Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies

After a long and emotional week, I felt that I needed to bake.  Our nation has come together to mourn and to honour our fallen and I couldn’t be prouder.  I have cried this week while watching our country line highways, sing the anthem, lay flowers, and so much more.  A sugary and buttery batch of cookies is just what this heavy heart needed.

These are not your classic sugar cookies.  Yes, there is sugar.  Yes, there is butter.  But there is also cardamon, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice.  These cookies pack a flavourful, sweet, and buttery punch!

The recipe can be found at http://www.mybakingaddiction.com.  My cookies do not look as professional as her’s but that doesn’t detract from their wonderful taste!

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Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar-spice mixture, set aside to reserve for rolling the cookies.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

5. Beat in egg and vanilla extract, combine until fully incorporated.

6. Slowly blend in dry ingredients mixing until just combined.

7. Using a small scoop (2 teaspoons) roll dough into balls and then into the reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

9. Let stand on baking sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

10. Store in air tight container for up to three days.

Happy Munching!

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DIY Ribbon Christmas Ornament

Do not hate me. I started my Christmas preparations and gift making in July because well…. sometimes I just feel the need to get ahead of the game!  I’m not one of those people though that listen to the music in July *cough* Hannah *cough*  I prefer to wait until December to actually start getting in the mood.  But the gift making and prep can start whenever I have the time and the energy 🙂

Today’s Christmas prep was making ornaments!  This was extremely fun and just a little time consuming…  Time consuming because the tiny little sequin pins are just that, tiny.

The materials you need to make this craft are:

-Scissors 🙂

This idea came from a Pinterest post I saw.  Now I do not understand the language AT ALL, however the photos that accompany the article are enough explanation on their own.

http://m.duitang.com/people/mblog/52834667/detail/

I did not add the little bows on top but it is something I am thinking of doing.

Here are a few photos during the process and after 🙂

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Happy crafting!

Caramel Apple Newcastle Loaf

Fall is upon us and even though the sound of this loaf (and the smell – when will they invent “smell-o-vision”??) reminds me of fall, the taste will have you craving this any time you have a Newcastle or apple around the house.

The simplicity of this recipe (prep and cook time) make it an incredibly easy go to recipe.  I brought it to bagpipe band practice one night to have my guinea pigs test it out.  Let’s say that almost literally in the blink of an eye they had destroyed it.  People were even collecting the sugary-caramel crumbs off the cutting board.

What is lovely about this loaf is that when eaten fresh and warm from the oven it is delectable.  In addition, when it has completely cooled it is just as yummy! Next morning for breakfast, that night with coffee, and in your lunch bag for work, it will taste great.

Here we go.  This recipe is tweaked from a recipe found at http://www.thebeeroness.com.

 
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Ingredients:

For the caramel sauce:
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tbs water
2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the Bread:
3 cups flour
3 tbs sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional – I did not use them)
½ tsp cinnamon
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
12 ounces Newcastle (this is 1 beer and a bit from another bottle – just drink the rest heheheh)
4 tbs melted butter

Method:

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1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, walnuts, cinnamon, and apple pieces. Pour the beer and butter into the dry ingredients, stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 1.5 qt loaf pan.

3) In a pot over high heat add the sugar, water and butter. Stir until the butter has melted. Allow to boil without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes or until the sugar has turned an amber colour. Pour the caramel over the top of the loaf.

4) Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean.

 

Happy Munching!

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Arm Knitting Cowl Scarves

Needles, and yarn, and pearling, oh my!
Knitting is a daunting task to many. What size needles?! There’s different weights to yarn?! Counting stiches?!

I was afraid at first as well. Then I dove head first into a blanket that will never be at some point I will finish.
(Here’s it’s status now…)
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Anywho, here’s a craft that anyone can do! The finished product is lovely and it doesn’t take you months to finish! Bulky yarn works the best so I would go for size 5 at the very minimum – 6 and super bulky work the best. This makes for lovely gifts and wonderful accessories. I bought this yarn at Fabricville; they tend to be cheaper than Michael’s.

All you need is:
– 2-4 skeins of bulky yarn (2 for the tight large cowl in position 3 of the final products. I also only used 2 for the loose cowl in positions 1 & 2 of the finished products photo. I would use 4 if you want to be able to double it up when wearing either.)
– Your arms!!!

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The idea comes from http://www.handimania.com and their YouTube video and instructions that I followed can be found right here: http://www.handimania.com/knit/30-minute-infinity-scarf.html

In pictures 1 & 2 of the final products I did only 8 links rather than 12 to see how it would look. Picture 3 of the final products is the 12 links.

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Happy arm knitting!!

Baked Popcorn Shrimp

Friday night munching and who doesn’t like some popcorn shrimp?! Great for TV stand dinner and movie watching.
But…
This meal has the shrimp bake in the oven and sometimes you’re not a baked shrimp kind of person.
Be aware.
However, if you do like baked shrimp, this has the right amount of zing from Cajun spices and crunch from the Panko crumbs.
Make your own dipping sauce to go along with it and you have a lovely crunchy meal or appetizer for a party. Dips can range from spicy mayo, to hoisin sauce, to a sweet chili heat. Up to you! You could also switch out the Cajun spices to Italian should you wish.

This recipe can be found on http://www.givemesomeoven.com.

Here we go:
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Ingredients:
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Old Bay or other Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 egg white, whisked
1 lb. raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Optional:
cooking spray
lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together Panko, parmesan, old bay, salt and pepper until combined.

3. Set up your dipping station with bowls of (1) shrimp (2) egg whites and (3) breading. Working one at a time, dip a piece of shrimp in the egg whites until it is covered. Then transfer to the breadcrumb mixture and toss until combined. Gently place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining shrimp.

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4. Optional: then generously coat all of the shrimp with a layer of cooking spray. (This will help the breading turn golden – I did not do this)

5. Bake for 3 minutes, then flip shrimp and bake for another 3 minutes or until cooked through and no longer translucent.

6. Serve warm with garnishes and cocktail sauces.

Happy munching!!

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Black Eyed Peas and Mung Bean Stew

It’s vegan. It’s gluten free. It’s super yummy!

Never did I think I would enjoy a vegan and gluten free meal so much. Stefan loved it as well! I served it with some Naan bread fresh out of the oven.

A key to making this dish is soaking the beans over night. The recipe calls for at least six hours but truly it’s not hard to throw them into a bowl of water the night before.

This dish packs a punch when it comes to flavour. Featuring turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and red chilies, it is quite the medley. In addition, unlike so many soups and stews, this one does not call for broth (beef or chicken or vegetable). By only using water there is no masking of any of the spices!

This recipe can be found on the site http://www.veganricha.com.

Here we go!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry Mung bean(green mung/moong bean)
1/2 cup dry black eyed peas/cow peas

2 teaspoons organic canola or coconut oil (I used canola)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kashmiri garam masala ( or use regular garam masala)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 dried red chili or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
5-6 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 inch ginger minced (3/4 of a tsp ground but fresh wields a bigger flavour)

1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery(Optional – I used it)
2.5 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh cilantro for serving (optional)

Method:
1. Soak the black eyed peas and mung beans overnight or atleast 6 hours.
Drain and rinse and keep ready.

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2. In a pressure cooker or a deep pan, add oil and heat on medium.

3. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf and one dried red chili and mix for a few seconds. Don’t let it burn!

4. Add in the ginger, garlic and onion and saute for 4-5 minutes or until onion is translucent.

5. Add in all the spices and mix for a few seconds.

6. Add in the celery and tomato and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender.

7. Add the rinsed beans, salt and water.

8 Mix and pressure cook on low-medium for 6-7 whistles.

*** 9. If making in a pan, add rinsed beans, 3 cups of water, salt, cover and cook for about an hour or until the mung beans are very squishy. Cover partially with a lid.

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(Image without water added yet)

10. Taste for salt and spice. Add more garam masala if needed. Add more water if needed(depends on the method of cooking, the beans and your preference of the consistency)

11. Serve hot topped with fresh cilantro or seasoning of choice.

12. Serve with flatbread (Rotis, Naan, Pita) or Rice.

And the final picture!! Yumm!!!

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Happy munching!

Witch’s Brew

Autumn is upon us. With the leaves changing, crisp air, and fall clothing, it only seems logical that our homes should smell like autumn too! Since most of us will be home for the weekend, whipping up a pot of this will keep your house smelling absolutely yummy till Sunday. You’ll want to eat it….. But I wouldn’t suggest that….

Lemons, oranges, apples, and spices will fill fill your home with a beautiful aroma. This brew will keep for about two days before the apples have basically fallen apart and you’ll want to throw it away.

This idea is from rachaelsfavouriterecipes.blogspot.ca.

So here’s how it goes!

1 apple
1 orange
1 lemon
2 T whole allspice (or 1tsp of ground)
2 T whole cloves (or 1 tsp ground)
4 cinnamon sticks

Slice fruit into rings. Don’t worry about peels, seed, cores, etc. Place all ingrdients into a crock-pot or regular pot. Fill with water. Simmer on low. Refill with water as needed. Be careful not let the water get too low!

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Enjoy!