Thursday, December 23, 2010

Butter tarts in a pinch.

So you're invited to dinner at a friends house unexpectedly and happen to have, by some crazy miracle, a package of phyllo in your fridge already of course you whip up some butter tarts...cos you can!!

I normally go whole hog and make shortcrust pastry and spend hours making these puppies but today time is of the essence and I have none, these little guys were super quick to throw together and super delicious.
The filling for this recipe was given to me by the German queen of butter tarts, gramma Love. I'm not too sure that she would want me to share the recipe, so consider this a Christmas gift from me to you!!!!

So first make your filling while your phyllo is on the counter reaching room temperature. Preheat oven to 350C.
In a heavy saucepan melt 1/2 cup of butter with 2 cups of brown sugar over medium heat.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
Remove from heat.
On the side in a small bowl take 2 eggs and give them a quick whisk with a fork.
Add eggs to the tart filling and quickly stir through so you don't end up with scrambled eggs.
I like to keep the filling on the stove at a low temperature to keep it warm.

I used two sheets of phyllo, brushing with melted butter between each layer.
Using a pizza cutter, roughly cut into 16 squares, depending on your muffin tins, you may want them smaller or larger.
I ended up cutting them smaller than in the pic below and layering them for better coverage.

Pop your phyllo into muffin pans and add enough filling to come just below the edge of the pastry. The filling will bubble up a little so be careful not to over fill them.
I used mini muffin pans so theses suckers cooked in around 9 - 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as the phyllo will burn quickly.

This recipe makes about 50 little mini muffin sized tarts, take into account the ten or so that you will eat when they come out of the oven.
Enjoy, hope you all have a great Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

It's that time of year folks, the count down has begun. For some of us the silly season can be a little exhausting to say the least.

I say the only thing to do is keep your sense of humor in check, Stacy  and Isabelle, I know you know what I mean. Things can get a little nuts this time of year.

 I'm getting in my Christmas wishes early in the hope that if I get caught up in the craziness of Xmas, you all know that I'm thinking of you and wish you all well.
I have many more cookies to bake and gifts to make, I know you're all in the same boat, take a deep breath and remember what the season is really about..............TURKEY!!!!!
In light of recent disturbing, rotten Roof Dr related events, we are taking stock of whats important. Family time and the simple gift of giving........what more do you need?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Portable North Pole

If you really want to mess with your kids this christmas and have them truly believe that they are on the naughty list this year, then this application is for you.

"Santa Claus and his amazing PNP (Portable North Pole) console will be online during the entire holiday season. With just a few clicks, this technological marvel will let your loved ones receive a personal message from Santa Claus, sent directly from his village in the North Pole. Rediscover Christmas with this immersive and unique experience that brings the holiday magic back to life."

Click on Santa

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Birdy xmas ornament tutorial

If you have lots of little scraps of fabric lying about may I suggest whipping up a couple of these adorable birdy ornaments.  They are pretty easy to make, a little time consuming but worth it, they really add a little vintage charm to the tree.
I made these little guys and then experimented with some cute little stuffed owls as well. I'll post some pics of the owls later.

What you'll need:

fabric scraps for bird.
cardboard for template.
double sided bonding sheets ( I used Pellon WonderUnder).
buttons for eyes.
ribbon for hanging
Hot glue gun 

Start by tracing the bird shape below, or design your own, taking into account the seam allowance. Then transfer to a piece of cardboard so that you can simply trace around it for a quick and easy template.
Be sure to fold your fabric wrong sides together when tracing so that the two pieces face the right way.

If you're using the wing template below you may want to trim it smaller so that it's in proportion with the rest of the bird. These pics are more guidelines than a set pattern.
Using the Wonder under, attach the wing where you would like it, if you don't have the fusible webbing you could also stitch the wings on before sewing the two bird pieces together.

Trim a piece of ribbon to the length you would like for hanging your bird and sandwich it between birdy pieces, wrong sides together. Pin in place and sew around the bird using a small seam allowance, leaving a small opening for stuffing.
This pic was my first attempt, no wings or ribbon on this one yet, but do it any old way you like.

I left an opening at the birds butt, stuffing it with soft scraps of fabric, you can also use poly stuffing if you like. Just don't over stuff or it will be more difficult to sew the opening closed.

Sew the opening closed with your machine, no need to hand stitch, just be sure to back stitch so that all seams are closed and won't come unravelled later.
I used a pin to fray around the edges of the bird to give it a more worn in appearance

Trim up any long or messy threads.

Crank up that hot glue gun and add you button eyes to finish off your birdy.
Quite easy right?

Friday, December 10, 2010

ahhhhhhhhhh now I can focus on Christmas

I have to admit, this is the first year for me that I have not hoarded loads of presents throughout the year for the kids for Christmas. And to tell the truth, I'm feeling a little this what it feels like for all those dads out there that leave the shopping until the very last minute???
I don't think I like this feeling....not one little bit.
So now that the bazaar is over,(it went very well thank you for asking!!!) I most definately need to throw myself into Christmas over drive.

