We got some take out from the Kozy Kitchen in Elmvale a little while back. I'm a fan of their turkey dinner, but John really enjoys the club sandwich. He orders it every time we go there so it must be good. We are going to be making our own club sandwhiches this weekend as I have a turkey set to go in the oven tomorrow. We are celebrating the 1st of March and the hope that is now returning to all us wintered-out folks. Spring is coming!


Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 28, 2014 3 comments
These are big, soft, fabulous gingerbread cookies. I realize I don't actually own any cookie cutters, so round cookies are the way that I roll.  This recipe makes about 15 large-ish cookies, which is the perfect number to have around our house. When I make these for a gathering or for gifting at Christmas, I double the recipe.

Recipe is slightly adapted from allrecipes.com.


Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour

Method:
1. In a large bowl, add the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda. Stir to combine.


2. Add the melted margarine, molasses, milk, and vanilla, stirring to mix.


3. Add flour one cup at a time, stirring well to ensure it is incorporated. Chill completed dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


4. Knead the dough a few times on a well-floured surface. Make into balls and flatten, then place on cookie sheet. My flattened dough balls are about 3 inches across.


5. Bake in 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes. Be sure to check them, as the bottoms can turn on you and brown/burn really fast.


6. Cool on wire rack and ice with your favourite icing. I use a simple icing sugar and water (or milk) mixture that just adds a nice amount of sweet to the top of the cookie. Super yum!


Posted by Jen B On Thursday, February 27, 2014 6 comments
So I've been reading all about delicious homemade waffles over at the Happy Whisk and I got a major craving on for waffles. I don't have a waffle maker and I've never actually made them at home, but I do have a strong appreciation for store bought ones and got myself a box of them.


These always remind me of living in university residence. I ate a lot of cheap and barely nutritious food while at school, and I count boxed waffles as a sure favourite. I love the way the butter and the syrup pool in the little squares. Such a joy to experience.

Waffles also make me think of A Claymation Christmas, which my bros and I watched a million times as kids. "Here we come a-waffling" is still pretty great.


Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 6 comments
There was a super deal on frozen berries a few weeks ago, and we ended up buying 8 bags of them (we are daily smoothie drinkers). Having all the berries in the freezer got me thinking beyond smoothies and I honed my thoughts in on raspberry pie.

If I had to pick, raspberries are my absolute favourite berry, so it was only a matter of time before they ended up in a homemade dessert. I absolutely love this pie and am really happy I tried it. The filling has the kind of tartness that makes you think about it longingly days later. The sour of this pie is perfectly evened out with just a bit of whipped cream. So so good.

Using a homemade pie crust, I slightly adapted this recipe from recipes found at The Messy Baker and Canadian Living.

Ingredients:
double pie crust from your favourite recipe
4.5 cups frozen raspberries (a little less than a 600g bag)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
cream
sprinkle of sugar

Method:

1. Mix frozen raspberries, sugar, and flour in a bowl and gently toss to coat.


 2. Pour berries and sugar mixture into pie crust. I had an 8" pie plate with a homemade crust and it seemed to fit pretty well. Sprinkle lemon juice over berries and dot with butter.


 3. I was feeling bold, so I rolled a second pie dough and cut it into strips for a lattice top. I watched a few videos on how to make the lattice and went for it. I brushed the lattice with cream and sprinkled it with sugar.


4. Bake in 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350°F and continue baking for an additional 45-60 minutes. I actually baked mine for an additional 70 minutes as the bottom didn't seem brown enough at 60 minutes. The raspberry filling was bubbling and the pie was golden brown when it came out of the oven.


This pie was really, really lovely. It's definitely on my list of desserts that I will make again and again.


Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, February 25, 2014 15 comments
I made a second attempt at pie crust dough on the weekend. I used the same recipe as last week, but made some adjustments based on the challenges I encountered.  First I added an additional 2 tbsp of ice cold water when forming the dough to combat dough dryness. And to fight having "too cold" dough, I did not refridgerate it before I rolled it.

I also watched a few how to videos on YouTube so I could get a feel for pie crust dough. The best part of watching these bakers, was they both were very reassuring that 'pie crust dough takes practice' and 'pie crust doesn't have to be perfect'.

Here is how mine rolled out:


The edges kind of broke apart, but with some determination I got it into my pie plate.


The crust had a few cracks, but held up pretty well. The more I practice the better I will get at it.


Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 24, 2014 6 comments
So I took the dough out of the fridge and attempted to roll it. And it crumbled like a little bitch.

I asked the internet the ultimate question: "why?"

Maybe the dough was too cold. Maybe the dough was too dry. The internet forums said I could add more water, but if I did, try not to handle it too much. How do you mix in water without handling it too much?

So I played around with ball number one and completely wrecked it. I moved on to ball number two, making an effort to handle it less.

I got it to roll out finally, but I know I handled it waaaaayyyyy too much, and when I tried to line the pie plate, the dough broke in a zillion places that I "patched" with pieces that were stuck to the rolling board.

It was at this point that I called Mom.

"Rolling pie crust never works right."

"I never put the dough in the fridge."

"It's kinda late to be making a pie anyway, isn't it?"

My Mom is amazing and I probably should have called her this afternoon for tips. But at least I have new ideas for next time, as I have now chucked this batch of dough in the green bin.

Going to have another go at it later this week.




Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 19, 2014 13 comments
I made pie crust dough this afternoon and it was actually really easy to make. I haven't got around to rolling it yet, but so far so good.

Today was my first attempt at making my own pie crust. I don't know the merits of the different fats that could be used for crust, but I had vegetable shortening on hand so I went with that. I also used the recipe on the side of the shortening box because I am not fussy.


Mix 2.5 cups of flour with 1 tsp of salt. Add 1 cup of cold vegetable shortening, cut into cubes. Mix with a pastry blender.


Mix until the dough looks like pea sized pebbles. Add 3-6 tbs of ice cold water and mix until the dough forms a ball, but is not sticky. I used 5 tbs to achieve this.

 
Shape balls into discs and store in fridge for 1 hour or more for ease of rolling.

I might make my pie later today or early tomorrow. Can't wait to show you how it turns out! 


Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4 comments
It's Family Day here in Ontario and also the first day of Tim Hortons Roll up the Rim to Win! I spent today sleeping in, reading, writing, going for a walk in the (cold) sunshine, and stopping at Timmies for some Roll up the Rim fun. Not quite sure why this ad campaign works so well on me, but I got a medium decaf and a box of 20 timbits while I was there. And a chance to win!

There are two parts of the rim to roll up this year. Here is how I did:

I won a frickin' doughnut!!!
And a "Please Play Again" on my bonus roll.


Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 17, 2014 7 comments
It's been a long while since we picked up food from Alma's Family Restaurant in Elmvale, but we recently stopped in for their burger and fries meal deal. The burger is tasty and the fries satisfy. On this occasion the pickles that were served on my burger were thick and tangy. Really, really, good. This meal deal always reminds me of eating food at the Fair.


Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 14, 2014 4 comments
I got an email from Twitter this morning wishing me a Happy Twitterversary.


I didn't really start using it actively until March and I'm happy for all the friends I have made on there. A year later and I'm still pretty into it. Lots of fun and things to see and opinions to share in 140 characters or less.

If you have been thinking about joining, go for it! Then we could have the same Twitterversary!

@myadorableblog stats at 1 year:
Tweets:  2101 (and counting)

Following: 434

Followers: 326

Time spent on there daily: hours and hours and hours...


Posted by Jen B On Thursday, February 13, 2014 2 comments
Sometimes I make a baking choice based on the ingredients I have on hand. Last week I had a pie shell and corn syrup and casually asked Google what I could make. I then spent an hour surfing through recipes (so much fun!) and finally decided on Southern Peanut Butter Pie.

The recipe is pretty similar to a pecan pie (but with peanuts) and there is some peanut butter mixed in it as well. 


It is a simple recipe: beat together corn syrup, peanut butter, sugar, salt, and eggs. Fold in peanuts and pour into a pie shell.


The recipe said to bake at 375°F for 40 - 50 minutes, and by 20 minutes in it was already really browned. If I was to try this recipe again, I would probably start it on a lower temperature. The pie was really wobbly at 40 minutes, so I turned it down to 325°F and kept cooking, checking every five minutes. I overcooked it, I'm sure, but at least it set.


This pie ended up tasting a lot like peanut brittle. The first bite almost tastes a little too peanutty, but then it kinda evens out for the rest of the slice. Not sure if I would make this one again, but for the next few days I will enjoy it.


Posted by Jen B On Monday, February 10, 2014 2 comments
One of our neighbours is a retired baker, and over the weekend she sent over some cupcakes for us to enjoy. They were big. They were marble. There was so much thick, beautiful, chocolate icing, that it was impossible to eat without getting chocolate on my face. Absolutely fantastic.



Posted by Jen B On Friday, February 07, 2014 6 comments
Well this is where a blog would go, if I hadn't started marathoning season one of Breaking Bad.

I'm sick with a cold, and sometimes the right cure is watching an excessive amount of a single TV show. Once, while sick with the flu, I watched a record 23 episodes of Golden Girls. In a row.

I'd only ever seen a handful of Breaking Bad eps, and John has repeatedly suggested I watch it from the beginning...and thanks to this cold, now I finally am.

I'd write more, but the couch and the tv are calling my name...

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, February 06, 2014 4 comments
I've been sick this week with a head cold and even though I know it could be worse, it is still no fun. I have had more energy than I normally do with colds, but I have been forced to take it easy which is way less fun than choosing to take it easy.

Keeping me company as I recover on the couch is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey extended edition. I have seen this movie about twenty times and I just seem to always have it on, especially this week. It is the comfort I need to just be still and feel better. I've also worked my way through all the bonus features/documentaries and I actually love the movie even more now. Which means it might be staying on repeat even after my cold has passed.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, February 05, 2014 6 comments
Big jugs of oil were on sale last week, so we got one with the idea that we would plan an elaborate deep fried dinner night. Maybe do onion rings, some vegetable tempura, a heap of french fries, and have a go at southern fried chicken. Well, the oil wasn't in the house 24 hours before John got good and excited about deep fry dinner. We let go of our elaborate plans and just had impromptu southern fried chicken and french fries. We have some oil left, so at some point we'll plan it properly and do "the works".

John worked his magic in the kitchen, first seasoning the chicken thighs and legs.


Then he marinated them in a buttermilk mixture.


And then coated them in flour and various spices.


He deep fried them to get them crispy, then continued cooking them in the oven until done.

He also deep fried a whole bunch of crispy and delicious potato wedges.


Impromptu deep fried dinner was a success! I think I could have eaten ten helpings of the wedges. They were really amazing. Why does deep fry have to taste so good!?!


Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, February 04, 2014 2 comments
I was invited to write a guest post on my friend Tasha's blog, Awesomesauce & Other Experiments.

I've known Tasha for almost 15 years, ever since we had the good fortune of being assigned adjacent rooms in 1st year university.

Tasha and I share many common interests: baking, cooking, reading, knitting, blogging, and generally being awesome. We also share a love of sweet potatoes, so for the guest post I decided to try making a sweet potato pie.

http://awesomesauceandotherexperiments.blogspot.ca/2014/02/a-guest-post-and-she-brought-pie.html

Click on over to Awesomesauce & Other Experiments and check out the full post!
Posted by Jen B On Sunday, February 02, 2014 8 comments
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