Quick Buttery French Buns

Hey there,

This week we are doing buns! The best part about these buns is how quickly they can be made. I’ve tweaked and fussed with this recipe for a while now until I could make it just right. These buns are excellent to pair with soup, use for sandwiches and as a breakfast with butter and jam. So here it goes, my recipe for the perfect chewy buns.

I will point out this recipe requires a heat source to speed the rising of the yeast. If you do not own a tradition oven+stove with heat coils and a vent out of the oven, you may need to wait longer for rise times.

Total Time : 95 minutes Yields : 8 Large Buns / 12 Medium Buns

Eva Blakeman – Buttery French Buns


  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tbsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 – 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3-4 tbsp salted butter
Eva Blakeman – Buns Before Being Brushed With Butter


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
  2. Mix 2 cups of warm water, yeast and sugar together in a large, heat safe bowl.
  3. Place the bowl beside the vent for your oven (hover your hand above the elements of your stove after you have been pre-heating for a few minutes. One of them should have a steady amount of heat coming from it venting out from the oven, you will want to place your bowl beside the element, not on top of it). Let the bowl sit there until bubbles form on top of the mixture.
  4. Mix in the salt and flour one cup at a time. I would recommend stopping at 3 1/4 cups and kneading more flour in as needed later down the line.
  5. Place the bowl back beside the vent for 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes or until the dough has become smooth and is no longer sticky. Avoid adding large amounts of flour.
  7. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and pull the dough into smooth balls. Place them on a baking sheet covered in aluminium foil and greased with butter. Place the baking sheet on top of the oven and allow 15- 30 minutes for the final rise.
  8. Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the oven a few minutes before putting in the buns. (The humidity will help form a better crust).
  9. Bake the buns for 18-25 minutes. Do not open the oven for the first 15 minutes or you will lose humidity. They should have a hard crust and light brown colour on the top.
  10. Brush the buns with warm butter (this will soften the crust) immediately upon removing them from the oven.
  11. Buns can be enjoyed warm after a half hour of cooling or can be stored in an air tight container after they have cooled to room temperature.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe! If you tried this recipe, please let me know! Tag me in pictures of your baked goods with @evablakeman on Instagram.


Eva Blakeman – Quick Buttery French Buns

Why Trying New Recipes Is Important

As you guys know, I love working in the kitchen. A group of my friends and I have been planning a “baking day” where some of the men can learn some new skills and us girls can drink some wine and teach them. We can’t do it right away but I’m hoping in a few months we’ll be able to get together to do it.

I think sharing skills and taking the time to help others learn is incredibly important. Though in this day and age we don’t often have canning days, I think getting together to help each other and to enjoy food and drink is essential. I would encourage everyone to try this whether you are the host, the teacher or the student. Please let me know if you have or will be doing this in the comments!

I’ve been thinking of how to teach when I realized that teaching how to make a recipe is not the issue. Teaching how to change a recipe to better suit you or the environment you are cooking in is. I thought about how most of the recipes I have written in my book aren’t actually how I make the food. As I work with a recipe I adjust it to better suit my taste, my kitchen ware and how I want the final product to come out.


Minor changes are cook times and temperatures, but changing the process for Babka dough to make it fluffier or how to make a chunky chocolate spread into a smooth and creamy one can change the entire product.

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So I started asking myself how I learned to manipulate recipes to suit me better and I realized it came from trying new recipes so often. With each new meal, new cultural dish, new process comes more knowledge to draw upon. To be the best home cook requires stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new dishes. Experience also helps. You learn from your mistakes and most recipes don’t include a “absolutely don’t do this” section.

One of the simplest lessons I learned was not to fold warm chocolate into whipped cream as it ruins the texture. You have to let the chocolate cool before folding it in! My first time trying it the whipped cream became a soupy mixture that just wasn’t visually appealing. Lesson learned. Also learned that day that id you sprinkle a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over a complete chocolate failure, it hides it pretty well even though it can’t fix the texture problem.

The first time I made Babka, a chocolate bread dessert, I just couldn’t figure out why the bread was so dense and chewy. I saw the yeast bloom, I kneaded it for 15 minutes by hand, I did a twelve hour cool rest and I rolled it out evenly. The second time I made it I increased the temperature in the oven from 375 to 415 and the difference was incredible. I didn’t change anything else, just the temperature, but the bread was risen with a better crust and it both tasted and felt better.

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I think being able to trouble shoot your own cooking is important. Being able to look at what you don’t like in your finished product and be able to fix it makes you a better cook. Google can often help if you can figure out the specific issue, but it can be tedious to try and find the right answer online, whereas experience and dedication to bettering your skills can lead you down new roads.


