Your Burning Baking Questions for B

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If you’re new to this blog, welcome! I love meeting new people who love baking as much as I do.

If you’ve been following for awhile, you’ll know that in addition to having a giant sweet-tooth, part of my passion for baking lies comes from how I cope with stress. But I get a lot of questions about my favorite recipes, methods and my baking experiences both online and in person, so I thought I’d attempt to answer a few more of them here. Maybe we can even get to know each other a little better!

What was the first thing you ever made? Some of my earliest memories are of helping my mother in the kitchen but the first thing I ever baked all by myself were these chocolate brownies.

Are there any recipes you know off by heart? Yeah, that one! And the one for peanut butter cookies because it’s so freaking easy.

What’s the easiest thing you’ve made? I’d say pretty much all of the stuff I’ve featured on the blog is pretty easy (otherwise I wouldn’t blog about it!) but these peanut butter cookies, this peach cobbler, these minty Nanaimo bars, these butterscotch treats, and these S’mores Squares were among the easiest. Oh! And applesauce, although I don’t think that really counts as “baking”.

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve made? Making your own pastry dough like I describe here is pretty labor-intensive. If you’ve never baked anything before, it’s probably not the best recipe to start with but mostly I think it’s just all of the steps that make it intimidating.

Where do you get your inspiration from? I read lots of cookbooks (found here and here), but I also used to collect magazine clippings like crazy. That was kind of getting out of hand so I’ve relegated a lot of my collection onto Pinterest and into my recipe book. I also read a ton of amazing baking blogs run by talented bloggers, all of whom are way better bakers than I am.

Do you only bake for your blog? Yes and no. Mostly I bake for myself, family, friends or co-workers (especially if there’s a special occasion). I enjoy trying new recipes all the time but since I started featuring more of my baking on the blog I’ve made a more concerted effort to vary the kinds of things I make, and the flavors I use. So yes, sometimes I find a new recipe to try out for the blog specifically, but I’m constantly returning to my favorites in between.

Have you ever considered making baked goods on commission? Are you going to open a bakery? I don’t have my food handler’s certificate, or any formal culinary training so probably not. I kind of like the idea of feeding a bunch of people and getting paid for it, though, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

Do you cook as often as you bake? Not as much, although I do like cooking a lot. I don’t often like eating big meals so I’m more of a grazer throughout the day- fresh fruits and veggies, and yogurt. Oh man, yogurt. I usually save my more substantial recipes for other people. Maybe I’ll share one or two on the blog in the future!

What’s the one thing you haven’t baked? I have yet to successfully make meringue, and as of yet I’ve never attempted a soufflé. (It kind of scares me.) I’ve also never made a cheesecake- no particular reason, I just haven’t done it yet!

What is your all-time favorite dessert? There haven’t been many baked goods that I’ve met and haven’t liked, but there’s nothing like a dense, moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed getting the chance to know me a little bit more- now I want to know a little bit more about you! What’s your favorite dessert? What’s the one recipe you’ve always been too intimidated to bake? Leave your answers below, and make sure to link to your favorite recipes on your blog! When it comes to baking, the more the merrier.

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Keeping Busy with G

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Sometimes my Mama does this thing where she sits at her box she calls computer and looks for hours until she makes faces and her eyes go funny. She calls it “blog” but I think she says “dog” so I gets confused and I sneaks on box when no one is looking and now I gets really confused because I thought mama called it “Keeping Busy with G” but it’s “B” and that’s HER name not MINE.

Who am I? I am Gemma the dog and mama tells me I am something like collie and German Shepard and maybe whippet because I runs so fast. I have blue eye since I was baby which doctor says is freckle not cataract which maybe also means husky background, but mostly I just think I am dog, maybe mixed with cat. Cats are like small dog which means friendly and smell nice like fish but sometimes not friendly so mama says careful, which is fine, because I am shy.

Mommy is the best and I never leaves her side because the world might explode but I can’t BELIEVES she leaves me out of blog-that-is-not-dog that lives on box but maybe it’s because blog has viewpoints on which we DISAGREE.

