Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish you all a happy holiday and hope you get to spend it with the people you love!
P.S.  Here is my last Christmas treat recipe.  It was so simple and so delicious!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Treats - Day 3

Let me just start this post out by saying I have never been a fan of fruitcake.  I actually find it kind of gross. And then I found this recipe.  I read through it sceptically and almost didn't try it.  But then I thought, "Something with that much booze in it couldn't possibly be that bad...."  So I made it. And it was delicious.
The recipe is from an Everyday Food magazine (thank you, Martha!).  A very simple recipe to make.  You don't like fruitcake?  Give it a go, you might change your mind. 

Fruitcake Bars
Recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine
Soundtrack - Hank Williams

1 c. brandy
5 c. dried fruit, coarsely chopped (I used apricots, cranberries, dates, golden raisins and pineapple)

2 c. all purpose flour

1 c. butter, room temperature
2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 13x9 pan.  Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.  Grease the parchment and set aside. 

*One year I neglected to do this.  I was sorry I didn't.  Even though I had greased the pan very well, I still couldn't get the bars out of the pan.  Don't skip this step. 

In a medium saucepan, heat the brandy until simmering.  Remove from heat and stir in fruit; cool to room temp.  Stir 1 c. of flour into the brandied fruit mixture; set aside.  
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  Add remaining flour and mix until just combined.  Fold in fruit mixture; transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top.  

Bake for 45-50min.  or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 1 hour.  Using paper overhang, lift out of pan; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (still on paper).  Invert fruitcake, peel off paper and with a serrated knife cut into 24 pieces. Dust with icing sugar if desired.  

   Hope you enjoy these! xo

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Baking - Day 2

Today I am sharing a recipe that I found via a fabulous food blog, Smitten Kitchen.  These cookies are absolute heaven!  I normally do not bake sugar type cookies because I find them so bland.  These are anything but bland with their maple-y buttery lusciousness. The dough rolls out beautifully and is so very tender.  This recipe makes a lot of cookies.  I didn't count but let's just leave it at dozens. 

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies
Adapted, just a smidge, from the late great Gourmet Magazine
Soundtrack - Bonobo

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup  maple syrup (Grade B is ideal here, but the original recipe suggested that Grade A with a few drops of maple extract would also work)
1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (because it packs more tightly)
1 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add yolk and slowly drizzle in maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be in loose clumps. Gather them together into a tight packet with a large piece of plastic wrap and chill dough for at least two hours (and up to four days) until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. I like to roll out a quarter to half the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the fridge. On a floured counter, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.
Arrange cookies on baking sheets and bake for 8 to 11 minutes each, or until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to racks to cool.


* I used No.1 maple syrup (Grade A) because that's what I had and did not add any maple flavouring.  I can definitely tell there is maple syrup in these. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cookie Extravaganza!

The Wee Beast and I have finally started our holiday baking.  In my family we don't exchange gifts with each other (pressies are just for the kids) but I do bake a crap load of cookies and squares to give out.  I also send some over to the neighbours and take some into work for my co-workers.
I thought I would share the recipes with you for all the things I am making this year.
Today we made Snickerdoodles.  The name alone is a very good reason to make these and you really should say it as many times as possible.  If you've never had these cookies, you should make a batch.  They are little vanilla cookies with a crispy exterior and a soft, almost fluffy inside.  They are coated in cinnamon sugar before baking. I recommend making a double batch!

Recipe courtesy of my childhood, soundtrack - Billie Holiday

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla.   In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture.

In small, shallow bowl mix sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar mixture.

Place about 2-inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350F for 13-15min. or until golden brown around the edges.  Cool.

Makes 30 cookies.
Hope you get a chance to make some!  They are fantastic! xo

Friday, December 9, 2011


We have had a bout of illness raging through our house for the past month and a bit.  I had The Flu That Would Not End and Lil'G ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  That was very scary but she was extra brave and amazing.  The Mister got a cold for his birthday.  Poor guy.  Needless to say not much has been getting done except for the necessities (and sometime not even that!). This past week everyone has been feeling better and having more energy. 

I have been in the sewing room creating a sewing storm.  I have finished up a bunch of new bags and a custom order. 

They have reached their destinations and that feels really awesome. 
I am now beginning to think about my Etsy shop again and all the holiday sewing I want to do for my little lovelies.  On the list are some pjs for Lil'G, some softies for my nephew and sweet little Jasmin.  I am also knitting some holiday socks for some special feet.  And of course, I am knitting for myself too. 
Are you crafting for the holidays?  What are you most excited about?

Hope you are all staying warm and enjoying the winter season! xo

Friday, November 4, 2011

How sweet are these?  I thought they would make such nice decorations for hanging in the window or if you felt really industrious you could make a super fancy bunting type runner.  There is a fab tutorial over at The Purl Bee. 
Hope you are all staying cosy and warm!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Fall is here and I have been so inspired by all the root veggies and winter squash that I have been seeing at work.  Up here in Canada we have already celebrated Thanksgiving and seem to be settling in for the season.
I wanted to share this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Pie with you.  I found it online recently but failed to book mark it so I cannot credit the writer of this recipe.  Oops!  I made this as a sweet end to our Thanksgiving supper.  Hope you all enjoy it!

Pumpkin Cream Pie with Candied Pepitas

1 1/4 c. graham crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
5 Tbsp. melted butter

Combine all ingredients and press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate.  Bake at 350F for 15 min.  Cool.

