Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Lemon Meringue Pie

Not very Christmas-y but it was a request so here is today's recipe!


  • Prepare a pie crust (either use a premade one or make one or throw together a quick graham cracker crust). Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 4 tsps cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boi, stiring constantly. Boil for one minute until mixture thickens then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Beat 3 egg yolks (set whites aside for use later) with a fork and set aside in a small bowl. In another saucepan, mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over medium hea, stiring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Pour half into the egg yolks, mix, then pour back into the rest of the sugar mixture. Add in 3 tbsp butter, 2 tsp grated lemon peel, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 2 drops of lemon food colouring.
  • In the bowl of a mixer, whip the 3 egg whites. Slowly add in the first sugar mixture which should now be cooled. Whip until stiff peaks form.
  • Pour lemon filling into the crust then top with the egg whites. Make sure the egg white meringue is spread right to the edges of the pie crust to keep the filling from shrinking during baking.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the meringue is light brown. Cool for 2 hours, cover and refrigerate.

I put up my Christmas wreath! Waiting for John to get home tonight and then tomorrow we're going to go get a tree!
I also wrapped gifts....I'm getting excited!

Only 16 days to go!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Chocolate Cranberry Lemon Squares

Sorry today is a 2-for-1 but only because yesterday's post failed to actually be posted.
But I'm still on track so I'm happy.
Today I stopped into Sugar Mountain to get my usual mix of chocolate covered everything and I was inspired when I saw the chocolate covered cranberries.
Cranberries are very holiday-esque so I figured I'd bring them home and bake them into some kind of cookie.
Instead I found a lemon square recipe and figured lemon and cranberry go very well together....why not?
Also, my square pan is in the sink and I'm too lazy to wash it so I baked it in a round cake pan.


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Press into a squares pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Beat 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 2 eggs together for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Mix in 2/3 cup chocolate covered cranberries. Pour into crust.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Deeeeeelicious.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Banana Eggnog Cake

**I DID bake this (and write this post) yesterday but closed my computer before I remembered to click publish. Oops!

Since I bought a carton of eggnog for those cupcakes I figured I should make the most of it and use it in as much baking as possible.
Sorry this isn't going to be a long post but I'm busier than expected today and barely found time this morning to whip up this banana cake and pop it in the oven!


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl cream together 1 1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 cup butter. Add in 2 eggs. Mash in 3 ripe bananas.
  • Stir in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup eggnog. Mix in 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 tsp baking soda. Pour into a lightly greased cake pan and bake for about an hour.
  • Let cake cool then drizzle with eggnog icing (see post from a few days ago for the eggnog cupcakes icing) and some chocolate shaving.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Easy Pull-Apart Cinnamon Rolls

Let it be known that I love to bake and make things from scratch.
Unfortunately there isn't always time to do so.
In times of little time, recipes that are fast and easy come in handy.
Much like the oreo brownies, this recipe is easy and requires very little work but produces something delicious that your guests will love.
These would be especially good for breakfast on Christmas morning.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open a can of cinnamon rolls (I used Pilsbury Grands - the big boys) and separate the rolls. Cut each roll into four pieces.
  • Arrange the pieces in a lightly greased cake pan so that they're gently touching. Brush the tops with melted butter and top with chocolae sprinkles. Bake for 16-20 minutes.
  • Let cinnamon rolls cool for several minutes then spread icing (it should come in the purchased cinnamon roll tube) on top. Serve warm and let guests pull off bite-sized peices of cinnamon roll to enjoy.

20 DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS!!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Honeycomb Brittle

Wrote my first and last exam of the holiday season!
Wasn't great but wasn't terrible.
I'll know when they post the final marks - ready for this? - on Christmas.
That's cruel.
I won't be checking on Christmas morning. I'll be too busy loading up my new ipod (coughJOHNcough) or driving around in my new car (coughMOMDADcough).
The car might be wishful thinking.
Especially considering my dad needs a new car for himself. I'm not poking fun (I swear) but there are too many things about that old Volvo that crack me up. The Gandalf-style stick that props the trunk up and keeps people from being decapitated, the clothes hanger antenna, the fact that the drivers side seat belt no longer adjusts so my dad slides under it to get in, and the other day my dad crushed his thumb in the sun roof. He has 2 pins in it and a cast.
Poor guy.

