Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Almond Roca

Boxes of chocolates are synonymous with Christmas...We see those Pot O' Golds, After Eights, Turtles, Cordial Cherries....the list goes on, you gotta have them and take bites out of each one to see what filling it is and then spit out the yucky ones...Darn Pot O' Gold for taking away the strawberry filling ones....ARGGGGG.  Now I do refuse to buy Pot of Gold on that premise alone... Cheap business people...

OK, enough of my rant against bureaucracy..

 One of my all time fave chocolates is Almond Roca.  I went on line because I have a wee bit of an obsession to find out obscure facts about meaningless things, such as where a chocolate got its name...Almond Roca....This fact could come in handy one day whilst I play Jeopardy and win Million of dollars....

Anyways...Roca is Spanish for "rock" and the creators of said chocolate got that from a sweet neighbour who may or may not have had strong teeth...

I LOVE Almond Roca, so I decided this year to make some of my own and I LOVE IT.  So easy and so amazingly good you'll forgo the store bought stuff that was made in like 2010... I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen Website. Love that many amazing recipes.  I didn't change anythings so I give all the credit to Tasty Kitchen lady "mdatwell"  You rock sweet toffee form.  So enjoy this recipe and go an make for your next Christmas get together.  People will be loving you for it!

Almond Roca

- Tasty Kitchen

What you need:

  • 4 sticks Butter (American) ( 2 cups - or one package of butter to us in Canada)
  • 2 cups Sugar (rounded)
  • 4 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 cups Almonds, Chopped
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
  • ½ cups Almonds, Finely Chopped, For Sprinkling
  • What you do: 

  • Combine the first 3 ingredients and cook on high, stirring constantly through 3 stages:
    1. Runny
    2. “Cheesy”—it will look like melted white cheese
    3. Runny and smooth, caramel brown color
    Make sure you have the fan on your stove going, cause you’ll probably set off the smoke alarm towards the end. ;)
    When it is runny, smooth and caramel brown in color, remove it from the heat and add the almonds. Stir until combined and pour the mixture onto greased cookie sheets. Spread it into an even layer. It will harden as it cools.
    While it is still warm, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let them melt enough to get soft. Spread the chocolate in an even layer across the candy. While the chocolate is still “wet,” sprinkle the finely chopped almonds on top.
    At this point, while it is still warm and soft, you can score the candy with a butter knife to make it break evenly, or just let it harden and break it into rustic pieces.
    Store in airtight containers. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Cherry Ice Box Sugar Cookies and One year Musings.

It has been one year of CoffeeBiscotti!  I have really enjoyed sharing recipes, trying my hand at food photography and the seeing the feedback that you guys have given me.  Thanks so much!  Here's to another year!

Yesterday I officially wrote out my "LIST".  I have perusing my favorite blogs - Lauren's Latest, Joy the Baker, Pioneer well as Pinterest, and a couple of foodie magazines (Canadian Living!) and I think I have it narrowed 8 things...  I sometimes think it is a lot to make and bake for Christmas, but I can't talk myself out of not doing it....So here it is!

1. Dave's favorite Cherry Cookies (recipe to follow list)
2. Gingerbread Men (boys request :)
3. Jello Candy PopCorn  Candied Popcorn
4. Monkey Munch
5. Almond Roca - PWoman
6. Maple Fudge - Canadian Living
7.  Butter Tarts - Company's Coming
8. Macrons - Canadian Living

So with the countdown started I better.....get started....Here is Number 1.  David's Favorite Cherry Cookies.  His mother has made these for him since he was a kid and they are GOOD!  I am glad that I learned how to make them too.  These are a lovely icebox sugar cookie filled with glace cherries. Yummy almond and cherry flavors throughout.  These go fast at our house so I make a double batch.  Also I buy my glace cherries at the end of the Christmas season and freeze them for the next year...WAY CHEAPER.  Enjoy!

Cherry Icebox Sugar Cookies

- adapted from my mom in law Michelle Death

What you Need:

1 cup of softened margarine or butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp of almond extract
1 tsp of cherry extract (If you don't have this don't worry just had an extra 1/2 tsp of almond extract)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup of chopped glace cherries ( I use red and green for a festive look)
 1 TBSP of milk
What you Do:

1.  Cream margarine and sugar until nice and fluffy.

2.  Add egg and extracts, blend in.

3.  Gradually add flour and salt and continue to incorporate.

4.  Stir in glace cherries.

5. The dough will be tender and a bit crumbly.  I add the milk now and with my hands form 2 balls of dough.

6.  Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap onto the counter and form dough into a log on top of it.  Wrap up.  You can form the log into a nice roll or bang the dough on each side to make a square.  I am a square fan.

