The Perfect Biscuit

If you have ever visited my family home, or any Cape Breton home for that matter, chances are you were offered a hot cup of tea and a fresh biscuit the moment you entered the kitchen. Biscuits and tea are like, a thing around here. Growing up we always had a fresh batch on the counter and absolutely nothing could beat one fresh from the oven with butter and molasses.

So the question is, can I make them? It only took the better part of a year and a big chunk of change to master it, but I did. In that process I learned that quick and easy is best way to go, and that once you find a recipe you like, stick to it. Beware of the old school biscuit makers who all swear by their recipe because your head will spin if you start asking for help. Some use a light pan, some use dark, some use shortening while others use butter. They may recommend using yogurt or milk, sour milk or butter milk, milk mixed with vinegar or just straight water. Some call for sugar, others say no sugar, some say salt and others say no salt... The list goes on and on.
 So like I said, I tried and tried and finally found a recipe that worked for me, and using the KitchenAid stand mixer I got it right. Being the generous gal that I am, I decided to share that recipe with you and you should consider yourselves lucky... Giving your biscuit recipe away to just anyone is unheard of where I come from...

1. Clean an old soup can and with your can opener remove both ends. This makes the perfect biscuit cutter with two open ends, which adds air to the biscuit and makes for easy cutting. Clean and keep your new biscuit cutter for future baking!
2. The less you handle the dough the better.
3. Biscuits freeze beautifully. Make a big batch and freeze half, they thaw quickly and are the perfect side to soups and chilli's.
4. Play with the recipe by adding dry ingredients to your dry mixture, and wet ingredients to your milk and egg. For example, sweet biscuits with slivered almonds, cranberries and a splash of almond extract or savory biscuits with cheddar cheese and chives!

The Perfect Biscuit

Preheat oven to 425, rack in middle.
In your mixer bowl use your whisk attachment to thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
7 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
Now add 2/3 cup of shortening and on low-medium speed with the paddle attachment, mix until shortening is combined with flour mixture until it's very fine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cup of milk and one egg.
Now using the hook attachment on medium to high speed, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture. Quickly, using a spatula to scrape the sides of bowl ensure the mixture combines well. The quicker the better!
With floured hands, roll ball of dough onto floured counter. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough out to an even 1.5 inch in thickness. With a floured biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place on cookie sheet. Recycle what is left and without handling too much, cut out more biscuits. Bake for 10-15 minutes watching for a raised biscuit with a golden brown top.

Rachel Emmilee


50 Healthy Habits Every Girl Should Have

Now that I've decided to take living healthier and happier more seriously, it seems everywhere I look I'm finding more things that inspire me. A friend recently sent me a text with the following attachment and it has motivated me to make more simple but positive changes in my life.
On top of the changes I've already made to my diet, sleeping and exercise routine, I plan to make a better effort in other aspects of my life as well. There is always room for improvement, like they always say. From this list, I plan to do the following...
 Try Meatless Monday - Put my phone away when with friends and family - Keep better track of my bank statements and pay stubs - Avoid buying one-time-only clothing - Avoid tanning beds - Make SPF makeup application a morning ritual - Avoid Google when needing medical advice - Floss more often - Read labels on everything - Stop being so hard on myself.
Have a look at this list, where can you improve?



"It will catch up to you!"

A commonly used phrase in my house growing up... Always referring to me and the way I ate, and how no matter how much I ate and how little I exercised, I remained as skinny as a rake. When I would hear, "It will catch up to you," I'd roll my eyes like they were crazy and continue eating whatever it was that should have gone straight to my ass, but didn't.

Well, times sure have changed. Let's just say after a feast of comfort food, I can now feel every last bite travel to my ass and find housing in vacant fat cells. Lately, I'm guilty of unbuttoning my jeans so I can breathe after meals and I've been pushing my figure flattering clothes to the back of my closet. Looking in the mirror I can see I packed some extra junk in the trunk and despite this, I quickly (and happily) satisfy all cravings I get for salt or sugar. I feel tired. I feel uninspired. I feel stuck. My body isn't as forgiving as it once was, as I am 22 lbs over what I was in my early twenties. There's no denying my unhealthy habits have finally caught up to me... 

Aside from the number on the scale, I know my mood, energy and appearance has suffered the effects of unhealthy eating. I'm no longer the skinny chick who can eat whatever she wants and not gain. I've reached a point where I know I must make changes if I want to eliminate feelings of self hate and prevent it from ever coming back. So, I faced some harsh realities and re-evaluated my lifestyle to find where I can improve... The conclusion? I can improve everywhere. 

Goals include...
  • Feel energized, awake, healthy, beautiful and strong by fueling my body with healthy foods.
  • Sleep longer, deeper and more sound with less distractions.
  • Be fit during my (future) pregnancies and when I become a Mother. 
  • Read labels to know what I am eating isn't harmful to my body.
  • When I can, choose organic. 
  • Toss chemical loaded creams, rubs and products that promise to do only what health foods can do.
  • Set a good example and be an inspiration to other women.
  • Drink more water.
  • Never drink sugar loaded soft drinks.
  • Run the 5K Sole Sister Race.
  • Limit (not eliminate) comfort foods, coffee and other guilty pleasures.
To reach those goals...
  • I have watched two food documentaries I had been avoiding for fear of being disturbed. With a whole new understanding of the food industry and the scary, scary truths about what we eat, I cleaned out our fridge and pantry to start fresh. 
  • I modified our grocery list to include the healthiest options and we stocked up on fresh, nutritious foods that I feel really good about. 
  • I bookmarked several fitness Blogs that have endless resources, recipes and tips that will help me on my journey. I've spent hours skimming the archives and already tried several recipes and exercises that I've had success with.
  • I recently completed a FOODSAFE course that discussed preventative methods to avoid cross contamination, food intoxication and illness. I also learned the proper cooling, heating and storing temperatures for food and other red flags to watch for in the kitchen.
  • I made a promise to myself to avoid Soda at all costs.
  • I installed the Couch to 5K and Nike Training Club app on my phone.
  • I actually registered for the 5K Sole Sister Race... No turning back now!
Something feels different this time. I choose health, happiness and being in control of my body. I'm tired of complaining about my lack of ambition and I'm tired of feeling run down. I finally feel 100% committed to achieving my goals. 

Have you struggled with maintaining a healthy lifestyle? What keeps you goal focused?
Rachel Emmilee