Anyway, today's recipe is fast and easy (don't make the same mistake I did - I'll explain) and makes a great gift!



  • Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. ***Don't use wax paper, it will not come off the bottom of the brittle.
  • Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. ***Then remove from heat, do not let sugar burn as I did on my first batch.
  • Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 tbsp baking soda until combined and mixture bubbles. ***Whisk like crazy. Don't do what I did and stop whisking to check the next step in the recipe. I promise you the mixture will bubble over and go everywhere. Your cupboards, counters, and floors. And this brittle is a witch to scrub off. We're talking an hour of scrubbing it off every surface. Gently pour mixture onto baking sheet without spreading. Let cool. Break into pieces.
The best way to clean the hardened sugar out of the pot (and every other dish/utensil you accidently slop it all over) is to take it into the bathroom, turn on the tub's hot faucet and power wash them. I kid you not. It's super fast.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Tea Cookies (22 Days to go!)

You'll have to excuse the fact that this is a repeat offender recipe.
In my defense I baked up a batch for John as he's away for work this upcoming week and requested these AND I have an exam tomorrow so I can't be baking every second of the day.
Except that I am and I'm finding a lot of other things to do rather than study.
But as soon as I post this I'm back to studying!
I only have the one exam so I have no excuse.



  • In a bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 1 cup sugar together. Mix in 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla.
  • Mix in 2 1/2 cups flour and the tea inside 8 tea bags of whatver tea you'd like to use. Stir to combine. Wrap cookie dough and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once chilled, roll out dough on a floured surface and cut out in circles.  Bake for 7-10 minutes then allow cookies to cool before enjoying.
To fancify (yep, a word) this recipe for holiday gift-giving, find a specialty tea store and grab some different flavoured teas to make the cookies more unique. If you have a David's Tea anywhere nearby they have a ton of flavours. Yesterday I had a chocolate chili chai tea! Pretty good.

Tomorrow you get a recipe PLUS a how-to on cleaning dried brittle off your kitchen cupboards, floor, and counter.
 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Eggnog Cupcakes (23 days to go!)

Eggnog is the ambassador drink of Christmas.
Do you drink it at any other time of the year?
If you do, then ... keep it to yourself cause we're talking Christmas now.

With eggnog being only for Christmas I set out to find a recipe that would incorporate eggnog into the ingredients.
I found a really easy recipe for eggnog cupcakes.


(recipe from www.eggnogrecipe.net)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup sugar and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until well combined and fluffy.
3. Add 2 eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one. Add in 1/2 tsp vanilla and mix well.
4. In another bowl combine 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
5. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by half of 1/2 cup eggnog

6. Mix until just combined then add the remainder of the flour mixture and the remainder of the eggnog and rum. Mix until combined, scraping the sides if necessary.
7. Pour batter into 12 lined cupcake tins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when pressed.
8. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire wrack before frosting.

Frosting Directions

1. Beat 1/2 cup butter until soft, add in 2 cups confectioners sugar one cup at a time.
2. When frosting starts to become stiff, slowly add in enough eggnog (about 1/8 cup) to bring about a spreadable consistency.
3. Pipe or spread the icing on to the cupcakes, sprinkle with cinnamon and place a cinnamon stick in the cupcake for garnish.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Apple Crumble Pie (24 days left)

