Sweet Dumpling Cinnamon Roll Muffins [Gluten-Free]

As I’ve mentioned previously, my Dad and my little sister have a little farm up North of Toronto where they grow vegetables every summer. These are mostly for our personal consumption, and the surplus we distribute to family and friends. They also enter the cream of the crop into competitions at the Royal Winter Fair! I really enjoy being able to use the fruits of their labour in my cooking creations.

This year they seemed to focus on growing squash more than any other type of vegetable. We have Spaghetti Squash, Acorn Squash, Zucchini, Scallop Squash, Pumpkin and these little beauties called Sweet Dumpling Squash. I have to admit, I think they’re my favourite of all the ones they grew this past summer. We’ve been doing our best to eat them with our meals, but sometimes you just have to put a little squash into your dessert.

My little sister is a blogger as well, she runs a baking blog over at Sweet Boake. Now, she mostly bakes things that are filled with gluten, but from time to time I trick her into baking me things that are gluten-free. However, they’re not usually ‘blog worthy’, even if they are tasty! When this recipe for Cinnamon Roll Squash Muffins popped onto my radar, we decided that we should collaborate. So we whipped these up, with a couple of our tweaks and additions.

Seriously, these are delicious and moist, and you would be doing yourself a heinous wrong if you waited one more minute to make them. Check out her post with her AWESOME photography over at her blog here!


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First Blog-a-versary! Year-long Recap!

Wow, as of today The Boake Blog has been around for a whole year! Pretty crazy right?

When I started this blog I had no idea it would become the illustrated recipe collection that it is today. My first post was just an illustration of some characters from a small comic. I didn’t really know what I wanted the blog to be, but I knew I wanted to get my work out there, and have a reason to post on a regular basis.

For some reason, I decided to do some crazy ‘fan art’ for my favourite local organic dairy company, Organic Meadow.  Their response from their social networking and PR team was so great, that it really encouraged me to fire up my social media, and get more prolific online!

At this time I was also kind of coming into my own in terms of taking over the kitchen, and getting comfortable with making up recipes without directly following a source. One of my first creations was this Creamy Chard with Bacon and Mushrooms, which coincidentally used Organic Meadow products. I knew I wanted to submit the recipe to the Organic Meadow website, but not only is this dish rather ugly, but food photography really isn’t my forté. Then I thought, why not combine my two interests, cooking and illustration! It was then that my first illustrated recipe was born.

Following the surprisingly receptive response to this creation, I decided to continue my work and see where it lead me. I remember nervously biting my nails when I submitted my first one to Chowstalker, thinking that I would get rejected because I didn’t have a traditional photograph. Luckily for me, Patty, who runs the site, has been supportive and welcoming of my submissions since the very beginning, and because of this I was able to begin making friends and connections in the Paleo and Primal blogging community.

I reached out and collaborated with bloggers like Jan from Jan’s Sushi Bar, Russ from The Domestic Man and Nancy from She Cooks, He Cleans. I flexed my illustration muscles by doing recipe swaps, and illustrating their recipes, which pushed my boundaries by making me render ingredients I might not have used on my own. My swap with Russ for his Kalbi recipe was one of the very first time I rendered a cooked cut of meat. The best part about this networking is I now am lucky enough to call many of the bloggers I admire friends.

Getting my work out there in this way began to catch the attention of other people in the ancestral eating sphere. Then, things got really cool. Bill, of The Food Lover’s Primal Palate, mentioned me to Diane of Balanced Bites who at that time was writing her amazing book, Practical Paleo. If you want a fantastic read, and to also see some cool published illustrations by me, you should definitely check it out. You can see a few of them the downloadable nutrition guide PDF from their site, here. If you want to see the coolest ones, including some POOP, you might just have to spring for the whole book.

Being invited to do guest posts for The Paleo Parents made me feel like a rockstar, and gave me chances to experiment with different kid-friendly illustrating styles, while still sticking to content that matters most to me…food and nutrition!

It’s been a journey so far, but I’m still traveling along and developing my work, but I’m grateful for how far I’ve come in the last year, and the support of the community and my friends. Things have been a little lean here as I’ve been working on some projects that I can’t post about until they’re completed, but I hope to have many cool things to share with you in the next year, so please continue to follow along!

Cheers,

Alex Boake
Super Cool Food Illustrator Extraordinaire