Jacques Torres’ Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

apr 21 - New awesome cc cookies

Jacques Torres’ Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies

1 pound unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.
– In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.
– Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
– Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.
– Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
– Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.
– Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Butterscotch Icing

I found this great recipe for a classic Layered chocolate cake here at Best Bites. I wanted to make it. But I wanted to try something different for the middle and the inside.

So instead I caramelized some bananas (you can see how to do that here from Emeril). I put the caramelized bananas in between the cake layers and then I made a butterscotch icing to go on top.

Chocolate cake with Butterscotch Icing

Butterscotch Icing
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups icing sugar (approx)
Combine everything except the icing sugar into a thick bottom pan. Bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and continue to boil until it comes to the soft ball stage. Take off heat and cool until just warm to the touch. Using a hand mixer, beat until right consistency, adding just enough icing sugar to get to right texture! Spread over your cake and enjoy!

Smore’s Cake with a Spring Banner

Well today I’ve got a little project for you that includes both the kitchen and the craft room!

My lovely friend Rebecca asked me (along with a group of ladies) to try out some cute spring printable she is featuring on her blog today. And a few days after that I had a dream about a cake that tasted like smores. So I figured out the layers in a smore and transferred them into a cake idea. I found various parts of recipes to add together to “make” my own. And then I combined both ideas and came up with this.
April 17th-  Smore's Cake

Graham Cracker Cake
(this is a REALLY old recipe I found from 1909)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup ground pecans
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted softened butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 egg yolks, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk, lukewarm

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line with parchment two 9 inch round pans.

Combine the crumbs, 1/2 cup pecans, flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the light brown sugar until fluffy. Slowly beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Alternately add the milk and and the crumb mixture while beating on low.

Beat the egg whites in a bowl until foamy. Add the sugar slowly, and beat to soft peaks. Fold into the crumb batter and pour into pans.

Bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Let cakes cool completely. The cakes are really fragile so work really careful with them!

While the cakes are cooling, make your chocolate creme patisserie:

Smore's Cake Close up
Chocolate Creme Patisserie
(recipe from Nigella Lawson’s gooey chocolate stack)
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cup whole milk
4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate melted
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together, then add the cocoa and flour, whisking well. Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan together (I did this in the microwave instead), the whisking, pour this into the eggs and sugar before pouring all back into the saucepan on the heat (again in the microwave stopping each 2 minutes to stir it) and stirring constantly, bring it to a boil. When the mixture has thickened, take off the heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.

Let it cool now, but avoid putting it in the fridge as it will become too solid. You can stop a skim from forming on top but sifting a layer of confectioners sugar on top.
Smores Cake 2

Marshmallow Frosting
(from Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes via Martha Stewart)
8 large egg whites
2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla

Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, and beat starting slowly, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined.

To assemble the cake, place bottom layer of cake on cake platter. Add half of the chocolate creme patisserie. Add second layer of cake. Add second half of the chocolate creme patisserie. Using a large icing tip and bag, add the marshmallow frosting, starting at the edges and going into the middle. To Brown edges, use a kitchen torch if you are fancy enough to own one (I am not – so I used a BBQ lighter for a few minutes until I gave up- HA!)
Smore's Cake - the banners

For the banner, Cut out the little flags from Rebecca great download. Using two bamboo BBQ sticks and kitchen twine, string the small banners across.
Spring banner

We enjoyed our cake for a fun sunday dinner with friends Carlye and hubby and son and the Barnett’s. It was a great dinner that could be spring-ish if mother nature would just listen up and STOP SNOWING already! πŸ™‚

Smores Cake 2

You can also find me over here for an interview!

Easy Peasy Rice Pudding

It doesn’t get much easier than this!
Easiest Rice Pudding EVER
5 cups milk
1/2 cup white rice
Put in heavy pot on medium-low (just to come to an easy boil).
After 30 – 40 minutes add in
some raisins
1/8 tsp cardamon
1/8 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Cook just until it all mixes in.
It will be really runny when you pull it off but as it cools it will thicken up.
Suuuuuuper easy and so tasty!

Leek and Camembert Tart

Made this last week for our dinner club – French themed. IT was super good and I thought I’d share the recipe!
Leek and Camembert Tart
from Epicurious (one of my FAVORITE places for really nice recipes!)

1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
4 leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup whipping cream
4 ounces Camembert cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400Β°F. Roll out each pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to 12-inch square. Stack squares and roll to 15-inch square. Using 14-inch pizza pan as guide, cut stacked dough into 14-inch round. Crimp edge of dough to form 1/4-inch rim. Transfer to pizza pan or baking sheet. Freeze 10 minutes.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and 1/4 cup water; cook until leeks are tender, about 15 minutes. Season leeks with salt; set aside to cool. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; add Camembert and stir until melted. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Whisk in egg, cayenne, and nutmeg. Set custard aside.
Sprinkle Parmesan over crust. Spread leeks over. Drizzle custard over. Bake until bottom is golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spinach Dip

This is one of my new favorite recipes. It comes from my good friend (and a GREAT cook) Cherisse.

Spinach Dip
2 8 oz packages Cream Cheese softened
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup real grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated ramano cheese
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 can artichoke hearts drained and chopped
2 packages frozen spinach thawed, drained and chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix cream cheese, mayo, cheese (not mozzarella) and spices with a hand mixer till smooth. Chop artichokes really well. Add in along with spinach. Put mixture in greased 8×13 baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Then add the mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 5 more minutes. Enjoy with your favorite crackers or bread.

And since spinach dip just did NOT look good in pictures… here are my current favorite crackers to eat it with…. Breton mini cracked pepper and olive oil.

cracker stack

Oriental Lettuce Wraps

Often foods that I love come from people that I love. This one is no exception. My good friend Sarah and I lived next to each other in Calgary when Regan was in Medical School. It was Β time of such fun in our lives. We hung out with our littles ones a lot and got to become really good friends. One of the things we love to do (still) when we get together is to have food. Both of us love good food and so we are often sharing it with each other. This was a meal I had once at her house and it has become one of my favorite suppers. So easy and so good. Most of my kids love them too. I love the tanginess of the apple cider vinegar with the filling.
Oriental Lettuce Wraps | Just RhondaIt’s the perfect recipe for leftovers. And it is quick too. And easy summer or spring time dinner that you can throw together. Win- Win.

Oriental Lettuce Wraps


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 green pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 Tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 1 head crisp, cold iceberg lettuce
  • Spicy Vinegar Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown or white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon minced green onion tops


    Spicy Vinegar Dipping Sauce
  1. 1. Combine all the ingredients and set aside.
  2. Lettuce Wraps
  3. Heat oil in the large skillet. Add onion, pepper and garlic, saute until barely tender. Add chicken, rice, soy sauce, broth, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until heated through about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in peanuts. Transfer to serving bowl. Wash lettuce and pull off leaves, keeping them as intact as possible. Put leaves in another bowl.
  5. To serve, have each person spoon some of the hot rice mixture onto a lettuce leaf and wrap like a taco. Wrapped leaves may be dipped in sauce.

Oriental Lettuce Wraps | Just RhondaTry it!!!

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Thai One On

from Eat Shrink and Be Merry
Thai One On
2 tsp butter or olive oil
1 cup each chopped onions and chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup celery
2 tsp minced garlic
4 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
1 Tbsp grated gingerroot
3/4 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander and curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (14 oz) light coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp each chopped fresh cilantro and chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp light peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 lb cooked medium shrimp, tails removed (thaw first if using frozen)

Heat butter in a large non stick soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, red pepper, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Stir in sweet potatoes, gingerroot, cumin, coriander, curry powder and cinnamon. Cook and stir for 30 seconds more. Add broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, just until sweet potatoes are tender.
Transfer half to blender and puree until smooth. Return to pot with remaining soup. (instead I just put my braun mixer thing right in the pot and pureed it right in the pot.) Stir in cilantro, basil, peanut butter, brown sugar and lime juice. Mix well. Add shrimp and heat for about 2 more minutes, just until the shrimp is hot.

Super easy, super tasty and even low fat πŸ™‚

Caramel Mousse Napoleon with Caramel Sauce and Berries

We belong to a dinner club with some friends. It is really fun to try different foods and get together and laugh a lot πŸ™‚ We meet each month and have a theme – like Martha Stewart or French or Moroccan or 30 mile diet, etc. Well New Years’ Eve we had a party.

