I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!



Monday, December 28, 2015

Çhristmas Jam

Tastes like Christmas in a jar!

2 oranges, zested 
6 cups fresh cranberries
20 oz/600 g frozen strawberries, thawed 1 hour
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 (3 oz) pkgs liquid fruit pectin

Zest both oranges. You should have about 4 tsps. Set aside.
Then peel the oranges and quarter.
In a food processor pulse the cranberries and oranges coarsely.
Add the strawberries.
You may have to work in batches. Add zest, allspice and cinnamon and mix everything together in a large pot. Add sugar and water. Heat on medium a few minutes, check to see that the cranberries have softened, then bring up to a rolling boil. Stir in the pectin, bring back to  boil for 1 more minute.
Remove from heat and skim off the foam.
I looked up why the foam should be removed. It makes air pockets in the jam that you don't want as it could cause bacteria to grow. But don't throw the foamy jam out, just put it in a jar, keep it in the fridge and use first.
Sterilize jars. I pour boiling water in the jars. The lids get the same treatment.

Fill and process in a hot water bath 10 minutes.

Recipe from
http://www.food.com/recipe/christmas-jam

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Crack aka Heaven, Brickle or Toffee

Whatever you call it, it's addictive!


Here is your basic Heaven Recipe:


This time I used Ritz crackers instead of graham crackers. You could also try saltines. I lined the cookie sheet with parchment instead of foil. Both work equally well. Bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil and pour it over the crackers.
After baking for 5 minutes, remove from oven, sprinkle chocolate chips over top and tent with foil. After another 5 minutes spread the melted chocolate chips over the toffee with a spatula.
Regular old Heaven is done at this point, but for special Christmas Crack add whatever you like to top it off like nuts, dried cranberries, goldfish crackers, Christmas sprinkles. The possiblities are endless...
Pop the pan in the freezer 5-10 minutes then break into pieces.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cherry Cake Squares

We usually have cherry pound cake at Christmas, but thought I'd try these squares this year. Good idea!
This recipe is from:
http://www.rockrecipes.com/cherry-cake-squares
And if you'd like to try my Cherry Pound Cake here is the link to the recipe:

Cherry Cake Squares
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup glaced cherries, quartered

Frosting
  • 2 cups icing sugar 
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 - 2 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and beat well.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, folding to combine well.
  5. Fold in the chopped cherries.
  6. Spread in a parchment lined 9 inch square baking pan and bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 F.
  7. A cake tester inserted in the center should come out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Frost with vanilla frosting.
  10. For the frosting beat together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth. Add the milk only a little at a time until the proper consistency is achieved.
  11. Spread over the cooled cake and cut into squares

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Butterkin Zucchini Soup

Found this in the store the other day....
a Butterkin squash, a combination of pumpkin and butternut squash. And here it is after having been baked whole in a 350F oven for about 1 hour.
So let's make soup! 

(serves 6)

1  1/2 cups walnuts
2 cups onions, chopped
2  1/2 tbsps olive oil
2  1/2 tsps thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsps garlic, minced
3 medium green zucchini (I left the peel on one)
3 lb baked butterkin (or pumpkin or butternut squash)
2 litres vegetable broth
1 lemon (for zest)
2 tsps honey
salt and pepper to taste

Toast walnuts in a 400 F oven for 3-5 minutes, set aside.

Heat oil in a large soup pot and cook the onions until translucent. Add bay leaves, thyme, garlic and ginger and cook on low 2 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini, walnuts and butternut squash flesh. 
Here's a little hint. When scooping out the seeds snip the stringy bits to make the job a little easier.
Pour in the broth, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves then work in batches to blend the soup using a food processor or immersion blender.

Add 2 tsps honey, zest of lemon, salt and pepper.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of thyme and a little lemon zest.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Festive Frozen Tiramisu

Looking for a dessert that you can make ahead of time? This is it...put it all together and pop it in the freezer.  Just remember to take it out 20-30 minutes before serving.

2 pkgs lady finger cookies
a tin of hazelnut-filled wafer sticks (like Pirouette)

Crust:
1  1/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter

First layer:
3 cups cappuccino frozen yogurt

Second layer:
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
Ladyfingers

Third layer:
8 oz mascarpone
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla (or Galliano or Tia Maria liqueur)

Topping:
Cool Whip (in the fridge)
Chocolate snowflakes 
     1 oz Baker's chocolate squares
     less than 1/8 tsp shortening

Prepare 1 9-inch springform pan, or both a 5 and 6-inch pan by lining with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and mix with the chocolate crumbs. Press into the pan to form the crust. Place in the freezer 5 minutes.

