Tuesday, December 25, 2012

merry christmas

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas. 

May your holidays be filled with family, friends, love and laughter and lots and lots of good food. 
I wish you a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween

Happy Halloween! 

I can hardly believe it's the end of October.  Before long we'll be singing Christmas carols and then ushering in a New Year.  But first things first.  Today I'm sharing with you a recipe for a halloween (or insert whatever holiday) party mix.  The first time I made this was many years ago, but it left a good enough lasting impression that I whipped it up again this past weekend.  It's quite versatile in adding whatever mixin's you want.  Just be prepared to put on your elastic waist pants while consuming, as it is quite ADDICTIVE. 

Here's Bianca waiting for all the little goblins and gouls tonight.  I hope you all have a chocolatey filled Halloween night.  

halloween party mix

recipe adapted from very best baking

9 cups Chex cereal 
1 1/2 cups peanuts
1  1/2 cups pretzels
1 bag of  Reece's Pieces
1 cup candy corn
1 1/2 cups chocolate covered peanuts
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 250° F. 
2. Grease large roasting pan.
3. Mix cereal, peanuts and pretzels in large bowl.  Pour into prepared pan. 
4. Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium, heavy-duty pot.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. 
5. Boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. 
6. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda. 
7. Pour evenly over cereal mixture, stir to coat evenly. 
8.  Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
9. Cool compltely in pan, stirring frequently to break apart mix. 
10.  Stir in choc covered peanuts and candy corn

Store in airtight container and enjoy!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bianca - in pictures

Bianca one day old
Five weeks ago I brought home this beautiful little Italian Greyhound pup, Bianca.  Bianca weaved a place into my heart from the first day I met her at a day old.  She is a sweet, happy, funny, lively little girl.  She has quite the personality and I don't think a day goes by where she hasn't made me laugh.  She has healed a spot in my heart that was longing to be filled.   I am so grateful for her. 
Grateful and blessed.   
 puppy ears & whiskers

hello jewel



 puppy kisses

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

happy birthday ziva

You would have been 3 years old today.  Today I will remember you for the sweet, loveable, energetic, curious and very playful little girl that you were.  You left an impression on my heart that will last a lifetime. 

   Run free my sweet ziva.

    I miss you and love you.  Always. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

sunday edition: september moments

A week ago I was taking in this breathtaking view.  Breathing in the salty atlantic ocean air in a quaint historical region known as Peggy's Cove in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 Today, I am sitting in my living room next to this little love who has completely captured my heart.  Meet Bianca.  Isn't she gorgeous!  Remember when I told you about her when she was just a day old.  She's now four months old and the newest member of my family.

I think I found the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I know that's a bold claim. But, I for one will be using this as my go-to recipe. I baked it no so long ago and was not disappointed in the least.  These cookies are everything they claim to be. A thick, chewy, rich with chocolate chip and buttery goodness.  The recipe can be found on this great blog.   I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you decide to whip up a batch. 

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

midsummer & bumbleberry pie

Has it really been over a month since I last wrote?  July seems like a blur and we are halfway through August.  Where has summer gone?  I could talk about the mundane things of life or how busy life is, but really...sometimes you just do life and there's nothing grand to write about, it just is. 

So today, I'm going to share a pie recipe with you.  I baked it for dessert on one of the many Sunday pasta lunches I've had at Michael's parents.  I've learned that Sunday's in Italian families are all about making a sauce and having the family over.  I even  had the pleasure of learning how to make nonna's sauce and meatballs a couple of Sunday's ago.  I'll share the recipe for the meatballs in a future post, but today, it's about pie.    

All of summer's glorious berries baked into a flaky light crust.  Michael has been asking me to make a bumbleberry pie since forever it seems. He professes it's his favourite.  Everytime the mood/occasion strikes for me to make a pie, he requests this, and I until now have never granted his request.  And now that I've had it, I'm not so sure what took me so long. 

