christmas cake…everyday cake

Are you full?  I bet you are… I know I still am!  But there’s always a spot left for my all-time favorite chocolate cake!

We had a really good Christmas this year.  We visited family, had fabulous meals with the ones we love, exchange presents and waited for Santa to come visit us -way past our bedtime- at the Woodbury Christmas Eve réveillon.  I can’t believe it’s already gone, makes me so sad having to take away our tree and decorations; but I think I’ll keep them for another week (or two)!

Since I’m not ready to say goodbye yet, I’m sharing this amazing chocolate cake recipe with you.  You can make it year round and you will not be disappointed, it really is a crowd pleaser!  It was our Christmas Day dessert this year (and probably will for the next 50).  I melted some Wilton White Chocolate Candy Melts in the microwave and spread it on a large parchment paper.  Let it cool at room temperature, melted a few chocolate chipits and then brushed the ‘bark’ with a small paintbrush.  Takes less than 15 minutes….very easy.

For the cake and icing, I’ve adapted a recipe from Marilou 3 fois par jour: Mon gâteau au chocolat préféré.  I took out the chipits from the cake and changed the icing for it to be a little more buttery.  The original is amazing -just like everything else she does-, but I really love the changes I made… suits my liking!

what you need for the cake:

butter to grease the cake pans

2 cups of flour

3\4 cups of cocoa

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1\2 teaspoon of baking powder

pinch of salt

3 eggs

1 3\4 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s Olive Oil)

1 1\3 cups of water

what you need for the icing:

1 lbs of unsalted butter (oh yes, one pound!)

1\2 lbs of salted butter (I guess one pound was not enough; but like I said, it is buttery!!!)

3\4 cup of cocoa

3 cups of icing sugar

how to:

Heat up the oven at 350.  Grease the 2 cake molds (9 in.) with butter.

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Put aside.

In the mixer (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, but you may use a hand held mixer) add the eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Mix for about 3 minutes until the mixture is frothy.

In another separate bowl, mix the mayo and water.  Add to the mixer, alternating with the dry ingredients.

Pour into the cake pans, place in oven for about 30 minutes.  Let the cake cool down completely before icing.  I also suggest to freeze the cakes.  It’s easier to frost when it’s frozen, plus you can make your cakes in advance and unfreeze them the day your serving it.

For the icing, using your mixer again, mix the room temperature butter until fluffy.  Add the cocoa and icing sugar.  Mix on low setting until the icing is smooth and delicious!  Place your cakes on a nice cake stand, adding some icing between the layers.  Frost any way you like.  This frosting will be the best one you’ve ever tasted, I swear.  If you don’t like it, call me and I’ll come eat the entire cake!

I added the white chocolate bark all around the cake and placed a few decorations.  Theses were my great-grandma vinyl cake decorations… probably the only thing we have of hers… yet, we use them every year!  This cake needs no decoration at all, but it’s fun to dress it up for the occasion!

This IS simply the best cake EVER!  ENJOY!

 

 

 

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christmas petites boulettes

Les Petites Boulettes… a Christmas tradition that you can’t have enough of!

I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have our ‘petites boulettes’ or little meat balls for Christmas or any important gatherings.  These are my cousin Luc’s favorite thing in the world; you would always find him with a mountain of them on his plate!

Over the years I’ve developed a genius technique not to look too piggy once they’re being served; it’s real easy, and I suggest you do the same (that’s why I’m sharing the recipe with you): you just need to be the one who prepares them so you can eat as many as you want while you go in the kitchen to heat them up!!!  They’re addictive!

The first time I brought them to Christmas Eve in Brian’s family, years ago, uncles and aunts were not too savvy about it at first, but let me tell you that once Uncle Paul started to eat them one after the other while moaning at almost every bite, it was not too long before there was none left!  So now they’re a yearly tradition and one of the favorites in the Woodbury Christmas Eve’s feast (and of course I still volunteer year after year to be the one who goes in the kitchen and heat them right after midnight, come on!).

