Mini Lemon Loaves

The cold weather here in Montreal has me in a baking mood. When it hits -21C, frankly the outdoors are no place to be and a hot oven adds that extra warmth.

So today I decided to make some little lemons loaves that are perfect for snacking on, breakfast, or dessert! I have made them before and love the fact that they are made with sour cream. The last few desserts I have made have called for sour cream and I have decided that it is one of my favourite ingredients to use while baking. Greek yogurt is also just as yummy.  They add that little extra to your baking!

This recipe is from http://www.tastykitchen.com.

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Ingredients:

  • FOR THE CAKES:
  • ½ cups Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 whole Large Lemon, Zested (about 5 Teaspoons Zest)
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • 1-½ cup All Purpose Flour, Sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk
  • FOR THE GLAZE:
  • ¼ cups Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ cups Granulated Sugar

Method:
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– Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray mini pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

– In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream. Scrape the sides and mix again. With the mixer on low speed, incorporate all dry ingredients until just combined, then stir in the milk. Scrape the sides and mix a few more times by hand. Spoon batter equally into prepared pans. Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and are baked thoroughly. Use the toothpick method to see if they are done. Mine were done at 18 minutes.

– While lemon loaves are baking, mix ingredients together for the glaze and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds or so to dissolve the sugar into the lemon juice. The glaze is done once the sugar has dissolved.

– Once loaves come out of the oven, cool at least 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Spoon glaze over the loaves and continue to cool completely. Store in airtight containers until ready to serve.

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Happy munchings!!

Christmas Candy Cane Wreaths, Sharpie Mugs, and Simmering Potpourri

Wow… It has been one busy month of December! Between parties, Christmas shopping and decorating, and closing up the school I was teaching in, I hardly had time to blog!

Never fear though, I am back with a few new pieces and they are just in time for some last minute gifts and DIYs. This year I have gone all out with the craftings and the handmade gifts. One of my ballet assistants got an arm-knit scarf, a few people are getting simmering potpourris bags, there are some pedicures in a jar (pictures to follow after Xmas for those!), and a sharpie mug or two!

In no particular order, here we go!

DIY Candy Cane Wreath

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I had seen a few of these on Pinterest and decided to try it on my own!

What you’ll need is:
16 unbroken Candy canes
A glue gun
Some red or green ribbon
Cardboard
Christmas Paper

The steps I took are basically as follows:

1. Glue two candy canes at a time together.
2. Cut out a circular piece of cardboard (I think mine was from a box of frozen chicken wings or god knows what…) and arrange the candy canes in the wreath formation. Glue them down.
3. I also glued the points together; I felt like it stabilized the wreath.
4. Cut pieces of ribbon and glue around candy canes – of course this is options. Also cut one long piece to create the part to hang the wreath.
5. Finally, use some Christmas paper to create the centre to cover up the glue and candy cane ends!

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Voila! Happy Crafting!

 

DIY Sharpie Mugs

These make for wonderful little stocking stuffers or fill them with items and wrap for personalized gifts!

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All you need is:

Oil based Sharpie Pens (The is VERY important – do not use the regular – they will wash off too easily)

Mugs – I went to the dollar store – They work better than more expensive mugs because they have less coats of shellac for the sharpie to go through when baking.

Steps:

1. Wash your mug!
2. Pencil can be used to plan out the mug – but watch out it easily wipes off!
3. Use your sharpies to draw and colour your mug.
4. Stick them into the cold oven, turn oven to 350° and bake for 30 minutes. Once done, turn off the oven and let them cool down inside the oven.

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As a note, I would not stick them in the dishwasher. I would hand wash them in order to preserve it as long as possible 🙂

Happy Crafting!

 

Simmering Christmas Potpourri 

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This potpourri simmers on your stove top just like my fall “Witches Brew“.  However, this one has a more festive scent.

I got the idea from this lovely lady’s blog: cleanandscentsible.com

What you need:

Oranges, lemons, whole cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks

Clear plastic wrapping paper, twine or ribbon

Paper or a printer for instructions

How to:

Wrap one orange, one lemon and either double the amount of spices so they can make it twice or make sure to write down that it is only enough for one pot.

On printer paper or by hand include the instructions:

  • 1/2 an orange, cut or sliced
  • 1/2 a lemon, cut or sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp. whole cloves

Combine all of the ingredients with water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Alternatively, you can add cranberry juice or apple juice instead of the water for a little variation of scent. Reduce heat and simmer as long as desired.  Add additional water as needed to prevent the mixture from drying up. When done, this can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator and used again for up to a week.

Leave for coworkers, a teacher, or neighbours!
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Merry Christmas all and Happy Craftings!!

❤ Miss Amanda

DIY Dip Mix and Hot Chocolate Christmas Ornaments

I love Christmas. Particularly, I love giving gifts.  I love the feeling of watching someone open up a gift I have found for them that I truly know they will enjoy.  In my mind, it truly is ‘the most wonderful time of the year”.

That being said, I decided I would make quite a few of my gifts this year, like the arm knitting and finger knitting projects I have written about already.  However, for these news projects, I did not have to work alone!  My bestest friend Miss Allison came over and we had an afternoon of crafting, movie watching, and food eating.

Both of these projects are from the same lady’s blog, bubblynaturecreations.com.

The glass ornaments we used were from Michael’s and the ribbon is from the 1$ aisle at Target.  All the spices can be found at your local grocer’s and I went to bulk barn for the tiny chocolate chips and bulk white and regular hot chocolate. You will also need foil to close up the tops. Lastly, make sure you have a funnel on hand! Trust us….. You will need it!

The Dip Mix Ornaments

The 5 dip mixes that are created for this adorable gift are Dill, Bacon, Fiesta, Italian, and Herb Ranch.  Be aware that two mixes call for items that we couldn’t find to place inside – non-refrigerated parmesan cheese and non-refiregerated bacon bits. This just means that on the instruction card we have written down that the person must add them themselves.
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Hot Chocolate Ornaments

For these ornaments, we used hot chocolate, mini chips and candy canes purchased from the Bulk Barn.  The funnel comes in handy again here!

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Happy crafting and gift giving!

Fingering Knitting Boot Cuffs, Headbands, and Scarves!

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What a perfect way to get cozy for the weather! What makes this craft so wonderful is that not only is it super cute, but super inexpensive! One skein of yarn made all three of these items! I bought the yarn from Michael’s and the buttons for the boot cuffs from Fabricville.

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The head band I found on this lovely lady’s site: http://www.simplymaggie.com/diy-15-minute-finger-knit-ear-warmer. Make sure you leave enough to tie the ends!

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The boot cuffs are from another site: http://www.thekurtzcorner.com/2013/12/diy-finger-knitting-30-minute-boot-cuffs.html.

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There was enough left over from the skein for me to make an arm knit scarf afterwards. Now of course this will all depend on the size of your calves and your head. But this highland dancer’s calves and head that doesn’t fit most hats had enough left over and so hopefully you will too!

Happy cozy crafting!

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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