Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Day Gelee Candies!

My friend Danielle came over today for a lunch date and we decided to make some more gelee candies. Getting ready for valentine's day, we used heart-shaped molds and then made some gummy worms, and some other hand-created designs (including a 'gummy bear' that I masacred).

Some of Danielle's ju-jub shaped candies:
Heart shaped:

They're so tasty and they set so well!
While we let them set, we went to Chipotle for lunch and gorged ourselves on tacos and fajitas.
Then after a quick stop into Sugar Mountain, we came back here to make ebelskivers and rave to some house music.
Apple cinnamon, blueberry riccota, chocolate chip, banana chocolate chip, and more.
We let our stuffed tummies digest while we got cozy and enjoyed It's All Gone Pete Tong.
All in all, a fantastic Sunday.
I was going to make a whole pile of ebelskivers for the breakfast contribution I said I would bring for the Black History Month breakfast on Tuesday buuuuut they're definitely better eaten straight out of the pan. With time they deflate and don't taste quite as good cold.

So I'm thinking I'll go devour the remaining 'skivers and start brainstorming some new ideas for a breakfast contribution.

I'm thinking either french toast strips or a breakfast lasagna....
Special thanks to Danielle for helping me get add to my winter weight and more seriously for taking such beautiful pictures and letting me steal them!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snack Sunday: Vegetable Salsa!

As previously stated, salsa is one of my all-time favourite condiments.
I use it on burgers, nachos (natch), in scrambled eggs and omelets, and pretty much everything else I can think of.
What I'm trying to say here is that I love salsa.
So when I saw this recipe, I was smitten.
It's going on the top of my to-do pile and I cannot WAIT to try this one out.
Vegetable Salsa
(courtesy of

  • Preheat a grill pan. Halve 3 medium tomatoes, 2 small zucchinis, 2 japanese eggplants, and 2 small yellow squash. Grill vegetables until softened and lightly browned on both sides. Allow the veggies to cool.
  • Chop the vegetables into small peices and toss them together in a large bowl. Add in 1/4 cup minced onion, 1 tbsp tumeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp canola oil, and 3 tbsp orange juice. Add salt to taste. Cover and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Serve with toasted whole-wheat bread.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


First things first: the cheesecake brownies won the vote.
They were delicious.
My competitor forgot about the brownie bake-off so I won by default. But word in the office was that I would have won anyway.
Make those brownies, they are phenomenal.
I used a half ricotta half cream cheese mix instead of mascarpone since it's soooo expensive.
In other news...
For christmas I got a new pan and a recipe book to put the pan to use. It's for Ebelskivers.
Never heard of them?
Neither had I!
They're essentially a dutch filled pancake. But they don't need to be filled if you prefer your pancakes straight up.
I made three kinds: plain, chocolate chip, and ricotta.

Since they were my first attempt they didn't turn out exactly as they looked in the book. But with practice comes perfection so I will keep practicing.
Once you have the pan it's pretty easy to get started.
  • Mix together 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Seperate 2 eggs and to the yolks add 1 cup of milk and 2 tbsp butter.
  • Mix the yolk mixture into the flour and stir with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Whip the 2 egg whites until soft peaks form then gently fold into the flour mixture, starting with 1/3 first and then adding in the rest.
  • Pour 2 tbsp into each cup in the pan. Add any filling, then top up with 1 more tbsp.
  • Cook on medium heat until bubbles form.
Gently, using either a knife or shish-kebab sticks, flip the ebelskiver over so that the other side can finish cooking.
Give the ebelskivers a few more minutes then remove from the pan.

Serve and enjoy!
There are recipes for some really delicious sounding ebelskivers that I'm going to make tomorrow!
I'm bringing in a breakfast contribution for the Black History Month breakfast-talk thing on Tuesday at placement so Im going to make some more ebelskivers!

Probably some sweet and some savory.

