Cinnamon Swirl Spelt Loaf

There was an ice storm raging outside the house yesterday morning, but I went ahead and pulled out the ingredients to bake bread anyway.

The schools were closed; all three kids and Danny were home. Traffic and weather authorities had cautioned us not to leave the house, and we had no desire to venture out. I had no groceries, but figured that if I could get a couple of loaves of bread baked off, at least we could have toast and eggs or sandwiches for supper.

I just didn’t count on the power going out. Twice.

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Mini Citrus Pavlovas

A quick check of the weather before I sat down to write this post informed me that another snowstorm was on the way.

We may be all dreaming of spring, with its rhubarb galettes and strawberry pie, but the reality is that we’ll be embracing citrus fruits for a while still here in Montreal. That’s fine with me, because a friend’s new book, Simply Citrus, is inspiring me to stock up on grapefruit and tangerines, limes and lemons.

Around here, blustery winds and fresh snowdrifts are totally normal for March, and today’s mini pavlovas match the elements.  Crisp white meringues are reminiscent of the frosty snowbanks that blanket our homestead from end to end, while soft peaks of whipped cream cover them like the freshly fallen snow.

I think winter desserts are every bit as elegant as summer, and pavlovas are at the absolute top of the list. Read on for the mini citrus pavlova recipe, plus a giveaway of Simply Citrus.

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How to make a Chocolate Icebox Number Cake

It’s no secret that I like to play around in the kitchen, and today’s birthday cake is a perfect example of such amusement.

My leap year baby hits double digits this year, and since there is no 29th this month, we celebrated with friends and family last weekend. In the past he’s had a chess cake, an ice cream cake, and various other confections, but this year he specifically wanted an icebox cake.

The icebox cake is also know as a chocolate wafer cake or a Zebra cake, and consists simply of Nabisco chocolate wafters and sweetened whipped cream. In Canada, people use Mr. Christie chocolate wafers, and the ‘recipe’ is everywhere. My kids discovered this dessert one Christmas, when we made Joy the Baker’s icebox Yule log, and have loved it ever since.

When Mateo requested an icebox cake for his birthday, I decided to raise the bar and have some fun in the process.

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Overnight Spiced Stollen Swirl Buns

This morning, as I sat down with a notebook and a pen to make a menu plan for the week, I was filled with such a tangible sense of gratitude; how fortunate I was to be able to outline our eats straight through to Boxing Day.

Noah and I donated some time to a local food bank last week, and I saw first-hand what many people in my community will have to eat over the holidays. Not much, I’m afraid. It is a huge privilege to be able to plan party nibbles, brunch baking, and pot-luck dishes. That is not something I take for granted.

We’re having a bit of a quiet, minimalist Christmas this year. No huge parties or multi-course meals are in the plans, and most of our gift shopping was from the World Vision gift catalogue (really the coolest thing). Here and there, we’ve taken small steps to make a positive impact on our global community – something that’s so desperately needed these days. This is the season for giving, after all.

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for overnight spice swirl buns with you for a while now. I’m not sure how it fits into my feelings of gratitude and gifting today, but perhaps it will inspire you to bake up a tray of buns and share them with someone this holiday season.

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Rhubarb & Orange Frangipane Galette

I hope you still have some rhubarb on hand, because we’re baking with it today.

I wasn’t originally going to share this galette with you as it is more of a hodge-podge of recipes than an original creation of my own, but it was so delicious, I knew I had to at least point you in the direction of my inspiration and hope that you are similarly compelled to bake.

As is the custom, it started with an over abundance of rhubarb in my garden and a not much time to fuss over a dessert. Rhubarb cornmeal muffins are delicious, as is my upside down cake, but I was contributing the sweet finish to a family dinner and wanted to contribute something light and pretty. Something that said “Spring!”.

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