Kelly’s Bake Shoppe!

A few days ago Kelly’s Bake Shoppe put out a Facebook post, asking any interested bloggers to contact them, and there was potential to be chosen as a blog to review the bake shop.  I sent our information, never dreaming they would pick us.  But….they did! Read about our the announcement here. With much glee and excitement, and full tummies, we now review…..Kelly’s Bake Shoppe!

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SandySandy – As I  gradually lost all fun food from my diet (as a reminder – dairy, gluten, soy, nuts and eggs), I also lost hope  that I’d be able to go out and eat, anywhere.  I was able to rearrange recipes to make myself at home, but there’s something about going out and just buying something once in a while that is fun.  I started to research and Google things, and lo and behold, up popped Kelly’s Bake Shoppe.  It’s only about 40 minutes down the road from us, so that part was great.  WellKatie, great or bad, depending on whether you have any self control or not.  Ha, ha.  From the pictures it looked like a cute, pretty place, so I talked the hubby into driving down. From that day on it’s been a place we use as a date/road trip.  Combining a trip to the bake shop with a walk on the beautiful Burlington Pier makes a lovely afternoon.
Katie – I am writing this blog from the stand point of someone who can eat….well, pretty much anything! I have no food allergies or restrictions, unlike my mom. I am just a person who eats at Kelly’s Bake Shoppe by choice because it’s delicious!

Sandy – Kelly’s Bake Shoppe was founded by Kelly and Erinn, a dynamic mother/daughter team.  The staff they have hired are equally dynamic and friendly.  Even when the bake shoppe is busy, as it generally is, you don’t go long upon entering without a friendly “Hello!”. IMG_7824
Katie – Being an entrepreneur, I really appreciate the style & atmosphere of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe. Kelly & Erinn are certainly to be admired – they have taken their store to the ‘big times’ by pursuing opporIMG_7823tunities, partnering with businesses in their hometown and really getting the word out about their amazing bakery! They have a strong social media presence and you can always find great pictures, new products, and even promotions through their Facebook page (make sure to like it!).

And then…finally the day came when we went down for our treats!  As usual we were greeted with a warm welcome, and they were all ready for us.  We were handed a box containing two cupcakes of our choice, their famous mile high brownie, and one of each of their four cookies – a snickerdoodle, a chocolate chip, a World Peace, and a Skinny cookie.
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Sandy –
The first item to be sampled enthusiastically was the mile high brownie.  We cut it in half, and mostly kept our forks out of each other’s portions.  The mile high brownie is moist, chewyIMG_7856, and delicious.  It is a very rich treat, but as with all of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe goods, doesn’t feel heavy as you eat it.
Katie –  If you are a regular at Kelly’s, you WILL have eaten a Mile High brownie. This is a classic Kelly’s item and you do NOT want to miss out! The best part about it is that it’s not *just* chocolate. There is a sweet caramel sauce, and theIMG_7857n chocolate in different forms – the brownie, the ganache and frosting is paired well with caramel and their delicious whipped cream. It is so good, you will want to lick your plate…


THE SKINNY

IMG_7845Sandy – Next up for me was the Skinny Cookie.  I’ve never tried the Skinny Cookie before, and it was delicious!  It tastes of banana, of course, because it is sweetened with banana.  It is full of seeds and fruit, and is delightfully moist and sweet.  Also, it was so good that I ate it too fast and now it’s gone.
Katie – This was a new one for me, too….but I would eat this cookie every day if I could! It tasted like a delicious banana chocolate chip loaf, sweetened with coconut. It was chewy, thick, filling and sweet! Like my mom said earlier though, at Kelly’s (with every thing I have tried there!) you get the sweetness of the cupcake or cookie, but not that heavy feeling in your gut.

WORLD PEACE
IMG_7847Sandy – Soon after that was the World Peace Cookie, which was equally yummy, just in a different way.  More like a traditional oatmeal cookie with fruit and nuts.
Katie – For me, I definitely preferred the Skinny Cookie, but the World Peace had some great sweet notes…almost like a breakfast cookie! 🙂 It was very filling with the seeds and oats, but then had sweetness from the berries & raisins. I could see myself with a cuppa Earl Grey de la Creme and this cookie over breakfast or an afternoon snack. It’s a less traditional cookie (aka. not pumped full of sugar), but a perfect snack.

SNICKERDOODLE & CHOCOLATE CHIP
IMG_7849Sandy – The Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Chip cookies are ones I have had before.  They taste just as you expect they would – the snickerdoodle is soft inside with a crisper exterior and lovely cinnamon/sugar topping, and the chocolate chip cookie is like a…..chocolate chip cookie.  🙂
Katie – The thing that I love most about these cookies is that they are BIG. 🙂 I agree with what my mom said – they both have a fabulous crispy exterior, but always a really soft & chewy inside. They are…perIMG_7843fection. For myself, snickerdoodles are definitely a favourite, and these do not disappoint. It doesn’t have that ‘puffy’ middle that a typical (smaller) snickerdoodle might, but it hits all the right notes with the cinnamon and sugar. For myself, it’s the perfect balance of crispy outside and chewy inside – I would get this cookie every time!

CUPCAKES
IMG_7840Sandy – I saved my most chocolate-y treat until the end – in fact I saved it until the next day.  When you purchase from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, you will notice a sticker on your pretty pink box that tells you to either consume your goodies that day, or freeze them.  Refrigerating them dries them out.  I froze my cupcake, and ate it today.  Truthfully, I love to eat the cupcake only partially thawed – they are just really yummy that way.  At any rate, my Triple Chocolate Cupcake fulfilled all my chocolate needs today.  It was a lovely cupcake, and chocolate in every way possible – from the cake, to the whipped icing, to the drizzle of chocolate artfully placed on top.
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Katie – Cupcakes are an integral part of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, so it was hard to choose just one to sample! Thankfully, I have been there many other times to sample others. 🙂 When you walk into Kelly’s, you see their gorgeous cupcake display right away, They always have tons of variety, and IMG_7839they change their special cupcakes frequently, too. You will want to watch their Facebook & website to make sure you are up on the latest and greatest cupcake creations!
I digress. For my cupcake, I made sure to choose one I had never had before (tough as that was!)…and I chose the Mexican Chocolate Cupcake!  As expected, this cupcake had a beautiful spicy note to it, but all the cupcakes component play together so well that you are left with just an after-taste of spice. It is filled with chocolate and whipped cream – smooth and sweet, not too heavy. This cupcake was eaten….way too fast. I loved the “all in one” bite – getting some of the cupcake spice, chocolate and whipped altogether.

Sandy – Things we didn’t eat today but deserve a mention are:  the Black and White, Mostess,  and Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes (can you tell I love chocolate?), any of the cookies made into a sandwich cookie, and the raspberry squares (I always ask for a corner one…..so good).  Perhaps someday I will be able to say I’ve eaten their whole menu, but all the ones I mentioned there get my seal of approval!
Katie – The Dulce de Leche and Black Magic definitely need to be on your list! Frankly, I have loved everything I have eaten there. I don’t avoid the allergens because of any restrictions that I have, but their stuff is amazing and honestly, just doesn’t sit so heavy in your gut after eating. I would highly recommend talking a stroll on the Burlington pier this summer with some Kelly’s Bake Shoppe goodies in hand!

This was definitely the most delicious review we have ever done! (Okay, our first review…) Our goodies are gone, we are sad, and we can’t wait to go back to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe again soon!
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The Indoor Garden

We would love to have a garden in our yard. We have thought about it (too late) each of the three summers we have lived in this house so far. The first summer, we had a great excuse – the yard was a DISASTER. It was beautiful…for the most part. It was overgrown, and we were dealing with our first summer woes – transitioning the house from their style to our style. The yard was PACKED with flowers, trees, bushes, and there was a huge pond, too. The pond was beautiful, if we weren’t a family with small kids. The pond took up a 10 x 20 space in our yard. Yeah, it was huge! We desperately wanted that space for playing and it just wasn’t in a great spot to try and keep kids out of it. So, we dec163554_10151355610381020_2080688329_nided to take the pond out, fill it in, and do our best not to screw up the yard! That is when…my husband hurt his back. It was not a pond-related injury, though I almost joined him in the back injury club after having to do it all myself (THANK GOODNESS for the help of family!). That was a summer of hauling rocks, scooping out water by hand, shoveling small stones (they were everywhere!405740_10151373346036020_1341355104_n!), filling in the space, hauling around sod….yeah, that was a tiring summer. We ended up with a much better yard at the end of it, but no time to think about anything else.

