Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm still cooking...

I'm still cooking, just not blogging. We are moving!! I will be back to blogging in a week, in the meantime I'm hunting new recipes. I've caught a few already :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ginger Snaps

It's cold outside, the stores have Christmas items out, people are making lists, and my mother-in-law has Christmas music in her car ready to go. I am not yet ready to start thinking of the festivities, nope not thinking about it. My rule is no decorations, baking, or singing till December 1. However my stomach is thinking otherwise this month. All week I had homemade ginger snaps on the brain. Not even fudge cookies, ice cream, or chocolate could curb this craving, there it was whispering "ginger snaps, mmmm ginger snaps". Even my coffee didn't taste all that great without my favorite accessory. I purchased a box trying to stay within my rules of "no Christmas baking before December 1" but they don't even come close to the real thing. Sorry Mr. Christie, your going to have to try again.

I broke the rule and whipped up a small batch of cookies. The whole house smelled like Christmas. Brought back memories of my mom playing "Santa Baby" on repeat. I can sing the whole song like Brenda Lee or Madonna after a few cocktails now thanks to my Mom. Boney M, Charlie Brown, all the classics were played while she baked and we iced and sprinkled the cookies. Great memories.

Hot out of the oven these cookies were firm on the outside, chewy in the center. Lots of bite from the ginger but still sweet. I brewed myself a pot of coffee, popped one in my mouth, and my oh my were they good. I almost broke out into the chorus of "Jingle Bells" but I had another cookie instead. Not ready for carols or "Santa Baby" yet...maybe another cookie.


Ginger Snaps
Adapted from: Joy of Baking

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • Beat the sugars and butter until light and fluffy (I did this in my kitchen aid on high for 2 minutes)
  • Add molasses, egg, and vanilla. Mix until combined
  • In a seperate bowl, stir flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together
  • Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stir until well combined
  • Cover and chill your dough for 30 minutes or until firm

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  • In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup white sugar to roll balls of cookie dough in for garnish
  • Break off pieces of dough and roll into a small ball
  • Roll ball in sugar
  • Place on cookie sheet leaving enough room for the cookie to be pressed (the cookie will spread as well when being baked)
  • With a bottom of a glass or mug, press the cookie
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookie feels firm on top (the longer you bake the crispier the cookie)
  • Cool on wire racks after baking

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Greek Lemon Potatoes

When I don't feel like cooking, I barbecue. Throw potatoes in the oven, steam some veggies, and put the meat on the barbecue, no thinking or prepping involved. I'm so thankful for our covered patio, like the rain in Vancouver, my non-cooking days happen year round.

We love Greek food in our home and Greek chicken on the BBQ with tzaki is my go-to recipe for lazy cooking days. My sister loaned me a great cookbook, it's called "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" in it Greek lemon potatoes. I had been eyeing this recipe all week, dying to try it out. I had all the ingredients in the cupboard
(minus fresh lemons but I had lemon juice) and with my son happily in his bumbo seat, I went to work.

The prep time for these potatoes took me 15 minutes, I'm a slow peeler so it could be even faster. Mix the ingredients, pour over potatoes, and one hour later you have tender, lemony, and garlicky potatoes. I couldn't stop eating them, I chose more potatoes over ice cream for dessert.

T is a very picky eater and his response "these are awesome!".


Greek Lemon Potatoes
Adapted From: Mennoite Girls Can Cook

  • 6 large potatoes with or without skin, cut into wedges
  • 2-4 tbsp of olive oil (I used 3 tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (I used lemon juice from a bottle)
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
  • Peel your potatoes if you prefer no skin
  • Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan
  • Combine ingredients together and poor over potatoes, stir coating all potatoes
  • Bake for 1 hour. If you want a softer potato, cover for the first 30 minutes. If you want crispy edges bake uncovered for the full hour. Stir potatoes every 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hamburger Soup

Halloween is over :(. Last night I took my almost 3 month old son trick or treating. He had a great time, well a great nap. By the time I got to the next candy stop (we went to the mall) my mouth was full of candy. It was great to be a kid again. After filling myself full of candy we went out for dinner. I couldn't help sit and savor the Halloween night we were having. Only a couple more years and we will be the parents standing at the end of the driveway, travel mug in hand, watching our overly excited son run up and down driveways filling his bucket with candy. But last night we enjoyed a nice dinner and polished off mini chocolate bars for dessert.

Now it's November and winter is lurking right around the corner. Time to get cooking the comfort foods. After last nights feast on candy I chose a lighter fare for dinner.Hamburger soup it is. The best way to describe this soup is it's beef barleys cousin. It has all the similar ingredients but takes the slicing of beef out by using ground beef. Much faster in prep time. You can also prepare this soup for the freezer and save it for a later day. Serve with fresh crusty bread or buns.


Hamburger Soup
Adapted from: Best of Bridge

  • 1 1/2 pound groud beef (I use extra lean)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cans (each 10 oz/284 ml) consomme
  • 1 can tomato soup (10 oz/284 ml)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • parsley
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • There is a little prep work
  • Brown meat and onions, drain well
  • Combine all ingredients in large pot
  • Simmer covered for a minimum of 2 hours.
I didn't have time to bake bread or rolls so my soup was a little lonely. I topped it off with sour cream and cheddar cheese, very good.