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Showing posts from 2009

Happy New Year!

New Year's Day, 1951: Audrey Hepburn looks up at billboards in the middle of Times Square, New York. Image from here.
Wanted to wish you all a happy new year, cause you never know what new beginnings it may bring! And I like to send a big thank you to all my readers, you guys are my inspiration and cheer!
Now, does everyone have a new years resolution? I'd tell you mine, but I'd bore you with it being ever so typical, especially when consuming of chocolate has/had been involved.

salted brownie truffles and merry christmas

Just a quite post to wish you all a festive day tomorrow and for you to take a peek at those salted brownie truffles I promised I'd post! You'll just have to wait for the recipe though, but I will tell you that these babies may look like a hard one... but oh no, they are quite easy peasy.
    I still haven't quite finished all my baking. I've got one more cake to go. I think I'm gonna try Martha's peppermint yule log for my family's Christmas dinner tomorrow and I'm doing little cornish hens for tonight's!
Also I must tell you, I'm addicted to polyvore. I cannot stop making outfits! I couldn't help but share! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all!

right now...

It's very, very cold and were expecting a big dumping of snow tomorrow and well, I'm excited.
Did you all think I disappeared? I know, I've been gone for just a little bit, but I finally had time to fit in a post even though small it maybe, but I would like nothing more then to relax and watch christmas movies just now with a big cup of piping hot green tea. I've had just the busiest week. It's been a non-stop baking marathon at my house. I've done nothing more then bake sugar cookies, brownies, truffles, lemon bars, coconut chocolate butterscotch bars, shortbread bars, marshmallows, lolli-pop brownies, nut chocolate chip cookies, choc peppermint bark. Phew! Then well.... yep you guessed it, more cookies! There could be more, but I feel I may have forgot, but you get the idea right? Before Christmas falls, I will post a little delight I came up with this weekend. Salted brownie truffles anyone?
So are all of you prepared for the holidays? I feel my house might…

gift givers no. 3

Don't you just love these little drink mixes in cute little bottles? Whether your having a christmas get together where the guests get to pick there own mix (kinda fun don't ya think). Or just want to give a little something to a friend or co-worker, or maybe just a simple stocking stuffer, either goes.
I bought these in a package and I already had in my mind I would take them apart and give them away separately.  So then I opened the package and realized no one would know what flavors there were.  Ah oh, these little mixers had no labels.  Of course then I made my own extremely simple ones with the mix on the back and a little drawing on the front to let my gift receivers know they were either getting a martini or a margarita mix.
Also, for some strange reason... I can't get the Mr. Gadget theme song out of my head!
Have a great weekend all! I'll be spending mine either by the stove baking a crazy amount of treats or under the covers watching old  movies, trying to ke…

gift givers no. 2

So I've been dying to make my own hot chocolate mix for a while now. I went out bought all the ingredients, found a basic recipe, even if I found the basics I knew I could tweak, make a cool package for it, and send it away as gifts.
But then I had to test it.... (Yes testing is crucial when trying out a new recipe, especially when giving it to someone else. Who wouldn't want to test out hot chocolate anyway? It's chocolate!) But this is where I was thinking that it did not live up to my expectations... so I added a few more things/more of this and that to achieve deliciousness.
Mexican Hot Chocolate find the basic recipe here then add more cocoa 1/4 tsp cayenne or chilli powder ( I added too much, which made this hot hot chocolate) 100 g of dark chocolate (shredded or cut up finely) 1 tbsp vanilla powder (if you can find any, I couldn't) 1 tsp cinnamon Mix all ingredients together and store in air tight jars, or bag em up pretty. Add three tbsp of mixture to one regular siz…

gingerbread snowflakes and ribbon

Hi guys, just doing a quick post before I head into work. Yes, I know... work on a sunday... gross.
Anyhow every year our work raises funds to help a local family in need over the holidays. So last night I decided to do a batch of gingerbread snowflakes on ribbon to sell. Wether they will want to eat them or hang them on a tree or perhaps both... just not in that order, of course. I hope they will enjoy them!
Don't tell anyone but I've been slacking on my presents... I do have my gift jars, but then I have everything else! I did buy some lovely ribbon to decorate with, as you can see, and I can't wait to use it!
Have a happy Sunday!
How cute is this print from this fantastic esty artisian? I couldn't help but giggle.

simple gift givers

Remember those jars I picked up a while back? Well I got a lot of great comments back on what to do with them, since I was stuck with ideas. Now, I did have that idea to make a little spa kit, well little thejar was. Let's just say the contents I picked up were a wee bit too big. I do have some more jar gifts up my sleeve, since I couldn't settle on just one... and because now that I've started I can't seem to stop...but here a the few so far.

