Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Moving this Blog....

Sorry for the short notice... but we are moving this blog. I have two blogs right now and it is time to combine them into one! So I am starting a new blog called Love Big, Bake Often! So you can reach me here at http://lovebigbakeoften.blogspot.com. I will send out msgs to everyone to adjust their blogrolls to find me here!
Thanks for your patience as I get the new blog rolling.

Love Big, Bake Often

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie

Ok, so a little disappointing, but I cannot seem to get my camera to work with my new lap top to download pictures for my first TWD baking. Today's recipe was the Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes. YUM!! The recipe was very straight forward, the house smells wonderfully chocolatey. I am going to decorate them for Halloween and take them to Jakob's school on Thursday. I made up some cream cheese frosting - since it does go with everything and there will soon be many mummies in my kitchen! I think I am really going to enjoy participating in Tuesdays with Dorie. I always have all kinds of baking ideas going around my head and I think that having someone else make the decision for me once a week is going to be a relief. Silly eh?

Anyway... Next week I promise to have figured out how to get the pictures to work on my new laptop - not really sure why it wouldn't read my card. hmmmmm....

Watch for more recipes from TWD, every tuesday!! Thanks for letting me participate!

Love Big, Bake Often

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fixation Friday

Ok, So I am actually "stealing" this idea from another blogger (AbbySweets.blogspot.com). My fixation when it comes to food has always been chocolate. Any kind of chocolate. I love it. In all it's glorious forms. So I have decided that every Friday I will either bake with chocolate, or try a new chocolate treat. Sounds yummy, eh? Today I baked some old fashioned Toll House Cookies. I had a playdate with some friends and little T always looks for cookies when she sees me coming, and I hate to disappoint her. My time was a bit limited this morning, therefore I went with an old standby recipe - the one on the back of the bag of chocolate chips! Lame, I know, but I didn't have the time to look up anything else, and I had a half bag of milk chocolate chips left over. I am also going to try to find better chocolate ingredients. I brought a tin of really yummy cocoa home with me from Toronto, and I would like to find some more. I could always order it online, but I love to touch and ponder before I purchase. I love to smell things before I purchase them, even if it's a perfectly wrapped chocolate bar and there is no way I can actually physically smell it. I like to thnk I can. It makes me happy.
So tune in on Fridays for Fun, Fabulous, Fragrant, Phenomenal Fixations.

Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm Back!

It has been a very long time, but I am back online and anxious to get going. Stay tuned for more recipes and life tidbits as the days go by. Lots to report - lots of recipes tried and lots more to try.
Thanks for your patience!

Love big, Bake often

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Veggie Brownies

I am going to post this on both my blogs – this one is good for baking and for mommies!

Brownies made with veggies! I will admit that as I am typing this I have not tried them. But wow, do they ever smell yummy. I can’t wait to try them, and usually I would be digging into them as they were still warm, but the recipe says that they need to be completely cooled before the spinach taste dissipates. So the taste testing part will have to wait. But in the meantime here is the recipe for those interested. I got it from “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld. I have been reading it again and am on a mission to make more good for you dishes for my family. I had purchased a “log” of chocolate chip cookie dough to make with Jakob last week. I realized that it was still in the fridge yesterday and thought to myself “oh no, I had better make these soon”, and much to my disgust I read that the expiration date wasn’t til the middle of SEPT!!! So it got me thinking about all the preservatives in food. I have promised myself and my boys (all three of them) that I will do my best to make as many things fresh and from scratch that I can. I am going to see how much more organic products we can afford to switch to when grocery shopping. I already do a little bit of organic purchases, but there is a lot more that I could do for us. And I really do have more time to make more homemade meals – I just have to get myself more organized and plan ahead. But that is a whole other blog. So let’s get back to the recipe:


3 ounces semi sweet chocolate
½ cup carrot puree
½ cup spinach puree
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp trans fat-free soft tub margarine spread
2 tsp vanilla
2 large egg whites
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Coat an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame.
3. In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.
5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

Remember – leave them to cool completely before eating. The cool info about these is that each brownie only has 133 calories and each has a whopping 3 grams of fiber! And each is packed with antioxidants! Cool, eh?
So that is my tasty, healthy treat for my family.

Love Big, Bake Often

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

I am excited about a new recipe that I have “acquired”. My great friend Janine has given me her Meme’s family recipe for banana bread. It is such a simple recipe, very, very easy to make, and super duper yummy. I am looking forward to expanding this recipe – adding a little spice, chocolate, maybe nuts, and possibly a frosting of some sort. I need to try it in a square pan rather than a loaf and see if it keeps its moistness. Moistness – is that really a word? Sounds weird to me. But anyway… I didn’t take any pictures this time. Jake and I were in a hurry to make it so that we could gobble it up. We each ate quite a big piece. It’s hard to resist. I had to wrap it up and put it out of sight so that I wouldn’t eat the whole loaf. I am suffering from so brutal PMS and just want to binge on everything. I hate this time of the month. Throws my healthy attempts right out the window.
Ok, back to the recipe. I don’t think Janine would mind me sharing. I will be sure to ask her and if she does I will take this down right away.