I don’t claim to be the best home cook. I still have a lot to learn and I look forward to a lifetime of experimenting and expanding my wheelhouse. This year I have focused more strongly on desserts. I learned how to Deep Fry Oreos, make a Cadbury Egg Cheesecake and how to make a selection of chocolate breads and dessert buns. Last year I focused on broths, steaks and perfecting roasted vegetables. I don’t know what will catch my eye this upcoming year, but I look forward to seeing what will catch my fancy.

Going back to the baking day we have planned I figured out what I’m going to do. I ‘m going to teach a N0-Knead bread recipe that can be customized to each persons preference that relies on the maker being attentive to humidity and dough moisture. I think this bread is a good starting point as it doesn’t require hand kneading (none of us own stand mixers) but does require adjustment which teaches flexibility in baking. I also want to teach how to make Babka, a more finicky dough that will render your wrists into angry stumps by the time you’re done kneading. This one will be to teach technique as well as how to roll out doughs nicely and how to seal the dough as not to let out the filling. The last items will be standard cup cakes with buttercream and whipped cream frosting. We’ll go over how to make the cup cakes, mix and colour the icing, how to load the icing bag and how to use different tips to create different effects. I would also like to show how to bake, stack and decorate a cake that we can all share. In the end, everyone will get two loaves of bread and a dozen cupcakes to take home (and possibly left over cake). For some of my friends this will be more instructive than for others, but it gives those who know more about baking the opportunity to help the others as we all work together to create a small feast.


I hope it will be a good day for everyone and while I am a little more experienced than most of my friends, I think they’ll have their own cultural ways of preparing basic foods. As our group is culturally diverse it’s likely most of us grew up with different methods of doing things so we’ll all get to learn new techniques. Personally I have a French background which shows in my food.

I’ll write about it once we get to have our baking day and I hope it will go well. I would love if you would tell me about your own stories in the kitchen.

Getting To Know Sugar

Sugars are some of the most interesting baking ingredients with multiple sources and the crystalline nature it takes. We’re going to start with the sources and types of sugar then go over which ones are best for what!

Let’s start with the three monosaccharides

Fructose, otherwise known as fruit sugar, it is the sweetest of all sugars. Its found in cane sugar, honey, fruits and some root vegetables. Galactose is a sugar found in dairy products. It is actually a component of the antigens found on red blood cells that determine blood types. It’s not as sweet as fructose and isn’t found outside of dairy. Glucose, also known as dextrose or grape sugar is also found in plants as it is the primary product of photosynthesis. It’s widely used in food production.

Next we have disaccharides.

Disaccharides are composed of two monosaccharides. Lactose is a sugar found in milk, while children often don’t have issues absorbing and digesting it, many adults grow out of this and become lactose intolerant. Maltose is a sugar found in grains, most commonly barely, and is the sugar use in malts. Maltose is not as sweet as glucose, fructose or sucrose, so many products made with maltose will have sucrose or glucose added to increase sweetness. Sucrose is the sugar found in sugarcane and sugar beet, it is recognizable as granulated sugar, the most common used in baking. It exists along side glucose and fructose in the plant.

Brown sugars contain molasses in varying amounts. The light brown sugars contain around 3.5% molasses and dark browns have around 6.5%. They are wonderful to add a more complete sweetness to baked goods as well as pork. Other brown sugars include Panela, Barbados sugar as well as sugars produced from dates and palm sap.

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Honeys sweetness comes from the unbound molecules or fructose and glucose from nectar. Syrups like corn syrup are starches converted to maltose and glucose. Molasses is a products of sugarcane or sugar beets and are often blended with syrups to make them sweeter.

Now that we’ve covered sugars, let’s talk about the forms that we can purchase.

Granulated sugar is considered the best for baking as it dissolves easily into water and doesn’t clump easily when being mixed in. It is also the most common sugar for drinks and can be a nice decorative touch on pie crusts and other baked goods.

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners sugar and icing sugar is granulated sugar that has been ground into a fine powder and is ideal for making icing, fillings, frosting and glazes. It is also often used to plate desserts.

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Coarse sugar is granulated sugar in larger flakes. It’s commonly used as a decoration as it can be easily dyed and ads both texture and sweetness.

Sanding sugar is a medium brown large crystal sugar. Commonly used for decoration as it shines as light hits it.

Turbinado sugar is a raw sugar with large crystal size. It has a light brown colour due to the molasses being washed off the surface. It’s most commonly used for sweetening drinks like coffee. It can be used in baking but you should make sure to add it directly to liquids and ensure it all dissolves before mixing in other dry ingredients.

Barbados sugar is a brown sugar with a medium brown colour. It’s got a slightly sticky texture and is often used for fudge.

Thank you so much for reading and if you have any baking questions, please feel free to ask them and I will do my best to answer you as quickly as I can! If you have any tips for baking, please leave them in the comments so that everyone can have a change to learn something new!

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What Flour Should You Be Baking Bread With?

I’ve been baking as far back as I can remember, and over the decades I’ve picked up a thing or two. It started with chocolate chip cookies and has lead me here, a bread baking, cake decorating, banana muffin enthusiast. Today we are going to talk about flours commonly used in the home kitchen in regards to bread.

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Bleached Flour

This name covers all flours that have been artificially lightened during processing. The four common agents used are potassium bromate, a maturing agent that increases gluten development but it isn’t the bleaching agent in the flour. Benzoyl peroxide is a bleaching agent that doesn’t affect gluten. Ascorbic acid is a maturing agent that also strengthens gluten but again, isn’t a bleaching agent. Chlorine gas is used to weaken gluten and oxidize starches, allowing it to absorb water well leading to thicker batters and firmer doughs. Flours treated with chlorine gas are the worst for bread but the best for cookies and cakes. As a general rule, using bleached flour for bread isn’t the best choice, but if you don’t have anything aside from ascorbic acid and benzoyl peroxide treated flour, it can work for breads. Cake flour is almost always chlorinated and very low in gluten.

Enriched Flour

Enriched flour is simply flour that is enriched with extra nutrients. During the processing of flours it often looses nutrients, so by adding them back your flour has more nutrients in it.

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Pastry Flour

This flour is low gluten to allow for flaky crusts instead of crunchy and bread-y. The gluten protein percentage is generally around 7.5%-9.5%, slightly higher than cake flour.

All Purpose Flour

All purpose flour is medium in gluten, sitting around 9.5%-11.5%. It works well for most breads, pizzas, cookies and cakes. Though it does have a higher gluten percentage, if you need a more structured cake, this is the flour for you. All purpose flours do not generally have any additives or rising agents.

Bread Flour

This is the highest gluten flour that’s easy to find. Sitting from 11.5%-13.5% gluten it makes for great chewy bread with a lot of carbon dioxide, really rising the dough.

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Hard Flour

This is a much more difficult to find flour as it sits at 13.5%-16% gluten. This flour is used when you need very structured bread. It doesn’t yield as much chew, but your bread will be very strong. Mixing hard with lighter gluten flours to yield better bread is a common use for it. For example, having a massive bag of all purpose flour to make all sorts of treats and then a bag of hard flour, you can make better bread without having to buy bread flour as well as all purpose. A 1:3 hard to all purpose mix is the best for French and Italian breads when mixing.


Gluten Flour

If you can find this stuff, let me know! Though the bags claim to be 100% gluten, this is not technically possible, but when doing the math, use 100% as your safe number. If you want to mix flours without needing much mass, this is the one. I don’t know of a single purpose of using this flour straight, as it is always mixed into lower gluten flours to make better bread.

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Self-Raising Flour

Self raising flour is a fancy name for all purpose flour with baking powder in it, pre mixed. For the average home baker, I wouldn’t bother with purchasing it. If you want to make self rising flour, mix 1 cup of all purpose with 1 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt.

Whole / Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a fairly dense flour with a gluten percentage of around 9%. It is generally unbleached and good for sturdy bread and loaves of potato and fruit dense breads.

There are flours made of plenty of different grains, and I hope to get into them soon. If you have any advice for new bakers or experiences with different flours, please let me know!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cake

This past week was Ryans birthday, and while we couldn’t have a party, there was no way he wasn’t going to have a cake. We talked about what he wanted and he was adamant he wanted peanut butter in his cake so I set out to make him the best cake I could.

This cake serves 12 – 15 people. It should be refrigerated after assembly until 3 hours before serving for ideal texture.

Eva Blakeman – Peanut Butter Cake



  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar


  • 1 1/4 cups natural peanut butter
  • 2 cups salted butter (room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 8 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 12 – 15 Reeses cups
Eva Blakeman – Peanut Buter Cake

If you make this cake, please tag me on instagram @evablakeman so that I can see how amazing your cake looks!