7.  Chill in fridge for about an hour.

8.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Take out chilled dough and slice not too thin.  (1/2 inch) On a parchment lined cookie sheet bake cookies for 12 - 15 minutes, until the bottoms are JUST lightly golden.  Cool and enjoy.  Santa would really like these on Christmas eve and has already requested them at our house.  :)


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

M and M Sugar Cookies

The baking extravaganza is upon us!  I love Christmas baking. I start thinking about my "LIST" in like....October...  I love the homemade candies, squares, fudge,....and the cookies!  Christmas cookies are my favorite.  I love shortbread, sugar, gingerbread, all those fancy types.  I also like to try to make them. I mean, honestly....when do you really have a hankering for sugar cookie decorating other than Christmas....

Pinterest is giving me a gazillion ideas for Christmas cookies....some ladies out there have so much free time on their hands to create those masterpieces that look too fancy to eat.  (I still would....the principle of the is a cookie.....)  I will be trying to decorate sugar cookies this year, but I have to warm up my Christmas cookie palate...and this was the cookie I chose to make.

M and M sugar cookies...These are really good cookies that I will be continuing to make in the new year.  Seriously I was surprised at how good they are.  Sugar cookie goodness, with like...M and M's!!  the dough is rolled in sugar before you bake them. So you end up with a chewy, sugary, m and meeee cookie.  It will be a new family favorite for sure.  So if you looking for a crowd pleaser this holiday season, this cookie is a must.

Your Welcome!

M and M Sugar Cookies

adapted from: Joyful Momma's Kitchen

What you Need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of M and M's (or Smarties,  have a 1/4 cup separate for pressing on top of cookies)

What you Do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl.  Put the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a  plate and set aside. Pour the warm butter over the cream cheese mixture and beat on low to combine - the mixture won't be completely smooth yet.  Beat in the oil then the egg, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.

4. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet. When the dry ingredients are partially incorporated, add 3/4 cup of the M&M's to the dough. Continue mixing until a soft dough comes together.

5. Using a tablespoon scoop out some dough.  Roll the dough into a ball and then roll the ball in the sugar pie plate.  Flatten the balls of dough with a glass.

6.  Bake cookies 10 - 12 minutes, or until the edges are set (not browned!)

7.  Remove cookies from oven and press 3 more M and M's on top.  This makes them looked pretty!

8.  Cool and ENJOY with milk or hot chocolate!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Chorizo Italian Sausage Gumbo

Comfort in a bowl.  That is what I love about Fall and Winter recipes....warmth, substance, AND....IN A BOWL!!!  Soups, stews, and chilies are some of my favorite foods, and this GUMBO is tops!  I was just beginning my quest for delicious foods when I found this recipe in one of my mom's cooking magazines.  I did ask before I cut out the recipe....(I think she would have noticed the gaping hole...) and off I went to find the ingredients to this Gumbo.  My husband loved it!, and my toddler and infant sons thought we were is so good!  Spicy, but not too spicy

Now that was a couple of years ago and now I have made the recipe my own, but with keeping the true essence of the recipe. So I present to you a must make for your family...

Chicken - Chorizo Sausage Gumbo 

What you need:

2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or small breasts cubed ***(see note)
4 chorizo or mild Italian sausages, sliced (I like a mix)
1 large onion diced
2 celery sticks diced
1 sweet red pepper diced
4 cloves of garlic minced

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper

1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
1 can of diced tomatoes (28 oz/796 mL)
1/2 cup of chicken stock
3 tbsp tomato paste

parsley (freshly chopped or dried) - garnish

What you do:

1.  In large skillet, heat oil and brown chick an sausages.  Transfer to SLOW COOKER.

2.  In same skillet cook onions, celery red pepper, garlic, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper till golden. (about 8 min) ADD TO SLOW COOKER

3.  Add wine to skillet; bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits that might be there.  ADD to SLOW COOKER.
4.  Add to SLOW COOKER - tomatoes, broth, paste and a 1/4 cup of water and COOK on LOW for 4 - 6 hours.

