exploring, preserving: past, present

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A Day of Kindness, A Day of Action

Joy of Education

Today, Newtown asks us to perform random acts of kindness.
I’m asking you to read what’s below, and do more than just an act of kindness. Manitoba’s children are living in abject poverty and deplorable conditions. Write your member of Legislature, donate to a food bank, and act now. Our children’s futures are at stake.

“Despite a small dip in the past year, the use of food banks in Manitoba remains sky high, and the percentage of children relying on them is the highest in Canada.”

“Close to 45 per cent of users in Manitoba were children, well above the Canadian average of 36.4 per cent,” and the highest in Canada.

“In Brandon, where she works, 24 per cent of all food-bank users are working people — double the national rate.”


“Food Banks Canada called on governments to invest in affordable housing, better income supports and to “increase…

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Maple Pecan Multigrain Sticky Buns #Recipe

Oh my, this recipe turned out so unbelievably good! I have a mother-in-law who bakes unbelievably amazing cinnamon buns, and a brother-in-law who also bakes unbelievably amazing cinnamon buns. I was on a mission to adjust a recipe for cinnamon buns to make them truly sticky buns, but with a healthier mix of grains for the flour. Well folks, this is it! Our girls ate this up so quickly the buns were gone in just over a day! Here’s the recipe, hope you enjoy it!

Maple Pecan Multigrain Sticky Buns
3 1/2 – 4 cups multigrain flour (I make my own mix with flax, oats, barley flour, spelt, wheat germ, all-purpose white flour, and ground almond…but this recipe works just as well with plain all-purpose flour)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 envelopes yeast
1 cup warm milk (I use skim milk – heavier milk works too)
1/3 cup margarine
1 egg

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves
3 tbsp maple syrup

4 tbsp margarine
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

For the dough:
Combine 2 cups of flour, the sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the milk, margarine (soft), and egg. Beat together. Stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead dough for approximately 5 minutes, rolling into a ball. Keep in the bowl, covered with a clean large towel. Let rise in a warm place until size has doubled, approximately 1 hour.

For the topping:
Bring the brown sugar and margarine to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the corn and maple syrups. Pour into the bottom of a 13″x9″ greased pan. Sprinkle pecan halves on top.

The topping, waiting while the dough rises in a separate bowl.

The topping, waiting while the dough rises in a separate bowl.

Back to the dough:
Punch down the dough after it has doubled in size. Roll out into a large 15″x10″ rectangle. Spread the topping margarine onto the rectangle. Combine chopped pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle the mixture over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly, pinching seams to seal. Cut into 15 pieces and place onto the topping in your pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 12-48 hours (it’s best after at least 24 hours!).

Sticky buns, prepped and heading for the fridge for a 12-48 hour rest.

Sticky buns, prepped and heading for the fridge for a 12-48 hour rest.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees C, for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Let stand 3 minutes in the pan, then invert onto serving platter. Best served warm!

Baked pecan maple multigrain sticky buns...yum!

Baked pecan maple multigrain sticky buns…yum!


Saturday Upside…Mom’s Christmas Baking

Growing up with a mother who is an excellent baker, the weeks leading up to holidays were always busy and special. November was always a month full of preparations for Christmas, with a long list of “must be baked” favourite cookie recipes and the obligatory Christmas fruit cake (which was not dry like the rhetorical/proverbial ones many people speak of, it was so very yummy and glazed with sherry…mmm. Wait, that’s for another blog post! Back to cookies….)

Mom had a list of special requests that had to be baked every Christmas: whipped shortbread, scottish shortbread, chocolate ladyfingers, soft white iced cookies, date cookies with corn flakes coating, sherry-soaked fruit cake, mincemeat tarts, butter tarts, and that’s not even half of the list.

My mother Margret, on the right. I love this picture of her!

My mother Margret, on the right. I love this picture of her!

From my elementary-aged years on, I always wanted to help out with the baking. I learned her cookie recipes and I’ve made them many times since then.
This year, I tried a brand new cookie recipe. I think it’s a keeper, one that will be added to our ever-growing list of “we have to bake this for Christmas!” list. The recipe for these “Everything Cookies” is created by me, with the Chipits Chocolate Cookie recipe as a starter/inspiration and what was in my cupboards at the time as the many additions and adjustments! Please try it out and let me know what you think!

"Everything" Cookies cooling on the rack.

“Everything” Cookies cooling on the rack.

Everything Cookies
1 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup craisins
1 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
2/3 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add vanilla and eggs to this, whipping the mixture until fluffy. Gradually stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and oatmeal. Add remaining ingredients gradually (chocolate chips, craisins, toffee bits, flax seeds, coconut).

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool slightly on pan, then remove to cooling racks while still warm. Do not let cookies cool on the pan or they will become hard and stick to the pan!

Recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies.