Dec 31, 2009


New Years Widget by Widgia

Dec 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, and I hope you have a safe holiday season!
I also want to wish you a Happy New Year, and I want to thank all my readers for their support.

I guess waiting for Santa is tiring......!

Dec 16, 2009

Glee and Soft Pretzels

Cass is my partner when it comes to watching TV, and that because we like the same kind of shows Even though there aren't many shows worth watching these days ( I really, really dislike live TV shows). So what are we watching you ask? Well, we love the selfish, egoistic, sarcastic and brilliant doctor House, we don't miss a show, Cass has a soft spot( and i've grown to like him) for Monk, and the most favorite of all is GLEE. Yes, we are what Cass calls irrecuperable gleeks! And if you love broadway shows Glee would be one of your favorite shows as well. Today is wednesday but unfortunately is a Gleeless wednesday. The show is over until april American idol took its place. The first season does not come out on DVD until the 29th ( this month), we plan to watch every wednesday one episode until april "to refresh our memory". Even now as I type glee music is playing in the background from Cassidy's  ipod.
    So what is the connection between Glee and the pretzels? Well, the pretzels are the snack we have every time we watch Glee, Cass is big on traditions, he loves to make new ones, and he does make new ones very often, so he declared a "tradition" in our house to have pretzels when we watch  Glee. Why pretzels today you ask, if Glee season is over and doesn't come out on DVD until the end of the month?
All I can say is "Thank God for modern technology and for On Demand TV" The last 4 episodes of Glee are still available On Demand so Glee is still on in our house tonight so are the pretzels. Yay!
  I should get back to the recipe, maybe you guys can use it for a "new tradition in your house".

 And Cass has a question: "How many of you are gleeks as well?"
Here is one of the songs from the Glee show, enjoyed while reading.


3 to 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups organic oats
2 tbsp of granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp of yeast
1 1/2 tsp  sea salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp of butter or margarine
1 egg lightly beaten

Combine 2 cups of flour, the oats, sea salt in a large mixing bowl.

Heat milk, water, sugar and butter or margarine in a small saucepan until very warm and the butter is almost melted. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle yeast over top and let stand for 10 minutes until frothy.

Add the yeast to the flour and with an electric mixer beat on low speed for about 30 seconds then on high speed for about 3 minutes. By hand, add enough of the remaining flour gradually until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest on the floured surface for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly greased 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. It's easier if you pat the dough into a rectangle and then divide.

Roll each piece into a 12 inch long rope, form into a pretzel and place onto the baking sheet. Cover and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Brush with the egg, and if desired sprinkle with coarse sea salt or more oats.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve as a snack.

This recipe I found in the Quaker recipe booklet, all the recipes are with made with oats.


Dec 9, 2009

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

I love everything that has banana in it. At least twice a week I make banana bread or chocolate banana bread or banana brownies, you get the idea..... I'm the only one that eats bananas in our house, and because I buy organic ones they don't last to long so I have bananas for baking. The boys don't eat bananas but they sure love banana brownies.
Yesterday afternoon I had about 4 bananas that were on the way of going bad so brownies  was the choice for 2 of them, but I had 2 left so I decided to bake some chocolate banana cupcakes. OK. don't think we were going to eat all of those bake goods. The cupcakes I decided to send them to my husband's work for his colleagues, as a morning treat next to a cup of coffee. We just had the first snow storm of this winter and I'm sure that the drive to work was brutal, so everyone could use a pick me up.

Ingredients for 18 cupcakes

1 cup of whole-wheat flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
2 tbsp pure cocoa
1/2 cup of unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup of granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 large very ripe bananas mashed
1/4 cup milk
1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup of walnuts chopped

For people with nut allergy, you can omit the walnuts, if you would like some crunch in it I recommend for this particular recipe a cup of a high fiber cereal.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line the standard muffin tins with paper liners ( 18 of them).
In a large bowl mix both flours, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa.

In another mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar on high speed until creamy ( about 5 minutes) scraping down the  bowl as needed it. Add the eggs one of the time beating well after each addition ( scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed it).

With the mixer on low speed add the bananas and mix well. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk( starting and ending with the dry ingredients)

Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips by hand.

Spoon the batter into the cups filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes on the wire rack.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee!

This recipe I adapted  with just small modifications from The Golden Book of Chocolate.

Other banana recipes you might be interested in.