Back to the bazaar. My wonderful man servant husband has been so supportive of my little jam venture. Staying up late designing labels with me, building elaborate excel spreadsheets to help me keep track of my expenses. And he makes a mean jelly to boot!!!!!

 I wanted to share some pics from my table.

A close up of the hubbies handy work!

Some cute Xmas ornaments for the tree.

My friend Lyndsay sells these fabulous boo boo bears and scented eye masks, we got to be neighbours for the evening.


And my other talented friend Sam shared a table with me and made a killing with her one of a kind crochet accessories.


It was a fabulous night and it looks like we raised almost $1000 for our local elementary school. I am so happy to have been able to feel out the crowd and see what flavours people are interested in these days, I had wonderful feedback and the market research is worth it alone.

I'm phoning around today to see what I need to do to turn my basement suite kitchen into a commercial kitchen so that I can move forward a see if I can make a go of my new venture.

Wish me luck!!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter wonderland

We went on our first tobogganing outing this weekend. I do believe Miss Marley may be addicted, I see winter Olympic medals in her future.

Or not!

The main reason for the outing was to cut down a fresh tree for our living room but we decided against that, seeing as we have so many trees in our yard. We thought we'd like to save a tree and use what we already have. I'm torn between using live or artificial, we usually head to Alberta for Xmas so the fake tree was a given, but we are home this year, so we'll see, maybe two trees are in order this year.

I managed to get some great pics of this family, I'm not a Christmas card person, please don't be offended if you don't get one from the Simpson's. I almost thought about using some of these pics but then I remembered that I don't send cards out and I'm not about to start any time soon.

We had a great day complete with a bon fire, hot chocolate, great people and baked goodies.

I hope you're all enjoying the season wherever you are.

Don't forget to get out there and enjoy all that snow, it really is fun once you give it a chance!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas bazaar sneek a peek

This Thursday I will be taking part in my first market, not as a customer but as a vendor. I'm pretty excited to be sharing my jams and jellies but wanted to add a few crafts to my table to keep it interesting.

I had an old frame I purchased earlier this year for a couple of bucks on one at my thrifting adventures and thought it would make a great display for the table.

My apologies to the artist but the flowers just didn't do it for me. The frame is in amazing shape so I simply pulled out the canvas frame.....

Wrapped it in some cotton batting and linen, whipped out the staple gun and presto......back in with the framed canvas.

Here's a sneek peek at what I've been doing when I should have been doing housewifely stuff.

If you're in my neck of the woods on Thursday afternoon please pop into the Lavington gym and say hi and buy some goodies from me. Mates rates may apply, although there may be a secret handshake required to get the deal!!!!
I'm sharing a table with my pal Sam who makes the most divine crochet and knit accessories, so keep an eye out for us.
I'll be sure to update later on for those who aren't lucky enough to live by me!!!! hehehehehehe
The money raised from the rental of tables goes to the school PAC so that we can buy fabulous things for our fabulous kids.

Thursday 9th December
Lavington Gymnasium on School road.
4.30 to 8.30
Be there or be square.

If you are interested in booking a table or want to know anything about the bazaar, you can contact wonderful Miss Lyndsay, who also makes fabulous goodies and will have them there to buy,

 or phone 250 2753449

Enough self advertising for now.....tootles.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where does all the time fly to I wonder?

I don't have any smart or intriguing excuses as to where I have been and what I've been doing the last couple of weeks. Just plain old busy...sorry people. 

How have you all been, I've missed you so.

Today I made a ton of jam and jellies for the Christmas bazaar here in Lavington I signed up for next week and I'm sure I'll be making more tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.

I'm thinking it will be a good place for me to try my concoctions on random guinea pigs other than my family and friends. I will finally find out if maybe my loved ones are just too nice to tell me my stuff tasted like crap......I'm onto you!!!!! (Let's hope that's not the case). 
I took a bunch of pictures recently but will have to upload when I can get my man slave to figure out why my computer hates me today.

I've been sewing a lot lately too, trying to get ready for a home made Xmas. Aprons and purses, Xmas decorations and bags.....can't tell you too much though, it's supposed to be a surprise.

To finish off on a completely random our roof is not finished, yes it is snowing and yes we've hired a lawyer!!!!

talk soon,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Banana - Vanilla bean - Chocolate chip pancakes

Super bargain....a whole jar of pure vanilla bean seeds for $9.99....gasp!!!! I found these at HomeSense the other day and after doing the happy dance in the middle of the store I couldn't wait to get home and try them.
 I was a little suspicious as to whether they would have as much oomph as a fresh split bean so I tried out a new pancake recipe this morning....pleasantly surprised!!
On the jar it says 1/4 teaspoon of these babies is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Aren't they beautiful?

 I mixed them in with the mashed banana and let them sit for a few minutes.

