Archive for August, 2010

August 30th, 2010

Chocolate Chip Lavender Brownies

So. Uh. Tomorrow’s the last day of August.

What’s up with that?!

Seriously! Where on EARTH did August go?! Well I’ll tell you! Here are a few posts from the month that, if you haven’t read them, I suggest you check out!

You Are So Much More Than You Think You Are

Crazy For Quinoa

Like The Loveboat, It’s Both Exciting AND New

Canada’s Wonderland & Feel The Fear Friday

A Midsummer Night’s Run 15k Race Report

I also have only 2.5 weeks left until school resumes. *gulp* I need to make the best of the time I have off! I am anticipating a very stressful school year. Both of the courses I have signed up for are fourth year courses that will last both my fall and winter terms, my one course is my advanced research course which is, quite technically speaking, my thesis. I am finding this intriguing AND terrifying because I know how stressed out I was last year trying to fit work and school in now I’m going to have to carry out a research experiment this year! So that means full time work, school AND a research paper. Ack!

But I’m nothing if not prepared so I’m going to create a game plan starting in September to make sure everything that needs to get done, gets done, without losing my sanity and I’ll definitely be bringing you all along for the ride! Hopefully you’ll all learn a little something about positivity, organization, stress reduction and time management, whether it be through what I do right or through what I do totally wrong! :)

And seeing as stress and chocolate go so well together, I simply must share with you what Alan and I baked together last night when our sugar craving blew through the roof. I was trying to figure out what to make when one thing popped into my mind: brownies. Wonderful little chocolate cakes!

So, of course, we made:

Chocolate Chip Lavender Brownies

  • 1/2c melted butter
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1/3c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2c cake & pastry flour
  • 1/2c chocolate chips
  • 1/2tbsp lavender
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp baking powder

  1. Turn oven to 350*F and grease a 9×9 pan.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat in cocoa powder, flour, chocolate chips, lavender, salt and baking powder.
  3. Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out smooth).

The lavender was a last minute addition that made the brownie! All it adds is a subtle hint of flower flavour! These were off the hook! The cake and pastry flour made them really light and fluffy and the brown sugar added a caramel type sugar flavouring. Not to mention the pockets of melted chocolate thanks to the chocolate chips!

Make these and thank me later!

Guilt-Free Baking

I’ve always been more of a baker than a cook. I’ve always had a sweet tooth. Learning to (and loving to) bake can be disastrous when you have a sweet tooth. Who doesn’t want to devour ten cookies straight out of the oven?!

My biggest weapon to baking and NOT eating it all is to pack up 3/4 of what I bake and give them to Alan to take to his staff. Last night we had 18 brownies, we polished off six within twenty minutes of them coming out of the oven (Hey! I ran 18k yesterday!). This morning, I packed ONE for work snack and then put the rest in a container and left Alan a note telling him to take them to work.

Presto, when I came home this even, there wasn’t a trace of them in sight. I fed my sugar craving and literally sent the rest packing.

In other words, when you bake, either make just enough portions for who will be having them or figure out who you’re going to give the majority of them to. I also don’t bring them into MY work because then I’M tempted to eat them, I give them to Alan so he can have more if he wants and I won’t EVER see them again (until I bake them again later).

I try to limit my baking for irresistable cravings or special events. It gets me excited to try new recipes or make old recipes even better and I look forward to special occasions because then I know that the food is going to be extra special! When you bake all the time, it ceases to be special.


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August 27th, 2010

Fear: It’s Just A Word!

I first heard about Teatree Cafe & Eatery months ago when I clicked on a link from a link from a random blog. The cafe specializes in vegan, vegetarian, organic and gluten-free food and I was so excited because it was a mere 15 minute walk from my house!

(Source)

I finally got a chance to check it out on Sunday when, after a 17k long run, I figured I needed to take a walk so that my legs wouldn’t stiffen up. I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to eat there (I was feeling wiped out after the run) but I thought I could at least pick up some lunch and bring it back home.

