The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

Standard
The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

So I stumbled onto this cookie exchange while browsing through blogs. You make a donation to ‘Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’, which help with research, etc., so it’s really a great cause, and a great way to get in touch with other bloggers in your country! (Not to mention new ideas and COOKIES!) At this point, I’ve received one package of cookies, and two are at the Post office, just calling my name. But of course, due to kids, one vehicle, snow, and other circumstances…. I haven’t gotten to them yet! But I’m itching to get my hands on them to find out what they are!
Biscotti dough

For my cookies, well, I didn’t know what to do. I was really going to do a traditional family recipe, but I scratched that and did the total opposite. Though, I’m not sure why. Anyhow. I’ve been wanting to try out biscotti for quite some time now, and it just seemed like a good chance to try it out. I didn’t know much about it, other than that it’s twice baked, and awesome dipped in tea/coffee/hot chocolate. I also know that I love cinnamon and coffee/tea/hot chocolate. So, 1 + 2 = cinnamon sugar biscotti. Or some such thing.
Circle?

Here goes! Next time, I think I’d omit the coffee chocolate chips, and make pour some cinnamon and sugar on top of the cookies as well, but hey – first try, eh? Also, sorry for the non-natural-light-photos… I was crunching for time, and had to make them at night. ūüôā
Ready for glaze & cinnamon sugar!

Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pinch salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 3/4 cup flour
Coffee flavoured chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Glaze:
3 tsp milk
1 cup icing sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together margarine, and sugars. Add salt, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in flour and baking powder until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips (if desired). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 4 even balls. shape each into an 8 inch log, slightly flatten. Place two on the baking sheet. Mix together cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar onto the two flattened logs. Cover with remaining logs and pinch together on the sides. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, or until middle is set and slightly golden. Let cool on a rack for 1 hour. Slice diagonally into 3/4 inch strips. Place on cookie sheet, and bake at 350F for 8 minutes. Flip cookies, and bake for another 8 minutes. They should be dry to the touch. Let cool on a wire rack.

Mix together glaze until smooth. Coat ends of biscotti with glaze, dip in second amount of cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

Ta da! Enjoy those biscotti!

And a teaser of the boys and one of their uncles… Just have to do it! ¬†I painted my kitchen [again!] too!
Les gars

Lavender Berry Scones

Standard

For some reason, rainy days and tea inspire me to post.  Could also be the fact that we’re having leftovers and I’m not doing anymore house work for at least a few more hours.  Reason three – both boys are sleeping.  Soundly.  (For now…)

Lavender Berry Scones

I think I made these about 6 months ago.  Made em.  Photographed them.  Devoured them.  Made them again.  Forgot to post them.  That’s how I roll.  Forgotten is my middle name.  Memory is a thing of the past.

So, I’m going to share them now.  And they are SO good.  I even found the pictures!  Go me!

Scones being created

I follow Miss Joy over at Joy the Baker.  She is da bomb.  I love her style, wit, and food choices.  Anyhow, these scones come from her, only slightly changed by yours truly.  Skeptical of the lavender?  Don’t be.  It tingles the taste-buds.  I did have a comment from a slightly disgruntled guy that flowers are for smelling, not eating.  BUT, they were devoured and many compliments ensued.  So I’d say they’re pretty good.  My hubby even loves them.  (And that’s saying something, as he’s generally a baked-goods-hater.)  Here goes!

Prebaked Lavender Berry Scones

Lavender Berry Scones

Recipe very slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

3 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 heaping Tbsp dried lavender

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Dash salt

3/4 cup cold butter or margarine

1 egg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup berries (I used frozen blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)

1 beaten egg and sugar to coat and sprinkle before baking

First of all, remember that ‘boys are sleeping soundly’ thing?  It’s now untrue.  But I will continue nonetheless.

Secondly!  Preheat that oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in butter (or margarine) with fingers or a pastry cutter, until it resembles large oat flakes.  In another bowl, combine egg and buttermilk, and beat lightly.  Add to flour mixture, just until moistened.  Fold in those berries (carefully, they’ll make a mess!).

Turn onto a floured surface, and knead for about 2 minutes.  Roll out into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes (re-rolling excess dough for more scones), and place on baking sheet.  Brush lightly with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until slightly golden brown on top.

Enjoy!  These are quite amazing alone, or with a dallop of butter and jam.  (Go for blueberry jam!)