So I’m sharing our family recipe with you!  Double or triple the recipe, you won’t regret it.  They’re easy to make, but you could find it a bit lengthy to roll all these small meatballs.  I usually cook them in advance, freeze them, and then heat them up on the special day!

What you need:

-for the meatballs

1 lbs ground beef

1 lbs ground pork

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon of bifteck spices

2 tablespoon of oil

2 eggs

salt and pepper

-for the sauce

2 cups of brown sugar

1 1/2 cups of vinegar

1 can of tomato soup

1/2 cup of ketchup

1 cup of water

9 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of dry mustard

1 teaspoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of garlic salt

How to:

Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs.  Roll out mini meatballs (2.5 to 3 cm diameter).  I bake them in the oven on a lined baking sheet at 400 until golden.  My family cooks them in oils in a pan.  I like to think I have the HEALTHY version!!!

While the meatballs are cooking, in a large stock pot, add the sugar, vinegar, tomato soup, ketchup, the spices and half of the water, cook on med-low.  Mix the other half of the water with the cornstarch.  Add to the stock pot.  Continue to simmer on low for 20 minutes and then add the meatballs.  Cook on low for another 30 minutes and VOILA!  Enjoy!

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do you want to build a … lasagna

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I love finding new ways to make something. It just makes me happy… and these mini lasagna sure fit that mold!  You know, not everything I try is worth sharing on my blog… I don’t share when it ends up as a fail… but these are no fail, these are just as cute as they are good!!!

Easy, fun to do with the kids and delicious!  I found these baking dish at my local dollar store.  We love lasagna -who doesn’t love lasagna, come on!!!- but these mini-individual-snowman-lasagna are now a favorite of ours.

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Use your regular pasta sauce (next time I want to try pesto and chicken lasagna), cook the noodles and let cool.  Grate lots of cheese!  You can never have too much grated cheese!  Wrap one large noodle inside, around the baking dish, and then fill up the layers with pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, pasta sauce, pasta and more cheese!  I made the eyes and mouth with black olives and the snowman nose with a mini carrot!  So the veggies make it cute and also help with the guilt of eating pasta again!!!

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 and broil for a few minutes but don’t overdo it, you don’t want a sunburned snowman!

The next few months will be cold, so warm up with this cute diner and watch Frosty or Olaf.

 

 

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snow, pj’s and an awesome hot cocoa recipe

Christmas PJ'SWell we got our first beautiful snow storm today, so I guess I can start with my holiday posts!

There’s nothing better than watching snow falling, listening to Christmas music, in your pj’s, close to a fire with awesome hot cocoa!

You already know I have a thing for matching pajamas, and this time, as a bonus, I even found the most awesome hats to go with them! I have to control myself, if not they’d be wearing them  everyday until Christmas!  Festive pj’s are a SERIOUS addiction of mine!

christmas pj's

I’ve got an amazing hot chocolate recipe for tonight, tomorrow or anytime during this great season that is upon us!  I even got the cutest little snowman marshmallow from Chapters!  This hot cocoa recipe is a rich, thick and delicious one. You may add some whipped cream and crushed candy cane for added deliciousness!

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What you need:

6 oz. of Chocolats Favoris milk chocolate (or Lindt or you favorite chocolate)

1 1\2 cups of 2% milk

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of corn starch

How to:

Melt chocolate with 3 tbs of milk on medium heat.

Once melted, add the rest of the milk, cocoa powder, sugar and warm up without boiling.

Mix the corn starch with 2 tbs of the milk in a small bowl until all the lumps have disappeared.  If you don’t like thick hot chocolate, skip this step.  It will still taste amazing!

Add the corn starch mix to the melted milk/chocolate concoction on the stove and keep on simmering until thick.

Once its coating a wooden spoon, it is ready!

Pour in your favorite Christmas cups, garnish and enjoy with the people you love most in your pj’s!

Christmas PJ'S

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Hot cocoa

Christmas pj's

Christmas PJ'S

 

 

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our spicy chili

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I didn’t eat chili growing up, as it’s never been part of our family food rotation.  And honestly, I can’t say that I was keen to even try it.  But I first had it on a cold winter day at my mom’s place about 3 years ago.  Frank, my step-dad, had made a batch and it smelled too good to resist.  I tried it, and God it was good!!!

