Monday, December 2, 2013

Cranberry Orange Pecan Coffee Cake

Oops, it's been a while since I've posted!

We had a snowy day here in Fredericton yesterday.  Snow makes me want to cook - and bake!  So I decided I would try another new-to-me recipe yesterday that's been on my "want to make" list since very early this year.

I saw this recipe: Cranberry Orange Pecan Coffee Cake on the JoyTheBaker blog (joythebaker.com).  I am typically not a lover of fruit breads (unless it's banana bread).  But her photo and the ingredients intrigued me.  So I made it yesterday!



I have a bit of a confession though - I didn't have fresh cranberries, so I used frozen and thawed them before chopping them up.  Little suggestion - chop them while they are still slightly frozen, it will be much easier and cleaner that way.   AND - I had two large navel oranges, which gave me just under 1 cup of fresh squeezed juice, so I topped it up with some clementine juice that I had in my fridge.

Verdict: this is tasty!  The crumble top (and glaze) makes it even better.  I brought one loaf in to the office this morning (the other one is staying at my house).  And I will probably make it again just before visiting the family at Christmas, to add something a little different to the sweets tray.

Speaking of Christmas - I don't have ANYTHING done yet.  Sigh.  I guess I'd better get at it, right?

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Baby Shower and an Anniversary

Hi everyone!
I have another new-to-me recipe to talk about today.  My friend and co-worker Kendra is expecting a little girl in the next month or so, and we had a baby shower for her at the office.  I made the cake.

I decided to try this Dark Chocolate Dream Cake from the Novice Chef.  I'll admit, I was a little bit worried when I added all that water, and the mix was quite runny when I put it in the pans.  I baked it for 28 minutes - I think I'll go for 30 minutes next time.  I cheated and used ready-made frosting instead of making her marshmallow frosting, or buttercream.

The verdict - wow!  Sooo tasty!  The cake was SUPER moist, and a little bit dense because of how moist it was.  It is not a light-and-fluffy-but-dry-so-you-need-milk-to-drink kind of cake, believe me.  It received rave reviews from the gals at the shower, and the two or three pieces left were quickly gobbled up by some of the guys in the office.  I'm disappointed I didn't get a picture of the inside of the cake - but here is a photo of the outside:

For the icing, I used Duncan Hines whipped vanilla frosting, and tinted it three different shades of pink.  The decorating isn't what I was planning in my head, but the frosting was too soft to do what I wanted to.  So just plain ombr√© it is.  I'm looking forward to meeting the little one!

Next week, my parents celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary.  So I sat down last night to make a card, since it has to be mailed out today or tomorrow to have ANY chance of getting there on time.  In the spirit of ombr√©, I tried this technique that I found on youtube, using an ink brayer.  The video was by Stamp with Tami - she's a Stamping Up demonstrator.  Once I find the link again, I'll share it here.

I don't have Stampin Up inks, so I used my Distress Inks.  Mustard Seed, Rusty Hinge, Aged Mahogany for the sky.  I used Brushed Corduroy for the background behind the trees.  And Adirondack Ink in Black for the trees.  Then I used a bit of Vintage Photo around the edge of the piece before adhering it to white cardstock (after wrapping the ribbon around it) and then putting that onto a black card base.  A sharpie was used for the birds and the sentiment.

I really like this technique, I am keen to try different color combinations now.  Mom and Dad, if you're reading this - Happy Anniversary!  Hopefully this card will get to you on time.  Love you!

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Let's make Whoopie!

Whoopie pies, that is. :)  Sorry for the bait and switch, but I couldn't resist.

Today brings another new-to-me recipe to the blog.  My office is beginning this year's United Way fundraising tomorrow, and of course part of that is a bake sale.

I had bought this Wilton Whoopie Pie pan about 6 months ago because I have another recipe on my to-do list that uses this kind of pan - but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

But when the bake sale came up, I thought about making Whoopie Pies.  I've had them before, but never made them myself.  So I was on the hunt for a recipe.  And let me tell you, there are LOADS of Whoopie Pie recipes out there.  So what did I do?  I used the Wilton recipe from the cover of this pan.  Yep, I did.  Here is the recipe: http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Whoopie-Pies

This is a picture of the first pan that came out of the oven - I cooked them for 10 minutes.  Waited 8 minutes for them to cool in the pan, then popped them out to cool on a rack.  Filled the pan again and threw it back in the oven for the rest of the pies.