Abby (the hostess) made Cornish Hens, something I’ve always wanted to make. It was soo good and so was the rice dish she served with it!!!
Dinner Club Cornish Hens

I had dessert, so I made this.
Caramel Mousse Napoleon with Caramel Sauce and Berries
Caramel Mousse Napoleon with Caramel Sauce and Berries
from Epicurious
Pastry Layers
1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 teaspoons sugar

Caramel sauce and mousse
3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 3/4 cups whipping cream, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream

Assembly and final decoration
Powdered sugar
Assorted fresh berries

Make pastry layers:
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400Β°F. Roll out 1 pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to 15×12-inch rectangle. Using small sharp knife and long ruler, trim sheet to 13×10-inch rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise, forming two 13×5-inch rectangles. Pierce rectangles all over with fork; transfer to 1 ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet, transferring to another ungreased baking sheet. Brush rectangles with melted butter; sprinkle each with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.
Bake pastries 8 minutes. Reverse position of baking sheets and bake until pastries are golden, about 8 minutes longer. Cool pastries on sheets.
Make caramel sauce and mousse:
Pour 3 tablespoons water into ramekin or custard cup. Sprinkle with gelatin; let soften while preparing caramel sauce.
Combine sugar, corn syrup and 3/4 cup water in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, frequently brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep golden brown, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1 3/4 cups cream and butter (caramel will bubble up vigorously). Return to low heat; stir until any bits of caramel dissolve.
Pour 1 1/2 cups caramel sauce into glass measuring cup; set aside pan of caramel sauce. Place ramekin with gelatin mixture in small skillet of simmering water. Stir until gelatin dissolves and mixture is clear, about 1 minute. Mix gelatin into measured 1 1/2 cups hot caramel; cool just to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Beat chilled whipping cream in large bowl to medium-firm peaks (do not overbeat). Gradually pour cooled caramel-gelatin mixture over cream, folding constantly but gently. Chill mousse 15 minutes.

Assembly and final decoration:
Arrange 3 pastry rectangles on large clean baking sheet; drizzle each with 2 tablespoons caramel from pan. Spread 1 cup mousse evenly over each rectangle. Chill until mousse begins to set, about 1 hour. Reserve plain pastry rectangle.
Place 1 pastry layer with mousse on small baking sheet or board. Top with second layer, third layer, then plain pastry, aligning layers. Press assembled pastry lightly so that layers will adhere. Cover; chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Cover and chill remaining caramel sauce in pan.
Using serrated knife, cut pastry crosswise into 6 pieces. Dust napoleons with powdered sugar. Transfer to plates. Rewarm sauce over low heat just until pourable; drizzle sauce onto each plate. Garnish with berries.

Soo good, and not hard! Give it a try!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Recipe

from Martha of course!
Another favorite of mine!

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (for rolling)
Making the Crinkle Cookie Dough

In a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt until well blended.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. If necessary, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all the ingredients are well blended.
Add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.
With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and milk until just combined.
Divide the dough into quarters, wrapping each with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
Baking the Crinkle Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Remove portions of cookie dough from the refrigerator one at a time.
Divide the portion of dough into 16 1-inch balls.
Place each of the sugars in a shallow dish.
Roll each ball in granulated sugar and then in confectioners’ sugar to coat completely.
Place the cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
Bake, one cookie sheet at a time, until the cookies flatten and the tops form cracks, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container, between layers of parchment or wax paper for up to 1 week.
This recipe yields about 5 dozen Chocolate Crinkle (Crackle) Cookies

AND since I didn’t take a picture of any of these this year…. here is a little treat I made for Lucy’s K Class party last week.
White Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen.
White Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen
Saw the idea on the internet somewhere.
Three marshmallows on a stick. Dipped in white chocolate, with some eyes and a nose. I think pretzels would be cute for arms but I didn’t have any!

Lemonade Cookies

My SIL Jen asked for some of my favorite cookie recipes for Christmas. Soooo here’s one to start.

Lemonade Cookies

Lemonade Cookies (new to me this year but I loved them!)
from Maire Barfuss
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
Pinch of salt
1/2 can thawed frozen lemon concentrate
3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda

Mix margarine, sugar and eggs. Add lemonade, flour and soda. Drop onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. (original recipe said 400 but it seemed to high of a heat for me, so I changed it). As soon as you pull them out of the oven you brush them with more lemon concentrate and sprinkle with sugar.

MSBH Challenge Update

Soooo i’ve realized that my list is not up to date and I can’t figure out which ones I am missing from my list. Cause I don’t have that many left but my numbers don’t show it. One day soon here I will figure it out. But not right now, cause I am not feeling it!

153. Pithivers
154. Baguettes
155. Fouagsse
156. Focaccia
157. Dried-Fruit Focaccia
158. Roasted- Tomato Bread
159. Buttermilk Biscuits
160. Chocolate Scones
161. Popovers
162. Brown sugar Buttercream
I’m done 171. Cause I counted the ones I have left and I thought I had less but it appears I have 37 left. But quite a few of them are recipes that you use together. So you make one and then three more go with it (ie icing fillings or curds, etc). So all in all. This weekend, I’m gonna make a bunch for my girl’s night I am having on Friday night!

And since a picture always makes a post better… here are the pecan pie and Cherry-Cheese Strudel from Thanksgiving.
Pecan Pie & a Cherry Cheese Strudel
aaaaaaaand a quick one of Steff and Luke – my current editing project!
Three of them (with #2 on the way)

MSBH Update

It’s been a while and I haven’t updated this. I am soooo close to being done! And then Regan has said I need to go on a cooking light challenge. So I probably will be doing that or some variation on it πŸ™‚
138. Cherry Cheese Strudel
139. Strudel Dough
140. Pecan Pie
141. Canneles
142. Lemon Madeleines
143. Pavlovas with Mixed Berries
144. Wheatmeal Shortbread Wedges
145. Prune Pinwheels
146. Prune Filling
147. Cheese Danish
148. Cheese Filling
149. Apricot Bow ties
150. Chocolate Pistachio Danish
151. Sticky Buns
152. Sugar Buns

Do you think I should write Martha and tell her I did this? Or is that just weird?

And since a post just isn’t the same without a picture… some of my favorite pictures lately
Grandpa came
Hold close
The Men
The Junk Yard

Butterscotch Cupcakes

And make these cupcakes.
Lovely cupcake
They may just look like plain ol’ white cupcakes.
But hiding inside is a lovely little surprise.
Hiding inside the cupcakes....
Butterscotch Cupcakes
from Food Network here
* 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 pinch salt
* 3/4 cup unsalted butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons Scotch (or other whisky)
* 1/4 cup 35% cream, hot
* 2 tablespoons salted butter
(I used this recipe for butterscotch here instead since i don’t use scotch)
Vanilla buttercream icing
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter
* 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 tablespoons 35% cream, hot

1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 180Β°C (350Β°F). Place paper or silicone liners in 9 or 12 muffin cups.
2. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla using an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is smooth. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly. Unmould and finish cooling on a rack.

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Cook until the mixture turns golden-brown. Off the heat, add the Scotch, the cream and butter. Continue stirring until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

Vanilla buttercream icing
1. In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream in a thin stream and continue beating until smooth. Set aside.

1. Using a apple corer or a melon baller, cut a pocket from the centre of each cupcake, removing about 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of cake without cutting through. Fill the pocket with 15 ml (1 tablespoon) butterscotch. Ice the cupcakes with the buttercream icing.

I made them for this little girl….
5 Years Old
Who’s just so happy to be 5.
Happy she's 5
And I’m glad to make them if that’s what she wants.
Lucy and me

And on a side note, when I told Alden I was going out to take pictures of Lucy for her birthday last night he said when do I get MY pictures? And I responded, when it’s your birthday, remember how I did that for Eli on his birthday and I did that on your last birthday, etc? His response, “yeah but what about right NOW?” And I would have except the light was fading fast and we ran out of light. So coming up for his birthday week – pictures of him, his party, lots of ALDEN. πŸ™‚

And seriously, make these cupcakes. They are my favorite thing I’ve made in a while. And I bake a lot. I MAY have had 3 and half today. πŸ™‚

In the kitchen: Apple Crisp

A few weeks ago I was asked to help out with a Relief Society Meeting all about Food Storage and Preparation. I made the dessert for hte evening and it needed to come from food storage.

Well the thing is, we don’t have one. As soon as we settle (as in next year when we move out to Raymond – which we are doing after Regan is done residency) it is one of the first things I will be focusing on. But for this event I got some dried apples from two friends out of their food storages. To make these desserts.

So you take a pot of apple slices.
Food Storage Apple Crisp starts with these

Cover them with water. Add two vanilla beans (sliced and scrape the seeds into it too) and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Water & Vanilla Beans

Add sugar and boil it. On a slow boil for a while.
Needs a little longer

This is how the filling is supposed to look when it’s ready. A yummy saucy pie filling or apple crisp filling.
Filling Ready to go

So then you put it in the pans and add your topping. I made mine out of oatmeal, flour, sugar, salt and butter cut it.
Apple Crisp
Then bake it just like normal apple crisp.

We served it with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. mmmmmm
Does that explain how to make it for ya?
Do you have any sort of food storage for an emergency?

Today my oven is getting fixed (FINALLY) and I feel the need to bake multiple TREATS. πŸ™‚

Cookbook Review: Small Batch Preserving

Small Batch Preserving
by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard

This is one great book! I have really enjoyed this book on canning!! It covers how to’s. It covers jams, jelly’s, conserves, relishes and pickles. Lots of recipes that are unusual and totally good!
I’ve made Pear Raspberry Jam, Peach Pear Jam with Lime and Sweet and Chunky Apple Butter.
I bought the book at chapters for $19.95. If you like canning at all, go and get it!

