Saturday, December 19, 2009

Minty Mocha Latte

I love a little "Christmas cheer" in my mug around the holidays. The warmth spreading through me helps take the edge off, and warms me up as I'm perpetually cold from November until May! A friend of mine, the always delightful Jennifer Pershick, or as she's more commonly known on twitter, @Artsy_Jenny, has been raving for at least a week now about Bailey's new Mint flavoured liqueur, so when I stopped in at the LCBO today I grabbed a wee bottle to see what all the fuss was about. At the cash they had a bucket filled with bottles of a new flavour of Kalhua... Mocha! I had to have one of those too.

I raced home and started mixing and pouring and stirring and brewing. What I am now sipping on is divine! I had to share. I'm kind of guessing at the quantities of each element cause I don't measure booze... ever... I just pour until something inside says "that's probably enough". :)

Minty Mocha Latte

1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. brewed coffee, your fave will do
2 tbsp hot chocolate powder, I use Tim Horton's cause I love it!
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 oz. Mocha Kahlua
1 oz Mint Chocolate Bailey's
Whipped Cream
Chocolate Syrup


1. Brew your coffee to your desired strength.
2. Scald the milk in a pan over medium heat and add the vanilla and hot chocolate powder.
3. Pour the liqueurs into a mug and add the hot chocolate mixture and coffee.
4. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.
5. Sit down, put your feet up, admire the lights on your Christmas tree and enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gingerbread Buttercream

I was at the bulk barn and stumbled upon these adorable little gingerbread man sprinkles. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but I had to have them. Fast forward 3 weeks and there I was baking for my 3 year old's pre-school Christmas party. I was digging through my baking cupboard for chocolate and found the sprinkles, and knew exactly what I needed to make... cupcakes!

I had already baked 4 different kinds of cookies and fudge and whoppie pies (blog post to come!) and so I was pretty tired but I thought the kids would love some little cupcakes and the sprinkles would put them over the top, so I grabbed a cake mix from the cupboard. *gasp* I KNOW, you're all disappointed with me and wagging your fingers, but I was tiiiiiired (said like a whiny teenager), besides, they're a total time-saver, they're just pre-measured dry ingredients, and they're yummy, thank you Betty Crocker!

The sprinkles are little bits of gingerbread cookie so I wondered if I could create some gingerbread buttercream to go on the cupcakes. Success! Total yumminess that turns a boxed cake mix into heaven!

Gingerbread Buttercream

1 stick (1/2 c) butter, softened
1/2 lb powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


1. Cream butter and sugar together until thoroughly incorporated.
2. Add cream and vanilla and mix until fluffy.
3. Add spices and mix.
4. Pipe or spread onto anything, cupcakes, cookies, bars, your finger...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Great Recipe Exchange: Caramel Almond Dream Bars & Toblerone Shortbread

Caramel Almond Dream Bars

A few weeks ago @maggiesavage sent me a message asking me if we'd like to do a recipe exchange and then blog about our results. I thought about it for about 2 seconds and said "sure!". Then I found out that Maggie cooks and bakes gluten free and vegan on her blog She let them eat Cake! What I know about vegan and gluten-free baking could fit in a shot glass, but I like a challenge. Maggie suggested that I would re-glutenize her recipe and she would de-glutenize mine. Easy enough right?

I had no idea what some of her ingredients were! After asking Maggie a bunch of questions and hitting Google pretty hard I figured out what all the ingredients did in the recipe and proceeded to replace them with their gluten-laden counterparts.

What I got was a wonderful, delicate shortbread topped with ooey gooey caramel and toasted almonds. Deeee-lish!

Caramel Almond Dream Bars original recipe by Maggie Savage

For the base:
1 c. butter, softened
½ c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. ground almonds
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cinnamon

For the Caramel:
¾ c. milk
¾ c. sugar
1/3 c. clear corn syrup
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp butter


1. Preheat the oven to 335˚F and grease an 8x8 pan.
2. Toast the sliced almonds on a cookie sheet.
3. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until whipped. Add the vanilla and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, ground almonds, sea salt, and cinnamon until combined.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
6. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until edges start to get golden brown.
7. While your base is baking, prepare your caramel.
8. Place milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan and whisk to combine.
9. Cook on medium heat, whisking regularly, for 3 minutes.
10. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch into the hot water water and add to the saucepan.
11. Cook this mixture until it thickens (stirring constantly) for approximately 20 minutes. You want your caramel to be a little bit runny.
12. Remove from heat and add butter.
13. Pour slightly cooled caramel on top of your base.
14. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

I sent Maggie my Toblerone Shortbread recipe. I will be posting the original recipe below and Maggie will be posting her gluten-free version on her blog, be sure to head on over and check out what she came up with!