If you like all of summer's berry bounty, you will love this pie.  I have been using the same recipe for a flaky pie crust that I came upon last year and haven't used any other since.  The trick to this crust is to make sure all of the ingredients are cold, so just pop them into the freezer for an hour or so and you'll be rewarded with a golden flaky pie crust. 

happy saturday.

very berry
bumbleberry pie

Flaky Pie Crust:
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (COLD)
1 3/4 cup shortening, cubed (COLD)
6 ounces cold, cold water (ICY)
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Bumbleberry Filling:
2 cups strawberries
2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
1/2 cup sugar (or more, depending on desired sweetness)
1/4 cup cornstarch

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Filling Directions:
1. Place berries in a large bowl; add 1/2 cup of sugar.
2. Add sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice; stir to combine. Set aside. Spoon mixture into chilled pie shell, mounding berries slightly in the center. Dot with butter. Remove dough from refrigerator, and place over blueberry filling. Tuck edge of top dough between edge of bottom dough and rim of pan. Using your fingers, gently press both layers of dough along the edge to seal, and crimp as desired.

Crust Directions:
1. Blend together the flour, salt and sugar.

2. Add the shortening and work everything together with your fingers.

3. Pour in the water and mix only until just combined.

4. Turn out dough on a floured surface and form a ball, then stick in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

5. After 30 min. bring your dough out from the freezer, cut in half and put one half back in.

6. Roll out on a floured surface and carefully place rolled out dough in a greased pie dish, letting extra dough hang off the sides.

7. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and then pour the berry filling in the dough. Set aside.

8. Spoon mixture into pie shell, mounding berries slightly in the center. Dot with butter.

9. Remove other half of dough from refrigerator, and roll out.  Place over berry filling. Tuck edge of top dough between edge of bottom dough and rim of pan. Using your fingers, gently press both layers of dough along the edge to seal, and crimp as desired.

10. Make an egg wash with one yolk and a little warm water and gently brush all over the top of the pie.

11. Lower the oven temperature to 425º, place the pie on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown. Then lower the oven temperature again to 375º and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices bubble, 25-30 min longer.

Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before serving

a slice of summer

Monday, June 18, 2012


June is a month of celebrations.  A year ago I started this blog and while I may only have a mere 47 posts.  It's my place where I can post randomly about the little things in my life.  My first post also happened to be on quite a special day.  

My niece Megan's birthday.  Today she turns 18.  An adult in the eyes of the law.  I can't begin to tell you about the heart failure I was experiencing the day she got her driver's licence and her own car. 
She has grown into a beautiful young woman that has a heart for those that are less fortunate, the forgotten and mistreated.   But even with a heart of gold, Megan has a wild streak with a wicked sense of humour and has a true appreciation for the most ridiculous movies and TV shows. 

Strawberry vanilla cupcakes for a sassy 18 year old.  The recipe, I will post at a later date.    

Happy Birthday Megan!

Friday, June 15, 2012

strawberry shortcake cookies

Happy Friday all!  (all two of you, that is)

Today has been a great day!  I saved money at the bulk store buying supplies to bake a couple of birthday cakes and a father's day dessert this weekend.  All because of a woman who shared her extra coupon with me.  And then later, I scooped a $5 floppy hat!  It's the small things. 

Strawberry season is in full swing here and it's no secret how much I love these delicious summer berries.    My love for strawberries began at a very early age.  It's been many years since I went to a strawberry patch and picked my own.   But as a child, going to the fields was a regular occurence so mom could make her yearly preserves.  Mom and dad used to pack all six of us kids into the old station wagon and head over to  Orchard Hill Farm where we picked or shall I say ate copious amounts of strawberries.  Perhaps if we spent more time filling the quarts instead of our faces this chore wouldn't have been so grueling when I was a child.   Many a recipe in my kitchen has included strawberries as the main character, and I'm certain at least one of the birthday cakes I'll be making this weekend will include strawberries.  

So it's no surprise that when I saw a recipe for strawberry shortcake cookies on Pinterest, I included it in on my board of recipes I will actually made and not just pin. :) 

These cookies are moist and light and are true to their name, cakey.  They have a muffin like taste and texture and it's really hard to limit myself to eating just one.  They are delicious and although the original recipe said they are best eaten the day they are made, mine lasted a few more than that and were still quite tasty.   Enjoy!

strawberry shortcake cookies
source bakergirl

12 ounces (about 2 cups) strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling over the cookies

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and remaining sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until moist and fragrant.

Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the zest/sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Add the cream to the bowl and stir until the dough starts to come together, then gently fold in the strawberry mixture.

Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool. The cookies are best the day they're made, but can be kept in an airtight container for 1 day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

good intentions

I had good intentions, really I did.  I was going to plant these vegetable plants last week, but I didn't. 
I was going to plant them this past weekend, and clearly I did not.  I have a lovely little space to plant them into.  

