When blueberries are in season in Northern Ontario, these Blueberry Cinnamon Buns are a must! Part cinnamon bun, part muffin, completely delicious. Finished off with an icing sugar drizzle, these may take the place of my traditional cinnamon buns during the summer months.
If you’re following along with the blog you may have noticed my absence for a while. I took some time to be with my family and figure out where I wanted to head with my blog, if I wanted to continue at all. Being a creative takes a lot of energy and we need to constantly recharge our battery. I guess it’s like that for anyone. We need to play as hard as we work.
I’ve also changed over the past few months. Always on a journey of self-discovery and improvement, I’ve discovered some things that are really important to me and how I plan to live my life. I was thinking of walking away from my blog completely but instead, decided to share my journey in this new direction.
Now that it seems the worse is over after my bone marrow transplant, I’m looking at picking up the pieces and creating a new life for myself. It’s taken me a long time to stop staring at the shadow of death standing beside me and instead of being afraid of it, accept it’s there and live the best possible life I can.
While I can consider myself one of the lucky ones, embracing the after effects of my BMT was difficult to say the least. Struggling with fatigue and lack of energy, I am a completely different person from the muay thai training, full time working mom and wife that operated at 150% every day. I made shit happen. Now I’m lucky to get a 75% of a day. And even a 75% of a day means an 11 hour sleep to recover. But I’m ok with that now. (most days, on the good days I tell myself I’m ok with it)
So with all these changes, I’ve started to discover a few things I’m really passionate about and have started to incorporate or work on in my family’s lifestyle.
- I love gardening. Like, really, really LOVE gardening. Maybe it’s the joy of being self-sufficient. Going out to my garden and picking the vegetables I’m going to feed my family makes me incredibly happy and while I’m not an expert, I enjoy the learning just as much as the gardening. My husband and I have already started looking into ways we can have access to home grown fruits and vegetables year round with aquaponics.
- I dislike “stuff”. Maybe it’s the clutter in my house or my dislike for all the garbage we put in our landfill sites. I’m learning to purge what I don’t really need and not spend my money on more things. This has lead to a cleaner, more organized house and saves me a ton of money. One of the best things I did was get a library card again. I’m not spending money on books like I was before AND I’m even renting movies instead of buying them. The hardest part is saying NO to all those little toys my daughter loves to get from the dollar store. The ones that make her happy for 30 seconds as the wrapper comes off then gets found under the couch a month later. So much wasted money (and more plastic that goes into the garbage) I’m trying to focus on experiences with her and activities that are either worthwhile long term, like making a painted pot we can grow something in, or creating memories.
- My meals have also changed. Each day I challenge myself to “use what I have in my pantry” before running to the grocery store. It’s lead to more simple meals with fewer ingredients. Sometimes we have egg sandwiches for dinner or nachos topped with vegetables from our garden. It’s created a more relaxed dinner time and a great way to trim our budget.
- Farmers Markets are the best things ever! While I’ve always loved buying my produce from local farmers, it makes me incredibly happy to see how many people from our city come to the Market on Saturday mornings with their reusable bags and carts to buy their weekly produce.I guess I’m not the only one that’s realized the amazing quality we get at the Market.
- My daughter is incredibly social and thrives around people. I’ve learned to stop holding her back and being “proper”. People seem to love her just the way she is and are not overwhelmed by her like I originally thought. She’s also becoming incredibly independent, that’s both fantastic and scary AF. We love spending hours at our local Farmers Market together. My future will include finding a way to keep her as social as possible.
- I’m also starting to realize the lack of programs for people with adaptive (special) needs. While most children take for granted their dance, hockey or gymnastics lessons, people with limited abilities do not normally has access to these programs yet get absolute joy out of participating in inclusive activities. I would love to see how I can direct my energy into helping on this front.
- I am much happier sitting in nature then the busy streets of a city. Quiet mornings surrounded by trees and animals can almost bring me to a state of euphoria. Most mornings, including today, you’ll find me out on my front porch with a cup of coffee by 7 am. I close my eyes and just listen to the birds. Sometimes our resident bunny comes to have his breakfast.Even when it’s raining, I just put up my umbrella and welcome in my day with a few moments of quiet and tranquility. I would have never stopped long enough 5 years ago to enjoy this quiet moment. Now I consider it the most amazing gift.
