all you need is…ice cream

All you need is love… and a few sweet snacks!

I had a few things planned for this weekend but with yesterday’s blizzard, some of our plans fell through.

On Saturday, we finished our valentine’s day cards and made some Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.  FAIL.  Not everything we do is a success.  They looked sooo good, but the taste was very disappointing.  The texture was actually like baked play-doh, and it tasted as bad as it could have been with a LOT of sugar!

So we tried another new recipe while watching the snow storm yesterday.  Homemade ice cream sandwich… and we’ve got a WINNER!  This one will be hard to beat.  And it was easy to make, quick, and delicious.  I’m a big fan of ice cream sandwich, but these were something else, and homemade, which obviously add to the fun!  Light, moist and delicious cookie with strawberry ice cream… AMAZING!

I can foresee myself doing this recipe many times next summer for everyone to enjoy at our pool parties, and of course for myself as well!  I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter… perfect snack size… and perfect for the occasion!

I used my guru Martha Stewart recipe for the cookie.

what you need:

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

how to:

Preheat oven at 350.  Butter a jelly-roll pan and cover with parchment paper.

Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the egg, vanilla and salt and mix.  Add the flour and coco powder and mix well.  Spread the mix on the parchment paper.  The mixture is thick, you will need to spread it out evenly.

Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes.  Once it’s baked, let it cool for 5 minutes, then cut hearts with the cookie cutter.  Take out the ice cream. Let the cookies cool for another 5 minutes.  Then add a dollop of your favorite ice cream and add another cookie on top.  Press gently.  Once they’re all done, place the baking sheet with the sandwiches in the freezer for one hour.

It won’t take an hour to eat, so grab one as fast as you can and ENJOY!

This recipe gave me 12 sandwiches.  I guess you can have more if you don’t use the cookie cutters and do square ones; less waste.  But they are so much more fun to eat when they’re made of your favorite shapes!

Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day.

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super bowl worthy pretzels

 

Beside beers and wings, I’d say that pretzels are now pretty high on my list of must have for the Super Bowl.  Homemade pretzels, of course!  I found this recipe online, adjusted it, and now I’m telling you, you’ll never crave for ANY OTHER PRETZELS once you’ve tried these ones.  This is one AMAZING recipe.

I may not be a huge football fan, but I love the Super Bowl!  I have not missed one since I’ve been 8, or so.  I remember, during my first year of university, we threw a huge party in our apartment… we lived in a duplex, and we had installed 3 TV’s in our living room, with so much junk food, it was crazy!  I, myself, had made more than 200 wings.  I’d say we were close to 50.  Everybody came.  People were eating in the stairs, on side tables, on desk, on the floor… we couldn’t walk, people everywhere!  It was great.

Of course, the best halftime show still belongs to the King of Pop.  Nobody as never came close to beating Michael Jackson XXVII show.  But I’m crossing my fingers Lady Gaga will be just as good!

So if you’re watching the game (Go Pats/Go Brady) or even just watching the halftime show, what you NEED is some of these Pretzels.  I guarantee you will love them and your guests too!

What you need:

1 1\2 cups warm water

2 tbs brown sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1\4 cup melted butter

2 tsp kosher salt

4 1\2 cups flour

vegetable oil

2 liters of water

1\2 cup baking soda

1 egg yolk

sea salt

How to:

In you stand mixer with the hook attachment, add the warm water, sugar, butter and yeast.  Mix and set aside for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the salt and flour and add to the yeast.  Mix on low for 5 minutes.  If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time.  Remove the dough and knead for 2 minutes.  Place the dough in a greased bowl (vegetable oil), cover with a damp cloth.  Place the bowl in a warm place (I preheat my oven at 170, then turn it off and place the covered bowl in there for about an hour.  The dough should be soft and have doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, throw a bit of flour on the counter and roll out the dough to form a rectangle.  I cut long strips with my pizza cutter.  Make a pretzel shape, knot or strips, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let rise for another 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, boil the water in a large saucepan.  Once it boil, add the baking soda.  Put 3 or 4 pretzels at a time for 30 seconds.  Do this for all the pretzels and put them back on the baking sheet.  Mix the egg yolk with a bit of water and egg wash the top of the pretzels.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake at 425 for 12-15minutes.

I serve my pretzels with sriracha aioli or mustard.  Eat on the same day… but that shouldn’t be a problem!

So who’s coming over on Sunday?  Everyone’s invited.  As long as you cheer for our team!

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pink cinnamon buns…of course

Bring me all the pink stuff!!!  Valentine’s Day is around the corner and everywhere I look… pink heart-shaped everything are calling my name!

