Hi Blog

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here…  I’m not sure why it’s been so long, i’ve certainly been baking, cooking and crafting lately.  I guess I have been lazy afterwards.  So I thought I would at least post a few pictures of what I have been up to in hopes that it will encourage me to blog more.

<3 cookies

cinnamon buns

cinnamon buns

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Macaroons

Macaroons

Pancakes

I have been searching for the perfect cinnamon bun recipe and I think  may have found it. I also tried to make my first apple pie but it was not successful, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t have enough pie crust.  Then I tried to make macarons for me first time and that went OK.  They were espresso with caramel buttercream filling — but they actually tasted like buttered toast (which isn’t such a terrible thing).

I have also been making some pretty awesome breakfasts which I did a little post about here.

DIY S’mores Kit

IMG_3695 James made me this s’mores kit for a Christmas gift (I know I’m super late blogging about this) and it was perfect because Christmas morning we make a fire, sip coffee and baileys, listen to Christmas music and open gifts.  James may have the advantage to making an awesome s’mores kit because he silk screened the box in our basement and my amazing and talented sister in-law Rebecca made special chocolate and marshmallows for me.  Maple Bacon Chocolate Bars and Bourbon Marshmallows, all home made.  Ah-mah-zing ! Rebecca owns a chocolate company, caters, makes birthday and weddings cakes and sweet gifts like this for her family and friends.  I am lucky.

IMG_3630IMG_3697 copyAll you really need to make this fun gift is a large box, which was purchased at Michael’s or any craft store for cheap, graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and roasting sticks which can be found at any camping store.  Its fun to decorate the box whether it be by silk screen, stamps, or simply drawing/writing on it with a sharpie.  I can’t wait for the summer, even though roasting inside is sweet too.

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Gingerbread House for your Coffee Mug

I finally made these!!  I have been meaning to make these for years and I’m so glad I finally did.  Spotted on Not Martha years ago.  Megan’s blog is awesome!

house

ginger

yum

houses

tiny house

A few tips I have for these are:

  • Definitely don’t skimp on the refrigeration times
  • Use the proper tool to cut out the shapes and make sure they are straight.  Helps when assembling them.  I did not use a little slicer, but a small knife and my cookies were not as smooth as they could have been.
  • Roll the dough out thin.  I didn’t really pay attention to the thickness, but the thinner the better.
  • I cut the gingerbread recipe in half and found that was plenty
  • I also used a pre mix bag of royal icing to make things easier.  Just add water.
  • Double count your cookie cut outs making sure you have the right number of roofs and walls to match up
  • Keep adding icing as your clue if you find the cookies aren’t sticking.  Keep a damp cloth over royal icing so it doesn’t dry out.

These definitely were not perfect but a lof of fun to make and I expect my next batch to turn out a bit cleaner looking!   I am giving these away as little Christmas gifts.

Home-Made Gift #3 – Cookies in a Box

cookies!

Last year I got this awesome Martha Stewart cookie package kit on sale at Michaels.  There are 8 cookie boxes included.   This Christmas I did not have as much time for holiday baking and home-made gifts as I would have liked, I am in Hawaii right now until the 24th.  So I spent a Saturday baking away and putting together a few of these cookie boxes with a little gingerbread man tree ornament that I also made.

Double Ginger Crackles – From Fine Cooking Cookies Magazine

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus another 1/3 cup for later
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tbs finely chopped crystallized ginger (I have some nice ginger from Epicure that was delicious)

ginger cookies

  1. Position your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F.  Line 2 larger baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter with 1 cup of sugar on medium-high speed until well blended.  Add the egg, molasses and crystallized ginger; beat well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients on low in 3 batches until well blended.
  4. In a shallow bowl pour in the 1/3 cup sugar.  Now roll the dough into balls and then roll them into the sugar so they are coated.  You want to be consistent with your sizes so use an ice cream scoop about 1 tablespoon in size to portion your dough balls.  Set dough balls 1.5 – 2 inches apart on your cookie sheets
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  Let cookies cool completely on cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  I like to throw in a piece of bread to keep them semi soft!

cookies

cookies

Stained Glass Trees – From Martha Stewarts Cookies Cook Book

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface later
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 30 assorted colours of Jolly Rancher candies (Bulk Barn!) finely chopped
  • Christmas Tree Cookie Cutter

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  1. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.
  2. With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together the sugar and butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg, mix until smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in the vanilla.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  3.  Roll out dough onto floured work surface a little more than 1/8″ thick.  Use tree cookie cutter to cut out shapes and transfer cut outs to parchment lined cookie sheets, 1.5 inches apart.
  4. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut out triangles in the center of cookies for jolly rancher filling.  Fill with a single layer of jolly rancher candies.  Refrigerate again, about 15 minutes.  In the meantime preheat oven to 325°F and have racks in upper and lower thirds.
  5. Bake cookies 10 – 12 minutes.  Do not let the cookies brown too much!  Let the cookies cool completely.