Lavender Berry Scones.Ready for oven

Now to finish off with some kiddo photos as usual.  Just can’t get enough of my boys.

Mister Man

{In the sandbox, smiling away}

Sweet Eyes

{He’s practicing blowing spit here, just so you know…  But he has the sweetest eyes, don’t you think?}

 

Feels like Fall

Standard

It DOES feel like fall. ¬†And much too soon, in my opinion. ¬†I’ve switched from shorts, a tank, and sandals to socks, sweaters, and leggings in a week. ¬†From iced coffee to hot vanilla nut tea and hot chocolate. ¬†(Not that it’s bad, just different, and MUCH too soon.) ¬†I digress…

My counter. ¬†Technically, it’s the desk my wonderful father made for me in elementary school, that I absolutely love. ¬†But right now, it’s serving some time as a kitchen counter. ¬†I was looking at it this evening after I put cinnamon rolls in the oven, and came to the conclusion that it’s a lot like my life.

My desk

Look at the organized clutter, the spattering of flour and cinnamon, the balancing of the laptop. ¬†It’s got character, dents,scrapes, and doodles. ¬†Lots of love oozes out of it when I think of the time and love my daddy poured into it as he made it. ¬†(It’s got to be my favourite Christmas present ever. ¬†Seconded by the hope chest he made me a few years later.) ¬†My life is like my desk. ¬†Organized, but in a messy, ‘only-I-know-where-everything-is-but-it-REALLY-is-organized’, kind of way. ¬†Cluttered like my brain, jumping and crashing from one thought to the next. ¬†Spattered like the laughter, screams, squeals, and tears of my family, throughout every day. ¬†My life has had its share of dents and scrapes. ¬†Doodles are the fun, quirky times. ¬†So much love has been shoved into my life, and so much love squeezes out of me. ¬†It’s give and take kind-o-deal.

There you go. ¬†My life in a desk. ¬†Didn’t think you’d ever come across that comparison now, did you?

On the other hand…

I may or may not need more counter space. ¬†Either way, I had just enough room, in this cluttered mess, to make Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls. ¬†I’m not going to share the recipe, I’ll just send you over to Piping Dreams for that. ¬†But I did just want to say hey, and share a few photos. ¬†Sorry (yet again) for being disconnected the past year. ¬†Spring was crazy. ¬†I thought, ‘Surely I’ll have some down time in the summer!’. ¬†I was wrong. ¬†Now that summer has flown by, and fall is at my heels, I’m thinking, ‘I¬†must¬†MAKE time through the fall and winter months!’. ¬†Will it happen? ¬†Only time will tell.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

But for now, I leave you with cinnamon and clove scents wafting through my kitchen into yours. ¬†As Lauren says in her post, these only take 30 minutes TOPS to whip up. ¬†You can have your house smelling like mine in no time. ¬†Or you can come over for coffee right now… or in the morning. ¬†Whichever.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls 2

My hubby couldn’t wait for me to even get pictures, before he tried snatching a cinnamon roll. ¬†What I didn’t tell him was that they were whole wheat. ¬†Will he notice? ¬†I haven’t heard any comments yet. ¬†I’ll let you know. ¬†(Sneaky wife here, trying to get him to eat healthier… ¬†Do cinnamon rolls count as healthier? ¬†Imma say yes. ¬†Why not?)

If you really aren’t into whole wheat, check out these bad boys: ¬†Nanny’s Cinnamon Rolls. ¬†Yummmm!

Or these:  Apple Jelly Tea Rolls.  So good.  Soooo fall-ish.

Pictures of the kiddos you say?  Why, sure!

Cael's Fedora

Jude's new hat

{Hats all around. ¬†Cael wearing his uncle’s fedora, and Jude’s new hat knit by a great friend of the family}

I have a hat fetish. ¬†There are so many awesome hats that look absolutely adorable on little boys… ¬†*sigh.

Dark Chocolate Buche de Noel

Standard

This post is thanks to leftovers (because technically, I should be making supper right now, but HALLELUJAH – I HAVE LEFTOVERS! ¬†And good ones at that!), and someone who told me today she’d been reading my blog. ¬†That does wonders for my motivation. ¬†So does chocolate. ¬†Dark Chocolate Christmas Logs. ¬†In the summer. ¬†It is only 6 months till Christmas, by the way. ¬†You can hit me now. ¬†I’ve been singing Christmas carols since May. ¬†Man. ¬†I think something may be wrong with me. ¬†Help!