Here is the after shot – you can see all the sod that I had just put down. Unfortunately, our yard has an incredible ability to grow weeds, so each summer is an on-going battle to keep it looking decent, and the grass in the sodded area definitely needs some help to become full again.

Our second summer, we were running a contest at our house… Who is the most capable to do ________ ? Our options were: Husband with an on-going back injury, Wife who was 6-9 months pregnant during the summer months, or the 2.5-almost 3 year old? This was a summer of totally neglecting our yard, asking family for help, paying teens to help us with mowing the lawn, and definitely NOT thinking about planting a garden.

That brings us to the present day, our third summer. We have no real excuses. We just…didn’t do it. Our yard, honestly, still needs a lot of work and a lot of help to get rid of weeds and stop the crazy amount of bushes and trees in our yard from being overgrown. Just today, I spent about two hours outside – mowing the lawn, cutting down our vines, trees, bushes, weeding, etc. After all of that, the yard *almost* looks like it should…and we will do it all again over and over again all summer.

We love our crazy yard. It is great for adventures for little kids. We have a little tree house now with a slide. We have two old, metal sheds that are super dirty but handy nonetheless. It is not at all your perfect yard with perfect looking grass. And that is totally fine with us. So, for now, we do what we can with our yard and hopefully one day, we will have a little vegetable garden.

We don’t have a garden, but we have discovered the best trick and the easiest way to have an indoor garden… Okay, just one very specific vegetable…the green onion! I did this just out of curiosity one day, and it worked. If you have never tried this, you must! 20150621_082256

Step 1: Eat your green onion right down to the bottom of the stalk.
Step 2: Put the stalks in a cup of water, near some sunlight.
Step 3: Watch it grow!

Ta-da!

The Announcement

All of you who have been reading our blog knew this day would come at some point….we are famous! Give yourself a pat on the back for your loyal reading of our blog and you can officially use the line, “We knew them when…”

Okay, so we aren’t *really* famous. I tricked you. But in our minds, we are famous….or at least equivalent in some regard. An extremely delicious little spot in Burlington, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, asked for people who would be willing to review some of their food on a blog, and of course, being lovers of food, my mom submitted our name (THANK YOU, MOM!).

We got the email today, and we are SO excited to go down to Kelly’s, get some incredible food and share it with you all on the blog…coming soon! We are honoured to have been chosen! We love their food so much…it’s unreal. Both my Dad and myself have driven to Burlington on occasions to surprise my mom with cupcakes from Kelly’s, or made special trips out to Burlington to eat cupcakes and walk the pier. Sounds like a pretty good afternoon to me! They do incredible, allergen-free baking, and it’s a place where my mom can walk in and eat almost everything……and trust me, she tries! 😉 Jokes jokes…she tries to space out her visits at least! For myself, I am not avoiding any of the foods my mom does, but I still think their food is incredible and honestly, you wouldn’t know the difference! Okay okay, I am getting ahead of myself, more later on the actual review blog.

So, keep your eyes peeled for a fabulous blog with mouth-watering pictures and the most scrumptious descriptions we can write up. Don’t worry, we’ll be honest…it won’t be hard to write beautiful things about their food! For now, here are the top 10 reasons why Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and Katie & Sandy are meant to be together.
1. They are mother and daughter. We are mother and daughter.
2. They are blonde and brown. We are brown and blonde.
3. They are beautiful people. We are beautiful people.
kelly's bake Funny mom & me 4. We all clearly like to laugh.
5. They are wizards in the kitchen. My mom is a wizard in the kitchen. (I like to be in the kitchen.)
6. They own a bakery. I love the smell of a bakery.
7. Their store is in Burlington. My mom likes to walk the Pier in Burlington.
8. They are famous. We like to pretend that we are famous.
9. They won a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. I was in the Circle of Excellence for Steeped Tea.
10. They make the world’s best cupcakes. We LOVE to eat the world’s best cupcakes!!

Thank you again, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, for this awesome opportunity! We are SO looking forward to doing our review!

Make sure to follow Kelly’s on Facebook, and watch this video for a better look into what they do…

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This was piano recital week!  It’s a time that most students really look forward to.  We rent a small, historic church downtown, and it is a nice atmosphere for both the performers and the guests.  As I always tell my students – you’re never going to get a more appreciative audience than a room full of parents and grandparents, so it’s their best chance to start playing publicly.

