Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas Treats





I have been doing so much holiday baking this season that I thought I would take a minute to give you some of my favourite holiday recipes!    This is your one stop shop for all kinds of deliciousness, so get on your christmas clothing, crank up those christmas tunes and lets get baking! 




Here are 8 delicious Christmas goodies that you will want to whip up during the holiday season. 

Lets start with a family favourite.  The classic Christmas Sugar Cookie!   I love using this recipe because the dough takes only a few minutes to mix together and then I store it in the fridge, in a ziplock baggie, until I am ready to roll it out and bake the cookies.  

Other reasons why the sugar cookie recipe is amazing is because you can roll them out, cut into Christmas shapes then you have 2 options.  You can 1. sprinkle with coloured sugar and bake or 2.  bake and frost.  It is a win win recipe for people who love to frost cookies and those who would rather NOT. 


Sugar Cookies

1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl.

2. Blend together the dry ingredients and mix into first mixture.

3. With hands form dough into 2-3 dough balls and chill in the fridge (15- 30 minutes). This makes the dough easier to roll out.

4. Roll the dough out on a well floured surface ( parchment paper also works well but make sure it is lightly floured). Cut the dough with cookie cutters and place onto a cookie sheet.

5. Bake in Pre-heated oven (350) for 7-8 minutes.

Cookie Icing

2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1-2 tbsp canned milk
1/2 tsp Coconut extract

Blend together butter and icing sugar. Then slowly add a little bit of canned milk at a time until you have a desired consistency.

Also this frosting taste so yummy when you add coconut extract to it. To make the different colours just put the icing into different bowls and add food colouring.

To top the cookies I love going to the bulk barn and picking up the sliver balls and sprinkles of every colour.


The best part about these cookies is once the icing is on you can chill them in the fridge for a 10-15 minutes then you can store them in the freezer. When you have guest coming over just pull them out over the Christmas holidays, put them onto a plate and there you go...cookies in no time!


Oh and if you want to know how to get your dough to be the same thickness use stir paint sticks on either side of your dough while you are rolling it out.  Consistent thickness helps ensure the prefect bake. 
  

The next family favourite that our kids love taking in their lunch boxes are the Candy Cane Crinkles.  



Oh... these Dipped Ginger cookies are a new family favourite, that look so festive and are amazing with a hot cup of tea.  I found the recipe over at Cooking Classy .  The only different thing I did was I coloured my left over white chocolate green to make the holly leaf but the red dots are red gel frosting that I purchased :) 




The beloved gingerbread is a holiday staple around here.  All those amazing christmas smelling spices are so heavenly when you are baking these up.   I have been using this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction for a few years. 


Can it really be Christmas without the famous peanut butter ball?   These require a little more time to make but the best part is you can make these treats in stages.  It only takes a few minutes to combine all the ingredients and roll them into balls.   Once I have all the balls made, I pop them into the freezer until I have a little more time to focus on the dipping.    Freezing these helps to keep them firm while dipping so you don't have peanut butter mush. 


It is called Christmas Crack for a reason and this recipe (from my amazing sister-in-law) is the best one out there!!  It is a scrumptious combination of salty, crunchy toffee, and chocolate.  It only takes a few ingredients so what are you waiting for....go make some now. 





The Hello Dolly makes the prefect square on your christmas platter of treats.  These squares are very simple to make and are a HUGE crowd pleaser.   I used a family recipe from a friend to create my treats but this recipe is about the same.   The only changes I would make to the recipe is I buy crushed graham cracker crumbs and in my 9x13 pan I pour the melted butter in and then add my crumbs, stir and press firmly right into the pan. 




Now these Candied Pecans are my FAVOURITE!!  Like seriously I could eat these all day every day.   They are great for putting out when you have guest over or they make the prefect salad topper.  




Candied Pecans
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water
2 1/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 225
Combine the egg white and water in a mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy.
Fole in pecans. 
In a separate bowl combine sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Then dust the pecans evenly with the sugar mixture.  Spread the nuts over a prepared pan (a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper).  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool on pan and store in air tight container.  




Thursday, November 15, 2018

One Hour Cinnamon Buns



These one hour cinnamon buns are a favourite in this house!  I love how they literally take one hour start to finish for the most light and fluffy cinnamon bun. 