Dark Chocolate Buche de Noel

{The final product.  So good.  Seriously.}

So, I made this one ages ago, and it was sooo good. ¬†But I have this lazy gene, and it prohibited me to take the time to write out the whole recipe… ¬†But I’ve decided to fight that nasty gene and just do it. ¬†It’s totally worth it. ¬†And before you say, “Hey Kayleigh, this looks like a lot of work… I don’t have time!”, let me just tell you that yes, you DO indeed have time for this particular recipe. ¬†Even if you don’t, you’ll find time, make time even. ¬†Add an extra hour to your already full 24-hr day. ¬†Do it. ¬†Who needs sleep? ¬†(That’s what always gets put on the back burner for me.) ¬†This log of chocolate goodness is just yelling to be made, and more importantly, eaten. ¬†I think I made it for Thanksgiving last year (told you it was ages ago! ¬†Wow!), and it was enjoyed by all who ate it. ¬†Like, more than enjoyed. ¬†There were lots of sighs and grunts of pleasureful eating. ¬†I might even be making up words here. ¬†How about, plenjoyfeating (pleasure-enjoy-ful-eating)? ¬†I think that about describes it. ¬†Of course, if you don’t like chocolate, you may not like this (and I¬†might¬†not like YOU!). ¬†Really though, I’d still like you. ¬†I’d just wonder what part of your brain wasn’t working quite right, and if that affected any other likings to awesome food-things.

There are a lot of different steps to this recipe. ¬†Don’t let that scare you away. ¬†Just don’t.

Roll her up!

{Make the jelly roll cake, roll it up in a dish towel so it doesn’t crack after you fill it!}

Okay, now I’ll type out that recipe. ¬†Please make this. ¬†If you don’t, please call me. ¬†I’ll make it. ¬†You’ll come over. ¬†We’ll plenjoyfeat it together. ¬†Pretty please with a dark chocolate covered strawberry on top. ¬†(I’ll take any excuse to make a dessert, really.)

Chocolate crackle.  YUM!

{Melt chocolate.  Cool it.  Crackle it!  Soooo much chocolate!}

Dark Chocolate Buche de Noel

Slightly adapted from Canadian Living Holiday Favourites 2011

Cake:

1/4 cup milk

2 Tbsp butter

3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

5 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp icing sugar

Place milk and butter in a bowl, and microwave until butter is melted. ¬†Stir, keep warm. ¬†In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. ¬†Separate 3 eggs, dropping yolks and white into separate bowls. ¬†Beat egg whites until foamy; beat in 1/4 cup sugar, about 1 Tbsp at a time, until soft peaks form. ¬†Beat together egg yolks and remaining eggs and sugar until pale and thick enough that batter leaves ribbons on surface when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. ¬†Fold in egg whites. ¬†Add flour, fold until combined. ¬†Pour in milk mixture, fold in until blended. ¬†Spread in 15×10-inch parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet. ¬†Bake in 350F oven until golden and cake springs back when lightly touched, about 12 minutes. ¬†Loosen edges with knife, and flip onto a flour-covered dish towel. ¬†Carefully peel off paper, and roll cake, starting from the short side. ¬†Let cool on rack.

Frosting coated!

{Make¬†chocolate¬†frosting and coat the cake. ¬†So much goodness. ¬†Don’t be perfect. ¬†Nobody will notice that you put most of the frosting on the end that you’re going to eat…}

Icing:

1 cup margarine, softened

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups icing sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted, and cooled

In a bowl, beat butter, slowly adding whipping cream, and vanilla.  Beat in icing sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Beat in chocolate until fluffy.

Roll it up!

{Roll it up!  It should be super easy if you rolled it up in a dishtowel earlier}

Chocolate Bark Crackle:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Melt chocolate in a double-boiler, or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. ¬†Pour into 15×10-inch parchment paper-lined baking sheet. ¬†Refrigerate for 10 minutes. ¬†Break or tear chocolate into pieces. ¬†Arrange on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.

