I eat a lot of ridiculous food this time of year.  The "joy of the season" is kind of like a green light for me to buy and consume all kinds of things that I wouldn't normally eat (smoked salmon, I'm looking at you!).  I don't actually discriminate this time of year to the degree of crazy shit I buy, neither do I limit the quantity that I eat.  December kinda rules, actually.

One of my extravagances this time of year is cheese.  All different kinds of fun and flavourful cheeses.  And I don't need company to pull it out either.  I can eat a whole wheel of brie by myself, thank you very much. This immaculate body is not going to maintain itself! ;)

Recently at the Superstore, there was a weird deal where if you bought one wheel of brie it was $6.99, but if you bought two, they were only $2.99 each.  What?  I bought four, obviously.  My friend Jen happened upon this awesome deal as well and we discussed the wonder of Brie at length at work.  Praise Cheeses!

Brown sugar baked brie.  Share only if necessary.

Yes, please.

Spread on a baguette.  FTW!

I also picked up some avocado and smoked salmon to add to my decadence.  All the flavours complimented each other quite nicely.

Presentation is everything - even if it is just for me.

I want to punch this photo it looks so good!

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, December 29, 2011 2 comments
Everywhere I look this time of year there are treats.  Each day leading up to my holidays, a new tray of cookies, squares, or chocolates appeared on the lunchroom table at work.  Treats are in abundance, and as both a lover of baking them and devouring them, I like to whip up a bunch of my own so I can contribute to being part of the problem (...wait...what problem?).

This year I planned all my Christmas baking for my first day of holidays.  I had all my ingredients and was ready to go, and my mother surprised me with an invite to use her kitchen.  Something clicked with her suggestion and what better way to kick off the holidays then in the loving embrace of my family.  My folks live in a 3-story apartment building where they occupy the middle floor, my grandparents reside on the ground floor, and my bro and bro-in-law live happily on the third floor.  Also, my aunt owns the building so it definitely a family affair.  Although I am just a guest when I visit, the bonus for me is that I can wear my PJs to any part of that building and help myself to cupboards and fridges, all without knocking first.  I live a charmed life!

I ensured all my ingredients would be available in my Mother's kitchen ("do you have 4 eggs?"), and trucked my caboose over there last Friday morning for some baking fun.  Baking alone in my kitchen has it's merits; I can blast the tunes, dance around, and lick all the spoons when no one is looking.  But baking at Mom's brought it's own amount of joy with it.  Any time waiting for cookies to bake, caramel to boil, or the timer to go, was spent with Dad showing me funny videos he taped off TV, or having funny conversations with my Bro-in-law as I chilled confectionaries in his fridge (Mom's fridge was beyond full that close to Christmas!).  All in all is was a great day, and I packed up all my baking into ten gifts bags for handing out to loved ones.  My Grandma applauded my efforts: "Homemade gifts are the best kind of gift!  They are from the heart". Thanks Grandma. From my heart to my recipients stomachs. I aim to please.

Round One: Haystacks.  For recipe click here.

My giant pile of treats to start the day off right!
Then bagged in holiday whimsy!

Round Two: Chocolate Mint Chip Chocolate Cookies.
In all their minty chocolate and chewy glory!
And then bagged for your eating pleasure!

Round Three: Peanut Butter Cups.  I got this recipe from my sister-in-law and it is spot on every time.
First make the peanut butter centers and chill for 2 hours!
Put melted chocolate in baking cups and add peanut butter piece.
Cover with more chocolate and chill.
Test them to make sure they are yummy.  This one was for sure.

Round Four: Carmel Popcorn with Peanuts and Pretzels.
A masterpiece as it cools.
Again, bagged for your pleasure.

The Completed Ensemble:
Treatie treat bags spreading holiday cheer!

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, December 29, 2011 No comments
To be fair, my Mom's caramel corn is pretty amazing.  Even Gary is getting in on the good stuff:

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, December 28, 2011 2 comments
We love nicknames in this family.  We have a thousand for Gary (the Bear, Gare-Bear, Squid, Squidly, Squiddle, Bearis, Lil' Boss, the Gerrorist, to name just a few).  We also have nicknames for each other. Sickly cute things like Baby, The Baby, Pants, The Pants, Baby-Pants, Bum, The Bum, and Bumble.

We were doing some pre-Christmas looking around the stores and found the following:

Cute right?  And then we noticed his name:

I've seen Rudolph a thousand times and didn't know his name was Bumble.  How adorable!  Before Christmas he was $5 and frugal me can't spend that much on something impractical just because it is cute.  But with 50% off boxing week sale, I now have my namesake sitting on my desk!  :)

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, December 28, 2011 2 comments
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