Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mexican Night-Ole!

Ok, so Ole is not Mexican, but we did have Mexican food last week, thanks to my brother-in-law , Adrian. He and my sister, Heather along with my cousin and her husband came over for supper. We had Carne Asada (BBQ beef tacos). The food was just as delightful as the company. Thanks Adrian!

(unfortunately I forgot to take more pics than these)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Comfort Food

I've been on a big comfort food kick as of late. I'm talking about warm, cooked until soft, give me a warm tummy feeling (with a hint of nostalgia), comfort food. I think it started with the Lamb, Rosemary, and Yam pie in Australia and has continued with the cold of winter.

Last week I made individual Mac and Cheese, Green Beans with Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese, Cranberry and Pecan Salad, Hot Chocolate and Cupcakes. Oh my, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

I found a very delightful little blog (by a Canadian!) called Everybody Likes Sandwiches thru a link via a link. The author had a great post about her favorite recipes of 2009 which, by the looks of it are comforting.

It looks like this comfort food trend may continue...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blood Orange Cupcakes

I am loving the citrus that is showing up in the grocery store as of late. While grocery shopping last week, I saw blood oranges. With their bright color and strong orange flavor, I knew they would be lovely paired with some chocolate cupcakes for girls night!

I made chocolate cupcakes using my favorite recipe (so light and perfect for filling). Blood oranges took the place of lemons to make a curd filling and blood orange buttercream topped it all off. While it sounds like a lot of work, it's not too bad as each step is relatively simple.

Chocolate Cake
*makes 24 cupcakes or 3-9 inch round cakes

2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 3 - 9 inch round cake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
*via allrecipes

Citrus Curd
*substitute your favorite citrus fruit. Makes enough to fill 24-30 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
5 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

Prepare and ice-water bath. Set a medium bowl in ice-water bath and set aside.
Place sugar and lemon zest in a mortar and grind with a pestle to combine and release the oils. Transfer sugar mixture to a medium heatproof bowl along with eggs and egg yolks; whisk to combine. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add lemon juice and continue whisking until mixture is thick and reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add butter and whisk until well combined.
Strain lemon mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over prepared bowl. Cover lemon curd with plastic wrap, pressing plastic wrap directly onto surface. Transfer to refrigerator until completely chilled
*from Martha Stewart

Citrus Buttercream
*you may substitute any citrus for the blood oranges

zest & juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup icing sugar, plus 2-3 cups
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened

Combine 1/4 cup icing sugar with lemon zest in a mortar and blend to release the citrus oil. Place orange icing sugar and butter in a bowl and beat to combine. Add 1/4 cup of icing sugar and the orange juice. Blend. Add the vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of icing sugar. Blend. Add milk and 1/2 cup icing sugar. Add icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Girls Night!

(us drinking hot chocolate from latte bowls!)

My high school girlfriends came over a few Fridays ago. Food, good friends, good conversation...It was a great time.

The low point of the evening was 5 minutes after the girls left when I bit into one of the homemade marshmallows I had made for the hot chocolate and realized that I had OBVIOUSLY put way too much salt into the recipe. Ana's strange reaction when she bit into one now made more sense and the slightly salty flavor when we had them in the hot chocolate made more sense. They are supposed to be sweet and delicious but they were so salty. (sorry Ana!!!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Is it too late to reflect on 2009? I've been thinking about it in the sense that I want to review where I've been and figure out where I want to go next.

My boss puts sayings on the sign in front of our store that change every 2 weeks and I have to admit the current ones are making me think. The first one is " Resolutions-They go in one year and out the other" and the second is "Resolutions, without plans, are just wishful thinking". More food for thought was provided in a link via DesignMom. It had 100 Skills Everyone should master. As I read through them, I thought of which ones I had achieved, and was inspired to accomplish more. Rather than resolustions, which tend to feel like obligations after about a month, I prefer to make shorter term goals that can be completed (I have to admit, I like the gratification of knowing I can check something off my list)

I thought I'd list off some things I tried last year, and make a list for the coming year.

- Learn to quilt
- Make hollandaise sauce from scratch
- Poach a perfect egg
- Travel beyond North America
- Start a blog

- Learn another language
- Try yoga
- Use a compass
- Learn to knit/Finish a knitting project
- Clean out my closet

I would love to hear your resolutions/goals/etc

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Near to you, dear reader of this post. I hope to post more often and more interestingly this year. I have a feeling this year is going to be a good one...