Busy week

It has been a busy last 2 weeks here in the Hunt household. Bryan and I took a trip to Ohio to visit some family and celebrate the 75th anniversary of Beckett, his Uncle's company. We had a fantastic time reuniting with Cousins, and for me, meeting their spouses for the first time. All I can say is that you can't find a better family if you had hand picked each person! They were all very friendly and welcoming and they made me feel at home right away. We all did quite a bit of feasting during the anniversary celebrations and I think it might have put a jump start on my last trimester weight gain. Bryan and I also took advantage of the lower American prices on some items and came home with a full car of loot. A great trip indeed.

Since we have been home Bryan and my parents have beet working away on our bathroom floor (laying tile), but not before we discovered that the overflow pipe in the tub wasn't sealed quite tight enough! After I had a nice cosy bath Bryan discovered a large pool of water downstairs in our living room and then also in the basement! Thankfully it had only leaked through a previously water damaged area that we hadn't got around to fixing yet. On top of that we had a furnace inspection today which went swell other than our chimney is a house violation and needs to be fixed ASAP. Oh the joys of owning your own home!

The Etsy community (where I have my jewellery shop) is starting to get the Christmas buzz. It is time for sellers to stock up for the holidays and make any important changes before the holiday shoppers descend. I am very excited since this is my first holiday season on Etsy. My goal right now is to add more cute items into my shop and I have been working on quite a few.

Our little baby (or Poppyseed as we like to call him) is growing big and strong! He loves to squirm around and poke me with his arms and feet. I think the strangest thing for me is slowly loosing my belly button. It has slowly been shrinking (or being stretched out) and thankfully I haven't completely lost it yet! Who knew you would miss your belly button if you didn't have one! HAHA

On the recipes front I have a few new ones and today I am going to share the Gluten and Dairy-free chocolate torte. We went to a dinner party and I signed up for bringing dessert. Our fabulous hostess had a gluten and dairy intolerance so I thought it would be important to make something she could enjoy. Of course it needed to be chocolate because it is Bryan's favourite.

I made my cake/crust with cornmeal but it could be made with a gluten-free flour blend or you could make a no-bake date and nut crust too.

Gluten-free Dairy-free Creamy Chocolate Torte
- 1 1/2 C. cornmeal (fine ground)
- 3/4 C. dates
- 1 egg
- 1/4 C. cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 2 C. water

Creamy filling:
- 3 small ripe avocados
- 1 large ripe banana
- 1/2 C. cocoa powder
- 1 C. dark chocolate, melted
- 1/4 C. chocolate almond milk (any other non-dairy milk will work too)
- 1 C. honey
- 1/4 C maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 f. In a food processor combine the cornmeal, dates, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Process until uniform in texture, scrape down sides. Add egg and water and blend until smooth, scraping down sides 1-2 times. Pour into a greased 9"-10"springform pan and bake until set, 25-35 minutes. Let cool

2. Rinse out food processor to use for the filling.

3. In food processor blend together the avocado flesh, banana, and cocoa until smooth. Scrape down sides. Add in honey, maple syrup, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add in melted chocolate and blend 1 min. Scrape sides and blend 1 min more. Pour on top of cooled base and smooth out with a spatula.

4. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. ENJOY!

Delicious when served with a glass of almond milk or tea.

Savoury Pork Loin

Look how proactive I am being and posting so soon! Could this be a new keeping-up-with-the-blog leaf I am turning over? Hopefully yes.

Could someone please tell me where my Joy Of Cooking book has hidden itself? You know how you see something all the time when you don't need it but then as soon as you do it is nowhere to be found? Well that was me for 20 minutes last night looking for my Joy Of Cooking. I even checked under the bed, not that I would be too surprised to find it there. Eventually I gave up and said, "I don't need that book! How often do I use a recipe?" Not often is the answer, which may or may not be a good thing. Thankfully in this case it is a good thing and I created a delicious stuffing recipe.

Mondays are my meal planning day where I roughly decide what we are going to have for lunch and dinner during the week. For last night I had planned to make a roasted chicken dinner with stuffing, squash, and corn. I was 90% sure we had a chicken in the freezer which was helpful for budgeting since I had over spent the week before. No need to buy one. Of course Thursday evening rolls around and I search the freezer but there is no chicken to be found. Me = not the happiest camper. What the heck chicken? How did you disappear?

