Sometimes the holidays can seem so hectic. When I am feeling like things are just too fast-paced something that really slows things down for me is baking. When it comes to cupcakes I don’t fuss making a cake batter from scratch. Usually I just buy a cake mix from the store so that I can focus on the icing and decorating! I used this recipe, then added my own little decorations. Another festive option would be chocolate icing with crushed candy cane on top. Give these to someone you love, so that they can enjoy this part of the festive season.
When making hot chocolate I don’t hold back; whipping cream, melted chocolate, marshmallows, the works! With the holidays upon us I decided to get festive with candy canes, toping it all off with sweet grated peppermint. Tastes just like Christmas!
Here is the recipe I used:
1 1/2 cups of milk
50/50 good quality cocoa and sugar (normally I would melt good quality dark chocolate)
peppermint oil (about 3 or 4 drops)
First I like to heat the milk over the stove, then add the chocolate in afterward. Once that is all stirred together I put a few drops of peppermint oil. Then its time to decorate by grating candy canes, adding whipping cream, marshmallows, shaved chocolate, anything you like!
Next up to try is a salted caramel hot chocolate!
My brother makes the best pizza. He has such a passion for good food and I was craving some of his ‘refined’ cooking. I called him up on Skype and chatted while he explained how to make the perfect flatbread dough:
2.5 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water
a pinch or two of salt
‘glug’ of olive oil (about 2 tbs)
Combine the yeast and warm water and whisk for about 30 seconds, then add the oil and salt and poured the liquid mixture into the flour. Knead for about 15 minutes and set to rise for about 15 minutes. I heated the oven to 500 degrees and cooked each pizza for about 7 minutes.
Add tomato sauce and cheese the rolled-out pizza dough and top with whatever you decide! I love how pizza allows you to get creative with whatever ingredients you have. My favourite was the apple, chicken, and onion pizza; perfect with a glass of red wine.
I ran out of toppings for my last slab of dough so I decided to try out a dessert flatbread using brown sugar, cinnamon, apples, and pecans. It turned out to be a delicious slice of heaven!
Whenever we can, my room-mates and I like to make something delicious for breakfast on Saturdays. This usually ends up being pancakes of some form or another. This morning Damaris and I opted our usual 100% white-floured pancakes for some hearty whole wheat ones (well… mostly whole wheat!). We doubled this recipe, using 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all purpose.
For the Cinnamon&Apple part, I sliced 2 small apples and mixed a bowl of brown sugar (3 tbs) and cinnamon (1.5 tbs), and added them to the pancakes once they were in the pan.
Since we were out of syrup, we used this recipe (excluding the maple extract) to add a little extra sweetness. It had a lovely ‘browned’ stove-top flavour that complemented the hearty pancakes. With a cup of hot coffee, this was a perfect start to a chilly Autumn day!
To me, there is nothing more comforting than the scents of pumpkin and nutmeg. Using this recipe, I found the pumpkin muffins to be so moist and flavourful from the potent spices of ginger and nutmeg. Where I live there is already snow on the ground, so this makes for a great excuse to take extra long sips of my coffee and savour every taste of autumn before winter creeps up on us.
My room-mates and I wanted to try-out the fire-pit in the backyard so on Saturday night, we invited a friend over and lit it up. For supper, we wrapped some potatoes in tinfoil and threw them in the coals to cook. There were little bowls of various toppings (cheese, salsa, sour cream, onions), seasonings, and some cheap wine (we try keeping it classy here at the University). The evening was fairly warm and the sunset was absolutely beautiful! Later on we pulled out the guitar, roasted marshmallows and experimented with baking cookies in the fire…which turned out to be oooey goooey deliciousness! Banana boats are on the menu for the next fire night! As it gets deeper into Fall, we’ll try roasting apples. Mmmmmmmmm..
It is always nice to have the aroma of homemade bread fresh out of the oven. On cold mornings this will instantly warm both you and your house up while rewarding you with fresh slices of bread to take your jam on toast toast or sandwiches to the next level! The flexibility and simplicity of this recipe more than makes up for the overnight wait during which the dough works its magic into tasty, bakery quality bread! You can add any variation to this recipe including craisins, nuts, or oregano! Next up to try is j’alapino and cheddar!
Follow this recipe:
Ingredients: Water, Flower, Yeast, Salt <- remember its easy!!
3 cups / whole wheat flour
~ 1 tbs/ yeast
1/2 tbsp salt
1 2/3 cups/ warm water (adjust this until you get a slightly wet doughy texture)
After mixing the dry ingredients, add in the water while stirring with a wooden spoon till the dough is consistent and on the damp side. Seal dough with saran wrap and leave overnight or about 8hrs.
When your dough is ready, form into a loaf by folding it over itself a few times and then tucking the dough around until you have a nice smooth loaf. Wrap it in a well floured dish towel and let rise for about 20 minutes or until the loaf is a good size. Meanwhile heat your oven to 550 degrees with a medium sized cast iron pot inside. Once risen, drop the dough into the pot and cover with lid for 20 minutes. Next remove the lid and allow the bread to cook for an additional 10 minutes or till you have your desired color for crust.
Let cool and serve with a fresh cup of coffee!!!
Have a great weekend!!
I never thought that I would be dedicating a post entirely to waffles, but this is completely necessary! Our family visits Hood River to windsurf every year. Portland is only an hour away and I have always wanted to visit but never had the opportunity until yesterday. We had to pick a friend up at the airport so I took full advantage of having the morning to explore. I could not decide between visiting Stumptown coffee or The Waffle Window, so we did both! I was completely blown away by The Waffle Window. The flavours were so unexpected and delicious I had to order one for myself! I ordered the Berry Bliss, while everyone else went for a savory and sweet combo. My favorite had to be the savory waffle with brie, bacon, basil and jam. Portland is one of my favorite cities. Any excuse I can find to visit again and spend more time, I will be there instantly. Also, here is an awesome series called Portlandia. In this one they visit The Waffle Window!
My Dad invented this light dessert a while ago and it has been a family (and friend) tradition ever since. I’m always craving something on the sweet side to finish off a meal. I love this frozen fruit and yogurt mix because it provides the sweetness I crave without leaving me feeling guilty. Simply mix frozen fruit into yogurt and leave it for a minute to freeze. It’s actually crazy how similar it is to icecream with its creamy texture and burst of taste! I particularly enjoy this fresh and energizing dessert on hot days like today!
I am so in love with lattes I have one almost every day! Here is a little garnish to “spice” up your everyday latte. I used a 4 to 1 ratio of cinnamon to nutmeg. So, if you want to make enough to last you for about a month, you could use 4 tablespoons cinnamon to 1 tablespoon nut make. I put mine in a little spice shaker and decorated it using the sharpie and bake method. The garnish is pretty and adds a little warmth to your coffee!