Momofuku Bagel Bombs

This summer has been busy, but it’s also been pretty great. Last weekend I flew out to Toronto to celebrate the marriage of my amazing friend Heidi to her now-husband Colin. It was an incredibly fun trip, flying with my friend Megan and staying with our friend Lauren. I don’t know how I manage, but whenever I visit Toronto, it’s in July, and it’s generally obnoxiously hot, this trip was no exception. Thankfully Lauren had an amazing fan, and we powered through!

The wedding was beautiful and Lauren and her boyfriend, Brian, were awesome hosts (no surprise there)! Food highlight of the trip (other than the amazing wedding food!) was Lauren making Momofuku bagel bombs. I’ve actually had this recipe tucked away for a long time, but as with most things Momofuku, I was somewhat intimidated. But, Lauren confidently whipped these up, and I helped her wrap the dough around the cream cheese plugs, and they were incredible! These are actually really easy, they just take a bit of time to prep, with the plugs needing some time to freeze and the dough needing to rest. That said, prep these on a Friday night, and your Saturday morning will be GLORIOUS. The real perk of these is that you can mix up the filling, and I am planning on adding some smoked salmon and dill next time around.

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Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Well I guess my last few posts, spaced very dramatically apart over the last couple years were a suggestion that poor NotCrocker was left on its own. I’ve been around, checking in, but largely just figuring out life. And it’s been alright. I produced a short film, am still doing that. Flew to London and most recently I’ve started a new job, and am finally getting back to things that make me happy. It’s been a crazy 2-3 years. Truly, since I’ve moved to Vancouver, my whole life has been a bit topsy-turvey. I moved to Vancouver in August of 2011, packed into the moving truck with my dad at the wheel, it was the exciting start to a new adventure. We arrived, settled into my new place and struck off on my new life. I’ve met some incredible people in this city. My Masters program was a huge part of my feeling settled and part of something. My best friends are those I met in the program, women whose drive and intelligence inspire me. And since finishing coursework, the jobs I’ve held have all been an amazing source of learning and growing for me. I loved being part of the NFB team, and while I am sad to move on, I have been really enjoying my new path.

In the midst of all the newness, my dad was diagnosed with and passed away from cancer. It was a traumatic time, and it changed me a lot. My dad and I were close, he was a wonderful man who really shaped who I am, and how I go through the world. His passing taught me a lot about myself, lessons I am still learning, really.

All to say, a lot has changed, but my love for NotCrocker has remained. I’ve baked and cooked plenty over the last couple years. I’ve made cakes and cookies, casseroles and salads. I’ve come up with new combos and tweaked old, I’ve just not had the energy or brainspace to focus on this, something just for myself. NotCrocker is my space, it’s always been where I’ve come to be creative. The last couple of years were a bit of a suck on my resources, and I feel that a lot of myself was swept under the rug while I was busy serving other interests. Enough of that. I am going to, admittedly slowly, start posting again. And I am excited. I’d love suggestions for recipes, requests, new things to try!

For today’s recipe, I am channeling my deep, deep love of rhubarb. Seriously folks, I love rhubarb. I love dipping a stalk in sugar and taking a bite. Rhubarb just tastes like summer. I even like rhubarb and strawberry pie… and I barely like pie as a rule, so that’s pretty special. The tangy, brightness of rhubarb just goes so well with buttery-sweet baking. My mom caught wind of my desire to have some tasty rhubarb treats and when we ended up at my sister’s place that weekend, my sister proceeded to whip up a delicious crumble. She chopped up the extra rhubarb and we popped it in the freezer so I could take it home and do some baking of my own. Well, of course I forgot it, and only now, two weeks later, have I hunted down my own in Vancouver. To start, Rhubarb Coffee Cake!

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Campfire Bars – Butter Baked Goods

My mom’s 60th birthday was yesterday, December 21st and we kicked it off (and her time in Vancouver) with a surprize visit from my sister, a trip to Cavalia’s Odysseo and dinner at Sula. It was an incredible day, and truly it was also a celebration of my mom’s retirement which began on Thursday! Odysseo was incredible, the horses were beautiful and so well trained. There were often 20 horses on the stage and as many people, moving around without problem. The acrobatics were incredible, as is to be expected from a Cirque du Soliel show. The set was incredible, with a hill climbing up the back, the set was like a real field. It’s hard to describe the vastness of the set, but trust me, it was amazing and I would recommend anyone to go.

Also, and probably most importantly, after my sister, mom, and I finished our dinner, Kellie went up to pay for her part while I went to the washroom. Kellie mentioned that I, her sister, would be paying the other half. The cashier said, “Oh nice, are you all sisters?” Well my mom was just tickled! She does look young for 60, and clearly they thought she was young enough to be a sister to us, her daughters in their 20’s! There mom, now EVERYONE knows!

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Dark Chocolate & Candied Ginger Cookies for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

It’s that time of year again, cookie swap time! I was so thrilled to participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap last year, so of course I hustled to sign up again this year. There is nothing I love more than seeing what other bloggers create and also hearing if they’ve enjoyed my creations!

It was my absolute pleasure to send a batch of these to Gastronomical Sovereignty (soon to be She Eats)Peanut Butter and Onion, and the Savour Sisters. Check out these lovely blogs and help support incredible Canadian Food Bloggers! Of course, food bloggers from around the world participated, and I will post a link to the full list when it is posted on Monday!

