2021 In-Depth Project – Amin

Hello!

My name is Amin Lotfi, and my in-depth project for this year was baking.

 

This is a link to my own website, where you will be able to find everything I have done this year. Make sure to click everything clickable, so you don’t miss anything!

Amin’s Baking Blog

 

Have fun, and I hope you enjoy!

Final In-depth Post (#6)

In-depth Post #6

Hello, I’m Amin, and welcome to my final in-depth blog post of the year (Already!) Please press the see original button to see the photos I have added. This is my final progress report! 

In these two weeks, I’ve learned to make another family-favourite bakery item: Chocolate Banana muffins. My mentor and I were contemplating when I should start making my own recipe, but my mentor told me that “it would probably be better if [I] try making a new type of bakery item, as for now, [I] only tried making brownies, cookies, and cakes, and cupcakes”. That is how we decided that I would make a muffin for our next meeting. My mentor, Rie, told me to look for muffin recipes I wanted to try until out next meeting, so I got to work. After looking at dozens of websites and blogs, I found the perfect chocolate-banana muffin recipe. It was from a website called The Baking ChocolaTess. The link should be right under this paragraph, I would recommend this recipe to any bakers out there, as the recipe is very simple, and the results are spectacular (not to forget, tasty too!). While making the dough, a piece of advice I found was important was that “even if [I were] using butter, if [I] want[ed] to make [my] muffins moist and soft, [I needed to] use some light oil such as sunflower seed oil”. Luckily, I had sunflower seed oil, and added to the dough. I’m glad I listened to her, as I think that was what made my muffins so soft and nice textured!

Perfect Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins! Fluffy & Moist!

Below are the photos I took during the process of making the chocolate banana muffins.

Mixing the ingredients!

Stir, stir, stir!

Before leaving them in the oven. I wonder how they will look when I take them out?

Finished results! The muffins are baked perfectly!

Inside the muffin!

As you can see the results of the muffins were fabulous. My mentor told me that “they look delicious”, and let me tell you, it wasn’t only the looks. These were the best tasting bakery item I have ever made, and everybody in my family agreed. I hope to make these chocolate banana muffin as often as I can. To summarize all my in-depth posts, I have learned to make cookies, roll cakes, brownies, cupcakes, and muffins.

 

Learning Centre

For my learning centre, I am hoping to make my own recipe on muffins. I will try to get the least amount of help as I can from my mentor, as I want my learning centre to reflect on how much I have learned throughout in-depth. Also, I will be making some sort of collage with pictures of all the bakery foods I have made till now. I will be making the collage online, using a website called canva that my mentor recommended to me.

 

How To Have A Beautiful Mind

This week, the two chapters covered from Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind are Concepts and Alternatives.  

Concepts are the general idea, or umbrella term, used to cover more specific items. For example, “food” is a concept, because there are specific types of food such as cookies, cakes, and more. As well, “bakery items” would be a concept, just a smaller one. There are several types of concepts, and several levels of specificity. 

Alternatives are other ways of completing tasks. There are positive, negative, and many other types of alternatives. For example, if you are making a choice as what to bake, there are choices such as muffins, cupcakes, and brownies you can choose from.  

An example of when a concept was used in a meeting was when my mentor and I were making the dough for the chocolate banana muffins. She was explaining to me why the melted butter should be cooled off before putting in the dough. She said, “when at room temperature, butter form an emulsion which traps air, and while baking in the oven, that trapped air expands and produces a fluffy muffin”. In this example, the concept is bakery items. The dough and butter can be called practical ideas, which are specific items under a concept. 

An example of when alternatives were used during a meeting was also when I was making the chocolate banana muffin  dough. Rie, my mentor, gave me the option of doubling the amount of chocolate chips I would put into the dough. She said, “If you want, you can use double the amount of chocolate chips as the recipe tells you to add only a small amount, in my opinion”. I took the alternative of doubling the amount of chocolate chips. I am a huge chocolate fan, I and I decided that more chocolate will be better than having less. Also, another time I used alternatives during the meeting was when she recommended to use sunflower oil in my dough, even though the recipe didn’t mention it. As I stated above, I think I made a good choice, as it really made my muffins top-notch. 

 

Final Last Words

First, I want to thank my mentor for everything she did during the past twelve weeks. My mentor, Rie, never canceled any meetings, even with her busy schedule. I enjoyed every bit of our meetings, such as when she taught me new techniques, gave advice, helped decide what I would bake next, and the overall “baking” part I did every meeting. We would also talk about things that were happing in our lives, and she  gave some great advice then too. I cannot believe that in-depth is ending soon, and the fact that I will be graduating from TALONS in a few months. Time flies! Meet you at my learning centre soon!

