Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guest Chef - My Mom - Holiday Dessert



I am excited to finally have another Guest Chef to add to our Guest Chef Series.

2 days until Christmas. Normally I am already. I have done all my shopping, a majority of my wrapping, and I enjoy the nights by eating baking and drinking hot chocolates and dancing to Christmas music and making my dogs dress up like Reindeers. Well, really only a few of those things are true - you can decide what you think is true and what is not.

This year it is different. I finally finished my shopping today. I think that I could do more if I had time, but I have to call it quits at some point. Since we aren't doing Christmas dinner - we only have to shop a bit. I am sending Chris off tomorrow with a list in hand so that he can take care of all that good stuff for me.

I love Christmas, but this bug or whatever I had, just really squeezed any spirit that I had out of me. Today I feel good. Way better. Well, right now I do, which is really nice. I am hoping that I am finally on the mend - and will feel 100% for Christmas.

Now for the good stuff.

Guest Chef: My mom - aka - Jules

My mom is a great cook, and an even better baker. She can bake anything. She makes the most amazing cookies, and the does the most amazing Christmas baking. She makes Buttertarts that are to die for. She makes these chocolate coconut drops that make me want to cry when they are all done (I hoard those ones). Her shortbread cookies are always so perfect - they melt in your mouth. And she makes delicious Nanaimo Bars - that when they are all soft - I can toss 3-4 pieces back in one sitting; I can't help it, they are my weakness.

Her recipe for today is a cake that she makes for Christmas dinner almost every year. It is fancy. It is light. It is delicious. It is Christmas.

Snowball Cake

1 1/2 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
1 cup boiling water
4 tbsp cold water
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of orange juice - frozen or fresh
Juice of one lemon
1 pint of whipping cream
1 Angel Food Cake - homemade or from the bakery
1 package of flaked coconut

Add the gelatin to cold water so the gelatin dissolves. Place the boiling water into a large bowl, and add the gelatin and water to the boiling water. Then add the lemon juice and orange juice. Put in the fridge and let it partially set.

Then beat half of the whipping cream and add it to the gelatin mixture.

Break up the Angel Food cake into small pieces. Line a bowl - use a bowl that you can vision will be the shape of half a large snowball cake. Not too big and not too small. Line the bowl with wax paper. Start off by adding one layer of cake to the very bottom of the bowl. Then add some of the gelatin mixture to cover the layer of cake. Repeat these steps until the bowl is full and you have finished with a layer of the gelatin.

Place in the fridge and let it sit - for at least an hour.

When it is set, put it on a serving plate and gently turn it so that the bowl can be taken off.

Whip the remaining whipping cream and cover the cake with the whipping cream. Then top the cake with the flaky coconut.

You can stick a couple of toothpicks into the top and cover it with saran wrap and place in the fridge until ready to serve. Another great thing about this dessert is that you can make it in advance and it freezes really well. Just take it out 4 hours before serving.


Meet my Mom.

What is your favourite meal to eat and cook?
Mom: To eat - there is not much that I don't like. To cook - turkey dinner.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Mom: Your dad.

Cook or Dine for Christmas dinner?
Mom: Dine.

What is your favourite dish of turkey dinner?
Mom: Turnip and carrots.

Favourite kitchen utensil or appliance?
Mom: This time of year - my KitchenAid mixer.

And that is my mom. She is so beautiful, so loving, so generous, so kind and finally a Guest Chef.

If you haven't got anything for Christmas dinner, I would suggest this.

Ok - I hope that you are all feeling the festivities - and that you are able to spend this time with your loved ones. If I don't get a chance to catch you before Christmas - Merry Merry Christmas to you all.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

You 'WHAT' your ring?

Christmas 4 years ago and Chris' parents. We will be missing his mom so much this year.

