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Festive Holiday Baking

by Cindy - 0 Comment(s)

I love the smell of fresh bake bread. Something about it just makes me feel so warm inside. I'm no professional baker, but I quite enjoy the process. I like the fact that the ingredients are precise and unlike cooking, no fancy knife skills are required. Baking is a way for me to escape and go to my little happy place. Although sometimes I want to pull my hair out because I overbaked or it just didn't turn out the way it does in the picture. Through my times of experimenting, I found one receipe that always seem to work and as an added bonus it's a crowd pleaser!

Here's the receipe that never seems to fail. These cupcakes are so moist even if you still have a few sitting around a couple days later (which never seems the case).

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 1 medium sized banana)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) warm water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola, corn, or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. (The batter is quite thin)
  5. Pour or scoop the batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full, and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Frost with your favorite buttercream frosting.

(You can check out for more information)

There's always a recipe that I fall back to in situations of parties and potlucks. Do you have one to share? If so, please leave it in the comments, I would love to try it!

Holiday BakingChristmas BakingBakingCake Boss

Did you know that we also have books for Gluten free baking? (I wouldn't forget about you guys!)

Gluten Free BakingGluten Free BakingGluten Free

Forest Lawn's Favourites for 2011

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Over the last twelve months, we've read and watched a diverse selection of books and films at the Forest Lawn Library. In celebration of 2011 and the new year ahead, here's a look at some of our favourite books, DVDs and CDs that we loved this year. Who knows, maybe our favourites will be yours in 2012!

Galore by Michael CrummeySuzen's Favourite

Galore by Michael Crummey, published 2009 by Doubleday Canada.

Michael Crummey is a wonderful storyteller and I just loved this fantastical tale about a man born from the belly of a whale. This family saga has everything--superstition, magic, historical myths and striking descriptions of rural Newfoundland landscape.

Find it in the catalogue!

Bev's Favourite

Started Early Took My Dog by Kate AtkinsonStarted Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, published 2010 by Bondstreet Books.

Atkinson’s has multi-faceted characters – philosophical traveler Jackson Brodie a P.I. of sorts, battle worn Tracy Waterhouse searching for something more in life and elderly actress Tilly searching for memories of a life gone by. Lots of surprises.

Find it in the catalogue!

Cindy's Favourite

Hachi (DVD), Released in 2008

The story of Hachi is based on a Japanese film "Hachiko Monogatari" and it really captured the true loyalty in dogs. I am a dog owner myself, and the movie made me love my dog that much more! It is a heart warming and at the same time, heart breaking movie. I am not going to spoil the movie for you but I can tell you this... You might need a tissue box on the side.

Find it in the catalogue!

Dude WhereDanuta's Favourite

Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore, published 2003, Warner Books

This book is very interesting, shocking, eye-opening and to some level educational! It is about how AMERICA is dealing with terrorism. It's controversial but definitely a great read!

Find it in the catalogue!

Elizabeth's Favourite

It's a Wonderful Life, Released 1946

The 1946 American Christmas Drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story "The Greatest gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern. It's a wonderful life. When it was remade in colour it actually ruined the experience for me, so I gave away my colour copy and experience only the black and white.

It's Wonderful life is an oldie, but what a goodie! This is the perfect time of year to reflect on the important message that "He who has friends is truly rich."

I feel truly rich myself when surrounded by my family for our traditional viewing of this movie on Christmas Eve, accompanied by Chinese food. This tradition was started on the very first Christmas I knew my husband and the story is a funny one. I will shorten it and say only that I was unable to cook dinner and was unable to change the channel on my t.v. due to "appartment issues" and we were stuck just turning on the t.v. Well on that very first Christmas Eve together, what should be on the only channel I could get but "It's a Wonderful Life" and it has been a wonderful life ever since.

Find it in the catalogue!

Pat's Favourite

Il Volo, CD, released 2011 by Geffen

Think Il Divo - only a younger generation. These 3 young men (15 and 16 yrs old) from Italy as well have beautiful voices - such a treat to listen to.

Find it in the catalogue!

Bonnie by Iris JohansenCarole's Favourite

Bonnie by Iris Johansen, published 2011, St. Martin's Press

Avid readers will find out if forensic sculptor Eve Duncan finally finds resolution to her decade-long search for her murdered daughter Bonnie in this latest installment of Iris Johansen’s popular series.

Find it in the catalogue!

Carol's Favourites

Mercy Now, Mary Gauthier, relased 2005 by Lost Highway

Southern Bluesy - superb - I love this lady. Moving lyrics with wonderful sound. My fav of favs - 'Mercy Now', 'I Drink' ...

Find it in the catalogue!

Memphis Blues, Cyndi Lauper, released 2010 by Mercer Street Records

Cyndi's forte' - who would have thought. Bluesy and wonderful. The whole cd is a work of art - My fav of favs - 'Romance In the Dark', 'Just Your Fool', 'Mother Earth'.

Find it in the catalogue!