Also - I got netflix. Movie selection isn't the greatest but the TV shows are pretty good. John and I are watching Mad Men.
Oh Jon Hamm.
You handsome devil.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snack Sunday: Goat Cheese Crostini with Fig Compote

Another Sunday, another snack.
And this one's a bit fancier than chocolate dipped pretzles.
Three things I like: bread (probably my biggest vice), cheese, and figs all come together in this recipe to make a delicious and elegant appetizer for a party or just as a pick-me-up snack.
Goat Cheese Crostini with Fig Compote

  • Cut on the diagonal 1 small baguette into about 24 peices and brush both sides with olive oil. Broil in the oven until toasted, about 1-2 minutes.
  • In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup chopped figs, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup dry red wine, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 7-9 minutes. Let compote cool to room temperature.
  • Distribute 1 small goat cheese log among the 24 slices of baguette and spread on each peice. Spoon the compote over the goat cheese and serve!

Looks nice and fancy eh?

As soon as I buy some more figs I will be putting this recipe to the test!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Calling All Crafty U.S. Residents...

This might be the only time I've wished that I was a resident of the U.S.
Unfortunately I'm inelligible to enter but if you're 21 years old +, are a legal resident of the U.S., and consider yourself a Martha In Training,
I'll be sitting in class grumbling while you enter.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Voice Your Choice: Brownie Poll

Having become known as "Sara Lee" around the office I do my school placement in (it was too late to tell them I'd prefer "Martha"), it has become the norm that on Tuesdays there will be baked goods for the staff to enjoy.
Yesterday my title as the office baker was finally challenged.
Well, kind of.
Let me explain.
Since I started bringing things in, some of the workers would ask for certain types like "chocolatey", cookies, etc. Yesterday brownies were requested and it became known that one of the younger guys who works there makes amazing brownies.
And thus the brownie bake-off idea was born.
I am a graceful loser (...on the outside) and weird as it may sound, in certain situations I almost prefer losing as I know I can handle it and then I don't have to deal with a sore loser.
But I don't want to be shown up at this challenge.
And if I do lose, I want to know that I brought my A-game and did the best I could.
So here's where I need your opinions!
I'd like to hope that this is the first of a new series I will call:
I searched the Martha website and picked several brownie recipes that I think could be contenders.
Even if you're someone who reads this blog unbeknowst to me (which essentially is anyone not in my family) leave me your choice!
Chances are if you stumbled across this blog, I probably creep you on facebook anyway so it won't be at all awkward. To me anyway.
So before I go any further in making myself look like a weirdo, here are your choices:

4. Cappuccino Brownies

I'll be baking these either Sunday or Monday night so get your votes in ASAP!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies: a Tale of 3 Recipes

Sunday night I really wanted to bake.
And I'd had a request from last week for soft chocolate chip cookies so I was on a mission.
I found two recipes for soft chocolate chip cookies - one of which called for sour cream - so I was curious to see which would come out the softest.
And then I found a recipe for flourless peanut chocolate chip cookies and wanting to once again use soy butter I was sold on that one also.
I'll put up the recipe for the soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies and then perhaps later in the week I'll add the recipes for the soft cookies and the "peanut" butter cookies.
I differentiated which recipe was which based on size and chocolate chip size.
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
(recipe with sour cream - the cookies were soft and moist)

Soy Butter Chocolate Chunk

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(sweeter than the others and as the name implies, both soft and chewy)

  • Preheat oven to 35o degrees and set aside baking sheets.
  • In a bowl cream 1 cup butter with 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add in 2 eggs, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1 tsp salt and mix until combined.
  • Add in 2 1/4 cups flour and 1/2 tsp bakng soda and stir until combined.
  • Add in as many chocolate chips or chocolate chunks as desired.
  • Drop spoonfuls of dough ont obaking sheet and press down with wet hands. Bake for 8-10 minutes then let cool and enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Idol Hits the Hospital

I read this past week that my poor, beloved Martha was rushed the emergency room!
Her dog Francesca head butted her (accidently, though maybe not looking at that face...) and split her lip, which required stitches.