Thanks for reading till now! See you soon!

In-Depth Blog Post #5

Hello, I’m Amin, and welcome to my fifth in-depth blog post of the year. I have had one meeting since the last post, and we practiced making chocolate chip cookies again. Please press the see original button to see the photos I have added.  

 

Process

My mentor and I decided that since cookies were one of the most basic bakery items to bake, she wanted me to try baking them on my own. She said to only ask questions if needed, and she was going to see how I did through the video call. Before I started, she told me to remember the most important piece of advice for making cookies, which was to “remember to use the sifter when adding the flour, cocoa, and salt, as it will make sure there are no weird chunks in the cookies.”  Sifting is when when you use a Sieve to make sure there are no big chunks in the flour, and to mix the flour, cocoa, and salt evenly. She said that I would have to learn to memorize steps and recipes, but since I was still a beginner, she told me to prepare all the ingredients before hand, but to not use any sort or instruction while baking. I decided that I was going to bake the same cookies I baked last time, as I did have some extra knowledge on making those. (Chocolate chip cookies from Tasty.co)

In the beginning, everything seemed to go well. I did have to ask her “does it matter if you add the eggs before the sugar” (I know now that doesn’t matter), but I did not have to ask too many questions. Everything was going well, until I forgot the one piece of advice she gave me before I started, which was to “remember to use the sifter when adding the flour, cocoa, and salt, as it will make sure there are no weird chunks in the cookies.”  Even when I was baking my brownies, I forgot to sift in the ingredients, but I had made the same mistake again. As she told me in the beginning, she would not say anything even if I make a mistake, unless I ask her a question. Once I finished and took our the cookies from the oven, I realized I did something wrong. The cookies were too flat, and when I took a bit from it, the sugar, flour, and salt were clumped together, resulting in a weird texture and taste. My mentor then told me I had forgotten to sift, and we laughed at my dumb mistake.

 

Below are some photos of the process of making cookies.

All the ingredients

Starting to mix the ingredients

Dough is a little… ugly

Cookie looks lumpy

… Sifting is very important

 

To have a Beautiful Mind 

In How to Have a Beautiful Mind, this chapter talks about the six hats.They are different ways of thinking of approaching and thinking about a certain situation. Below are the six hats.  

Yellow hat: An approach that follows benefits, values, and how something can be done. 

Green hat: Covers creating time and expectation for creative effort. 

Blue hat: Organizes the ways of thinking. 

White hatA conversation or approach that covers facts. 

Red hat: A conversation or approach that follows feelings. 

Black hat: An approach that covers critical thinking. 

 

Below are some quotes from the conversation between my mentor and I:

-Mentor: “Today, I want you to try and make a cookie without having instructions, as it will help you think about why some steps come before the other (Green hat). But remember to sift the cocoa, flour, and salt, as I will make sure that the cookie will not become chunky and have a weird texture (Yellow hat).”

-Me: “Thanks. So I need to bake the same cookie I made around month ago, but without the instructions (Blue hat). Just a question, does it matter if I add the eggs before the sugar (White hat)? Also, I feel like I should add more cocoa and less chocolate chips, as late time, the cookie itself did not have any taste, and you only got flavour when you bit the cookie with a chocolate chip (Red hat).”

-Mentor: “It doesn’t matter if you add the eggs before the sugar, and add more cocoa can lead up to the cookie becoming more drier, but if that is what you want to try, feel free to experiment with it”

-Me: “Oh, I was planning to make a soft, gooey cookie, so I don’t think adding more cocoa powder will be what I want for my cookie (Black hat)”

 

Thanks for reading till here. Till next time,

Amin

 

 

In-Depth Blog Post #4

Hello! This is my fourth post for this year’s In-Depth Project. To see my third In-Depth post, click this link: Third In-Depth Post

(Please click the view original button above to see my photos)

 

Progress Report

During these few weeks, I was able to meet with my mentor (online, of course) once and make brownies. In our last meeting, she had given me the task to find a bakery item I wanted to make, and find a recipe I thought would work well. After searching for brownies recipes online, I decided on a recipe from a website called Love and Lemons.

(Link: https://www.loveandlemons.com/brownies-recipe/)

During the meeting, my mentor gave me advice and taught me techniques I could use while making brownies. The main piece of advice I got was to never mix the batter too long or hard, as mixing it more would make the ‘bread’ part of the brownie too fluffy and “bread-like”. Instead, she told me to use a spatula and do something called ‘folding’. It is a technique where instead of just mixing the batter, you fold the batter in a circular motion. This would help reduce the amount of air bubbles formed in the batter, resulting in a heavier, denser brownie. Once I was finished making the brownie, she gave me the same task she gave me last week: to find another recipe. At the moment, I am looking at some cupcake and cake recipes for our next meeting. Below are some photos of my finished brownies.