1 package instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp) 
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt 
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar 
1 egg 

Filling 
1/4 cup soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract

Steps
1.  In the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, yeast and salt. 
2.  In a small microwave safe bowl, combine milk, water, butter and sugar.  Heat until mixture is hot and butter is almost melted (about 1 minute).  Gradually add the warm mixture to the flour mix while the mixer is on slow.   Add the egg and mix until a soft and sticky dough forms.  Let mixer run for about 4 minutes.  
3.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
4.  Knead by hand for 1-2 minutes.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. 
5. Once the dough has rested, roll it out on a floured surface until it measures a 16x9 rectangle.  Spread the soft butter over the rectangle.  Mix the rest of the filling ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract) together in a medium sized bowl.  Spread the filling over the top of the large rectangle.  Tightly roll the dough, starting at the long edge, and cut into 12 pieces. 
6.  Place rolls into a greased 9x13 baking dish and cover with foil.  Turn OFF your oven and place the covered rolls inside to rise for 25 minutes. 
7. Remove from oven and turn the oven ON 375.  Once heated, remove the foil and bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes or until the centers are lightly golden brown in colour. 
8.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before frosting.  





So most of our family enjoys pecans in their cinnamon buns so this is a little trick I do :)  I put a little pile of pecans on the baking dish and then place the cinnamon roll onto of the pile. 




You can use a Vanilla glaze frosting for these buns or we love a cream cheese frosting!   And be sure to enjoy these warm with a hot cup of coffee...or tea. 




Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Unicorn Party


Are you ready to learn how to throw the best unicorn birthday party ever!!!  Grab a cup of coffee and let me share with you a few things I did this past weekend to throw a very magical unicorn birthday party!



I found this beautiful free unicorn banner over at sixcleversisters!  I downloaded the file to my computer then I sent it, online, to a local print shop to have printed.  They also had really cute party treat bag prints that I got to use as place markers around the table. 








I had the table all decorated when the girls arrived.  We found these cute thin party hats that the girls actually wore as unicorn horns!  I used the backs for the treat bag prints as place settings.  We didn't use just their regular names; we found a cute unicorn name print that uses the first letter of your name and your birthday to give you a special unicorn name.  The girls all thought that was so much fun. 




As they arrived and found out their unicorn name they could choose a colouring page to colour 





The activity for the party?? You guessed it we made unicorn slime.  The recipe was easy to follow and the slime turned out prefect. 




For the cake, my sweet girl loves chocolate cake with boiled icing.   We made it look more magical by tie-dying the frosting.   You can't tell too much in the photo but it looked really cool with the swirls of different colours. 


Other snacks they enjoyed were skittles, sour rainbow strips (or unicorn farts) and unicorn horns.  The horns are pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with coloured chocolate and sprinkles. 


The treat bags are filled with coloured popcorn, which is one of our favourite treats!  And taped onto the bag is a print that I made and had printed at Costco.












Monday, August 27, 2018

Teething Necklaces






I am so excited to share with you all that I am joining the Coastal Chews team for a couple of months to share with you about their awesome products.  This month I am highlighting their stylish mama (and girls) silicone necklaces. 

Coastal Chews makes lots of creative necklaces, but you can also choose to have pieces custom made to fit your style.  I love these necklaces because they are made with food grade silicone so for nursing mamas (like me) these make great teething toys while carrying or nursing your baby.  The strong nylon cord is able to withstand the tugging that comes from babies who just love to pull on things. And the breakaway safety clasp that holds it all together is the best feature for the kids necklaces!  I feel totally comfortable sending my daughter to school with sweet jewelry that isn't going to break easily but will come apart quickly if it needs to.  



I have two different styles I love to pair with my outfits.  One is a beautiful flower necklace.





The second is a basic black that goes with all my outfits. 




My eight year old daughter also loves wearing these to school with her outfits.  And did you know that they can make matching mother and daughter necklaces. 



They even make "cool dude" ones for boys!!! 



The prices are great for these beautiful pieces and they offer free shipping on orders over $30 so head over to Coastal Chews and order yours today. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Mexican Street Corn


A delicious summer recipe that is a must try this season!  

Coat corn with oil and salt.  Grill on BBQ for 15 minutes (turning every 2-3 minutes). 



Sauce 

3 Tbsp Mayo
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 tsp Lime juice
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/8 tsp Chii powder 

Once the corn has been grilled coat the corn in the sauce and sprinkle the corn with parmesan cheese and chili powder.  Top with chopped cilantro and enjoy :) 

photo from my sweet friend who gave me the recipe


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Coconut Cream Pie



This quick and easy pie makes a prefect addition to any summer feast!  With only 5 ingredients this pie can be whipped up in no time.  

Ingredients

2 packages (4-servings each) of jell-o vanilla Instant pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 cups thawed cool whip whipped topping (divided)
1 cup flaked coconut, divided
1 ready to us graham cracker crumb crust

Steps

1. Beat pudding mixes and milk in a large bowl with whisk for 2 minutes. 
2. Stir in 1 cup of the cool whip and 3/4 cup of coconut; pour into crust. 
3. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Toast the remaining coconut
4. Top the pie with remaining 1 cup of cool whip (or more if you want ;) and the toasted coconut just before serving! 
5.  Enjoy the deliciousness. 






Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Entry Way for a Big Family


Welcome to our new entry way!   We just built an addition onto our house and we couldn't be MORE in love with this open closet my husband and father-in-law designed and built.  

It may look like a lot of hooks all empty but we are a family of 8, so we have our fair share of jackets, sweaters, book bags, diaper bag, purses, and snow pants (in the winter).  We also love to host so most of the time we don't see to many unused hooks. 


The bench part is wide enough to sit on to get our shoes on, the double layer for the shoes works awesome for putting sneakers and flats and leaving the bottom for our boots.  We purchased three of these IKEA boot trays to try to keep the dirt and snow off the floor as much as possible.   The cubbies along the end are personalized for each of us.  So in the winter everybody was to keep 1 hat and 1 pair of mittens in there.  Now in the summer they have a summer hat and sunglasses.  Giving everyone a cubby saved so much time (and fighting) this winter that we didn't have to go digging in a giant mess of hats and mittens to find a pair for someone.   Across the top we keep ball caps for my hubby and oldest son. 


This new entry way has been a life saver for us and I am so thankful my husband bought what seemed like a million hooks ;) 


Strawberries for breakfast


Saturday mornings around here are usually our mornings for delicious extravagant breakfast treats!  This is the only time in our week that we can enjoy a bigger breakfast all together as a family so we take full advantage and treat ourselves.   When it is strawberry season in NB we tend to put strawberries on and in everything we eat, at least for the 2-3 weeks they are in season.

Here are two of our favourite treats!



Waffle shortcake towers!  Start by whipping up a batch (or two) of your favourite waffle recipe.  Hey if you don't have a homemade recipe there is no shame in bringing out that box of Eggos.   If you are looking for a waffle recipe, our family LOVES this recipe!  I mix all the drys up in a large ziploc baggie and store it in the pantry.  That way when we want waffles we just take out the mix and and the wets and we are good to go! 


Our waffle iron makes round waffles that easily break into 4 triangles so for our waffle tower we layer waffle, fresh whipped cream, and sliced berries 4 times to create a leaning tower ;) 


Next up is our croissants breakfast.  This can be done 2 ways.  The first is to make french toast with your croissants.  Cut them in half, dip in beaten egg and fry until golden brown.  Or you can just have them regular.  When we do regular I try to make sure they are fresh ones or sometimes I will splurge and buy a box of the frozen ones from Costco (and bake them fresh) for a treat. 



Take your croissants (frenched or plain) and spread strawberry cream cheese* over the bottom piece.  Next add slices strawberries.  Top with the other half of your croissant and add whip cream, fresh berries and a drizzle of melted Nutella to look extra fancy. 


* you can either buy strawberry cream cheese or I just use pureed berries mixed into plain cream cheese. 



Strawberry S'more


Strawberries made a delicious addition to the traditional s'more.   Start by placing your marshmallow onto the roasting stick then add a strawberry to the end of your stick.  Toast your marshmallow to perfection (or the way you like it).  Then put your marshmallow/strawberry goodness between 2 celebration cookies.  Celebration has so many different flavours you can enjoy.  My preference for s'mores is dark chocolate.



Spinach and Strawberry Salad


Strawberries make an excellent addition to salad!   This is one of our favourite summer salads.

Top spinach with sliced strawberries, goat cheese, candied oats and any BBQ meat.  This salad has BBQ pork with it.

To candy oats simply mix oats, brown sugar and chopped pecans together (sometimes I add pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chai seeds).  Cook in a hot pan for about 3-5 minutes, continually shaking the pan, then pour it into a bowl.  Be careful not to walk away cause it will burn very quickly.  This mixture can be made in large batches and stored in an air tight container. 

Strawberry Lemonade


This recipe comes from one of my good friends!  I am so thankful she shared it with me because it is so so so delicious.  Unfortunately I did not have any real lemons in our house this weekend so I decided to use Realemon that I had in the fridge. 


Strawberry Lemonade 

Juice of 6 lemons
1 cup simple syrup
2 cups pureed strawberries
6-8 cups of water


1. Juice lemons (or measure out 1 cup and 2 Tbsp ReaLemon). 
2. Make simple syrup by putting one cup of sugar and one cup of water into a small sauce pan on the stove and heat until clear.  Allow to cool. 
3. Mix together lemon juice, simply syrup, and 2 cups of pureed strawberries.  Pour the mixture into 6-8 cups of water.
4.  Pour mixture over ice in a glass and garnish with sliced strawberries and lemons for a fancy look!   For me I poured it into our cute glass drinking cups (purchased at the dollarstore). 