I decided I would figure things out Sunday after church when we stopped in the grocery store. Of course the first thing Bryan saw was that ribs were on sale. I am quite certain he could spy ribs on sale from a mile away. I saw that pork tenderloin was on sale so I kindly opted for both and said I would save the ribs for his birthday in a few weeks. He was a very happy man and also very proud when he left the grocery story with nothing other other than 8 pounds of meat.

When we got home I decided to find some space in the freezer for the ribs. It was a bit more difficult than expected so I had a bit of a spaz and threw some things onto the floor in frustration. Thankfully the items were a box of shattered phyllo, frost bitten ice cream, half a key lime pie someone had left in the freezer when they were here once, and a chicken. A CHICKEN!?!? Double spaz. Of course the little chicken had just been hiding the whole time so he could live a free uneaten life in the freezer. Oh well, I'll eat you next week.

I started out making the stuffing for the pork and was basing it on a chicken stuffing because I had been excited for it all week. I measured the ingredients and wrote down the amounts (something I never do) and even made them look nice on the cutting board for picture taking. I became stumped when I wanted to add cranberries but couldn't find any. Raisins would have been a perfect replacement but Bryan is not a fan of cooked raisins. I thought of using dates but their flavour wasn't quite right for it. After looking in the fridge I decided on using grapes! Technically they have the same flavour as raisins in a less concentrated way but they aren't actually raisins. Genius!

After getting the stuffing all together I got out what looked to be one nice fat pork loin. When I took it out of the vacuum bag it was two skinny ones lying together to trick me! Frustration ensued because it is more difficult to stuff a small loin. I did some name calling at the pork, got Bryan to come and do the same, then decided I better just keep going with dinner. Name calling is never the answer.

I cut the loins in a book fold/butterfly cut then pounded them out to an even thickness. Now the question was stuff both or put the edges together and act as if it is one? I opted for number two and it turned out beautifully.

Ta da! All stuffed and ready for the oven. Enjoy!

This recipe makes enough for 4-6 people and is a perfect Sunday supper accompanied with some roasted or baked veggies.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

- 1 kg pork tenderloin (1 large or 2 small)
- 1/4 C diced onion
- 1 1/4 C whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 tsp savory
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 T melted butter
- 3/4 C water
- 1/2 C green grapes or 1/4 C raisins or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 450f

1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except pork and water.

2. Slowly add in water until mixture sticks together when pressed down with spoon. Add extra water as needed. It should look similar to the second picture. Set aside.

3. Rinse pork. Butterfly cut to open out pork on a large cutting board with a sharp knife. Cover with saran wrap and pound with meat hammer or solid rolling pin until even thickness. Try not to create thin areas or holes. See picture three.

4. Trim ends if necessary so meat is an even width. If using two smaller loins overlap about an inch of meat making a wider (not long and skinny) surface area. Leaving one inch of space at the bottom and two or three inches of space at top, spread the stuffing evenly over the meat going right to the edges.

5. Roll up the meat like a jelly roll, starting at the bottom. Be cautious at the seam if you are using two loins. Tie up with butcher string. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with pepper and salt and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn down oven temperature to 375f and continue to cook 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer at 1 hour. Cook to an internal temperature of 170f.

6. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Remove butchers string and discard. Cut loin into one inch rounds using a sharp knife.

We had butternut squash and corn to go along with the stuffed loin which were perfect accompaniments. The meat was flavourful, tender, and the stuffing flavour matched perfectly with the meat. This will definitely be made again soon. Enjoy!

100th Blog Post! A Review And A Major Change

Happy 100th blog post! It is very strange to think I have made that many posts on here since I started this blog when I was in college almost 4 years ago!

Looking back on my posts and creations captured in them I am very happy with how the blog has turned out. I do regret my lack of posting recently, mostly due to life changes and being busy.