Serve on top of basmati rice and you got yourself the most amazing meal!!!!  Enjoy!!

*** note*** - We have also added shrimp into the mix.  About 30 minutes left on Slow cooking time add some defrosted, de-viened, shrimp.  OOOOHHH YAAAAA BABY

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Vintage Reflections

This past September we witnessed the passing of a dear lady in our family, Granny Wiggins.  She was a sweet, wonderful lady full of spunk and vim, but also kindness, generosity and lots of love.  She will be greatly missed.

Recently we were able to choose a few items of hers as keepsakes to remember her by.  As I made a few choices I was drawn to some of her cookery items.  Granny Wiggins was a simple but GOOD cook.  I loved how Christmas was always a grand affair with her china laid out, everyone sharing the buffet.  Linda had a wonderful coleslaw which I will be making this Christmas - tangy sweet with a peppery flavor.  Yummy!  She'd sit down after grace and say, "Let's eat this grub!"

I have been reflecting about Granny this past week as I have been cleaning up and using her special cookery items.

On the left is a fish spatula.  I just thought it was a cool looking spatula.  I used it for cookie and eggs so far.  But it totally makes sense that it is for fish-frying....:)  The second item is a meat tenderiser.  Linda was a beef farmer and I bet she used this to tenderise some of her meat.  The cook book I found was covered in grease splatters and hand writing.  I loved finding this.  A book Linda used through the years to provide delicious and wholesome food for her family.  The apron was made in 1964 - never worn.  Linda wasn't an apron kinda lady....but she loved to sew.  This lovely memento is definitely a keepsake for me.

  This is the coolest flour bin ever!!!  I have always admired it when at Linda's house.  My husband has been complaining that our flour isn't in a protective container.  So when we were able to have this we both smiled....the needed flour protector and a cool keepsake from Granny Wiggins.  I never thought Linda was a huge baker, but man did she have me fooled.  Every once in a while she'd bring out one of her AMAZING Lemon Jelly Rolls.  SOOO GOOD!  I haven't the courage to try a jelly roll yet.  Someday.  :)

Anyways,  I am not a profound writer who will send you into roars of laughter or have you shed tears.  But I thought I would just share these precious things that I have acquired that were used to make meals for a family for decades.  If you have some cookery items from generations past think about the ladies who used them to nourish their families, and create specialties for holiday dinners.  Think about the love that they poured out everyday in just doing the "everyday".


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Yorkshire Puddings

I really want to try to put more savory recipes on this here blog here.....It is a challenge for me as my savory cooking usually happens at the most crazy of times......supper......  With 2 kids (and a hubby) getting antsy and hungry and me trying to make said supper....things get a little hectic.  Alas, that means that a lot of my recipes on here are things I can make in quieter times in the day, muffins, cake, granola, things like that.  Kids are more forgiving of me taking a 100 pictures of a piece of food in the morning than they are at crunch time.

But one will never grow if one doesn't try.  So here is a wonderful savory recipe that comes from my husband's Grandma Ellie.  A mother of 6 children living in a northern community with out many amenities, she followed her man and learned to cook along the way.   Sunday suppers at her house always include a full house and a whole bunch of these Yorkshire Puddings. They really are the BEST I've ever had.

What you need:

- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup milk (room temp)
- 1/2 cup water (room temp)
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt

oil or beef drippings.

What you do:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.

2.  Beat eggs in medium bowl until frothy.  Mix in milk and water.  Gradually beat in the flour and salt.  Keep beating until smooth and bubbly.

3.  Pour a small amount (1-2) teaspoons of oil or beef drippings into each muffin cup.  With a basting brush make sure the oil coats the cup.  If there is some oil (drippings) in the bottom of the cup that is fine.  Place muffin tin in oven to heat oil to sizzling (approx. 5 minutes)

4.  Immediatly pour in batter so the muffin tin is half-full.  Bake in oven for about 30 minutes.  They should be puffed and browned.

5.  Remove from pan.  If they seem a bit stuck (they do that sometimes) run a knife around edge.  They should release.

6.  Enjoy with roast beef and gravy....lots of gravy!!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Candied Popcorn....Oh MY!!!