MSBH Challenge Update

It’s been a while since I updated my list.
I made this not long ago which I LOVED!
Nectarine Tart
125: Classic Crumb Cake
126. Crumb Topping
127. Peach, Apricot and Cherry Pie
128. Apple Crumb pie
129. Slab Pie
130. Almond Crumb Crust
131. Fourth of July Blueberry Pie
132. Gooseberry pie
134. Tender Pie Dough
135. Struesel
136. Nectarine Tart
137. Tart Dough

I am planning a baby shower and I am making treats to go to that… so I will hopefully be able to knock off about 4-5 more recipes for that today. πŸ™‚

Sept 2 - indoor play
This child is adjusting to having the other kids in school. He is lonely. And doesn’t know what to do with himself. I set up the tent in the living room and he played for a bit. He spends a lot of time whining and crying that the other kids aren’t home. Hopefully we adjust, so that we both can be happy and I can still get some things done during the day!

BBQ Smores

BBQ Smores
We tried BBQing some smores for an FHE treat. It worked well. The marshmallows soft but not brown. But good.
Now it's time to taste it
Alden and Lucy and I enjoyed them. (Reg sometimes skips the treats we have around here. Me not so much.) πŸ™‚
Aug 9- mmmm Smores
Surely EVERY summer must include Smores (on more than one occasion.)

So seems blog land has been pretty slow on a lot of blogs. Wondering who’s still checking often and what you’ve all been doing lately. (and eating)

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup

This is the time of year for fresh fruit.

Actually that’s one of my favorite parts about this time of year. The majority of our diets is fruit and veggies. So it’s a whole lot cheaper in the summer. And they taste better too!!

Blueberries are one of my kids favorites. And I got a flat from BC of them. Soooo I was in Blueberry food central. So I’ve got a yummy recipe to share.

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a bowl. Whisk egg yolks with buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla in a large glass measuring cup. Whisk buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture to make a thick batter – take care not to over mix or the pancakes will be dense. In another bowl ship the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Use a rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the batter.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and cook your pancakes. Keep the cooked ones warm until all are ready. Serve with Blueberry Maple Syrup.
August 6 - Warm
Blueberry Maple Syrup
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp lemon juice

Toss blueberries with maple syrup in a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils and the blueberries just start to pop, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick, and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Serve warm.

Butterscotch Blondies with Chocolate Ganache

A post about the kids? need to edit some pictures…..
A post about crafting? haven’t done much of that lately…. been on an editing streak lately…..
A post about photography? lots of new sessions going up over at rhondasteed.com
A post about scrapbooking? haven’t scanned any pages lately…..

So instead…. FOOD πŸ™‚

Butterscotch Blondies with Chocolate Ganache

9 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line a buttered 8 inch square with foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (not overhang) and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Put butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer, cream on medium speed til pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed, scraping down sides of the bowl, until well mixed. Mix in butterscotch chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 42 to 45 minutes.

Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes,. Lift out and let cool completely.

While cooling, make chocolate ganache.

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Add cream over top and cook in microwave until cream gets close to boiling and whisk until smooth.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over blondies. Start at the center and work outward. Enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate Mousse Cake

I’ve seen this a few places online and wanted to give it a try and then made it twice in two weeks. It’s that yummy. The best thing about it is that it’s not too heavy. Not as heavy as you’d think being so chocolate and all.

Essentially you just make two round cakes. You can make them from scratch or you can use a mix. Did it once each way. Both taste great.

Bake them then let them cool (this picture I was in a hurry to get the cake done and the stuff was dripping off it πŸ™‚ )

Level off the bottom cake – there are fancy tools to do that but I’ve never had one and always just used a knife. Which totally works.

Then add a layer of chocolate mousse. Like this one or this one or this one. Any chocolate mousse recipe will work.

So you layer that on top of your bottom cake. Then add skor bits. Top with your other round cake. And cover that with a chocolate ganache. Which you can find here. Then add more skor bits. And enjoy.

It’s tasty!

Derek Potatoes

So my sister in law Jen called last week and told me she was sick of cooking. She wanted to know what my regulars were. You know, the regular fall back meals that you eat as a family. So over the next week or two I’ll share some here and there. After all Jen said she’d love me more if I did it. So here’s me… looking for love. πŸ™‚

I’d like to introduce you to Derek potatoes. Named after my brother in law Derek (well named hey?) and I have no idea what he calls them…

Slice up a whole bunch of potatoes (as in how many you want to eat) and put them into a bowl. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. And add cubed margarine. Mix it all up nice like.

Easy BBQ Potatoes | Just RhondaThen dump it into a piece of tin foil. Like make a little pocket for it.

And plop in on the BBQ. Let it cook for like 25 minutes or so. Til you can pierce a potato easily with a knife.

Add some grilled chicken

And a veggie and there is an easy meal. My kids call the Derek potatoes “circle fries.” And they happily eat them. So I like to make them fairly often.And they can go with many kind of meat. Easy peasy meal. So you can all thank Derek.

MSBH Challenge Update

Well I must admit I am feeling a bit like stopping my challenge.
Here’s an updated list of the last few I’ve made….
116: French Almond Macaroons
117: Swiss Meringue Buttercream
118: Dobos Torte
119: Rubarb Tart
120: Cream Cheese Tart Dough
121: Summer Fruit Tart
122: Pullman Bread
123: Fruit Turnovers
124: Fruit Fillings
And I still have a few left to do. 208-124 = 84. That’s still a few. And well I’ve made other things when I could have been making stuff out of here. Sounds like a need a serious bake-a-thon with just things from my MBSH.
But well I need a little encouragement to get it done. A little you can do it and stuff like that…… do any of you even care about this challenge???

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

A few wanted the recipe so here it is…

Old Fashioned Potato Salad
from the Barefoot Contessa at home (one of my very favorite cookbooks!)
3 lbs small red potatoes
1 cup good mayo
1/4 cup buttermilk or milk
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (fresh is best – but can use dried stuff)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup medium diced celery
1/2 cup small diced red onion

Place potatoes and 2 Tbsp salt in a large pot of water. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean dry towel. Leave potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but firm.
Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, buttermilk, mustard’s, dill, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Set aside.
When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters or halves. Place cut potatoes in a large bowl and pour enough dressing over them to moisten. As the salad sits you may need to add more dressing. Add the celery, red onions and 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Toss well, cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend well.

Just try cooking the potatoes like she says. It makes them better. instead of those falling apart ones you get in most potato salads. I really like them this way. And I love this potato salad.

The fruit salad was as natural as the day it grew. (sans pesticides πŸ™‚ ) I like to make one with lemon pie filling cooked and cooled and mixed with cool whip – but I was feeling just the freshness of the fruit for dinner so that was what we had. And my kids are more likely to eat it with nothing on it.


Today we went to a playdate at a friends house. Lucy was still quite worried about people seeing her eye, so she wore her sunglasses. I over heard this conversation:
M: “so those are nice glasses”
L: “So one night I went to bed and woke up and then walla (voila) I had a huge eye.”
M: “Do you like that dress”
L: Looks at her like hello I just told a serious story here. But gets no response so just puts them back on and moves onto something else.

Last week:
Alden: “Mom did you know there are some people who are fat and some who are tall and some who are short and some who are skinny.”
Me: “Yep. God made people in all shapes and sizes”
Alden: “Well if you are short you are fat and if you are tall then you are skinny”
Lucy: “Well mom’s tall and fat”
Me: “HEY that’s not nice to say. In fact that kind of hurts my feelings”
Lucy: “why?”

And Eli calls me “BUM” not “mum” but “Bum”. he walks around the house yelling “BUM, are you? BUM are you?”

I’ve recommitted myself to exercise as of late thanks to the kids. Thanks guys… I guess.

And the bean wreath that I was talking about is here at Dana Made it.

And any of you are welcome to come and eat any time πŸ™‚

Summer Meals

Despite the lame weather we’ve been experiencing, the grocery stores are showing the signs of summer. Fresh blueberries and melons, cheaper red peppers and lettuce. It’s summer time eating. My favorite time of the year for food! (although I do love the entire season including harvest at the end!)

One of my favorite things to make that is easy this time of year are Shish Kabobs. I love that you can take any type of meat (or skip the meat), add all types of veggies and some fruits and grill away. To take them to the next level you add a little glaze or a marinade! mmmmm.

Last night we had Shrimp Kabobs with Apricot Mustard Glaze. I used red and yellow peppers, sweet onions, mushrooms and the shrimp. The glaze is a simple combination of Apricot Jam and Dijon mustard that you brush onto the Kabobs 2 minutes before they are done cooking.

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can try one of these other options:
Soy Ginger: 1/4 cup orange marmalade, 1 1/2 Tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger.
Chipotle-Lime: 1/4 cup orange marmalade, 1 1/2 tsp liquid from chipolte chilies in adobo and 1 Tsp fresh lime juice.
And if you don’t like shrimp you could try any of those on beef or pork or chicken!