The recipe made 24 individual pies - so 12 Whoopie Pies.  And the recipe for the filling was just enough to fill them all.
The pies look fluffy to the point where you'd think you would want more filling, but I think any more filling would put folks into a sugar coma.  I taste-tested one, so only 11 are making it to the office.  Maybe 10 - there are still a few hours before bed, LOL.

Now that I've broken this pan in, I look forward to trying other recipes for it.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I'm baaack!

Whew!  You blink, and months go by.  I wonder how that happens??

Anyway, I'm back!  I fell off the resolution wagon a while back, but I'm still interested in trying new recipes, so this weekend, I've done THREE!  Yep, THREE!

First off - I've been eyeing this Zucchini Lasagna from Skinnytaste.com for a while now, and I finally decided that this weekend was the time to make it.  Although the only zucchini I could find at the grocery store were small.  I *knew* I should have gone to the farmer's market Saturday morning!  Oh well.  So, because I didn't have enough zucchini to do the 9x13 pan (and because I'm only one person, and that is a LOT of lasagna for one), I decided to make mine in an 8x8 pan.   And I still didn't have enough zucchini.  But it was good!  I will make it again, making sure to have enough zucchini, and I might even make the whole thing vegetarian next time too.

When I was at the grocery store on Saturday, I also spied canned pumpkin.   So on a whim, I picked it up, and thought I'd search for recipes when I got home.  And I found a couple that I wanted to try!  I wanted cookies.  We'd been talking at work on Friday about baking, and cookies stuck in my head.  So I was on the search for a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, that wasn't "cakey".  The last time I made pumpkin cookies, they were good, but... "cakey".   And then I found these!  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Mine look a little different than hers, but they taste good!

And well - they only took 6tbsp of the can of pumpkin, so what to do with the rest?  The cookie batter had to chill for at least 30 minutes, which meant I had time.... so I figured why not make something else, while all the baking stuff was already out?  So I also made the Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins from her site.

Let me tell you, her recipe was BANG ON.  I got 24 muffins - could have maaaybe squeeked out another one, but then that would have meant another pan?  Nuh-uh, not gonna happen.  And the melted butter and cinnamon sugar to roll them in?  Juuuust enough to get them all done!  And these are good too!  My co-workers are going to be happy tomorrow. :)

Both of the recipes are super easy to put together - I didn't use my stand mixer, and I *always* use that when I bake.  I would make both of these recipes again.  In fact, I may do that this week, since I still have pumpkin left....

Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Crafty DIY - Distress Ink Holder, Thickers Holder

Hi everyone!

I had a few different projects floating around in my brain this weekend.  Let me tell you, my list was WAY too long for a weekend.  But I did manage to do two of them!  And both were for my scraproom.

I've been wanting a holder/stand for my Distress Inks for some time now.  But I was not about to pay $50 or so for one.  Which is kind of crazy, when you see how many inks I have and what they cost me (more on that later).

I saw a link online on how to make a stand that would spin: Spinning Distress Ink Holder  I loved the look of it and was going to do it, but when I thought about it - it wouldn't really be practical for my scrap space.  I don't use my inks all the time, so having it take up real estate on my desk would bug me.  My scrap room is in the basement, and I have a ledge on two of the walls, which is about a foot above my desk.  Having them on that ledge would be perfect - close and at hand, but not in my way.  And then I found this one: Distress Ink Holder  Now THAT is what will work for me!

I didn't like the idea of using just plain cardstock for the little boxes, it seemed like it would be flimsy.  And in the tutorial for the *other* holder, they use chipboard.  I didn't have chipboard on hand.  But I *did* have a large pack of watercolor paper sitting in my scrap room, and that is quite a bit thicker than regular cardstock.  So I was off to the races!

I followed her directions for the little squares, then kind of went off on my own a bit.  I used part of a shoe box for a base to make the stand a little sturdier (painted with Distress Crackle Paint).  Other than that, it's just watercolor paper.  And I wrapped the box with some Lost and Found paper by My Mind's Eye.  There are still some rough edges to work out (the width was a little bit wider than 12 inches, so I may need to wrap the edges in Washi tape or something).


It is surprising how sturdy it is!  And yes, there are 31 inks there.  Sigh.  I don't want to think how much $$ is in that tiny box, LOL.