This shortbread is light and buttery with chunks of my favourite holiday treat, Toblerone bar, running through it. What's not to love?

Tolerone Shortbread

Toberlone Shortbread original version

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. icing (powdered) sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. coarsely chopped Toblerone bar

1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.
2. In a medium sized bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.
3. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add vanilla and salt until combined.
5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour just until mixed.
6. Stir in 1/4 c. of the chopped Toblerone.
7. Scrape dough into an ungreased 8"x8" pan.
8. Lightly flour your fingers and pat mixture to an even thickness.
9. Using a fork, lightly prick dough every inch.
10. Bake in lower third of the oven until edges are deep golden and centre is lightly golden, 30-40 minutes.
11. Using a serrated knife, cut into fingers, squares or diamonds.
12. Melt the remaining Toblerone and dip 1/2 of each cookie into the melted chocolate and place on a rack to cool.
13. Store in an airtight container, in a cool place or the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.

Print this Recipe



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread - Cookie Blog Carnival Offering

I am pleased to bring you this recipe as part of chic crafty chick's Cookie Blog Carnival!

I am cer-razy for Christmas! It is my absolute favourite holiday. I love the traditions, the songs, the colours, the decorating, the family gatherings and especially the FOOD! Most notably, Christmas cookies. Linzer, shortbread, drop, icebox, gingerbread... ahhh gingerbread!

The sweetly intoxicating flavours of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves baked into a chewy little cookie. Paired with a nice hot cup of (spiked) coffee or a steaming Chai Latte (Tassimo makes an INCREDIBLE Chai Latte, and the machine itself is a dream come true for the sleep deprived moms and dads out there! Christmas gift idea people!) and you've got a great treat to have sitting by the fire or after a fun afternoon out building snowmen!

So, give this chocolate verison (you know I had to add chocolate!) a try this holiday season and let me know what you think!

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread adapted from Martha Stewart

1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger, there really is no substitute, fresh is a must
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. unsulphured molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar


1. Sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cocoa and set aside.
2. With a paddle attachment, beat butter and freshly grated ginger until whitened.
3. Add brown sugar to butter mixture and beat until combined.
4. Add the molasses and beat until combined.
5. In a small bowl dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 tsp. boiling water.
6. Beat 1/2 the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add the baking soda mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined.
7. Add chocolate chips and mix.
8. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to 1" thickness and seal the wrap and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or more.
9. Heat oven to 325˚F.
10. Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls ad place on cookie sheet. Return to the fridge for 20 minutes.
11. Roll balls in sugar and  return to cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Be sure to head on over to chic crafty chick's site to see the other cookie recipes submitted by some other great bakers I've had the pleasure of tweeting!



Monday, December 7, 2009

And the winner is....

Loukia of loulousviews fame! Congratulations Loukia! Hope you and your boys have a great time baking this Christmas.

To everyone who entered, thanks and I'll be having more giveaways in the future so keep checking back and good luck in the future!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apple Pie Pancakes

I love dessert more than any other food. Shocking, I know. But dessert for breakfast is absolutely heavenly! I'll add just about anything to breakfast to make it more dessert-like, fruit, spices, vanilla, powdered sugar, whipped cream and, of course, chocolate.

Pancakes are a great foundation for dessert for breakfast. You can flavour them to taste like almost anything. Today, I was craving apple pie. So out came the apples, cinnamon and my favourite pancake recipe.

On a cool fall morning, or a nippy winter's day, these will warm up those little tummies before you send them skipping off to school bragging about how they had dessert for breakfast.

