Thursday, 25 October 2012

Reese's Pieces Cookies

Here, in lovely little Victoria, it gets wet. In the fall, winter, and spring, I mean. Literally speaking, I own sandals and boots. No need for in-between footwear.

If we ever catch a glimpse of clear sky, we run with our children to the park as fast as we can before the clouds come back.

Maybe to you it sounds dreary, but I was born here. I love it. It's cozy and crisp. And beautiful. And, since we have a lot of time to kill indoors, I get a whole lot of baking done.

We had a Halloween party last weekend and were therefore stuck with a bunch of leftover Reese's Pieces. Pretty much an awesome leftover. Know what makes them more awesome? Put them in cookies. Trust.

These are ridiculous. I'm serious, people. I thought it would be just like a regular chocolate chip cookie, but it's so, so much more. For some reason, the reese's pieces turn the dough into an amazing, chewy but soft but crispy cookie all at the same time. They get all golden and flat (and if you ask me, flat cookies are the bomb). Betcha can't eat just one  five.

Reese's Pieces Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cups reese's pieces

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees ferenhiet
  • Combine sugars, butter (use the real deal, folks) and egg in your mixer using cookie paddles
  • Add vanilla
  • Add flour and baking soda until combined
  • Add reese's pieces 
  • Drop by rounded spoonfulls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (it really makes all the difference) 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until very lightly browned on top
  • Remove from oven and cool on wire rack



Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Pumpkin Biscoff French Toast with Maple Cream Cheese Syrup

If you're thinking, "There's no way it will actually taste as good as it looks and sounds", you're wrong. Wronger than wrong. In fact, somehow it tastes better. My first bite I litereally said "Oh my gosh!" so loud that all the kids came running in to see what was the matter.
Pumpkin? Good. Biscoff? Good. French Toast? Goooooooood. You get the picture. The best way to eat this is on a frosty morning with big fat slippers, a steaming mug of cocoa, and a sister to play cards with. At least, that's what we did and it was a pretty perfect morning.
Pumpkin Biscoff French Toast with Maple Cream Cheese Syrup
     For the toast:
3 eggs
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 loaf french bread, sliced about 3/4 inch thick
Beat all of your ingredients together (minus the bread) until nice and frothy. Turn on a griddle or stove to about medium heat and let it get hot for a minute. Dip your bread in the mixture and coat well on both sides. Fry those babies up, a few minutes on each side. (Watch it, every stove is different. This is not yummy burned.)
     For the syrup:
8 oz cream cheese at room temp
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Beat it and beat it good. Give it a few minutes and voila! You're got one tasty syrup on your hands.
     A handful of biscoff cookies, crushed up nice and small. This is it for the topping. Why mess with a good thing?
Stack your toast, douse with syrup, and sprinkle with cookies.