(Picture from
Like the champ she is, she obviously blogged about it.
Please, PLEASE, click on the link and browse through her pictures.
Picture 10, specifically.
I love her.
You know she probably asked the nurse - in her winter snow clothes - to fetch her some glacial water in a hand-carved ivory jug. And you know that nurse did not question the order.
You don't say no to Martha Stewart.
Or her crazy dog.
Bitch will head butt you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snack Sunday: Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

It's Sunday ... you know what that means!
Snack time!
A flavour combination that I love is chocolate and pretzels.
I wasn't always crazy about the salty-sweet thing, but once I tried chocolate covered pretzels I knew I'd found a friend.
I'm not saying I always crave them, cause I don't, but there's just something about them that I find very satisfying. I think it migh be because they have almost a nutty flavour and since I can't very well get that from real nuts...
Anyway, that being said, today's snack recipe is
Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

  • Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and set aside.
  • Melt 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate either in a double broiler or in the microwave.
  • Roll ends of pretzel rods or dunk regular pretzels into the chocolate, completely coating the area. Place on the baking sheet and refridgerate until set, about 15 minutes.

Easy, easy, easy and delicious.

These would make cute gifts too, wrapped in cellophane or a bag.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friendly Hook-Ups

Friends are good for a number of reasons.
Aside from all of the obvious ones, friends sometimes have great hook-ups.
Just after Christmas I was able to pick up the Tetley Tea basket that I won from my friend's blog's giveaway. So good.

Then just a few days ago I received a heavy package in the mail. A friend of John's from high school works for the good people at Canadian Living. Which means I get free magazines. And free bonus items.

Like this:

Oh yes.
It's a craft book! Sewing ideas, knitting ideas, seasonal ideas, food and gift ideas...
It's going to be good.
I've only had a few minutes to look through it so far but there are some cute seasonal holiday ideas that I'd like to try out.
I think I mentioned this earlier, but my goal for the month is to hunt down and fill out every application at every hospital in Toronto for the Nursing Externship programs. It's basically a program which allows nursing students who've finished their 3rd year a chance to get back into the hospital setting and shadow a nurse while getting paid as a nurse.
I know some hospitals aren't posting applications until February sometime but I've been scouring the HR/Careers page every week in anticipation.
I'll have to make sure I jazz up my resume a bit!

For placement this week soft chocolate chip cookies have been requested.
I've got 2 potential recipes.
Sour cream vs. no sour cream....
I may have to try these both out just to see.

