Cheddar and Green Chili Scones

Brunch - Cheddar Chili SconesI am behind on my posting – however, this recipe is too good not to share.  I made cheddar and green chili scones last weekend for brunch with Jonathan.  Oatmeal, scones, fried eggs, and hot tea all combined for a perfect brunch.  We had lovely conversation and enjoyed a perfect morning waking up slowly.  There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of freshly baked scones.  The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen but I substituted green chillies for the jalapeno peppers.

Brunch - Cheddar Chili SconesIngredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, cut
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons green chili (mine were from a can)

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Then mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

2.  Cut cold butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas.

3.  In a small separate bowl lightly beat eggs.

4.  Mix in heavy cream and eggs with a wooden spoon until dough forms.

5.  Add in 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and green chili to the dough.  Then knead in the cheese and green chilis.

6.  Cut dough into the desired shapes and place onto baking pan.  Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

7.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden on top and cooked in the centre.

Note: Scones are always best enjoyed the first day.

Cinnamon Buns and Toledo Museum of Art

Cinnamon BunsJonathan and I have been married a week now.  So, for our first weekend breakfast in Windsor as a married couple I made cinnamon buns!  They came together well in my standard mixer and with a bit of hand kneading of the dough.  The cinnamon flavour was tasty and the cream cheese icing was glorious and not overly sweet.  I made the cinnamon buns the night before so there would be less cleanup in the morning and I could simply reheat them and add the icing.  I will definitely make these again for Christmas morning or just as a treat.  They were delicious and I was happy with the way they turned out.  Next time I will cut this recipe in half because it made three dishes full of cinnamon buns.  I have one dish in the freezer right now, so we will have a sweet treat for another day.

Cinnamon BunsCinnamon Bun

In the afternoon we went on an adventure to Ohio to the Toledo Museum of Art.  It is a spectacular museum featuring aMe infront of a Claud Monet Painting at Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa and the Center for the Visual Arts building designed by Frank Gehry.  The galleries featured a wide range of art from modern, classical, glass art, and impressionist.  We will have to come back soon to see even more wonderful art.  Claude Monet is one of my favourite painters and I was beyond thrilled to see one of the lily pond paintings.  In grade 1 my teacher read us the book Linnea In Monet’s Garden and from then on I was hooked on impressionism and those magical water lilies.  Some day I hope to teach a grade 1 class and read that book!Toledo Museum of ArtJonathan at the Toledo Museum of ArtChandelier at the Toledo Museum of ArtToledo Museum of ArtPunch Bowl at the Toledo Museum of ArtToledo Museum of ArtFrank Lloyd Wright art at Toledo Museum of Art

Ingredients:Cinnamon Buns

for the sweet dough: 
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons quick rising yeast
4 eggs

Instructions

For the sweet dough, gently warm the milk, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small pot. Don’t bring to a simmer; warm just enough to melt the butter.

Meanwhile, measure one-half of the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer along with the yeast. Add the warm milk and melted butter mixture to the flour and beat with your paddle attachment until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until smooth before proceeding. Switch to a dough hook and add the remaining flour.

Remove and knead until a soft dough forms that is no longer sticky to the touch, about 5 minutes.

In an oiled bowl let dough rise for 20 minutes.  Put plastic wrap over top of bowl and a clean towel and let sit until doubled in size.  Roll out dough after 20 minutes into a rectangle shape and add cinnamon filling.  Add water to the outside of the rectangle with a pastry brush to help seal in the filling.  Slowly roll the bread around the filling and seal sides.  With a sawing motion slice the cinnamon buns in 1 inch pieces and place into a greased pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F and bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool before enjoying.  These can be saved for the morning or put in the freezer for another day.

Cinnamon Filling

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter cold (cut into pieces)

1/4 cup raisins

Mix together all ingredients.

Cream Cheese Icing

¼ cup butter, room temperature

½ cup cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup

Cream together the butter and cream cheese in your standard mixer, slowly add icing sugar.  Then add vanilla extract and milk.  I like my cinnamon bun icing a little more watery than cupcake icing, but still stiff enough that it will sit on the cinnamon bun without being watery or too runny.  You can test this by putting some icing on a metal spoon and watching the consistency as it runs off the spoon.  Add milk slowly so that it doesn’t become too watery.  If the consistency is too watery slowly add a little more icing sugar.