3 weeks and 2 days, I was married. Pure wedding bliss. 3 weeks and 1 day ago, my husband lost his wedding ring. Uh, yes. That is what I said. 3 weeks and 2 days my husband found his ring. Phew. It's one of those things - you don't want to be angry because I know that he didn't do it on purpose, but COME ON! It's only been 3 weeks. He was very happy when he found it. He had nightmares about it last night. So, I spent a bit of the early evening when he was home from Kung Fu - and I very handily crazy-glued it to his finger. I was feeling pretty ingenious about my 'jewelering' skills.

I am still under the weather. I am not really sure what I should be calling it now. All I am craving is scorching hot showers to warm up and the odd piece of toast or something. I know that I am not feeling well - because our house is full of goodies - a ton of treats - and I have no desire. I am hoping that some rest of the holidays will kick it in the butt.

My mom is hosting Christmas dinner this year. I am really relieved about it actually. I love cooking our Christmas dinner and having everyone over. But it's been a bit of a busy month and I am looking forward to going to her place and eating her incredible dinner. My mom is an awesome host - and we love being there.

I am helping out a bit. I am bringing the Brussels Sprouts and the Cranberry Sauce.

If you are going out for Christmas dinner - I would bring a mason jar full of fresh homemade cranberry sauce - the host will hug and love you forevah!

Alright friends - time to warm up.

Stay well.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chip 'n Dip

Oh the holiday season. I love it. Although... this year, it kinda feels like it has sprung up so quickly and that I am really not all that prepared. To top it off - I cannot get rid of this 'bug' or whatever it is. For the first time in pretty much ever, I spent almost the whole day in bed. I got out of bed at 2:30. 2:30!!! It's not natural to do that, unless you work the night shift. I was pretty surprised that I was still in bed after Chris had been out training, teaching and then cleaning the studio.

Anyways, I am hoping that my sleep marathon will help me cure this crap bug that I am experiencing.

Last night was our annual Christmas party. It was good. It was a really fun night. We had a house full of family and special friends. Typically, we do a huge feast - clam chowder, chili, and then a bunch of different hors d'oeuvres. This year, we didn't do that. I had a few hesitations b/c I am always concerned that people have enough to eat. It was supposed to be a chip 'n dip party - so I tried a few different things. Friends ended up bringing goodies with them - sushi (my SIL makes incredible sushi - she is going to teach me some day, some day soon), more sushi, baking, veggies. Some of the stuff that I did prepare ahead of time, like Bruschetta, veggies and homemade dips, I didn't even put out.

I don't have pics right now - but will soon.

Hummus and Pita Chips

Hummus

1 can of chick peas
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of fresh parsley
Kosher salt - couple of pinches

Rinse the chick peas and place them in a food processor, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse the peas with the rest of the ingredients until they are all blended together. If the peas are still a little chunky add a bit more olive oil and puree again. And that's it.

Pita Chips

6 pita pockets
1/2 cup of butter
2-3 cloves of garlic - minced - or 2 tbsp of garlic paste (I love this stuff - it's a bit like cheating - but so worth it)
Sea Salt

Using kitchen scissors, cut the pita pockets into chip size pieces. I like to cut them into half - and then each half into 4's. And then each piece into half so that the pieces are all thin. Each pita pocket will make 16 chips. Enough to feed a small army.

Set oven to broil.

In a small saucepan melt the butter and add the garlic. Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Then lightly brush the garlic butter on each chip and place in the oven. Broil for 2 minutes. Maybe a little extra - just watch them - and remove when they are slightly golden and crisp.

Remove them from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt right away.

And that's it. So deelish!

Tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day. We are going to watch The Fighter with my Hollywood husband. Can't wait!!!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NO MORE RAIN!





It's a very, very wet night here in this city. Wet, dark and cold. During the day, there was probably 30 minutes where their was palish blue bits of sky peering through the dull sky. It stopped raining for about 1 minute and then it started to pour down again - and there were bits of wet big snow flakes. I was excited for a couple of minutes - thinking that the rain would change to snow. I thought that the dull grey would transform everything to white fluff.