Day Two!
The challenge is still going strong!
Day one: Oreo brownies
Day two: Apple Crumble Pie.
If you like apples, raisins, cinnamon, pie or crisp (or both, in this case) then this is the desert for you.
This recipe is Martha Stewart's Apple Crumb Pie 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 6 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Work with fingers until large clumps form; freeze.
2. On a lightly floured piece of wax paper or parchment paper, roll dough into a 14-inch circle. Carefully fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, gently lowering dough into bottom and sides of pie plate without stretching (you will have a 2-inch overhang all around). Refrigerate.
3. Place 2 tbsp lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core, and slice 8-10 apples 1/8 inch thick, transferring them to the bowl as you work. Add 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Transfer apple mixture to pie crust, pressing in firmly. Fold dough overhang over filling, pleating it as you work your way around pie; press dough firmly against filling.
4. Bake 45 minutes, then sprinkle apple filling with crumb topping. Continue to bake until golden and bubbling, 30 to 45 minutes more. Cool at least 6 hours before serving.
 
Then enjoy a delicious apple pie and apple crisp all in one!
 
24 days to go!
 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown: Oreo Brownies (25 days to go!)

And it begins!
The Christmas Cookie Countdown Challenge.
The first recipe is not a cookie.
Neither is the second recipe (heads-up).
I think I'd get real sick of cookies within a week if I made 25 different types.

I got this idea from a fellow blogger (in this post here - my stuff doesn't look nearly as good as the picture in her blog) and the combination of two things I love was enough to make me decide then and there that this would be on the list.
I chose to go with a quick and very simple way of making this.
If you've got time click on that link and follow the recipe but if you need to throw together an easy desert fast, bake this up and let a scoop of ice cream melt over the brownies, straight from the oven.


(Seriously it's the easiest 3 steps you will ever follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together a brownie mix as directed on the back of the box. Generally this will call for water, oil, and an egg.
2. Pour half of the brownie batter into a loaf pan then top with oreo cookies. Cover with the remaining brownie batter and smooth it over the cookies.
3. Bake brownies for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the brownie comes out clean.

See?
Didn't I tell you it'd be easy?
Plus people love brownies and oreos so put them together and give it to them and no one's going to question how you made them.
Now to start planning for the Bad Christmas Sweater Party!
Now in it's 6th year!
Crazy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Few of My New Favourite Things

As you may (or may not) be aware, I've gone cold turkey on junk food and subsequently the majority of carbohydrate-loaded foods because bread is my #1 vice and I cannot eat normal portions of pasta.
I've now gone 5 whole days without consuming sugar.
It's horrible.
But my body's sugar cravings are in their death throws. They've almost worked themselves out of my system.

I've eaten a ton of vegetables this week and I'm feeling good.
I went shopping after work today and was poking around the vegetarian section when lo and behold, I came across this amazing product that I've read about but never before seen:


It's pasta but it's not! It's tofu!
It's also only 40 calories for the entire package.
Ridiculous!
I could eat bowl after bowl of this stuff and never gain a pound.
I made the package of angel hair shirataki (I also got spaghetti and fettucini) and tried it with chicken and soy sauce.
Really good.
I'm so happy I found this!

Second: I tried this for the first time this morning and I'm in love.


I had the Apple Pie flavour and it's exactly like taking a bite of apple pie.
I need to stock up on this gum. I want to try the other two as well.

That's it for today. I've worked all week so far and I have an exam on Monday that I should probably study for somewhat.

Tomorrow is the first of December!
We had our first real snowfall today and I also heard my first Christmas song on the radio (perfectly timed with the falling snow) so I'm ready to get into the festive spirit.
Staying true to my promise, I'm embarking on the Christmas Cookie Countdown.
I've been baking ahead to ensure I don't miss a day.
Expect daily posts until Christmas!
And leave suggestions if you have a holiday favourite you enjoy baking.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy American Thanksgiving Weekend!

Thanksgiving weekend in the States comes to an end and I didn't have time to make any turkey. I did buy turkey bacon though and I had it for breakfast this morning so.... problem solved.
I'm trying to limit my carbohydrate intake not because I want to lose weight but because I eat so terribly and I find myself turning to quick carb-loaded food items instead of going into the kitchen and making a meal.
I'm on day 2 of eating better and already my vegetable intake has been more than it has been in the last few weeks!