Apple Pie Pancakes

pancake batter:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. white sugar
1 1/2 c.milk
1 egg
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
whipped cream

apple topping:
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp water, apple juice or cider


1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar making sure they're well incorporated.
2. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and the cooled melted butter. Fold in the dry ingredients just until they're well mixed and smooth but be sure not to over-work the batter.
3. Put apples, butter, cinnamon, sugar and water into a small saucepan and simmer on low until apples are tender and water has evaporated creating a syrup.
4. Heat griddle or frying pan over medium high heat and grease well. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides.
5. Top with the cooked apples, whipped cream and maple syrup.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cheesy & Pizza Puffs

Cheesy Puffs

I love entertaining over the holidays. Every year my parents have a big Christmas Eve party and friends and family stop by for drinks, and food, and catching up. It's always a lot of fun. I can't make it home this year so I plan to throw a little party here for just my little family, but with all the same elements, food, drinks and catching up (I forget my husband's name some days!) with the people I love most.

This little appetizer is sure to make an appearance on Christmas Eve. My cousin Kelly made them for us when she visited 2 summers ago and I fell in love with them! Made with Pillsbury Cresent dough, these tender little, buttery bites have a wonderful cheesy-garlic flavour. I decided to play around and made one batch with pizza sauce and finely diced pepperoni and cheese and the result was delish!

Great on their own or dipped in marinara or pizza sauce, these little appetizers are sure to be a hit at your next holiday party!

Cheesy Puffs

1 pkg. Pillsbury Cresent rolls (1 tube makes 18 puffs)
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp grated cheese (I use marble cheddar)
1 egg white
1/4 tsp italian seasoning


1. Open cresent roll tube and unroll the dough.
2. Press together the pieces to form a square.
3. Sprinkle the garlic powder over the rolled out dough and top with the cheese.
4. Roll up the dough starting at one end to form a log.
5. Slice into 1/2" rounds (pinwheels)
6. Place rounds onto a cookie sheet and brush tops with egg white.
7. Sprinkle tops with a bit of italian seasoning.
8. Bake at 375˚F for about 10 minutes or until the edges are golden.
9. Serve warm right from the oven.

Pizza Puffs

Pizza Puffs

1 pkg. Pillsbury Cresent rolls (1 tube makes 18 puffs)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp pizza sauce
2 tbsp finely diced pepperoni
3 tbsp grated cheese (I use marble cheddar)
1 egg white
1/4 tsp italian seasoning


1. Open cresent roll tube and unroll the dough.
2. Press together the pieces to form a square.
3. Spread pizza sauce over the dough leaving about 1" at one end.
4. Sprinkle the pepperoni over the pizza sauce and top with the garlic powder and then the cheese.
5. Roll up the dough starting at the end opposite the end without pizza sauce to form a log.
6. Slice into 1/2" rounds (pinwheels)
7. Place rounds onto a cookie sheet and brush tops with egg white.
8. Sprinkle tops with a bit of italian seasoning.
9. Bake at 375˚F for about 10 minutes or until the edges are golden.
10. Serve warm right from the oven.



Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Baking Giveaway

Click on the image to see a more detailed picture

We all know I love to bake, so this Christmas I'm spreading the joy of baking with this gift basket of baking supplies!

Giveaway Details
Here is what you get if you win...
1. Christmas print oven mitt
2. Christmas print heat pad (matches oven mitt)
3. Candy Cane printed spatula
4. Snowman shaped non-stick cake pan
5. Wilton Christmas-themed Sprinkles (container has 6 different kinds)
6. Set of 4 Wilton Comfort Grip Christmas Cookie Cutters
7. 2 packages of Christmas Print Cupcake Liners
8. 15 pack of Wilton Shaped Party Bags (Gingerbread man print)

Here is how you win...
For a chance this giveaway, leave a comment in this post answering this question...

What is your favourite kind of Christmas cookie?

The Rules
1.) Open to Canadian and continental USA residents only.
2.) One winner will be chosen on 12/07/09 by using
3.) Make sure that I have a way to contact you when you leave a comment; either through your blog or an email.
4.) One comment per person, please. EXTRA ENTRIES (1 entry per item): follow me on twitter and leave me a comment here saying you're following me (+1 entry), tweet about this giveaway (+1 entry), mention this giveaway on your blog and leave me a link to it (+1 entry)
5.) I will contact the winner via email or commenting on the winner's site.
6.) You have until 12/09/09 to claim the giveaway, or I will have to choose another winner.

This giveaway is brought to you by me. All items were purchased from Sobey's, Walmart & the Bulk Barn. I will not be held responsible for any burns, cuts, scrapes, bland or over-cooked cookies as a result of using these items. That is all. Happy baking!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossoms

C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me!
~ Cookie Monster

I mentioned a couple posts back that I bought this great magazine filled with yummy cookie recipes. Well, I'm slowly making my way through them. Today's cookie caught my eye cause they're topped with my husband's favourite chocolates. So I made them foolishly thinking he'd give them a try. Nope. He did however eat a few handfuls of the leftover chocolates. What a trooper.

