recipe: yule log cake

This will be my last post until 2022! I am scheduled to be induced today and so we will be busy with all things baby. Merry Christmas!

This is a festive cake that dates back 200 years. I will admit that although the ingredients are incredibly simple, the combined waiting and cooling time took me all morning to make it. However, it is worth it. So whether you’re a beginner or more experienced baker, you will be able to recreate this. Just make sure that you have lots of time set aside to do so!

Note: There is a way to simplify this cake. Instead of making the vanilla filling and chocolate topping from scratch, you can purchase readymade icing. Of course it will taste different, but it will also cut down on the baking time. It’s totally up to you!

Yule log Cake

Ingredients:

(For the cake)
5 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, to sprinkle

(For the filling)
1 3/4 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp butter
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

(For the topping)
2 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Steps:

1. For the cake: Heat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs together with the sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Set aside.

2. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Then fold into wet ingredients. Continue to mix well. Then pour evenly onto parchment paper and bake in the oven for approximately 12 minutes. Remove.

3. Using a clean kitchen tea towel, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Gently lift the cake out from the cookie sheet by grabbing the parchment paper. Flip over onto the tea towel and discard the paper. Gently roll the cake in the towel forming a log. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

4. For the filling: Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix until formed into smooth, thick icing. Set in fridge until cake is cool.

5. Remove cake and icing. Gently unroll the cake and spread the icing evenly over top. Then roll the cake back up without the tea towel. Wrap with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for at least 1 hour.

6. For the topping: Put all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Heat over low-medium heat until completely melted. Remove and let cool.

7. Once the chocolate topping has chilled, place the cake on a stand or platter and onto a countertop. Spread the topping evenly over the surface of the cake. Remove the ends. Using a knife, cut lines into the surface of the icing. Sprinkle with icing sugar and voila! Your beautiful and delicious masterpiece is ready to serve. Merry Christmas!

Emory

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5 things to remember if you want to start baking

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Starting on the journey to becoming a parent means acquiring a bunch of new skills, but it seems that we can all feel that we want to be homely and caring a bit more than we are. So, what better way to do this than by learning how to bake! But if you are a total beginner, what does it really take? 

Start With an Easy Recipe

In essence, baking is about being able to follow a recipe. But it’s about making sure that you gradually build up your skill. And one of the best ways to do it is to pick a recipe that only has a handful of ingredients. You could always go for muffins but this silky smooth Italian meringue buttercream recipe can also add a bit of extra flavour to the muffins. 

Ensuring You Have the Ingredients (and Checking Again!)

It’s amazing how many people dive into baking without double-checking the recipe and making sure they have all the ingredients. The best thing for anybody to do on their baking journey is to make sure you have absolutely everything. This means you will have the desired end result, and you won’t lose your confidence. At this point, you should avoid substituting any ingredients, for example, if you are trying to bake gluten-free or use an egg-free recipe.

Understanding Your Oven

This is more important than you think. Not every oven is created equally, but it’s also crucial to know what works best in certain parts of your oven. For example, baking cakes will work with the lower rod or the middle rack, but if you’re making pizza or bread, you can use the top and the bottom. However, your oven may bake absolutely fine wherever you place the item. But this goes back to the recipe: if it tells you to allow the oven to preheat, preheat it! Always follow the recipe to the letter. 

Knowing When Your Cake Is Done

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to keep opening the oven door. But if you are approaching the end of the baking time, this is where you can do the toothpick test. If the toothpick comes out wet, you need to allow the cake another ten minutes. Or if a couple of moist crumbs stick to it, you will need to take the cake out right away.

Let Your Cake Cool Down

You may be proud of your efforts, and you want to get to decorating right away, but when you take the cake out of the oven, you’ve got to let it cool for at least 20 minutes. Because if you slice the cake while it is still warm, the cake will crumble, and if you decide to decorate, this could result in a puddly mess. Always wait for it to cool completely.

A lot of people don’t have the patience for baking, but if you are determined to be that parent who wants the house to smell of baked goods all the time, start simple and it will be an amazing journey!

** This was a contributed post.

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recipe: vegan pumpkin pie tarts

It’s almost Halloween!!

Full disclaimer- this recipe takes awhile to prepare. It is my promise though, that it is so worth it! Having fresh ingredients always makes a huge difference. As always, you don’t have to make this dairy-free. Simply substitute vegan butter and almond milk for those with lactose.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Tarts

Makes 24

Ingredients:

(For the tart crust)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegan butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup cold water

(For the filling)
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, mashed
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Steps:

1. To begin, start with a large pie pumpkin. Cut it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and stringy bits. Using a large spoon, remove the inside flesh. Then place it in a food processor or blender, and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. (This took me upwards of 20 minutes in a blender. Be sure not to add water! It will get there eventually.)

2. Prepare the tart crust. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the muffin trays and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Mix well at first, then knead by hand in the bowl. Slowly add the water, ensuring that it is well-combined before adding more. In the end the dough should be somewhat sticky but mostly crumbly. 

3. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Continue to knead until it is ready to be rolled out, cut into 24 circles, and place in the muffin cups. Once you have completed those steps, it is time to fill them.

4. Prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, almond milk, eggs, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Beat over medium speed for 2 minutes, ensuring that it is completely combined. Then scoop the filling into each tart, filling no more than 3/4 full. Place the tarts in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until filling has firmed up and tart shells have turned golden brown. Remove, let cool, and top with your favourite dairy-free (or not) whipped cream or ice cream! Or, just eat them as is.