That being said, there are always those who don’t prepare adequately.  I  help students choose recital songs about six weeks ahead of time.  Some come back the next week, and they could perform right then.  Others take the next few weeks to learn their songs, and some, sadly, wait until the last minute and end up disappointing themselves.  Thankfully, this year that did not happen.  Yay students!

When I was growing up, my teachers did not do recitals.  My first foray into public playing was when my Dad informed me that he had spoken to the musical director at church, and I was now in the music schedule.  I was 12.  I believe I told him that I didn’t agree with his plan, but he told me that if I wasn’t going to use my piano playing gift, then he would stop paying for lessons.  I reluctantly began playing in church, and while I’m sure the first few times were rocky for those in the congregation, I’m glad that I was pushed out of my comfort zone.  However……I think our recitals are a slightly gentler way to have students face their nerves and go public.  🙂

 

After the recital everyone is invited downstairs for a punch and cake reception.  It gives us a chance to chat, and gives the students a small reward for a job well done. This year, Kate came and provided us with a beautiful iced tea as well.  So good!  However, one of my friend’s students can’t have gluten, so I always bake something separate just for her.  I try and do something different each time, and this time I chose Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  We also served Rhubarb Punch (recipe found here).

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

3/4 cup white rice flour

3/4 cup of blended brown rice flour/sweet sorghum flour

1 tsp. xanthan gum

3/4 cup sugar

1 chia egg (instructions below)

3/4 cup dairy substitute (I used flax beverage)

1/3 cup softened butter

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

 

Topping

1 can sliced pineapple, drained

several maraschino cherries

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup pack brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a deep dish pie plate (I used the microwave to melt it).  Sprinkle the brown sugar over top evenly. Lay the pineapple slices over the brown sugar and place a cherry in the centre of each ring.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

 

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, mixing well.  Combine the wet ingredients, and then stir into the dry.  Mix well.  Spoon over the pineapple topping, spreading gently to cover evenly.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, until top springs back, or it is nicely brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Upon removing from the oven, flip immediately onto a serving plate.

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Notes:

1)  True confession – I totally forgot the cinnamon when I made it, and it was yummy, so I’d say cinnamon is optional.  Ha, ha.

2)  Any non dairy beverage should work fine – rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk (not canned, but from a carton), etc.

3) Chia egg – mix 1 tbsp. ground chia with 3 tbsp. water and let sit until it forms a gel.

4)  I can’t have dairy, but for some reason butter is still my friend, so I used butter.  If you can’t have dairy, substitute a non-dairy margarine.

 

The Return

IMG_7709I’m baaaack! Did you miss me?

Okay, so I took a (far too long) break from the blog as my life and business hit a busy season after the last little while. There is a lot happening personally and with my business, but I am aiming to get back into a consistent routine of blogging! My mom has faithfully been keeping up her side of the blog…I just need to reciprocate! My girlfriend did an inspiring post about her goals for June, and I was reminded how I am quick to make goals and plans for my business, but I often forget to apply this to my personal life.

As I continue to refleIMG_7671ct on this, I had a good opportunity for that as we just had our National Steeped Tea Conference this past weekend. As a leader in the company, I had incredible opportunitieIMG_7682s to learn from renowned speakers, enjoyed a harbourfront dinner cruise in Toronto, a sparkling gala full of awards and announcements, and an incredible time with some of the ladies on my team!

IMG_7734I was reflecting with my team tonight about some of the training we received. It is a huge blessing to own your own business, yet be a part of a larger team of people that are there to inspire, encourage and cheer you on! I love our business for that – there isn’t a competitive spirit with everyone trying to push each other out of the way, but rather to lift each other up.

I will share with you a brief clip from one of our training sessions. As we spoke about leadership, the conversation moved towards telling stories and how to communicate in an engaging way. I LOVE stories. I love listening to stories, telling (and re-telling) stories, and I always have. My mom has said of me before that if you ask me to recap for you what happened at an event or in a show, you had better be prepared to get an account almost as long as the actual event…. I would like to say that that was only true of a younger version of myself, but we all know it’s not!

