Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Just a quick post while I'm at work - and using the computer and subsequently the internet when I should not be.
I went on a baking spree the other day and made biscotti (recipe posted), brownies (kind of disappointed, tasted a bit dry and not nearly chocolate-y enough), and some chocolate chip banana bread. I don't know if I have any pictures of the banana bread but I will post the recipe maybe tomorrow or Thursday.
It was well received when I brought it in today.
Robin leaves for Australia one week from today....
I'm going to miss her.
It's started to become more real that she's going to be gone for almost 2 and a half months while I was guarding the pool this evening.
It's habit for me to call her or send her a message just to tell her something absurd that happened, or ask if she wants to go shopping, or hear funny stories about her day.
Skype is going to become my best friend!
We celebrate her bon voyage this Thursday and again next Monday - the final Rose night for her for awhile.
Hopefully (I hate wishing time away so I only half mean this) if the speed with which the last few months have followed continues, she'll be home before I know it. September flew by. October is pretty much done and I have a feeling November might follow suit.
Anyway I'm off to go get changed and head home for a good sleep.
Recipe tomorrow - assuming I get my paper written, presentation all figured out, and a multitude of other things.
> : (

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Triple-Chocolate-Covered-Espresso Bean Biscotti

Before I forget : Robin's finished Dirt Cake!

After setting up a lovely (if I do say so myself) antipasto platter (several, actually) and getting this cake all put together all of those girls went out for dinner and no one was hungry!
Oh well....all that left-over food is probably one of the reasons I've been so successful at putting on my winter weight.
You know, that extra layering of 'padding' you need to keep you warm during the winter? No? Does anyone else tell themselves this?
Plus Robin will be gone to Australia very very soon and I'm going to miss her so I can't stay mad at her.
Now on to a recipe!

I posted a similar recipe I think in August but rather than biscotti I used the white, milk, and dark chocolate covered espresso beans in a cookie bar. I love chocolate covered espresso beans and I loved it in place of the standar chocolate chip in the cookie but I thought since biscotti are typically eaten with a coffee beverage of some type then the espresso beans in the biscotti would tie in nicely.

Triple-Chocolate-Covered-Espresso Bean Biscotti

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Sift together 3 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
3. In another bowl beat 4 tbsp butter and 1 cup 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 sides of bowl as needed. Beat in 2 tsp vanilla. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until combined. Mix espresso beans.

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

5. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until logs are slightly firm to touch, about 25 minutes. Transfer logs on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

6. Place logs on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange slices, cut sides down, on rack. Bake until firm to touch, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven; let biscotti cool completely on rack. Biscotti can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

It's voting day in Toronto! If you are a citizen, go out and do your citizenly (?) duty and vote for our next mayor!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I know.
It's been weeks since I last blogged and I've missed it so very, very much.
I've just been really busy what with school, work, birthdays, friends, etc, etc.
But I'm going to make a real effort to blog at least 3 times a week.
Since my appologies can't sum up just how sorry I am for neglecting this blog, I hope these images can convey the true meaning:

Since next weekend is Halloween I really want to make some halloween inspired cupcakes. I was so ready to make thanksgiving ones but didn't end up having any time in which to do so. I still have to upload pictures of Robin's finished cake from 2 weeks ago!
I'll keep this short and sweet as I have to try and finish up a paper (one of about 3) that's due next week but I promise to blog more often.
For a few good halloween cupcake ideas (like the ones in the picture below) go here

Also worth noting: the Michael's near me has finally opened! I went last weekend with my mom and managed to limit my spending to under $30. Proud of myself? Yes. Did my heart start racing at the sight of an entire corner of the store dedicated to Christmas? You betcha. Next Monday (not this monday, the monday that coincides with November 1st) is the first day after Halloween and you know what that means.....

P.S. Again, sorry for being neglectful. Will try harder. Especially once December rolls around because I'm pretty sure I have an entire month of free time in which to bake, watch christmas movies, bake, blog, bake, decorate the apartment, bake, and much much more!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Martha Stewart Living Review: October 2010

I finally found my camera!
While trying to unjam the printer yesterday I found it nestled inbetween the printers! (One's a colour printer which we haven't had any ink for for about 6 months, the other is a faster laser printer).
So I can FINALLY do my Martha Review!
This month's issue has lots of great articles and recipes and lots of fun ideas for Halloween.

1. Halloween Party Foods
Remember being a kid and getting to stick your hand in the mystery box to grab handfuls of 'brain' (cooked spaghetti)? Or to have your fingers slide over jelly-like eyeballs (peeled grapes)? This is like the grown-up version where you take away the element of surprise but instead make them look amazing and taste even better.
Clockwise from the top left: Potent Potions, Bony Bites, Deep Sea Specimens, and Fossil Cookies.
I really want to make the fossil cookies this year!

2. Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

I think it's safe to say that there's nothing quite like a grilled cheese sandwich. Whether you make it in a pan, in a press, or with an iron, with mozarella, with cheddar, with gouda, with brie, with extras or with ketchup.... grilled cheese sandwiches are like blank canvases on which you can create a masterpeice.
Martha's suggestions (top to bottom, left most column first):
- Gruyere, Apple and sage on rye
- Gruyere, red onion, prosciutto, and pepper on rye
- Fontina, Harissa, and pear on rye
(Second column):
- Cheddar, dijion mustard, bacon, tomato, avocado and pepper on sourdough (This one might be fav)
- Cheddar, jalapeno, and cilantro on white
- Gruyere, oil-packed sardines, peppadew peppers and arugula on rye
(Last column):
- Cheddar, cherry preserves, and basil on white
- Fontina, oil-packed tuna, and relish on white
- Cheddar, bacon, and pickles on sourdough

3. Pop Goes The Pumpkin Game
Know someone (ed note: this someone does NOT need to be a child) who's birthday is this month? Forget that, know someone who has a birthday!? Get them to agree to let you make this game for them to play at their party!
If I had a safe wall against which to throw darts in my apartment, I'd for sure set this up for Robin's party on Saturday.
For this game you'll need to:
1. Cover a foam board (a big one) with burlap and secure it in the back with duct tape. Adhere the foam board to a wall (keep in mind that not everyone has great aim so pick your wall wisely)
2. Fill balloons with confetti and candy (use a funnel to do this) but leave a few empty to keep people wanting to throw darts to win prizes. Blow up balloons with a pump and tie them off. Attach the balloons to the board with thumbtacks (for halloween parties arrange the balloons in a pumpkin shape).
3. Cut a stem if you're going with the pumpkin shape and add it above the balloons (for a template go to : www.marthastewart.com/halloween-templates)

4. Sweet Candy Bar Desserts
In this article we're given recipes to make cakes taste like our favourite candy bars including:
  • Chocolate crunch cake with milk-chocolate crunch and caramel sauce (100 Grand bar)
  • Coconut and Almond Ice Cream Sandwiches (Mounds/Almond Joy)
  • Malted-milk Cremes Brulees (Whoppers) *Good luck finding malted milk powder though. I CAN'T FIND IT!!
  • Chocolate Peppermint Profiteroles (York Peppermint Patties)
  • Peanut, Caramel, and Chocolate Tart (Snickers)

    5. Healthy Living: 10 Feel-Good Things to do this October
Martha and friends give us 10 suggestions to live better this month. I'll give you my favourites of the ten:
1. See the appeal of peels (when you peel apples to make pie, crumble, etc keep the skin to snack on! All of the best nutrients are found right under the skin so the part you're removing is actually the healthiest for you! This is the same with potatoes but you might not want to eat raw potato skin....)
4. Mimic a Tyrannosaurus Rex (I like this one because I often find myself immitating T-rex arms.....what? Jurrasic Park is a phenomenal movie) - basically when you're lifting things, keep your upper arms pulled in to your sides to keep the weight closer to your body, stabilizing you better.
7. Simply ask - Before doing a task, ask yourself "will I?" rather than saying "I will". Asking yourself if you;ll do something apparently triggers self-motivation!
6. A Harvest of Hazelnuts

If I could eat them I would.
Recipes galore in this section so if you love or even just like hazelnuts go on the website and search for recipes like hazelnut pancakes, hazelnut chocolate spread, and hazelnut cookies.

7. Shocktail Hour
This is actually an ad but it reminded me that the Michael's near me opens October 15th and I'm so freakin' excited to go and start shopping!!!
Apart from the magazine, I also started working on Robin's cake last night!
So far I've got the base for the flower pot and some candy to add to the dirt cake!
Busy weekend coming up!
Tonight: Thansgiv'r
Saturday: Robin's birthday!
Sunday: John's cousin's Wedding
Monday: Thanksgiving at my parents' place!

Looks like the wine will be flowing this weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Birthday Ideas For a Sensational Sister

Robin's birthday is this weekend and she's having the pre-bar party at my apartment.
So obviously I'm thrilled because that means I now have an excuse to put together an amazing antipasto platter and other delicious finger foods.
It also means I get to make her a cake!
I'm excited as I haven't made a cake since John's cake back in May.
And (thankfully) Robin has asked for a cake that really can't be covered in fondant, gum paste, etc so it's a cake that I can steal away from those crazy cake decorator friends of mine!
But truth be told, I'm going to try and jazz it up.
I want to impress.
I used to be known as the baker.....
sad face.
Anyway, Robin has asked for (what I think is) her all-time favourite: Dirt Cake.
Our mom used to make this insanely addictive desert and serve it out of a plastic sand pail with a shovel.
Kind of like this:

The wheels are in motion in my head so after an extensive google search, here are some ideas I've come up with:
1. Pretend there is any way in hell I could make this look the way it does in this picture. Then maybe attempt it, cry, down half a bottle of wine, and eat every crumb of the messed up Beatrix Potter dream with a fork. Or my hands.
2. Make cupcakes that look like this (sans crying, drinking, and binge eating):
You (and me later on) can find the recipe for this cake here.