He doesn't know what he's missing though. These tender little peanut butter cookies, rolled in sugar, and topped with a Rosebud™ are totally poppable and incredibly yummy! Perfect for your upcoming Christmas Cookie exchange or just for snacking on with your hot chocolate while you watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (my fave!) with the kids.

Peanut Butter Blossoms taken from Better Home and Gardens 2009 100 Best Cookies

1/2 c. crisco shortening
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
2 tbsp.milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour

1/4 c. sugar
Rosebuds™ or Kisses™


1. Put shortening and peanut butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined.
2. Add the 1/2 c. sugar, the brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
3. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Add the flour slowly while mixing. If necessary switch to a wooden spoon to complete the mixing.
4. Roll the dough into 1" balls and roll in the 1/4 c. sugar to coat.
5. Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart and bake in a preheated 350˚F oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms and sides are lightly browned.
6. Immediately press a chocolate into the centre of each cookie. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Tip: Have a couple of cookies before they've cooled, they're chewy and warm and the chocolate is all melty. Heaven!


Salmon Cakes with Herb Cream Sauce

Nothing gets kids running to the table, excited for dinner, like fishy cakes!

Okay, I lied... chances are if they knew this was on the menu they'd be hiding under their beds. Unless they're my kids. My kids have a strange affinity for salmon, not strange like salmon is gross (cause my husband and I love it), just strange cause most kids their age like hot dogs and.. well... just hot dogs.

Salmon is one of those super foods, full of anti-oxidants and Omoega-3s, brain food. But salmon, especially fresh salmon, is expensive. When you're attempting to stay within a food budget, one salmon meal could easily use half your week's food allowance. Ever since our teenaged nephew moved in with us I've watched our weekly grocery bills sky-rocket and I've watched my husband get more and more depressed over how much of his paycheck is getting left at the grocery store.

In an attempt to keep my husband from going off the deep end, and serve my family the fish they all so deeply love, I tried to figure out a way to make everyone happy. That's when I remembered my grandma's salmon cakes. She used to make these all the time when I was little, using up left over mashed potatoes and a can of salmon. $7.99/filet (x 5 for my hungry family) vs. $1.99 for 1 can of salmon. Now THAT'S a budget conscious meal!

You could easily make this with tuna, shrimp or any other cooked and flaked, white fish. Give them a try with my herb cream sauce and serve up some affordable brain food!

Salmon Cakes with Herb Cream Sauce

Salmon Cakes
1 can salmon (I use Cloverleaf Wild Red Pacific Sockeye Salmon), with skin and bones removed
2 c. potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled
1/2 container of light garlic & herb cream cheese
3 scallions, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. dried dill or 1 tsp. fresh
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil


1. Boil the potatoes until for tender. Drain and a return to the pot and place the pot on the burner for a few seconds to dry out the potatoes.
2. In a bowl mash the potatoes with the cream cheese.
3. Add the salmon, egg, scallions and bread crumbs, dill and salt & pepper. Mix to combine thoroughly.
4. Shape into 8 patties.
5. Heat butter and oil in a skillet and fry patties until golden brown & heated through.

(ridiculously easy) Herb Cream Sauce
1/2 container light garlic & herb cream cheese
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt


1. Place cream cheese and milk in a microwave safe bowl.
2. Microwave for 30 seconds (or until cream cheese really soft and milk is heated) and stir to combine.
3. Season with salt and spoon over salmon cakes.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fudge Ecstasies

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and this magazine jumped off the rack and right into my cart, it was crazy! Okay, really my 11 month old with the "sticky fingers" got hold of it and wasn't giving it up without a fight. Once I pried it out of her fingers I flipped through a few pages and was in cookie heaven. SO many recipes for cookies I'd never seen before! Chocolate, coconut, nuts, fruit, spices it had it all!

I rushed home and before I put the $300 worth of groceries away (including milk and frozen foods!) I sat down with the magazine and poured over every page making a mental checklist of every cookie I wanted had to try. These babies were at the top of my list.

