“Use different size bottles for a quick and easy matching game. Remove all lids, place either next to matching bottle or away from it and let your toddler pick and choose what matches with what. Calla would find one of my water bottles, juice bottles, lotion bottlers or anything of the sort, sit down and focus completely on trying to unscrew it. Finally we made a game of it, with bottles of different sizes. She would match up bottle to bottle, lid to lid, the different sizes, then eventually find the ones to match. Many hours of quiet focus and determination.”
Cookies, Cookies, Cookies.
This is my 2nd cookie post. I love making cookies, but need to resist making them since I also love eating them. I’ve tried many many techniques to keep cookies in our house longer, but haven’t come up with a good trick yet. I’ll hide them on Scotty, then eat them. Can’t trust him to hide them on me, because either he’ll eat them, or I’ll find them. Put them in the freezer, eat them. Hide them, think about them and eat them. In the fridge, eat them. Cookie Jar, ya right, having cookies in plain sight on the counter, they’ll be gone so fast you’ll think that jar was never filled.
The chocolate ratio to cookie ratio on these beauties is so perfect. Every bite is filled with creamy, milky, sweet chocolatey goodness. Dunk them in milk, or chug milk after, it doesn’t matter. It’s so good either way.
First time using my new cookie scoop and I’ve decided it’s pretty genius. Why? Well you get these perfectly round shaped little cookie balls, that are all the same size. There’s no spoons required and no need to get your fingers in the batter, because you know what happens doing it that way? You eat the cookie dough. Which means no cookies to make, no cookies for hubby and no trying to hide them, then return and eat them 2 seconds later.
I might have a bit of a problem.
Great Chocolate Chip Cookie
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Firmly Packed light Brown Sugar
8 tbsp (1 Stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups Special Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Walnuts or Pecans, toasted and Chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 300F. Line 2 baking sheets with Parchment Paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat sugars and butter together until smooth. Mix in egg, vanilla and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour and salt, then mix into wet mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
Scoop dough onto cookie sheets with cookie scoop, or using a tablespoon form into 1 1/2-tbsp size balls.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
(Then eat them, or hide them, or both )
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Note: Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks.
Yesterday was the 1st of December. For the week prior I had been thinking of advent calendars; what I grew up with, which one I wanted to do, what activities would be in it and why.
There are so many great ideas online, so many crafty ones far beyond my talents. We had briefly talked about it, and we know Calla is still a little young this year to grasp the concept, but I wanted to start something. Even something small, to get the juices flowing and first Christmas traditions for our little family started.
A few ideas I had come up with were the traditional ones; bake Christmas cookies, watch a Christmas movie, make a gingerbread house, take food items to the food bank, drop donations off at salvation army, make a Christmas craft, decorate the tree and house, and read a Christmas story. Nothing too original, but that’s Ok. It’s stuff that we both grew up with, and the older she gets the more we can add and make them special to us.
The idea of these Eggnog waffles came together piece by piece. First, I spotted Eggnog at the Grocery store and decided to buy some, I was originally thinking Eggnog Scones. Then I remembered the Waffle Iron by Grandma had sent us a little while ago and how I still hadn’t tested it out yet (I mean how could I not, I love waffles). Then I realized December 1st was on us, and I still hadn’t put together our advent calendar. Then it dawned on me that if these turned out nice, which they did, they could be added as the first item to our advent calendar and possible Christmas tradition in the making.
I also didn’t intend on posting two breakfast items in a row, but Calla did sleep for 2 hours yesterday allowing me to make these, so it sort of worked out perfectly.
This is a simple recipe with just a few main ingredients. I chose Oat Flour and Whole Wheat flour, which produced a nice textural waffle, but if you do not have those or prefer a more classic flavor, I think you would be fine using All purpose or all Whole wheat, you just may need to adjust the batter in the end. A little too thick, add a splash of milk or a little too runny, add a bit more flour. You could use part milk, part eggnog, you would just have a milder Eggnog flavor. The nutmeg is optional, I usually add it to my Eggnog drinks, so thought I’d add it here as well.
My waffle iron has 4 square spots, so I used about 1/2 cup of batter per square. This being the first time using it, I wasn’t sure what to expect for temperature, but kept it on 2-3 (medium) and that worked perfectly. Also make sure to spray the grills with oil beforehand so they don’t stick. I got a little impatient waiting for that first batch and tried lifting the lid too soon. Spotted the waffle pulling apart, so closed it quickly. Waited a few more minutes, then peeked again. The lid came up clear and the waffles stayed intact, phew. Let them cook until they are nicely golden, then remove, spray grills again and repeat. Enjoy with maple syrup and a little icing sugar.
Happy Waffle Making!!
Multigrain Eggnog Waffles
2 cups Light Eggnog1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Oat Flour
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of fine grain sea salt
3 Eggs, whisked
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
Heat your waffle grill to medium. Mix together flours, baking powder, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg (optional) in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs. Add eggnog and cooled butter, whisking again. Pour eggnog mix into flour mixture and stir together until just combined.