It's been a week since Trick or Treat day and my kids haven't really put a dent in their "stash".  Being that they are 5 and 3....we do keep an eye on their candy vs fruit ratio.  The nice thing is that I don't have to make dessert!   Alas, my husband and I are also trying to keep a lid on our sweets consumption too.  We both love mini chocolate addicting....

Here is my Lightning Mcqueen and Captain America!

Working on their pumpkin with Daddy!



 Daddy's pumpkin...SO COOL!

For Trick or Treat day we had a special pizza supper before the kids went out and we opened up for business at our house.  I also made a homemade treat reminicient of trick or treating when we were kids...(which was a decent amount of time ago.....eek!)


This recipe is incredible!  I am making this at Christmas but in red and green colors.  So yummy too.  I preffered it to the candy and ate my quota and then some!  This recipe is also really easy to make!  Few ingredients, not much time, and you got yourself an amazing snack!  Totally make this!!!!

What you Need:

12 cups popped popcorn
1 can of sweetened Condensed Milk (11 or 14 oz works)
1 package of your favorite flavor of flavored gelatin (3 oz)

What you Do:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 

2. Line a large roasting pan with tinfoil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Spray with cooking spray (or grease pan with margerine or butter)

3.  Making sure that you have removed all the unpopped corn, place popcorn into prepared pan.

4.  Combine sweetened condensed milk, and dry gelatin in a medium saucepan. 

5.  Heat and stir on LOW- MED heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  (5 minutes)  STIR CONTINUALLY SO THE MIXTURE DOESN"T BURN!!!!!!

6. Pour mixture over popcorn.  Carefully combine mixture using a wooden spoon. 

7.  Bake mixture for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

8.  Turn out popcorn onto greased tinfoil sheets.  Cool completely and break into clusters.

9.  CONSUME IN GREAT won't be able to help yourself!!!  Store any leftovers in an air-tight container for a few days.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Pumpkin cookies

Well, I have refrained from putting a plethora of  pumpkin recipes on here as of late.  But, I couldn't resist one more before we all start looking forward to everyone posting about their favorite Christmas cookie recipes and all things candy cane!  Don't get me wrong, I too am already scouring Pinterest, magazines, and my favorite blogs to begin putting together "THE LIST".  Last year I loaded up on all things chocolate for Christmas....I will probably do that again, because....I love chocolate....

But this beautiful recipe keeps things in perspective....It's not December yet people!!!  Alas we have already had a huge dump of snow...(and I have already begun to listen to Christmas music - don't tell David!!!) is a lovely fall recipe to take me back to the lovely days where the air was crisp, with a hint of smokiness from fireplaces, colored leaves falling gracefully to the ground, and the promise of comfort with hot teas, warm scones, and heart warming stews, chilis, and soups....OK, its gonna be a loooooooong winter up here.

These are a beautifully soft pumpkin cookie with a lovely sweetness of white chocolate.  My husband loved them.  So as  you carve up your pumpkins this week for Trick or Treat day,  remember this recipe and make it for your families.  The kids and hubbies will love opening their lunch boxes to these sweet and spicy treats!!!

Pumpkin Cookies

What you need:
2-¼ cups All-purpose Flour 
1 teaspoon Baking Powder 
1 teaspoon Baking Soda 
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice 
½ teaspoons Salt 
½ cups Butter, Softened 
1 cup Granulated Sugar 
½ cups Brown Sugar 
1 cup Pumpkin Puree 
1 whole Egg 
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
1 cup White Chocolate Chips 

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool for a couple minutes on the cookie sheet.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Homemade Chocolate syrup!


There are some essentials in life...Kraft Dinner, Heinz ketchup, taco know, the really important stuff.  In our house my two boys have some essentials too...Dino Eggs Oatmeal, Fruit to Go, and Chocolate Milk....SO IMPORTANT!  If we are out of syrup life is just not the same! Milk just isn't supposed to be white PEOPLE - Didn't you know!!!  (something about the cows being brown....)Chocolate...yep, I understand my boys reasoning all the way!

Problem though: I only buy syrup when its on sale because it really is a rip off - economically speaking.  So there are days when the boys have the white stuff.  Not their favorite variety, but whaddya do?  I refuse to pay full price!  Of course, I didn't even really think about making my own!  Then I saw some recipes on Pinterest and I played around a bit and I created my own.