- I am incredibly intrigued by green living including geothermal heating, solar energy and green houses. One “Big Sky” chat with my husband lead to an idea of a self sustainable eco-living community. One baby step at a time.
- I have also come to the conclusion I will never be able to work a traditional 9-5 job again. Ever. Or maybe I don’t want to. With my obligatory hour nap I take every day after lunch, unless I move to Greece where it’s part of society’s norm, I don’t think I’ll find a work place where my boss would be ecstatic to see me napping at my desk. Being on my feet for long periods of time also doesn’t work.I’ve discovered my immune system weakens if I push myself to hard. Ie. I get sick if I don’t rest. So on to create my own career path and the above will hopefully lead me in that direction.
So with all this in mind, it’s lead to a slower pace in life but a more peaceful state of mind. A life I hope I can inspire others to gradually incorporate into theirs. Everyone is always SO BUSY with no time to stop and connect with others. A slower life gives us the opportunity to spend time with the people we care about and stop living a life of consumption. We work hard to buy the things we think will make us happy when all we really need to do is slow down and enjoy what we already have.
There is a story I heard on a podcast that resonates with me:
A business man sees an older gentleman in South America bring his small fishing boat in after a successful day. Let’s call the business man Bob. Bob asks the fisherman about his day and the fisherman tells Bob about his small, quiet life of fishing just enough to support his family, have a small house on the beach and quiet evenings with his family and friends watching the sun set over the ocean.
Bob gets really excited by the success of the fisherman and tells him that if he works really hard, he can sell his fish and make more money that can then be used to invest in a larger fishing boat. And if the fisherman works really hard, putting in long days, he can open his own factory and sell his fish all over the world. He can hire other people to work for him. Then in about 10 – 20 years, if the fisherman works really hard, he’ll be so successful, he can sell his company and go retire somewhere on the ocean where he can spend his days fishing and relaxing on the beach at sunset with friends and family.
That my friend, is what I’ve come to appreciate in the past year. Less time chasing “the dream” and more time being. I don’t know if you agree with this, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it. (post a comment below)
These blueberry cinnamon buns were created for a blueberry baking contest held at the Farmers Market this past weekend. Something I would have never had convinced myself to participate in the past, to put myself out there like I did but it was so rewarding to push myself out of my box. I even won a prize for my recipe!
My blueberry cinnamon buns are going to become a favourite I share when I have people over for coffee or to share with a friend. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Blueberry Cinnamon Buns
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar divided
- 1/3 cup butter melted
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
Heat the milk in a small pot on the stove over medium heat to 110 degrees F. Milk will steam when ready. Do not boil. Remove the milk from the heat and sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk. let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast foams.
Combine the flour, ¼ cup sugar, butter and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the butter to cool before adding so it doesn’t cook the eggs. Attach the dough hook to the mixer.
Turn the mixer on a low setting and slowly pour the warm milk mixture along the side of the bowl to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
The dough will form into a ball. Allow the machine to kneed the dough for about 5 minutes.
In a clean bowl, coat the inside of the bowl with cooking spray or butter. Transfer the ball of dough to the bowl and cover with plastic food wrap.
Set aside in a warm part of the kitchen for at least 1 hour, until the dough is doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, grease a 12 cup nonstick muffin tin.
Mix the blueberries, cornstarch and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
Roll out the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 12 inches by 15 inches rectangle. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of sugar over the rolled out dough. Distribute the blueberry mixture evenly over the dough.
Roll the dough into a tight coil and cut into 12 equal pieces. Place each piece cut side up in the greased muffin tin. Cover the tin with a tea towel and set aside for another hour to double in size again.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cook your muffins for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Transfer the muffin tin to a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
While the buns are cooling, combine the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk in a small bowl. Add extra milk or icing sugar until you achieve the desired consistency.
Gently remove the buns from the muffin tin with a butter knife and transfer to a serving tray. Drizzle the glaze over top of the buns. Allow to cool for an additional 5 minutes before serving. Best served warm, still fabulous at room temperature.
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