Stretching My Skills with Sally

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her baking adventures! They always look professional and yummy!

The June baking challenge was for ice cream sandwiches. Now I love creamy deserts so this sounded really good even if it had chocolate in it.

I knew this weekend would be busy so last weekend I whipped up the brownies. Just like Abbey, I had to cook mine longer and they still were a little gooey in a few places. I was just hoping the freezing would help. The only difference in my brownies was that I used Bob’s Redmill 1-1 Flour and Earth Balance vegan Buttery Spread. The brownies were easy to make and I had no trouble spreading them like Sally did.

The most difficult part of this recipe was finding enough dairy free ice cream without going broke. Now o don’t keep ice cream in the house and usually just go to the local ice cream parlour when I have a craving, so when I looked in the frozen foods section it was a shock! The cheapest option was fourteen dollars and it only went up from there! There was no way I was spending fourteen dollars on ice cream for a recipe when I had already had to buy sugar, cocoa and pans! I checked out three different grocery stores and finally found some Breyers Dairy free that was an acceptable cost, though it was vanilla with peanut butter ripples. I thought it would be okay as peanut butter and chocolate go together.

I smooshed the ice cream onto the bottom brownie, though I really should have let it sit out longer first, and then topped it with the top brownie and popped it into the freezer overnight.

This is what came out of the freezer. I took these to work for my crew of friends there and they inhaled them. One friend did say they were very rich, but everyone raves about them and they were easy to make. I would count this baking challenge as a success.

Now for my Saturday:

Exercise:

I wanted to start out my holiday on a good note. I stepped on the scale to face reality and then headed out for a run with Sarah. We were running Hyde Creek again (where we ran into the bear last week), but decided to do the other side of the river. We were going along great until 2.44 when Kula, the dog, went crazy. We couldn’t see the bear, but decided to just turn around and tack on at the end. It turned out to be a slow but nice run:)

House:

I have spent most of the day doing the last of the laundry and packing. I have packed way too much and still think I’m missing some key things- like shorts! Oh well, my dad always said to pack half the stuff and double the money and thankfully I’m going somewhere with stores and laundry this year.

I did take a little time out and walked over for an ice cream. I’m really going to miss my ice cream treats while I’m away. I got ice cream two days in a row because I couldn’t figure out how to take some with me.

It was a lovely treat to sit on this rock and enjoy the ice cream in the sunshine. Callie was so sweet to give me a little taster of some of the other vegan kinds on top of my raspberry pistachio.

Reading:

I have started a new book today called Beach Read by Emily Henry. This book was recommended to me by Mildly Granola. I’ve only hit chapter four, but so far I am really enjoying it!

Well I’d better go get my garbage and recycling out since I’m being picked up very early tomorrow.

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching Our Skills with Sally

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For May the challenge was mini fruit galettes. I have been trying to only bake when I have somewhere to take the results and thankfully earlier this month I had an outdoor social that was the perfect event.

The recipe was a simple crust recipe that I subbed Bob’s redmill All Purpose Gluten Free flour and Earth Balance Vegan Butter. The fruit, sugar and cornstarch filling was fine as called for. I found the recipe very quick to put together.

The one thing I found was that my filling leaked and burned which I peeled it off, but didn’t like the little remainder it left.

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her mini fruit galettes too:) She posted them last Saturday and they look amazing!

Thanks Abbey and Kathy for taking on this challenge with me:)

Knitting:

First thing this morning I got a couple of pattern repeats done on my current toque. I only have three repeats left so I will hopefully be done this week!

Family:

It was a great day as I spent it with my mom. We didn’t do anything exciting. I made my duvet cover smaller by sewing up two of the sides. I am much happier with it now. We also started the puzzle we had bought for Christmas. It is much more difficult than we thought it would be! We also watched some Hallmark movies. I would like to think these easy, quiet days are good for my mom as she has done nothing but work for the past year!

Well I have a run in the morning!

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills With Sally

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For March the challenge was crepes!

I have never made crepes before and I was a little nervous as they seem so fancy!

With the situation we are in, I hit WiFi and took pictures of the recipe, but didn’t get to watch any of Sally’s videos so that probably would have made a big difference! I found the recipe simple and easy to follow and I liked how it could chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to a day. I made the batter in the morning but then had the crepes for lunch.

My batter used Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, Earth Balance vegan butter, and Earth’s Own Oat milk that was unsweetened vanilla. Everything else was just normal ingredients.