Project # 2 this weekend was to corral my Thickers.  I admit it - I'm a Thicker-holic.  I love me some Thickers!  I was going to go to an office supply store and buy a wide magazine holder - then I remembered that the last time I was in that store, I looked, and they didn't have the wide ones in stock.   Then inspiration hit me!

I had a box of cereal from Costco sitting in my pantry.  OK, they were Mini-Wheats (you were wondering, right?).  I ran downstairs, grabbed a few packages of Thickers - and they fit GREAT!  So the second bag of cereal went back in my pantry just like that (it didn't need the box), and I cut down the cereal box a bit, added some more paper from My Mind's Eye, and voila!
And no, those aren't all my Thickers.  Not even close.  I may have to stock up on cereal, LOL.

But there you have it - two of my weekend projects that I've been wanting to do for quite some time now.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Turtle Cookies

I'm back!  I have another new-to-me recipe that I tried this week.  However, I wasn't very smart about it.  We've been in the middle of a heatwave the past few days, and what do I decide to make?  Cookies!  Yep, that have to be baked in the oven.  So. Not. Smart.

Anyway - as I mentioned in last week's post, my office has an annual fundraiser - the Craig Leech Memorial Fund - where the funds go to our local hospital.  The past few years, the funds have gone towards the Oncology department - we've bought iPads for those going through treatment to use; a new refrigerator, new  television for the lounge, etc.  Whatever would make the patients' time there just a little bit more bearable.

This year, funds raised will go towards the Pediatrics unit.  So every little bit helps!  We have many activities planned, including bake-sale goodies.  So I'm trying to contribute as best I can.

This week's new-to-me recipe is Turtle Cookies!  Again, I don't have pictures.  But the site where I found the recipe has some awesome pics: http://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2012/09/insanely-delicious-turtle-cookies.html

This pic is from Tracey's site (see the link above).  Now that I'm looking at it again, maybe I needed to use a larger spoon to make the indent, in order to make more room for caramel.  Oh well.


I have to say, I love me some Turtles, so I was really looking forward to tasting these cookies.  But honestly?  My reaction was "meh".  I enjoyed eating the leftover caramel sauce (yum!) more than I enjoyed eating the cookie.  So I will likely not make these again.  They were ok, just not really worth the effort (and added heat in my kitchen!) that it took to make them.

Oh well, the recipes can't ALL be winners, right?
See you next time!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Time Flies

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the weeks have gone by lately.  But I've come to the realization that my resolution for 2013 (try at least one new-to-me recipe a week)  will not be completed fully.  Life got in the way - tearing down and rebuilding my deck, my best friend's wedding, transitioning into a new (somewhat stressful) role at work.  It seems like I blinked, and another month has gone by.  But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying new recipes, though - I'm enjoying it too much to stop!

I was away this past weekend for my best friend Lisa's wedding (congrats, Lisa and Steve!), so I didn't get groceries last week.  I came back home on Sunday, but it was after 5pm when I realized I should have gone to the store since Monday (July 1) was Canada Day.  So my cupboards and fridge were looking a little bare.

As luck would have it, I was invited to a BBQ for Canada Day.  But what to bring??  With my limited supply of items in the house?  AHA!  I had bookmarked these Meltaway Lemon Cookies a while back - and I had the staples in the house, and a couple of lemons.  Score!

The recipe was created by Jessica at http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/.  This is the link to her post on the cookies: http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2013/04/meltaway-lemon-cookies/   There is another link on that post to take you to the actual recipe - that link is http://www.dixiecrystals.com/recipes/desserts/cookies-bars/Meltaway-Lemon-Cookies

This picture is from Jessica's site:
Meltaway Lemon Cookies from thenovicechefblog.com

Oh. My. Gosh.  These cookies are FANTASTIC!  We served them up for dessert at the BBQ, and they were a hit.  One of the guys started getting everyone to flip the cookie over and eat them upside down - you seem to get a bigger hit of lemon that way with the icing hitting your tongue first.    I'm told he was a little upset when I left and took the remainder home with me, LOL.

Sorry I don't have any pictures of my own - I wasn't thinking about my camera at all when I was making these. Jessica's pictures say it all though.  And mine turned out like hers, except I didn't add the lemon zest/sprinkles on top.  These cookies were so simple to make, I made ANOTHER batch last night, and brought them in to the office this morning.  Again, a hit.   These will definitely be part of my go-to cookie list - thank you, Jessica!!!