Thursday night was my last shift in the ICU!
It went pretty well, the 12 hours more or less flew by, and the same patient who called me a 'dickhead' on Monday was slightly more sedated.

Didn't do too much this weekend, apart from working and then going out last night to hear John's brother play.

Oh! I won a give-away!
If you aren't already following her and if you like beautiful photography you will like this blog.
Go visit it here.

Lastly, I came across this masterpeice whilst perusing some of the gossip websites. I forget which one but I saw it and I couldn't stop thinking about it.
It's on my list of things to do to make a Turducken.
This is the desert version.

The Cherpumple.


A cherry pie, a pumpkin pie, and an apple pie all baked inside a cake.

If I wasn't trying to cut out all junk food I would be in the kitchen right now making this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Biscotti (a 2-for-1 recipe post!)

Tomorrow night is my last shift in the ICU!
I'll be sad to leave but happy to regain free time and be closer to the holidays.
Yesterday I was finally "abused" by a client - I use quotations because it really wasn't abuse at all and I say finally only because I've been waiting for a hilarious moment like this.
The patient was confused and disoriented and trying to climb out of the bed. Not a great idea when you have a central venus access device in your jugular vein, IVs and arterial lines, and you're receiving dialysis from a machine at the bedside. We had to keep him loosely restrained so that he wouldn't escape from the bed.
He was becoming more and more agitated and I tried to reorient him to where he was. He told me he had to go to a dentist appt and that I needed to let him loose. I apologized and tried to explain as best I could why he had the restraints on (believe me, there's a policy of least restraint that is followed so people aren't just tied to beds for fun). He responded with, "ahhh let me loose you dickhead".

I had to turn and walk away to keep from laughing.
It might be the best name I've ever been called. Ever.
I wouldn't let just anyone call me a dickhead but this man endeared himself to me by doing so. The poor guy just wanted to get to that dentist appointment!

Anyway, the year is now officially winding down and free time is on the horizon.
John's work crew are taking turns bringing in baked goods every day for the next two weeks and John's turn is tomorrow. He said he was going to bring in his camping stove and make hot chocolate for everyone. I volunteered to bake. We decided biscotti would go nicely with hot chocolate as it's perfect for dunking.
I looked up a holiday biscotti recipe and went with gingerbread. I halved the recipe because in the comments section someone said it made 5 dozen (it didn't) and I was left with one measley cookie per person. So I made another batch. I was going to do double chocolate but I ran out of chocolate chips. I did however have some raspberries. So in they went.



Gingerbread Biscotti
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup molasses, and 1/4 cup fresh ginger until smooth. Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. 
  • In a bowl, stir 3 cups flour, 1/2 tbsp baking powder, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp nutmeg, 1/2 tbsp cloves, and 1/2 tbsp allspice. Add to egg mixture; stir to blend.
  • On two greased 12x15 inch baking sheets, use well-floured hands to pat dough into 2 flat loaves, spacing them evenly on sheets. Bake in a 350 F. oven until browned at edges and springy to touch, about 25 minutes.
  • Let loaves stand on baking sheets until cool to touch, then cut into long, 1/2-inch thick diagonal slices. On baking sheets, arrange slices close together with a cut side down. Return to oven and bake at 350 F. until cookies are brown, 15 to 18 minutes longer. Let cool and enjoy!
Raspberry Chocolate Biscotti
(Taken from Martha's Double Dark-Chocolate & Ginger Biscotti Recipe)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp  baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt until well combined; set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy; beat in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup oil until well combined.
  • With the mixer on low, beat in dry ingredients until combined. Mix in 1 cup fresh raspberries and use a spatula to mix well.
  • With moistened hands shape the dough into 2 logs, each about 9 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Bake until set on top, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Transfer logs to a cutting board and, with a serrated knife, cut each log on the diagonal into 16 slices, each 1/2 inch thick. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, turning the biscotti over midway through. Cool 5 minutes on a baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a week
Hey!
My LCBO gift basket came!
Not too shabby for a losing blog entry!
It's not a great picture what with the cellophane and all but there are 4 wine glasses, a tray, a bowl, kitchen towels, bread dipper, crackers, olives, a spread, a cheese board, cheese plates, and more that I can't see from where I'm sitting.
Pretty nice.
Thanks, LCBO!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Healthier Corn Dogs

When I was little, my family spent a lot of time in Pensacola, Florida.
My memories are strongly linked to smells and tastes so a few things remind me of my childhood spent on white beaches.
One is Dr. Pepper.
The other is corn dogs.

