Tuesday, 31 December 2013

No Bake Oreo Bars


Simple is good.
I like simple.


Simple and tasty is better.
I like simple and tasty.


Oreos are the best.
I love Oreos.

Basically this recipe has all of above bases covered, plus it practically makes itself.
Leaving ample (yes ample) time to prep for tonights NYE party.  And by prep I mean make myself presentable...a girl needs all the help she can get.

Happy New Years Eve.  Champagne awaits, as does my midnight kiss.  xo.



No Bake Oreo Bars

Ingredients:
1 (500g) pkg Oreo cookies
1 (250g)pkg large marshmallows
1/4 cup butter

Method:
Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper (allowing for a 2-inch overhang) set aside.
Place cookies into a food processor and pulse till coarsely chopped.  Transfer to large bowl.
Meanwhile in medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter and marshmallows, stirring often.  Remove from heat stir into cookie crumbs, working quickly.
Transfer to prepared baking dish, pressing down with back of spoon, allow to cool before cutting into squares.

source: picky palate

Monday, 30 December 2013

Top 13 in 2013: A Year in Review


as we prepare to close the chapter on 2013, it's time again to go over some of my favourite recipes this past year had to offer.  this year saw 160 blog posts, so to say narrowing it down was a difficult task, is an understatement.  my approach was to pick a few favourites from categories across the board, healthy and unhealthy alike. (not just pie, pancakes or dessert, aren't you proud of me.)


as always, thanks for following along for yet another year, let's hope 2014 is equally, if not more delicious.
  
xo,
JS






































Sunday, 29 December 2013

Bacon Wrapped Dates


sweet & salty.


dates & bacon.


drool.




Bacon Wrapped Dates


Ingredients:
bacon, halved
dates, pitted

Method:
Preheat oven to 400F.  Line baking sheet with tinfoil and set aside.
Wrap each date in a half of slice of bacon and place seam side down on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 17-20 minutes until bacon is crispy.
Remove from baking sheet and place on a paper towel to catch some of the grease.
serve with toothpicks.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Date Squares

full disclaimer:  i LOVE these squares, they're one of my favourite things ever and i don't like sharing.


this recipe comes courtesy of my dear mother in-law, who is kind enough to ensure my freezer stays full.  (i actually enjoy these squares the most when they are chilled, which also means i have no safe place to keep them.  ugh.  first world problems i know.)

you should also know i've also never made these squares for myself, if i were to start you could count on a worldwide date shortage within mere months.  so i will continue to limit/ration the squares i have and eagerly await the next 'care package'  (hint hint.)


i have the best mother in-law.  xo.


Date Squares


Ingredients:
base and topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter

date filling
3 cups dates, pitted and diced
3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Method:
Combine dates, hot water, sugar and salt together in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until dates are soft and water is absorbed; add vanilla and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350F, lightly grease 9-inch pan and set aside.
In large bowl stir together flour and baking soda; add in oats and brown sugar mixing well.  Work in butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly.
Spread half of oat mixture in the bottom of prepared pan and pat down.  Cover with cooled date filling and pat with 1/2 of the remaining oat mixture, the sprinkle over lightly with the remaining half.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool before cutting into squares


note: for thinner squares you can opt to use a 9" x 13" pan

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Rudolph Pancakes

happy christmas morning.


+
bacon
+
bananas
+
strawberries
+
chocolate chips

=

Rudolph Pancakes




pancakes aside, we also had a special visitor last night.

Old Dutch Caramel Corn

as a kid i loved Old Dutch Popcorn Twists.  

as an adult i love Old Dutch Popcorn Twists cooked in a caramel sauce.

see how my palate has become more refined over the years.  

sometimes i amaze myself.




Old Dutch Caramel Corn


Ingredients:
1 - 175g bag Old Dutch Popcorn Twists
1/2 lb butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda

Method:
Preheat oven to 250F
Place popcorn twists into a large roasting pan.  Set aside.
In a large 2qt saucepan cook together butter, sugar, and corn syrup for  2 minutes.
Add baking soda to mixture (note: this will cause the mixture to foam, which is why a large saucepan is necessary).  Allow the foam to cook down slightly.  Remove from heat and pour caramel over popcorn twists and stir until evenly coated.
Cook in preheated oven for 45 minutes, stirring at least every 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and pour onto wax paper.  Allow to cool before breaking into pieces.


recipe courtesy Old Dutch

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

from my family to yours, merry christmas.


surround yourself with loved ones.
eat something amazing.
spread good cheer.


xo, JS

Monday, 23 December 2013

Shortbread Cookies

merry christmas eve eve.


today is my last full day to prep for tomorrow nights annual party.  cookies, lasagna, cleaning, and final assembly of toys are all on the agenda today.
first on the list, shortbread cookies.  everyone knows santa loves shortbread, he also loves cookies 'n cream cookies, no bake cookies, and peanut m&m's.
i think it's safe to say i've got my bases covered for SC, and santa will no doubt leave our home a little more jolly & round.


Shortbread Cookies


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

(optional) For Chocolate Dipped Shortbread:
6 ounces semi sweet, bittersweet, or white chocolate, finely chopped

Method:
In a large bowl whisk the flour with the salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add in sugar and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.  Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the middle of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle.  Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter.  Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

For Chocolate Dipped Shortbreads:  Place 3 ounces of the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water.  Once the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat.  Add the remaining chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until it has completely melted and is smooth and glossy.  Taking one cookie at a time, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Once all the cookies have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze.
Yields: 20 cookies

recipe courtesy of the Joy of Baking

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Fragrance 101

it goes without saying that christmas time is when my kitchen smells it's best.  whether it's a fresh batch of cookies, warm soup, lasagna, or a whole turkey dinner roasting in the oven, these sweet (or savoury) smells always trigger hunger pangs.


cooking aside, there is another way to infuse your house with christmas-y scents without reaching for a store bought candle.

stove top christmas fragrances of course.  

here is a simple diy stove top scent that will have your home smelling like christmas with zero effort.  leaving time for important things like wrapping presents, belting out christmas carols and finalizing the christmas menu.

cheers & merry christmas.
xo


Christmas Fragrance 

ingredients:
orange rinds
cinnamon sticks
whole cloves
whole star anise

method:
place all of the ingredients in a saucepan or slow cooker, cover with water approx 4 cups and simmer on low. 

ta-da.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Homemade Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix

Every Christmas the kids and I set out to make as many personal/homemade gifts as possible.
In years past this included ornaments, cookies and popcorn.
This year we went the pickled onions and pancake mix route.



packaged up cute & ready to deliver.


Merry Christmas.

Pancakes for Everyone. 




Homemade Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method:
In mason jars or other glass container,  whisk together all ingredients except chocolate chips.  Layer flour mixture into jar and top with chocolate chips.

Attached label with the instructions below, or simply write them on a piece of paper.  Tie a ribbon and you are all set.  
Doesn't get much easier than that.

xo. J

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