I'm easily distracted you see.  Today it's raining and I decided to bake cookies.  I'll post that recipe next time. 

But my weekly distraction have been, by visiting him. 
and her.
and her

I'm fixated on these little pups.  Can ya tell?   They are so precious and I absolutely can't wait to make one a part of my family and bring her home. 

It's love. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

puppy love

My dear friend Jaime's Italian Greyhound, had a litter 2 weeks ago and I am smitten with puppy love. 

2 days old...cute pink little pudgy noses.

mama with her babies

one week old - fawn and sable pups

chesney giving kisses

nothing warms the heart quite like brand new puppies.  

Friday, May 4, 2012


Hello there!  It's finally Friday and I want to share with you a traditional Mennonite summer treat that you may want to try this weekend given the temperatures are finally headed in the right direction once again.

When Mike and I picked up some watermelon from the market the other day, I got a craving for rollkuchen.  Rollkuchen is a traditional Mennonite recipe served with watermelon, usually in the summer, when it's in season. Not buying an overpriced quartered slice at the market.  :)  This was my first attempt at making rollkuchen and no doubt I'll be making them a few times in summer.


1 cup whipping cream
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour

Mix all ingredients together and knead into a ball.  I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook.
Wrap the dough up and refrigerate it for a couple hours.  (My momma says she doesn't do this, but did say it does make it easier to roll out the dough, if you choose to).

After a couple of hours, or if you're like me and you haven't got two hours to wait, 45 minutes or so later, take the dough out and roll.  Rolling it thin will give you a crisper roll kuchen and leaving it thicker will make it more fluffy and softer.  Totally your preference.

Cut the dough into about 3-4 long strips and then cut across to make rectangular shapes.
Cut a slit in the middle and pull the dough through to make a twist.  This is also to prevent them from becoming a balloon when frying.  

Heat some oil in a large pot. (I used canola).  Test the oil's readiness by dropping a small piece of dough into it.  It should start to bubble around the dough and rise to the surface.  Fry and place the fried rollkuchen on a paper towel. 

Serve with watermelon. 

Leftovers are great for breakfast, served with jam.

Have a great weekend! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

on the move

It's been a while.  But I have a good excuse.  Really, I do.  You see all those boxes. 
That's my old living room.  

We've moved.  I've come to the conclusion that packing is so much easier than unpacking. 

There is a table somewhere in there, under my collection of plastic containers.   

And that's my momma taking a much needed lunch break after helping me unpack what seemed like 1000 boxes for the kitchen alone.  It seems like one never has enough cupboards.  And now to live the next year without a pantry.  

 Jewel found her spot. Such a sweet girl.

This is my living room in it's current unfinished state. 

I would love for it to look like this. A girl can dream, can't she?

That 'bout sums it up for now.  Promise I'll be back soon with a recipe to boot. :) 
Hope you've had a good Monday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

key lime pie

When I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago, I tried key lime pie for the first time.  I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make it as one of my Easter desserts, twice. For my family on Good Friday and Michael's family on Easter Sunday.  It turned out better the second time around, after I was able to tweak the recipe a bit.  I loved the creamy texture and combination of sweet and tart in this pie. I did not blind bake the crust the second time and it came out perfect, finally. 

This is Megan, my lovely niece. Can't believe she will be 18 this year.  She was not a fan of the key lime pie.  Said it was too sour, or something like that.  I did reduce the amount of lime juice in the second pie, which made it less tart, but just as tasty. 

Who can resist this sweet face?  Meet the newest member of our extended family.  My sister's adorable little puggle, Glimmer.  She's so freakin cute!  Love, love, love her ears!!

And just in case you want to make the pie for yourself, here's the recipe. 

key lime pie
inspired by sweet peas kitchen

graham cracker crust
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp melted butter

lime filling
1/2 cup strained lime juice (from four limes)
4 teaspoons lime zest
4 large egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk

whipped topping
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup icing sugar (confectioners)

1/2 lime sliced paper thin, dipped in sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Crust: In a medium bowl, combine butter and crumbs.  Press crust into the bottom of a tart pan or pie plate. 

3. Filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the zest and yolks until tinted a light green.  Beat in milk.  Mix in milk.
Set aside at room temperture to thicken, about 30 minutes.

4. Pour filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes.  Refridgerate pie for several hours (overnight) before serving. 

5. Garnish with whipped cream and lime slices.