Tasty!

Lots and lots of chocolate… 🙂

 

To Have A Beautiful Mind

QUESTIONS

From this section of the chapter, I realized that asking questions is a great way to grow a connection with your mentor, as it stimulates conversation and more back-and-forth interaction with your mentor. During my meeting with my mentor, I was able to ask questions to clarify things I didn’t fully understand or to gain more insight into what she was teaching me. A good example of where I asked useful questions was when she was teaching me how to fold my batter. It was a technique I had never even heard of before, so when she was trying to teach me through a video call, it was a little hard for me to understand what she. was trying to explain to me. Therefore, I had to ask many questions to further clarify what the technique she was trying to teach me was. Because of all the questions I asked, I was able to master the technique of ‘folding’, which made my brownies taste good. While I was asking questions about folding, she told me not to worry as “[she] also took a very long time to fully learn all these techniques, so [I] shouldn’t worry too much if [I] think [I] don’t get it yet.” These words of encouragement were very helpful, as it made me realize that learning new techniques are hard for everyone, not just me.

LISTENING

This concept from this chapter talks about how listening is the most important way for you to gain knowledge from your mentor. The book explained how listening is one of the most important factors that could make or ruin your relationship with your mentor, as being a good listener allows your mentor to know that you are interested in what they are teaching. Being a bad listener will immediately ruin any chance of you and your mentor being successful in the future. While reading this chapter, I realized that this concept was for both the learner and the mentor, as you need mutual respect for each other if you want everything to go smoothly. I was able to show my mentor that I was listening to her and cared about the things she was saying by frequently nodding my head, and agreeing with her points. I would immediately apply the skills or techniques she had taught me.

 

I think my in-depth project so far has been very successful, and I hope to see you in my next post! Thank you, and see you soon!

 

Amin Lotfi

 

In-Depth Post #3

Hello, and welcome to my third in-depth blog post. Although not too much has happened since my second in-depth blog post, here what happened since then.

(I just realized that not everyone can view the photos I have inserted into this blog post. To see the photos, please press the view original button. Thanks! Also, this is the link to my second in-depth post, in case you haven’t seen it yet: Amin’s Second In-Depth Post)

 

To Have A Beautiful Mind:

While reading the chapter, two points struck out to me the most.

#2 To ask for clarification whenever you are unclear or in doubt about something the mentor tells you or shows you.

and

#3 To support a point your mentor makes with additional facts, figures, evidence, etc.

During my meeting with my mentor, I always reminded myself of these two ideas so that I can get the most out of our meetings. To be able to support a point my mentor gives me, I had to do some research on baking soft chocolate chip cookies. I watched many videos and read multiple blogs beforehand, and I made sure to ask as many questions as I can during my meeting with my mentor.

 

What I Did With My Mentor: 

My mentor and I had our third meeting, and this time we decided to make chocolate chip cookies. In our last meeting, she had told me to do some independent research and find a recipe of what I want to bake online, and after looking at different recipes, I decided on a chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe from Tasty.co.

(https://tasty.co/recipe/the-best-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies).

While I was baking, my mentor would give me advice and teach me techniques to make my chocolate chip cookies even yummier.

A piece of advice I found really helpful was knowing when I should under-mix or over-mix my cookie dough. She told me that “the more [you] over-mix the dough, the denser the cookie will become, and the less you mix the dough, the fluffier the cookie will be”. Because I wanted to make my chocolate chip cookie a little dense, I mixed the dough for a little longer time than what the recipe told me. Also, she told me that the longer I cool the dough, the more flavorful the cookie will be, but because I could wait to eat my cookies, we decided that cooling it for an hour would still be fine.

These are some photos of the cookie dough I made with the help of my mentor. (I lost the photos of my finished cookies, but I can tell you that they tasted very delicious).

Cookie dough is still watery and not yet finished.

All better!

Once we were finished baking the chocolate chip cookies, my mentor told me to again find a recipe for a bakery item I wanted to make for our next meeting. For now, I am looking for brownie recipes and watching baking videos online.

This is everything that has happened since my last in-depth post, and hopefully, you had fun reading it. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments.

Thank you and have a nice day!