Friday, January 14, 2011

This Week's Run Down

It's Friday!
What a week!
I was back at school and back at work full time and surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly) being that busy made the week fly by.
Monday I worked a double shift (7 am to 11 pm with breaks scattered in). Tuesday I was back in my placement office for the first time in almost a month. It was a great first day back, too. I had two caseworkers approach me about helping them with clients. One spoke no english so after researching resources, I called the translator to relay this information.
This woman knew the client and was not only translating for her but also trying to advise this woman what was best. And while the translator was trying to push the same ideas on the client as the caseworkers (getting help caring for her elderly mother so she could take ESL classes), she obviously had a vested interest and spoke quite heatedly for 15 minutes straight. I got about two words in the entire time.
Then Tuesday night I was back at work, made another stop motion video but it's too embarassing of the star to put up so I won't for his sake. But it's absolutely hilarious. I was on the floor laughing with tears running down my face.
Wednesday was back at placement and I got a lot of work started on my learning plan for this semester! I also am part of the Health and Wellness Committee so we had our first meeting of the new year. I'm making the vegetarian chili for Chili Day on the 26th! I'm also working with one of the supervisors to add more resources to the wellness page on the office website! I'm already so much more involved this semester and I'm loving it.
I also volunteered to bring something in for the breakfast the Black History Month Committee is having on Feb 1st! I'm thinking possible the breakfast lasagna that my aunt and mom make.
Wednesday I went to work at another pool and my staff is 3 younger girls - all of who are so professional, so sweet...I love them already.
Thursday I had class from 10-1 and then a conference clas from 4-6. Both went pretty well...the 10-1 class is horribly boring but I'm trying to make a resolution of sorts with myself to attend every class. Or at least mostly every class. Ugh....then Thursday night was back to work again.
Today was wonderful. Class from 10-1. Then home to watch Jersey Shore (don't judge me). I wasn't sure about the class I had this morning going into it. It's called Leadership and Change. Sounds pretty boring, right? I'll wait to pass judgement at the end of the semester but I was actually kind of inspired during the class. We got immediately into the group we'll be working with all semester. I like my group members so far and we seem to get along pretty well. The woman teaching the course said a lot of things that really resonated with me. She talked about the need for leaders rather than managers. She talked about the bullying of younger nurses that goes on in the workplace, and the need for us to learn now how to work together to support one another and build each other up.
Call me corny, but I left that class feeling a little bit taller, knowing that maybe one day I'll help to foster a positive work environment.
And now for the most exciting news of the week:
On Wednesday night I got a call from one of my supervisors. He explained that in 2 Sundays from now the Lifesaving Society is going to be filming a video at the pool, one which, as I understand it, is going to be used in the new NLS courses. My supervisor asked me if I wanted to be in the video! Obviously I said yes. Im not going to pass up my moment to shine! My big star turn. Plus it's not just a background appearance. I'm pretty sure I get some lines!
I'll let you know how it goes!
Anyway, John just got home so we're going to pop in a pizza, put on some Pacific, and spend some time together!
I found a really good sounding recipe for lime cheesecake squares that I want to try.
It's from the people over at Canadian Living

  • Line an 8-inch square metal cake pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on opposite sides.
  • In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups oreo cookie crumbs and 1/3 cup melted butter. Press evenly into the prepared cake pan and refirgerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, beat 3 pkgs cream cheese until smooth. Add 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup whipping cream, 2 tsp lime rind, 1/4 cup lime juice, and 1 tbsp granulated sugar. Beat until smooth. Scrape over cookie base and smooth with a spatula. Refridgerate until set, about 4 hours.
To serve:
  • Using paper overhand as handles, transfer the cheesecake from the pan onto a cutting board, Using a hot knife (and wiping the blade clean after ach cut), cut the cake into squares.
  • Whip 1/4 cup of heavy cream and spoon or pipe about 1 tsp onto each square. Place a thin slice of lemon or lime rind on top as a garnish.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Before Christmas I put a recipe to the test. The result: amazing.
These truffles are super simple to make, can be completed from start to finish in under an hour, and taste really good. You can also jazz them up by rolling them in literally anything you want.
I've used coconut (makes them very pretty), coarse sugar, graham cracker crumbs, oreo crumbs, and icing sugar (soaks in, not the best to use). I've also used crushed peak frean cookies (you know the really good digestive kind that has chocolate on one side?), and hot chocolate powder.
Without further ado, here is the recipe for
Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

  • In a bowl, mix together 1 pkg cream cheese (room temperature or microwaved for a few seconds to make it easier to work with), 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (or oreo crumbs), 1/2 cup icing sugar, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract.
  • Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips in either a double broiler or in the microwave. Stir into the cream cheese mixture and mix until well combined.
  • ***Add in another 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for chocolate chip cheesecake truffles.
  • Put truffle mixture in the fridge or freezer (no more than 15 mins in the freezer). When set, use a spoon to create truffles of the size you desire. Roll in your hands to make a ball, then roll in a bowl of shredded coconut, graham cracker crumbs, oreo crumbs, etc.
  • Put in the fridge to allow the truffles to set again.
Coconut covered truffle.

My truuuuuuffles, all photos courtesy of Danielle at

Monday, January 10, 2011

When Celebrity Chefs Go Wrong...

