I've been doing lots of baking over this past week, and then Jeff and I had lots of decorating our moose and stars over the weekend. Baking is one of my favourite Christmas activities to do each year. I put on some Christmas music, make some tea, and get baking. Of course, this year baking was done in stages as a certain baby needed tending to, but it was still lots of fun. For the gingerbread moose I used this recipe from when we made gingerbread houses. The star cookies are from this recipe, Chocolate Blackberry Sandwiches, some of which are plain this year and some were made with icing in the middle. We are certainly enjoying all the treats!
We enjoyed these buns while watching the lunar eclipse last Sunday night. Our whole house smelled like sugar and cinnamon, amazing!Theses are so great when fresh and warm right out of the oven. The perfect combination of soft bread, sweet buttery sugar filling, and crunchy nuts.
2. Mix in a bowl:
3. Melt 1/4 Cup of butter.
4. Once the dough is done, roll out on floured surface into a large square.
5. Pour both the butter and sugar/cinnamon/pecan bowl over top of half the square.
6. Fold the square in half and pinch the seam closed.
7. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into one inch strips, twist a few times, and join the ends together to form a circle.
8. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper, and cover for 30 minutes to let rise.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.
I really enjoy these little salmon cakes with some sweet potato fries. A great summer dinner, and a little something different to do with fish.
For cooking you can either pan fry or BBQ. For pan fry add a bit of oil or butter and cook on each side for 3 to 5 minutes. For BBQ grill on each side for 3 to 5 minutes. Nice and simple.
I served my salmon cakes with oven baked sweet potato fries. Just simply cut a sweet potato into fries and toss with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic, and a dash of olive oil. Places fries on a baking sheet and cook at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
I also served them with lemon slices and mayo, which was mixed with lemon juice and basil leaves used as a dip for both the salmon cakes and fries. It was delicious!
Since normal cereals tend to be easy in the morning they are a perfect breakfast go to. However, most cereals you buy don't tend to fill me up, and I'm hungry about an hour later. When my parents-in-laws were up visiting they brought with them homemade granola. It was really tasty and amazingly enough kept me full. Here I decided to make my own with some variants to the one they brought. A great and fulfilling start to the day!
Ingredients (Make however much you want. I made a big batch with 5 cups of oats, 1/2 cup of coconut, and 6 tablespoons of butter):
I love these cookies, but I only make them once in while as they are lots of work. They are the perfect refrigerator cookie. They have great chocolate flavour, mixed with real blackberries. Not overly sweet, but are quite decadent. My favourite combination!
We decided to make a gingerbread house this year. It was so much fun to decorate. We actually have a gingerbread house mold from Lee Valley Tools. It's great, and has two different house designs to choose from. Plus you make the gingerbread yourself, which won't have any preservatives like store bought versions. Can't wait to eat it!
Royal Icing Without Eggs
As I shouldn't be eating raw eggs right now, I used a slightly different recipe for the icing.
Last Thursday was my official birthday, and this past weekend we hosted a birthday / house warming party. I know it's crazy to have a house warming party after we have almost lived in the house for a year, but there were still people that attended that hadn't seen the house, so it all worked out. We had tons of food, including these little Caprese Salad Bites I made up. So simple and so delicious. We played lots of fun games, and got to catch up with old friends. Overall, it was a great time!
Caprese Salad Bites
Then pile them up together with a tooth pick and enjoy! Instant party food!
I also got another special birthday treat! I was taken out by a good friend for tea and scones. So relaxing, and lots of fun. There is a really cute place up in Markham that is decorated like an old english tea room. They have a huge menu of teas and yummy treats to go with your pot of tea. You can also stop in just to buy loose leaf tea as well. If you are ever up in Markham visit The Old Curiosity Tea Shop.
Baked apple donuts are a great afternoon treat. They would look better if cooked in an actual donut tin, but they worked just as well in a muffin tin.
We had the most delicious BBQ the other night. It was much enjoyed by all. Here are a couple of veggie ideas that you can do on the BBQ!
Sweet Potato Slices
Corn on the Cob
Cooking corn on the cob is super simple! And cooking them in this way keeps them nice and juicy.
I have been making my own fresh guacamole for years now. It's one of my favourite snacks. I thought I would share how I make it, as it's a lot better than any store bought version, and with no preservatives! The only problem is you have to eat all of it right away, yet that hasn't presented to be much of a problem in my house!
Guacamole Three Ways
The actual guacamole recipe:
You can leave it just as it is. It is quite delicious all on it's own.
Once you have made the basic guacamole you could also add a couple of spoons of sour cream or plain yogurt to make it creamier. Then enjoy!
Or once you have added the sour cream or plain yogurt, continue by adding chopped tomatoes, onions, and grated cheddar cheese, or any combination you like. This makes it into a yummy Mexican dip!