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Lemon is my favourite

Actually. Lemon really is the best. I’ll be honest, I’ve had zero time for making anything photo / blog worthy, as school is wrapping up and I’m close to graduation (!!). While school’s ending soon, I thought I’d do a quick round-up of some must-try recipes featuring lemon as a key ingredient. Obviously, I’m missing lots of options, so please suggest your favourites!

Meyer Lemon Loaf – Sprouted Kitchen

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Lavender and Lemon Cloud Cupcakes – Sweetapolita

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with
Lemon Curd Filling & Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting
 – Adventures in Cooking

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Blueberry-lemon Coffee Cake – Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

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A pizza pizza pizza roundup

While scrolling through my blog reader today I noticed several posts on pizza, one of my favourite homemade meals. The reason I love it so much is for both its simplicity and potential complexity. You can keep your pizza simple and traditional – sauce, cheese, maybe some tomato or pepperoni – but, really, the possibilities are endless. Over the past few years, I’ve really become a fan of experimenting when cooking/baking, and pizza is far from an exception to this rule. Some of my favourite toppings to use with my classic dough recipe include: bocconcini, spinach, ricotta, sundried tomatoes, broccoli, salami, sausage, bacon, artichoke, proscuitto, pesto, goat cheese… And on, and on, and on. Here are some great recipes from many of my favourite blogs that go beyond the traditional (I had trouble choosing, so apologies for the long list). 

What are your favourite toppings?

Prosciutto Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza | Blueberry Dessert Pizza
by Spoon Fork Bacon

Cajun Pizza by A Couple Cooks

Buffalo Mozzarella, Artichoke, and Lemon Pizza by Technicolor Kitchen

Pesto Pizza with Fresh Arugula and Parmesan by Cookie+Kate

Roasted Eggplant and Za’atar Pizza by Sprouted Kitchen

Blue Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Honeyed Pears
by Adventures in Cooking

Breakfast Pizza | Lemony Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pizza by Smitten Kitchen

Banana roundup

Since I always have bananas around the house, they’re bound to get too ripe every once and awhile, making the perfect excuse to bake. I usually stick to my classic banana bread recipe – it’s moist, delicious, always turns out well – but I’ve been wanting more and more to switch it up. Here are some of my favourite banana-focused recipes, some of which are on the top of my to try list. 

Streusel-Topped Banana Berry Muffins
Tart to Heart

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread with Cayenne
Baker Bettie

Baked Banana French Toast
Bakerella

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Honey Frosting 
Honey & Jam 

 

 

Cooking & baking inspiration

I’ve continued to spend time this past week, as I probably do every week, searching for new eats and recipes. Here are a few of my favourites that I plan to test out in the coming months. I’ve also come across some really great, interesting blogs, some of which feature the recipes below. I’m leaving it at four, but honestly the list in this post could go on for pages. If you want to see more of the recipes I discover or plan on trying, you could always follow me on Twitter @60percentbaking!

Grilled potato rounds with pesto and shaved asparagus via Minimally Invasive

Sweet potato and black bean patties via Tasty Yummies

Red flannel hash via Spoon Fork Bacon

Buttered rum cupcakes via Adventures in Cooking

Cooking & baking inspiration

Over the course of the day, week, and month, I typically come across a whole bucket (yes, a whole bucket, maybe even more) of great recipes, beautiful food photography, and blogs that I star or bookmark.

So often I see recipes that I’d love to try, but I don’t have the time (or money -_-) to try everything. I bookmark sites constantly in hopes that I’ll be able to return to them or that they will be a source of baking advice or guidance. This information is essentially just sitting there not being used or given a broader audience, which is why I decided that I should share them (hopefully in some sort of systematic or themed way) with those who read this blog. Some of these may peek your interest and maybe you’ll get to testing before I have the chance. So here’s to the spirit of sharing!

I’ve tried to pick three that might go well together for a super supper gathering of sorts. They’re definitely all appropriate for autumn and look incredibly delicious. All your friends would be impressed if you made these and so would I. Enjoy!

Apple Latkes
(smitten kitchen)

Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar
(smitten kitchen)

Chocolate Stout Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting
(sweetapolita)

Using Illustrator, making outlines and some new ideas

I decided a few days ago that instead of doing more homework, I’d start trying to work on a possible new design for the blog. I wasn’t really sure what l wanted to make, but I had been collecting ideas, making some notes and knew the general direction in which I wanted the design to go. It was recommended to me that I start experimenting with Illustrator – I’ve used InDesign and Photoshop quite a bit, but not Illustrator. One thing that is really helpful for becoming familiar with the tools available in these programs is to start doing some tutorials. I really like the ones on Abdozeedo, but there are lots all over the web for all kinds of programs. The first tutorial I experimented with was making outlines and watercolour-style designs. This was okay, but I much more enjoyed making the outlines. Instead of using the brush tool, which is was I was using for the watercolour tutorial, I started using the pen tool. After spending a while trying to get a handle on how to properly use the pen tool, I was able to start making outlines of some of the tools I use when making the things I post about on this blog. 

 

I’m going to keep working on this design, adding more tools, cleaning up the outlines, but I think it will probably make it’s way into the new design of the blog. The new design is still a ways away, though. I’ve decided to learn how to make the website from scratch, writing the script, and I still have a lot of learning to do. All that to say: look I learned something new, but stay tuned cause this will take a while!

Traditional chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting + decorating practice

Like I said in my last post, I’ve been wanting to switch up my cupcake decorating and experiment with some new icing designs. One design I’ve had my eye on for a while is this one that I found on the blog i am baker. Because I was more intent on experimenting with a new icing design than trying out new flavours, I decided to go back to my traditional chocolate cupcake and vanilla frosting recipes. This is actually, finally, for real my last baking post before the move. I’ll be packing up my kitchen tonight -_- 

I followed the decorating technique as described on the blog above, using #103 and #102 tips for the different colours. Getting the different shades of blue was easy – simply add a small amount of colouring gel to the icing, mix, load half the icing into a piping bag, add another small amount of colouring, mix, add the remaining icing into a second piping bag. Making this design is pretty simple, too, and just takes a bit of patience.

Here are the recipes I used:

Chocolate cupcakes
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 oz melted dark chocolate
1 cup milk

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add melted chocolate. Mix dry ingredients together. Add vanilla to milk. Start with 1/3 of dry into wet, add half of the liquid, repeat. Bake at 350F for ~20 minutes.

Vanilla frosting
4 oz butter, cold + cubed
1 tbs vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
3-4 cups icing sugar
2 tbs cream

Cream butter and vanilla bean paste. Add icing sugar, mixing well. Add cream and more sugar/butter to reach the desired taste and consistency.