Groomsmen Cookies – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

IMG_5140Wedding is tomorrow!  So, I can’t help myself but to bake.  I am making some cookies to take over for the groomsmen.  Tonight is the rehearsal dinner.  It should be lots of fun!  Everyone is just relaxing at the Chapman house.  The neighbours sent over some beautiful flowers, so I will share the picture.

Currently, Jonathan is on the road from Windsor.  I called him last night to make sure that he packed the wedding rings!  They are (kind of) important.  I am so excited to be marrying my best friend.  He makes me happy each and every day.  He is the kindest, most generous, loving and smart person I know!  All of the wedding planning has been done, and now we just relax and enjoy.  It is going to be a beautiful day.  I can’t wait to put on my wedding dress, and see all of my bridesmaids in the deep eggplant purple dresses.IMG_5143IMG_5139

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup sugar

1 egg

¼ cup maple syrup

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and oats.

In your mixer bowl beat the sugar and butter.  Then add egg, vanilla extract and maple syrup.  Slowly add in flour and oat mixture until combined.  Add chocolate chips til just combined.

Use a 1 inch cookie scoop and place cookies on baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with your fingers.  Bake for 9 minutes until they are just slightly golden around the edges.  Let cool.  Enjoy!

Keeping the bridesmaids happy – with brownies!

BrowniesThis morning my sisters Sarah and Victoria looked like they could use a little treat to keep up the momentum for wedding preparations.  There are three more sleeps til the big day!  Tonight, I am going down to have some sister time with  Laura, so I will come with gifts – brownies!

For the wedding day I am going to make raspberry and blueberry scones.  I am always up early and so these are a good project for me in the morning of the wedding.  I am also going to make some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the groomsmen on Friday.  Everyone has been so wonderful and supportive and they deserve some delicious treats.

These brownies use Ghirardelli cocoa and my Mom tested them and said they are delicious!  After they cooled I putBrownies them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up, then sliced them.  They sliced beautifully and had a fudge like texture to them.  My Mom’s comments were that they were not bitter or acidic and had a lovely balanced chocolate flavour with an even texture.  The recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen her wonderful Best Cocoa Brownies.  They also only used one pot and I put parchment paper inside the baking pan so there was very little mess to clean up.  I would bring these to a potluck or for a dessert at a dinner party.  They could also be sprinkled with a little icing sugar to make them look even more dainty.BrowniesBrownies

Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies (the size you see pictured yielded 25)

10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams, though some brands may weigh more) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (75 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. [Note, many people who have tried this recipe have found that this step works just fine in the microwave. Couldn’t test this because we don’t have one, but it sounds like it would work.]

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack. (I go further and throw mine in the fridge or freezer for a while; it’s the only way I can get them to cut with clean lines.)

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Mini Pumpkin and Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini MuffinsToday’s baking project is pumpkin oatmeal mini muffins!  While looking around the cupboard to see ingredients to use, I found pumpkin puree and decided on a recipe for delectable breakfast treats.  The recipe is relatively healthy compared to a few other recipes I have, but still a treat.  Oatmeal mixed into the batter makes these muffins over the top.  I love the grainy texture and dimension it gives the muffins.  I ate at least three when they were warm out of the oven.

One of my younger sisters is at her university convocation today so it is a special day.  We are having a barbecue this evening on the patio to celebrate.  I am making the buns for the hamburgers.  My Mom is making her famous dessert crepes with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries and a chocolate drizzle.  It is one of my sister’s favourites!

On the wedding planning front things are under control!  Tomorrow I will be taking the church bulletin over to be printed.  An engagement photo of Jonathan and I will be on the cover and I am excited to see it all printed up.  It is going to be a great keepsake.  Tonight Jonathan and I will be going over the list of essential photographs that need to be taken at the wedding.  I am extremely excited for the big day!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini MuffinsPumpkin Oatmeal Mini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Instructions

1.     In large mixing bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt.

2.     In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, oil and vanilla.  Always separate wet and dry ingredients when baking muffins.  Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients.  Add in pumpkin puree and combine thoroughly until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon muffin batter into a greased muffin pan.  Makes approximately 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins.