2 c. whole milk                                 4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla                                     1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon                             1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/2tsp. nutmeg                                  1 Tbsp. salted butter
pinch of cloves
1/2 c. sugar                                      1 1/2 c. heavy cream (35% MF)

Bring milk, spices and 1/4 c. sugar to a simmer over med. heat.
In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 c. sugar.  Slowly pour hot milk mixture into eggs, whisking constantly.  This is called tempering.  Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until the custard is very thick. It should be the consistency of pudding.  Remove from heat and whisk in pumpkin and butter.  Strain through a fine sieve and pour into crust.  The straining takes a little bit.  Be patient.  The silky luxurious custard is worth it.
Refrigerate until completely set, at least 4 hours.

1/3 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. sugar

Melt sugar over med. heat until it starts to caramelize.  Do not stir with a spoon,  just swirl the melting sugar in the pan.  When the caramel is a lovely amber colour add the pumpkin seeds and stir to coat each one.  They will begin to pop.  At this time pour them onto a sheet of parchment to cool.
This makes more than enough for the topping.  Enjoy the rest while you prepare dinner.  

To serve:  Whip cream with a little maple syrup (2 Tbsp. at most) and vanilla.  Spread on top of pie.  Roughly chop some of the candied pepitas and sprinkle on top of pie.

Enjoy! xo

Friday, September 23, 2011

Holy Tomatoes!

So, we planted a lot of tomatoes. We are picking and eating a lot of tomatoes. I always plant a tomato called Principe Borghese.
It is a small roma that makes excellent dried tomatoes as well as lovely sauce and is a very heavy producer. I decided to make a roasted tomato passata. Passata is just a basic cooked tomato sauce and can be used in recipes or as a pizza or pasta sauce. I did a little reading and came up with my version of a simple passata. Not really a recipe, more of a set of guidelines.

roma tomatoes, washed and stems removed (I had two cookie sheets full of tomatoes)
2 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
about 1 tsp. sea salt
a bunch of grinds of fresh pepper
about 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

Line two cookies sheets with parchment or foil. Fill each with tomatoes.

I didn't cut my tomatoes since they are the size of a large cherry tomato but if you have regular romas, slice them in half. Divide remaining ingredients between pans and toss gently, just so the tomatoes are all coated with the oil.

Roast them in the oven at 350F for about an hour. The skins will be shriveled and the tomatoes will be very soft. The onions and garlic should be very soft too.
Now puree the whole lot. I used an immersion blender, but a blender, food processor or food mill would work as well. Adjust seasoning.

At this point I added a generous 1/2 cup of fresh basil cut in very thin strips (chiffonade), packaged it in containers and froze it.
I thought it was very delicious!
I have been sewing a bunch and may actually get around to sharing some new things with you all. I hope you all have a glorious weekend! xo

Monday, September 19, 2011

The first week of school has finished and the second has begun. G. is absolutely loving Kindergarten! She sets her alarm before bed every night and when it goes off in the morning she jumps out of bed to turn it off. She is so very excited every morning. Her teacher is amazing and she has already made a few new friends. I am so proud of her!

For me, I am struggling with the thought of lunches. So far we have only done half days and all G. has needed is a snack. This week we start with the lunches though. I have been picking the brains of all my mom friends for ideas. I guess I am struggling because I always hated the lunches my mom packed me when I was a kid. I wasn't (and still am not) big on sandwiches. Here are some of my ideas:
- cheese and crackers with veggies
- leftovers ( I always loved leftovers as a kid)
- the dreaded sandwich!
- tortilla spread with cream cheese and jam, rolled up and sliced
- boiled egg and veggies
- soup in a thermos with bread or crackers
Any amazing lunch ideas out there? I am dying to hear them!
Hope you have a fantastic day! xo

Monday, September 5, 2011

Things around here...

have been a whirlwind of activity.
Someone turned five. We had a birthday party with her friends at the park in the afternoon.

I made her an awesome dinosaur cake which she promptly told me was not a dinosaur but a dragon. I still thought it was rad.

Don't tell anyone but I am pretty sure she did too.
When we asked G. what she wanted to do for her birthday her first response was that she wanted to have a bbq with her aunt and uncle. This is the uncle that scared the crap out of her for her first few years of life. We definitely had to honor that request and so we had a family bbq at our place. The Mister made his famous ribs ( Oh-my-goodness, these ribs are mind blowing!) and my brother brought some salmon that he had caught. It was an exhausting day. But oh-so-much fun!
We have also been going to the beach,

....wrangling bugs,
...canning peaches,
...and pickles,
Everything in this jar came out of our garden!

...picking veggies,
...and sewing lovely things.

Now we are going to soak up the last days of summer. And we are getting ready for the new routine of the first year of school. How did that get here so fast? G. is excited and a little apprehensive. I think that is to be expected. I'm just glad there is excitement in there too.
Wishing you all a lovely day! xo

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Tomorrow my daughter is turning five. I cannot believe how fast five years has flown by. It seems like just yesterday I was looking at her wrinkled little face for the first time. Smelling her hair and kissing her cheeks for the first time.

She is such a wonderful little person - hilarious and kind, generous and feisty. Her intelligence is staggering, her joy breathtaking. And she is getting so big. She is on the cusp of Big Kid-hood. I am a wee bit torn here - on one hand I am so proud of the person she is becoming. On the other, I miss the chubby thighs and the finger dimples.

They have been replaced by impossibly long legs and bony little elbows.

She is still my snuggle bug and I cherish every moment that my girl wants to be cuddled up in my lap.
Before your child is born it is hard to imagine how much you are going to love them. And then they are born and you can't imagine loving anyone more.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl!