Tuesday, December 25, 2012

New Year's banner

Tinsel + cardboard = fun new year's banner!

Holiday Dinner leftovers + Bread = Delicious sandwich!

Holiday 2012

This year we had no snow so we made it snow indoors!

How you may ask?

The secret is..................

Marshmallows!! Whether they're big or small, and even if they're a bit stale just thread them onto a fine cotton thread with a needle and hang them up one thread at a time, the more you've got the better it looks.  Keep the marshmallows at different heights and you got to do a double loupe around the marshmallow to keep it in place.

I also finally got around to using my hot cocoa nuggets, you can find the recipe here.  It really is SO Delicious especially when you sweeten with sweetened condensed milk! 

I also would like to say that these glass straws are totally amazing! This one you see is the bubble tea straw, it's very wide and great for slurpees too.  I got an Iced tea (bent) straw and 4 standard style glass straws for entertaining.   Can't wait to try them out (and will be featuring them soon - maybe New year's? )

So far we tried out the bubble tea straw and it's really great, perfect for smoothies too, not too wide and I think it's fun for kids too.

And last but not least meet our new "Christmas Cats" Two lovely girls (sisters) that we just adore! We've only had them for a little over a week but they are little treasures and we're enjoying every moment of their company!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pillow Cookies (Vegan)

And another unexpected surprise!  These cookies were delicious! Even the "cream cheese" made of soy tasted pretty good.  Back in my teen years I did make a lot of vegan recipes but mostly things like eggless "depression" chocolate cake and many desserts with black beans or chocolate cream pie using silken tofu and such but never quite made a vegan cookie like this.

The dough is a little difficult to work with so I simply pressed it between my palms to make a disk and set aside.

Once they were baked they were soooooo good, like a sugar cookie with the cream cheese filling that has a slight hint of saltiness.  I'm very impressed.
Now I might not be making this again for myself but if someone requests a vegan cookie or I have vegan guests this recipe will come out again.  I'm thinking about doing a regular version inspired by this cookie and posting it soon (not too soon, I've got a whole lot of cookies on hand right now!)

Cinnamon Sugar Pillow Cookies

(makes 7-11 stuffed cookies)

3/4 cup (not packed) all purpose flour or  spelt flour (120g)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar (55g)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2-4 tsp almond milk or soy milk (8-16g)
3 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil (35g)

A bowl of equal parts cinnamon and sugar for rolling (Omit if desired.)
Filling ingredients listed below:

For the filling combine 2 tsp powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons cream cheese-style spread (I used YoSo Spreadables "Cream Cheese" - you can use Tofutti non-hydrogenated, but I’m sure other full-fat brands such as Follow Your Heart or Trader Joes would be fine.) Beat well, then set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine all liquid ingredients and stir. Pour wet into dry and stir to form a cookie dough. Smush into a giant ball with your hands (or, as an easier trick: transfer dough to a plastic bag and smush into a ball once the dough is inside the bag). Now roll into 22-26 mini cookie dough balls, then flatten each and divide the filling among only half of the flat discs. Place the other discs on top, cinch the sides, then roll into balls. Roll the balls in the bowl of cinnamon-sugar, place on a baking tray, and chill for at least 30 minutes. (If you desire crispy cookies, you can skip this chilling step.)

 Preheat oven to 325, and cook 11 minutes- they’ll still look a little underdone, but that’s okay. Important: allow cookies to cool at least 10 minutes before trying to remove from tray.

Recipe courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie 

Finnish Meringue Swirl cookies

Before baking set your eggs and butter out on the counter. 

Ingredients for Finnish Cookie Dough: 

14 tbsp (1 and 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temp
2 tbsp white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used bleached Gold Medal)
1 tsp baking soda
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp sour cream

Add all to a mixing bowl and blend, it will yield a nice soft dough.    Optional ingredient that I added was almond extract, about 1 tbsp for a nice strong flavour. 

Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

Ingredients for Finnish Cookie Meringues:
2 egg whites  (at room temp) 
3/4 cup white sugar

When just about ready prepare a clean bowl with clean beaters and begin to whisk/whip the egg whites and sugar together, it should take about 7 minutes. 

If your eggs are colder it may take longer, closer to 11 minutes. 

You will also need:

Powdered Sugar to dust the finished product, optional

Parchment paper for rolling, wrapping and baking (use 1 sheet for the whole process!)

Preheat the oven and have it ready to go at 350. 

To assemble roll out a large sheet of parchment and roll the dough out 6" X  12" or half the parchement from the top as you see in the picture. 

Work fast so the dough does not get warm, now spread the meringue over the dough and begin rolling (from the bottom upwards away from you) 

Use a sharp knife and with small sawing motions you can cut a nice 1/2 " slice and lay it on a tray.  I actually find it's easier to slice if it's cold so I set it back in the fridge for about 10 minutes and in between batches while I bake off a sheet.  

Bake them for 12-15 minutes (mine were done around the 12 minute mark) then cool on the parchment (you can slide the parchment off the pan if it's too hot when it comes out of the oven and you're worried about scorching the bottoms. 

When fully cooled a few hours later or the next day dust with powder sugar and remove from the parchment. 

Serve and Enjoy! 

For the complete cookie list this year check out the list for 2012 here

Healthy Gingerbread Dark chocolate cookie! It won't disappoint!

After baking for several days I made this recipe as one of the last batches and I have to say it is truly amazing!! The dough was pretty runny and I was worried it wouldn't turn out but after refrigeration and quick handling I managed to roll them and coat in sugar. 
Try them, you won't be disappointed! Let me know what you think!

Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen

Perfectly soft and chewy with dark chocolate chunks throughout.

Author: Gina Matsoukas

Serves: 1 dozen


¾ cup almond flour

½ cup spelt flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons molasses
¼ cup  agave nectar (I used Redpath!)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
⅓ cup dark chocolate (72% or higher), chopped

Optional sugar coating

2 tablespoons sugar


In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (almond flour, spelt flour, baking soda and spices).
In a small bowl whisk together remaining wet ingredients until completely smooth.
Add wet to dry ingredients and mix together until fully incorporated.
Add chocolate chunks and fold into batter.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Once chilled, roll about 1 tablespoon of batter into a ball.
If coating with sugar mixture, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and roll ball until covered.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
Remove cookies from oven and press down on the top of them with a spoon for that signature molasses cookie wrinkle effect. (I did not do this)
Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Store in an airtight container.

Thanks to Redpath for letting me try their tasty Agave Nectar!