Check out the step-by-step picture tutorial for my Pool Floatie Donuts on my website here!
You can use any baked donut recipe you'd like for these, but here's the one I used! (Makes 12 donuts)
That's right! I made my own cheese the other day. But only after I finished making it, did I realize I could have used food colouring to make it a fun Easter pastel colour! Darn!
Here's the recipe and instructions:
CHOCOLATE & BERRY FILLING
A FEW NOTES ON ACHIEVING THE PROPER TEMPERATURE:
Don't ever increase the heat, leave it at medium to medium-high for the entire time.
The first time I tried this recipe, I tried to let my mixture reach 300F on the candy thermometer, but it never did. After about 10 minutes of being stuck on 250F, I could smell the sugar burning and the colour of the liquid quickly turned amber in colour. At this point, there was nothing to do but to throw it out (burnt sugar is so gross, do not try to salvage it).
The second attempt, I let it boil for only a few minutes and it didn't quite reach 250F, when I added the baking soda, it foamed but stayed in total liquid form (also unsalvageable). I just did not cook it long enough - all the water had not yet evaporated and it hadn't reached hard-crack stage.
On my third attempt, it still did not reach 300F. It stayed just above 250F for several minutes, and I watched it extremely closely. The bubbles became smaller and the liquid looked much thicker in appearance. I hung around the pot for a few more minutes keenly sniffing for the smell of burnt sugar and watching to make sure the liquid remained clear and did not amber. Using my best judgement, I removed it from the heat and added in the baking soda. This time it worked!
So if you're mixture does not quite reach 300F don't stress about it, just keep a very close eye on it!
I usually prefer to bake sweet things, but now that I've been isolated to my apartment for several days, I need a break from all the sugar (and also I need some regular food to eat)! It's been a really long time since I last made bagels, but boy is it ever fun! And a warm, fresh bagel is seriously one of the most delicious things! I don't have kids, but I had a ton of baking up bagels, so I can only imagine kids would too! Once you've got all your ingredients mixed up well, divide it up and get your kids to knead it! At the kneading stage, kids (and adults) can also work in food colouring, sprinkles, raisins, chocolate chips, nuts and seeds, rosemary leaves, onion flakes, etc., to customize their own bagels! The flavour possibilities are endless for both sweet and savoury bagels! Plus, the bagels will then make a great breakfast/snack/lunch option!
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix! You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook, or mix and knead by hand. Knead until the dough is quite stretchy - about 10 minutes! Cover your dough (in the bowl) with plastic wrap, and a tea towel, and allow it to rise for 2 full hours. Punch the dough down and transfer it to your working surface. Roll the dough into a log and slice as many or a few pieces as you want! Shape each slice using your finger to punch a hole in the centre and working it into a bagel shape. Repeat with all your slices, and allow to sit for another 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 475 F. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan, add in about 0.25 cup corn syrup (or honey) and a dash of salt. Boil the bagels, 3 at a time (or as many fit in your saucepan) for about 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and sprinkle each bagel with sesame seeds, rock salt, rosemary... whatever your desired toppings are! Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops of the bagels begin to brown. Remove from over and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Watch the tutorial on youtube here:
Today was International Women's Day, two days ago it was my 31st birthday, and last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I celebrated my birthday, and acknowledged International Women's Day on Instagram with my "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" cookie. But National Eating Disorder Awareness Week came and went and I completely ignored it - but why? I'm a woman and I addressed International Women's Day, I'm also a former sufferer of eating disorders, but I didn't address it at all. I have 38,000+ followers on Instagram, and I should use that platform to talk about important things - even if they make me a bit uncomfortable. So I'm going to address it here, for the first time outside of my immediate family and closest friend group.