Spray grill with cooking oil. Pour 1/2 cup onto each square (I used a square, 4 waffle grill), and close lid. Let cook about 3 minutes or so. Lift up gently. If batter pulls apart, close quickly and allow to cook for a few minutes longer. Remove waffles once golden brown. Spray grill again, and repeat until all batter is used.
Keep waffles warm in oven set to 200F. Or enjoy promptly with maple syrup and sprinkle of icing sugar.
You know in all honesty, I think I like making pancakes more than Calla likes eating them. So many different kinds from Classic, Wholegrain, Buttermilk to Yogurt. With or without fruit in them or on them. Served with maple syrup, honey, yogurt or jam. The options are endless, and they are relatively easy (and fun) to make. One day maybe I’ll even venture into making different shapes, letters or adding a little food coloring to make some fun colored ones. Right now, I’m just not that creative, so the traditional circle (of all sizes) is my specialty.
Calla will take a bite or two out of the pancake, then proceed to grab it in her hands, squish it together, break it apart, poke at it and eventually fling it off the highchair. Or very innocently dropped it off the side with a mischievous ‘Oh!’.
For these particular ones, instead of grating or dicing the pear and adding it to the batter, I sliced them then placed a piece on the uncooked side before flipping them. They stayed super moist with the orange juice and yogurt, and small since I only used about 1/4 cup of batter for each one.
I froze about half the pancakes for a later date when I’m in need of a quick breakfast or snack.
Pear, Orange & Yogurt Babycakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp butter for frying, or oil
1-2 Pears, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk eggs. Add remaining liquid ingredients to eggs and stir well to combine. Pour wet mix into dry mix and gently fold together until just combined. If you find the batter a little too thick, add more milk. A little to thin and runny, add a bit more flour. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Slice pears and set next to pan.
Brush pan lightly with butter. When it sizzles, at 1/4 cup of batter to pan, in the shape you desire. Add one or two slices of pear to each pancake. When small bubbles appear on the uncooked surface and edges begin to dry, flip over. Careful they don’t land on each other or sides of pan in the flipping process. Cook a few minutes more then remove from pan. Add a little butter and continue with remaining batter.
Serve with a little maple syrup, fruit puree or on their own.
It took me a long time to find these shells. They weren’t at my usual Save On Foods, or at Costco. Didn’t see them at Coopers, Safeway or Bulk Barn. I even searched a little Italian Market downtown and still nothing. Then one day while shopping the Joe Baby clothes at Superstore I thought I’d take a gander over to the pasta aisle and what do you know, they were there. Finally!!
Well worth the hunt though, the shells are so good. I’ve only actually made them one way, but there are so many varieties, and so many I’d like to try. Next time I might do Chicken, Mozzarella and Pesto. Or a Chipolte Butternut Squash or maybe something with Chorizo Sausage. Yum!
This particular recipe is a simple one. Very similar to a classic lasagna, but without all the noodles, so it’s much lighter, and still delicious!.
Cook the pasta till al dente, but make sure they don’t get too soft. Otherwise they’ll be a little too flimsy when working with them and you don’t want them to break apart. Drain and rinse, let cool, but try to work with them while they are still a little wet otherwise the noodles will start to stick together. Then they may end up ripping anyways. Place the first few rows of noodles on their backs, then gradually turn onto an angle as you fill the dish up.
Top the noodles with a simple tomato sauce. I used part tomato sauce, and part crushed tomatoes, then added some extra veggies. Not too thick, just enough to cover the noodles.
One of the best parts of any pasta dish is the cheese. All melted, ooey gooey with crispy brown edges. So good. I used cheddar and Parmesan, but if you don’t have those on hand, mozzarella works great, or even a spicy jalapeno havarti for a little extra kick.
Stuffed Jumbo Shells with Spinach and Cottage Cheese
1 Box Jumbo Shells
1 pkg Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
1 500g Container Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Marble Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Small Red Pepper
About 10 white mushrooms, sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
1 Jar Tomato Sauce, or Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Chili Flakes
Salt & Pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add pasta shells. Cook until al dente, not too soft or they’ll fall apart when trying to stuff them. Remove pot from element, drain and rinse pasta. Allow to cool to touch so you can work with them.
Mix together drained spinach, cottage cheese and eggs. Add in 1/2 parmesan cheese and stir together.
Heat a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Add olive oil. Add garlic and onion and cook a few minutes until translucent. Mix in mushrooms, cover and reduce heat to medium and cook 5-10 minutes, or until soft and flavorful. Stir in red pepper and spices. Mix in tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, cover and cook until sauce is heated through.
Heat oven to 350F. In a 9×13 inch dish, spoon sauce in until it just covers the bottom. One by one, fill the pasta shells with cottage cheese mixture, about 2 tbsp. Line shells in dish side by side. Continue until all shells are used up or there is no more space to fill in dish. Pour remaining sauce over pasta shells, then sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake 30-40 minutes. Remove foil, return to oven and cook until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted and browning, 10-15 minutes
Remove from oven, allow to cool 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and season with salt and pepper.