Thursday, March 17, 2016

Meet the Easter Blueberry Galette

It's curious how traditions start.

Easter bunnies and pretty decorated eggs, for instance. 

Pretty sure Christ didn't institute the practice of hiding eggs for kids to find, and even more sure bunnies don't lay eggs. And if you see real bunnies laying brown eggs, back away... those are definitely not chocolate.

How then, in the good name of chocolate easter eggs, did these traditions come about?

As with all historically steeped legends, there are numerous tales about how these originated.

Eostre, the goddess of fertility, was apparently responsible for 'em bunnies. In a time when gods and goddesses were worshipped, she was chosen to represent Easter and her symbol - rabbits - promised new life.

As for the eggs: the church reportedly forbade the eating of eggs during Lent. So the people saved them up, and feasted on eggs on Easter.

The German immigrants were believed to have popularised the practice of nest-building, for the bunnies to lay eggs. And now, kids all over get a kick hunting for eggs and chocolate bunnies on Easter day.

And there we have it, the eggy back story to Easter celebrations.

Whatever the origins, I like to associate Easter with fruit and spring sunshine.
New life, and such a good reason to rejoice.

More ways to shine:
12 ways to glow
Make Maple Ginger Cider Switchel

And in honour of Easter, we have the Blueberry Galette. Perfect for sharing, or one-person hoarding - for multiple breakfasts.

This rustic open-faced tart has blueberries and fruit, wrapped in a hand-folded cashew crust. Eat warm, topped with a scoop of ice-cream.


What do you get with Petite Pops desserts?
• Small batch baking      The only good way to do quality control.
• Good ingredients          Real and delicious, no further preservatives added.
• Fresh                              Made only when orders come in.
• Balanced                       A little naughty and a whole lot nice. Less sugar & fats,                                            while balancing the yum.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

12 ways to glow: Week 2 - Inside Glow

You made it!

Through the 2nd official week back at work, and for those following the Shop Jom #12x12 Challenge - the 12 day workouts are done.

Now it's time to chill, time to rest and be quiet for a bit.

And since we're being still, let's work on that Inner Glow.
Gotta make that inner light shine a little more, to match the awesome Outer Glow we've been building up.

1. Build yourself a Vision Board
A good friend of mine teaches yoga, but much more than that - she practices mindful living. She does this with the help of an amazingly simple and powerful tool, a Vision Board. At the start of every year, she focuses on a few areas that she wants to work on, improve and bring out in her year ahead. Use whatever way you like to help remind you of these areas as you move along, but I love her way. She cuts snippets from books and magazine, puts them together on a board, and tacks the board up in her living room so she sees it the minute she enters the house. It's so much harder to lose sight when things are right in front of us.

2. You nailed it, don't you forget it
We're conditioned to push to achieve more, earn more, do better. While that's completely understandable - and some say, needed - balance is always key. Don't forget to acknowledge what we've accomplished at the same time. Go big with a promotion at work, or small and powerful, like meeting a weight goal or making a new good friend. Whatever the scale, remember it all took effort, and you nailed it.

3. Volunteer or do something kind
"We rise by lifting others." - Robert Ingersoll

We find a sense of bigger purpose when we do things not for ourselves. Numerous studies have shown that people who have a purpose, deal much better with challenging situations. Life becomes a bit more meaningful, and we become less self-focused and short-goal-sighted. Dedicate time to volunteer or do something kind, and try to make it part of our regular schedule to make it stick.

4. Find your inspirational hero
Everyone needs a mentor to help light the path ahead, to make it a little less mad. If you don't already have one, spend some time identifying someone who inspires you to aspire. Most of us have a work-driven inspirational figure - an entrepreneur, a Steve Jobs, a CEO, a glass ceiling-buster. But let's not neglect our personal life heroes. Nick Vujicic, Gandhi, the cancer surviver, the neighbour who makes time to help - anyone who inspires you to live a better life, and be a better person.

5. Start a food swap
The wins to cooking our meals are many, the most significant being the ability to decide what food goes into our body. But let's get real. Not everyone has schedules that allow daily cooking. So let's rope in other cooks and spread the food, and the love. Rustle up good friends and family, and take turns cooking in big batches. Pack up some portions (employ food portion strategies), and you'll soon find that food not only fills tummies with good things, but satisfies the soul even more when shared and swapped.

6. Fill the house with good smells
Smells of food cooking and desserts baking always remind me of home, it's impossible not to be in a good mood when you smell warm food. Since we're onto swapping food, let's bake up something sharable and portable. I love that this Banana Oat Cake is packed with oats and bananas, and sturdy enough to cut into logs for sharing.

Live well, eat well, be present.
Here's to bringing out the best of our Inner and Outer Glow!

Banana Oat Cake (serves 12)
Adapted from Bon Appetit

You'll need: 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned/rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 bananas, chopped - you can use frozen bananas if you have them on hand, but let
                                  them come to room temperature first so they can be chopped

To make:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat an 8x8" baking dish/tray with
  butter and line with parchment paper.
- Whisk oat, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
- Whisk brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in another large bowl until smooth.
- Slowly stream butter into brown sugar mixture, whisking constantly until well blended.
- Add bananas to dry ingredients, toss to coat. Stir into brown sugar mixture (batter will
  be thick).
- Spread batter into prepared dish/tray. Bake until golden brown and edges start to pull
  away from sides of dish, 35-40 min.
- Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely in dish/tray. Cut up and serve, or store in
  airtight container on counter top for a couple of days.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Asia's flavours this Lunar New Year

There are a few occasions in a year that deserve my stomach's full attention.

Birthdays, Christmas and the Lunar New Year.

These are eating festivals, as far as my family and friends are concerned. People gathering round, sharing meals, swapping stories, indulging in festive snacks.

The stuff of good times.

Food plays such a big part bringing people together, and any excuse to break bread and clink glasses is wildly welcomed.

> But don't throw out your Outside Glow!

And this year, Petite Pops is embracing Asia's flavours in our Chinese New Year goodies.

Matcha and Wolfberry, both native to Asia, are packed with age-old health beliefs, perfect for turning festive feasting into good-for-you snacking. Osmanthus adds a delicate, subtle fragrance for barely-there flavour layers. Just the kind of natural sweetness I like in my snacks.

Share the Lunar New Year love with double goodies in the Twin Baskets, or go solo with the Osmanthus Honey Loaf.
> Details in image above

A wonderfully prosperous and blissful Year of the Monkey to everyone!

What do you get with Petite Pops desserts?
• Small batch baking      The only good way to do quality control.
• Good ingredients          Real and delicious, no further preservatives added.
• Fresh                              Made only when orders come in.
• Balanced                       A little naughty and a whole lot nice. Less sugar & fats,                                            while balancing the yum.