 

In-Depth Post #2

Progress Report

My in-depth project this year is baking. Currently, I have had two meetings with my mentor through zoom calls. In our first meeting, my mentor and I discussed what my goals were, what I wanted to bake, and a general outline of what I wanted to do and achieve. In our second meeting, we decided that I was going to try making a strawberry roll cake, as it was not a very difficult item to bake. She gave me instructions, tips, and techniques while I baked. Through this second meeting, I learned a lot about how important techniques were. For example, if you are trying to get a fluffy texture in your bread, instead just craking your egg in one bowl and mixing it, you need to “separate the yolk and the whites and whisk them separately”. This will ensure that once you mix the pre-whisked yolk and the whites with the rest of the ingredients, there will be lots of small air bubbles which will keep your ‘bread’ part of the cake nice and fluffy. Another technique I learned was “if [I] want[ed]to make [my] cake dense and heavy, [I] should mix [my] ingredients with an electronic mixer” but if I want to keep my cake light and fluffy, I should “mix softly with a spatula, as it will keep the air bubbles intact in the mixture”.

Below are photos I took during the process of making the roll cake.

Adding strawberries on the roll cake

A piece of my finished strawberry roll cake. Yummy!

 

How To Have A Beautiful Mind

Agreeing

During the two meetings I’ve had with my mentor, I’ve found it hard to not agree with anything she said. I think the reason for this was that first of all, she knows about baking way more than I do, and second of all, I was the one who asked her if she could spend her free time teaching me how to bake, so it didn’t feel right to do disagree with her. A good example of when I used the concepts from this chapter was for the first meeting I had with her, which was when we planned how we wanted everything to flow. When we were talking about what I wanted to try and bake for the next meeting, originally I had in mind that I wanted to try and make brownies, as they are one of my favorite treats. Before I could tell her, she gave me a suggestion of baking a strawberry roll cake. She explained how it was one of the most simple bakery items to bake, and that it applied techniques that would be very beneficial for baking in general. Before she explained what she wanted for me to bake on my next meeting with her, I never would have thought of baking a roll cake, but after she explained why she recommends me to start with roll cakes, I agreed as I realized that it would help me advance my baking skills. Through agreeing with her, I was able to gain useful knowledge on baking techniques that I could use for harder bakery items.

 

Disagreeing

This chapter gave advice such as not disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing, as well as always giving a reason behind your different views. Like I stated above, my mentor and I had close to no disagreements about anything. When we were figuring out what dates would work for us for our meetings, we were both free on Tuesdays. When we were deciding what I was going to bake, I agreed with all the recommendations as it made sense. As you can see, there was not much we could disagree about. The closest we’ve had to a disagreement would be when she was a little late sending me the criminal record check. A week had passed from when I needed to hand the criminal record check in, but there were no emails or messages talking about completing the crim check. I knew that she probably had other things she had to do, but I needed to figure out a way to let her know without sounding rude or obnoxious, as this chapter said to always be polite when disagreeing, and also you should just always be polite. I wrote her an email about the crim check, but I made sure to not include that she was already a week late, as it would only make her feel bad. I hope to not break this streak and not have any big disagreements throughout in-depth.

 

Differing

This chapter talks about how different points of view and life situations will create varying opinions, and often the best way to handle a situation is to try to find a middle ground. An example of when I used the concepts from this chapter was when we were deciding what I wanted to do for my final project at the end of in-depth. We both talked about how we wanted it to look like, and although at first, we had different ideas of how we wanted it to look like, eventually we found a middle ground including both my ideas and her ideas. 

 

Although this is only my second in-depth post, I have learned a lot and improved my techniques and skills. I hope to learn even more during my next meetings. See you in my next in-depth post! 

In-Depth Blog Post #1

My skill

Hello, my name is Amin Lotfi and for this year’s in-depth project I have chosen baking as my in-depth project. I hope to learn about baking techniques, how to use baking equipment, what kinds of ingredients I should use, how to make my own recipe, and basic baking skills once I have finished in-depth. For my final in-depth project, I will show my learning by putting photos of the bakery items I have made throughout in-depth and include my own home-made recipe with photos of how it turned out. I want to be able to bake my own sweets anytime without any help such as recipes once in-depth is finished.

Why?

I chose baking as I always had an interest in baking or any kind of cooking. In fact, one of the reasons I did culinary as one of my electives this year was so that I would get a chance to learn the basics of cooking and baking so that I would have a head-start for when I would start in-depth. My mom is also into baking, so sometimes we will make cupcakes or cakes together. But to be honest, I just want to be able to make my own sweets like brownies and eat them whenever I want.

How are you going to learn this skill?