See, I love the snow. Love it. I don't love it for 5 months of the year, but I would love it for a couple of weeks. Just enough to make it feel like winter. And see, I don't love the rain. Everything being wet and grey is not appealing. I want it to be cold and dry - so that I can wear a nice toque. I want it to be cold and snowy so that I can wear my new winter boots. I want it to be winter so that it we have a white Christmas and everything looks peaceful.

I know that I am probably asking for a lot - but it's just the winter blahs that I am having. Sigh.


When we were in Vancouver this past weekend, I saw a bunch of different shops that were displaying TOMS. I bought a pair of TOMS about a year and a half ago. I wore them to the Tragically Hip concert shortly after I got them, and two 'ladies' made fun of them. I hope that they go to Robson Street - because my shoes were in all of the windows that the TOMS were. Fancy. I have to dust them off and bring them out this holiday season. Who doesn't love silver sparkly shoes? No seriously, who doesn't?

Alright, it's about time that I share a recipe with you. It's been quite some time. It was like I was changing my blog to a wedding one.


Rosemary Garlic Buns

1 package of frozen (uncooked) buns
2 tbsp of butter
3-4 cloves of garlic - minced
2 tbsp of rosemary - chopped

Remove the frozen buns from the package and let defrost in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Arrange them in the pan so that they are all touching. I like to add them so that one is not directly beside the other one, but about half way, and then the next one is halfway down, etc. Let them sit out for a couple of hours prior to baking so that they defrost and rise slightly.

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

In a saucepan (or microwave) melt the butter and add the chopped garlic and rosemary. Spoon the butter mixture over the buns. Then bake them for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them as ovens are different and they may take a couple of minutes longer or shorter.


And that's it. They come out light and fluffy on the inside, and have a flavourful crust. They are perfect for the Christmas season.

Alright - time to get back to my Christmas movie. I am finding that being home sick two days - has me addicted to the cheesy Christmas movies.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Wall.


Here is a little 'Wedding Teaser' from our wedding photographer. So excited to see how they all turn out.

We had a weekend like no others. It was so incredible. We have been planning part of this weekend since May - the same weekend that I found my wedding dress. One of Chris' favourite albums of all times is 'The Wall' by Pink Floyd. Roger Waters, was the lead singer of the band - and is now on tour doing 'The Wall'. I know, you are all probably thinking that my knowledge of The Wall is huge. I know, it really is. Well, not exactly. I pretty much learned all about it during the concert.

We met, Kian, at the concert who was so kind to send me a few pics. I forgot my camera - and was so happy that he didn't mind sending me a few. It was a bit awkward to ask - but I was happy I did.

We bought tickets that included a dinner and drinks before the concert and then 7th row seats beside the stage. There were a few times during the concert that we were about 20 feet away from Mr. Rogers. I loved being that close.

A few times throughout the night, I also cried. Please don't tell anyone that I cried at a rock concert. I couldn't help it.

When the concert started, pictures of people that died as a result of war were displayed with their names, and when and where they died. That type of stuff always makes me teary - but I was also so happy that Chris was seeing his most favourite album of ALL TIMES. Seeing him so excited - was a bit much.

Then during the intermission, on the wall that was built up during the concert - they displayed more pictures and a profile of people that lost their lives as a result of war. THEN, when he sang 'Vera' - they showed videos of kids whose military parents surprise them after being away, and then children in places like Afghanistan and Africa, whose lives are in devastation. I couldn't contain myself.

You know it's a good concert when.

I didn't know what to expect - but it was so worth it. Anything that can fulfill my husband's dreams is the best. Sorry, not trying to sound gushy - just really feel this way.

Well, I have the flu right now. I am not sure what has hit me - but it feels like it was a semi-truck. I had to come home from work today early - couldn't make it through. I ended up curling up on the couch and napping for 2.5 hours. I have also managed to eat some toast. Love toast.

I haven't been cooking - really. I have made spaghetti twice in two weeks - and that is kind of becoming a weekly meal for us I think. I like it because I can make enough for at least 4 meals for the two of us. It's like a miracle. And thankfully for me, Chris loves leftovers.