3.     Bake in centre of oven at 375°F for about 18 minutes (I would recommend to check them at 16 minutes though, no one likes burnt muffins). Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.

4.     Once cooled you can wrap these muffins up individually in a zip-lock bag or with plastic wrap and freeze for two weeks.

Pizza Dough Recipe

Last night I started to have a pizza craving, so for lunch today I made homemade pizza dough.  With a standard mixer pizza dough is actually quite simple to make.  I tried a recipe that came with my mixer in January and the result was a thicker more bread-like crust.  This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is for a thin crust pizza dough.  The only addition to this recipe was 1/2 tsp of sugar, because I remember my Mom adding some sugar to her pizza dough.  The dough was indeed thin, crispy, and easy to work with!Pizza Hot out of the ovenHawaiian PizzaPizza with Olives and Mozzarella

My sisters and I decided on a Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple) as well as a pizza with olives and mozzarella.  It was very tasty and filling for lunch time.  Since it made two pizzas we have tons of left overs for tomorrow’s lunch as well.  The pizzas would also freeze well for another day (assuming it all doesn’t get gobbled up).  I am eager to try doing half whole wheat flour and half white flour to make the crust a little healthier.  Adding half and half would still allow for a smooth texture in the pizza crust.

In Windsor, Ontario the pizza is made with Galati cheese that is made just down the street from our home.  I am lucky to know this because Jonathan is the food columnist at CBC Radio Windsor and has the opportunity to explore the food scene in Windsor every week.  He brought some Galati cheese home a few months ago and I made chicken parmesan.  The cheese is extra rich and does not have any additives.  Another difference is that the pepperoni is shredded unlike the typical round pepperoni you see on pizza in Toronto.  I really enjoy Windsor pizza, but I also love, love, love homemade pizza!  Really the key is high quality ingredients and a bit of love.

*Reminder for making homemade pizza is to lightly prick the pizza dough in the pan before you add the sauce, otherwise you will get air bubbles in the dough.  Enjoy!

Pizza Dough (makes 2 pizzas)

Ingredients

3 – 3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoons, quick rise yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the pan

Instructions 

1.  Mix dry ingredients in the mixer bowl with dough hook.

2.  Slowly add warm water and oil, mixing on low speed.

3.  Mix with dough hook for 5 minutes.  The dough should look smooth, add extra flour if the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl.

4.  Oil the dough and sides of the bowl to keep it moist.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and then cover with clean towel.

5.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to 2 hours.  Dough should doubled in size.

6.  Divide into two and spread out the pizza dough on a lightly oiled pan.

7.  Prick the bottom of the dough lightly with a knife so that bubbles do not form.

8.  Add your sauce and toppings.

9.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30minutes or until crust is golden.

10. Enjoy!

A day of pie! Chicken Pot Pie and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb PieThere is a rhubarb plant at the Chapman house, so I decided to make a classic strawberry rhubarb pie.  So, I went out to pick some ruby red fresh rhubarb.  The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favourite blogs).  The pie turned out extremely well (super tasty) – but a little watery in the centre.  I am still working on perfecting the perfect strawberry rhubarb pie. My Mom who has been making pies forever would not have made a mistake like this, but like she always says, “practice makes perfect.” As I was preparing the pie filling I saw some blueberries in the freezer, so I added half a cup to add extra colour.  So, it wasn’t entirely ‘strawberry rhubarb.’  When I make this pie again, I will add only 1/2 cup of sugar or 2/3 cup – the berries had tremendous natural sweetness and it would have been nice to allow the slightly tart rhubarb flavour to shine.Strawberry Rhubarb PieLattice Pie Crust Top

The recipe for the crust however, was a success, it was flakey, buttery and crisp.  I even decided to get fancy and do a lattice top pattern.  I brushed the top with an egg wash and sprinkled it lightly with sugar.  It came out of the oven looking beautiful.  I enjoy the challenge that pie baking presents, getting the filling and crust perfect, as well as decorating, so the perfect pie challenge continues.

