Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Good day!

Merry Christmas from our mainland home, to where ever you are!

Some holiday pics...


Hoarded cards for display

My favourite felted wool ornament

Lots of glass and sparkle

Little mini buns from grammy's vintage tin tray

A whittled santa from poppy



All the best to you and yours!

K.

Christmas Happenings

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Sorry I have been MIA folks!

Ya know...the hustle bustle of the holiday season.

Hockey practice mixed with wine hangovers mixed with bloatedness of overeating.

What's not to love?

A.'s christmas party was this past weekend, at the Mackinnon Cann Inn.  If you live in Yarmouth/Yar Co. definitely worth a check out.

Ever since I had gnocci (a potato pasta) about a year ago, I love trying it out in whatever restaurants that serve it.  Honestly, I loved the gnocci from Mac-Kinn Inn, more than the serving I had, at the Bicycle Thief, in Hali!  Makes me put gnocci on some random cooking-bucket-list in my head (until you read a scary recipe). Plus the service was A-1.

Also, this past weekend we decorated our christmas tree.  Emma only broke one ornament.

I feel like that should win some sort of award.  (My kid is totally better than your kid because they broke less ornaments?)

It's really interesting, because growing up in Newfoundland, you only bought a "Nova Scotia" Christmas tree if you were rich. Now all the Christmas trees around, are from Nova Scotia! (except the ones made in China).

It seems much less fancy!

I really enjoy having a lovely, evergreen in the house....and thankfully we have hardwood floors, that only minimally hide the needles everywhere.

Our christmas tree is fairly traditional...which made me think about if a mix of mid century/vintage/scandinavian christmas decor might work in our hopefully new house!

Here's what I found:

http://www.madefromscratch.co.nz






http://www.doublevisiontwinsblog.com
(I can't ensure that these are the original posters of these pics..others I couldn't find the source.  Damn you pinterest!)


Anyhow...as you can see...lots of white, black, contrast, metals, wood....swoon.


Makes me wish I lived in a scandinavian country. (That and their health care systems.)

Hope you are enjoying these last few days before the big day!  

K.



Katie's Favourite Christmas Recipes: Edition #3

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


So if you have ever watched HGTV, you know Sarah Richardson is the bees knees.  Her mid century modern house, is a house that even Don Draper would be proud to own (Cuz Don Draper's got style....although he might slosh scotch, all over her white furniture..).

I also love S.Rich's flamboyant sidekick, Tommy (whose hashtags on Instagram, make me smile).

A few years back, Sarah and Tommy did a Christmas special where they make these cookies called Pecan Puffs.  Basically, a Pecan shortbread.



I happen to have a freezer stash of pecans...so it's a perfect recipe to make this time of year...and again...so few ingredients!

It does require a food processor, which is a pain for those that don't have one... (again, my favourite is my 14 cup Cuisinart food processor!)



Here is Sarah's recipe:

2 cups of pecans
1 cup of butter
2 tsp of vanilla
4 Tablespoons of brown sugar
2 cups of cake and pastry flour (although I have made it before with AP flour and it was fine)

You process the pecans until it has a sandy texture and looks granulated.  Add the butter, sugar and vanilla.






Blend again until incorporated.  Add the flour in increments. Mix until blended well and dough looks "puffy".

Here's what several cups of cake and pastry flour look like on the floor. Culprit is stage left.

Scrape the contents into a bowl and chill in the fridge for an hour.  After well chilled, use a small ice cream scoop to help shape the dough into balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie tray.



Sarah says to bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees.  I baked mine for 37 minutes at 300 degrees.  Basically keep an eye on them after 30-35 minutes and take them out when they start to brown on top.

Let them rest for a few minutes on the tray.

Then remove and place on cooling racks (with your fingers or a fine edged metal spatula). Make sure you have paper towel, wax paper or another cookie tray under the cooling rack.

Generously, sift icing sugar on top of the cookies while still warm (this will make a yummy, almost-glaze).  Sift more icing sugar on top of the cookies, again, after they have fully cooled.



Hot tip: when eating, try not to inhale the icing sugar.

These cookies are super delicate.  They are best eaten with 48 hours of making.  In addition, they should be left room temperature (the condensation in the fridge makes them crumble).

Overall, a wonderful, light cookie.  Super festive, and the kids (i.e. me) love sifting the sugar on top.

What's not to love?

K.

Katie's Favourite Christmas Recipes: Edition #2

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Hey guys,

How's the weekend going?  Christmas party season, in full swing?

Last night, I got together with some friends and I had to make my friend's favourite Christmas square (they are sorta my favourite too). They are the most "salt-of-the-earth" cookie/square, you will ever come across: the Five Star Bar.