So, yeah, obviously, I stole his recipe (well he sent it to me), and then I started making it at home.

It’s good, and easy to make, so I’m sharing it with you!  I always make a double batch, easy to freeze and heat up anytime we need a bowl.  This recipe is a huge hit for any get-togethers or family gathering, especially on cold days, and also now a tradition for Brian’s hockey pool draft night!  We especially need a double batch and double spiciness for that one!

Special thanks to Brian’s colleague Josée for the distinctive spiciness of our chili as she gave us a unique homemade hot sauce her husband prepared from the 2000 ghost peppers that grew in their back yard… that thing could kill ya, literally.  Brian has some sort of true story about a squirrel or a skunk collapsing and dying in front of her colleague right after she fed the him that sauce in her rock garden!  So, I have to be careful, but I know now that if I put one tea spoon per batch it’s going to be perfect!

Spiciness and garnishes are our favorites: sour cream, cheddar cheese, chives and BACON!

What you need:

1 lbs of ground beef

1 tbs of olive oil

1 medium diced onion

1/2 cup of chopped celery

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of regular Clarks beans

1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can of mixed beans, drained and rinsed

1 pouch of Chili mix

Salt and pepper

Chili peppers and hot sauce to taste

How to:

In a large pot, on med-high, heat oil.  Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.

Once the meat is almost browned, add the onions, celery and garlic.  Cook until well browned.

Add chili mix and chili peppers.

Add all the beans and tomatoes and simmer for 2.5-3 hours.

(Then we add the hot sauce to the mix).

Dress it up with the fixings, serve with fresh bread and enjoy!  So, do you like it spicy or extra spicy?

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oh my dumplings

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My new obsession is Dumplings!  Oh how I love this delicious delicate dough filled little pockets.  It started with the cutest food truck, Dumpling Park, behind Brian’s favorite coffee house and sandwich place, Morning Owl.  They make fresh dumplings from Monday to Friday during the summer, and it’s just the best lunch ever!  I went a few times last summer and I just fell in love with that place.

So, since the cutest place for dumplings is now closed for the winter, I decided to try making them for myself, and it worked!  They were DELICIOUS!  A bit tedious to make but so rewarding.  I’m sharing my recipe with you and I hope you’ll try them!  I whipped up a  huge batch last night, made more than 75!

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These are only pork dumplings but you can also add shrimps.  This recipe should give you between 25-30 dumplings.

What you need:

1/2 lbs of ground pork

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup cilantro

2 tsps. toasted sesame oil

1 tsp olive oil

1 pinch chili flakes

zest of 1 lime

1 tsp of lime juice

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 pkg of egg roll wrappers (not wong-ton) cut in circles

chives thinly sliced

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How to:

In a food processor mix pork, garlic, cilantro, oils, chili, lime zest and juice, salt and pepper.  Process for a minutes, it will create a paste.

Using the egg roll wrapper, wet half the circle with water and scoop a teaspoon of the pork mix in the middle of the wrapper.  Fold and press, making sure all air is out.  Place completed dumplings on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap while you make the rest.

Using a steamer or a bain-marie,  steam a few dumpling (do not crowed them) for 10 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet, on medium heat and fry them on both sides until brown.

Serve those beauties on a bed of rice, with a bit of sesame oil, soya sauce and Sriracha.

Garnish with chives and enjoy.

Bon appétit!

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pumpkin spice loaf- another pumpkin recipe

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Sometimes I think my 5 year old is 70.  He love slippers, hot magic bag, pies and nuts.  All things that I associate with my grandma!  One thing he love is loafs.  Lemon loaf, banana loaf and this amazing pumpkin loaf.  He ate one slice every day for the last 10 days.  He can’t seem to get enough and you won’t either.

I’ve changed the recipe to double it.  Why make something so good and not have lots.  It makes 3 loafs or 2 loafs and 4 mini ones, like I did.  Great with cream cheese frosting or butter, mmm butter!  I slice them and freeze them individually, and then pop them in our lunch bag. SOOO GOOOD!