This is really good, easy to make, and CHEAP!  So let's make the world a sweeter place...along with my pocketbook..... Make this gem of a syrup!

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, add sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Whisk together gently.  Add water.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and cook 1 minute and 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Cool.  Store in the refrigerator.

For chocolate milk, add 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup to 8 oz. of milk.  Heat for hot chocolate.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

glazed chai muffins!

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone.  I hope that you all had a most wonderful time with family and friends, being thankful for your blessings, and eating some good food!  I enjoyed the company of my husband's hunting friends (mine too - we just call them that. Love ya M and J), as well as my husband's family.  There is always a big to-do an Grandma's house and we all bring potluck items and enjoy a huge turkey.  Then of course is the extra yummy pumpkin pies and desserts that I of course tried both, and topped off with a generous helping of whipped cream.  I AM THAT THANKFUL!!!

I love the smells of Thanksgiving and fall cooking, the comfort of spices, pumpkin, apples, etc.  I am really enjoying cinnamon right now and I am using it in ALL my baking.  I recently made these lovely muffins that are inspired by chai tea. (another fall favorite of mine!)  I have never used cardamon before so this was a lovely introduction to this unique spice.  It is what gives the muffins its "chai-ness" I couldn't find the spice anywhere until I went to my local Farmer's Market, and there it was!!!  So I rushed home and made these muffins.  I love the glaze that they are dipped into as well.  Really finishes off the perfection of this muffin.

So continue to revel in the wonder of thankfulness and autumn beauty, finding comfort in a great chai tea and these lovely little muffins!

Glazed Chai Muffins 

adapted from:  My Baking Addiction

What you need:

For the Muffins

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

For the Glaze

3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup icing sugar;
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

What you do:
 1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin, or line with 12 paper muffin cups.
  2. Cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth, add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine.

3. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, black pepper, salt and vanilla. Mix well to fully incorporate.

4. Add the flour into the butter mixture with the milk, stir to combine.

5. Distribute the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the wells nearly full.

6. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean. Prepare the glaze.

For the Glaze

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, icing sugar, spices, vanilla and milk. Whisk until smooth.

2. When muffins have cooled slightly (about 5 minutes), dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. At this point, you can leave them as is or go for the double dip. I glazed my muffins twice.

3.  Enjoy with a hot beverage. Store muffins in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Sweet Cinnamon Apple Dip

Apples....not really my most favorite fruit, BUT I do seem to enjoy them a lot more in the fall time.  Maybe its because I have filled up on strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and raspberries all summer and are pretty much sick of them...Maybe its the promise of cooler evenings and the scent of apple crisp baking with sweet and spicy cinnamon.  Ahhh, I LOVE apples and cinnamon together.  They are a marriage made in baking heaven....and also in a dip!

This sweet little ditty blends brown sugar, cream cheese, and cinnamon to make a lovely accompaniment to some sweet-tart apples.  Gala are my favorite!  So if you can't whip up a pie or crisp and are craving the sweet flavors of apple and cinnamon this dip is the way to go!!!  Enjoy!!!

Sweet Cinnamon Apple Dip

adapted: Kraft Canada.

What you Need:

250 g (1 pkg.)  brick cream cheese, softened
  2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg 
 4 Tbsp. milk
4 apples, each cut into slices

What you Do:

 Here is my way cool apple corer and peeler.  LOVE IT!!!

A little artistic work with the peelings...Yep I have THAT much time on my hands apparently. :)

 1. With a hand blender beat first 4 ingredients until smooth.
2.  Serve with apples and graham crackers for dipping.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

cinnamon biscotti

It is time to make some biscotti!!!

I has been awhile.  I find this slightly humorous as my blog's name has biscotti in it.  You would think I would be providing you with a plethora of recipes in a burgeoning file labeled "biscotti". But alas, I have been negligent in my biscotti duties.

I believe I have fulfilled the daily requirement for large words.....:)


I do enjoy a lovely biscotti and I have been looking forward to making this variation since I came upon it earlier in the year.  It sounds like it would be the most lovely accompaniment to a chai tea, or a pumpkin spice latte, and a good Jane Austen inspired book :)  Sweet cinnamon cookies to dunk in a steaming hot mug of goodness. :)

Here she be.  I hope to have some ladies over to enjoy these babies soon!!

