Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread.

Summer is approaching so you know what that means?! Delicious, ripe, sweet, and juicy fruit. Yes, I’m excited for fruit… don’t judge me.

For the past month I have been wanting to bake with strawberries. Originally, I wanted to make a strawberry cake but after searching through recipes and finally settling on one, I decided to opt for a Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread instead. I still want to make a strawberry cake, however, I need to go buy round cake pans first.

So here is my strawberry bread.


I tried to make it pretty, by adding strawberries on top and making them look like little hearts, but I guess during baking when the batter rised it caused the strawberries to separate instead.. Oh well, I tried…. Nonetheless, I am happy with the way it turned out. The bread is really moist and the baked strawberries give you some tartness that helps to balance out the sweetness from the sponge.



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White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.

So I guess I haven’t baked anything in the longest time nor have I really eaten out. I’ve been working 40-50 hours a week and I’ve recently been offered a new position at work. So yeah, I’ve basically been M.I.A. from life altogether. But what better way to get back into baking than with a cheesecake.

After searching around for a recipe, I settled on this one from The Little Kitchen. Instead of a chocolate graham cracker crust, I stuck with the traditional graham cracker crust instead. I had my qualms about my cheesecake batter, as I don’t think I left my cream cheese out long enough and I forgot to set my eggs out to room temperature. My batter wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be… but lo and behold everything still turned out A-okay!


I was attempting to make swirls.. however there was just too much raspberry filling that I kind of had to smear everything together to use it all up. Next time, I will pour half the cheesecake filling, some raspberry, then more cheesecake and top it off with the remainder of the raspberry in order to get a better swirl. But aside from that, I think it turned out pretty delicious.

After a long day at work, who wouldn’t look forward to coming home and eating this bad boy.

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I think I found my life’s passion… I think I’m going to become a chicken + waffles connoisseur.

At the beginning of March, a new chicken + waffles joint opened in Toronto right in the heart of Kensington Market. Let me introduce you to The DIRTYBIRD Chicken + Waffles, a restaurant specializing in Northern Fried Chicken. Located at 79 Kensington Avenue, the DIRTYBIRD brings you a southern staple with a Canadian twist — blending some form of maple into fried chicken.

The restaurant is small with limited seating, similar to most other restaurants in the area. My friend and I luckily managed to snag seats along the wall. I ordered the ODB — the original dirty bird — which was basically just a large piece of boneless meat on top of a waffle.

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The waffle was quite delicious — light, fluffy, and warm with a hint of maple buttery goodness. The chicken was perfectly cooked — moist, juicy, and tender. I’m not sure what the red sauce on top was, but it was amazingly flavourful, the perfect combination of sweet and tangy. When you combine all these components into a single bite, it’s like heaven in your mouth.

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School Restaurant, located at 70 Fraser Ave, in Toronto’s Liberty Village specializes in delivering you an amazing brunch experience. Upon arrival at around 11:30 AM on a Sunday, there was quite a crowd around the entrance of patrons waiting to get a table. School is a walk-in restaurant only, meaning no reservations. That may put you off a bit, but in my opinion it’s definitely worth the wait.

On this specific day, a table for two required a wait time of 50 minutes. The restaurant utilizes a tablet where they take down your number and send you a text message when your table is ready, so feel free to explore the surrounding area. My friend and I had ventured to the nearby Tim Horton’s to grab a coffee and some timbits (only because we were super hungry).

Forty minutes into our wait, we got the text message that our table was ready for us. So we scurried back to the restaurant where our table was waiting for us. Already having had our coffee and tea, we got down to the nitty gritty and ordered our entrees. We both got the Black ‘N’ Blue Flapjacks (otherwise known as pancakes). I was really debating between the pancakes or the chicken and waffles, but ultimately I chose pancakes because we made plans to go for chicken and waffles on Friday.


We also ordered a side of Sugar Cured Ontario Bacon and Grilled Turkey Breakfast Sausages. The sausages weren’t anything special, but the bacon was delicious. At first, I was kind of put off by “sugar cured” thinking that the bacon would be overly sweet, however, there was only a mild sweetness to the bacon which was balanced out by the smokiness.

It was tough, but we finished our pancakes and slowly, like really slowly, made our way out of the restaurant. Overall, the food was amazing and the service was great! I will definitely be coming back to try the chicken and waffles, hopefully in the summer when patio season begins.

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Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes.

I wasn’t in the best of moods yesterday so I decided to do some therapeutic baking. For Christmas I asked for and received a mini bundt cake pan which I finally got around to using. Chocolate + cake + cute little bundts are definitely a mood booster in opinion.


I followed the Mini Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe from Bake to the Roots, minus the ganache and decorations. The bundt cake pan I own makes 6 mini bundts. This recipe yields 18 mini cakes, but it worked out perfectly for 6. I guess my cakes aren’t mini after all.

The recipe was pretty straight forward, but instead of the 1/2 cup of melted butter, I used 1/2 cup of oil instead. As picture above, I think my cakes turned out beautifully. They easily slid out of the pan and developed a beautiful bundt shape.

Processed with Rookie These cakes had a soft, perfectly aerated crumb. They were perfectly moist inside with a slightly crisp outer shell. The flavour of the cake was quite mild, surprisingly not very sweet given the cup of sugar added. Add a drizzle of melted chocolate, and it’s the perfect indulgence. It’s sure to boost any mood.

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Eating in Banff.