I had a weird hankering for them the other day but wanted to make them rather than buy a boy of froze pogos. I also wanted to try and bake them rather than deep fry them in a pot of oil.
A quick google search gave me a good place to start.


Recipe for batter from southernfood.about.com

1. Mix together 1 cup flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 tbsp granulated sugar, 3 tbspbaking powder, and 1 tsp salt. Mix in 1 egg (whisked), 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 1 cup of milk. Add in the milk 1/2 cup at a time, keeping the consistency thick enough to shape onto each hot dog.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Skewer hot dogs with wooden sticks. Using your hands, mold the batter around each hot dog and place on a tin-foil lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the corn batter is set but not too brown. Serve with mustard for dipping.

My batter was too thick so it made it hard to eat properly but it'd be worth trying again.
Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Parker House Rolls (American Thanksgiving Prep)

The fact that a holiday appears on a calendar is reason enough for me to celebrate it.
Next week is American Thanksgiving, or as I am choosing to call it, Thanksgiving Round Two.
I don't know that I'll pull out all the stops and make a turkey, stuffing, etc (especially seeing as I will likely be doing my very last shift in the ICU next Thursday night) but I would if I had the time.
For those of you who want to celebrate Thanksgving Round Two (or you just want a good bun recipe) I've got a great recipe that will come in handy.

In the November issue of Everyday Food there was a recipe for Parker House rolls. I used this recipe for the buns for my sliders and they are deeeeelicious.
If you want to make your own rolls for a meal, try these ones.



(This recipe will make 24 rolls)
1. In the bowl of a mixer combine 4 1/2 cups flour with 4tsp coarse salt, 5 tbsp unsalted butter cut into peices, 1 tsp dry active yeast, 1 1/2 tsp honey, and 1 1/2 cups whole milk. Using a dough hook, mix on low until the mixture comes together. Increase to medium-high and beat until butter is incorporates and the dough is soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Coat a large bowl with non-stick spray. Form dough into a ball and place in the bowl, covering with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
3. Lightly coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange in pan about 1/2 inch apart. Repeat. Cover the pan with a damp cloth and let rise until rolls begin to touch, about 1 hour.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each roll with melted butter and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with salt before serving.



  If you want to use this recipe to make some rolls but don't plan on making a huge Thanksgiving dinner, may I suggest making sliders?
Or make 12 rolls instead of 24 and make real-sized hamburgers.


You won't be disappointed.

Tomorrow I'll show you how to make slightly healthier corn-dogs!
Warning: my corn batter was way too thick and fell off after the second bite.
We can troubleshoot together.

Ohhh also my gift basket came from the LCBO!
Pictures to follow at some point this weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The End is Nigh

Only make sure you say the title of this post thinkin about the end of the world.
We've got just over a year before that happens.
Way to go, Mayans.

So!
It's been a long time.
I handed in my last (I still have a self evaluation and an exam) assignment yesterday and I'm nearing the end of my ICU placement.
Last week I did two back to back night shifts and boy was I smart to not do that at the beginning of the semester. Last Monday night almost killed me because our patient was transfered to another unit and after preparing the room for the next patient we waited upwards of 4 hours before finding out the patient had died in the OR. It was a weird feeling knowing no one was going to be wheeled into our unit from surgery.
Then on Tuesday we got a fresh post-op patient at around 1 or 2 in the morning and it's kind of chaotic for the first few hours. Vitals need to be recorded every 15 minutes for the first hour, every 30 mins for the second, then every hour after that.
Then at around 6:30 am I measured his chest tube drainage and we realized he was hemorrhaging. Then more chaos ensued. The fellow came in, the attending came in, the surgeon came, the respiratory therapist was there, there were about 3 RNs in the room pushing meds, bolusing fluids....I was happy to stand back in a corner out of the way and observe.
It was really the first time I'd had  a seriously unstable patient in the ICU (which is crazy considering the vast majority are IN the ICU because they're not stable enough to be on another floor). I was exhausted after that.

