Easy Sticky Buns

Sticky Cinnamon Buns >> Life In LimboOne of my new favourite things is taking our mixing bowl down from the cupboard, peeling back our red-striped tea towel, and seeing a yeasty dough that has doubled in size from when it went in and has lots of little bubbles on top. It feels miraculous every single time, the fact that yeast and time actually worked their magic and created something new.

My second-favourite new thing is watching the dough expand even more as soon as heat gets involved, through our tiny toaster oven’s little window. I made these sticky buns at night, far too late for sweets really, but that didn’t stop my boyfriend and I from sharing two, warm from the oven with one plate and two forks. Our original plan was to split only one, since it was 10:30PM after all, but they were just that good.

Bread #3: The World’s Easiest Sticky Buns by Minimalist Baker

Sticky Cinnamon Buns >> Life In Limbo

Changes: We aren’t able to get vegan butter, so for this recipe I used the regular kind. I switched out soy milk for the almond milk. We were low on butter so I fudged the measurements for the filling and glaze a little bit. I also didn’t include the pecans because we didn’t have any.

Notes: The glaze definitely needs all the recommended butter in order to actually get sticky. Our glaze was kind of absorbed into the buns and so these didn’t have that lovely sticky glaze on top of them. Thus, these were not-so-sticky buns. I also think they would be nice with the pecans but were good without them.

Review: Really great. I think these would be such an impressive and delicious thing to make for a brunch. They’re simple to make but have great results.

Sticky Cinnamon Buns >> Life In Limbo

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread >> Life In Limbo

On my original 25 before 25 list, I’d challenged myself to bake 4 new types of bread. I love the idea of a bread challenge for so many reasons: because by the end, I’ll be more comfortable baking, because bread is so wonderful, and because it means that everyday life will be that much more delicious and cozy.

A few days ago, I decided to up my challenge, considering that I’d made 3 out of 4 breads in a span of only a couple weeks. In honour of the 25 list, the new challenge is to make 25! They can be anything from a naan to a cinnamon bun, the only qualifications being that it’s some kind of bread-like product, and that it’s a recipe I’ve never tried before. I’ll be trying to document all of them here on the blog, so stay tuned!

Bread #4: Adapted from Chocolate Banana Bread by Smitten Kitchen

Chocolate Banana Bread >> Life In Limbo

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium bananas (I used plantains accidentally but it still turned out great!)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Optional: 1 cup chocolate chips (I tragically didn’t have any)

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan with butter.

Chocolate Banana Bread >> Life In Limbo

Mash your bananas (or in my case, plantains!) in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, sugar, egg and vanilla, and stir together. Put your dry ingredients into a fine sieve and sift it all into the bowl. If you have chocolate chips, add them and stir everything together until it’s blended well.

Put the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 55 minutes, then check that a cake tester comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then use a knife to loosen the loaf from the pan (mine came out very easily) and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Banana Bread >> Life In Limbo

Notes: Next time, I’d definitely add the chocolate chips. Although the bread wasn’t too dry, it would have been improved with the extra chocolate. I’d also love to try this bread with bananas instead of plantains. We ate the majority of the loaf in a single afternoon. This one was easy, delicious and will definitely be made again. That crack in the top! Beautiful.

Chocolate Banana Bread >> Life In Limbo

Strawberry Chia Jam

Strawberry Chia Jam

In the past year or so I’ve cooked in so many different kitchens: in my old apartment, at my friends’ houses, in hostel kitchens throughout Europe, here in Korea, and of course in my lovely yellow childhood kitchen at home.

This week, my family is saying goodbye to our home as we move on to the next adventures in our lives. It’s a hard thing, saying goodbye to a house – and a kitchen – that has held so many incredible memories. Our dark wooden table and our green-topped island are at the heart of almost all the good times we had in that house. Painting sloppy designs on sugar cookies with coloured icing. Making my mom laugh until she cried. Hitting our heads on the beautiful stained glass lamp above the table. Playing Monopoly and always losing to Lindsay. Playing Scrabble for hours. Doing puzzles even though the lighting was horrible. Reciting the old kitchen table rules we had all those years ago, even while breaking them all. Crying real tears. Doing homework. Getting into big fights. Making pizza by hand all together. Trying and failing and succeeding at countless recipes. Having long heart-to-hearts when things were confusing and scary. Walking downstairs to the entire kitchen being decorated as a Mexican fiesta or a 1950’s diner for your birthday. Riding a bike around the island. Doing the dishes quietly after a big meal. Making mimosas on Christmas morning.

Strawberry Chia Jam 3

When I left for Korea, I was so nervous and caught up that I barely remembered to say goodbye to my house. It’s probably for the best, since given more time I’d probably have dwelled too long on the sadness of the thing and focused less on the beauty of it. Those years were so special, and the house is now so special because it was ours. But we brought that magic and that energy to our space, and we can take it with us when we go. We can continue making up new traditions and trying new things, and we can still be us, just in a new space and in a different way. Those memories don’t go away just because we’re moving on.

Obviously I will miss my house in so many little ways because it was my home. I will miss the late-afternoon light, the creak of the basement door, the way our dog’s nails skittered on the hardwood when he was excitedly running towards us, the way people’s voices downstairs sounded from my room, the stubborn front door that only the people who knew us the very best could open properly, carrying groceries inside from the car on Saturday mornings, sitting on the barstools watching my mom cook dinner, and so many other things. But I’m also so excited for the future: to see what my mom’s next home is like, and what my home will one day be like, and to see what kinds of memories I’ll make in new places.

This post is clearly not much about jam, but this is what happened today when I sat down to write. If you came here for jam however, you shall not be disappointed by this recipe. It’s one of the easier things I’ve made, yet very delicious and with the perfect texture. You can find the recipe over at Guinea Pigging Green today here or the original recipe directly at Oh She Glows here.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

DSC_3350“I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say “nothing”, I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” – Julie & Julia

Just replace “day” with “week”, “egg yolks” with “chia seeds”, “sugar” with “maple syrup” and add a “soy” to “milk” and voila: you have a quote that represents exactly how I feel right now. Walking home on Monday after getting the news about my school, I actually heard this quote in my head and was struck with the urge to watch the movie for the hundredth time.

And this morning, after I woke up feeling kind of small and defeated and not at all abundant, I made this pudding. I let it set up in the fridge while I went to the park – intending to do yoga but, after realizing that the platforms I usually use for my practice had been taken over by dozens of small Korean children playing, I just sat on a bench thinking instead – and tried it when I got home.

The taste is amazing, just like chocolate pudding but actually healthy, so no guilt required. The texture however needs a little work, my first few bites were too slimy for my liking. Blending in some steel cut oats really helped to give it a more palatable texture, but it could have still been smoother. It probably doesn’t help that my blender isn’t very high-powered so the seeds weren’t broken down much.

Of course, none of that is stopping me from spooning it into my mouth non-stop as I write this. It really is tasty.

DSC_3347Chocolate Chia Pudding

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup soy or nut milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp steel cut oats
  • pinch of salt

Blend all your ingredients together until smooth. Let the pudding set in the fridge for about an hour or until it’s the consistency you like. Having a high-powered blender will help make this pudding smoother so that you don’t taste the chia seeds.

And with that, I’m off to (probably) watch Julie and Julia clips until it’s time for me to go to work. If I’m not doing that, you’ll find me at the Korean diner, eating kimchi fried rice and trying my hardest not to worry/cry.

Happy Thursday, friends!