Sadly, I have only received two of my three swap batches, but that’s alright because those I did receive we FANTASTIC! Further to this sadness though is that I promptly lost both the cards from both the batches that I did receive so I am going to keep an eagle out for their recipes so I can properly link to them and thank them here. I figured one out!

First, from Sweet Twist of Baking, I received delicious espresso short bread with dried cherries and almonds, which I ate with tea and coffee. They were so buttery and just lightly sweet that they felt appropriate for first thing in the morning… and in the afternoon… and before I went to bed. The other batch were sugar cookies (I believe… I am terrible at naming cookie types). They were thin but sturdy with a good bite. The icing on top was PERFECT, with little silver dragees for sparkle and crunch. These also got promptly gobbled up with tea and coffee. So, thanks to those two wonderful bloggers who I promise I will name when I a) hear from you; b) hunt down your recipe; c)find your cards.

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Family Classic: Cherry Surprizes

Oh goodness, it has been a long time since I’ve posted! Not for lack of baking, it’s been a busy baking season, so I have loads of posts coming up. I love the Christmas season, I’ve had a lot of stuff going on, including going to the Stuart McLean Christmas show last weekend, which was absolutely lovely. At work we’ve implemented an awesome Christmas Calendar of fun. Last week I was responsible for Cookie Wednesday, my offerings are pictured below the recipe (the other cookies and bars picture will come up later this week) and on friday, Kat and Kathryn brought in hot chocolate and Baileys which made for an indulgent morning. To add to my Christmas joy, we had a Christmas/winter-themed trivia night with the NFB-Bads at Teri and Brian’s apartment which was incredibly fun. And finally, to make the week full of joy, Karen, Kat and myself lunched at the Vancouver Christmas Market, which is a German market. Awesome!

Also, I rearranged our tiny little living room to accommodate the Christmas tree, and it makes the space look huge! Huzzah!

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Magic Bars… Double Brown Sugar Cookie Bars

Honestly, I am in a bit of a state. I cannot believe that we are a week away from December and just over a month from Christmas. Oy, this fall has flown by. I need to finish getting Christmas presents. I need to tell people what I want for Christmas. I need to make stacks and stacks of gingerbread houses for my gingerbread house party. I need to make my Food Blogger Cookie Exchange cookies and send those out. I need to do SO MANY THINGS.

At least it is sunny, my paper is coming along nicely, and I live in a city I love. Mom gets here for a visit in less than a month, and I am going to do some awesome tub renoing (redoing the caulking) next weekend, which I am strangely excited for. So things are moving quickly, but stuff is happening and that is great. Also, I had my contract extend at the NFB for another session, so that’s great news as well, and I am happy to get to stick around.

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Surprize Tea Cookies

I still haven’t gotten around to correcting the issues with my site, so I am sorry about the smaller images crunched over to the side. I am looking at new style, and may do some testing with it tomorrow. We’ll see.

I can’t believe that we are half-way through November and well on our way to Christmas. I am really looking forward to visiting with my mom when she comes down to visit. It will be just a week but she is going to stay with us for another week in January, which will also be great. Holidays are wonderful and while I look forward to another year when our whole family can get together, having my mom stay with us will be special (sorry you have to sleep on the couch!).

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Almond Puff

Oh sunshine and daylight savings, I love you both. Waking up this morning at 7:45am to sunshine and feeling well-rested was GLORIOUS. I’ve been happily working away at my thesis, and pondering a trip to Fort McMurray to visit my sister and her family. Hopefully I will get to go this coming weekend, in lieu of my trip for Thanksgiving. It would be so nice to see my sweet little nieces in person again, as well as meet my new dog niece and of course see my sister and my brother-in-law.

As I sit here, typing up this beloved recipe, smelling the ham and black beans Gen has cooking on the stove, and anticipating my piece of almond puff after dinner, I feel so crazy lucky to be living in Vancouver, doing something I enjoy. I mean, I’d feel luckier if all the people I love were in the immediate vicinity, but as it is, life is good.

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Chewy Rich Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Oh fall bring such wonderful things. The leaves all got together and decided that yesterday was the day to start their mass-drop. As I walked home, I kicked through piles of gold and red. The scene right now from my window is autumnal perfection, a rainbow of trees from green to fiery red.

Another great thing brought about by fall, was a wonderful visit from one of my favourite people, Lauren P.! Lauren was in town for her graduation and she brought her mom! Lots of beers, smiles, and good times were had. The weather cooperated, a conspirator in our plot to woo Lauren back to the West (best) coast. Her mom felt the lure of the better half of Canada, but ultimately they hopped their plane back to Toronto yesterday afternoon.

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Decadent Granola Bars

Well my goodness, the winter light has already started to sink me down into snoozy mode. I am wearing fleece socks, making lots of tea, cozying up with scarves. Today the sun is shining but the air is crisp, this is my favourite type of weather. Our office is also crazily hot when you first enter it and then it cools off as you sit around on your tuchus all day, so it gives me a chance to warm up from my walk in and then cool off as the day grows longer.

Oh, one of our projects just went live! The Last Hunt is a gorgeous interactive story experience that is available as a free app for your tablet devices (iPad and Android). You can also view it online in a browser here (also click there for a link to download the app). The story is described below:

“Equal parts tenderness, brutality, love and death, The Last Hunt dives deep into the motivations that led Montreal photographer Alex Hobbs to photograph his grandfather’s last hunting expedition, exposing both the strength of family bonds, and the implicit spirituality within the endlessly pragmatic act of hunting.”

So, turn your sound on, and go check it out.

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