1. Chilli Salt What foodie friend wouldn't want this? 350g of course sea salt 6 dried red chillies reserve 50g of the salt, place the rest of the salt and chillies in a food processor and whiz for about 45 seconds. Add the remaining 50g of salt and place in a favorite jar or little gift pack.
2. Bath Fizzies ViaMartha Stewart. (Mine turned out little rustic... just don't add to much water like I did, they will react before there time, if you give these a go.)
3. Christmas Blend (No, not the StarBucks kind.) G…

lovin this...

Love this print... I think I might have to ask Santa for this!
I've been working on some pretty cool things I can't wait to show you all! Some of these things will indeed include my gift giving jars all done up with ribbon and tags and perhaps a baked good or two.
Happy Weekend!

christmas caramels

Need a little gift to give this Christmas for a sweets loving friend?  I know I'll be giving out these Christmas caramels this year. (I think these might even make it into those gift giving glass jars.) These aren't just any caramels either, they have the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread and nothing says Christmas like good ol' gingerbread.

christmas caramels 4 cups sugar 2 cups light corn syrup 3/4 butter cut up (unsalted) 1/2 molasses 4 cups heavy cream 1 tsp good vanilla extract (or beans if you have it) 1 tsp ground cinnamon 3/4 tsp ground ginger 3/4 tsp grated nutmeg 3/4 tsp salt cooking spray
1. Spray and line a 12x17 inch rimmed baking sheet, leaving a bit of overhang for the parchment paper. 2. In a large pot (largest one you got) over high heat and bring cream, sugar, butter, corn syrup, molasses to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently,  until mixture reaches 130 c (firm ball stage), about 20 min. 3. Remove from heat, …

a vintage collector and knit wonder

While spending my free morning catching up on reading around the blogsphere, I stumbled across this fine and interesting blog. Having already come to liking the thrift shops in hope of a great find, but now I wish I could knit too! Maybe a New Year's resolution?

the smell of christmas

I know for me the smell of Christmas always start's when I peel the first tangerine and bake that first batch of gingerbread men... once I smell those I know for sure the holiday's are coming.     Do you guys have a Christmas smell, one that brings back a whoosh of memories and holiday cheer?     I'm quite excited for the holiday's this year... I really can't wait to decorate the house.  I am holding off, feeling it's still a tad early yet, but that hasn't stopped me from buying a few things here and there.  Since the colder weather has approached I felt the need to buy myself a new pair of slippers and well I have been living in these ever since!
  P.S. I'm still working on my jar gifts.  I've had the craziest busy week at work and just haven't had the time, and I love all the gift idea's you've all given me... I may just have to use them all!

25 c jars

Can you believe I found these puppies for 25 cents each!  I love old jars especially the ones with the glass tops. There is countless things to do with them, like storing small wonders or using them in part of an organizing fit you just pushed yourself into or even storing dry goods.  But I thought, since I had quite a few of these (of course I had to buy the whole box) and well with christmas coming, I was thinking of making some very cool christmas gifts.  Apart from making some sort of jam or preserve which I don't think would work to well in these old jars any how...
     So this is where I ask you guys, what would be a cool jarred Christmas gift?   I was thinking something like even a small  spa kit?

a little halloween treat...

Halloween is upon us, very soon in fact, and I thought I'd get in the spirt of things with some simple and inspiring treats! I have yet to carve a pumpkin this year, but I want to. I better get on it, halloween it creeping up soon and I've been wanting some warm toasted pumpkin seeds for sometime now and there's no better time. Perhaps some spicy garlic roasted seeds? I think that sounds just about right.
very vanilla cupcakes with vanilla bean whipped cream very vanilla cupcakes recipehere vanilla bean whipped cream 2 cups whipping cream 1tbs vanilla bean paste or beans from 1 pod 1/4 cup icing sugar black gum balls for topping -whip cream and vanilla paste in a mixer or if you have a power arm, feel free to mix it by hand, add icing sugar until stiff peeks.
I found these very cool halloween candy canes from Michaels craft store and this kinda creepy but fab milk glass vase from the thrift store, filled up with some black gum balls or other creepy candy turns it into something f…