Add my favorite potato salad (no eggs please) An d I just noticed how messy that bowl looks! It’s at the end of supper!

And a sweet fruit salad

And you’ve got an easy summer meal. That is super tasty!

And on another note, check out Lucy’s crazy eye. It’s not a bug bite. It’s not an allergic reaction. It’s apparently some sort of eye infection. That is FINALLY starting to go down. This is the most open it has been for a couple days! Poor kid!

Here it is the day she woke up and it was all crazy

Navajo Tacos (aka Indian Tacos)

The first time I made Navajo tacos (or as you call them when you grow up in Cardston area – Indian Tacos) Regan took one bite and said to me “why have you kept this from me for so long?” And then he went on to devour 3 more of them.

By then we’d been married for four years and had lived in Lethbridge and then moved out to Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia (8 months pregnant no less) and then moved into our own house in Eastern Passage, NS.

I can’t remember why I thought of making them. But some day while was making a sweet dough, probably for buns or donuts or cinnamon buns (since I use the same dough for all of those that you can find here) I made Navajo tacos for dinner. And apparently Regan was smitten.

Well since then I’ve tried to make them for dinner most days that I bake anything sweet dough related.

If you don’t know what a Navajo Taco is, then you obviously didn’t go to high school in Cardston, where they had Native American Awareness days and would serve them in the lunch room.

Navajo tacos  | Just Rhonda
It’s basically a scone or a donut without a hole (and no icing or anything) with a taco toppings on top! You could read more about them here or here. But really it’s some deep fried sweet dough topped with the taco guts on top. Easy peasy! And you can convince your kids to try them when you tell them it’s a no hole donut with some stuff on top. That is unless you have kids who actually just eat what you make. And if that’s the case I am extremely jealous of you.

Have you tried these or heard of them before?

Sunday Dinner

consisted of all Greek food. Reason?? Not sure. Just had a hankering. πŸ™‚
So I made….

Greek Salad
Greek Salad

Pita Bread
Pita Bread

Mama Voula’s Spanakopita (it’s like a spinach and feta pie)

Pork Satay


And of COURSE we had to try Baklava!!

MSBH Update

So today I am guest posting over here at Frankly Entertaining. So go check it out and then look around at the great site. Two sisters post lots of great recipes and cookbook reviews and other tips about working in the kitchen.

AND since I am over there today I thought I’d just give an update here on my MSBH Challenge.

107: Cherry Streusel Coffe Cake
108: Milk Glaze
109: Mexican Wedding Cookies
110: Torta Sbrisolona
111: Linzer Cookies
112: Classic Apple Pie
113: Olive oil Bread
114: Fruit Turnovers
115: Sfogliatelle

And since it’s way more fun with a picture…. here are two.

Chicken Salad: My way

So I think there are some recipes that every one has the one they think is best. Like lemon bars. Or chocolate chip cookies. And chicken salad.

This is the way I love to make it.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa and Eat Shrink and be Merry. I combined them both to get just what I like)
A full chicken in my crockpot. (i loooove my crockpot!) The meat with the bone makes the meat so much more tender. If you don’t have a full chicken you can do any of the meat with the bone in. So much better than just dried out chicken breasts with some mayo!

Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and cover generously with salt and pepper.

Cook just until done. As in this one was completely thawed out and it cooked on low for 4 hours in the crock pot. You can totally roast it in the oven too. Let it cool and then take all the meat off. Save 4 cups for this recipe and put the rest in the fridge for another meal. (like enchiladas or Hawaiian Haystacks)

Get all your ingredients together.

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp Honey mustard (or 1/2 Tbsp of each mustard and honey)
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
Whisk it all together. And set aside.

Add in:
1 cup diced celery
1 large apple chopped and seeded (i love Gala)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped red onion (green onion tastes good too)
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely (or some dried if you don’t have it)

Add the 4 cups of chicken

And mix it up!

The best is to eat it on toasted homemade bread.
Chicken Salad Sandwich
mmmmmmmm! My Favorite!!!

And for dessert…..
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies


Yesterday’s treat

Crystal asked if I had ever thought of opening a bakery.
Not really.

My Grandma Stasiuk (mom’s mom) operated a bakery out of her home for years and did catering and weddings cakes and all kind of FOOD things for years and years and years. I am pretty sure she even would do about 5 dozen buns a week and a store would sell them (i’d be up for something like that… but how does one even START doing that?? who knows!)

My mom had a restaurant for a while and I used to help out after school which was fun but lots of work.

I have always wanted to try catering something, but there are so many other things that occupy my time. If I was going to be at a wedding I’d rather be taking pictures at it that cooking all the food. So it couldn’t be a wedding. I have done a few church dinners in past wards, which I LOVED and would love to do more in the future πŸ™‚ And there is always Ukrainian Christmas. And that’s why I like to invite people over to eat lots. I haven’t done a homemade Chinese Food night in a while…. hmmm maybe soon.

Regan would like it if I got rid of a lot more of the baking I do I am sure (he says I am making him fat lately…. he’s not fat at ALL). I think I’m more of a donate baking kind of girl. Which speaking of that, I volunteered to make donuts for the Scout fundraiser they are having in our ward. So I got up early two Saturdays back and made 5 dozen donuts and 3 dozen long johns (and I had made a wedding cake a few days before) and called to ask someone if they could put the whipped cream on the top of the long johns and she told me it was the WRONG SATURDAY. And I had a wedding to shoot that afternoon. All that on the wrong day. So silly. So I took all the donuts to the wedding and they served them at the reception. I am so silly. hahahahahaha πŸ™‚

Memories of Food

Is there a food that reminds you of someone? Or something? Or a time in your life?
Making bread reminds me of being a small girl. Of standing at the counter with my hands in the dough, my mom placing a bit of dough in front of me for just me to figure out how to form it.

Making donuts reminds me of being lined up in the kitchen with my siblings. Each one of us with a job. Someone to cover them in glaze, one to put them on the racks to dry.

Pie reminds me of my friend Dyane and my sister Kelly. One day Kelly was in visiting our house (which was common place) and I got a call asking me how to make pie. So I explained over the phone and told them the recipe. Then a short while later I went home to find Dyane and Kelly mixing the dough with a mixer. Now if you don’t know anything about making pie that won’t seem funny to you. But I almost peed my pants laughing. Seriously. They told me I didn’t say HOW to combine the ingredients. Something I thought people just KNEW.

Chocolate chip cookies remind me of my grandma H. She was constantly cooking cookies that had tofu in them and trying to trick us into eating them. So I started never accepting cookies from her πŸ™‚ Tofu in cookies goes against all the things I love about cookies πŸ™‚ hahahahaha

I have lots of other memories tied to food.
It’s one of the reasons I love food!
Do YOU have any?

So I am coming up to my 500th post. And to commemorate that I’m going to have a giveaway. Of something I’ve made. Well I haven’t actually made it yet, but I will this week. πŸ™‚ And I’d bet you’d like it. So keep your eyes peeled!

Foodie Links

I’ve found some great food blogs lately. And I thought I’d share some today!!

Smitten Kitchen linked right to the page of the thing I am going to make from her site first!

Baking Bites again linked right to the page of the thing I am going to make from her site first!

Cookin Canuk Love the name and looks like great recipes!

The Utah Hive (just check out all those links down the side of food blogs!)

365 Days of Crockpot Love me my crockpot!!! In fact we used it for supper tonight for Alysha’s mom’s Sweet and Sour Chicken wings!! mmmmm!

Confessions of a Bake-aholic I think I am also a bake-aholic. I can’t stop. (Today bread and banana chocolate scones.)

Time for Supper

The Girl Who Ate Everything again linked right to the page of the thing I am going to make from her site first! (and MAN I love her blog name!)

Steamy Kitchen check out those pancakes right on top! WOW!

And of course
My Kitchen Addiction with the banana chocolate chip scones right on top of the page that I made today. They are GOOD! Make them!

mmmm foooood πŸ™‚


I had requests from every one who tasted this for the recipe. SO here it is!!!


(from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 cup blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
Raspberry Jam

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast, stirring occasionally until skins begin to split, about 15 minutes. Immediately rub hazelnuts vigorously in a clean kitchen towel to remove skins (as much as will easily come off.) Let cool.

In a food processor (i used a magic bullet), pulse the hazelnuts and almonds until finely ground. (be careful not to over process it into a paste). Transfer into a small bowl, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and beat 1 minute to combine. With mixer on low, add ground nuts and the flour mixture all at once; beat just until combined.

Divide dough in half. Using your fingers, press half the dough into a 9 inch cheesecake pan (you can use a bottomless tart ring if you have one but I didn’t) to form the bottom and up the sides about 3/4 inch. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly dust a piece of parchment paper with flour and roll out the other half of dough to a 13 inch round. Place on a baking sheet and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Using an off set spatula, spread the Raspberry jam evenly over the chilled base. Set aside. Cut the dough into 3/4 inch wide strips from chilled round of dough.(the recipe tells you to use a fluted pastry wheel but I don’t own one of those, so I just used my pizza cutter!). Arrange strips on top of the jam in lattice pattern. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.

