Thursday, 17 September 2015

The recipe of Love.

Homemade Salted Caramels with Caramel Buttercream and chocolate cupcake

One part smiles, one part hugs, one part laughs and a dash of high fives with a spoonful of tears. This is my recipe with my friend Jackie.

Late last year just before Halloween we had our first “friend date” outside of work, previously many coffees had been had and we worked closely on a project at work for many months. In late October I remember watching outside on my deck as my husband and her son Dakota messed about with the fog machines we had been testing for our Halloween display.
And then began the journey with the next sentence:

Strawberry Cupcakes with local strawberries

“His after school care worker found lumps in his neck….” The conversation swayed between being worried and us both agreeing it was probably nothing. Biopsy was in a few weeks and there didn’t seem to be a ton of concern.

Then came the afternoon of the Biopsy. As soon as I saw her name on the call display my heart jumped to my throat.

 I couldn’t make out much of what she said between crys but the word “Leukemia” rang through my ears. My heart deep in my throat quietly cracked. "Its going to be ok....." was all I could say.
Peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes

Jackie and Dakota were whisked off to BC Children’s hospital. The following week after the first round of chemo I took a trip over. Before I left I text her to see if I could bring anything. Clothing? Blankets? Games? 
The text message returned read “No; however Dakota has asked for a special request, your cake pops.”

Lemon Meringue 

DONE!  I was up late that night with joy as my mixer buzzed and the heat of the oven hit my eyelashes as I opened it to put in my precious batch of cake destined to make a little boy happy.

Fast forward a few weeks I lay wide awake at 3am as you do sometimes, staring into the great black abyss and pondering the human condition, my life and cancer… stupid cancer was all I could think. I thought about how Jackie was not going to be able to work.. and all the expenses she was going to have. What could I do? Organizing large fundraisers seemed intimidating… I thought about just giving her part of my pay cheque.. I thought about finding community resources… then I smiled as I reflected on my trip to BC Childrens that day and how funny it was how people peered with wide eyes into my cake carrying case.  I was stopped by the ticket lady at the Ferry desk and I gave her one. People as I was waiting to load off the boat… so I gave them one.. and people as I sat on the bus. BIG SMILES as they looked at the treats and uttering the words.. “ I love cake” “ Can I buy one?” and suddenly it dawned upon me.
Black Forrest Cupcakes with cherry filling
I can bake… maybe I could do bake sales? Once a month? Why not once a week? People buy treats at the store EVERY week.. if they could eat cake every week instead AND help someone.. MAYBE that will work! ( at 3am… way past my 11pm “ no life decisions or quilting deadline”)

So I got to it. I didn’t ask anyone to join me… its for me completely. I get joy out of whizzing around the kitchen and planning what I will do the following week. Its been challenging and hardly feels like work.  I've grown as a baker of cupcakes in the past year. I stopped using box mixes and started making them all from scratch. Which is SUPER EASY and the taste is waaaaaaay better let me tell you. Jackie and my friendship has blossomed from friends to forever friends.I told her I baked and bought her friendship for life her response " Ah really?? I give that shit away for free" 

Shark week themed cupcakes

My brave little cancer kicking ninja warrior is still fighting the good fight.. and I am still making cupcakes. I have ended up organizing many other fundraisers but the cakes are a constant.
If you want to learn more about him and follow along in the journey and experience:
triple chocolate cupcakes

Fuck you cancer. We will win AND eat our cake too.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Bored, balls and bowls

Like my new fiesta bowl?? I couldn't resist the colour of the year... a new fiesta colour and bowl for my collection. I have decided this one is for salsa. Though I was told it actually is a mini pie dish. I think salsa fits better the way I eat that stuff.

 " My name is Sarah.. I am addicted to fiesta and my husband thinks I have too many bowls."

Lets get ramblings out of the way...

The husby has had a lot of time on his hands as of late. Work isn't as busy at this time of year and he finds himself home some days early. Enough time to de-work himself.. watch some TV relax. Now normally in Spring, Summer and Fall he would be full tilt in the backyard, but as its "winter" he has already swept the driveway, cleaned up any debris from the windstorms.. so after dinner he paces the house " I'm bored"

I've looked up several times in the past few weeks with a look of scorn.. BORED? What.. is this word? BORED?! mentally add up the projects I wish I had time for and find tearing myself away from at night only because I require sleep... BORED?

One of two pages of  to-dos...

 I remember as a child my mother visiting with a friend, or maybe doing adult things around the house as I slumped around throwing myself on the ground whinging 
" buuuut Maaaaaaawwwwwm I'm boooored" 

*insert a motherly sigh*

"Sarah its a sin to bored"

Ok I don't know what bible school she went to but I clearly missed that in the ten commandants... anyways..

Balls to that. I don't remember the last time I was bored.
AS I type this Husby is pretending to type to the sound of my keyboard taping away... must be bored again.

Where was I? BALLS! Lets talk balls.. lets get that icky gross word out of the way... or embrace it because.. everyone loves balls. I am tempted to break out into a) SNL skit featuring Alec Baldwin Schweddy balls or B)  some good old fashioned AC/DC

I used to work in a raw food cafe several moons ago and was taken by these simple yummy treats. I loved just tossing a few in my purse and going on a walk.. or eating a few for breakfast. Years later I yearned for them... and not too long ago I finally invested in a food processor and I have not looked back. After lots of browsing on Pinterest and several "tests" I can finally give you my recipe for my Chocolate Goji balls.

What the frank are Goji berries I can hear you say?
They are amazing little superfood berries originating from China they are considered both a fruit AND a herb. Crazy eh? There are a million health benefits to these guys and they have a distinct taste to them which one cannot describe and you can find them in your local health food store.

Chocolate Goji Balls
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: NONE

You'll need:

12 Medjool Dates pitted
1 cup Almond flour
5 Tbsp Coco Powder
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1/3 cup Shredded unsweetened Coconut
4 Tbsp Hemphearts
2 Tbsp Coconut oil
3-4 Tbsp Goji berries (dried)

How you make them?

Put all your ingredients into a food processor and process on high for about 1-2 minutes. You want to check in on the mix. You should be able to easily form the mixture into balls roughly the size of golf balls.This should make about 12-14 depending on how large you roll them.

 If you feel its too dry you can always add another date or two or maybe coconut oil. If its too wet try adding a almond flour a tablespoon at at time.

Enjoy! Let me know if you give it a whirl and what you think.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

This whole growing up thing....

 This morning Kahuna got up bright and early and was out of the house which gave me the rare luxury of a quiet morning alone in the house. I got out of bed and stumbled to the Keurig and fumbled for a favorite coffee mug and as it sputtered and brewed started planning out my plan of attack for the morning.

First up was to dive into my Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I sat there at my kitchen table staring at the fabric I ordered it dawned upon me something might be wrong so I started flipping through Instagram and was horrified to see I made a total Rookie mistake. Yesterday when I opened my package of fabric my lips pursed into a happy "ooooohhh" as I opened it up and discovered the Aida Fabric.. was sparkly. It's not supposed to be sparkly.. damn it.. BUT.....

I do like shiny things.

However this morning as I tucked into my pattern my mind wandered a little... I thought about my mom a lot this morning. See when I was a little girl some of my earliest memories are craft stores with my mom. She was an avid cross stitcher. She put me in embroider club and taught me how to cross stitch. I remembered sitting waiting for my piano lessons making a tiny bonsai tree and then framing it proudly to give to my piano teacher. The stitches were not as perfect as my mothers and I marveled how fast she could stitch and how neat and tidy she was. Even her boxes of thread... stacked up I would opened and run my fingers across the cardboard tops reading each number trying to figure out the rhyme and reason to the colour flow.

I sipped on my coffee and put down my stichery. " I should put the laundry in the dryer"

As I put my clothes into the dryer my eyes survayed the kitchen and felt pleased how organized it was. I spent several hours yesterday scrubbing my floors, re organizing my baking cupboard and drawers. I checked the water that I had placed some pussy willows in and suddenly realized. HOLY CRAP....

turned around and looked at my kitchen table again.. Coffee mug, cross stitch, candle holders, salt and pepper shakers, napkins, table cloth placemats... holy mother of Prague! I'VE TURNED INTO my mother.

I'm telling ya it just snuck up on me. Well back to my coffee and stichery.

This is my first stitch along. Anyone else doing the Frosted Pumpkin Stichery Story Time Sampler? Curious what cloth you got and floss? How are you feeling this far? I'm worried I will do this.. and then in March forget about it like yesterdays news.