Add some more CHOCOLATE

{Add some more chocolate. ¬†Why not? ¬†You need something to stick that crackle to anyhow…}

Unroll the cake, spread with 1 1/2 cups icing. ¬†Re-roll without towel, and place (seam down) on a serving dish. ¬†Cover with remaining icing. ¬†Stick chocolate crackle to the icing. ¬†Sprinkle with icing sugar. ¬†Refrigerate until cold. ¬†Voila! ¬†C’est ca!

Who else is enjoying this Maritime summer weather? ¬†A week of gorgeous sunny, warm weather, followed by a week of dreary, cold, gray days. ¬†Oh well. ¬†At least it’s not all dreary. ¬†Last week, me and my sidekick had breakfast, coffee and bubbles on the doorstep, while Daddy and Jude slept in.

Coffee and nectarines on the doorstep

I hope these days never end. ¬†Spending time like that with my kids is amazing. ¬†I’m super thankful that I can take the time to do that. ¬†God pours his blessings down in so many different ways. ¬†Amazing. ¬†And time just goes by so fast, it’s insane. ¬†Thanks for those long summer days.

Mommy and super boy!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Standard

Yummo! ¬†(That’s what Sid the Sloth from Ice Age would say. ¬†How do I know this? ¬†Well, we’ve probably watched Continental Drift 100 times in the last few months, that’s how. ¬†Cael has favourite-movie-streaks.)

Rhubarb is in season, so the time to use it is now! ¬†And it’s sooo good. ¬†Sweet, but with a balancing, tart bite to it. ¬†Put it in a cake with some sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and you have [as close as you can get to] perfection! ¬†Now, I hear that some people don’t even know what rhubarb is. ¬†To those, I have GOT to say, GO find some and try it! ¬†Baked goods with rhubarb are awweesssoommmmeee *sing-song-y voice*!

Rhubarb is chopped!

I’ve made this cake twice so far, and it was a hit both times with both groups. ¬†Can I just say that it is super yummy? ¬†Because it is. ¬†Cael loved it too! ¬†He helped me make the first one. ¬†I absolutely love working with him in the kitchen. ¬†It’s super fun. ¬†We made muffins the other day (recipe to come, perhaps?), and he was stirring and licking spatulas while doing a crazy dance number to Michael Buble’s new CD. ¬†How much fun can you have? ¬†How lucky am I? ¬†Two sweet little guys, helping Mommy bake. ¬†(And they¬†are¬†the cutest. ¬†Ever.) ¬†{Making muffins with Mommy below!}

Helping Mommy with muffins

Back to the cake. ¬†So I made this in a tube pan. ¬†The recipe called for a bundt, but I’m really glad I used a tube, because I think it would have been hard to get out of a bundt. ¬†Your choice, of course.

Add that rhubarb!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Adapted slighty from¬†Hodge Podge: A Collection from the St. John’s Anglican Church

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup margarine, softened

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 cups well-floured, chopped rhubarb

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch salt

Dash nutmeg

For this cake, you can totally go old-school and use a wooden spoon.  Do it.  Feel old school.  Mix sugar and margarine (with your wooden spoon) together well.  Add eggs, salt, and vanilla.  Mix in flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and milk.  Add rhubarb.  Sprinkle with ample brown sugar and cinnamon.  Bake in a well-greased tube or bundt pan for 50 minutes at 350.  (Or until the middle is set.  Stupid finicky ovens!)

Ready to bake.

As I’m copying this recipe down, I’m looking at the cookbook from whence it came. ¬†And it was submitted by my grandmother! ¬†Who knew? ¬†I could have just gotten the recipe from her. ¬†I thought it seemed a bit familiar! ¬†Oh my…

As always, I’ve got to share some baby smiles.

Daddy and the boys

{Daddy playing with the two boys on his lap.  They have so much fun together already!  Best daddy ever.}

Enjoy the rest of your week!  Make this cake.  Eat it for breakfast.  It will make your day better, I promise.  (If you enjoy it with a hot cup of coffee, or tea [or HOT CHOCOLATE], you might possibly have a very awesome day.

Finito!

Finito!

Wedding

Sorry this is such a smorgasbord of things today, but I really wanted to say Happy 3rd Anniversary to my hubs. ¬†I cannot believe how fast those 3 years have gone! ¬†He’s the best, most handsome hubby around. ¬†Not to mention amazing friend and daddy. ¬†I love you babe.