I recently went on a trip to Banff, Alberta. The purpose of my trip was to see the mountains, as I love mountains. I never really considered Banff to be a food destination so I wasn’t really particularly focused on what I was eating. However, I did come across a couple places, with relatively cheap eats, in a town where meals can get quite pricey.

IMG_2160My first stop upon arrival was Barpa Bill’s located on 223 Bear Street. I ordered the chicken souvlaki pita and my total came up to $9. It’s a small little place, with one or two tables and some counter seats. There was a TV playing a hockey game when I was there. I would highly recommend this place  if you want to stop in for some deliciously good, inexpensive greek food. Fill up your stomachs before heading out for a hike. Looking at the picture (although not so great), I could definitely go for another pita right about now.

IMG_2255After a long day in Lake Louise, once back in Banff, I headed to the downtown core where I stopped at Pad Thai located at 110 Banff Avenue inside the Clock Tower Village Mall. Again, this was a small restaurant with one guy working. Upon walking in, he sat me down at a table and brought me a menu and a glass of water. After skimming through the menu for some time, I finally settled on a hot bowl of Tom Yum Noodle Soup. I can’t really judge the authenticity of the dish as I’ve never had Tom Yum Soup before, but I can say that it was a well seasoned dish. I just remember it getting super spicy after a while (mind you, my tolerance for spice is quite low), but nonetheless it was still delicious. I my total meal came up to about $13 + tip. Overall, the food was tasty and the service was great!

IMG_2327One afternoon, I took the local ROAM bus to Canmore which took roughly 20 minutes. I was starving and wanted to catch a quick bite before heading out to explore the trails. I stopped at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. the one located in the downtown core at 102-830 Main St. (8th). I ordered the Canuck bagel which contained eggs, bacon and cheese and chose a whole grain bagel. I think this came up to about $8. It was delicious! Although it did kind of just remind me of a higher quality breakfast sandwich from Tim Horton’s. Yummy nonetheless! You can’t ever go wrong with eggs, bacon, and cheese. Here you order at the counter, and they hand you placard to take with you which you place on your table and a server brings you your food when its ready. The ambiance was cozy, café style. It was relatively busy when I was there that afternoon. Most of the tables were occupied, but I managed to easily snag one.

IMG_2514On my last night in Banff, I decided to stop by Chaya, a really small Japanese restaurant located on 118 Banff Ave. I walked in, and the place was full. The waitress told me I would have to reserve a table and I told her I would leave and come back. She proceeded to fill out a ticket for me, which told me to come back in about 10 minutes, which I did. At first I sat down, stupidly waiting for someone to come, but then I realized you had to order at the counter first. So I decided to get the Miso Ramen which was $10… not bad for a bowl of ramen, right? After ordering, I sat down at my table and minutes later a server brought my food over. Visually, the ramen was underwhelming. I’m used to ramen with lots of fillings, like seaweed and corn, this ramen was very beige in colour, topped with bean sprouts and ground meat. I remember it tasted fine, but it wasn’t anything amazing. I don’t really remember much of it to be honest. My expectations weren’t high, as I didn’t expect to go to Banff and eat amazing ramen. Overall, it was just a cheap eat, filled my belly for the night and that was about it.

IMG_2520The morning of my last day there, it snowed! That was exciting, not cause I’ve never seen snow before, I’m from Toronto, we see lots of snow, but because Banff was surprisingly warm and cloudy the whole time I was there. After a morning walk, and getting covered in snow, I stopped in at the Wild Flour Bakery on 211 Bear St. It was a cozy, cute café with lots of delectable sweet and savoury food options. I got a peach & ginger muffin with a cup of sencha green tea. Found a seat by the window and caught up on my journaling.

Finally, on my last day in Banff, I decided to get some Cow’s ice cream located on 134 Banff Ave. This place definitely has the cutest shirts ever. I ordered the Moo York Cheesecake and it was delicious! I can’t remember what exactly was in it… but it was amazing. Great way to end my stay in Banff. IMG_2542

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Classic Cheesecake.

Yesterday, well Saturday really, I decided to make a cheesecake. However, I was working all day Saturday so I only had time yesterday to go out and buy the ingredients to make a cheesecake. There were so many recipes online for Classic New York Cheesecakes. I just wanted something super easy and basic to make so I settled on the recipe on the Philadelphia cream cheese box.

If I recall correctly from my memory, the recipe goes something like this…

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 (250 g) pkgs Philadelphia cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the ingredients for the crust and pat it down onto the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Then add the eggs one at a time. Fill the springform pan with the cream cheese mixture and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes.

The recipe didn’t mention the use of a water bath, but from my own knowledge, I know that baking a cheesecake in a water bath helps to minimize cracking. I remember reading that this is because the water ensures that the air in the oven doesn’t dry out and allows for even heat distribution. To do this, I wrapped my springform pan with foil and placed it in a large baking pan and placed it on the oven rack. Then I proceeded to pour hot water into the pan. I closed the oven door and hoped for the best.

Forty minutes later, my cheesecake was done. I cracked the door on the oven and allowed it to cool like that for about 20 minutes before taking it out, as any sudden change in temperature can also cause cracking. Once out, I cooled it on the cooling rack for maybe 2 hours before putting it in the fridge for another 1.5 hours before I cut into it and ate it. Technically, I should’ve probably refrigerated it longer… but it was getting late and I wanted to enjoy my hard days work.

Aside from the dent, I think my cheesecake came out pretty perfect. Look ma, no cracks.
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