken by¬†the earthiness and subtle sweetness of this spread. I knew I needed to make it when I got home. …