Firstly, I loves MESS. What’s the point of kibble if you can’t stores it under the bed for midnight snacks? Dirty laundry is for snuggles, not for hamper. And why do I gets blamed all the time for the fur on the floor? Where else do I leaves it?

I losing count. Where was I?

Also, the thing about mess is it be TASTY. Sometimes mama cooks the good stuff and throws it on the floor accidentally-on-purpose but lately all the stuff mama cooks is for blog-not-dog but if it blog-for-dog why doesn’t mama cook the stuff Gemma can eats? Mama says baking bad for dogs. So why does Mama talk about bad stuff on blog?

I takes over blog now so real blog-for-dog. I changes the password and now Mama makes stuff Gemma wants for ransom. (I sees man do it on box-that-is-called-TV.) Monday it be Baking with G. We bakes the following tasty treats: ham cake, bacon tarts, tuna cupcakes and cheese pie. Mama bakes. I eats. But please to tell me what is Monday. I don’t know time, or days of week.

Mama is coming. Uh-oh. Big trouble now. I sees you Monday!

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Gemma is a part-time scaredy cat and full-time dog that is known for her appearances on Instagram. When she’s not snapping selfies on social media, you can find her mooching cheese and chasing squirrels on the streets of Toronto, Ontario, where she has lived for the first and only decade of her life. This is her first blog post.

 

Porch 4.0

One of the biggest draws of renting this apartment is the outdoor patio space located directly outside my window facing the back parking lot of the building. It may not be the prettiest view, but having a small outdoor space all to my self makes my rental feel bigger in the warmer months, almost as if the patio acts like an extra room to eat or simply chill.

I’ve had the chance to dip my toes into gardening before and really enjoyed it (maybe even almost as much as baking, although I wouldn’t go that far!). So when I moved here four summers ago I decided not to let the jungle of concrete deter me from having an enjoyable outdoor space. Over the years, my patio has slowly evolved growing into a makeshift garden space that’s perfect for sipping my morning coffee and getting lost in a book.

I started out pretty low-key when I first moved in the spring of 2013. I’m guessing my priorities veered more towards buying furniture than starting a garden from scratch. My dad very kindly bought me the hanging baskets as a housewarming gift.

KBB_porch_2013The next year I was craving a little bit more privacy, so with a few extra dollars in my budget I decided to add a few more decorative items and plants to make my porch feel like it was just an extension of my apartment. So in 2014 it looked a little something like this:

KBB_porch_2014_1With my dog, Gemma, keeping watch outside my evenings when the light was still out often looked a little something like this:

KBB_porch_2014_2I still miss all of those chalk hearts that I drew all over the concrete ground. At the time I was think it was meant to be symbolic of a safe, loving space but looking back on them now, they were still tons of fun. Unfortunately I discovered that chalk art and dogs don’t really mix. I’d often come back inside to find Gemma covered in rainbow stripes.

Despite the addition of my herb garden, I still hadn’t quite satisfied my green thumb. Some new garden-crazy neighbors moved in upstairs in 2015 and the clippings from their plants transformed my porch into a green oasis. (The new green deck chairs helped.)

KBB_porch_2015Friends and neighbors started dropping off unwanted plants, or plants that needed rescuing and I was more than happy to welcome them into my brood. Unfortunately, a lot of these family members were only seasonal so I find myself back at square one for this upcoming spring.

The nights are still chilly and some mornings I wake to find frost still lingering on the ground, but I’ve already started scheming and dreaming. (Here’s how I do some of my garden research here.) Seeds are starting to sprout in their containers lounging on my windowsill. Already, I’m squirreling away extra cash to fund some of the projects I have planned. This year I’m hoping to find a balance between greenery and recreational space so I can make the most of my porch while I’m able.

When the beautiful weather hits, I know I’m going to be more than ready.

KBwB-BFlower-50I’d love to hear more about your upcoming plans for spring and your outdoor spaces, or maybe you have a suggestion for mine! Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

If you want to see a little bit more about how I’ve organized my own personal spaces you can check out how I styled my bookshelf here, the story of how I purged everything in my apartment here, how I organized my closet here and some of the things I just can’t figure out how to organize here.