The holidays are here, so here are a few things that I will be cooking up for some of our get togethers.

Breadsticks with a marinara sauce for dipping
Baked Brie
Hummus with homemade pita chips
Spinach Dip

There will probably be more I'm sure. I just have to kick this flu - and feel like I am back to normal.

Hope all is well.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another kind of countdown

Christmas Countdown

About a month ago, I was on the countdown for our wedding. It was kind of fun - counting down the days, making lists, crossing things off the list, looking for an Assistant. I am not missing the daily countdowns. I loved all of the planning - so am not missing it. Part of me wishes that the day was happening again tomorrow - just so that I can remember it all over again.

I have heard that many brides go through a bit of a depression when their wedding is over. I can see that happening. For me, I had so much fun planning all of it - that I think that it was enough for me. I think that if Christmas wasn't right around the corner, that I could see maybe be a little bummed that all the hoopla is over.

Speaking of Christmas. CHRISTMAS is literally right around the corner. How did that happen? I am about to tell you something and I am NOT fibbing. I have bought 2 presents. 2. 2 out of a lot. How did that happen? I have to go gang busters this weekend. I don't really know what it means to go 'gang busters' but I have heard people say that and it sounds cool. I plan on trying to get it all done this weekend. My husband doesn't know about this plan yet - I'll surprise him with it - as I know how he loves to shop. Did you sense sarcasm?

Ok, I am going to share a recipe with you - but you have to picture what it would look like - as the camera cord is still MIA.

Mushroom Gravy Sims Style

1 medium sized onion - chopped
3 cups of fresh button mushrooms - thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups stock - vegetable (if you want to keep it vegetarian) or chicken for a different flavour
Fresh thyme - if you have any on hand
Kosher salt and pepper

I love making this to go with anything really. Sometimes if I make a roasted chicken, I will whip this up to serve with it. When Chris' sister was here I made it for her as she is a vegetarian. She had never had it before - I was surprised - it's a great alternative for a vegetarian or vegan.

In a large skillet, saute the onion in olive oil and season with kosher salt. Saute over medium heat. After about 8 minutes, add the mushrooms. You may want to add another dash of olive oil. Continue to saute until the mushrooms become tender. When they are cooked, add the butter. The butter and flour measurements should equal - so you can add as much as you like. I sometimes do 1 1/2 of each.

After you have added the butter and it has melted, sprinkle the flour. Stir it all together - and it will almost make like a roux. Then slowly add a 1/2 a cup of the stock at a time - and whisk together. Keep the heat at medium and add the rest of the stock. Let it thicken - and add a dash more of kosher salt, pepper and the fresh thyme.

And that is it. It's a delicious sauce to add over chicken, pork and steak.

Alright - I need to pack it in for the night.

Loves.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedding bliss.

Ok, let's do this.
Where have I been? What have I been doing? What have I been eating? What is different now that I am married?

Warning: This is probably the longest post ever.

Well, I am pretty sure that most of you aren't wondering any of that - but bear with me - I am going to entertain myself and catch up. Before I start - I have to try and figure out why I haven't been telling my deepest darkests. I think that after the wedding, having family here, and then just 'coming down' from all of the wedding hype. I just have found getting back in to the routine - has been just a little tough. And another thing - is that I have misplaced my cord for my camera - so the pictures that I have taken - I can't download them to my lt. So... until I have that remedied (fancy word) I will probably just post some pics of our wedding - and have you try and visualize what I have cooked. Or... just wait until I get my cord. Ugh.

We started out the festivities by hosting a small dinner for our family and friends that were in town. So fun. I loved that my family finally got to meet Chris'.


The wedding really was everything that we had hoped that it would be. Chris and I had an amazing weekend with our family and fave friends. I loved every minute of it. We had the rehearsal dinner on the Friday night that was hosted by Chris' dad and my mom. Us girls then went back to our room - I bunked with my lovely, Nancy, one of the gorgeous BM's. We made up the center pieces, Margo, my cuzzie and other BM had her hair done. We ended the night - chatting and me lying in bed, trying hard to believe that my wedding day was here.