Yogurt Fruit Pops

Standard

It’s been way to long, again. ¬†I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be saying that a lot.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about that may help people to understand why I’ve not been overly up on everything. ¬†When you have a second kid, you’d think you would only have twice as much laundry, that it would only take twice as long to get ready to go somewhere, there would only be twice as many tears. ¬†However, I’ve come to discover that a second child means about 5 times more laundry, it takes about 15 minutes to get ready, as opposed to 2 minutes, and the tears tend to be innumerable and unstoppable at times.

Growing boy

 

{Isn’t he growing?! ¬†Such a cute little guy, my handsome man.}

There is good news though, it also mean innumerable laughs, and smiles.  I get to spend more time with my boys getting them ready before we go somewhere.

… and there’s really nothing good about 5 times as much laundry. ¬†Well, except that [maybe] when it’s sunny out, I have an excuse to stand outside – to hang up laundry. ¬†That’s about it.

Yummy pops!

 

{My sick, sweet little boy.  Cutest.  Kid.  Ever.}

My son likes yogurt. ¬†Of the frozen kind. ¬†And I don’t mean frozen yogurt, I mean yogurt that’s been frozen. ¬†We usually freeze yogurt tubes, and he has them for a healthy snack. ¬†But the other day, I was inspired by this sweet blog. ¬†But I made it even easier. ¬†Just get a popsicle mold (mine is from Walmart, $3), some sliced fruit, and some yogurt. ¬†Whatever kinds you want of everything! ¬†It’s completely customizable.

Yogurt Fruit Pops (our version)

Slices strawberries and mandarins

Peach yogurt and vanilla yogurt.

Pour and plop into molds.  Freeze and enjoy!  Super yummy, and awesomely delicious.

Sick boy

 

{Poor guy spent the beginning of the week sick.  So he extra enjoyed the pops.}

(Especially on a nice sunny, warm day, if anyone is enjoying those right now… ¬†it’s been raining here for over a week…)

If it’s raining there like it is here, why don’t you make some hot sweet¬†milk to enjoy instead?

 

Fondant and a Wedding Cake

Standard

Spring is here (for today anyway)! ¬†It’s sunny and a high of 12C. ¬†Not warm to some of you, but it feels pretty great to me!

Wedding Cake

So this has been a long time coming. ¬†I’ve been meaning to post it since early December, but of course, haven’t. ¬†A friend of ours got married, just a small, very quaint wedding, and she asked me to make the cake. ¬†Numero dos on the wedding cakes for me. ¬†First one was for a friend in August, but that one was with buttercream. ¬†This was my first attempt at fondant [EVER], and I made the fondant myself from scratch. ¬†Which was pretty sweet, slightly nerve-wracking, and yummy! ¬†I liked the taste quite a bit more than pre-made, bought fondant.

I used a pound cake recipe for the cake, and made 4 layers (2 bigger, 2 smaller).

Bottom layers

Then I made a peanut butter cream filling for in between layers.  Coated it with buttercream, and then layered the fondant on top.

Fondant, second layer

Then decorated with blue coloured buttercream.  It was quite the process, even for a small cake.

Wedding cake

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

You can find one very similar to the one I used at HowDoesShe.  Check it.

Hats!

{Daddy and baby strutting their hats.}

Doily Table Runner

Standard

I’m back again. ¬†And so soon! ¬†(Not really, but sooner than I expected.)

Doily Runner

With another non-food creation. ¬†All thanks to Pinterest for the great idea (however, I only saw it, and didn’t pin it, so I have no sweet clue where it originally came from). ¬†By the way – follow me on Pinterest!¬† It’s such a great place for ideas, a good place to waste spend time surfing cool things, and it’s just cool. ¬†So there. ¬†Do it.

Doily Runner

 

Doily Runner

So, this is really quite ridiculous. ¬†Easy peasy. ¬†Just find some doilies. ¬†Wait – do what I did. ¬†Go to your mom (or grandmother), and ask them if they have any extra kicking around. ¬†I discovered quickly that my mother might just have a¬†fetish… ¬†or maybe it’s my grandmother (I think that’s where they all came from). ¬†¬† ¬†Either way, find some doilies. Having a bunch of different ones looks pretty cool. ¬†Then, find some thread and a needle. ¬†Sew them together using small stitches (so they are unnoticeable). ¬†Annnddd… ¬†TAADAA! ¬†C’est tout! ¬†I think it looks really sweet too. ¬†Adds a nice, feminine touch to my living room.