Bake, rotating pan halfway through until torte is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove ring and cool torte completely. Best eaten the day it is made as the crust gets soggy if left too long.


And while i’m talking food, an update on my MSBH Challenge.
76. Linzer Torte
77. Bagels
78. Blueberry Muffins
79. Plum Coffee Cake Muffins
80. Marble Cake (SERIOUSLY good one!)
81. White Chocolate Glaze
82. Danish Dough

Baking Bread

You’ll have to forgive all the cooking posts lately, and not so many craft or sewing posts, but my sewing machine is on the fritz and had to take a trip to the shop.

Lots of people have asked me for my bread recipe. So I thought I’d share it here. AND I actually measured all the flour this time so I could TELL you how much πŸ™‚ Wasn’t that swell of me??? πŸ™‚

I do mine in my bosch that my lovely inlaws bought me our first Christmas. If you aren’t lucky like me you can make this by hand (I used to before my lovely inlaws spoiled me!)

1. Combine 2 Liters (or 8 cups) warm water with 3 Tbsp salt in a Bosch and mix to combine.

2. Melt 1 pound (2 cups) of margarine (or you can use 2 cups oil)

3. You are going to pour HALF of the melted margarine into your salt water along with 1 cup white sugar. And mix it up a bit.

4. Add 10 cups of flour (I do half white and half whole wheat) while mixing. (if you were doing it by hand – you would be mixing it with a spoon until this part)
A close up so you know what the dough should look like here. A sloppy mess. That you could stir with a spoon but it would be hard to do.

5. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp of instant yeast on top and the mix it in. (NOT active dry yeast)

6. Put your lid back on and turn on your machine
and start adding flour while it’s running. You want to add 8 cups or until your dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

7. Dump your dough into a big bowl

8. Add about 2 cups of flour on top (one cup at a time)
and knead it in until it makes a smooth dough. When you press your fingers into the dough it should softly bounce back to you. If you live in a more moist place that southern alberta (which is most of the world!) you would need more flour.

9. Turn your dough over so the smooth side is up

10. Take the other half of the melted margarine and pour it over top of your dough, using your hand also spread the margarine so it coats all over the inside of the bowl (including underneath the dough). As it rises this margarine will seep into the dough making a very moist light bread. Just do it even though its a big bunch of fat!!! πŸ™‚ (as Homer would say, fat is the vehicle by which taste travels)

11. Cover dough with a tea towel and place in a warm spot until it doubles in size.

Do some other things while you wait….. like dishes

12. Once it has risen to doubled in size, punch it down and let it rise to doubled again. Then it is ready to use

13. Put it into pans and let rise. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes (or until it is golden brown on top and sounds a bit hollow when you knock on it.

14. Enjoy!!

If you need any clarifications on anything (or if I missed something which I often do!) then let me know!!


Anybody know what Paillard is?? Well I learned last night. It’s a french term (that sounds fancy) but really just refers to the flattened meat. So last night I made Chicken Paillard. It was SUPER easy and quick. And you can do this to pork or veal.

Steps to making Chicken Paillard:

1. First flatten some chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in large pan over medium high heat until the butter foams.
3. Add 2 paillards (the flattened meat πŸ˜‰ ) and saute on 1 side until golden brown (about 2 minutes) reduce heat to medium.
Flip and saute paillards until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Trasnfer to a plate.
4. Add 1/4 cup minced or sliced onions to skillet. Cook over meduim heat, adding oil or butter as needed, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute.
5. Raise heat to medium-high. Add segments and juice of 2 lemons, 3/4 cup chicken stock and any plate juices and deglaze the pan, scraping between brown bits from bottom with a wooden spoon.
6. Simmer until sauce reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Gradually stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter until just melted. Season to taste. (this sauce has BITE!!)
7. To serve, place fresh spinach on your plate, add chicken and juices. It will slightly wilt your greens slightly.

And on the side……

Potatoes with Bacon and Onions

1. Bring 2 1/2 lbs of small potatoes, 4 cups chicken stock, 1 clove garlic, 1 dried bay leaf, 6 stems of thyme, 1 cut-up into large chunks plum tomato and a pinch of salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Strain cooking liquid through a coarse sieve; discard solids.
2. Cook 4 chopped slices of bacon in large skillet over medium high heat until fat is rendered and bacon is just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
Add 1/2 medium onion chopped, and reduce heat to medium. Cook stirring frequently until golden, about 7 to 9 minutes.
3. Add potatoes to skillet, and pour enough cooking liquid to come halfway up sides. Raise heat to medium high. Simmer, turning potatoes occasionally to coat and season with salt and pepper. until liquid has reduced and glazes the potatoes, about 15 minutes.
My plate….
The kids didn’t want the sauce, so they had all of it separate. But at least they tried it all (only cause I called the potatoes circle fries. hahahhaha)

And for dessert…(or just for girl’s night) Linzer Torte

What did you have for dinner last night??

Grapefruit Cookies

Grapefruit Cookies
from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Makes 15 sandwich cookies
Grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour plus more for dusting
3/4 cup cake flour (not self rising)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large egg yolks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the grapefruit zest with 1 Tablespoon sugar; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter and remaining sugar on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg yolks, and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the reserved zest-sugar mixture. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the juice, and beat to combine.

Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the disk to 1/8-inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds and place about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until the edges are golden 18 t o20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Transfer parchment paper and cookies to rack to cool completely.

Using an offset spatula, spread 1 Tablespoon filling onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down. Once filled, cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Grapefruit Cream filling
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 TBSP honey
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice

In the bowl an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the honey. Add juice, 1 Tbsp at a time filling holds together and is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside until ready to use.

63. Cheesecake Thumbprints
64. Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
65. Peanut Butter Filling
66. Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies
67. Grapefruit Cream Filling
68. Nut Crescents
68. Lemon Sugar Snap Cookies
69. Graham Cracker Cookies
70. Black and White Cookies
71. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
72. Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies
73. Anise-Almond Biscotti
74. Devil’s Food Cake
75. Mint Chocolate Ganache

Baby Shower: Cookies and Milk

Cookies and Milk.
(these aren’t the best pictures but it was late and I was in a hurry!!)
I saw this idea for a baby shower theme and LOVED it. And lucky I was lucky enough to plan a baby shower for my sweet friend Jenna. Here she is with her sweet 4 day old Colby (isn’t he a doll!)
I asked Jenna and she said yes! And I used this opportunity to make a whole lotta cookies from the MSBH for my challenge πŸ™‚ I did 12 recipes (including the fillings)

For cookies we had:
My favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies (not from the MSBH)
Anise-Almond Biscotti
Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Black and White Cookies (which never got the black and white icing cause I ran out of time!)
Graham Cracker Cookies
Lemon Sugar Snap Cookies
Nut Crescents
Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
Cheesecake Thumbprints
And my friend Teale brought over some Ginger Snaps too.

For milk we had:
Soy, Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and White.
(mmmmm milk!)

And Reg brought home some flowers and chocolate bar to help with my bad day πŸ™‚

The whole table

Soup Nazi?

I love soup!! But my kids do not. Eli is the only one who has ever even tried one. (He LOVES chicken noodle soup. Not the homemade kind – he won’t try that… but the Lipton Noodle soup.)

Since I figure there are more important battles in the parenting home front to fight than soup, I never make it for my kids. So when I have ladies lunches or if Regan happens to be home at lunch I’ll often make soup.

A favorite recipe of mine for Minestrone
(from Super Food for Kids)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 strips of bacon, chopped
1 clove or garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup canned tomatoes
2 small zucchini , finely sliced
1 quart chicken stock
2 carrots finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 small turnip, finely diced
2 potatoes, diced
1 stick celery, sliced
14 oz canned cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp finely chopped freshly parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat olive oil in pan. Add bacon and fry until it just begins to become translucent. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the garlic and the onion to the pan and fry gently until soft. Return the bacon to pan with the tomatoes.

Pour in the hot stock, stir and then add the carrots, turnip, potatoes, celery and zucchini. Bring to a boil, cover the pan lower the heat and simmer very gently for about 40 minutes or until the veggies are soft.

Add the drained beans and frozen peas and heat through. Add the parsley and seasoning to taste. Serve soup in warmed bowls with the Parmesan served separately, to be added according to taste.

I love this soup.
I got the recipe originally from my good friend and past neighbor Kathleen.
I especially love it served with this.
Sister Glenn’s Cornbread!!
2 cups flour
5 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup cold milk
2 eggs

Beat sugar, honey, milk and eggs in a bowl. Combine all dry ingredients and add to wet. Mix well. Pour into a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.