A cross between a cookie and a brownie this delicious little cookie is all about fudgey, chocolatey goodness. I can't wait to snack on these with a big ol' glass of milk while watching The Grinch this holiday season.

I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of this magazine while it's still on the shelves, it's a great collection of yummy treats!

Fudge Ecstasies taken from Better Home and Gardens 2009 100 Best Cookies

2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (2 oz.)
2 tbsp. butter
2 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 c. chopped nuts (cashes, pecans or almonds work well)


1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of the chocolate chips, the unsweetened chocolate and the butter and heat ove low heat until melted. You can also melt the chocolate & butter in a bowl in the microwave.
2. Add eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and baking powder and beat with a spoon until combined.
3. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips and the nuts.
4. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet 2" apart and put into a preheated 350˚F oven and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are firm and the surface is dull and cracked.
5. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Orgasmic Mars Bar Fudge

I heart sugar. For me there is no substitute. So when I find a way to add MORE sugar to something that is already basically pure sugar, I'm all over that like.... sugar on sugar! The Orgasmic Caramilk Fudge I (and some of you) have made before is one of the tastiest fudge recipes I've ever come across, so naturally I felt the need to mess with it.

I stood in front of a very large candy display and pondered which delicious chocolate bar would be improved by surrounding it in a delicate creamy-fudge layer. After several minutes of hmm-ing and haw-ing the Mars bar screamed out "pick me! pick me! I want to be wrapped in fudge! oh pleeeeease pick me!". So I scooped up 8 bars and ran like the dickens back to my kitchen. I adjusted some other flavours and voilà, a whole new fudge to make you scream out "Yes! Yes! Yesssssss!"

Orgasmic Mars Bar Fudge

2 c. packed brown sugar
1 can condensed milk
3/4 c. butter
1 c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
8 Mars bars
2 squares semi-sweet Baker's Chocolate, melted


1. Microwave sugar, milk and butter for 8-9 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
2. Add icing sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and mix with a hand mixer for 4 minutes.
3. Be quick for next step, as mix hardens. Place 1/2 of the mixture into a well greased 8x8 pan.
4. Lay the Mars bars out to cover the fudge mixture
5. Pour the rest of the mixture on top and smooth with a spatula
6. Using spoon or piping bag (a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped works well too) drizzle the top with melted chocolate.

Set aside 30 minutes.



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Turkey Pot Pie

I hated pot pies when I was little. HATED them. My mom would wait until there was a 50¢ sale and stock up on frozen chicken and turkey pot pies from the grocery store. They were bland and runny, and the crust was thick and hard, and if you were lucky you'd get 1 or 2 pieces of rubbery chicken in them. At the time I was branded "picky" but I like to think I just had discriminating taste at a young age! My mom was a busy wife and mother who worked 2 jobs so I was just happy to see my her let alone expect gourmet dinners. As a stay at home mom I have the time to fiddle around with cooking (and this blog) so I thought I'd give pot pies another try with my leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

I haven't mastered pie dough yet, nor did I have the energy to try (post Thanksgiving cleaning/tidying/digesting) so I used some refrigerated pie dough to save time... and as busy moms we need to make life easier whenever we can. I made these individual size (in a "Texas size" muffin tin) as my husband declared that he wasn't a fan of pot pies and I'd be eating them alone, but this could easily be adapted to one big family-sized pie if you don't want to bother with playing with the dough.

Bursting with chicken, veggies and a creamy sauce baked in a flaky, light pie dough, these pot pies are mmmmmmmm!

before the oven. I need to work on my edge crimping technique! Notice my fingernail impressions? soooo professional looking.

Turkey (or Chicken) Pot Pies

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 med. potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 c. frozen corn kernels
2 c. cooked turkey or chicken, chopped (a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is a great time-saver if you don't have leftovers)
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 c. turkey or chicken stock
1 c. heavy (whipping) cream
salt & pepper to taste
3 Pillsbury® unroll-and-fill pie crusts (I needed 3 for my large size muffin tins, you may need less)
1 egg, beaten


1. Over medium heat melt butter and add onions, carrots, celery and potato. Sauté until tender.
2. Add chopped turkey or chicken and heat through.
3. Add poultry seasoning and flour and cook for about 2 more minutes.
4. Add stock, cream and frozen corn and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Roll out the pie dough and cut out circles roughly 2 times the size of the diameter of the openings.
7. Press the dough into the muffin compartments along the sides and bottom making sure there are no holes and that it's even.
8. Fill the dough with the chicken mixture even with the top.
9. Cut circles out of the remaining dough slightly larger than the size of the diameter of the muffin openings.
10. Pinch the dough together to seal the top and sides making sure there are no openings.
11. Make a slit in the top of the pie and brush the tops lightly with the beaten egg.
12. Bake at 350˚F for 30* minutes or until golden brown.