(Source)

One thing I dislike about a lot of restaurants is that there are too many options. Too many options make it harder to order. When presented with fewer options, it’s easier to discern what you like against what you might not and allows the cook to really make something special out of their creations. What I like about Teatree is just that, the menu isn’t overly long which showcases the quality of the items to choose from.

I ended up ordering the grilled brie sandwich. How could I not?! Melted brie with honey baked apples on homemade oatmeal raisin bread? It sounded too good to be true which almost me afraid to order it! I ordered that with a side salad (I think with a simple balsalmic dressing) and a really creamy latte. I’m not certain of the coffee Erin (the proprieter) uses but it was soooo smooth!

The sandwich was out of this world! Neither the bread or apples were overly sweet and blended well with the brie. I tried hard not to devour it as I really wanted to savour it.

I also picked up a special treat for Alan and myself as a dessert to have after dinner! Spice cupcakes!!!

I am still dreaming about this cupcake! Oh my goodness! The cake itself was nicely dense and filling with a hint of spice and the icing! Oh, the icing. I ate all the way around the bottom before getting to the icing (because, to me, cake of any sort is just an excuse for icing). It was just perfection. Lightly sweet and ALL creamy, I would kill for that recipe! I was seriously unhappy when I finished it. I’m pretty sure I gave Alan a pouty look after the final swallow.

It could be a very dangerous thing living so close to this cafe. I can’t wait to go back and try the vegan chili with cornbread and, of course, another cupcake!

Feel The Fear Friday

As I blogged about last Friday, I’ve decided to dedicate every Friday to busting through our fears to create growth and confidence in ourselves.

Last week I busted through my fear of the lawnmower.

What fear did you bust through last week?

This week I busted through my fear of asserting myself.

I’ve never been one to give a strong opinion because for the longest time, I never felt that my opinion was worth anything! I used a lot of passive words so that people knew that it was “just my opinion” and therefore not really worth listening to. And if I was uncomfortable with something I would mostly just try and ignore it instead of doing something about it.

As much as my confidence has increased over the years and I’m more comfortable in giving my opinions in a straight, factual manner, I still have a problem with asserting myself. This week I had to bust through that when I was asked to start doing something that I did not agree with by a superior at work. I didn’t trust the decision and felt it would be detrimental to our customers. Normally I would have just done it anyway and complained about it but this time I had enough. This person is not my supervisor and actually has no business in telling me what to do but I was more concerned about our customers. So I went to my supervisor about it and aired my concerns. There will be a meeting on Monday to discuss it and come up with a decision which means this person will know that I complained about it and that means confrontation. Which I hate! But it needed to be done and I’m proud of myself for doing what I feel is right, regardless of the outcome.

Tip For Overcoming Your Fears

“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear does not exist anywhere except in the mind.” – Dale Carnegie

Think of fear as a “thing” instead of an emotion. When we think of fear we feel the emotion almost immediately afterwards. That heart-pounding, sweaty-hand, anxiety-ridden feeling. But take some time to think about it. Fear is just a word. It’s a word used to describe something that makes you uncomfortable. That’s all it is. And many times, your fear is actually just an overreaction to a situation. Next time you feel crippled with fear over something, stop, take a few deep breaths, and take a step back. Ask yourself if you are overreacting or if it’s a real anxiety (i.e., fear over the dentist is overreacting, getting in the car with a drunk at the wheel is a real anxiety).

Face fear for what it is, a word. Start to reassociate your feeling of fear. Replace it with a feeling of “challenge” so that instead of feeling debilitated by fear, you feel the need to conquer it instead!

Now every time I admit that I’m afraid of something, I take it as a challenge instead of defeat!

Here are a few websites that may help you to overcome your fears:

Tips To Overcome Fear

10 Tips To Overcome Fear

Overcome The Fear of Failure

What do you do when fear comes knocking at your door?