Of course I’ve already decorated my house for Valentine’s Day.  Well, I like to decorate for every occasion.  So for the next few weeks, my house and my blog will be flooded with pink!

Last weekend I made pink cinnamon buns, and like he always do when he loves something, Logan said ‘dell-licious’ after his first bite.

I’m sharing the recipe from www.sprinklesomesugar.com but you can use your own favorite recipe and just add some pink food coloring!

What you need:

Dough

-1 packet of active dry yeast

-1 cup of warm milk

-2/3 cup of sugar

-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

-2 eggs lightly beaten

-1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

-4 1/2 cups of flour

Filling

-1/2 cup unsalted butter

-1 1/4 cups brown sugar

-2 tablespoon cinnamon

Frosting

-4oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

-1/4 cup unsalted butter

-1 cup icing sugar

How to:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add yeast, warm milk and 1 tbs of sugar.  Stir and set aside for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of sugar, melted butter and beaten eggs until combined.  Add 3 cups of flour and then add one tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough.  The dough should be sticky, do not add to much flour.  Mix for 5 minutes.  Place the dough in a greased bowl in a dry place to rise.  For about one hour.

While the dough is rising, mix the ingredients for the filling.  Once the dough is ready, place it on a floured counter and roll it out to form a rectangle.  Smear the butter mixture on the dough, and then roll the dough.  I made heart shaped buns by rolling both side until they meet in the middle.  Cut and place in a baking pan, creating hearts.  Allow the dough to rise again for 30 minutes.

In a 350 degree oven, bake the cinnamon buns for 25 minutes or until golden brown… or in this case, golden pink!

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth with no lumps.  Add the icing sugar.

Spread the icing onto the warm buns!  Dell-licious!

Enjoy with your loved ones.

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3 resolutions and a recipe

Sadly, our Christmas break is over.  On monday morning, the three of us were back at school.  Bittersweet, because it’s fun to go back to our routine and see friends and coworkers, but it was sooo much fun to spend those last 2 weeks at home with the boys.  I’m now counting the days till our March break! (then I’ll start counting the days till our Summer break… I guess I can’t complain!)

So, 2017, did you make any resolutions?  Usually I don’t.  But I’ve decided that I should try to improve myself, so there is goes.

#1 Be more patient… my Mom and husband are probably overjoyed by this first resolution.  I’m not always very patient, I like things my way and I like order; and I have two beautiful boys who are testing my patience daily.  So I want to try to make more time for them, listen to them and be more present, and when it won’t go the way I want it to go, I’ll try to take a breath and go forward without necessarily making them do it or act the way I want.  So to be more patient, flexible, agile and understanding with them.  We’ll see how it goes!!!

#2 Be more healthy.  Last year, I ran my first 10k race.  I was really proud of myself.  I trained hard and I did it.  After that, I kept running once or twice a week but with no other race in mind.  Unless you count the Disney Run… which is my dream race, and yes I’m planning on doing it soon, but right now there’s nothing ahead that I have to train for… and yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to go out and run just for fun… well that was in 2016… cause in 2017 I’d like to always have a race scheduled ahead, a goal, so I have a reason to go out and run!  So I want to register for the Ottawa 10k again but improve my time.  I also want to eat more healthy and make better nutritious choices for my family.  Less restaurant, fast food and treats.  More fruits and veggies, more homemade meals and plan more our weekly meals.  It’s 2017, it’s a new year, and I need to kill it with #2.

#3 Be more organized.  Organize our home, cupboards and pantries, closets, cars, basement, backyard and GARAGE.  Being more organized in my mind, setting goals and getting there.

All of these are doable.  I’ve been trying to become that better version of myself for years now, but in 2017, I will.  Never too late to change, and I feel like it’s time to stop trying or wishing for better and to just do it.

Do you take any resolutions?  I’d like to know what they are!  Inspire me! (for next year thought, as I have enough already for 2017!!!)

So for today, I’m leaving you with a restaurant worthy ham and cheese panini.

Easily the best sandwich I ever made, fresh, explosion of flavour and lots of cheese.  You can never have too much cheese, right?  Yes, I know what my resolution #2 is… but what do you want me to do with all that cheese I bought in 2016, it won’t eat itself, so I will!

Ham and Cheese Panini

Heat up your panini grill or a skillet.

Butter some rye bread.

Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard with a tablespoon of maple syrup.  Spread on the rye bread.

Add some slice aged cheddar cheese, shaved black forest ham, a few thinly sliced Granny Smith apple slices and some more CHEESE.

Place on the panini grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Cut in half and serve with a lemon and oil arugula salad.

Enjoy!

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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.

snow

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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