My batter made six crepes and boy did I learn a lot between the first and the last. I started with a pan that was way too big so after the first crepe I switched to a smaller pan. After the fourth I realized it worked better to just pour the batter into the very centre and let it spread by itself. On the sixth crepe I figured out the crepe didn’t have to be the size of the pan.

Mine are probably more brown than they’re supposed to be, but they still tasted good!

I had no idea what you put in a crepe as I’ve never actually ordered crepes before so I did one with herb cream cheese, one with peanut butter and one with cream cheese and jam. I think my favourite was the cream cheese and jam.

One thing I definitely learned is that crepes are not a diet food! The batter isn’t bad, but the amount of butter in the pan is crazy!

It is so cool that when Kathy read about Abbey’s and my challenge she decided to join us so make sure you go read about her crepe adventures too:)

Thanks Abbey and Kathy for taking on this challenge with me:)

I obviously wasn’t finished on the kitchen after the crepes because I also made hearty beer bread from my book, The Allergy Free Cook Bakes Bread. I used ginger ale instead of beer and it turned out great! I think I will make more tomorrow to use up more of the ginger ale, but I’ll know to only leave it in for the lesser time.

Exercise:

I forced myself not to run today and to do yoga instead. I spent about a half hour this afternoon and did feel as though I was stretching some muscles out. I know I need to do more of this right now since I can’t go for massages, but it’s really tough to not run since I don’t seem to be racking up the mileage very quickly this year:(

Knitting:

The whole rest of the day was spent knitting. I was very determined to finish my newest sweater and I did!

I did the Love Note sweater by Tin Can Knits. I had bought the pattern at Knit City last year. I love Tin Can Knits patterns because they come sized from newborn to extra large in one pattern.

This sweater is done in Ancient Arts superwash Blue Faced Leicester in Water Lily Blue and Georges Picaud Tricheuse. I quickly learned that my mohair was obviously not lace weight as it’s much thicker than the pattern pictures, but I was determined to finish this sweater because I loved the colour it was coming out! I had to switch mohair halfway through but I can’t even tell where I did it so I’m happy. The modifications I made were to do short sleeves and I didn’t do the high low hem. I just knit until I was almost out of yarn and then did the ribbing. The sweater only took two days with this thicker yarn, but I still want to make a finer gauge one too!

It’s back to the meditate cowl for me now.

I finished the evening off with a zoom conversation with my friends from work. Boy did two hours go quickly!!

Well I have a run in the morning so I’m off to bed.

Have fun!

AJ

Stretching My Skills with Sally

I had another AJ day and it was as wonderful as ever. My only problem is definitely a first world problem!

Exercise:

I yet again couldn’t sleep in, so I was up in plenty of time for my run with Dennis. He picked me up and we went to Burnaby Lake Park with the plan to run the end of the Central Valley Greenway which runs from the lake to a very busy road. This bike path does carry on, but only on roads so I vetoed going further.

I had warned Dennis this morning that I wouldn’t be able to run fast as I was concentrating on weight loss right now (read being very careful with my calories) and I had heard on a podcast that if you’re concentrating on weight loss you can’t expect speed.

Well my run started slowly, but then the next four kilometers were all very close to 6:00 kilometers. At the end, I was five seconds off of my fastest five km ever and boy was I kicking myself for that slow start.

This path would be a great place to try for a 5km record as it’s 2.48km out and it is about as flat as it gets around here.

This evening I also did 28 minutes of yoga. When I was at the library I took pictures of a yoga sequence in a magazine and decided to try it out as I know I need to do more stretching. The sequence was okay, but I ended up adding a whole bunch of other moves to it. I really need to sit down and make a list of yoga moves as when I’m doing them, I can’t think of any!

Reading:

I hit the library to return a book today and though I was not supposed to get any more books, I of course came home with four more. I plan to go curl up in bed and read as soon as I get this post up!

Cooking:

I knew I had no choice but to get at least one of my Fresh Prep meals cooked up today. I decided on the Veggie Machine Tahini Bowl. This recipe said it would take 25 minutes, however it took me 40 minutes. You start by roasting sweet potato and chickpeas and cooking rice. You then marinate kale and red cabbage and make a tahini dressing. You layer these ingredients and top with cilantro and avocado.

There was nothing difficult about this recipe and it did have a good kick of spice to it. Fresh Prep did forget to include the rice spice, but they have given me a credit for it, so that was kind of them and I didn’t notice it’s absence. I would definitely get this one again, but also feel that it would be quite easy to alter at home according to personal taste.