Christmas Food

Over the Christmas holidays I made a bit of stuff to eat! πŸ™‚
To add the the list from here

50. Chocolate Shortbread fingers
51. Cranberry – Pistachio Biscotti (which I will share the recipe for at the bottom cause it was SO STINKING good!!)
52. Maple Walnut Cupcakes
53. Maple Buttercream
54. Carrot Ginger Cupcakes
55. Orange cream cheese Frosting
56. New York Style Cheesecake
57.Petits Fours
58. Puff Pastry
59. Chocolate Napoleon
60. Chocolate Pastry Cream
61. Lemon-Blueberry Napoleons
62. Lemon Custard

Cranberry – Pistachio Biscotti
from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Place cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand until plump, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in drained cranberries and pistachios.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half. Shape each piece into a 16 by 2 inch log. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. With your palm, slightly flatten logs. Brush beaten egg over logs and sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake, rotating halfway, until logs are slightly firm to the touch. About 25 minutes. Transfer logs on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool slightly. About 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 300F.

Place logs on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut lots crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place a wire rack on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Arrange slices, cut sides down on the rack. Bake until firm to the touch.

How to Make Homemade Pierogi

So it was Ukrainian Christmas this past week. And in my family we celebrate it on the Friday or Saturday closest to it. Regan and I have held them almost every year since we got married (minus the first two).

SO in honor of it, I thought I’d teach ya’ll how to make homemade Perogis the way my momma and grandma make them. Something i love love love!! So here we go, a little Pioneer Woman style (only not as good pictures or commentary) πŸ™‚

So make your filling first.
Peel and boil potatoes.
Drain and reserve the potato water, set aside.
Mash the potatoes.
Add cottage cheese, melted butter, salt and pepper and mix well.
This is what it looks like. (all the amounts are at the bottom!)

To make dough:
Four eggs in a medium bowl
and beat then like crazy
add 1 1/2 cup potato water
Mix to combine (crazy like if you’re feeling it)
Add 6 cups of flour, salt and baking powder.
Knead into a dough. Pour 1 cup of flour onto a clean counter. Turn the dough out onto the floured counter and knead. Should be stiff dough, not sticky, if sticky add flour until stiff.
Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch or a little less.
Cut out circles with a wide mouth mason jar lid (or I used a cup that is about that size).
Stretch the dough out with your thumbs a bit, pulling from the middle out.
Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center, being careful not to touch the edges with the filling.
Moisten the edge of the dough slightly with warm water.
Stretch the dough over the filling (don’t touch the edge with the filling or the perogi will come apart during boiling)
and pinch all the way around the edges of the half circle.
Place on wax paper, parchment paper or a floured cookie sheet.
Freeze to keep or drop into salted boiling water for 7 minutes.
Drain them well and immediately fry in hot pan with sauteing onions, bacon and butter until golden brown. (the butter and fat keeps them from sticking to each other.)


Stasiuk Family Perogis
2 Tbsp melted margarine or butter
3/4 lb of dry cottage cheese or cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed

1 1/2 cup potato water
4 well beaten eggs
6-8 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 Large onion chopped finely
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb chopped bacon
Sour Cream

Gourdian Angel (Pumpkin Soup)

I made this last week and LOVED it.
I promise it is tasty!
Just give it a try!!!

It makes a nice light lunch paired with homemade buns!


(From Eat Shrink and Be Merry)
2 tsp olive oil or butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp grated gingerroot
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups of pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith apples
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup evaporated milk or light cream

Heat olive oil in a large, non stick soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add gingerroot, curry powder and ground cumin. Mix well and cook for 30 more seconds.

Add broth, apples, pumpkin, carrots, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 12 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir occasionally.

Working in two batches, transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Soup will be very thick. Return puree to pot and stir in evaporated milk. Serve hot.

It tastes better than it looks…really.

Martha Stewart Baking Challenge

I thought I’d give a bit recap of where I am at on my challenge. (If you don’t know what I am doing you can read here
1. Banana Nut Bread
2. Chocolate Frosting
3. Yellow Butter Cake
4. Ciabatta
5. Sugar Cookies
6. Rugelach
7. Banana Carmel Cake
8. Mascarpone icing
9. Pumpkin Bread
10. Pizza Dough
11. Chocolate Chunk Cookies
12. Honey Whole Wheat Bread
13. Coconut Cream Pie
14. Key Lime Pie
15. Candied Key Lime Slices
16. Individual Gingerbread cakes
17. Chocolate Ganache
18. One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
19. Swiss Buttercream
20. Chocolate Wafers
21. Coconut Pecan Caramel Sandwich Cookies
22. Martha’s Birthday Cake
23. Almond Swiss Meringue
24. Almond Buttercream
25. Herb Baking Powder Biscuits
26. Lemon Curd
27. Pate Brisee
28. Cornmeal Drop Busicuts
29. Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
30. Banana Carmel Cake
31. Mascarpone Frosting
32. Caramel Sauce
33. Tart Dough
34. Lemon Curd
35. Tarte Tatin
36. Tomato Tart
37. Pate A Choux
38. Cream puffs
39. Pastry Cream
40. Chocolate Eclairs
41. Vanilla Whipped Cream
42. Pastry Cream
43. Baking Powder Biscuits
44. Parker house Rolls
45. Cranberry Zucchini Muffins
46. Coconut Cake
47. Seven Minute Frosting
48. Classic Angel Food Cake
49. Gingerbread Men

Both the Angel Food Cake (because I thought it would be harder to make) and the Tomato Tart (because it was really really good and I was expecting not to like it) surprised me.

I have learned quite a bit already! A lot about icings and frostings! And a lot about bread doughs and how my stove cooks!

I’ve been doing this about 2 months and I’ve made 49 of the 208 recipes. Over Christmas I can find lots of reasons to cook!

One this is there is a wedding cake recipe in there…. so I need someone getting married who wants me to make them their wedding cake and decorate it….. anyone know anyone who needs that in the next 10 months? πŸ™‚

And since a post is more fun with a photo…..
A recent from the last posted family session on my photo blog.

Banana Carmel Cake

Last March I made this cake for a Book Club I was hosting at my house. It was scrump-diddly-umsious. And they told me to email them the recipe. And I never got around to it (sometimes I’m LIKE that unfortunately) I just made it again this past week. And I thought I’d finally post it and send it along to all those lovely Book club ladies who I miss and wish I could attend. Instead maybe they can eat my cake πŸ™‚ A little late. But better than never. Try it. I promise you’ll love it!

(from the Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger & Robert Steinberg)
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 canola oil
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 ounces semi sweet chocolate chopped into chip sized chunks
1 1/2 diced ripe bananas (about 2)

1/2 cup firmly packed lightly brown sugar
2 Tbsp whole milk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into chunks

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ΒΊF. Butter and flour a 12-cup (10 inch) Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda.
In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and almond. Mix on medium speed til combined well, stopping to scrape the sides if needed. Mix in the dry ingredients, about 1/2 at a time, stopping to scrap the bowl if necessary.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in pecans and chocolate. Carefully fold in the bananas; do not over mix.

Pour into the prepared pan/ Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, about 5 minutes before the cake is done, combine the brown sugar, milk, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally as the butter and sugar melt. Once it is amber in color, remove from the heat.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately, using a long skewer, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Pour the hot caramel over the top, poking more holes and pushing the cake slightly away from the sides of the pan as necessary to allow the caramel to soak into the cake’s top and sides. Place on a cooling rack to cool slightly.

When the cake has cooled, but is still warm to touch, unmold to a serving platter.

Serve either warm or at room temperature.

**Don’t add more bananas as it will make it a gummy cake.**
And I added a chocolate ganache on top just for a little extra va-va-va-voom.

MSBH Challenge: 33(Baking Powder Biscuits) 34 (Parker house Rolls) 35 (Cranberry Zucchini Muffins


And there is a new family up on my photo blog if you wanna see them.
A lovely neighbor I have.

Dixie’s Donuts

Now my momma (and my grandma and me) are all those kind of bakers. You know those ones who don’t exactly know the amounts of things that are put in. It’s more about how the dough feels and all that. But I’ll do my best in posting amounts! πŸ™‚

Now this is also a BIG recipe. It makes 10 dozen donuts. So you can use it to make donuts, long johns, cinnamon buns, dinner buns, or scones. Or you can cut it in half (which I do often!)

Dixie's Donuts | Just Rhonda

2 liters of warm water (like warm like the bath warm)
1 pound melted margarine (or use 2 cups oil)
8 eggs
3 Tbsp Salt
3 Tbsp instant yeast (quick rising)
2 cup sugar
Flour (? a lot hahahaha)

Put your water and salt in a large bowl and stir to let the salt dissolve.
And set it aside.
In a different bowl mix the eggs and sugar until frosty.
Combine into the biggest bowl. Add 1/2 of the melted margarine (or oil).
Stir well.
Start adding flour until it gets hard to stir with a spoon. Like it isn’t dry yet… but it looks lumpy with flour (does that make sense?) It’s sloppy and super sticky.
Sprinkle yeast on top and stir it in.
Now start adding flour until the dough comes together and you can handle it. Knead it a bit with your hands. (If you are using a Bosch or a kitchen-aid it will start to pull away from the sides.) It should be a nice clean dough that you poke your hand into and it just leaves a dent that pops back out. (make sense?)
Turn the dough over so the smooth side is on the top. Then pour the rest of the margarine (or oil) over top and grease the sides of the bowl with it too.
Let rise in a warm spot until doubled.
Punch down once.
Let rise in a warm spot again.
Once doubled again use it.