Tim Magwood, one of our main speakers, was very dynamic and engaging in the way he presented. I walked away with a lot of great tools to use in my personal life and business, and I know that my colleagues did as well. I tried to review just a portion of the training we received over the weekend with my team tonight, and it took an hour and a half just to share brief points from his presentation. He gave us a LOT to think about. I would encourage you to take a look at the website for ‘The Mark of a Leader’ and seek out some training for yourself. Who knows, maybe his talk will even inspire me shorten up my blog posts?!

I would invite you to watch this clip and think for yourself how the way you communicate might need to change in your personal and business life. For myself, I have been seeking out colleagues with different strengths than I have to push me in the way I think about my business and how I lead my team.

 

Mini Carrot Cakes

When I was a young, sensitive bride, we had my in-laws over for their first visit.  My in-laws were Dutch, through and through, and I did not know them well.  Nervously I decided what to make for them, and landed on carrot cake.  I followed all the steps, made the cake and iced it, and proudly served it.  Everyone enjoyed it, and then my father-in-law reverted to speaking Dutch and told some joke about a rabbit and carrot cake, which ended with the punchline which loosely translates as “Gross, eh?”  Apparently the funny thing is that a rabbit doesn’t like carrot cake.   However……to a young sensitive bride, having the other three people in the room laughing hysterically at a joke about carrot cake she had just slaved over, it wasn’t funny.   Particularly since I had to ask what was so funny, and it was explained, “Carrot cake!  Gross, eh!”   I vowed I would never make them carrot cake again, and I didn’t.  Did I mention I was young (and possibly immature as well?)?

 

Fortunately, the above-mentioned husband realized that it wasn’t funny to me and apologized immediately, and the joke was told on their way out the door, so I didn’t have to sit in the awkward aftermath.  I made carrot cake many times over the years, and today I tried an allergen free version!  When I started this blog, I determined to add both great recipes, and ones that didn’t turn out as well.  This recipe worked, but the flavour wasn’t quite what I wanted.  I think I’ll try another carrot cake recipe before throwing in the towel on it all together.

 

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup grapeseed oil

2 flax eggs

1/2 cups grated carrots

1/2 tsp. vanilla

 

Sift together the dry ingredients.  Stir in the oil.  Add the flax eggs.  Add in the carrots and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.  Pour into prepared mini loaf tin.  Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan.

 

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Notes:

1)  I grated the carrots by hand.  You can obviously use a food processor, but I needed the exercise.  Ha, ha.

2)  There must be something about glutenous flours that absorb oil, because I found these to be a little oily.  If you sit them on a paper towel they “dry off” a bit.

3) I always find gluten free baking to be a little “tender”, so gently remove from the tin.

4) I iced mine with a faux buttercream icing (had to make my own icing sugar out of organic white sugar) and once it was on, found that the cake didn’t really need it.  Oh well.  It can be scraped off if necessary.  No doubt my husband will like the extra sweetness.

Pineapple Whip

Last week-end we celebrated Kate’s birthday.  It seems like, this time of year, we have a lot of reasons to celebrate!  When I am hosting, as I did last week-end, I always ask the guest of honour for menu requests.  For dessert Kate requested Angel Food Cake and toppings.  Angel Food Cake is deceptively easy to make, even gluten free, and then it’s just coming up with toppings, which is also pretty simple.

 

This year I decided to do three toppings:  homemade chocolate sauce, homemade strawberry sauce, and pineapple whip.  Despite the seemingly contrasting flavours, most chose to use all three on their cake.  I couldn’t eat the cake or strawberries, so I just had a bowl of pineapple whip.  And then I also ate the leftover whip in a bowl as well.  Ha, ha.

 

I asked my husband to take a picture of the pineapple whip.  You can’t really tell how much it made in the picture, but it filled quite a large bowl.  What you CAN tell from the picture is that he “smoothed” it with a spoon, and just may have scraped the top and eaten some while doing so.  I haven’t gotten a straight answer on that yet.

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Here’s the recipe:

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp. arrowroot flour

2 gelatin eggs (instructions below)

1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1/3 cup orange juice

1 cup Nutrawhip

 

Cook sugar, arrowroot flour, gelatin eggs and pineapple until thick, stirring constantly.

Add juices and cool.

When cooled completely, add whipped Nutrawhip.

 

Keep in refrigerator until needed.

 

Gelatin egg:  2 tbsp. gelatin, 2 tbsp. cold water, 4 tbsp. boiling water.

Combine the gelatin with the cold water, then add the boiling water, “whipping” with a fork until a little frothy.