I will learn how to bake with the help of my mentor, videos, blogs, and recipes. I will try to make one bakery item per week, so I don’t forget any of the techniques or skills I learned. I am planning to do a video call with my mentor every two weeks and use online resources between the two weeks. I will first learn how to use all the equipment, then some basic baking techniques, then how to use ingredients as toppings, and finally how to make my own recipe. This will ensure that I accomplish everything I need to before the end of in-depth.

What can others do to help you?

My mentor will be the one who will help be become a better baker. She is my friend’s mom, and the reason I wanted her to be my mentor was as she is a great baker, and I know that as I tasted her bakery items before. I will also get help from the internet, such as videos, blogs, recipes, and books.

Progress report:

Although I have not done much in the baking part, I have figured out who my mentor is going to be, what my in-depth project will be, not to mention my first in-depth blog post. I hope by the next blog post I have done a few meetings with my mentor and baked at least twice.

 

John C. Maxwell Blog Post – Amin

Session 1

 

Principle – Law of magnetism

 

“Who you are is who you attract” – John C. Maxwell

This principle talks about how what kind of person you affect connects to what kind of leaders you are. I feel like this simple quote really changes what kind of leader you can become. For example, if you attract bad, negative leaders, you will know that you are just like them to other people’s eyes and will have to fix whatever problem you have. On the other hand, If you are attracting kind, creative leaders, you will know that you are demonstrating these qualities yourself. I feel like this is very important, as there were many times this happened in real life. There have been times where everyone in my school group was very open-minded and positive, which lead me to work more efficiently and finish tasks faster. There also have been times where I was in a group where two people had completely different ideas, which lowered the mood for everyone in my group and lead to nobody taking responsibility for our group. I will use this principle in leadership activities by always reminding that my mind, feelings, and energy level will contribute to how everyone does in my group. If I see that everyone is feeling down, this time I will step up and be the first one trying to spread positivity.

 

 

Session 2

 

Principle – The leadership challenge (Leaders are hard to find. Leaders are hard to gather. Leaders are hard to unite. Leaders are hard to keep)

 

This principle describes how the biggest challenge in leading people is that you have to lead someone who is trying to get to your spot. Leaders are hard to find means it is hard to spot a leader, as you will not know anything about them. Leaders are hard to gather means that the person who you want to make a leader will be hard to persuade into joining you. Leaders are hard to unite means that because everyone under you is a leader, it will be hard to make everyone work with each other, as everyone wants to lead, not follow. Finally, Leaders are hard to keep connects to the third statement, if they don’t want to be a follower for a while, they will leave. I chose this principle as most people, including me, wants to be a leader, not a follower. I need to learn how to convince and persuade people into liking me and joining me. I feel like this is important as I have found out that people work more effectively and efficiently if joined you because they like you, not because I have more power. I will use this principle in leadership activities by always asking the person who is working with me if they are comfortable with the way I am. If they say they don’t like how I lead, I will ask them how I can improve, and take time to fix my mistake.

 

 

Session 3

 

Principle – Work on yourself MORE than you work on others, and work on yourself BEFORE you work on others

 

This principle explains how in order to help and make other leaders grow and improve; you should work on yourself so that you can train yourself to your highest potential. Most challenges leaders have begun with themselves, and it is important to focus on growing and focusing on yourself first. If you do not follow this principle, it will affect both you and the person you are working on in a negative way. I chose this principle from this session as I have struggled with this problem before. On many occasions, I have worried about how other people are doing then checking myself and seeing if I could improve in any way. This has happened especially a lot when I am working with the grade nines, as I automatically think I know more than them, so I shouldn’t have to work on myself but instead only work on the grade nines. I will need to fix this problem so that I can mentor, lead, and grow leaders that need my help. I will use this principle on leadership activities by thinking to myself, “did I train myself enough to teach other people?”. If not, I will make sure that I fully understand and know what I am doing, and then help other leaders.

 

 

Session 4

 

Principle – I Motivate

 

This principle describes how motivation in a group is important. This directly relates to the principle I chose from the first session, which was the law of magnetism. I feel like this is often overlooked, but important as once the team morale is down, nobody feels like they have to take responsibility for whatever task they are doing. Great leaders need to motivate their team so they can work more effectively and efficiently. I chose this principle as I believe that I must improve myself and think of the reason I am doing whatever task I have. If I can’t find a reason for what I am doing, I will know that most people that I am leading also are not motivated (as there is no clear goal). Also, I realized that I need to change my leadership mindset first before I lead people, which also connects to the principle I chose for the third session. I will use this in leadership activities by thinking of goals and the reason we want to do a task, and then starting on it. By doing this, I will be motivating both myself and my team and we will accomplish tasks a lot quicker than possible.