Doily Runner

Hope you guys like the how to’s, instead of just food all the time. ¬†What can I say? ¬†I’m feeling crafty. ¬†Not sure why. ¬†Just am. ¬† If you are hungry though check out this great recipe for Raspberry Scones. ¬†Get a coffee, and eat one o’these yummy devils. ¬†It’ll do you good on this snowy, not-so-springy weekend. ¬†Enjoy!

DSC_9348

 

{I just can’t leave you all without a pic of at least one of the boys. ¬†Cael in Daddy’s hat and a friends shoes. ¬†Great smile.}

Caramel Cream Cheese Torte with Chocolate Ganache

Standard

How was everybody’s Easter weekend? ¬†Hope it was wonderful. ¬†Ours was great. ¬†Busy. ¬†Crazy busy. ¬†But great.

Caramel Cream Cheese Torte

Starting with Friday, we had a service at our church, and a potluck, followed by a small group gathering for me and the boys that evening while hubby went to a wedding rehearsal. ¬†Saturday was weekly breakfast at my mom’s, the actual wedding (his aunt’s – congrats guys!), and a wonderful walk with a friend. ¬†Sunday – Church and Easter dinner. ¬†Monday – Another Easter dinner and movie night with my guy! ¬†It really was great. ¬†I probably ate myself into a food coma a few times, but it was wonderful. ¬†Lots of family and friends involved.

Nannie and Jude

{My grandmother holding Jude at Easter dinner. ¬†My boys make her face light up – it’s so wonderful.}

We got some wonderful pictures of the boys too.  Cael did his first egg hunt on Sunday, and it was so fun to watch him!

Cael's Egg Hunt

Cael in his digs for the Sunday service.

Cael

As I said, lots of food was involved this weekend. ¬†Both being made and consumed. ¬†My job for the Sunday dinner, was dessert and corn. ¬†Corn’s pretty easy, so I’ll spare those details. ¬†But I thought you might want to know about the dessert. ¬†I’ve been on a shortbread kick lately. ¬†And I’m almost always on a chocolate kick. ¬†Throw some caramel and cream cheese in there, and VOILA! ¬†A great (calorie-free… ahem*) dessert!

Caramel Cream Cheese Torte with Chocolate Ganache

Shortbread Base

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

Mix it all together until it’s nice and crumbly and pat into a 9-inch pie plate. ¬†Bake for about 15 minutes at 350F. ¬†The edges should be turning a lovely light brown colour. ¬†Like the perfect marshmallow over a campfire… ¬†(Can you tell I’m really wanting summer to get on with it?) ¬†Let it cool!

Light brown-edged base

Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

2/3 cup cream (either 10% or 18% work)

1 tbsp margarine

Now, you can do this on a double boiler if that’s your cup of tea. ¬†But mine tends to be the microwave. ¬†Mostly because growing up we didn’t have a double boiler… ¬†So! ¬†Heat until the margarine is melted and it’s getting smooth. ¬†Make sure not to burn the chocolate. ¬†Just do it in intervals and stir in,between. ¬†Let this cool.

Caramel Cream Cheese Layer

1 pkg cream cheese

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup caramel sauce (like Smuker’s or similar)

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, in the same bowl you made the ganache if you want… ¬†a little extra chocolate never hurt anyone. ¬†Like this:

Chocolate remains

Caramel Cream Cheese

Add sugar and sauce.  Spread over cooled shortbread layer.  Top with cooled ganache.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  2 hours is better.  I only found this out because I was finishing it only minutes before going to dinner.  Thank goodness people take awhile to eat their main meal, and for room in an already stuffed fridge!

Hope you all enjoy!  It really was divine.  Lots of compliments at our dinner, anyhow.

A piece

Here’s a Jude moment to make your day better – doesn’t he have a great smile? ¬†Infectious¬†even!?

Happy baby!

Part of the Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training, and Work it Wednesday at High Heels and Grills

Knit Headbands

Standard

I’m baaaaccckkkk. ¬†And not pregnant anymore!

Knit headbands

I’d like to have some sort of good, quirky, true excuse for not having posted since October. ¬†But the truth is… ¬†I just didn’t. ¬†I wanted to, truly. ¬†It just didn’t happen. ¬†Perhaps it had something to do with being preggers, Christmas, a newborn. ¬†Let’s say it did. ¬†(But honestly, I had lots of time I could have spent doing this instead of the myriads of other things I did.) ¬†I miss this.