Chicken Pot PieThe next pie I made was a savoury dinner pie and is a classic!  The recipe is from the Canadian living website and it is one of my favourites.  The filling with fresh thyme and white wine is truly divine!  Fresh carrots, baby red skin potatoes, celery and peas come together to create a classic dinner.  Not to mention puff pastry (yum)!  When I make this for Jonathan it usually makes two pot pies – one of which can be frozen.  Served with a fresh salad it is a perfect dinner or lunch.  I read somewhere that chicken pot pie is a great dinner for entertaining because:  it looks like you have slaved away all day making it, divides up easily, usually good for picky eaters and by the time your guests arrive all the work is done. The pot pie comes out looking like a piece of perfection with flaky buttery crust – and you get to eat gourmet chicken pot pie with your friends and catch up.Chicken Pot Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Filling

3 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny

½ cup blueberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for brushing on the top)

Mix together sliced strawberries, sliced rhubarb, blueberries, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and flour.  Set aside.

All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough (From Smitten Kitchen)

Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.

2  ½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup cold cold water, use ice cubes if necessary

1.  Pulse together dry ingredients in food processor or use hand dough cutter.

2.  Add butter and pulse again.

3.  Slowly add cold water, pulse until it comes together in a nice dough.

4.  Divide the dough in two and refrigerate for 1 hour

Putting the Pie together:

1.  Roll our first dough for the bottom crust.  Lightly poke the dough at the bottom with a fork.

2.  Crimp the sides of the piecrust.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

3.  Pre – bake the crust at 400 for 10 minutes with aluminum foil and baking weights.

4.  Let crust cool then add fruit mixture.

5.  Roll out second pie dough.  Slice with pizza cutter into 1 inch to 1 ½ inch strips.

6.  Alternate length and width wise the lattice strips.

7.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

8.  Reduce oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie (from Canadian Living)

Ingredients

3 cups (500 mL) chicken stock

1 cup (250 mL) drywhite wine

2 cups (500 mL) chopped carrots

2 stalks  celery, chopped

2 cups (500 mL) cubed peeled potatoes

bay leaf

1 Pinch each salt and 1 tsp pepper, 1-3 tablespoon rosemary

1 lb (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1/3 cup (75 mL) butter

1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (75 mL milk

1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas

1/2 pkg (397 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preparation

In large saucepan, bring chicken stock, wine, carrots, celery, potato, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken; simmer, uncovered, until no longer pink inside, 10 minutes. Skim off any foam. Strain; set aside chicken stock. Set aside chicken mixture; discard bay leaf.

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock until smooth. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk; cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and vegetable mixture into your dish, add peas, add extra rosemary and pepper to taste; stir to coat.) Use large casserole dish or smaller ones if you are making two.

On floured surface, roll out pastry to fit top of dish plus 1-inch (2.5 cm) extra all around; trim edges. Brush edge of dish with water. Centre pastry over filling; gently press overhang to adhere to dish. Brush with egg; slash 4 steam vents. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, puffed and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Early Grey Shortbread cookies and Bachelorette Brunch

Earl Grey TeaThe recipe for Earl Grey shortbread cookies is one of my best tested and fail proof recipes.   The recipe is also very versatile.  It is delicious with Earl Grey tea, green tea, as a plain shortbread cookie without the tea, with sprinkles on top or with a fruit preserve blended in.  This recipe goes well with some pictures from brunch because just like good friends this recipe never lets me down.  I wanted a bachelorette brunch because I love food – and wanted time to relax and chat with friends.   We all had so much fun getting dressed up for brunch in Toronto and spending the day together.Me and my BridesmaidsBeef Wellington and brunchCranberry Waffle with Plum CapoteCream puffs and mini cheesecakeDesserts

Laura did a fantastic job hosting the bachelorette brunch and she put together beautiful gift bags.  It included passionfruit tea, a nail polish and some jelly beans – my favourite!  Laura is my Matron of Honour and she is doing a wonderful job so far!  We always tease her that her real career should be party planning because she does it so well.  All the little details come together so nicely when she is planning a party.  Laura knows me well, and knows I love food, and the King Edward Hotel is extremely well known for its delicious brunch.  Some of my favourite things from brunch were: Beef Wellington, mini cranberry waffles with plum capote, all the fresh fruit, pesto chicken, smoked salmon and so much more!  My sisters who are able to enjoy nuts and chocolate had a blast with the dessert table.  There was chocolate mousse, red velvet cupcakes, cream puffs dipped in chocolate, and mini cheesecake.  I could not have dreamed of a better day with my bridesmaids, Mom, Grandma and Aunt!  I am extremely lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Mom and Me

Stay tuned to my blog for my Mom’s blueberry Grand Marnier jam recipe!  Mom, Ophelia and Heather made the jam a few weeks ago and it looks amazing.  These little treats will be the wedding favours on the tables at the wedding.  We will be having a little get together to tie ribbons and put stickers on the jam jars.  My Mom has worked in product development for many many years and says this is the best jam she has ever tasted!  We have similar tastes so I know the jam is going to be amazing!