Banana Walnut Brownies
 Classic Sour Cream Banana Bread with Walnuts

Dec 8, 2009

Frosted Crescents

We are ready for Christmas. The tree is up, and the kids had lots of fun putting up the decorations, of course there were the usual arguments over what ornament goes where.... And rearranging all the ornaments that Alex placed only at the bottom of the tree ( in all fairness, that's how high he can reach). But in the end everybody was happy and pleased with the end product, and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and some frosted crescents. Every year I bake some holiday cookies for the day the tree goes up. This year were the frosted crescents, soft and melt in your mouth cookies, goes great with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.


1 cup of all-purpose flour( 4 1/2 oz)
1/4 cup finely crushed macadamia nuts (2 1/4 oz)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (2 1/4 oz)
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup unsalted butter chopped (4 1/2 oz)
1 egg yolk
icing sugar, to dust

For my readers that are allergic to nuts. In any baking recipe that calls for nuts, you can substitute with a high in fiber cereal ( ground fine if the recipe calls for ground nuts) or with oats. You will still get the nice crunch but is nut free. Make sure to measure after you ground the cereal or oats, If you like you can even lightly toast the oats or cereal before grounding.
My friend Maria has asked for a substitute, her son like many other kids is allergic to nuts.
Stay safe this Holiday season!

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper, set aside.
Sift the flour into a medium bowl and add the sugar,orange zest and butter. Using your fingers rub the butter into the flour, until the mixture reassembles fine crumbs.


Add the ground nuts and egg yolk.

Mix until well combined and the mixture forms a soft dough.

Shape leveled teaspoonfuls into small crescents and place into prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until pale golden in colour. While the crescents are still warm, sift icing sugar over them.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate!

Here is our Christmas tree and of course Alex!

Those are my favorite ornaments, the boys made them last year ( alex had help from Cass)

The tree is placed on a small balcony on the second floor overlooking the two story entrance. The boys choose the place two years ago when we moved into the house. They love the fact that when they go to sleep they can still see the light from the Christmas tree.

This post is part of the " It's time to jingle again" hosted by Priyanka Srivastava at Asankhana. You can submit your favorite Christmas post.

Dec 2, 2009

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Christmas is almost here, yay! Everywhere you look decorations are up, and a festive atmosphere is  in the air. You can find Santa at every mall, which are swarming with people buying presents.
Therefore the festive baking it has been on my mind lately. I don't start baking festive cookies until december. The first festive cookie this year, is one of Brandon's favorite cookies: the lemon cream cheese cookies with lemon icing. Those cookies are very soft and with a refreshing lemon flavour, the glaze is optional but makes for a more festive look.


1 cup of butter or hard margarine ( I used soya margarine, my butter was in the freezer :( when i decided to make the cookies)
1 cup of soft brown sugar
 4 oz cream cheese (half of block cut lengthwise )
2 eggs( each of them lightly beaten)
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
 The zest from one lemon.

Lemon glaze

2 cups of icing sugar
4 tbsp of lemon juice

Silver cachous to decorate ( if desired)

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Grease 2 large baking sheets or line with baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, cream cheese, butter or margarine.

Until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one by one mixing well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking soda in a different bowl. With the paddle attachment or with a spatula stir in the flour mixture. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and mix well.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets ( about 40 of them) making sure they are well spaced.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes rotating baking pans half way thru the cooking time to ensure uniform baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking pan for a few minutes before removing to cooling rack.

To make the icing:

Place the icing sugar and lemon juice in a heat proof bowl over a pot with simmering water. Stir until smooth.

 Remove from heat. Keep the bowl over the pot with hot water wile dipping the cookies in the glaze.

Place the cookies on the cooling rack for the glaze to harden.

 You can decorate with some silver cachous for a more festive look. I only decorated a few of them.


Variation to this cookies. Substitute the lemon juice and lemon zest with orange juice and orange zest for orange cream cheese cookies.

Nov 28, 2009

Oreo Biscotti

What's a cup of hot chocolate without a biscotti? Undrinkable! In our house. Alexander loves, hot chocolate and he loves cookies and biscotti. I make different kinds of biscotti, but the oreo one is his favorite, that's because he loves oreo cookies, but he prefers biscotti for "dipping" in his hot chocolate.