Banana Bread
Makes one loaf, or two small loaves

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
2 cups flour
4 ripe bananas
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Soften butter. Mix in eggs and add sugar. Mix until fluffy. Add flour ½ cup at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add baking soda and salt to the last ½ cup of flour. (not in original recipe but I find it ensures the baking soda is evenly distributed) Mash bananas and add to mixture. Mix well.

Grease loaf pan(s) and dust with flour.

Bake in a preheated oven for 70 minutes (approx). or 40 minutes for 2 small loaf pans.

This is a great banana bread recipe. I just love it. It doesn’t last long in my house. I imagine it will be gone by the end of day tomorrow.

Thank you Janine for sharing. Thank you Janine’s Meme for passing it down.

And I look forward to making this banana bread for my boys over and over again. We always have bananas in the freezer. Jake seems to go through phases of his love for bananas. Some days he eats two or three, or goes days without wanting one. So when Jake decides he wants to bake, chances are there will be banana bread to be made.

Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sidebar on Raspberry Ricotta Cupcakes

Ok, mental note to self - don't bake in cupcake liners! The paper sticks alot and right now Jakob is digesting a little bit of paper!

That might be why quirky cupcakes photos are of them baked without liners and there is no mention of liners in her blog! Hmmmmmm......

Oh, well. Live and learn.

Love Big, Bake Often.

Raspberry Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes

So Sunday I had a desire to make some more cupcakes, which was odd since I spent all day Saturday making the chocolate orange ones. So I made a recipe that I saw from quirky cupcake (slush.wordpress.com). Ricotta and Fresh Raspberry Cupcakes. But I added some lemon zest to the ricotta batter. These came out nice and dense, and the raspberries are tart and delicious. I think they are more of a breakfast cupcake. I could eat many, many of these in the morning. So I took some to friends so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them all.
Here’s the recipe for those that might be interested in trying them.

Ricotta and Raspberry Cupcakes

1 cup ricotta
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate egg whites from yolks. Beat yolks with sugar then add ricotta. Beat until smooth. Add flour. Then add the lemon zest. In a separate bowl beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are stiff. When stiff, fold delicately into the ricotta batter. Fill cupcake pan 2/3 full. Push in 3 raspberries into each cupcake.
Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

After pushing in the raspberries to be baked:

Don't they look pretty?

The finished product:

I am definitely going to make these again, and experiment with different fruit. And I am so going to have a couple for breakfast!
Have a good baking day!

Love Big, Bake Often.

Orange Cont'

Ok, here is the follow up to the Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. I went to go and show Jason the chocolate orange ganache that I had made, and it had gotten all hard and separated! Yuck! I really don’t know why. The only different thing that I had added was the rehydrated orange peel. Maybe that did it, who knows? Any ideas?
So I had to make something else to fill the cupcakes. I made a yummy decadent mousse. Straight up semi sweet chocolate mousse. It was so delicious. And it turned out great. So I decided to add the orange flavour into the cake batter and frosting. Which was a very good idea.
So here are some pictures and recipes for you:

The cuppies being filled!

The finished product:

Chocolate cupcakes:

6oz semi sweet chocolate
¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp orange extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl, stir to combine and set aside. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Pour mixture into bowl of a mixer. Beat in sugar, vanilla, and orange extract until combined. Add the eggs one at a time. Scraping sides in between additions, alternating between the sour cream and flour mixture, ending with the flour mixture. Fill the liners 2/3 full and bake for 14 – 16 minutes.

We all liked the cake, they were rich and decadent. They held up well for holding the filling, too.

Chocolate Orange Cream Cheese Frosting: (adapted from quirky cupcake)

6 oz cream cheese
4 tbsp butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 ½ cups powdered sugar (approx.)
1 tbsp rehydrated orange peel
1 tsp orange oil or extract

Cream together cream cheese and butter.
Add cocoa powder
Add orange extract
Add powdered sugar until you reach the consistency you want to frost your cupcakes.
Fold in orange peel.

There you go. Yummy chocolate goodness.

Love Big, Bake Often

Friday, June 20, 2008


I am looking forward to these cupcakes. I have been wanting to make orange chocolate cupcakes for ages. And I finally have an event to make them for. I know, I know, I shouldn't need an event for cupcakes, but I wanted to "showcase" them to friends. So tomorrow night I am going to a friend's house for a craft night and am taking these treats with me.

I had mentioned to my friend, J, that I wanted to do orange chocolate for awhile, and today she surprised me with a sampling of soem dried orange peel from Penzey's Spices (http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysorangepeel.html). So I followed the directions of rehydrating in 3 parts water to 1 part peel. I let it sit in the fridge for an hour and sure enough it "swelled". So I added a tbsp of the rehydrated peel to a 71% dark chocolate ganache. Yum! The house smells super yummy! I plan to use the ganache to fill some chocolate cupcakes and top them with a chocolate buttercream (or cream cheese) frosting.

Here is what the dried peel looked like:

And here's the ganache (chocolate, heavy cream, the orange peel, and some orange oil):

More pictures and recipe to follow as the cupcakes develop! One step at a time. I have little ones you know!
Love Big, Bake Often.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fudge Day!