Now to make it into donuts, you lay the dough out onto the counter squishing it with your hands until is in a rectangle shape (like you would for cinnamon buns) then cut out your donuts (I have a rolling pin that is a donut cutter outer. So I lay my dough out and then roll it over it and it cuts out constant donuts. It’s cool. And it was my mom’s. It takes me like 3 minutes to cut out 80 donuts (which is what I did this morning.)

Deep fry them in hot oil (I always use the stove but you could use a deep fryer).
Then drain them.
As soon as you can touch them without burning your hands, drop them into a glaze. (my glaze is just icing sugar with vanilla and some warm water til it is runny. I have no idea the amounts….. just til it looks right. hahahaha)
Then let them drain again.
Then eat them. πŸ™‚

The more often you make this dough the easier it will be. It’s a bit second nature to me as I used to make this dough weekly to make buns and whatever else. I did it on baking mondays. It sounds like a lot of work but it’s really not.


MSBH Challenge 25 (Banana Carmel Cake), 26 (Tart Dough), 27 (Lemon Curd), 28 (Pate A Choux), 29 (Cream puffs), 30 (Chocolate Eclairs), 31 (Vanilla Whipped Cream), 32 (Pastry Cream).

Hmm that’s a lot of stuff…… but a lot of them went together. As in the lemon curd and tart became a french lemon tart. The Pate A Choux is the dough that starts cream puffs and chocolate eclairs and the vanilla whipped cream and pastry cream fill them.

And a funny side note to all this baking? I’ve lost a little weight lately. hahahaha. Kind of ironic eh?

Cafe Rio Salad

I have had quite a few people ask for this recipe. And I’ve never gotten around to posting it. (Sorry it took me so long Brett!) This really is one of my very favorite meals! I made it this past week on Thursday for a group of ladies I had over for lunch. And it was marvelous! πŸ™‚ I don’t have a picture of it…. but here is the recipe

Cafe Rio Salad:

Put in your crockpot:
3-4 pound Pork Roast
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce
1 cup Brown Sugar
Cook it until you can shred it with a fork.
(For a frozen roast about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high)
Cook some rice with zest from 1 lime.
Blend and chill:
1 1/3 cup light sour cream (I use 500ml of sour cream)
3/4 cup mayo
1 bunch of cilantro
1 package Ranch Dressing (you know that powdered stuff)
4 Tbsp Safeway Salsa Verde
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/8 tsp Tabasco (I always leave this out so my kids will eat it)
Juice of 1 lime
Add milk if too thick
Guacamole: Use your favorite recipe or
2 mashed avocados
2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 diced tomato
add to taste: hot sauce, garlic powder & cayenne pepper

To eat it pile it in this like a taco on your plate:
Black Beans
Shredded Pork
Romaine Lettuce
Diced Tomatoes
Corn Chips (Optional)
**Eat it like a salad, breaking off tortilla as you go or wrap the whole thing like a burrito (that’s what we do)**

and here is a random photo from last weekend!
Some people think that this time of year is ugly around here. I completely disagree! I LOVE the yellowness of this season!! Love the hay bails in the fields. Love the crisp blue sky. I think it’s beautiful!!!

MSBH Challenge 23 (Herb Baking Powder Biscuits), 24 (Fudgy Chocolate Brownies)


I have one Jewish friend.
Well technically he is Regan’s friend.
From Medical School.
(And some times he reads this thing…. so Hi Asaph!!!)

I mean I grew up in Southern Alberta.
There isn’t a big Jewish population in Hill Spring.
When I grew up there it was Mormons and a few not any religions.
I don’t know about know since when I visit there I don’t know half of the people there. And even the ones I did know, I don’t recognize them. (Actually a young adult came up to me and said hello today and I was thinking he was being overly nice to a tired-yoga-pant-pony-tail-not-much-makeup mother carting around three kids. But he was a (a very handsome) guy (which is weird to call him that since the last time I saw him he was like 12) from Hill Spring walking by and noticed it was me and stopped to say hello and let my kids pet his beautiful chocolate lab dog.)

Anyways, back to my Jewish friend.
(Since we are friends on facebook I can call him my friend right?)
Today I made something for my MSBH challenge called Rugelach.

It is very different from anything I’ve ever made before! The dough kind of felt like too soft sugar cookie dough. waaaay to soft. Like add more flour soft. But I did what the recipe said. And let the dough sit in the fridge overnight. You can add dried fruit, nuts or chocolate (or a combo of all three) for the filling. The chocoholic in me opted for nuts and chocolate. πŸ™‚


I have no idea if I made them right.
I need my one Jewish friend to try them out. And tell me if they are close to what they are supposed to be.
Too bad you live in Calgary Asaph! πŸ™‚

Alden trying one. He seemed to enjoy it.

And just cause they were looking cute after the bath, a blurry but still cute photo…

MSHB Challenge #6

Banana Bread

I was gonna post the last well, week. But life got busy!! Which made me think of something some one said to me yesterday.
“how to you do everything Rhonda?”
Oh I soooo do not do everything!!
Lots of things I get done happen at night or during nap time. Both are highly important to me!
I’ve got a mile long to do list. And many things I wish to do.
But well I don’t.

The whole past week I was gonna do some more baking and other stuff but it was busy.
Last week’s evenings went like this.
Monday – Regan was on call. Solo with the kids.
Tuesday night – As soon as Reg got home I was off to YW. And got home at 8:45 or so. Then did my blog post πŸ™‚
Wednesday Night I went to a Love and Logic Parenting seminar. Which was good and interesting. Some stuff I really liked, other bits felt a bit…. um degrading to kids. And not at all in line with Gospel teaching. So some good. Some not.
Thursday Family Home Evening Kit Group I am in met together.
Friday Reg was on call again and We went out to dinner with some of my family to Boston Pizza and then I had my niece sleep over so I could go out to a girls night.
Saturday night I went to a dinner and RS broadcast.

Needless to say it was busy πŸ™‚

Anyway, my point in sharing all this was….. that sometimes life runs away. And I’m not always on top of things. In fact more the opposite most of the time! But I’ve been asked by people how i get all this stuff done.

I don’t watch TV much. As in haven’t seen anything for over a week or more. And if I do watch I like to do something while I do. Like make invitations or cards or fold laundry or whatever.

I try and do things while my kids play around me. If they want to be in the backyard, I fold laundry down stairs or read a book in the backyard or make phone calls or whatever I can down there. If they are happy on the deck I load the dishwasher or edit a few pictures. Eli makes all this harder. HE is a lot more high maintenance than either one of my first kids were. (And despite what some people say I do not agree that he is normal. He spent from 3:45 pm to 7pm crying on and off the whole stinking time. And that’s a good day lately. That’s not normal) I’m still getting used to accomplishing as much as I like to with him around. Perhaps God is teaching me to sit down and enjoy my kids.

Each night I write down my to do list for the next day. I have all kinds of to do lists. To do lists for house projects. Sewing tutorial to do lists. Blog post idea lists. I am a list kinda girl. I love a good list pad πŸ™‚

I have a crazy calender with all my dates an deadlines and all that written all over it. It is kind of looking crazy for September. crazy fun πŸ™‚ I’ve started highlighting Regan’s on call days too. So I can see at a glance all those when I am planning or scheduling things. I should have taken a picture of it but I didn’t know I was even posting about this til I sat down and started to write and now it’s too dark out. πŸ™‚

I think it’s funny that women are so comparison driven. The fact is everybody’s life is sooo different. And I don’t think it’s even able to compare vague things like what you get done in a day. It’s my opinion that more people get more done than they think, that everyone wastes more time than they realize AND that most people are not as busy as they think they are.

Just a few of my somethings that need to be done….
1. Logos for my brothers’ company (need to finish the final draft)
2. a blog header for a friend
3. Preparations for Lucy’s B-Day party on Friday
4. a few photo shoots that should have been edited already (right Christine??)
5. bills paid (did that tonight)
6. prep for having a bunch of girls from church over tomorrow night to make hair pretties (which means making my house is kind of clean hahahaha)
7. laundry (did 4 loads today – but still more to do…)
8. Type out a few recipes that I’ve been asked for by a few people.
9. Actually finish my photography blog photo shoot give away (which I posted about entirely tooo long ago eeekkkk!)
10. Scrapbook. It feels like it has been entirely too long since I did that! (a week or so)

The thing I’ve been thinking about is a quote I heard the other night at the RS broadcast. Which basically said that a wise person knows how to distinguish between the things that need to be done and the things that don’t and then leave some things undone by eliminating the non essentials. Now it sounded much prettier when they said it, but you get my point!

This is an insanely long rambly post.
If you actually read my thoughts then let me hear what you think! πŸ™‚
And I’ll get back to editing those pictures….
And since no post is fun without photos…
here are some of the current editing crop.



