Baking Math – Marbled Pumpkin Bundt Cake

September 27, 2012

Today in school we spent a day learning about how to teach Math in school, what new approaches we can take to make it more engaging for the students in elementary school, and how to look at math in a whole new way to get even the most math-averse interested (like myself). My experiences with math are not so great – I always felt like I was never fully getting it. I struggled through school with math, and luckily I was able to do quite well in the only math class that mattered for my career, “Math for Elementary School Teachers,” so that I never have to take a math class again.

That is, until I myself am a Teacher, and have to actually teach math to students. Me – the person who greatly dislikes the subject more than any other subject in school. I’ll have to be responsible for instructing and helping students understand math concepts.

The only math that actually makes sense to me is in baking and cooking. If I could have just become a Home Economics teacher I would have, but I wasn’t sure about whether or not a position would up somewhere, I would probably have to become an English teacher first (which would have been ok). So, I am becoming an elementary school teacher, something that I have wanted to become since I was little. Math is being used in the kitchen constantly, it is in every recipe, and at every table (think, how much do I need per person? Will I have enough?) Many people wouldn’t even think about math while cooking or baking, but if you look carefully there are a lot of math skills involved. I think that my love of cooking and baking has greatly helped my math skills. I have probably been cooking since I was about 13, putting roasts in the oven while my parents were at work so dinner would be ready when they got home, meaning I would have to measure out the oil, spices, and put it in the oven at a certain time so it would cook for long enough. I highly suggest allowing your kids to help in the kitchen!

You might be amazed at how many math skills you actually use on a daily basis while you are in the kitchen.

Math In the Kitchen


  • Measurements – fractions, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup etc.
  • Dividing recipes, half, thirds, doubling recipes
  • Equivalents (ingredients, measuring, substitutions)
  • Number of ingredients needed (How many eggs, how many ingredients total?)
  • Money – how much money will it cost, how much money will I need, How much will it cost Per Person?
  • Conversions from tablespoons and teaspoons to cup, to millilitres to grams, ounces to litres etc.
  • Converting temperatures from fahrenheit to celsius (degrees)


  • Time
    – how long will each dish take, how long will a batch take, when should you put on the next ingredient etc.
    – how long it will take to cook, time vs. weight (pounds per hour etc)


  • What is the boiling point of water? The melting point of butter? How do you temper chocolate?

If you don’t know the correct measurements, a great meal can quickly turn bitter (literally), if you have too much salt, or not enough sugar.

Cooking/Baking also helps children with literacy! Think: Reading the ingredients, reading instructions, new vocabulary (Sauté, Barbecue, Boil, Braise, Sear, Separate, Kneed, Chop, Grate, Incorporate, Beat, Simmer, Add, Mix, Pre-Heat)

How about learning about cultures? History: World food, Ethnic foods – Where do certain ingredients come from, what type of Food do Italians eat? Japanese?

Problem Solving?

“We are going to make a half batch of cookies. This recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups of flour. How much flour do we need?”

Becoming a teacher has allowed me to think outside of the classroom – learning takes place everywhere, and everything you do can be a learning experience (Already sounding like a teacher!) I will definitely be throwing in some baking themed equations into the curriculum once I’m a teacher, and sharing my baked goods with the staff, of course.

I really think some of my math skills have been helped by my love of baking and cooking. Next time you look at a recipe think of all the math involved in the making of it – You’ll be pleasantly surprised that you’re learning math!

Speaking of baking and measuring, I put together a new Fall recipe, my first of the season. I had to do it – pumpkin is Everywhere! I can’t get away from it, so I may as well embrace it. I love pumpkin in all ways, sweet or savoury. You can make it a regular pumpkin bundt cake, but I decided to give it a little drama with a marbled chocolate effect. Welcome Fall!

Marbled Pumpkin Bundt Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs – room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, or whole wheat
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 or 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or your own blend)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (if using fresh, make sure excess liquid removed)
  • 2 tbs. cocoa

In a large bowl, of a stand mixer preferably, combine sugar and oil until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time – beating well after each addition.

In another medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda. Add to egg/sugar mixture alternating with pumpkin, beating until thoroughly combined. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and make it as spicy as you like.