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What you need:

1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of buttermilk (I used regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice, rest for 2 minutes)

1 cup of sugar

2 cups of brown sugar

3 1/2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon of ginger

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

You may add pecans (We have a peanuts free school, so I don’t)

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How to:

Heat oven at 350.  Grease your loaf pans.

Mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar and brown sugar, until well blended.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger and nutmeg.

Add the flour mixture into the pumpkin one, until blended.  If you want to add some nuts, now would be the time.

Bake for about 50 minutes (less for minis)  Let cool a bit and devour!

 

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*recipe from Katie Jacobs from stylingmyeveryday.com

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pull apart pumpkin loaf

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You need that pumpkin taste, like right now?  Boy, do I have an awesome recipe for you!  Easy, quick and so flavorful, you’ll make it again and again.

What you need:

3/4 cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

1 egg

1 roll of Pillsbury Flaky Rolls

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/4 cup of icing sugar

3 tablespoons of milk

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How to:

Heat over at 350.

Mix puree, 1/4 cup of sugar, pumpkin spice, egg and vanilla.  Set aside.

Open the Pillsbury package, split each pieces in two.

In another bowl, mix 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Dip each dough pieces in the sugar mixture.

Once all dipped, add the pumpkin mix between the dough and stack them up.

Place in a grease bread pan and bake for about 25 minutes.

Let cool.

Mix the icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and milk.

Drizzle on top of the warm loaf.

Enjoy!

Beware: you might eat it all by yourself…it may or may not have happened to me!

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fall chocolats favoris apple slices

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What’s better than a candy apple?  A Chocolats Favoris sliced candy apple!  What does it mean?  More candy or in this case, more CHOCOLATE!

Easy to make with the kids in the afternoon.  An edible craft!  They can choose their own toppings and help you with all the preps.  It gets a bit messy, but it’s a mess you can eat, so it’s all good!  It’s a perfect snack to make for the apples you will pick in the next few weeks!

Here’s what we used:

One can of Caramel Fleur de Sel from Chocolats Favoris

Melted colored chocolate

Crushed peanuts

Reese Pieces candy

Sprinkles

Granny Smith apples (or your favorite apples)

How to:

Prep all the toppings in cute bowls.  Heat the Chocolats Favoris can, let cool a few minutes before you open it.  Slice a few apples, about half an inch and insert a stick.  When the chocolate has cooled down, dip the sliced apples one by one.  Lay the dipped apple slices on parchment paper and let the fun time begin!  Choose your favorite toppings, eat, take a few pictures and enjoy!

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sugar knots donuts

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THEY WERE DELICIOUS!

Last week I needed to bake.  Went through my cupboard and found last year’s Ricardo’ summer magazine.  DO NOT WAIT THAT LONG TO TRY THIS!

A bit long to make but easy.  Better than any donuts you’ve ever tried!

Don’t wait, tomorrow would be a great day to try this!

Like I said before, this is a Ricardo recipe:

What you need:

2 tablespoons of room temperature water

2 teaspoons of instant yeast

4 and half cups of flour

half a cup of sugar

1 cup of heavy cream

1 teaspoon of salt

6 eggs

Canola oil

Sugar

How to:

In a bowl, mix the yeast and water, leave it for 5 minutes

In your mixer with a hook, mix flour, sugar, cream, salt, eggs and the yeast mixture.  Mix until the dough starts to form a ball around the hook.  At that point, I removed it from the mixer and worked the dough on the counter with a bit of flour.  Once the dough is soft, place in a big clean bowl that’s been oiled.  Cover with a damp towel and leave for 2 hours.

Put lots of flour on the counter and roll out the dough, make a rectangle of about 6x 30in.  Cut the dough in slices of 6×2.  Knot the dough, place on a cookie sheet and let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oil at 180.  Place 2 or 3 donuts at a time.  Cook until golden and place on another cookie sheet with paper towels.  Toss the knots in the sugar and EAT!

Will make around 24 knots.

These are best eaten on the same day, so invite family and friends and ENJOY!

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