* Time varies depending on the size of your pies and your oven.

Delicious, creamy, turkey and veggie filling!



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Magic Soup

Whenever I'm sick, before I reach for the tissues or cold medication, I go straight to the freezer to see if I have any of this soup left. If I don't, I start to make it ASAP. It's another one of my Gran's recipes, she's truly my biggest cooking inspiration. This soup was always in her fridge once the weather started to cool down. I call it her Magic Soup cause this soup can cure any cold almost over night. I don't know what it is, maybe it's the chicken, maybe it's the veggies, or maybe it's just the idea that it's magic, but whenever I've been sick and had this soup I'm better the next day.

With Thanksgiving this past weekend, I found myself with a rather large turkey carcass and a whole lot of leftover turkey so I seized the opportunity to make my own stock for a big batch of soup.
Stock simmering

Stock is really easy to make. Take your bones and put them in a big pot and cover with water. You need some flavours to add depth to the stock so the next thing to add would be Mirepoix, also known as the Holy Trinity of cooking: carrots, onion and celery. No need to dice or be fussy with this, just a rough couple of chops is good. I was preparing the veggies for my soup at the same time so I also threw in the skins of the onion and carrots and the base of the celery, you're not eating them, they're just for flavour and will be strained out later. I also like to throw in a lemon or two to brighten up the stock. The last thing to add would be your herbs. Salt and pepper along with bay leaves, thyme and anything else you like can go in. Simmer the stock for a couple of hours to get all the flavour out of the bones, veggies and herbs.

Cool down your stock and strain it to removes all the bones, skin, and cooked veggies and then let it sit (you can even do this overnight in the fridge) and skim off the fat that rises to the top. And voilà, your very own homemade stock, perfect for Magic Soup!

Magic Soup

4 c. chopped chicken or turkey, cooked
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tbsp. butter
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 c. small pasta (I use pasta stars but any will do)
1/2 c. short grain rice
8-10 c. of water or stock
salt & pepper to taste


1. Melt the butter in a large pot and sautée to onion, celery and carrots for a few minutes.
2. Add the chicken and continue to sautée for 2 minutes.
3. Add stock or water.
4. Add the tomatoes (with juice), pasta and rice.
5. Cover and bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to low and allow to simmer until pasta and rice are cooked.

Enjoy right away or freeze in small batches for when you really need it!

*Note, my grandma was never a stickler for a recipe with this soup, she threw in whatever she had, cabbage, beans, macaroni, peas, etc... let your pantry be your guide!

My favourite way to have a bowl of soup!



Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grampie Brown's Potato Dressing (Stuffing)

Some of my fondest memories of childhood take place at my mom's parents' house around the holidays. My mom comes from a big family (she has 11 siblings) and we love to get together. One memory all my cousins and I share is of our grandfather in the kitchen.

My Grannie made the day to day meals but when it came to special occasions she was pushed out and my Grampie took over. (Yes, I'm a 30-something year old who still calls her grandparents Grannie and Grampie!) Their house is small and it has 2 main living areas, one in the back and one in the front, and in between them is the kitchen. Our moms tended to stay in the front room with our dads in the back room watching whichever sport was in season.

To get to either parent we had two options: 1. go through the basement, but it had a large unfinished part that was cellar-like and spooky, or 2. sneak through the kitchen when Grampie had his back turned. Option 2 never worked. He always caught us and would wave his big spoon and yell "Get out of the kitchen you kids!", it was just too small for us to be constantly going through it (there are 26 of us!) and he was trying to keep anyone from getting burned. But when it was time to eat we were welcomed into the kitchen. And the first thing we all went to was Grampie's dressing! We fought over it, still do in fact. A holiday isn't a holiday without it.