the last of the fresh herbs

I'll tell you now I don't have much luck in gardening. I like to buy plants and attempt to plant them, some might even reach a well worn pot, but then I forget to water them or forget about them all together, like a poor chili plant I had in the backyard. I had high hopes for that one and even visions of fresh chili infused dishes. I might have gotten one edible flowering out of it. I'm bad like that. What floors me though is that I have two tropical plants in the house, one upstairs and one down. One of them I've had for five years or more and the other, maybe three. They show no signs of giving up, especially the older one and I even forget to water that one sometimes too.So this is starting to sound more like a spring post, no? Well, my main reason is my little kitchen pot of herbs... yes, sadly they are dying but I'm going to use up all the fresh herbs by golly even if I have to make more dishes, but I know that won't be too hard. Pushing the sweetness …

wicked good

Do you ever have a time when only a doughnut will do? The craving can get pretty desperate during that midday lull or late at night especially when all the shops are closed.On contrary I woke up this morning wanting french toast and while passing an article yesterday in my copy of deliciouswas a recipe for doughnut french toast... well I just had to make that of course.
doughnut french toast 2 large free-range eggs 60ml milk 2 tsp good vanilla extract 4 slices of rustic chunky white bread (cut thin) 25g butter, plus a splash of oil for frying 50g caster sugar 1 tsp cinnamon
1. Beat the eggs with the milk and vanilla in a shallow bowl or plate with a lip. Soak the bread in the eggy mixture for 3-5 min on each side. 2. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and add the egg-soaked bread until golden and scorched in places. Put the sugar and cinnamon on a plate and dip the cooked bread until coated in sugar like a sugared doughnut.
This was quite the sugarlicious treat, a little to sweet for my lik…

easy peasy

One of the best ways to enjoy cinnamon is hot.. and perhaps with some creamy delicious chocolate ...lots, in a drink we all love.
cinnamon vanilla infused milk 1 1/2 - 2 cups milk 1 cinnamon stick (you can also use powder) splash of real vanilla extract chocolate bit 2 tsp cocoa powder per cup 2 tsp sugar per cup
bring milk to a simmer with the cinnamon stick (broken up) or just put in the cinnamon powder and vanilla until hot (sieve if you've used a stick). Then place in a milk frother or if you don't have one place in a Nalgene bottle or any other well-sealed bottle and give it a good shake (you WILL get frothy milk). Have your cocoa powder and sugar in the cups, add a little bit of milk to each cup to get the cocoa powder going, stir well (or put all together in the air tight bottle and give a few good shakes) then add the rest of the milk to top it up. serves 2 recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's 'the best hot chocolate'

where's the cinnamon?

Hi everyone, I'm still here!  
    Yes this is another non-cinnamon post but I'm still trying to shrug off the last little bit of cold I seem to have... this thing will not budge!!  So what have I been doing then you ask?  Drinking lots of hot healthy tea and reading... a lot.  I've already gone threw two books this week and am surely almost finished the third.  I've decided that since no new episodes of TrueBlood were airing any time soon I figured I'd read my way threw it.  I fear I am now spiraling down into yet another vampire obsession. 
  I did have quite the busy weekend though, baking up some delicious little treats for a couple of cute twins for their first birthday.  Here's just one of the little cakes I did for the sesame street theme involving a certain furry red favorite and this little blue monster who sure likes snacks which involve cookies, and lots of em!

here's to fall

Don't you just love the colour's of fall? 
  I felt fall just sneek up on me in the past two days. We were having some hot ones then bam, sweater weather.  I won't complain I do enjoy the fall and I"m such a cardi girl, you'd think I collect em. 
  Sorry for the short, non-cinnamon post, but I'm battling a bit of a cold (this is also another source when you know the cold weather is coming) so I haven't much felt like baking... well that's a bit of a lie, I did bake. Some co-workers got a taste of those cinnamon buns and well... I'm three batches down this week.

the buns

Nigella's cinnamon buns to be in fact. I actually made these once before about 5 years ago and making them now, I wonder why it took me soon long to make another batch? These are figgin good!  Believe it or not they are super easy to make!I could see these as a cute little weekend treat or perhaps the starting of a christmas morning tradition? The house would surely smell amazing!
recipe 5 cups flour (add more if you still find dough too goey) 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 tsp salt 3 tbsp rapid-rise yeast or 3 1/4-ounce pkgs 1/2 cup butter 1 2/3 cups milk 2 eggs filling 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp soft, unsalted butter 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
Preheat oven to 450 d F.    Combine all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Melt the butter and whisk it into the milk and eggs, then stir into the flour mixture. Mix to combine and knead the dough either by hand or using the dough hook of an electric mixer until smooth. Form into a ball, place in a oiled bowl,cover wi…

tis the season

It's apple picking time and this truly is one of my favorite past times.  So I'm heading to the farm for some fresh juicy ripe ones!  Do you have a favorite apple?  Mine is the ever so sweet, tangy and juicy macintosh.
Remember...cinnamon goodness is coming up next!
Happy Weekend!

cinnamonnamon...