Reserve 1 or  1 and a 1/2 cups batter, and place the rest evenly into a greased bundt pan. With reserved batter, whisk in the cocoa (more or less depending on how chocolatey you want it) and drop by spoonfuls on top of batter in the pan. Using a knife, cut the chocolate batter into the batter below swirling as you do it.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes before inverting on to wire rack. You can turn it right side up, or leave it ‘upside down’ to see the marbling effect.


Grab and Go

September 24, 2012

{Green goodness}

Fall is here!! Saturday marked the first day of Autumn, and it definitely looked like it in Vancouver. It was a pretty relaxed weekend, Adam and I didn’t do a whole lot, which is sometimes nice. With school starting again I’m in full time school Monday-Friday and have a few projects I’ve been working on so I took some time to do that.

We actually went to an art show on Saturday, at one of Adam’s old teachers house. He displays his artwork in his beautiful backyard and has an open house concept, or drop in. I forgot my phone at home (my life source), so I didn’t get to snap any photos. It was gorgeous though, he has apple trees, plum trees, massive blackberry bushes and beautiful gardens where he displayed his work. It was a great day for it, a little cooler but perfect weather for the outdoor event. It happened to coincide with the first day of Fall, and it was nice to be outdoors for a while in the afternoon – we even picked some apples from his tree to bring home. Definitely a Fall activity. I told him if I was able to come back and pick more apples I’d bake him a pie, and he said he’d make dinner. Apparently one of his other talents is cooking, so Adam and I might have to take him up on the offer. Adam’s mom did buy two of the paintings as well!

Last week I shared an easy breakfast grab-and-go muffin recipe, that you can easily tailor to your own tastes. This week I thought I’d share another morning recipe idea, my Favourite Green Smoothie.

I feel like back to school means back to “quick” meals – Quick Breakfasts, and Quick Dinners. Everyone is rushing in the morning, and needs something quick to eat before running out the door. At night, everyone wants a quick dinner because we’re all getting home from work/school and don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing dinner. Smoothies are a GREAT quick breakfast, or for any meal really, because you can take almost anything you have on hand and make it into a smoothie (Berries, banana, almond butter, yogurt, fruit, juice etc). You can throw it all in the blender, whirl it around and throw it into a to-go cup to bring with you on your commute or to the office.

A smoothie is no real secret, there’s no actual recipe. Just throw in a few ingredients from the fridge, add ice and blend. But, I’ve actually seen some people who seem to mess up smoothies. Really?? haha – sorry but that’s really not possible! This is a no-fail recipe for a green smoothie. I started drinking them about a year or so ago, and got Adam liking them. Now that we’re temporarily living at his parents while our new house is being built, I’m trying to convert his mom 😉

{Lainey, just because}

My Favourite is a blend of spinach, kale, banana, avocado, ice and almond milk. I threw in a tsp or two of ground flax seed as well. I’ve never really added avocado before, But, it makes it SOOOO smooth. It’s thick, and smooth and gives it a texture like a milkshake – only HEALTHIER!!!! And who doesn’t want to be healthy (On twitter today #Christmas was trending.. I guess because its Exactly three months away today.. Let’s just get through Halloween, and Thanksgiving first people…)

Green SmoothieHere’s How You Do It

Add to blender in this order:

*Top of Blender*

Splash of Almond Milk (Or other milk-alternative) (Last)

5-6 Ice Cubes

2 tsp. Ground Flaxseed (or Protein Powder etc)

1/4 of an Avocado

Handful of Kale

2 Handfulls of Spinach

Banana (Put in First)

*Bottom Of Blender*

Blend according to your blenders instructions – I have a KitchenAid and it’s amazing for chopping through the ice.

– Pour into a tall glass, It’ll fill it right to the brim, and maybe have a splash left over. Serve with a straw (my favourite way to drink one) and ENJOY – Also great for pre or post workout fuel

Amazing Green Colour!! Green = Good for you

{Note the two dogs at my feet – Lainey (Mine) and Chubby (the Daschund, Adam’s parents dog)}

{Green Deliciousness – Nice and Frothy!!}

 {I’ve also completely fallen in love with their deck, it’s perfectly worn and distressed which makes it perfect for backgrounds!}

Do you like Smoothies?? Do you make them regularly? What’s your Favourite Combo??? Please Share!