I did a day shift yesterday and d/c'd a radial art line (I say that only to soud like I'm on ER) - basically I pulled a short line out of the patients artery in her wrist. And of course after a minute of putting pressure on the area I looked down and saw the gauze soaked with blood so I'd been putting pressure just slightly off from where I should have been. Terrible. She was fine though, don't worry.

So.
That's that!
I have 3 more shifts in the ICU and then I'm done for the semester.
And only a few more weeks until I can celebrate Christmas in the apartment.
But you better believe I'm already well into the Christmas spirit what with all the commercials and songs and decor I've been seeing and hearing lately.
I'm trying to make corndogs today (don't ask, weird craving) but I just looked through Martha's thanksgiving deserts and I want to include the following into my 25 baked goods of Christmas:

Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dulce de Leche

Rustic Apple Tart (I might make this today)

Apple Crumb Pie (or this one today)

Pear Charlotte


As for today's venture I've talked one of my work friends into doing a theme dinner with me tonight at work so we're doing a "USA A-OK" meal and everything sort of fits at a State fair.
I've got hamburger buns on the go (making sliders) and I'm going to run out in a few to grab cornmeal for the corndog batter!
I'll put up the recipe and pictures tomorrow!

December 1st, the official start of the apartment Christmas season.
So soon.
December 5th I'm done the semester!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Visions of Sugarplums....

It's almost Halloween.
You know what that means.
Christmas is coming!

I've been starting to get the Christmas itch and it was amped up big time yesterday after spending some time with my cousin who might be the biggest fan of Christmas ever.
It started with Glade commercials advertising holiday scents.
Two months.... that seems like an awfully long time but it's going to fly by.
October literally disappeared in the blink of an eye.

But back to Christmas stuff in a moment.
I have an exam in a few hours (yes, I should be cramming) so this won't be a long post.
I was invited to join Sigma Theta Tau, an honours nursing society!
I joined, paid my dues. Literally. $100 worth.
But well worth it as it'll look good on my resume when I start applying for jobs and it's a good place to start networking.


Before I get dressed and leave to write the final exam for this history course (side note: I got a 90 on the paper I spent 3 weeks slaving away on so now I'm not super worried about the exam, though I probably should be), I want to share with you something I am quite excited about.
It's a new challenge I've set for myself.
After this exam, I have 2 assignments and 1 exam left for this semester.
The entire month of December I will have 1 exam (and work, obviously).
With that amount of free time I am going to turn this apartment into Santa's workshop but I also want to get back into baking in a big way.
I am challenging myself to bake 25 different cookies (or baked goods in general) as a countdown to Christmas challenge.
It'll be a busy December.


Exam time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Banana Bread with an Oreo Twist

I think I bake banana bread more than anything else.
It's so easy, so good, and so necessary when there is a bunch of bananas slowly turning black in your fruit bowl.
Usually I go heavy on the chocolate chips or do chocolate chip variations (Easter themed banana bread with mini eggs is really good) but on Sunday night, as I mixed up my batter, I realized I had no chocolate at all.
I could have made a basic loaf but I like a challenge (and like chocolate even more) so I scoured the cupboards until I found a box of oreo cookie crumbs.
I debated between mixing the crumbs into the batter but thought a simple crust might be a nice compromise.
Even better? You don't need to add butter to the crumbs to make a crust. Simply cover the bottom of the loaf pan with the crumbs then spoon the batter on top!