Take the cappuchino frozen yogurt out of the freezer and measure out 3 cups. Or 2 cups and 1 cup if using the two smaller pans like I did here. Stir a few minutes just until it is spreadable, but you don't want it to melt. Put a few dollops of the froyo in the pan and start placing the ladyfingers and wafer sticks around the side using the froyo to hold it in place.

You can use either ladyfingers or wafer sticks but I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted so I used both. Once you have the sides done, fill in the middle and level off. Pop it back in the freezer to set.

Take some ladyfingers and dip them into the strong brewed coffee. Place them in a single layer on top of the froyo.

Drizzle some Galliano over them too. For extra coffee flavour, sprinkle some instant coffee granules too.

For the third layer beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla (or Galliano) and icing sugar and continue to beat just until stiff peaks form. Fold in the mascarpone. Add this next layer and freeze 10 minutes.

Finally dollop the Cool Whip topping over the mascarpone layer and decorate with chocolate snowflakes. Have the chocolate decorations prepared to go onto the cool whip before freezing it. Return to the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

Let stand on counter 20-30 minutes before serving.


How to make chocolate snowflakes:
Melt 1 oz Baker's chocolate in microwave 10 seconds at a time until almost melted. Stir in the shortening and mix until there are no more lumps in the chocolate. Don't overheat it.

Print small snowflake images or other shapes you like, lay a sheet of parchment on top and tape the corners to keep sheets in place. Do this on a tray or cookie sheet so you can easily move them away to set. I only remembered this after a couple were done : (
Scoop up the melted chocolate into a small ziplock bag, snip a small corner off and squeeze chocolate over your image. Leave to set well at room temperature then decorate your lovely dessert.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

If you are a first time swirl cookie maker this one is a good recipe to try. The dough handles very well and the cinnamon swirl spreads easily onto the dough. The glaze is the sweetness it needs to turn this cookie up a notch. You'll think you are eating a cinnamon roll.

Cookie dough:
1 cup butter at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1  1/2 tsps grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2  1/4 cups flour

Cinnamon swirl:
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1  1/2 tsp corn syrup
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Glaze:
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tbsps corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp water

Cinnamon sugar sprinkle (optional)

In a large mixer bowl combine butter, sugar, icing sugar, salt and orange zest and vanilla. Add the egg and beat until fluffy.  Slowly add the flour in increments just until blended.

Roll the dough out on a sheet of parchment to measure 12 X12".
Mix the cinnamon swirl ingredients together and spread over the dough leaving 1/4-1/2" dough on each side.

With the help of the parchment start to lift and roll the dough into a log. Squeeze the edge to seal.

Cover in plastic wrap, roll to even it out making a nice round log and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

When ready cut cookies 1/4" thick with a sharp knife and
place on a parchment lined cookie sheet 1 1/2" apart
Bake at 375F for 12-14 minutes.

Once the cookies are cooled mix the glaze ingredients and spread over tops of cookies.

If you want the glaze thinner so the swirl shows through a bit more just add a little more water. Sprinkle with sugar cinnamon.  I always keep some on hand to use on toast. Just mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tbsp cinnamon and keep it in a shaker. I use the Domino sugar cinnamon bear we bought when the girls were little.
Makes 35 cookies

I found this recipe here:
http://wannacomewith.com/2014/02/cinnamon-bun-cookies

And here's the link to another swirl cookie you might like for Christmas:
http://hotandcoldrunningmom.blogspot.ca/2013/12/colorful-swirl-cookies.html













And one for Valentine's Day:
http://hotandcoldrunningmom.blogspot.ca/2016/02/cinnamon-heart-cookies.html

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Butter Pecan and Walnut Fudge

A creamy and nutty fudge that's easy to make and sets well.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Extra nuts to garnish

Line a 9 X 9" baking pan with parchment and set aside.

Mix butter, sugars, cream and salt together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat then set your timer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Towards the end of the 5 minutes bring the heat up to medium high and put your thermometer in. Yes, use a thermometer. The thermometer is your friend. The fudge should reach a temperature of 116 C/ 240 F

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add the icing sugar. It'll be lumpy at first, but keep beating until smooth. I used a whisk at this point.

Fold in the nuts and pour into your prepared pan. 
Gently press the nuts on top to garnish.

Allow to cool completely at room temperature before lifting the parchment lined fudge out of the pan and cutting it into squares. Store in the fridge.


Go on.....take a bite!



I got this recipe from

aheartfulloflove.com/butterpecanfudge

Garland on Brick

Have you had trouble keeping your garlands in place?

We use a couple of nails at the top of the door frame, but don't like to use them down the sides.

Two words that will help.......Glue Gun!

Just squirt a blob on the brick and press your garland into it. Hold until the glue sets. When you want to take the garland down just pop it off the glue and peel the glue blob off the brick. 

And this idea works both indoors and out.

Wish we'd known this years ago