From the ages of 21-25 I was plagued by disordered eating habits. I swung between extreme phases of raging bulimia, anorexia, and obsessive exercising. I was clinically depressed, had terrible body dysmorphia, and severe anxiety which occasionally bordered on panic disorder. I would be up every night until 2am binging and purging, then go to bed, and wake up at 5am so I could run 10 kilometres before I had to be at work or school. I WAS A MESS and I looked it too. I constantly had open cuts across my knuckles from where they repetitively hit my teeth, my cheeks were always puffy, and my hair became very thin and brittle. I also developed terrible Irritable Bowel Disorder (it does run in my family, and that's what I'd tell people), although the actual reason I developed it was because of my binging and purging - I had literally destroyed all the healthy bacteria in my digestive system. Every time I ate, I'd get terrible abdominal pain and bloating, which in turn would encourage more purging. It's a very vicious, disgusting cycle of shame, and it took me years to recover from the IBS. So many people think eating disorders are all about vanity and physical appearance, and that's definitely a factor. But more often, it's a physical manifestation of a mental illness, such as depression, severe stress or anxiety, in an attempt to gain control over an aspect of your life. Amazingly, it didn't affect my school work - that was something else I was able to keep control over.
(The areas I did not have control over was my personal and family life. I went through a very bad breakup at 21, and there was extreme dysfunction within my household that had yet to become even more painful. I literally had panic attacks trying to get out of my car to go inside after coming home from work/school. But that's a story for another time!)
After nearly a year of dealing with this on my own and only getting worse, I sought help. I went to therapy, and spoke candidly with my doctor. My therapist was not very encouraging of me taking anti-depressants, but let me tell you - they literally saved my life. They got me to a stable place mentally, where I could then begin to deal with the issues I had been going though. The stigma that revolves around taking anti-depressants is similar to the stigma of mental illness (aka it's bad). And they certainly didn't numb my brain or anything like that, in fact, everyday became a sun-shiny wonderful day and I was so genuinely happy again.
I was also lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive, insightful mom holding my hand through my absolute worst years (2012 was by far the sickest, worst year of my life). By the time I was 25 (2014), I was pretty much completely recovered physically. The full mental recovery was much more difficult, but for the last few years, I've been in a really excellent place - I met my now-fiancé, we bought and renovated a house together, and now we're getting married in December.
I was told by a professional that eating disorders on average have a lifespan of 11 years (from the first manifestation of it, until full recovery is achieved); it's now been 10 years since I began my struggle, and it's really shaped who I've become. I'm much more confident, happy, emotionally mature, but also a bit more unforgiving (I take my relationships very seriously, if it's not a two way street, I'm not going to travel on it - or I'm at least going to travel on it extremely cautiously). The last few years of baking has really helped reshape my relationship with food, and was incredibly effective in helping me channel my energy in a productive and creative way.
I posted my "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" cookie this morning for International Women's Day because it was one of my favourite shows growing up and she was one of the first strong feminist role models on TV at the time. Buffy fearlessly fought and defeated vampires and demons in a literal sense, and that's an encouraging metaphor for so many women who have their own demons to fight.
So thank you for reading along! If you're going through something similar, please don't hesitate to reach out if you wanna chat :)
My three younger siblings are my very best friends, so it wasn't even a question that they would each be in my Bridal Party; before I even got engaged they knew they would be my Bridesmaids & Bridesman! Don't get me wrong, we weren't always best friends; there's a seven year age gap between me (the eldest) and Sophie (the youngest), and that makes a huge difference when you're 15 and 8 years old. We all had completely different interests and personalities (we still do!), and man did we fight. So, thank god we grew up!*
(*and by "Growing Up", I mean we ALL put in a LOT of very hard work for years.)
When I think of what I want my future wedding photos to look like, the pictures that I'll have of me with my three Bridal Party members will also be "siblings-only photos", and that is just so meaningful to me! I can't wait to gain new family members and start a family of my own, but, Em D & S will always be my OG siblings - the 4 Radcliffe kids - we grew up together, experienced the same tough times together, and celebrated in each other's milestones together.
Even though they already knew they'd be in my Bridal Party, I still wanted to ask properly! I made them each a Red Velvet painted portrait cookie, Emma and Sophie each got a pair of gold knot earrings from The Jewelry Bx on Etsy, David got gold knot cufflinks from PerfectCufflinks on Etsy, they each got a Diamond Pen from ElliesPaperie on Etsy, and a handmade crystal soap from Love Your Suds (her soaps are actually amazing!! And also, she's one of my best friends in real life!)