*This is a Betty Crocker recipe that I adapted.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and cover the bottom with oreo cookie crumbs.
  • In a bowl, cream 1/2 cup of butter with 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Stir in 2 eggs until well blended. Add in 4 medium bananas, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 tsp vanilla.
  • Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt. Mix until combined then pour batter over the oreo crumbs.
  • Bake for an hour and 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Voila!
A different spin on banana bread.

I just finished 4 hours of editing a group paper that's due today by midnight so I am ready to take a little break from work before I hae to start studying for my exam on Saturday.
I'd like to do a little bit of wedding prep but I'm not sure how much I could feasibly do.
A few weeks ago I printed out 50 save-the-date cards so I'll likely need to figure out exactly how many cards I'll need, print out the remainder, then start putting the finishing touches on them.
That'll be my arts and crafts project to look forward to once this blitz of school work is done on Saturday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oh hi, remember me?

It's been awhile.
But you'll have to believe me when I say it's me, not you.
School has taken over my life in recent weeks but the light at the end of  the tunnel is getting brighter.
I just handed in a history essay that has taken up every free moment of my time for the past two weeks.
Tuesday I hand in a group paper and then on Saturday I have the final exam for my history elective.
Then things will get a bit easier, at least temporarily.

Here's what you've missed:


My sister had a birthday and my best friend made her an incredible cake! After asking what her favourite kind of cake was my sister replied, "I'm not a huge fan of cake. Honestly I'd prefer a big plate of nachos."
So she got the best of both worlds. 
So cool.
And the carrot cake underneath was delicious.


 I also made pulled pork and cheddar biscuits to go with it. I think that may have been the last thing I posted about. I didn't have jalapenos for the biscuits so I added a dash of cayenne pepper to spice them up.



A few nights ago I asked John what he wanted for dinner and he asked if we had any Kraft dinner.
We didn't.
So having an excuse to not write my essay any more drop right into my lap, I decided to make mac and cheese myself.
We only had spaghetti (John cleaned out the cupboards cause we had a moth infestation and he ended up throwing out a lot of our stuff) but it worked well enough.
I melted cheddar and mozarella cheese into milk then added the cooked pasta.
It was pretty good!


One night this week I decided to make a nicer dinner (again, needed a good reason to not have to sit in front of my laptop for hours). I went with a fall-themed chicken and stuffed chicken breasts with brie, bacon, and apple slices.
The flavours worked really well together, not to mention the fact that bacon makes everything taste better.


In other news -
I found (and subsequently purchased) my wedding dress!
Well to be clear my mom purchased my wedding dress (thanks mom!) but wow!
I made an appointment last Saturday to go and try on some dresses to get an idea of what style would look best.
The second dress I tried on was the one.
It happened so fast!
I wasn't expecting to walk out of the store with a dress but it's been purchased.
I want to put up pictures but I also want to wait and do the big reveal in August.
And I also don't want John to see it.
I did cave and show him a not-so-great picture from a phone but that's all.
Ohhhhhhhhh man, so very very exciting!
It's beautiful.
I'm going to go look at the pictures of it again.
And take my banana bread out of the oven!
And then finish my group paper section :(

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits

Nothing compliments pulled pork quite like a good biscuit to soak up all that sauce.
I usually stick to a basic buttermilk biscuit but this time around I want to spice it up a bit.
I'm going to follow this recipe (from www.food.com) for jalapeno cheddar biscuits to fill with delicious, delicious pulled pork.



1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F.
2. Whisk 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl to combine. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese and incorporate.
3. Cut in 8 tbsp butter with a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
4. Make a well in the center. Whisk 3/4 cup yogurt and 1/3 cup milk in a small bowl to combine. Add 3 jalapeƱos, seeded and diced.
5. Pour into the well and mix with a fork, adding a tablespoon or so of additional milk if needed to form a moist sticky dough.
6. Drop 12 heaping tablespoons of the dough onto a ungreased baking sheet spacing the biscuits about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake until the tops are tipped with golden brown about 20 minutes.