Apr 13
icon1 rossana | icon2 Cookies, Garden, Salad, Uncategorized, Vegetables | icon4 04 13th, 2013| icon3No Comments »

Do you have a garden in the summer where you grow your own vegetables?  We try to have one every year, but sometimes our crop leaves a lot to be desired! Some years we have such an abundance that I have to give some out to almost anyone who comes to our door! Other years, like last year our garden has produced such a poor crop that I pray that it  will hold out to the beginning of Sept, let alone have any to roast or make into sundried tomatoes.

Over the years, we have changed what we plant depending on how well we did with the crop the year before.  One year we tried corn, the soil seemed fine,but it just wasn’t  nutritionally dense enough I guess, it didn’t even make it to a foot in height!   We were hoping to have a really good crop like we did one year when we were out inVancouver. I remember how lovely it was to be abe to go out to the garden and pick a couple of fresh ears of corn for dinner, and oh was it soo good!

I have always loved fresh, organically grown vegetables, and that is one of the reasons we persevere.  There is also something therapeutic about working the earth and getting it ready for the seedlings and nurturing it along until you get to enjoy ‘the fruit of your labours’. So, even though our romaine wasn’t as good as in previous years, our tomato plants were less than healthy and our basil …well lt’s just say we didn’t get much pesto made, we will still have a garden this year .  My husband is already busy planning it all out!

There is nothing better than being able to walk out to your garden and pick a couple of beautiful sun-warmed tomatoes, and a few leaves of romaine to have for dinner! Can’t wait! ;)

 

Already thinkingof our garden

Some of last year's crop.

Apr 5
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Cookies, Recipes, Uncategorized | icon4 04 5th, 2011| icon32 Comments »

I went away this past weekend for some much-needed, relaxing time with friends:  a girls’ weekend, free of responsibility and full of laughs.  I left my poor husband home to fend for himself with all four children, and he never once complained.  And he baked.  So I returned refreshed and rejuvenated, to find these little lovelies in the cookie jar:

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. softened butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten slightly
2 tsp. orange extract
2-1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment.  Mix butter and sugar well with a wooden spoon, and beat in the egg yolk and orange extract.  Sift the flour and a pinch of salt together into the mixture, add the chocolate chips and combine well.  Scoop out cookie dough by the tablespoonful, roll into balls, and place on prepared cookie sheets, spacing them well apart.  Bake 12-15 minutes, cool 5-10 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to continue cooling.  You can also roll your cookie dough balls in superfine sugar before baking, but since the kids would be eating these, we usually refrain from introducing gratuitous sugar.  My only complaint about this recipe is that it only makes about 30 cookies, which is barely a day’s worth in this house.  Double batch!

Mar 3
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Cookies, Recipes, Uncategorized | icon4 03 3rd, 2011| icon3No Comments »

I have three Cub Scouts, and every year they sell popcorn . . . really expensive popcorn that is actual WORK to sell because you have to convince people to buy it.  On the other hand, the Girl Scouts have it easy.  They’ve been in cahoots with those Little Brownie Bakers for more than 80 years!  Granted, the brightly packaged bundles of sweetness have diminished in size and grown in price over the years ($4 a pop now, they were $1.50 when I sold them in the -ahem- 1970s), but people look forward to the annual tradition and honestly don’t think twice about spending the money.  I should know; there are currently five boxes hiding on the tippy-toppiest shelf of the most out of the way cabinet in my kitchen.  Hey, they were expensive!

Since Girl Scout Cookie time comes but once a year, I looked around to see if anyone has any recipes for black-market approximations out there, and there are plenty!  I’ll give you a super simple one here, but if you want others, all you need to do is google Girl Scout Cookie recipes.

LIAR LEMONADES

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream the butter in a stand mixer, then slowly add remaining ingredients until mixture sticks together when pressed into a ball.  Roll the dough to 1/4″ thickness, and cut out shapes with a small cookie cutter (I think these would be cute and springy in a variety of flower shapes).  Transfer to baking sheet and bake at 375 for 11-14 minutes, or until the cookies have just set.  Sprinkle lightly with lemon zest and sparkling sugar.  And then hide them on the tippy-toppiest shelf of the most out of the way cabinet in your kitchen!

Feb 11
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Cookies, Desserts, EZ Baking, Recipes | icon4 02 11th, 2011| icon31 Comment »

Does this ever happen to you? One day, you feel like there’s nothing in the house to eat, even though your pantry is so crammed with “stuff” that it wants to explode when you open the door? Well, we had been completely out of snacks for school lunches for some time, and I made a stock-up run to a certain warehouse club. When I realized I had no room to put anything away, I started a pantry audit and reorganization. I found that I had FOUR unopened cans of Canada’s Pure Jam (two cherry/two raspberry), which didn’t even take into account the open one in the fridge!

So when we were deciding what to make for Valentine’s Day, it was a no-brainer that jam would be involved. Here’s what we came up with:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten slightly
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbsp. jam or jelly, flavor of your choice
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375, and line your cookie sheets with baking parchment or waxed paper.  Mix sugar and butter, then beat in egg yolk, vanilla extract and peanut butter.  Sift together flour and salt into the mixture and stir until combined thoroughly.  This makes some dense dough, so a husband or partner with large hands and strong arms is highly recommended!  Scoop out tablespoons of dough and hand-form into balls, spacing them well on the cookie sheets.  Dampen the handle of a wooden spoon to make hollows in the middle of each cookie, and fill with your jam or jelly.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown; cool on cookie sheets for 5-10 minutes and then on a rack.  This makes about 25 cookies, so we doubled the recipe. 

They might not be pretty, but they sure are good!