 In the last week we have been watching Toy Story 1 and 2 ( more times that I wanna remember), he is very excited abut the third one coming out in the summer of next year, that's all he talks about. I have to admit that I'm pretty excited as well. I watched the first one with my son Brandon when it first came out, then with Cass when the second one was released, and I'm so happy that Alex is going to go to the theater to experience the third one ( in 3D). Until then we  are watching the 1 and 2, and I have bookmarked the theatrical trailer on you tube for the third one ( otherwise I have to search for it 10 times a day). He loves  when Buz  is speaking spanish.... His grandmother ( my mom) already bought for him the new Buzz and Woody toys. He can't wait until Christmas when she's coming over.
 The cup of hot chocolate in the above picture, I got it ready for him, so he can enjoy it while watching the "Trailer" again.

Actually, here is the famous trailer. Enjoy!

Now back to the biscotti. This recipe I found on Kraft foods website. Very easy to make, and delicious.


1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
16 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped ( about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl mix sugar, butter ( melted), eggs and vanilla, until well blended.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.

Add the chopped Oreo cookies.

Mix well. Divide the dough in 2 equal portions. With floured hands shape into logs. Place the logs on greased baking sheet.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown, or the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut each log into 16 slices 1/2 inch thick. You can cut it diagonally or straight. I cut them straight.

 Place the biscotti cut side up on the same baking sheet, return to the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes, on each side or until lightly toasted on both sides. Cool on a wire rack. If you like the biscotti can be drizzled with melted chocolate.

Enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, while watching Buz and Woody ( again).

Another Oreo recipe you might like. Oreo Cupcakes.

Nov 23, 2009

Greek chicken and Potatoes

My son Brandon, loves any food that has greek in its name. When I found this recipe of greek chicken and potatoes on Rouxbe online cooking school I knew was going to be a hit with him, after all the Pork tenderloin sandwiches are a weekly meal in our house( and that's a rouxbe recipe as well)
I was hesitant to make the full recipe, it makes a lot.... And my boys are not very good at eating leftovers. After careful consideration ( on not having to cook the following day) I made the full recipe.
The leftover chicken I cut it up in strips and store it in a glass container together with the pan juices, and from there they used the chicken, with some crumbled feta cheese and whole wheat buns to make "the best greek sandwiches ever" in Brandon's words. The recipe is for greek chicken and potatoes. If you make only the chicken you should make only half of the dressing recipe.
For the
Greek chicken and for the Greek potatoes. Feeds 8 to 10 people. I'm a great fan of Rouxbe online cooking school and that's all thanks to my foodie friend Steve who introduced me to the site.

Ingredients for dressing enough for 8  single chicken breasts and the potatoes.

8 cloves of garlic
1/2 grainy  mustard
6 tbsp honey
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of greek seasoning
1 tbsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Start by peeling the garlic, place in a food processor and purée. Add grainy mustard, honey, Dijon mustard, greek seasoning, lemon pepper, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to blend. Add lemon zest and juice. Keep the processor running wile you slowly pour the oil. Take care not to over mix. The consistency should be thick.

You can marinate the chicken ahead of time, for extra flavour. Just place the chicken in a large bowl and pour half of the dressing over it. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

To cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the chicken on it. Discard any remaining dressing. Bake the chicken for 20 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. 

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving. Pour any pan juices over the chicken.

For the Greek potatoes. You will need.

1/2 recipe Greek dressing
1/8 cup chopped rosemary ( optional)
freshly ground black pepper.
8 large Yukon potatoes.

Wash the potatoes and cut of any damage parts. Cut the potatoes in wedges. Finely chop the rosemary if using ( I didn't have any in the house at that time )
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the potatoes with the dressing, add the rosemary. Toss well.
Place the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with black pepper.

Place in a 400˚F preheated oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss, return to the oven and bake for 15 to 25 minutes longer.

Serve with greek chicken, steamed veggies and a greek salad.

Make your own greek condiment. No MSG and no salt it's easier to control the sodium. I found this recipe on the rouxbe site, posted by Dawn the creator of the greek chicken recipe.
I usually make more and store it in a glass jar. Here is the recipe

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dry mint
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried onion ( or onion powder)
1/4 tsp dried minced garlic( or garlic powder)


pinch dry rosemary
pinch dried lemon peel
salt and pepper

I made mine X 10. Its convenient to have it  ready made on hand for other recipe that call for greek condiment.

PS. I got a few notices from readers that they can not post comments. It must be a problem from blogger :(   Thank you to all of you who tried to comment but were not able :)
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