tree cookies

tree cookiesThese were both delicious recipes and fit well in my cookie boxes.  Perfect for holiday baking.

boxes

 

Cookies + Milk Dessert Table

My sweet Julie got married last month and had asked Amy and I to look after the dessert and guest book table.  What a treat!  Julie requested to have cookies and milk for dessert.  10 different people were asked to make their favourite cookies and I got to decorate the table and use all of my fancy cake and cookie stands.

cookie table

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Blueberry Goodness

Blueberry & Cream Cheese Muffins from FRESH & EASY by Jane Hornby

This cook book is awesome. There are pictures for every recipe! These muffins are perfect for a Saturday morning breakfast.  I made half of them without the cream cheese because my husband prefers them without.

Makes about 12 muffins

  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbs sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (or buttermilk)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1 scant cup superfine sugar
  • 6 oz blueberries
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Line a muffin pan with muffin wrappers and preheat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Whisk the oil, yogurt, vanilla and eggs into the butter.  In that order.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, stir in the salt and sugar, then make a well in the middle.
  4. Pour the yogurt mixture into the mixing bowl.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a rubber spatula.  When everything is mixed together add the blueberries.  Fold them into the batter, the mixture will still look lumpy and uneven.
  5. Spoon half the batter into prepared pan.  Now dot 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese on top of each half-filled muffin.  Tops the rest with batter, the wrappers will be full.  Add another 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese on top.
  6. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until well risen and golden.  Let the pan cool then transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.  These are most delicious when warm, but they can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

On the topic of blueberries AND cream cheese, I also made these delicious blueberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting found on Pastry Affair  .  So good!

Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles

Well it’s practically winter here in Alberta so why am I posting about popsicles?  Maybe it’s sunny and warm where you live.  I made these over a month ago and from what I remember they were pretty delicious.

Recipe is slightly adapted from the cook book Perfect Pops by Charity Ferreira

What you need:

  • approximately 2 cups of strawberries, hulled and chopped (6-12 sliced strawberry wheels, optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 graham crackers, crushed

  1. Put the strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth.  Move the puree into a bowl and whisk in the sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the moulds and slide down the strawberry slices on both sides.  Leave some room to add crumbled graham crackers for the ‘crust’ feel.  Put in the freezer for at least 6 hours, after about 2 hours I add the popsicle sticks.
  3. When ready to eat run under hot water for a few minutes, until the popsicle is free from the mould!

ABC Embroidery Sampler

I finally have some free time to share my ABC embroidery sampler that I completed a few weeks ago.  This amazing pattern is from Alicia Paulson.  This was my first time attempting embroidery and it was a ton of fun.  Alicia provides all the details you need for each stitch, and if I wasn’t sure it was easy enough to find a you tube video of the stitch in question.  I definitely did not follow the color scheme and enjoyed picking my own colors.  However I’m sure I will stitch this pattern again (I plan to make one for Owen and Elliot) and I will try the colors that Alicia recommends. They do go well together. I picked a cheaper frame as well, I couldn’t really decided what color of frame would go well with the white background.  I made this for my nephew Carson’s nursery, hopefully he likes it one day!

I saw this pattern on One Sheepish Girl’s blog.  Meredith did an amazing job and I can only hope my next one looks as good.

Popsicles made with Fresh Fruit and Lemon Greek Yogurt

Recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

2 cups approx. of Raspberries or Strawberries (hulled and chopped)

2 cups approx. of Blueberries

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 cups approx. of Lemon Greek Yogurt – found at most grocery stores

You can use more or less of the fruit and yogurt, it really doesn’t matter.  Each mould is different and some might require more.  My fun popsicle moulds are from Crate & Barrel.

1. In a food processor puree the raspberries or strawberries, add 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Set aside strawberry or raspberry puree in bowl.

2. Next puree the blueberries in food processor, adding remaining tablespoon of blueberries.  Set aside blueberry puree in bowl.

3.  Add puree in popsicle moulds, alternating between strawberries, blueberries and lemon yogurt.  You can either make nice layers, or add flavours randomly and swirl with a skewer for a swirl look and taste.  The lemon yogurt goes excellent with the berries, no extra sugar needed.

I used raspberries and strawberries and I also layered and swirled.  Delicious for the heat we have been having here.

I tried a different recipe where after you pureed the fruit, your strained the juices and threw out the seeds and chunks, then adding the juice to yogurt.  I did not enjoy these as much, I find them much better using all of the puree and yogurt as a separate layer.  Enjoy !

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