Baking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease either one 9 inch spring pan or three 8 inch round cake pans. Lay down parchment on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Mix all dry cake ingredients together well. In a separate bowl mix eggs, milk, vanilla and vegetable oil together until combined.
  3. Pour the wet ingredient bowl into the dry ingredient bowl until well combined then slowly add the hot water while mixing batter at a slow pace.
  4. If you are using three cake pans, divide the batter equally between the three of them. If you are using a spring pan, pour one and a half inches of batter into the pan. (For spring pan this will be repeated two more times to bake all three layers of the cake.)
  5. Bake for 22-25 minutes. (In order to check if your cake is done baking, stick a toothpick in the centre and all four corners, if it comes out clean the cake is done baking.)
  6. Let cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and moving to a cooling rack. (For easiest icing, refrigerate your cake layers once they have reached room temperature.)
  7. Onto icing. Mix all wet ingredients until smooth. Add one cup of icing sugar at a time, fully mixing it in before adding the next cup.
  8. Chop your Reeses into small pieces (save 5 Reeses for the top of the cake).
  9. Pack your icing into icing bags, one with a open tip, the other with a star tip. (This icing is easiest to work with when kept warm, I let my bags sit beside the warm oven).
  10. To stack and layer the cake, ensue your cakes are level (if they are not, use a serrated knife to level them off).
  11. Put down your first cake and use your open tipped bag to evenly distribute 3/4 inch to an inch of icing over the entire top of the cake.
  12. Place half of the chopped Reeses on the icing layer, spread out.
  13. Repeat step 11.
  14. Put down your final layer of cake, use the open tipped bag to distribute icing over the top and side of the top layer of cake. (Even out with a spatula).
  15. Use your star tipped bag around the bottom icing layer to add texture and place flowers evenly around the layer.
  16. Add 8 flowers on the top layer of the cake evenly around the circumference. Add a large flower in the centre. Place half Reeses cups in between each flower on the top.
  17. Refrigerate until 3 hours previous to serving.
Eva Blakeman – Reeses Peanut Butter Cake

I had a lot of fun making this cake and I look forward to making more like it in the future. It’s by no means a perfect cake (I plastic wrapped it in the fridge so some of the flowers got smushed) but it was absolutely delicious and we got to drop off cake for other people (zero interaction do drop offs) to share it with people we love for Ryans birthday. It is a very dense and rich cake due to the peanut butter icing, so when cutting, cut smaller than you think you need. I think this cake would be a good one to use if you wanted to make a boozy cake. The rich chocolate and peanut butter would pair really well with coffee liqueurs soaked into the. layers.

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it was fortunate that I went over board with the cake, as Ryans birthday gift still isn’t here (a week after his birthday) even though I ordered it months ago. As much as I like purchasing from individuals, the shipping times are sometimes ridiculously long. Thankfully Ryan didn’t seem to notice his gift was missing when I put this plate of delight in-front of him. I did tell him that his gif is late after cake time, and he didn’t seem too disappointed so all is well.

Eva Blakeman – Peanut Butter Cake

Trying A Bunch Of Hot Sauces


This past week Ryan and I decided to taste increasingly hot hot sauces together and it was a ride. Though I didn’t seem to get any ill effects from the challenge, Ryan has a bit of a harder time. It was fun nonetheless.

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No Joke hot sauce is not what I would call a hot sauce. It was packed full of flavours that were incredibly reminiscent of salsa. I would be excellent to add to a salsa to add more flavour without any heat.

Red Hot Sauce is a staple for a lot of people. For those who haven’t tried it, it has a very strong vinegar flavour that pairs well with pork and butter. Not a lot of heat as it sits at 450 SHU. I personally find the vinegar flavour effects me a lot more than the heat in this sauce.

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Siracha, also known as rooster sauce, has a wonderful spicy flavour with a smooth but bumpy texture. It pairs very well with mild cheeses and deli meats, making it a great addition to charcuterie boards. It comes in at 2200 SHU.

Dirty Dicks Hot Sauce may have a vulgar name, but it’s flavour is great. Perfect to add to your burger with its citrus and sweet flavours paired with good heat. Almost tasting of roasted pineapples it is just delicious. It comes in at 21000 SHU.

Son Of Zombie comes in at 24000 SHU and it comes packing with a strong, rich flavour. A honey garlic with a kick kind of taste that would go well with just about anything!

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Karma was a surprise to us. We ordered the sauces online and they sent it to us for free.It is marketed as a butternut squash flavour but I tasted more fruity sweetness that would pair very well with pork. It came in at 56000 SHU.

Bravado Black Garlic Carolina Reaper sauce tastes nothing like garlic, but did have a fairly strong barbecue sauce scent and flavour. It holds itself at 71000 SHU which is considered to be fairly high for the average person.

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Zombie Apocalypse had a great creamy texture and a really rounded out flavour with carrots and and orange really peaking through the habanero and buht joloka peppers. It sits at 100000 SHU and while it has some kick to it, I would recommend it on a chicken burger. The greasiness of the chicken would pair beautifully with this sauce.

Torchbearer Garlic Reaper Sauce has the best blend of garlic and Carolina reaper peppers. It was smooth, savoury and really had a good kick of heat. I can’t imagine the possibilities when pairing this with foods. It does come in at 116000 SHU so the heat might be a little high for the average consumer, but for hot sauce lovers, it is amazing.

Overall I love spicy foods and hot sauces because they make a simple meal into something incredible. Ryan may have suffered more than me during our look into hot sauces but I look forward to trying hotter sauces down the line.

Yummy Mini Egg Cheesecake

So Ryan decided to buy a massive bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs and then imposed the rule that they had to be used in desserts before we could eat them out of the bag. This lead me to trying some new variations of great recipes to include Mini Eggs. If you don’t like Mini Eggs, you could use this recipe while switching out the Mini Eggs for your favourite chocolates. I personally think Oh Henry bars or Reeses would be amazing in this recipe.

I realize a lot of people like adding sour cream to their recipes, but I am not part of that club. I’ve always loved adding a little yogurt to cheesecake recipes to add a silkiness to them, but in this case I just wanted a good old fashioned cheesecake. If you are concerned about the cake coming apart and needing corn starch or flour, I can tell you this cake came out beautifully with a great texture without them.

Cadbury Mini Egg Cheesecake


After having made this, I think switching out the graham to a chocolate graham would benefit the recipe, as well as using a whipped topping with crushed eggs rather than graham and full eggs. As it is shown it was very delicious, but I think those alterations would make it easier to eat.


  • 1 cup graham crust
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp melted butter


  • 3 cups cream cheese (3 Philadelphia cream cheese blocks)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Mini Eggs (crushed)
Eva Blakeman – Cadbury Mini Egg Cheesecake

I really enjoyed changing up my favourite cheesecake recipe. I would usually mix a little strawberry yogurt and blended strawberries to this basic recipe to make a light, fruity dessert. The cake turned out creamy and dense even though I blended my ingredients together. As you can see in the images, there were bubbles visible as well as chocolate spots in the top of the cake. I do not bake my cheesecake in a water bath as I find my spring pans will let water leak in, so I choose to use the “low and slow” method of cooking to avoid splitting and cracking.

I won’t lie to you, we ate half the cake the night I made it, then ate the other half for breakfast the next morning. I don’t recommend eating that much at a time, but that’s how tasty it is. It certainly let me get access to the Mini Eggs that were being unfairly kept from me which was my ultimate goal. I did also make some cookies with the Mini Eggs, which was just Chocolate Chip Cookies with the chocolate chips replaced with Mini Eggs.

Overall a very successful experiment that I would recommend to anyone.

Eva Blakeman – Cadbury Mini Egg Cheesecake

Preparation and Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 C
  2. Mix all crust ingredients together then pat down into a greased 9 inch spring pan. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn down oven to 250 C.
  4. Mix cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla together (easiest done while cream cheese is warm, else wise use a hand mixer or stand mixer, this may add bubbles, but I blended the ingredients and had no cracking in my cake).
  5. Fold in crushed mini eggs.
  6. Pour filling into the crust, bake at 250C for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Turn off oven but leave the cheesecake inside for an hour.
  8. Let the cake cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge. Cool 4 hours or until chilled.
  9. Decorate your cake with a sprinkling of leftover graham and eggs.
  10. Enjoy!
Eva Blakeman – Cadbury Mini Egg Cheesecake

I started my love of baking at a young age. I vividly remember baking chocolate chip cookies with my brother and watching ingredients magically become delicious treats in my mothers nimble hands. I didn’t get any training, no food courses in high school and limited help from my mother as I experimented with foods. I don’t believe that in order to be a good home cook it requires a lot of help, but rather a lot of courage and willingness to fail. Screwing up a recipe is a great way to learn where your skills need improvement in the kitchen, and gives you direction as to where your attention should be directed. Also, if you are lacking the tools or pans recommended in recipes, there is always a way to improvise. I really encourage people to dive in to cooking and baking at home, as they are life long skills. When you’re young and you host, feeding your guests homemade foods is impressive and shows how much you care about your guests. Being able to feed yourself, your partner and your kids will be less costly and will give you complete control over the nutrition of your diets. As you get older, being the nice lady who bakes for the kids who shovels their walks is an iconic position to hold in the neighbourhood.

Eva Blakeman – Cadbury Mini Egg Cheesecake