Check out the photos below of each of their gift boxes!
Last weekend, my fiancé and I had a mini Engagement shoot at our house! Now, we don't actually live in the house; we purchased it 2.5 years ago as a joint investment, and spent 3 full months renovating the main floor and the upstairs (this house was seriously outdated). Most of the renovations were cosmetic updates, but it was still SO MUCH WORK. We now rent the house out (everything except for the separate basement suite), and our tenant just so happens to be a professional photographer and uses the main living space in the house as a home-based studio! This house has been such a major project for the both of us, it just made total sense to have our engagement shoot in the place we've put so much love (sweat, tears, and blood) into. And ever since our tenants moved in, we've been gutting and completely refiguring the basement, so we still spend almost every weekend at the house working! We even had a super fun little shoot in the in-progress basement!
For Christmas 2018, a family friend participated in the Homes for the Holidays event with Kids' Help Phone, and commissioned me to create a gingerbread replica of her house! Several houses participated in the event, and each was elaborately decorated throughout. Tours of each home were held with ticket sales going to Kids' Help Phone, with one house ultimately being picked as the "winner" and subsequently featured in the Christmas 2019 issue of Western Living Magazine! Well, the house I replicated in gingerbread was declared the winner, so my creation was also featured in the magazine! Check out the photos from the article below!
This gingerbread house took SO LONG to create. Most of the time that went into it was creating a blueprint and accurate paper template, and once I was satisfied with my paper version, I cut out each piece in gingerbread! After I had all the pieces baked, it was only a matter of decorating each piece, and then slowly but surely "glueing" the whole thing together with royal icing! I left an opening were the actual basement entrance would be, to allow for mini lights to go inside the house and illuminate the jolly rancher stained glass!
Where and when was it filmed?
Filming was all completed at the end of February 2019 in Southern California, so I had to hold this secret in for over 8 months before we were allowed to tell people about it!! It was such a hard secret to keep from family and friends!
Did you know who you were competing against beforehand?
Nope! But it was an awesome surprise when I found out I was competing against Pete from @petey_cake -- we already knew each other over Instagram! Stephen, Lourdes, and Sarahkay were also all such lovely and talented people, and our group has kept in touch ever since.
Do they give you details on the challenges beforehand? Are you allowed to bring your recipes with you or do you have to memorize them all? Do you get to familiarize yourself with the Workshop before the challenges so you know where everything is?
These are by the far the most common questions that get asked. Bottom line: this is a TV show, and the producers of the show do not want the bakers to be caught totally unprepared on camera. If you’re hesitant to apply just because you don’t know what information you get in advance if any, don’t be! Just apply! It’s meant to be a fun experience - and it REALLY IS!!
How stressful was it? Was it harder than you expected? Do you really have the time limits they give per challenge?
It was CRAZY stressful. If you think it's rigged or scripted for TV, you are sorely mistaken. The challenges and the time limits were extremely REAL. The time limit is barely enough time as it is, let alone being surrounded by crew and cameras. Nobody can produce their best work during this time, and given the stressful circumstances, you’re even more prone to making mistakes you wouldn’t normally make!
Was Eddie as friendly as he seems?
Yes! He was so friendly and smiley for the whole time we were in his presence!
Did you get to take pictures on set or with the judges? How much interaction did you have with the judges?
Nope! What you see on TV is about it!
Did you like how they edited the show? How much wasn’t aired?
I really enjoyed the episode! There was so much stuff I wish could have been included, but in the end, it’s only a 45 minute show! Both challenges were 2 hours long, and we all had individual interviews on camera, so there must have been dozens of hours of cut footage.
Would you do it again?
At the time, I would have said noooo way - it was stressful and I was exhausted by the end of it; but now, looking back, I would TOTALLY do it again! It was 100% the most fun and exciting experience of my life.