Morning Glory

September 18, 2012




Adam and I had a pretty packed weekend (I realize it’s Tuesday, late weekend re-cap). Friday night, after Adam got home from work, and I got home from class, we headed into Richmond for some sushi – It’s been a while since I’ve had it (before Europe!) We also wanted to visit the last weekend of the Summer Night Market.

{Sushi Date}

{Hungry Eyes…}

We were pretty hungry by the time we headed out, and after asking for some restaurant suggestions on twitter we actually ended up at Jumbo Sushi.

{Rainbow Roll, Bills Roll}

{Dynamite, Mango}

It was alright, pretty large portions for the price. I would probably go somewhere else next time, I know a lot of people suggested Ichiro, although we weren’t’ going to head over to Steveston. Next time.

{Waffle on a stick @ the Summer Night Market. It was ok}

{Moon Cake, Coconut and Walnut = Delicious! and made to order!}

Saturday we went into North Van for a furniture sale at one of our favourite stores, Country Furniture. We got a wicked deal on our dining room table in June (reg. 1700$ for 300$), a few bar stools, and two chairs. This time we only found a small bistro table for the deck, for half price. We went out that night downtown for two birthdays, the first my friends boyfriend and the second my cousins boyfriend. It has been so nice out this month it’s great being downtown at night because the weather is still warm enough to walk around without lugging around a coat, meaning no coat check either.

Sunday we got to check out our new place! We saw the show suites last weekend, finally finished, and this time we actually were able to walk through our own house and see the construction in progress. We’re even more excited to move in, and have already been planning where our furniture will go, what upgrades we want to do to it ourselves, what we still need to buy, what we want to do in each room etc. I’ll do a post all about our new place soon, with some ideas and ‘mood boards’ now that one of my favourite sites, House*Tweaking, wrote a tutorial on mood boards!

Sunday morning I also wanted to get some baking done. I’m feeling at a loss being between houses right now, after moving out, and moving in with Adam’s parents, all my baking things are here and there, packed away etc. And I haven’t really been in the ‘mood’ to bake and blog. I also am Desperately wanting a new camera. iPhone pictures are just not cutting it, and my point and shoot isn’t quite as good as I would like it to be. I really can’t wait until we get into the new place, I have a massive island in the kitchen, gorgeous white quartz countertops, and floor to ceiling windows for natural lighting. Hopefully it will spark my blogging again. But I really did feel like baking something, and I had blackberries from the berry picking on the island last weekend sitting in the fridge begging to be baked into something.

Most of the time for breakfast I prefer a Green smoothie over a bowl of cereal, or oatmeal. My favourite is a Green smoothie with Kale, Spinach, Almond Milk, Ice, and a Banana. However, some morning there just isn’t time to make something, and it’s a grab-on-the-way-out type of breakfast. Adam also starts work really early, so he doesn’t have time to eat anything other than cereal while making his sandwiches. So, I thought I would make some muffins for the week as a ‘back to school’ option. They are great because you can freeze them and take one out the night before or microwave one in the morning for a quick snack. I know breakfast can be a struggle for some people, with having to get ready for work, taking the kids to school etc. Making easier options ahead of time, and often healthier for you, make it easy in the morning when everyone is rushing.

I based the muffins off of the Banana-Oat muffins I made this past spring. You can really add anything to the mix, other berries, nuts, etc. They have no oil, and no butter!

Q: What are your Glorious Morning recipes??

A different kind of Morning Glory Muffin

Adapted from Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition Banana Nut Muffins


  • 2-3 small/medium Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Cup Blackberries, or berries of your choice, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or AP)
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar (Can sub. sweetener etc)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbs. Flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or other nut)
  • 1/2 cup oats, not quick cooking (optional)


Pre-Heat oven at 375

  1. Whisk together in medium bowl, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  2. In another large bowl, combine egg, brown sugar, bananas and apple sauce. Using a mixer, hand held or stand, mix together thoroughly until the banana is smooth.
  3. Switch to a wooden spoon, or spatula, and add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until just combined, do not over mix. Last, fold in the berries, nuts, and oats (optional) until just moistened. The batter should not look smooth at this point.
  4. Divide the batter between twelve medium muffin cups/liners, or a well greased muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.