-Jessica and Leah

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Caramel Cinnamon Applesauce

Sorry to everyone whom I may offend by saying this, but....I am super excited for fall! Not that I don't love summer, but there's something about fall that makes me really happy. Let me make you a top 10  list.  What, you don't care about my list? Too bad. I like lists.
1.  Leaves. I love the colours of all the different leaves and there's something so satisfying about stomping in a pile of really crunchy ones. And here in Victoria, we have an abundance of beautiful, leafy trees. Love it.
2.  Sweaters. There's not much cozier than putting on a soft, warm, cozy sweater right after getting out of the shower. It makes my day.
3. Boots. Sadly, my hubby is not a big fan of boots, but I don't really care. I love them. They're adorable, comfy, and totally practical.
4. Hallowe'en. I love this holiday. Any reason to decorate is welcome, of course, but beyond that I think it's just plain fun. Kids get so excited to put on their costumes, and there's usually a party or two. Also, I have a super fun Hallowe'en music mix that I put together for my kids....I mean how often do you get to listen to "Ghostbusters" and "Thriller" without feeling like a dork.
5. Pumpkin carving. Unfortunately for me, my hubby and my sister are artists, and me not so much. Their jack-o-lanters are pretty amazing. I'm just lucky if I don't cut my finger. But it's good fun.
6. Hot chocolate. I would drink it every day if it were cool enough, calories and all. I love it so much. It just feels wrong when its 25 degrees outside, but starting in September I say bring it on.
7. Fall was my mom's absolute favourite season. Every little bit of fall reminds me of her.
8. Fall lotion and candles. It's true. My very favourite store is bath and body works. In fact, I think I might be addicted. When I moved in August, I found a bag with 11 containers of soap. I kind of hoard it. Anyway, the fall stuff is the best. Really.  
9. Caramel Apples. When I was a kid we did it every year. I swear it took hours just to get the stupid plastic wrappers off the little caramels, but it's so worth it.
10. Applesauce. I'm not one to eat apples by themself (unless it's a McIntosh, I love those). But in sauce, I can't get enough. The smell is amazing, it's so smooth and sweet and spicy, and it's good cold, warm, or even on vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmmm.
Caramel Cinnamon Applesauce
  • 12 apples (I used a combo of granny smith and gala, just what was in my fruit bowl)
  • 1/4 cup water or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce (I just used the smuckers ice cream topping)
I have one of those handy dandy apple peeler things, which cuts the time in half. If you don't, use a potato peeler, or sharp knife and peel those apples.
Then core and slice them, and throw them into a nice big pot.
Add the water and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, check the softness with a fork or potato masher. You may need to turn up the heat a little, depending on your stove.
Once they are very soft, add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and caramel. Mash a bit with the masher, and then puree it using an immersion blender. I love that thing. If you don't have one, you could transfer it all into a big blender, or just mash until you're satisfied with the size of apple chunks. I don't mind chunks, but my kids hate 'em.
Let in cool in the pot, unless you're eating it right away. Once cool, transfer it to a jar, bowl, tupperware, whatever you want.
This recipe got me one extra large and very full mason jar (not the standard size, bigger).
I hope you love fall as much as I do!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Peanut Butter Brownie Fudge Ice Cream

What do you do when your sister is visitng, there are 7 kids running around the house, and its over 30 degrees (celcius...that's like 85 or something in ferenheit). Well, you do pretty much nothing.
Maybe spend the afternoon playing board games (scattergories anyone?), reading Divergent (trust me, read it) and playing Harry Potter 20 questions. It's fun, I swear. Especially if you're nerdy like us. It was hot, okay?
At some point we decided that we should probably get some food in the kids. My mom-in-law recently bought an ice cream maker and I was dying to get my hands on it. And what sounds better in sweltering heat than some homemade, creamy and cold ice cream. Not much, to be honest. This may or not have been dinner.
Peanut Butter Brownie Fudge Ice Cream
(the base ice cream recipe was from the Cuisinart ice cream maker recipe book)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
3-1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 batch of brownies (minus the caramel and skor bits) 
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hot fudge (I like the smuckers brand)

  • Place the cocoa and sugars in a medium bowl; stir to combine.
  • Add the whole milk and use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. If not freezing immediately, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Turn machine on; pour mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 25 to 35 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture.
  • Break up brownies into bite sized pieces and add them, piece by piece into the ice cream.
  • Add peanut butter, by the teaspoon full into the ice cream.
  • Add fudge.
  • Let it mix for another minute or two.
  • If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.
  • Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving
*Directions may vary, depending on what your ice cream maker's instructions.

-Jessica and Leah

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


It's been a few weeks! I was off on a lovely little family vacation to Alberta for a family reunion on my hubby's side. Then, we came home and moved. Right away. It's been busy busy busy! It's been a really fun summer, but let me tell you, I am very happy to turn in the camp stove and hot dog roasters and get back to a real kitchen! My new kicthen, which has a gas stove and a convection oven. I know. I can't keep out of there.