Let me start this post off by saying that I am not one to discriminate against weirdo recipes.
I really can't judge, as I often make what John refers to as my "soup" - essentially salsa, sour cream, and crumbled nacho chips in a bowl with a spoon.

It's like a less messy version of nachos... somewhat.

Anyway, I love weird recipes and I have mad love for most chefs on the Food Network (sorry some of you newbies, not quite sure about you yet but I won't call you out by name).

I also have nothing but love for cutie pie Southern Belle Paul Deen. Sure, she cooks almost entirely with pounds of butter, but with that Southern drawl I can't hold it against her. She's unappologetic about her cooking style and her love for butter.


I think when you have your own tv show, frequently grace the cover of magazines, and are known as a celebrity chef... well, things like this aren't really acceptable.


Am I wrong in thinking this?

I found this on and if you want to read some of the hilarious comments that people posted after this recipe, click here. Some are laugh-out-loud worthy.
As for Rachael Ray... the jury (being my opinion) is still out on this one. I watch her show when I'm home and it's on, and I've bought her magazine a few times... but her voice irritates me and sometimes I find her very fake. And hearing E.V.O.O. as well as some of her other little quirky terms (stoup I still like) sometimes irk me. So I'm torn.
And yes, I am well aware that she is by no means a professional chef, having never attended a cooking school, but she's done VERY well for herself and I respect her for how she's turned her name into a brand.

When you represent more than yourself, when you are a brand, things like this are no longer acceptable.

Really, Rachael Ray?

Again from I think my favourite comment is this one:

"Does anyone have a good recipe for banana? I typically take one from the bunch, peel it, discard the peel and eat it. But I feel like I am missing something. Any recipe for Orange would be helpful too."

C'mon celebrity chefs.

At least do like I do and copy and paste from another person's recipe collection.

Thanks, Martha.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snack Sunday: Sweet Potato Hummus

I've decided I'm going to try something a little new for the New Year. I have a bad habit of rambling sometimes, and since this is a food blog (but also crafts, entertaining, etc) and there has been a lack of recipes as of late, I am going to designate Sundays as 'Snack Sundays' and ensure that there is a new recipe up each and every week!
I missed out on starting this up last Sunday but I was a busy girl all day - cleaning the apartment (which is still unfortunately at the top of the to-do pile), then heading over to a dinner at John's parents' place that included his aunt, uncle, cousin and his cousin's very pregnant fiance. How pregnant? Her due date was last Sunday! We were all anxiously waiting to see if she'd start having contractions. Her stomach was getting very tight for several minutes at a time and she let us all feel (very kind) but no baby that night :(
So let us begin this week with a delicious sounding recipe!
I am going to try this one out the next time I have people over.
Sweet Potato Hummus

  • Peel and cut into 1 inch peices 1 pound of sweet potatoes and boil for 10-12 minutes or until soft. Place in a food processor.
  • Combine 1 can chickpeas, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup tahini, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp cumin, and 1 clove of garlic in the food processor. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Thin with water if the mixture is too thick, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve with pita or vegetables!

Well there you have it! A delicious sounding spin on a party staple. I was finally able to locate tahini last year but have yet to buy any... I'll be sure to do so soon though so I can make this dip!

*Update: Gelee Candies

I promised an update on the candies I made with my friend yesterday.
They turned out sooooooo well!
They're not featured on her website just yet but they will be!
She was kind of enough to send me the pictures she took of the candies (as well as my cheesecake truffles - recipe coming later this week!).
(Photo courtesy of
Blue is bubble gum flavoured, purple is grape, and the yellow-clear ones are cherry pineapple. We also made watermelon (a fun pinky red colour) but it was taking a long time to set. I took home with slab of it and I let it sit in the fridge overnight. If it has hardened I'll cut it into candy peices later on.
I'm going to clean the apartment, make more truffles, and possibly find a recipe for a type of loaf.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gummy Candies!