According to "howtoeatacupcake.blogspot.com" today is Fudge Day! How to Eat a Cupcake lists all the days and things to bake on each day. June is filled with fun baking days. For example tomorrow is apple strudel day! Though I don't think I will be making strudel tomorrow. BUt today I saw fudge. Yum. I love fudge. I haven't made it in a very long time. I looked in the cupboards and saw that I had the ingredients to make it, so I though why not? So I made a big batch of fudge. Yummy chocolatey goodness. An easy recipe with not too much work. It tastes great too. Rich and creamy, and marshmallow-y.

Chocolate Fudge with Marshmallows

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups mini marshmallows

Line a 13x9 inch baking dish with plastic wrap and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate chips and milk together til chips have melted (follow instructions on package to melt in a microwave) and mixture is smooth. Add vanilla. Pour over marshmallows and mix until marshmallows are fully coated. Press into pan, refridgerate until solid, then remove from pan and cut. And eat with a tall glass of milk.

I haven't downloaded the pics I took yet, but will post them when I do. It's pretty tasty, Jake and I had to try it.

Love Big, Bake Often

Father's Day Cupcakes and Breakfast

I had every intention of making some fancy dancy cupcakes for Jason for Dad Day. But it just didn't happen. So we made a boxed mix! :( Shame, shame. I did make them better by filling them with homemade caramel and topping them with some yummy vanilla frosting. And Jason loved them.

Caramel - Heat one can of sweetened condensed milk over a double boiler, stirring frequently until it thickens and takes on a caramel colour (1 hour, approx.). Simple and yummy. I have whipped in 1 cup of peanut butter to make a peanut butter caramel to fill chocolate cupcakes and it was divine!

Jakob and I also made pancakes for Daddy and topped them with fresh strawberries and freshly made whipped cream. Daddy was impressed and full! I then sent them off to work off breakfast at Bounce U. It was Jason's first time there and he had so much fun. They came home sweaty and tired - naps for both.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cupcake Hero

I have followed the monthly Cupcake Hero challenges for a few months. They have always been awesome, and the recipes and ideas have been intimidating. I haven’t felt up to the challenge. But I think it is time that I submit my creations to the challenges. A bit of info on Cupcake Hero – they offer up a monthly challenge of who can be the most creative and make a tasty cupcake using a certain ingredient. For example last months “secret ingredient” was cocoa. A previous month was limes – the winner was a cherry lime rickey cupcake – YUM!

Onto this months challenge… MELON! Melon is not one of my favourite flavours. I am not a big watermelon eater in the summer. I do enjoy honeydew or cantelope in my fruit salad, but I wouldn’t say that I go out of my way to eat it. So this is going to be quite a challenge for me. Melon. Hmmm…. Any suggestions? Maybe bake a cupcake with a drink recipe? I just made some cosmo cupcakes which were really yummy, so what drinks use melon schnapps or liquor?
Please let me know what you think and what ideas you might have.

Love Big, Bake Often

Follow up on the Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Well, the cookies were a hit. Everyone had nice things to say about them, and the kids gobbled them up. I really liked the way that they turned out after the were out overnight. I like to leave my cookies on the rack overnight to kinda let them crisp up. These got a little crispy on the edges but the middles were still soft and muffin top like. Yum.
I am going to ask for more detailed critique from the moms and see if there is anything that I should change in the recipe. I am hoping to fine tune some recipes and really make an effort to make GREAT baked goods. Might be a collection of recipes in the future.
Love Big, Bake Often

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First Post - Play Groups

As many stay at home moms (and some that work), I belong to a playgroup. I have an awesome group of friends that get together weekly to play. And I am a firm believer that we like to play together just as much as the kids do! Today we are getting together at Janine's house. We are going to be running our kids ragged in her backyard and through her sprinkler. Janine has a great set up. Her backyard is perfect for children, she has a wonderful set up with swings, slides, plank, and net ladder. She also has a "little people's house", a baby swing in a tree, and a great deck. Her husband wants to buy more "things", but they are running out of grass space! So...for this event I have baked some basic banana oatmeal cookies. Of course I added chocolate chips and raisins too!! They turned out quite yummy! Banana-y, oatmeal-y, and chocolate-y too! The raisins get a little lost, but that's ok with me. And the consistency is like a muffin top (the good kind), not crispy or crunchy like a cookie.

Here's the recipe (adapted and changed from Allrecipes)

Oatmeal Banana Cookies

Cream together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar til light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs and 1 t vanilla and continue to cream together. In a separate bowl sift together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 t baking soda and 1 t cinnamon. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet. When fully encorporated, blend in 4 mashed bananas. When all this is nicely together, add 1 3/4 cups of oatmeal, 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips and 3/4 cup raisins. That's it. Nice and simple. Place tablespoons of the quite wet (for a cookie) batter onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the edges turn brown. Cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

These taste yummy warm. Make sure to have a glass of milk handy too!

Will let you know what the Mommys and Kiddos think.

Love Big, Bake Often.