So we’re going to try to get back into it. ¬†I have to rely on hubby to remind me to do this. ¬†He’s a pretty good¬†nagger¬†motivator. ¬†Really though, he’s great at getting me into these things.

First off, let’s get an update. ¬†A lot can happen in 5 months. ¬†(Wow, has it really been¬†that¬†long?!) ¬†And a lot DID happen. ¬†Lots of cooking and baking happened. ¬†Quite a bit of knitting, wrapping, eating, decorating… ¬†doing wayy too much… ¬†happened as well. ¬†Oh, and I had a baby. ¬†That was probably the biggest thing that happened.

Jude

{Say hey to my newest, cutest little guy}

January 16, Jude came into the world at a¬†whopping 9lbs 2oz. ¬†I have no idea how he was so big. ¬†It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know how big he was going to be before I went into labour… ¬†He was so worth it though. ¬†Such a good, happy, handsome little man. ¬†I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of him. ¬†(Hope you don’t mind!)

Brothers

{Cael likes his new brother…most of the time. ¬†Typical siblings…}

I thought we’d start off the new year (a few months late) with something different. ¬†Over Christmas, I got a pattern for some knit headbands, that I looooved. ¬†Anyhow, I made three. ¬†One for my friend’s birthday, one for my mom’s birthday, and one for me! ¬†You see, I was out to make 2, but after my mom’s was done, and I had tried it on… ¬†Well, let’s just say she didn’t get that one. ¬†Never try on something you’re supposed to be giving away, if you like it at all, it might just have to stay with you.

Mom's headband

{Mom ended up with this one. ¬†I’ll have to get a picture of her wearing it – she looks super cute! ¬†Most stylish Mom ever}

I got the pattern from a friend, it’s super easy, and mega versatile. ¬†You can really make it with any kind of yard, any size needles, and any thickness. ¬†But I’ll give you the standard to start with. ¬†When it comes to making the flower, just go by the instructions. ¬†It doesn’t sound right, but once you start to cast off, you’ll be amazed at what happens. ¬†It’s really quite neat.

MY headband

{This one was supposed to be for my mom.  She loves pink.  I abhor pink.  I tried it on.  I loved it.  Make sense?}

Knit Headband

Size 8 needles, thick fluffy yarn, tapestry needle

Cast on number of stitches based on thickness of yarn and width of headband you are looking for. **You must make sure to end each row on purl no matter how many stitches you choose or the ribbing will not work.**  (12 for the thinner version and 16 for the thicker version)

Row 1 till end: k2, p2 until desired length is achieved (test on head, should fit snug b/c will most likely stretch a bit)

Cast off and cut yarn leaving a few inches to sew seam.

Flower

Size 8 needles, any yarn (light weight is easier to use for these)

Cast on 10 stitches

Row 1:  Knit

Row 2 (and all even rows): Purl

Row 3: knit into the front and back of each stitch (20 st)

Row 5: knit into the front and back of each stitch (40 st)

Row 7: knit into the front and back of each stitch (80 st)

Row 8: Purl

Cast off, assemble flower, sewing with loose ends.  Attach to the seam of the headband.

Again, I kind of messed around with how many stitches to use for the different widths of headbands and sizes of flowers.  Shout out if you want to know exactly what I did.  They turned out super cute!

Sarah's headband.

{My friend Sarah got this darling. ¬†I’ve also got to get a picture of her with it on, because she looks gorgeous (WITH and without it on)}

Cael update anybody? ¬†He’s getting big! ¬†He says almost everything we say, and is starting to put words together.

Hiding

Smile!  Or not.

{Funny, as soon as I told him to smile, he gave me the evil stare}

He is 100% boy. ¬†Cars, trains, animals, guns, fighting noises, fighting, you name it. ¬†If you associate it with the male species, he loves it. ¬†Anyhow. ¬†I hope you guys enjoy the headbands. ¬†Food next time, I promise. ¬†I won’t promise that it will be soon, but hopefully it’ll be before August. ¬†No more 5 month intervals. ¬†Okay? ¬†Peace.

Mommy & baby

{Mommy and baby Jude}

Part of Made by you Mondays, and Craft-O-Maniac Monday Link Party