Just before my husband and I got engaged he lost his job where we lived and got a new one eight hours away in a new town. The thought of leaving the only home I'd ever known scared me, but most of all I knew I'd miss my family, especially around the holidays. I asked my mom for Grampie's recipe for stuffing knowing that without it I'd be more homesick than ever on special occasions. We make it back for Christmas most years but I haven't been to a family Thanksgiving in 5 years. This recipe makes me feel close to my family on Thanksgiving. I hope you give it a try this holiday season and see why my cousins and I will stop at nothing to be the first in line to scoop some up onto our plate!

Happy Thanksgiving~

Grampie Brown's Potato Dressing (* Stuffing)

6-8 Russett Potatoes (Russett make for a fluffier mash than a waxier potato like New Potatoes) peeled and chopped
1 med. onion, diced
1/2 c. butter, melted
6 slices fresh white bread, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 tbsp ground sage
1 1/2 tbsp dried savory
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Peeled, chop and boil the potatoes until fork tender.
2. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot and put back on the burner for a few seconds to evaporate any excess water.
3. Remove the potatoes from the stove and place into a large bowl. Using a hand masher, smash the potatoes into a course meal.
4. Melt the butter in the microwave and add to the mashed potatoes.
5. Add the onions and bread cubes and mix together.
6. Add the spices and season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Put dressing into an oven safe dish and cover and place into a 350˚F pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Serve alongside poultry. Makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes although I always make both! It's also excellent stuffed inside the bird.

* Dressing and Stuffing are the same thing, Stuffing is just Dressing that's been cooked inside the cavity of the bird.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lilianna's Caramel Apple Mini Pies

I am always looking for ways to get my kid(s) involved with cooking. My gran had me up on the counter stirring batter and dumping ingredients when I was knee high to a bug's eye, and I loved it. Lily's 3 so knives are a no-no, but stirring and dumping are well within her skill set.

I went with her class to the apple orchard last week and have been staring at the apples she picked with her own little hands ever since wondering what we were gonna do with them. Eat them as is and enjoy their naturally crisp and slightly tart taste? Make apple sauce? Or perhaps a pie.... yep, a pie.

The apples (as I said) were a little tart (for a child's palate) so I thought what better to add to them than a healthy dose of caramel! I had some mini tart shells in the freezer so I pulled them out cause I would have lost her interest completely if I had to make pie dough, and their tiny size is perfect for little ones.

I'm going to do this post a little different cause I went a little picture happy...

The ingredients*: apples, tart shells, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, caramel dip (* not pictured, butter, flour & egg, cause I'm not used to taking this kind of picture)

When I told Lily we were going to make apple pies this is what she did. She was very proud that she made them all by herself.

I chopped up the apples and she put them in the pot. She also helped me line up the tart shells on a baking sheet and fill them with the apple mixture, and then she watched them closely while they cooked.

Lilianna's Caramel Apple Mini Pies

5 apples, peeled, cored & chopped into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
splash of water
1/4 c. caramel apple dip
12 frozen tart shells
1 egg


1. Peel, core and chop apples and put them in a small pot.
2. Add spices, butter, sugar, flour and mix. Add a splash of water and put on the stove at medium temp. and cook until the apples are tender.
3. Add caramel apple dip to the cooked apples and stir to mix.
4. Fill 6 of the tart shells with the apple mixture.
5. Beat egg with a wee bit of water and brush rims of the filled tart shells.
6. Remove the remaining 6 tarts from their aluminum plates and invert over top the filled tarts pressing the edges together to seal.
7. Make a little slit in the top of the pie with a knife and brush tops with more of the egg/water mixture.
8. Bake in a preheated 350˚F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.

Serve warm with cinnamon whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Makes 6 mini pies.

enjoy cooking with your kids!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

French Onion Soup

Nothing says comfort food when you're sick like a big steaming bowl of soup. I haven't posted anything in a while cause there's been a nasty cold bug going around our house (kept me busy!), so with a sore throat and stuffy head my thoughts turned to warm bowls of good (and easy) eats.

My usual stand-bys are chicken & rice or a nice corn chowder, but this time my cold was craving something else. I couldn't get french onion soup out of my head, which is weird cause I've only had it once or twice in my entire life (crazy, I know). So with this obsessive thought rattling around in my brain I was on twitter and low and behold, one of my favourite tweeters posted that she had just made some french onion soup and put it on her blog. Christy Bright of Beach Brights writes an amazing home decor blog (her house is GORGEOUS!) so I figured if she has such good taste with decorating she must make a tasty bowl of soup.