3. Then take said cupcakes and place them around the piece de resistance:

Eh? Eh?
I think the cake above is do-able.
It might take me all of Saturday but you know what?
It will be totally worth it if it makes her birthday that much more special :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apple Cheddar Tart

I'm distressed.
I cannot find my camera anywhere!
It's gone....I mean I know it's somewhere in the apartment but I haven't the foggiest idea wher it could be. I looked in all of the usual spots - the desk, by the window, hidden under cushions on the couch - but it's vanished into thin air!
This means I can't take pictures of the things I've been baking/making
AND I've been putting off my Martha October issue review because the pictures in the magazine are different from the ones on the website.
I'm starting to go a little mental....
On a less stressful note, I got my hair done (highlights touched up and some glazing of the roots) this morning! And then walked for 15 minutes to Topcuts and got myself a snazzy $15 haircut. I took off a good 2-3 inches too! I'm happy with it. All I would change is the layering...which the kind woman at Topcuts did none of. So my hair is kind of thick and unruly at the ends where it usually is nicely layered. But $15 compared to like $60 for a haircut makes my bank account happy.
I also decided I would sort of pamper myself a bit today, seeing as I have a LOT of school work to try and do in the next few hours. I did my toenails a bright pink and redid my nails in a softer, more nude pink. I feel much lovelier on this gloomy day.
Last night, I tried out a recipe from Everyday Food (but my own version which takes literally 5 minute to prep and maybe 25 mins in the oven) . It's so fast and easy and it's really good.
Apple Cheddar Tart

To make this delicious tart:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out thawed puff pastry into a rectangle and place it on a lightly greased baking sheet.

2. Core 2 apples and cut them into rings, so that the hole where the core was is in the center. Arrange them on the puff pastry.

*OR if you want to be fancier, using a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out circles from the puff pastry. Place apple ring on the puff pastry circle and then tuck the edges up over top of the apple (like in the picture above). You may need to seal this with a bit of egg wash.

3. Grate marble or cheddar cheese and sprinkle over top of the apples and puff pastry. Put into the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the puff pastry has started to brown. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and cut into desired sized peices. Eat while still warm.

There's a few peices of this leftover from last night in the fridge and it's still pretty good cold. But definitely much better when it's straight outta the oven.
I'm off to make some black bottom coconut squares and some madeleines.
I'm going to bring them in to placement on Tuesday and impress my co-workers.
Whadda suck up.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Good Things" for October (2010)

It's October!

Where did September go? It seems like only yesterday that I was getting ready to head back to school.
Time flies when you really don't have much free timeto spare, apparently.

But it's once again the weekend, the glorious, glorious weekend. And this time I don't have to get up at 5:30 am with my stomach in knots to head downtown for a brisk 21 km run at 7:30 in the morning.
Though don't get me wrong, I would GLADLY do a half marathon again. It's just nice to know that the only thing I have to wake up early to do this weekend is to get my hair done tomorrow.

There really is nothing quite like having someone massage your scalp with deliciously scented shampoos and conditioners. I'm pretty excited.
Moving on...

It's October so that means it's time for this months Good Things!

Jamie's Good Things for October

1. Big, Big, Big Scarves

(Photo from blog.yokooblog.com/)
I want.
How cozy does this look?
A large scarf that you could take a nap in is probably one of my favourite things about the fall and the chilly weather.

2. Peak Frean Lifestyle Vanilla Bean Latte Cookies

I bought these cookies for the first time ever on Monday because they were on sale and then an additional 50% off the sale price. These cookies are DELICIOUS!
And at 140 calories for 3 cookies they're practically good for you.
If you're looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth and you don't want to splurge too much then go and find these cookies or any one of the other awesome flavours they come in!
(Lime Coconut? Blueberry Brown Sugar? Dark Chocolate with hint of Cherry? Berry Green Tea? Can you really say no thanks to those!?)

3. The Event

Having been a huuuuge Lostie and having said goodbye to it recently, I was lost (ba-doom-ch) thinking about what show would replace it in my heart.

Sure I have Glee and Modern Family to keep me laughing (did everyone else laugh out loud at the great lines that Brittany S. Pierce had? And did everyone swoon over hunkiness incarnate John Stamos? The man is beautiful and, confession, sometimes I listen to his version of the Beach Boy's Forever on repeat). But I need a mysterious drama to keep me trying to figure out what's going on.

This show is it, ladies and gentlemen. If you loved Lost then give The Event a try! If you aren't trying to peice together the peices and anxiously waiting for the next episode after watching the first, then I'll give you a full money back guarantee.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Don't even think about throwing away what you scoop out of your pumpkins later this month.
Clean the goo off of the seeds and place them on a baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Add salt, pepper, any spice you should so choose. Bake them at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or until they start to brown. Then snack on them 'til your heart's content.

5. Breast Cancer Awareness

As many of you know, this weekend is the Walk/Run for the Cure.
I'm proud to support my Aunt who is walking in honour of the hundreds of thousands of women who have been affected by this disease, some of which she knows and has known personally.
If you can't take part in the worthwhile event, then please donate.
Visit http://www.cbcf.org/en-US/home.aspx or http://www.areyourunning.ca/ for more details
To everyone who has already donated: You're doing wonderful things!

Well, I'm back to watching episode 2 of The Event!
Have a fun Friday everyone :)