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For February, the challenge was Perfect Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I have to admit that I had no idea what this frosting was as I hadn’t heard of it. After making it, it reminds me of the frosting on a DQ ice cream cake and that used to be one of my favourite parts of that cake, so I’m glad I made it.

The recipe only takes five ingredients- egg whites, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. I was doing really well with the egg whites and sugar and I did get stiff peaks, however, once I added the butter and vanilla, my frosting was quite runny. I put it in the fridge like Sally suggests for this problem, but it never recovered.

The recipe didn’t seem super tough, but maybe I shouldn’t say that as I wasn’t particularly successful. One thing I would say about this recipe- I wouldn’t attempt it without a really good stand mixer!!!

These are my poor cupcakes which I will force upon my running buddies tomorrow.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

Knitting:

All the rest of my day has been taken up with knitting (oh and a little stitching so I have something to show for the SAL next week).

I seem to be averaging a Hat a day, so today’s hat is he Kitimat – another free pattern on Ravelry. This is actually named after the city North of me by many hours. The pattern page shows it in gray and white which I loved, but I also really liked it in my purple and white worsted weight. The pattern was really simple to follow, though I did find it a bit long. I also learned that I may use my Michael’s gift card for a Pom Pom market!

Finally I also made another small headband which got me to my stash goal. Every skein used now is just gravy!

That is my big problem- I want to make a sweater, but there are so many I want to make that I just can’t decide. It has gone past fun to debilitating. I am wondering how everyone else chooses what they are going to knit next?????

Well my books are calling me… right

Have fun!

AJ

No Plans Changed

Yesterday morning when I was with Lyndsay, she asked what I was doing this weekend and all I had planned was a run on each morning. Well that sure changed…

Exercise:

I slept in this morning and then had to rush to be ready for my run with Dennis. It was pouring out again so it was a good thing that I was meeting him. We ended up doing 6.52km. It felt fast and when we were on the way back I looked at my watch and saw it was at 4.67km and I could possibly set a new PR for 5km, so I tried to step up the pace. It worked! My old PR was 31:45 and now I’m at 31:18. My goal is 30 minutes (fast for me but slow for everyone else). I was very happy to be finished and change into dry clothes!

Socializing:

I met up with Dennis and his wife Martha for coffee and couldn’t believe how loud and noisy Starbucks was!

Later in the afternoon, Michelle who is Life of a Canadian Girl texted to see if I wanted to go for coffee. She asked if I had anywhere new on my radar and I told her the o my two I had were about an hour away. She had nothing else going on, so agreed to try one out. (Yes she just shot to friend #1!).

We headed out to The Polly Fox. It was a very cute spot- white furniture, exposed brick wall, and natural wood tables. The small fridge case was slightly bare as we were there later in the day, but it all looked very yummy! They also had a full blackboard of drinks ( including four non dairy alternative milk), and two page breakfast and lunch menu. I got a chai latte and a cinnamon bun to eat and they were both wonderful. It took me a few mouthfuls to identify that the strong flavour in the cinnamon bun was coconut, but it was definitely not a deterrent. Michelle had a London fog and a vegan cashew bar that she finished and said was good.

What I enjoyed most about this cafe and bakery was that it was quiet and the tables were spread out so you didn’t have to eavesdrop. It was a lovely change from Starbucks!

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For January the challenge was artisan bread. It was a very simple recipe of flour, salt, yeast and cool water that was left to rise for two- three hours and then you were encouraged to leave it for up to three days to build air bubbles in it.

I actually ended up making this recipe twice. I made it on Monday night and couldn’t leave it any longer than the two hours. I liked how this bread looked as it was a lovely browned dome, but unfortunately it didn’t rise a lot and it ended up being undervalued:(. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this one, but I cut off a thin slice from all four sides and then threw the rest away.

On Thursday night this week, I gave the recipe a second try. I had made the dough, using Bob’s Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (the recipe calls for bread flour but I don’t know if any gf bread flour) on Wednesday night and after leaving it to rise for the full three hours, I covered it and put it in the fridge. I have to admit that once again, it didn’t rise much in those three hours. On Thursday, I shapes it into two long loaves and then baked it. They only took about 18 minutes to cook rather than the 20-25. This time they were fully cooked, but it was a very hard and chewy bread. I ate all of it because even bad homemade bread is better than store bought, but I don’t think this is a recipe I will come back to again.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

I’m so grateful that my boring day at home turned into a fun day out with a friend:)

Have fun!

AJ