 Last week, just after we got settled, Leah and her brood came for a visit so we decided to make an awesome "meal" for the kids. And by the kids I mean we made it for us, and then felt bad and were forced to share.

We are Canadian. I think that may have been mentioned before. There don't seem to be a lot of strictly Canadian foods, seeing as how our great country is relatively new, and really a great  big melting pot. I love it, it's what makes our country so diverse and interesting.

However, there is one food that is pretty much to die for, and 100% Canadian baby. French Canadian. This dish originated in Quebec, and made it's way across the country. It's called Poutine. For those of you south of the border, this is pronounced "Pooh-teen". And it's amazing.

Traditionally, poutine is made with cheese curd, but we used mozzarella instead for 2 reasons. I had some in my fridge already, and cheese curd is hard to find and can be pricey.

You can use whatever cheese you like, depending on how strong of a cheese flavour you want. I think the best are of course the traditional curd, mozzarealla, monterey jack, havarti, or pepperjack.
Try to invite some people over when you make this, because otherwise you might be tempted to eat it all by yourself, which you might regret later. Maybe.


6 russet potatoes (I think these make the best fries)
2 tsp fresh minced garlic
salt, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 pack of brown gravy mix
1-2 cups shredded mozzarealla cheese

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Wash potatoes and slice into french fry sized strips
  • Put in a large stainless steel bowl and toss with garlic, salt and olive oil
  • Spread on a parchement paper lined baking sheet and pop in oven for 15-20 minutes, until soft and slightly crispy. (I do them less crispy than I would if I were just going to eat them by themself, you will want these ones to be a bit softer, because you eat this with a fork.)
  • In the meantime, while they're in the oven, prepare your gravy according to the instructions on the packet.
  • Grate your cheese.
  • When the fries are done, put them immediately into individual bowls, smother in gravy, and top with cheese. It will melt as you eat it.
  • Try to share, if you have it in you.

-Jessica and Leah

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A little paint goes a long way

Do you love Michaels? I do. And by love I mean LOVE. When I was a kid I thought it was pretty boring, but either Michael's has changed, or I have.  I could spend a whole day (and a whole paycheck) in there.

Yesterday I got a stack of 7 12x12 canvases for 29 bucks. I was pretty excited about it, especially because we're moving in a few weeks and I am excited to do some decorating. The kids too!

The kids bathroom is also the guest bathroom, and so I picked a nice "bluebird" blue paint colour and a white shower curtain. I wanted it to still look fun with a bit of colour, so I let the kids paint some art for the wall in there. This is courtesy of Hayden. It's his Chocha (Auntie) Amanda taking a walk in some flowers.  Not bad for a 3 year old!

This is Oliver, who painted himself (who else?). I'm diggin' the cowboy boots.

They got to share the third canvas and decided on a rainbow. Can't wait to see these up in August!

This one is for the baby's room (ok, he will be one in 3 is this happening?! I am still calling him the baby whether he likes it or not).

This too.

I just have a thing for owls.

Now this one I'm excited about. These kids have a wicked awesome grandma who made them a pirate room. Duvet covers, pillows, lampshades, curtains. She even added a treasure chest with chocolate coins inside, a pirate puzzle, and costumes. I will definitely put some pictures up when we've moved.  All we needed was some art for the walls. I had a lot of fun with this one.  

Truth. They do.

I can't wait to get it all up and see it on the walls!


Monday, 2 July 2012

Raspberry Cream Pie

I loooooove raspberries. I think they are superior to strawberries in every way. More flavourful, juicier, bite size. Love 'em. But they do seem to go bad pretty quick. I had a whole bunch to use up and I was fresh out of ideas.

When this happens, I usually wait until inspiration hits, or I call up Leah, because she's usually full of them. Today I founds myself on and let me tell you, that woman is never out of ideas. I just borrowed one of hers.

You can find her recipe here.

It's scrumptious. I  can't remember the last time I used that word, but I like it. It's gonna be a thing.