Cinnamon Biscotti

Source: Joy the Baker

What you Need:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

 1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

For Topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 beaten egg (for brushing biscotti before baking)

What you Do:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. 

3.  Whisk together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and set aside.

4.  In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; beat another minute.   

5.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter all at once.  With a spoon or spatula, stir ingredients into a ball of dough.

6.  Divide the dough in two.  Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch long and 2-inch wide log.

7.  Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle very liberally with the cinnamon sugar.

8.  Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes.

9.  Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.  Let biscotti cool until able to handle.  Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch wide slices.  Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.

10.  Bake again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.  Cool completely.

11.  Dunk into sweet tea, chai tea, lattes, WHATEVER....and enjoy!

12.  Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Friday, 28 September 2012

homemade taco seasoning

Anyone else have this problem....your spices in your spice CUPBOARD are overflowing to your tea cupboard...yes cupboards....Apparently I like spices and teas.  I was recently on a spice blend kick and purchased some good quality mixes like Spice de Provence, Chinese 5 spice and Fajita mix....That is all good but I am constantly running out of one mix that I use quite frequently...

Taco Seasoning Mix.  I am always throwing packets of the stuff into my cart at the grocery store and grumbling at how overpriced it is.  I mean really...its only about 2 Tablespoons of the the stuff, and they charge you an arm and a leg for it.

BUT NO MORE!!!  I am happy to say that Pinterest has saved the day again!  Another such blogger also had the same frustration with the price of Taco seasoning that she did something about it.  She made her own......for fractions of the price. WELLL, of course I had to try it....It is amazing!  Even my husband noticed how good it tasted.  So no longer will I be purchasing packets of overpriced, sodium boosted Taco seasoning. I will make my own.  And you can too!

Taco Seasoning Mix

adapted from - My Baking Addiction

What you need:

4 tablespoons of chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons black pepper

What you do: 

1. Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar or air tight container.  

2.  Shake to mix thoroughly.  

This seasoning mix will last up to a year in an airtight container.

***When using with ground beef, use 1-2 tablespoons per pound of meat. 

Also great with chicken!

Monday, 24 September 2012

pumpkin chocolate chip snacking cake

Yes, I am totally on a "Pumpkin" kick!  I wholeheartedly embrace the orange squash and I hope to make many wonderful treats with pumpkin this fall season.  You'll either love me or detest me....I do hope you love me...:)   Did you know that I actually tried growing pumpkins this year....

As you can see my success wasn't great.....Oh well.  Thank goodness for grocery stores:)  But my tomatoes are still coming in vast amounts!!!

I am so proud of these.. I grew them from seed and everything!!  Anyways....back to pumpkins...

Recently I was introduced to this beautiful and easy snacking cake recipe.  At a family gathering my husband's, cousin's wife Melissa brought this delightful brownie to eat as dessert. was heavenly and my husband promptly asked me to add it to things I WILL make sooner than later list. 

So here is the sooner:)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snacking Cake (aka brownie)

- adapted from Pennies on a Platter

 What you need:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 - 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

What you do: (sooner than'll thank me, and I thank Melissa, who also thanks Pinterest...:)

1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray

3.  In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs and oil until smooth.  Set aside.

4.  In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and brown sugar.

5.  Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix thouroughly, but try not to overmix.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

6.   Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 15 – 25 minute.  You want a toothpick to come out clean when you poke into it. Then you know its done.

7.  Cool completely and then devour!!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Pumpkin pie granola!

The leaves are turning their colors up here, and one can really feel a shift in the weather.  Fall is coming.  We've survived our first week of kindergarten and Joshua loves it!   I am so glad.  My everyday will be a bit different now with a youngster in school every day.  My youngest is adjusting alright though he wishes he could go to school too.  Thank goodness all our favorite local programs are starting up right away here!

I've been perusing all the fun recipe blogs that I follow and I have noticed a certain trend happening....everything has nothing on pumpkin....Pumpkin brownies, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, cupcakes, cakes, pies, soups....EVERYTHING!!!  It's a good thing I like pumpkin :) because I made a delightful little granola with pumpkin spice.