Cinnamon.    Cinnamon conjures up the good feelings of all things cozy and warm. It could be that pinch on a cup of hot cocoa or the mark on a freshly brewed cappuccino. It could be that fifth spice to a great pumpkin pie or the wafting smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns... mmm.. now those are good! Cinnamon is defiantly a fall/winter essential, it's not quite fall until you've smelled the sweet spicy powder of this wonderful bark. I know in my house it starts with cinnamon scented pine-cones and seems to go on from there.
  Not quite gracing our house with cinnamon scented pine-cones yet... but I have decided to try my hand at some cinnamon baked goods.
Hmmm... still deciding. 
In the mean time, check out last night's dinner: one pan roasted goodness. I got a little lazy.   I think I have come to believe that sometimes lazy can be a good thing. Especially when it comes out looking like this!
Ps. Hope you all had a great weekend!!  And for any fellow Truebies out there, wasn…

bitten or to bite?

Yes, this may be another vampire-esque post, but to bad, I'm doing it anyway. This is ode to all you Eric, Bill, Edward and co. fans who I'm sure would love to take a bite out of these... or perhaps them?No, really take a bite, these little guys are edible! It was my friends b-day (yes that same fanpire friend) not to long ago and well I thought she would get a kick out of these. She did. What twilight vampire loving person wouldn't? They even sparkled!
She or should I say we have even come to the conclusion that the new Gap perfume Close smells of Edward (pathetic I know, haha) even in its ghostly white shimmery bottle it screams sparkly vampires. Oddly Close don't you think?
Have a happy long weekend all!
ps. I used red food gel for the bite marks on the cupcakes. These would also be really cool for halloween too!

foggy T.O and beef

September screams fall, doesn't it? It's like summer is officially over, even know our weather is all summer right now... finally! I think everyone now is looking forward to fall. It's all about the cozy sweaters, comfy wrapped blankets, hot cups of tea and all things spice (preferably pumpkin).  Here I am writing about fall when what I have to show is some what of a summer dish.  But I couldn't help but share my quick delicious dinner delight (was that a tripple D?).  I just loved the colours! mushroom and beef salad 1 bag of ready made salad mix (I choose caesar, goes quite well with the beef) sautéed buttered button mushrooms grilled salt and pepper steak.
Here's a little of downtown Toronto and the Ex.  took these photo's a while back, but thought I'd share.

coconut oat bars and sandcastles

Yet another attempt at bar baking guys. I guess this is more of a healthy granola snack more than anything considering it contains flax, coconut and oats.  I was going to go the chocolate route and add some bits of dark cocoa goodness but I opted out. I decided that coconut and oats was all I needed. Who says I can't make another batch with chocolate?  No one.I made some changes but I got the recipe fromhere.
 This weekend I ventured down to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) and saw some pretty cool things I think I should share.  Did you ever make sand castles when you were a kid? I bet they never looked anything like this:

These are some pretty awesome sand carvers!

daring bakers dobos torta

Wow, another month gone by and another daring baker's challenge down. I'm down to the wire again considering I just finished this cake only hours ago but this Dobos torta did turn out to be one super sweet layered up piece of chocolatly goodness. Chocolate buttercream layered under six layers of sponge cake wrapped in hazelnuts and topped with caramel, mmm...
yeah... and I burnt my caramel a little... still good, still good!

 The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
Find the recipehere.

right now...

I've falling in love with orange and lemon San Pellegrino. So refreshing on these muggy hot days we've been having too much of. Plus I adore the simple bottles!
  In my moment of baking contemplation (still deciding) I ended up taking shots of things I bake with... more will come, but I'd thought I'd share.   Perhaps bars again?
I also have been busy adding  some new items to my shop this weekend. Here's just a little peak...  have a great weekend!