I followed her recipe, making just a couple minor tweaks for the palate of my sometimes picky eaters, and we ended up with a lovely dinner that wrapped us all in comfort. Thanks Christy!

Christy's French Onion Soup adapted from Beach Brights, my additions in orange

1/4 c. butter
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. white sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. red wine (use a good quality wine, I used Wolf Blass Yellow Label)
2 (10.5 oz) cans condensed beef broth
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 French baguette or any other crusty bread (I used Whole Clove Garlic Artisan Bread)
8 ounces sliced Swiss cheese (I used Gouda)

Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan. Stir in sugar. Cook onions over med heat for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in flour until well blended with the onions and pan juices. Add water, wine and beef broth; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover soup and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cut four 1" thick slices of bread from the loaf. Toast bread slices at 325˚F until browned, about 10 minutes (I butter these toast slices before browning). Reserve the remaining bread to serve with soup. Ladle soup into four 12-oz oven safe bowls. Place 1 slice of toasted bread on top of the soup in each bowl. Fold the cheese slices and fit onto toasted bread slices. Place soup bowls on a cookie sheet for easier handling. Broil at 425˚F for 10 minutes, or just until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Makes 4 servings.



Monday, September 28, 2009

Gingerbread Latte at Home

The closest Starbucks to me is a 2 hour drive away. When we moved here I went through some pretty nasty withdrawal. Lately on Twitter I've been hearing people mention all the yummy fall drinks they've been enjoying and it's got me jonesing for a Gingerbread Latte. Now, a craving is a craving, but I ain't driving 4 hours with 2 kids just for a latte, so I figured there must be a way to re-create it at home.

I found a recipe on but it calls for store-bought gingerbread syrup. Not having any or anywhere close to buy some (again, Starbucks is 2 hours away!) I had to make my own.

A syrup is essentially water and sugar with flavourings boiled down to create a thicker, sweet liquid. So taking that idea and adding the dominant flavours of a gingerbread cookie, I got what I think is a fairly reasonable facsimile of a store-bought Gingerbread Latte.

The syrup reducing by half

Gingerbread Latte

1 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
splash vanilla (I never measure vanilla!)

2 shots espresso (or if you're not fancy like me, 1/4 cup REALLY strong coffee)
1/2 c. steamed milk or cream (again, not fancy, I microwaved mine)
1/4 c. syrup

1. Put ingredients for syrup in a large pot and bring to a boil. (careful, the syrup gets very hot and boils over easily)
2. When the syrup has reduced by half and all the sugar is dissolved remove from the heat.
3. Brew your coffee and steam the milk.
4. Pour hot coffee into the bottom of a mug, add syrup and stir. Add steamed milk and top with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Better than Sex Cake

I was on twitter the other day musing about how I should do more recipes with the word sex or orgasms in the title (since my posted fudge recipe is so popular), and thought "That IS a good idea!", so off I went in search of some pleasure inducing recipes. I came across this one and knew I had to try it out, cause I like cake, but the title makes some lofty claims.

Chocolate, caramel, Skor bar... hello? Have you slipped into a sugar-coma yet? It was TO DIE FOR. This cake comes together pretty quickly which is great cause we invited my in-laws over for an impromptu dinner and I was able to whip this bad boy up in an hour.

If you liked the fudge, this cake won't disappoint. Give it a try and let me know if you think it's better than sex?

Better than Sex Cake adapted from

1 boxed devil's food cake mix (you can make a from scratch cake if you like, I was impatient!)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg. Kraft Caramels
4 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, crushed
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed


1. Bake cake according to package directions BUT use only 1/2 the oil the recipe calls for.
2. Remove cake from the oven and poke several holes (like 15-20) about 3/4 of the depth of the cake all over with the handle of a wooden spoon.

3. In a bowl combine the milk and caramels and microwave until the caramels are melted. Mix well.
4. Pour the warm topping mixture over the top of the warm cake, letting it sink into the holes.
5. Sprinkle the crushed chocolate bars over the caramel while it's still warm reserving a bit for the top of the cake.

6. Let the cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with some more chocolate toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping and melted chocolate.
7. Refrigerate until set (about 20 minutes) and serve.


While I was taking pictures, my 3 year old came wandering by and said "Ooooo, look mommy, chocolate!" and before I knew it she had scampered up on a chair and was reaching for a hunk of Skor bar as I was snapping a picture. Sneaky bugger!