And here is the banana bread recipe that was asked for from the last post.

Banana Nut Bread
from Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups veggie oil
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
1 cup coconut
1 cup walnuts, pecans (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Coat two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and oil on medium low until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts (or chocolate!) and buttermilk. Beat just to combine.

Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic for up to 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.

Now I am off to bed to rest my foot (i’m currently suffering from Plantar Fasciitis which my handy hubby doctor diagnosed for me but there isn’t so much you can do for it except stretch your calves and roll your foot on a frozen bottle of ice (which I am doing right as I type this) and be in pain.)

MSBH Challenge

I wanted to tell you all about something I am doing over the next year.

I have this amazing cook book all about baking that I coveted for a long time but the $45 price tag got to me.

You see I collect cook books. Like some women have shoes. I have cook books. All different kinds and sizes. And my husband is often commenting how I don’t need more cookbooks. I can’t explain my love for them. I have been known to settle down under a blanket on the couch and read a cookbook.

Reading each recipe and thinking about the flavors and cooking methods. Which sound good to me. Which surprise me with their combinations. I came by it honestly. My maternal grandmother is the same. My mother as well.

I could list my favorites for different reasons. Best desserts. Best for kids recipes. Best French. Best Mexican. Etc. (you are seeing my inner Foodie coming out!)

Anyways, back to my challenge. This marvelous cookbook called “The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook.” It goes over anything you would want to bake. From cream puffs to all kinds of fancy cakes to baguettes and fancy yeast breads to Italian pastries.

Well I decided that I want to learn to make every thing in the book. No, I have no seen the show Julia and Julia (although I want to badly). No, I am not doing this because of or inspired by that movie. I think it will make me a better baker. And really it sounds incredibly fun πŸ™‚ (and a bit fattening….) I told my SIL Lindsay about my plan a few weeks ago and she told me to blog about it. So I will. I have no idea if any of you actually even would want to read about that… but it’s my blog. hahahaha.

I’ll share what I learn and how I mess up and what I know for next time. Shortcuts or whatever. Forever more this little challenge will be called the MSBH Challenge.

So I started the year yesterday.
And we had a good friend Anna over for Sunday dinner (who I haven’t seen in a while. And who my children instantly liked! Anna has kids my age. But we just get along super good. (I think her girls are pretty awesome too!) Anna, who my kids wanted to give a tour of our house too, which included showing her the embarrassingly large pile of laundry in the laundry room – clean on the counter to fold and dirty on the floor to wash, and she just smiled a yeah-that’s-completely-normal kind of way and sweetly said there are a few kids around here to take care of…. which would be ONE of the many reasons why I just love her!) And I made recipe #1 (not number 1 in the book but the first one I made in the challenge)and #2 for the frosting.

Here it is.
Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

I totally messed up the frosting. You see you beat room temperature margarine (or butter for better taste) with white sugar for 3-4 minutes and it makes it all fluffy and airy. Then you pour in your cooled to room temperature melted chocolate. The key is cooled to room temperature melted chocolate. Cause if you just pour in a bit cooled melted chocolate it makes the fluff and air of the previously beat margarine (or butter) and sugar completely leave.

See it melts the butter with it’s hot self. (You know like when you’re in a room feeling all pretty and cute and put together and then a real knockout girl walks in and you suddenly feel not quite as put together….) Then you are just a runny mess. Just like the chocolate. And it takes a whole lotta icing sugar and to make it back into a reasonable icing. Which is what I did. And just pretended that that was how it was supposed to be! I mean nobody else read the recipe. Just me. And my kids only ate the icing off their pieces of cake πŸ™‚ So my mistake worked out!

(And just for fun the meat I made for dinner too.) My new favorite meat. New as in the last year new. But still new.) Pork. mmmm. I used this recipe here. And we all gave it a two thumbs up!


MSBH Challenge #1 & #2

A Perfect Lunch

I was lucky today to enjoy a quiet lunch filled with good things amidst the crazy day of driving to here and there and watching some extra kids.

A favorite drink

Left over soup from last night’s supper
Recipe comes from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
“Rome on the Range”

8 large plum tomatoes
2 large red bell peppers, seeded & chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp each minced fresh thyme and fresh rosemary
2 cups beef broth
1 cup V8 juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup minced shallots or onions
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coarsely chop tomatoes and combine with red peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, thyme and rosemary in a very large roasting pan. It’s best if veggies are in a single layer.

Place roasting pan in oven on middle rack and roast veggies for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and give quick stir. Return to oven and turn on broiler. Broil for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Using your hands space into about 48 mini meatballs using about 1 tsp of meat mixture. Set aside.

Remove veggies from oven. Transfer half to blender or food processor along with 1 cup of broth. Puree til smooth. Transfer puree to large soup pot. Chop remaining veggies into bite sized pieces and add to pot, along with every thing else. Bring to boil. Add meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.

My alterations:
Used regular onion since I didn’t have red.
Had no breadcrumbs so I used a bit of oatmeal (has to be quick cooking or else you notice it)
Had no Italian seasoning so I used a little rosemary and thyme combined to flavor the meatballs.
And I just dumped all my veggies into a big pot, and used my hand held bruan mixer to mix all of it up. I didn’t want too many chunkies. πŸ™‚

Also left overs from supper last night…

Recipe comes from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
“Pizza for the upper crust”

1 can 10 oz tomatoes with Italian herbs
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1 12-inch thin crust pizza shell
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, Parmesan or Asigo cheese
3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Black pepper

Preheat grill to medium and leave lid closed to keep hot (or preheat oven to 425)

Drain tomatoes in a sieve, pressing down to remove as much liquid as possible. Break up any large chunks with fingers.

Spread pizza sauce over crust, leaving 1/4 inch border around edge. Top with drained tomatoes. Sprinkle evenly with Romano cheese.

Using small knife cut mozzarella cheese into thin slices. Spread evenly over pizza. Sprinkle with basil and pepper.

Place pizza directly onto grill or middle oven rack. If grilling cook 4 minutes. Then shut off heat and leave life closed. cook another 3 minutes of so til toppings are hot and cheese is melted. If cooking in oven, bake for 10 minutes or til cheese is melted and edges are browned.

My alterations:
Had no Italian seasoning so I used a little rosemary and thyme combined
Used Romano cheese (mmmmm)
And plain old mozzarella cheese.
Used fresh tomatoes since I didn’t have that kind and just squeezed out the liquid as much as possible.

And a good book to read.

What was for lunch at your house?
And yep, its seems we don’t seem to have much luck traveling with kids….

Banana Chiffon Cake

Banana Chiffon Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 7 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350ΒΊF. In a large micing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, mash bananas. Add oil, egg yolks, vanilla and 3/4 cup cold water; mix to combine. Add to flour mixture, and whisk batter until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, place egg whites and cream of tartar; using an electric mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter just until combined (do not overmix.) Pour into a 10-inch amgel-food cake pan with legs. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Invert pan onto legs over counter; let cool completely. Reinvert pan, and run a thin metal spatual around edge to release onto platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve.

(I added some cream cheese icing.)


Silly Greek Chili

I’ve had a few people ask me for this recipe…..
It is from the great cookbook Eat, Shrink and Be Merry. It’s a great book (I’ll return it soon mom!!!) So cheesey, but really good healthy TASTY recipies. This is a really light fresh tasting chili. Total yum!

Silly Greek Chili
2 tsp olive oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped red onions
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp each ground cumin and dried oregano
1 can (19 oz) diced tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups your favorite tomate pasta sauce
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/3 cup crumbled light feta cheese

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large
non stick pot. Add chicken. Cook and stir chicken until lightly bronwed, but not cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Add onions, zucchini, red pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
Stir in chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook 1 more minute. Add tomatoes with their juice, pasta sauce, chickepas, brown sugar and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer with 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro. Ladel chili into serving bowls and top with feta cheese.

I read this book called Hope. I kinda got into it. It has 658 pages… and I read it in four days. Funny how I love to read but when I get into a book… i have to finish it. And fast. Regan kept commenting that he wished he could read his text books like that. πŸ™‚ I think I was reading MUCH lighter stuff!

I’ll leave you with two pictures of my cute kiddios from the last few days.

Icebox Shortbread

Well hey there.
We’ve been enjoying December.
Baking lots.
Spending time with family

Icebox Shortbread
2 sticks (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1. With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until very smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour, mixing just until dough forms.
2. Diuvide dough in half and place each half on a piece of lightly floured parchment or waxes paper. Using the paper so the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers, gently roll each half into 1 1/2 inch diameter log. Wrap logs tightly in the paper, twisting ends to seal. Keep in freezer or fridge.
3. Preheat oven to 350ΒΊF. Unwraps logs wutg a serrated knife, cut dough into 3/8 inch thick slices. Place slices on baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
4. Bake, rotating sheet shalfway through until lightly golden around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets, 1 to 2 miknutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Regan is off school until January 2nd.
And I am going to enjoy EVERY moment I get to be with him.
Hope you are enjoying your Christmas season thus far too.