Emory

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making breakfast the most exciting meal of the day

(Image Source)

Most people agree that breakfast is the most important meal you have each day. Having a good breakfast can be the difference between having a good or bad day, but it can be all too easy to neglect this part of your day when you fall into a poor routine. Families should always work hard to avoid this trap.

To help you out with this, this article will be exploring some tips that will help you to keep breakfast exciting, all without compromising on the healthy foods that you want to serve. You don’t have to spend much time working on breakfast when you fall into the right pattern with it.

Why Is Breakfast So Important?

Before we explore some ideas to help your breakfasts, it makes sense to think about why this meal is so important. Your body will work to digest food during the night, often leaving people with very little energy when they wake up. Eating a good breakfast can help to solve this problem, giving you the fuel you need to conquer the day and make the best out of the time you have.

This is even more important for children, with their time at school being heavily impacted by the breakfast they eat each morning. This will be the first meal they have before they do a whole morning of work, making it crucial that they are able to focus on the things they are doing. In the long run, this could have a serious impact on your child’s education, and this is worth considering when you are preparing breakfast.

What Makes A Good Breakfast?

While most people will want their breakfast to be tasty, there is more to this meal than mere flavor alone. You also need to make sure that your breakfast provides you with energy that will be released slowly throughout the day. Having an overly large breakfast can make you feel too sleepy, making it worth thinking about the portion sizes you serve on days when people have things to do.

Using Fresh Ingredients

While it doesn’t guarantee a healthier breakfast, using fresh ingredients will help when you are working on this side of your daily routine. There are loads of fresh ingredients out there that can allow you to make delicious breakfasts. Fruits are great for this, but options like meat, bread, and dairy products can also make for a very satisfying and healthy breakfast.

Making Cooked Breakfasts

Alongside using fresh ingredients, making cooked breakfasts can be a good way to improve the meals you make each morning. This isn’t something that you have to do each and every day, but it can help to make the mornings in your house happier when everyone wakes up to something delicious to eat.

There are loads of cooked breakfast options out there, and many of them are very healthy. You can find recipes online to help you with this, giving you the chance to improve your cooking skills while you make breakfasts that the whole family will love. Options like oatmeal, tasty egg waffles, and even toast can all be great for this, providing you with easy meals that will get everyone in your family ready for the day.

Having Plan B

It will be hard to make cooked breakfasts each and every morning for your loved ones. This makes it worth having a plan B in place for the days when you don’t have the time or energy to handle your breakfast. Cereal can be a good choice when you are looking for options like this, but you need to make sure that you aren’t eating this each and every day.

Getting Everyone Involved

Getting the whole family involved at breakfast time can make it harder to finish the meal, but it will also make it far more fun for your kids. You can have everyone work to come up with their own breakfast ideas throughout the week, making the whole experience something that your kids can enjoy. Of course, though, you have to make sure that their choices are both healthy and affordable.

As you can see, making sure that you and your family get to enjoy good breakfasts each morning is easier than you might expect. This can be achieved while also making this meal more exciting, giving you new things to eat each day without making you bend over backward in the process.

** This was a contributed post.

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5 reasons to choose frozen

One of the most insignificant things that people want to shame others for is eating frozen dinners. When you’ve worked all day and the kids need to eat, sometimes chucking frozen meals or meats into the oven is the easiest way to make sure that everyone eats a good dinner before bed. Not everyone has the time to make gourmet meals from scratch, with homemade sauces and everything chopped fresh. 

Does that mean you’re not eating well? Absolutely not. Sometimes, choosing frozen Mexican food or frozen Chinese food is a quick, convenient way to eat and it’s still nutritious. You can still eat just as well on frozen food as eating on fresh foods and when you utilize frozen food, you can save time and make easy meals that are filling and healthy. With this in mind, here are five reasons to go ahead and choose frozen.

Image Source: Pexels

  1. Packed with nutrients. It’s a common misconception that frozen food is less nutritious than fresh foods. The thing is that through the winter some of the fresh fruits and veggies aren’t available all year around. Once the veg is picked in the summer, it’s blanched and flash frozen, which locks in all of the nutrients to make sure that the food tastes amazing. Frozen fish and meats are just as good-tasting, too.
  2. It’s affordable. Frozen foods are cheaper than fresh foods, and that’s a fact. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t taste as good! There is less waste, less spoilage and you can keep the food for longer. Fresh carrots are often more expensive than a bag of frozen carrots, and the bag of frozen carrots will last longer.
  3. They’re easy. There is nothing easier than breaking open a bag of already chopped veggies and chicken and making a meal out of it. Everything is usually trimmed, portioned and packed up for you, so you don’t have to worry about standing around chopping and storing anything. You can steam most frozen veggies, too, which makes for much tastier meals and they’re easy to prepare.
  4. A sensible option. Frozen meats, fish and veggies can all be prepared for a delicious meal just as fresh food can, so not all frozen food has to be nuggets and pizza. It’s very easy to throw on pizza and garlic bread, but it’s even better to throw on meat, veggies and delicious sauces. You can even add frozen fruit to a blender and have delicious smoothies without having to buy in tons of fresh fruit that could go bad.
  5. You can be creative. There are so many options with cuisines and flavors when you choose frozen foods. You can buy fried chicken, Mexican, Indian – no matter where the food is around the world, you can buy it frozen and cook it up as you please. You can try new and added veggies in sauces, so frozen food doesn’t have to be boring.frozen 

Next time you are planning your meals for the week, make sure that you don’t discount the frozen section. You can believe it’ll be a good option for you!

** This was a contributed post.

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to four (two on earth, one in heaven, and growing another). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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