Topped the pancakes off with a few dried bananas and some pure maple mm I'm hungry again just looking at them. These would go fabulously with a toasted marshmallow milkshake from Joy the baker.

RECIPE: (adapted from The all new Good Housekeeping cookbook).

1 Cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, malted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 banana, mashed
1/4 tsp vanilla bean seeds
1/2 cup or so chocolate chips, 5ish per pancake

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, add milk, butter, egg, banana and vanilla seeds,(mix seeds with banana mash).
Stir until just combined.
I'm sure you all know how to cook a pancake so I'm not going to explain the rest of the process, you're too smart for that!
When cooking pancakes, before the big flip, sprinkle with chocolate chips. You could always add the chocolate chips to the batter too if you like.
I had some dried banana chips on hand so I added them as garnish with maple syrup.

Now get in your cars and get to HomeSense!!!!


I've been ogling the wonderful goodies over at Joy the Bakers blog, hoping to find some yummy recipes for Xmas gift goodies.  I found that... and then some.
If you haven't already seen her blog then you are truly missing out, you must stop what you are doing ( after you've finished reading this of course ) and go take a look. If you didn't feel like baking today then you will after looking at her fabulous recipes, and she's a great read to boot.
Great photography helps, not that she need it but it does get me motivated to get out of my rocking chair and into an apron.

I'm thinking about making the toasted marshmallow milkshake for breakfast...why not?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A series of unfortunate events....

Did you ever have one of those weeks where nothing goes quite as you had planned?
I tried a bunch of new recipes this week, cauliflower soup...sounded foolproof.......NOT!
It ranked up there with my biggest soup failure ever!!! Even the dog wouldn't eat it!

Salsa Verde....yummy right? NOT!
My friend Isabel gave me some super yummy tomatillos from her why not try a new recipe I say!
My gals pals and I had the yummiest Salsa Verde in a little hole in the wall restaurant in Vancouver in September. I've been dreaming of it ever I made some....FAIL!!!

What's a girl to do? Just when I thought my chef mojo had abandoned me completely I was rescued by a pie... and not just any pie mind you. Just the cutest damn pie in the whole wide world.


I found this fantastic little pocket pie maker thingy a while back at the superstore for $4.99. Put in in my overflowing Tupperware cupboard and kinda forgot about it...until today...when I needed it the most.
Check it out!! I guess other stores sell similar products, like this heart shaped one from Williams Sanoma, but double the price.
Best 5 bucks I've ever spent lately!

I used store bought puff pastry and an apple and raisin pie recipe ( it comes with a recipe but I altered it slightly ) and Bob's your uncle!!!

Zoe has her bestie over for a sleepover tonight and I can hear them downstairs munching on their sweet treats as I type. I will be making more of these for school lunches, if anyone wants to join me for a baking session....let me know.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The death of Mr Jack 'O'

I don't know about everyone else out there but a real sign that Halloween is over and done with at our house is the traditional jack 'o' lantern slaughter in our goat field.
Please observe........

....everyone say bye bye Jack 'O'.....

          ....Jack 'O' say hello to my little friend Chopper!

mmmmmmmmm pumpkin.

So, if you are within driving distance of my house, please feel free to join in the annual pumpkin feeding frenzy by bringing over your Jack 'O's.
And on a completely different topic, I'm hoping my wonderful friend Sam, who happens to be the best crocheter ( is that a word?) in the world..will give me a hand to learn how to make me one of these.......

......super cute. I found it here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Support kids literacy.

I recently became a volunteer at our local elementary school as a 'One to One' tutor to assist kids with literacy and to help struggling readers become confident readers.
As a volunteer I was required to go to the training session offered to all tutors and I'm so happy and honored that I am now armed with the know how to not only help other kids but to help my own children become rockin' readers.

Tonight I stumbled across this great website and wanted to share it with you all. It was created by this fascinating guy by the name of Dallas Clayton, who wrote a book for his own son about having big dreams and never giving up. The book is called An Awesome book, you can read it online here for free or you can purchase it here.

There is another book called An Awesome book of thanks....same deal.

The coolest part of this deal is the Awesome world foundation that he created where for every book sold he will donate another to a needy child, school, library etc...... ANYWHERE KIDS ARE DREAMING
I will be purchasing these books for my kids...what a great cause. ....check out this cute clip.

How much better would each day be if someone told you you had done a good job doing something you’d never tried before.....Dallas Clayton

Monday, November 1, 2010

The many faces of Miss Marley.

I'm almost positive that these pics are proof of why being a parent makes the heart melt.
Sure there are days when I want to tie my kids up and put them in a padded soundproof room, or maybe that would be a better place for me to be.

But then there are moments like this, and I'm sure Marley will hate me for this when she is an adult, but for now what she doesn't know won't hurt her!

These next few pics make me smile every time I look at them. Marley has loved fireworks since she was old enough to understand what they were. The local fire hall put on an amazing show this weekend but nothing could compete with the looks on Marley's face, I think I spent more time watching her reactions than I did watching the fire works.


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