I have been eating them since my mom made them years and years ago...

One Christmas, I couldn't find my recipe for them and ended up googling "Five Star Bar".  I found the recipe on a website dedicated to recipes from "the Rock" (www.rockrecipes.com) Perfect!

Incidentally, I also found some recipes for other holiday favourites on their website like Apricot Raisin Cake (Click here for the recipe!), Gumdrop cake, and snowballs.

Anyhoo, this recipe is perfect to get kids to help with. I had two not-so-serious helpers yesterday, and their attention lasted the 5 minutes, it took to put these cookies together!

 

Feebee was pretty pumped that the girls were making cookies instead of making her dance

Here's what you need -

Base:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups of unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp of vanilla
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Topping:

4 small dairy milk bars


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ingredients for the base in a large mixing bowl. Press into a parchment lined 9x9 or 8x8 square pan. (This recipe easily doubles by the way!)

 


Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is no longer shiny, and starting to brown.



In the meantime, in a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate bars.

When the base is ready to come out of the oven, spread the melted chocolate on top. I like a thick layer of chocolate.

 


Leave on the counter until the pan is close to room temp.  Then put the pan in the fridge and cool until chocolate is set.

When solid, lift out of pan and cut into squares.

Snarf.

Appreciate the fact that so few ingredients could make something so delicious...

(These squares freeze well and are best kept in the fridge).

Enjoy!

K.





Recipe development: Soup Tales!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

I did it guys!  I developed my first recipe!

Whoot! Whoot!

But I must say...I struggled to come up for a name for the soup. I would never claim to be an expert on thai/vietnamese/asian-inspired cuisine.  Plus, I know my soup omits a lot of mainstays of this type of cuisine (let's list a few: coconut milk, lemon grass, ginger...)

But whatevs.

It's damn tasty soup and I really try to achieve the most important part of this type of cuisine: balance!

A little bit savory, garlic-y, salty, sour, spicy, sweet, nutty and fresh.

Here she is! My second baby! She's a beaut! (Just like ma first!)




Katie's Tasty Thai-inspired soup (serves 6....or 4 if you live in my house)

Ingredients:

One large onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 cups of julienned carrots
2 cups of baby bok choy, chopped or other similiar green veggie (cabbage, chard)
1 handful of cilantro chopped


A bok choy flower!

1 Tablespoon of Red curry paste (I used Patak's hot red curry. This amount, makes a medium spice soup. If you wanted to be aggressive with the spiciness, you could do 1  1/2 tablespoons, 1/2 tablespoon if you wanted mild )
2 tablespoons of pure sesame oil (don't accept the oils that combine canola and sesame)
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 Tablespoons of Natural peanut butter (I haven't used "regular" peanut butter so I can't promise that it would substitute well)
Juice from one Lime
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsps of canola oil


8 cups of no-salt chicken stock (you want the no salt kind, as there is sodium in fish sauce and the curry paste)
2 "nests" of rice noodles (I used Oh Ricey! vermicelli noodles)
3 chicken breasts*, chopped and cooked (we slowed cooked the chicken but you could def saute in a pan, separately)

*Alternatively, to make this vegetarian, you could substitute sauteed tofu.


Possible Garnishes:
- chopped dry roasted unsalted peanuts
- Lime wedge
- Bean sprouts (I love bean sprouts but the bean sprout situation in Yarmouth, is usually heinous to questionable...so you can take a chance or grow your own...which I haven't ever done... but I digress)
- chopped green onions
- extra chopped cilantro



Phew! I know that seems like a lot of ingredients...but it comes together really fast, especially, if you pre-cooked the chicken.

So..what to do:

Get a large pot or dutch oven, warm up two to three teaspoons of canola oil in it. Saute chopped onion, then add garlic, and carrots. Continue to stir until fragrant. Add a tablespoon (or to taste) of curry paste and stir until incorporated. (Hot tip: Don't use the sesame oil to saute as it as a very low smoke point and you don't want burned onions and garlic in your soup!)

Add fish sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, lime juice and peanut butter. Immediately add chicken stock.

Bring to a boil/simmer. Cover the pot, and cook 5-10 minutes, or until carrots are softened, but still have a bite. Add chopped bok choy, rice noodles and cilantro. Finally, add the cooked chicken. Simmer for 5 mins to ensure noodles are soft and chicken is warmed.

Taste to ensure the soup is balanced to your palate.  Season, if necessary.





Serve and garnish as desired!  I went with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Oh man....my nose was running up a storm, after this bowl.

If that don't grab ya..

Enjoy!

K.