I know I have said it before (as a matter of fact in my last post) that I am getting back into blogging but I have decided to change the theme of the blog from baking creations to my everyday life in hope that this will give me more motivation and subjects to write about. I will still include baking creations but I am going to add things like:
- dinner and other meals
- more recipes
- life events
- my new Etsy shop
- things God is doing in my life
- other random stuff

So I will kick off this new kind of blog by giving an overview of recent events in my life. Up first is GETTING MARRIED! It was almost a year ago, October 15th 2011, on a very cold and windy Saturday afternoon that Bryan and I had our wedding day.

There were some last minute changes due to the weather but it didn't get us down and we had a fantastic ceremony and reception. My brother-in-law Scott and my sister Hilary put together a great slideshow/ video which was really special. I cannot mention the wedding without the addition of everyone's favourite photo of the day: Our parents

The next event is the opening of my ETSY SHOP. Etsy is a place for craft makers and vintage collectors to sell their items. It is a fantastic community of people and you can find wonderful, unique, one-of-a-kind items. I highly suggest you have a look as there are many great gift ideas on the site. Here are a few of my own creations:

I decided to start up an Etsy shop for something to do and a way to make a few extra dollars while I am at home. I am currently a stay at home house wife for two reasons, the first of which is that I am PREGNANT! This is not news to most people as I am already 6 months along. It is really exciting to be pregnant for the first time and there is a lot of discovery along the way. Of course our family is really excited as this is the first grandchild on both sides. December is sure to be a whirl wind!

The second reason I am a stay at home house wife is much more personal but I think it is important to be shared. I have been struggling with a combined EATING DISORDER for almost 4 years. Anorexia and binge eating are quite the terrible combination and not something I ever wish anyone would deal with. Eating became an unbelievable struggle and obsession for me and it took over my life. I prayed too many times to count that I would be healed from the disorders and at times I wanted to give up hope of ever changing. Thankfully I knew that God is GOOD and he had a plan through it all so I kept praying and hoping. Bryan has been the best possible person in my life to help me with it and he never gave up on me. I can thankfully say that I feel I am fully recovering from these struggles and I feel that not only my eating but also my mind has changed for the better. PRAISE THE LORD!

The last recent even that I will add in is that Bryan and I BOUGHT A HOUSE in July! We are Hamilton home owners! This has been a very big event and has brought a large number of projects. Bathroom renovations, painting, baseboard re-doing, etc.... it seems like an endless list of things to be done. Thankfully we have great family to help and show us how to make our improvements.

So these are the things that have happened and I will try to keep you updated with the current events. Thanks for reading!

P.s. we are having a boy!

Back To Blogging

Time has flown by! I have taken a very long break from the blog due to multiple reasons: a very time consuming job, planning a wedding, and moving being the main ones. I must apologize since this was not a planned break and I just stopped posting, but now I am back and more creative than ever!

I am starting off quite simply with a few old photos that didn't make it onto the blog. I am sure they would have been posted but didn't get a chance.

This carrot cake with shaved coconut and marzipan peaches was made for a wedding celebration in Toronto.

This was a special 1st birthday cake for a friend's son.

Hopefully there will be more picture with recipes posted soon. ENJOY!

Miniature Cuteness

Miniature things are cute! It rarely matters what it is, but it just seems that anything made in a teeny-tiny version is super cute and fun. I love cute things! Which is why I created a miniature birthday cake for my boyfriend's mom - HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGARET!

I started out with some petit four sponge cake that was sandwiched with blueberry jam and topped with marzipan. This was cut with circle cutters, masked with vanilla buttercream (recipe below), then decorated with vanilla buttercream and fondant flowers, all topped off with a fondant rose and a touch of gold.

Mini rose on top of the mini cake

Mini cake at a birthday party (aka photo shoot)

Mini cake put in perspective with fork and knife

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- 1/2 C. pasteurized egg whites
- 1 C. Sugar
- 1 lb unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
- 1-3 tsp good quality vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer (kitchen-aid, Cuisinart, etc...), with a whisk attachment, combine the sugar and egg whites. Set on top of a double boiler while whisking by hand until warm/hot (you don't want this too hot or you will start to cook the egg whites). Remove from heat and return to the mixer; whip until it is room temperature. Whip in your desired amount of vanilla. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the butter one cube at a time. It may start to look curdled but just keep whipping until all the butter is added. Scrape down the bowl well and whip 1 minute more. Use immediately or store in the fridge for 1 week (it also freezes well). ENJOY!