orange you glad you had some carrots

carrot muffinIt’s getting cold here in Toronto, and when it gets cold, I can’t help but bake. I especially like to bake when I have ingredients to use up in my fridge, like carrots. I tweaked a great carrot cake recipe I got from my sister-in-law to create these muffins, using whole wheat flour, shredded carrots and crushed pineapple. They are perfectly naturally orangey coloured. Muffins like this are a great way to get more fruit and veg into your kids. Great for school snacks! Also great for Mommy’s breakfast with a sneaky swipe of butter…

pumpkin everything

pumpkinI know “pumpkin spice” has turned into some kind of cruel joke but when Autumn hits, I’m still gonna do the pumpkin thing, oh yeah. I love the synergy of the nutrition and the seasonality, and of course the vibrant colour. I get such a good feeling preparing multiple recipes using this versatile food. From one pie pumpkin I made a pie, pumpkin mac and cheese, pancakes, and muffins. That’s a whole lot of pumpkin fun. I got it out of my system. Until next autumn.

angry birds, happy cakes

angrybirdcakesIt’s a challenge making fun and exciting birthday cakes for my son using natural food colouring, but somehow it always works out great. This year he was really into angry birds, and I can definitely do red and yellow thanks to paprika and turmeric! The red frosting was dyed with a commercial natural food colouring from the UK, but the yellow frosting I tint with my own ground turmeric. I love the way these turned out and they were a big hit with the boys.


PS: I recently found out the trick to making blueberry frosting blue, not purple, and also found out it doesn’t taste like blueberry (a good thing) – I will do a blue post once I have perfected the colour!

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…


In an interesting turn of events, as we walked into the drugstore to get my little man a new toothbrush, he noticed and demanded to hold this tube of brightly coloured jelly beans. Once he was distracted by the toothbrushes I took a closer look and noticed my favourite line “no artificial colours or flavours” on the tube making it an official purchase “for baking” (as opposed to “for immediate stuffing in the mouth”). Upon even closer inspection it turns out that these beans are made in Ireland, and they somehow ended up on a random shelf in a Canadian drugstore, and to top off the weirdness of the situation, they scanned at 26 cents – ? I love finding new naturally coloured products and sharing the information about these progressive companies who “get it” and manage to create something fun and better for you. Take a minute to look at thejellybeanfactory.com and if a tube ends up in your or your little person’s hand, relish those lovely natural colours!

it can be done…

Wow, long time no post. I guess this is just what happens when you have a baby, and they take up more and more of your time as they grow. My son is 8.5 months now, and very demanding! Am taking the opportunity during nap time to tell you all that I am moving to the UK at the end of this month. We are going for a year and are excited and nervous about our big adventure. I had all these plans of blogging about what I’ll miss about Toronto, but that never came to pass. So, I am going to talk a bit about something I am NOT going to miss about Toronto, but that I look forward to in the UK – more foods made without artificial colours.

The other day I picked up some UK smarties (made without artificial colour) at a candy store and thought I would compare them to their North American counterparts, which use artificial colour.

Well, you tell me – is the difference so much that you or any kid you know is going to be heartbroken if they have to eat the ones coloured naturally? It’s crazy. I actually like the way some of the naturally coloured ones look better. And of course, the taste is the same, as far as I can tell.

So the big question is, why does Nestle in the UK make candy using natural colours, but cannot do the same thing in North America? Yes, I know the answer ($$$?), but I’d like to really know the answer they would give if I wrote a letter and asked them.

I feel lucky that I am going to be making my 1 year old’s first birthday cupcake in a country where I will have more options for going wild with the decorative toppings, along with my own naturally coloured frosting. Fun should not have to be artificial…