December 30, 2012

baby it's cold outside

Mr. A and I made ourselves some eggnog latte at home today.  It tasted just like the ones they have at Starbucks.  And it was the perfect warm drink to tuck into while it snowed outside.

Ingredients and cups.  I love the eggnog carton design, it's so festive!

Speaking of snow, here's our birdhouse after the 15cm of snow we got over the last couple of days.  Notice the mini snow hill out the front door.  Perfect for the birds.  I hope they're taking advantage of it. :)

Here's the recipe!

Eggnog Latte

2 parts Eggnog
1 part milk

1 tsp instant coffee

Combine all the ingredients in a pan over low heat.  Stir occasionally until the liquid is hot and the coffee has dissolved completely, about 5 minutes.

Pour into a mug and enjoy!

December 23, 2012

red (velvet) and white cookies

Another last minute homemade holiday gift idea:  red and white cookies!

These red velvet and white chocolate chip cookies are perfect for the holidays, plus this recipe yields some super soft and chocolatey deliciousness.

Happy Holidays!

Here's the recipe:

Red and White Cookies
adapted from Sunny Side Up
Makes about 20 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

6-10 drops of red food coloring liquid or gel 
1/2 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the food coloring until you reach the desired color. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. 

Add the flour mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the white chocolate chips.

Using a spoon, form the dough into 1.5" balls and place the dough two inches apart on the baking sheet. Gently flatten with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly crispy around the edges.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with a big glass of milk!

December 16, 2012

peppermint bark

Hello Friend,

I wish you love, peace, health and safety this holiday and in the new year.  

Peppermint bark is a great holiday candy that you can share and give out as stocking stuffers.

Here's the recipe!

Peppermint Bark

16 oz white chocolate chips
18 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp vegetable oil
6 peppermint candy canes, crushed into small pieces

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with a piece of parchment paper.

In a double boiler (a heat-proof glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water), combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 tbsp of oil.  Using a heat proof spatula, slowly stir the chocolate until it is completely melted which usually takes about 10 minutes.  

Once the chocolate has completed melted, pour it into the prepared baking sheet and using the spatula, spread the chocolate evenly onto the sheet.  Place the baking sheet into the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

While the baking sheet is in the fridge, start melting the white chocolate chips with the remaining oil.  Once the chocolate has completely melted, remove the baking sheet from the fridge and pour the white chocolate over the first layer.  Spread the second layer evenly with your spatula.  Then sprinkle with the  crushed candy cane pieces.

Place the baking sheet into the fridge overnight.  Then, break the chocolate up into uneven pieces.  

December 08, 2012

homemade change purse

A great handmade gift idea!  I mini zipper purse, or change purse, makes a great stocking stuffer or small gift.  Best of all, you can make it all from recycled fabrics.

Here's what I used:
-an 8" zipper (I got mine from an old skirt, but you can also just buy them at the dollar store)
-inside lining and decorative embellishment from another old floral skirt
-an old colourful ribbon
-outside fabric from excess drapery fabric
-one button from my button jar (I keep all the buttons I get with clothes and such in a big jar for later use)

I got the idea from See Kate Sew, as well as the instructions.

The only part that confused me was the layering. This part is key though, so just take your time to put the fabric pieces in the right order and keep in mind that you're sewing the bag inside out.

Start out layering your fabrics pieces in the right order

 Ironing the fabric flat after you've sewed the zipper onto each side

And it can hold much more than change!

December 02, 2012

go bananas!

Nothing says homemade like banana bread.

This is my favourite banana bread recipe because it uses whole grain flour and brown sugar & honey to sweeten it up.  Today, I also decided to jazz it up with a bit of super-easy-to-make chocolate ganache icing.

Whole Grain Banana Loaf

1 3/4 cup whole grain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed over-ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup hot water

Optional: chocolate ganache icing
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate
1 tbsp milk

1. Preheat the over to 325 degrees
2. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan
3. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt in a bowl.  Whisk and set aside.
4. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter, honey and sugar for 2 minutes.   Add the eggs and lightly beat until combined (there will still be chunks of butter mixture, and that's ok).  Mix in the bananas and vanilla, do not overmix.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture in thirds.
5. Dilute the baking soda in 1/4 cup of hot (not boiling) water, then beat into the batter.
6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.
7. Remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool.

For the chocolate icing:
Place the chocolate (cut into pieces) and the milk in a bowl.  Microwave it on medium-high for about 1:30 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir the chocolate and the milk together until you get a smooth, thick consistency.  Then spread the chocolate over your cake, and voila! you're done!