Yearly Archives: 2017

  • 5 Reasons to make Sweetsugarbean’s Double Chocolate Olive Oil Zucchini Bread

    This post does not contain affiliate links.

    I used to be afraid of baking.

    It seemed so unforgiving, unlike dinner each night, which allowed me to improvise and do things less precisely to hit the mark.

    But my love of creating in the kitchen has led me to some wonderful mentors who helped me work through my baking issues. Adrienne Kane taught me how to make bread with her thorough ode to the staff of life, The United States of Bread. I learned to relax around yeast and appreciate its idiosyncrasies. I came to understand that mastering bread was more about getting a feel for good dough and not about rigidly weighing ingredients on a kitchen scale.

    Tara O’Brady and Malin Elmlid helped me fine-tune those skills with slow rises and sourdoughs. Feel was still important to achieving a perfect crumb but so was sight and smell.

    And now I have someone else to lean on and get me familiar with the mannerisms of doughnuts, cakes, pies and pastries.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Recipes, Reviews

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Road Trip Worthy: The Finger Lakes, New York

    Seneca Lake

    A version of this story appeared in Niagara Life Magazine. 

    I’ve been in love with The Road Trip since being rapt by a documentary about Route 66.

    Peter Fonda was fittingly the narrator. I was in my early 20s and filled with torturous amounts of wanderlust. I wanted to put rubber to asphalt that night and take in Americana at its finest.

    We never did the family road trip as a kid. The farthest we ever drove together was the three hours to our cottage near Oliphant. There was a lot of “How long until we’re there?” especially on rainy days with our Newfie, Bismarck, in the back of my dad’s station wagon, drooling on my sister and I, and fogging up the windows.

    But I started to realize the joy that a getaway by car could offer when I was 19 and drove to Newfoundland with my mom. Arguments about music aside (she cringed at my choice of the Beastie Boys; I rolled my eyes at her selection of 10,000 Maniacs), road tripping was pure bliss.

    The sense of freedom that came from the open road unfurling before us was intoxicating. The change of scenery at every stop was eyeopening. The agony of a full bladder with no rest stop in sight is also something a person never forgets.

    I’ve since learned you don’t have to venture far to feel like you’re escaping the day-to-day. Bonus: short roadies mean less worry about mapping those rest stops. It’s even better when a weekend away, compliments of a full tank of gas, doesn’t require negotiating Toronto traffic.

    Give me the American border over the 401 at rush hour any day. Give me the Finger Lakes. It’s New York’s Niagara, only three hours away depending on your final stop. Here are a few ideas of where you might want to put the car in park.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Beyond Niagara

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • 5 Steps for Growing the Ultimate Vegetable Garden

    Thanks Shutterstock.

    This story about how to grow a vegetable garden was originally written for Niagara Life magazine. 

    Seed companies have mailed their catalogues. Green thumbs have gathered at local seed exchanges in search of their next prize-winning squash to plant. And now grow lights are being turned on in homes to get the 2017 edition of backyard tomato crops started.

    They all mean one thing: gardening season is approaching. But if you’ve never grown anything more than a hosta — heck, if you’ve never grown anything at all — those pre-season gardening rituals can seem downright daunting.

    It’s true, gardening isn’t for the faint of heart, what with having to rely on Mother Nature and her temperamental ways.

    It can be incredibly rewarding, however. Few things are sweeter than that first homegrown cherry tomato we pluck off the vine. Garden rules dictate it must be eaten immediately.

    Gardening gets us outside and active, offering physical and emotional benefits. That connection to other living things can boost moods. It can help us relax and be in the moment. Even better, plants never judge. So don’t sweat it if your Wellies are a little skuffed or you mutter to yourself while plucking your mustard greens.

    Here are five steps for growing the ultimate vegetable garden and reaping many cherry tomato feasts to come. Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , ,
    Category In the Garden

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Sweet potato cinnamon rolls for Angela Merkel

    I have a friend who shared with me an idea she had for a series involving the Proust questionnaire.

    I think it’s brilliant, given the people she’d like to reveal more about themselves. The personality test is one she’d like to put to chefs, so often asked to talk about their influences in the kitchen and favourite ingredients. I’d love to know who Jamie Oliver would be if not himself. That’s way more telling than his thoughts on kale.

    When I get really self-indulgent, I pretend in my head that someone is asking me such questions. It usually happens when brushing my teeth and looking in the mirror. Something about reflecting, I guess.

    If someone were to ask me the Proust-esque question, who are your heroes in real life or what famous person would you most like to have tea with, I’d say without hesitation Angela Merkel.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Recipes

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest