Friday, December 31, 2010

French Door Love And A Happy New Year

I have always been fond of French doors. And with it being new years, I wish you a year that is elegant, stylish and dreamy. I wish you a fantastic view of your very own little corner of the world. And I wish you everlasting sunshine in your home and in your hearts.












Images from Coastal Living, House Beautiful, House and Home, and Decor Pad. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies


These are by far the BEST ginger cookies. Ever. Better than Starbucks in my opinon! I added finely chopped pieces of candied ginger and I also added some chopped Black and Green's organic ginger dark chocolate bar. 


2 1/4 cup flour
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup salted (yes, salted) butter
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger (optional)
1/2 cup chopped dark ginger chocolate (optional)
granulated sugar for rolling



Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift dry ingredients together, stir, and set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy (I used a hand mixer) and then mix in egg and molasses. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix well. Stir in candied ginger and chocolate. Form into 1.5 inch balls then roll in granulated sugar. Place on a cookie sheet 2" apart, then pop into the oven on the middle rack for 7 to 8 minutes. Don't overbake - they are meant to be super chewy. Let cool slightly before removing to a cooling rack. Enjoy!





Brandy Balls

These are easy, no-bake, and boozed up. They remind me of the moist rum balls that I had as a treat when I was a kid. So delicious, especially for the holiday season.




1 box vanilla wafer cookies (2-3/4 to 3 cups, finely crushed)
1 cup pecans, toasted
1/2 to 2/3 cup brandy 
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 tbsp good cocoa powder
2 tbsp honey

After toasting the pecans (350 F on a cookie sheet until lightly browned and fragrant), place them in a food processor with the vanilla wafers and pulse until finely crushed. I like my brandy balls moist and smooth. Another option is to finely chop the pecans instead of adding them to the food processor if you want a bit of texture. Next, add the cocoa powder and confectioners sugar and stir until combined. Add the honey and brandy (you could also use rum) and mix well. Form 1 inch balls and roll in chocolate sprinkles (or chopped nuts) and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Kitchen Rooster

I've always liked the farm house feel of kitchen roosters as statement pieces. My wonderful parents found one for me for Christmas (from The Added Touch in Oakville as a set of two). He is EXACTLY the kind I was looking for. Needless to say, as I unwrapped, the rest of my family responded with sideways glances and wrinkled brows, as not many knew of my rooster obsession. Rather handsome, isn't he?



















Images from (in order): My own, Decor Pad, Country Living, Coastal Living, Architectural Digest and Pottery Barn.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Take Me To...

...Paula Dean's Savannah Beach House in Tybee Island, Georgia. While I can't say I'm a huge Paula Dean fan, this beach house which is available for rent via Mermaid Cottages would be a dream vacation for those like me who a) love to cook and b) love the beach. It is a short 4 blocks away from the sand and surf.




For the Christmas season, the house is decorated with all the festive trimmings to help celebrate the holidays.




The beach house itself is lovely!






And of course, the pantry also comes stocked with cookbooks, spices, sauces and inspiration. Cute.





Saturday, November 20, 2010

Feeling Festive

It's starting. I can feel it. I put away my fall decor and am now starting to replace it with holiday glimmer. Some inspiration arrived in the Holiday Food and Drink and Traditional Home magazines.






































































Saturday, November 13, 2010

Breakthrough

I haven't been on here as much lately. Not because I don't want to. I just needed to put my energy into revisiting and mapping out my personal goals. It truly is time for me to only focus on my dreams that I want to see come to fruition. The mind is powerful enough to tackle it. It's time to get rid of the self-imposed negative pressures. This is something we ALL should be doing. I need to stop and appreciate the roses more often. I need to be bold.









I was away this past week at an outdoor education site with group of 40 teenagers. Lots of fun. And I'm not saying that sarcastically. While I was there, I had an afternoon off to spend by myself, so I went for an hour long run. It was incredibly cleansing. We are in transition between seasons and while the landscape isn't considered as lush and breathtaking, the views were indeed gorgeous. It's all about perspective. By the time I got back, I felt a little lighter in my heart and in my step.  















Photos taken throughout my run.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Photography for the Gastronome

It is no secret to those who know me that I am obsessed with photographing food, both from my own kitchen, and also from local restaurants. What I lack is the knowledge and equipment of a professional food photographer.




While perusing the pages of the August 2010 edition of Food and Drink, I discovered that the newest "point and shoot" cameras now have a setting called "Cuisine Mode."  How perfect is this for a novice like myself? I also came across a good article on amateur food photography, which can be found here. I now have a voracious appetite for this new technology. It all sounds so yummy, doesn't it?




Retro cam photo from crazyegg.net, Aug 2010 Food and Drink personal scan.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. Jacob's Market

Drive over an hour for a remarkable farmer's market? You bet.
St. Jacob's is well worth it.




First stop? To fuel up, of course. We didn't even make it past the first vendor. Good thing they were selling pierogies. 


Next stop? To source out the sweets. It took me 1.3 seconds to spot the vendor selling freshly made doughnuts with cinnamon sugar. I must find me one of these lovely doughnut fryers!




Again, I am glad this place is not within walking distance. It could prove dangerous to my backside. Post gluttonous doughnut behaviour, we set out to shop the produce. I


After making two trips to the car with food, we made one last stop in town at The Cake Box. This was our third "pit stop" for sweets. I must learn some restraint! This little shop is adorable.







Friday, October 22, 2010

Dutch Apple Pancake

This is so easy and elegant! And so good! I slightly altered the William Sonoma recipe found here to be healthier.





















Ingredients:

1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2" slices
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
confectioner's sugar for dusting























1. Butter a 9" ovenproof pan/pie dish
2. In a fry pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add the apple, cinnamon and sugar and saute, stirring occasionally until the aple softens and browns. Set aside.
3. In a bowl, using a whisk, beat the eggs. Add the milk and whisk until blended. Sift the flour into the mixture. Add the olive oil to the mixture and whisk until smooth.
4. Pour the battle into the prepared pan and arrange the apple slices on top. Bake until the pancake is browned and puffed up, about 30 minutes.  Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve immediately. Serves 2-4


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