Yep, I am on a granola kick right now.  I am really enjoying making my own.  This one is by far my favorite!  I started off with with this granola earlier this summer....  It's good, but this one is even better...and its even fall-like with the pumpkin spice.

Immerse yourself in Pumpkin this fall and enjoy this lovely recipe!!  I wasn't able to do step-by-step photos (forgive me - busy life right now) but here she goes!

What you need:

4 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

What you do:

1. In a large bowl, combine oats and almonds, set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, oil, honey, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.

3. Pour over oat mixture; stir to coat. Spread in a large shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. The coating should be caramelized on the oat mixture and it should love a nice light brown.

5. Add dried apricots and dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. I like mason jars!

6.  Eat it up.  It should last a month....but it won't because it is soooo good!!!



Monday, 10 September 2012

Apricot Ginger Sparkle Cookies

My oldest is starting his academic career today!!!  So crazy how fast time has flown by.  Kindergarten - where he will adore his teacher, learn much knowledge and many skills, and have his mother signed up for all class parties.....EEK!

I love classroom parties!  As a teacher I always had my parties near the end of the day so I wouldn't have to deal with 25 odd kiddos on sugar highs.... The kids and me loved the anticipation of what people will bring and the buffet of sweets to choose from.  Yes there is always the fruit and veggie trays, but the kids are scoping out the sweet stuff for sure!  We will see how busy this mommy gets and if she will resist the urge to go buy ready made cupcakes....(nothing wrong with that at all I have done it myself!!!!! - I am just like the kids...I just eat the icing....:))

So as us mommies are beginning the tiresome chore of filling up lunch kits day after day...O.K, I am just starting and I only have to pack a snack so far....but I am already tired of it...EEK!!! So here is a lovely little cookie ditty that will delight young ones and older ones as they open up their lunch kits and see what goodness mommy has packed them.  

Apricot Ginger Sparkle Cookies

- adapted from Joy the Baker

What you Need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cups sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup of apricot jam (you can use any thick jam you have on hand)

What you do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

2.  Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and beat for a minute.

 3.  Add the egg and beat for 2 minutes more. The mixture will be smooth. Add the milk and vanilla and beat just to combine.

4.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the jam and beat for 1 minute more.


5.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt.

6.  With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix only until they are combined.

7.  Roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball and toss to coat in a bowl of sugar.  Place on baking sheet.  With a fork squish down the cookies to flatten them out a bit.

8.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cookies will be pale with a browned edge.  Allow cookies to rest a few minutes and remove to cooling racks.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Cranberry Orange Muffins


Can you feel it?  The coolness in the air, the sense of anticipation of change and the renewal of resolutions, programs re-starting and the smell of new plastic and rubber as you open up your pencil case full of NEW PENCILS!!!  Okay, I was a teacher not that long ago and I still get a thrill when September comes.  For me it is when the new year begins......January 1st means nothing to me....but September....that is a different story.

I always had my classroom set up early, full of apples, new organisational tools, cool pictures and the such.  I anticipated my new students coming....some with a little trepidation....:)  But September was a time of excitement, putting the reflections and plans one had over the summer into action!  My thoughts turn to the warmth of Tetley tea, the comforting smell of cinnamon and apples, pumpkin pies, pumpkin lattes at Starbucks......mashed potatoes and pot roast...Yep I am ready for fall to come. I think I ate my fill of grilled chicken and veggies....They were good, but I am just ready for the comfort of meatloaf........and muffins......

Here is a lovely little ditty to kick start your muffin making season for back to school lunches.  This comes from a friend of mine who makes these for scrapbooking weekends...YAHOO FOR SCRAPBOOKING!!!  Okay, here it is.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

-recipe adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

What you Need:

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup orange or peach marmalade
  • the zest from one orange
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Here's What You Do:

  1. Grease muffin cups or line with paper liners.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º.

 3.Combine dry ingredients and chopped pecans in a mixing bowl.  


4.  Beat egg lightly in a small bowl and add orange juice, marmalade, orange zest, oil, milk and dried cranberries.


5.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix only until completely moistened.


6.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling each two thirds full.

7.  Mix topping and sprinkle about 1/2- 1 teaspoon over each muffin.


 8.  Bake at 400º for about 15 - 20 minutes. Test with a toothpick to be sure they are baked through.

 9.  Makes 12 medium sized muffins.