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  In your mixer, mix softened butter and slowly add in sifted icing sugar.  Add in vanilla extract.

3. Mix flour and salt together in a separate bowl.  Slowly add to the butter sugar mixture.

4. If the batter looks too dry and its not coming together, add 1 tsp at a time, a little bit of water.

5. Put plastic wrap on the counter and wrap the dough in a log shape.  Then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

6.  Slice and place on your cookie sheet.

7.  Bake for 12 minutes, until very lightly golden at the edges.

8. Enjoy!

Bridal Shower

Bridal Shower Cake Baking is fun in itself, but the truly creative part is with the decorating!  I am on Pinterest all the time, looking at new cake decorating ideas.  I was delighted with the beautiful cake that my family dreamt up and had made for the shower.  The cake was beautifully decorated with fresh pansies.  This trend of decorating with fresh flowers isn’t new, but I wanted to share the picture of the amazing cake.  I love the contrast between the deep purple flowers and the creamy icing.  The cake was made by Maunder’s food shop in Aurora, which is one of our favourite places.  I believe my Grandma was in there quite a few times verifying all of the food and buying more food.

Another highlight was getting my future Mother-in-law’s recipe for pork bafath.  It is a recipe from South India – and Jonathan’s favourite!  I don’t know if I could marry Jonathan without having the recipe for his favourite dinner.  I have yet to try it on my own, but I have lots of time to perfect my cooking skill.  Recently, though I perfected his Mom’s chili chicken recipe.  I will have to share this recipe another day though, because it is a delicious dish, worthy of its own blog post.Future Mother-in-law, me, Gran, and Mom

Bridal showers are fun because they are a day with the ladies.  My closest friends from high school Lauren and Krista came.  My closest friends from Trent University attended: Emily and Laura.  Along with wonderful neighbours and my Mom’s high school friends.  It was great to catch up with everyone before the wedding.  I am extremely lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends and family!

Mixed Berry Cupcakes

Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry CupcakesMy blog has been a place to store some wonderful memories.  So, leading up to my wedding to the wonderful Jonathan Pinto – I will document some more memories.  It’s funny how memories and food are so closely tied together.  There is a great deal of lead up time and excitement that a wedding brings.  I’m sure I will be busy with details and planning.  I will also make time to bake some cookies or scones and share a few stories.

Today marks my last day of volunteering with an amazing grade 2 class in Windsor, Ontario.  I have been volunteering since March, and I will miss them.  I will be volunteering again in September though, with a junior kindergarten class!  It should prove to be tons of fun and high energy.

I love cupcakes for celebrating – and I really want to celebrate all that I have learned from the grade 2 class.  As well, to thank them for sharing all of their stories, reading with me, and allowing me to teach them a math lesson tossed in there.  I have enjoyed watching them learn, grow and tell their stories.  I believe literacy is important because no matter what career you are in, it is important to be able to communicate your interests, what you are passionate about, and as an individual to tell your story, as you move throughout the world.

Countdown to the wedding: 15 days! (Not including today or the day of June 22)

Mixed Berry Cupcakes

with Vanilla Icing and Confetti Sprinkles

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten

½-1 cup pureed raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, strained

Instructions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set out cupcake papers and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3.  In a food processor or blender puree 1-2 cups of mixed berries that will be reduced to about ½-1 cup.  With a strainer, strain the puree to get ride of the seeds.

4.  In your mixer combine the sugar, canola oil, vanilla extract and eggs.  Then add in the buttermilk and strawberry puree.  Add lemon zest.  Slowly add in the flour mixture.

5.  Spoon the batter into the cupcake pans and bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center (20minutes).

6.  Cool before icing.

Buttercream Icing – from Canadian Living Website

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 5 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preparation

In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in vanilla. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Beat slightly before using.)