Friday, June 29, 2018

Summer in New Brunswick



WELCOME to our 2018 summer fun bucket list!!  We have been creating a summer bucket list for many many summer and each year we find new places to explore!  I can hardly believe that NB is filled with so many beautiful hidden treasures.  This year I asked some local friends to give me their favourite hidden spots for us to add to our summer fun list and they did not disappoint.   I tried to pick ones that are close by as we aren't doing any long distance traveling this summer.  Hope you enjoy :) 



Hands down one of our favourite places to spend a day!  Nothing like the freezing cold salt water rolling in over a hot sand bar.  This place has great camping as well, with huge sites, great prices and sweet cook houses. There is also hiking trails, restrooms, playground, restaurant and places to BBQ. 






This is a new beach on our list to explore with some of our Kingston friends. 



This beautiful swimming hole is also new to us but the water is so beautiful and tropical looking!  It has been recommended to wear water shoes due to all the rocks. 



Yes, the sand is black!  I can't wait to visit this beach. 



This was such a fun adventure...ok so we got a little lost trying to find this beautiful spot but if you write down the directions and follow them you won't have any troubles finding this beautiful spot. 





This was a very easy water fall to find.  The hike wasn't bad for a family with little ones but the water was FREEZING, even in Aug. But we didn't let that stop us and we all jumped in. 






This is on the top of our list for this year.  I can't wait to explore this beautiful place. 




Strawberry picking is one of my favourite summer activities...I mean nothing beats the taste of delicious local strawberries.   The past couple of years our tradition has been to go picking on Canada day!   New Brunswick has so many u-picks so be sure to find one close to you. 



And if you have NEVER tried a strawberry s'more; you should!  This s'more is made with Celebration cookies! 



Nothing beats walking the ocean floor, getting your feet all muddy, well taking in the beauty of these incredible rocks.  It is a trip you will want to make at least once every few years. 



This is a place we visit every summer!  It is such a beautiful spot to enjoy the day.  Be sure before you head out on this adventure that you know where the tide is at.  You don't want to get there to explore the caves to have the tide just coming in. And of course at least one of our visits we MUST eat sea food on the deck at the Caves Restaurant! 





One of my goals this summer to do more hiking!  This isn't always the easiest with a few littles but we have 2 backpacks for carrying the little ones (there is a baby on my back) so we are making it work!  This is a great hike that even our 4 year old did. 




What a great family friendly place this is.  There is a wonderful hiking trail that is great for walking (stroller friendly), running or biking.  Also there is a big playground and a life guarded beach.  You can even pack up a picnic lunch and enjoy that under one of their picnic table shelters. 





We love getting up early and heading over on a ferry ride to Kingston to enjoy their farmers market!  There is so many treats and vendors you can purchase from and they usually have things for the kids and live music. 





We love being able to take in a movie outside in the summer time.  The drive in offers a great Sunday night price of $28 for a van full.  That is great deal for us and our 12 passenger van :)  We head up early to be there when the gate opens, grab a good spot, set up our chairs, blankets and enjoy the summer evening before the movie starts playing Frisbee or washer toss.   Be sure to take lawn chairs (if you want to sit outside), warm blankets and even a little battery operated radio for those who want to enjoy the show outside the vehicle. 






Kings Landing has so many fun events happening during the summer that this is a place that should be on your bucket list!!!  





Growing up in St. Stephen this was one of my favourite times of summer!  The town has so many fun activities going on, you should be sure to check it out!  Make sure you get to become a chocolate dipper and don't leave the town with out enjoying a chicken bone latte at Something's Brewing Cafe.



Nothing like ending summer with this spectacular festival.   And while you are right there you must stop into Mrs. Dunster's to grab a bag of their famous homemade doughnuts. 







Want to explore up town Saint John a little more?  Why not check out this amazing up town puzzle hunt. 



You don't always have to go places to make amazing summer memories!  Here are two of my kids favourite at home summer bucket list activities!!! 



S'more Bar! 

So many different chocolate bars, crackers and cookies to make your own delicious s'more combinations.  




Water Wars

A fun evening or afternoon with our water guns (yes we each have our own guns) playing lots of different games or we do a HUGE pile of water balloons and go crazy chasing each other.  Both of these activities are very fun and a great way to enjoy summer. 

Inside Fun



Your Local Libray

On those rainy summer days hit up your local library and grab some summer reading!  The library usually has lots of free activities that happen daily for you to enjoy. 







This spot just opened up in Saint John and might be a great place to check out on a wet and rainy day. 


I know I could have listed a lot more places to check out and I will continue to make post as we adventure and find new hidden gems. 
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