The next day, we were up early - hanging out in my mom's suite. Eating, and getting everything organized for hair and makeup. It was really quite the production, but oh so fun. My friend, and hairdresser, Dulce, did all of hair. She did an incredible job. Melanie Baird, did my makeup, my mom's and my aunt's. She did a wonderful job. It was the first time that I had worn fake lashes - and can't wait to wear them again. She made my aunt and mom look even more beautiful than they are. There is just something of having a day of pampering - both Dulce and Melanie - made me feel really good about myself.

Getting ready with my sister, mom, my nieces, my SiLs and my BMs - was so much fun. I just loved all of it. We had so much fun. They all looked so incredibly stunning. My nieces were so cute - I can't wait to see the pictures from the photographer - they were too cute.
My Bridesmaids wore black, strapless dresses with silver ribbons. The skirt was just below the knees and had little pick ups. When we went out for pictures, the girls wore stoles over top - and they were so beautiful. I can't wait to see the photographer's pics - so exciting. The flowergirls wore silver dresses, with little sweaters. My niece, Keelyn, wore a little Tiara. I asked her months ago if she would like to wear one, she said yes, so I was on the hunt to find her the perfect one.

My mom wore an amazing cranberry coloured dress. It was a long dress, sleeveless, and then she had a beautiful jacket to go with it. It was the most flattering dress - and she looked incredible.

My dress - I love it. I loved it the day of the wedding - and in fact I am wearing it right now. Just kidding. If I could, I probably would though. I loved the colour and I loved the little black belt that went with it. The belt had little rhinestones on it. The shoes that I wore were little black flats which also had rhinestones. And then for pictures outside, I wore a black stole. I am actually wearing that right now. Just kidding. I would wear it again though - probably on a cold winter's night when my husband and I walk the dogs arm in arm, Chris will wear a suit jacket with an ascot and smoke a pipe.

The ceremony - so lovely. My brother walked me down the aisle while bagpipes were playing - and he wore his kilt. He looked amazing. It was so emotional planning our wedding knowing that my dad would not be there to walk me down the aisle. My brother took my hand and patted it just as my dad did right before we started down the stairs. I just knew that my dad was watching down and was so proud.

Ok - I am rambling. I just loved it all.

The reception was perfect. I loved every element. The food was incredible. The decor was sparkling - everything in silver and white. We gave our table names - names from the Ingredients of Our Lives - i.e, Whittlesey (the street I grew up on in Kitimat), Maggie, Oromocto (Chris' hometown). We had a crossword puzzle with questions about us. We gave tiger fudge as our favours that I made, and we wrapped them in white little bags with silver ribbons. And then we also gave a cookbook out that Chris and I made up with our favourite recipes. That was one of my favourite things that we did for the wedding.

Ok - I have to end this. I am rambling - your probably falling asleep. I will share some more stories - and pictures when I get them. I want to tell the stories so that I can look back on this and reminisce. It all went by so fast - that I know that I will appreciate it some day.

I hope that all is well with you folks.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Married!


My beautiful bouquet - created by our friend, Alanna.

Today is the first day that I am writing as a married woman.

Married.

Merried.

Merryed.

Marry = Merry. I feel very merry now that I am married.

I am really excited to share everything about our day. What I can say is that it was absolutely everything that I had dreamed of. Everything from the family that was here with us to our friends, to the weather, to the food, it was just so perfect.

I have lots of pictures to share.
Thankfully my brother was walking me down the aisle since my eyes were closed.
The head table.
My SiL's - Kim - Jules (mom) and Joanne

Mr. and Mrs. C - dancing to 'One' by U2.

You can also see some HERE.

Everything is starting to slowly get back to normal - but one thing that will never be the same, is that I am married to the most beautiful man, my best friend.

Loves.

Enjoy!