Today my friend (my incredibly talented cake-decorating friend) Danielle and I are getting together to bake slash create amazing things.
One of those things will be gummy candies!
I'm very excited.
This is a whole new challenge and I hope it works out as planned.
She's pretty on the ball though so I have no doubt that this venture will turn out successful.
To see some of her ridiculously incredible stuff, visit her site here.
While I don't know what recipe we will be using for the gummy candies, I do know that we rquire both gelatin and pectin (I bought both liquid pectin and pectin crystals just in case) so I searched for a recipe that included both.
If you want to join in the challenge, follow this recipe!
I can post the recipe we follow later on.
Gummy Candies

  • Lightly oil candy moulds (or use ice cube trays to make gummy cubes, OR use a cookie sheet and make shapes later on using cookie cutters).
  • Combine 1 box pectin (1 3/4 ounces) with 1/2 tsp baking powder in a medium saucepan. Add 3/4 cup water and place the pan over medium heat, stirring well until the pectin dissolves. As it heats, the mixture will foam. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, smooth, and clear - about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the pectin warm.
  • Combine 1 cup light corn syrup and 1 cup sugar in another medium saucepan. Place over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 260 degrees F (hard ball stage). Immediately add the pectin mixture and return the syrup to a boil. Boil for exactly 1 minute then remove pan from heat.
  • Add 2 tsp lemon or orange (or any flavour) extract and 6-8 drops of corresponding food colouring and mix until incorporated. Pour the syrup into the candy moulds and set them aside at room temperature until set, about 5 hours.
  • When the candies are set, sprinkle the tops with superfine sugar as this will allow you to handle the sticky candies. Shake off excess sugar and use your fingers to remove the candies from the moulds. Completely cover the candy with superfine sugar if desired.

I hope it works out perfectly!
I have candy moulds for chocolate that I'm going to bring with me but for the most part I think we're using ice cube trays.
Very excited!
I'll post pictures of the results tomorrow plus any variation in the recipe.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How to be Productive at Work: Fun with Cameras

Contrary to popular belief, it is very possible to amuse yourself at work.
All it takes is a good, fun-loving friend, some dollar store toys, and a camera.
Earlier in the week we made an arm westling video among others and last night we had originally planned to make some magician-style videos. I went to the dollar store to try and find anything remotely magic related but, alas, there were none to be found. Instead, for the low, low price of 100 cents, I bought a bag of 2 knights with weapons.
This is what happened.

You're impressed.

Don't pretend you're not.

The music? The gracefull ease with which we created this short film? The cameo appearance by yours truly?

I wouldn't be surprised if I get a call from the Academy, congratulating me on my Oscar nomination.

There will definitely be more of these to come.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just Call Me J.Lo

As you're probably aware, my best friend got enagaged over the holidays.
I'm a bridesmaid (yaaaaayyyy!) and as such, I get to help my bestie plan her nuptials!
Having been a bridesmaid for the first time ever this summer, I now have a bit of experience under my belt and since the MOH (Katrina) for the Jamaican wedding was SO well organized, I feel as though I have some resources (Katrina) to fall back on.
I also really like having legitimate excuses not to study and helping to plan a wedding is definitely a very worthy excuse.
I want to make a binder with headings like: Venue, Dresses + Suits, Catering, DJ, Flowers + Centerpeices, Favours, Photography, etc.
I want to be Jennifer Lopez in the Wedding Planner, minus the to-be-husband stealing.

Being a huge fan of shows like Say Yes to the Dress, and Four Weddings (and currently watching Ride Bride, Poor Bride), I feel somewhat prepared for this.
I even started google searching "Good places to get married in Toronto" last night at work.
Right now I have Casa Loma. Seems like it could be a cool place to have a wedding!
I kind of like the sound of this website so I may start using it as a starting block to help get Tracy's planning binder underway!
So much fun!
And not a ton of stress because it's not my wedding! Haha