Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday Treats: Soft Brown Sugar Cookies {SusieQTpiescafe}

These are another Pinterest treasure. While I wouldn't quite say they melt in your mouth, they are really good. The original recipe says to frost with browned butter frosting, but these cookies are perfect as is. You can follow the link to the blogger's website and grab the recipe from there.

Soft Brown Sugar Cookies

2/3 c. butter, softened
1-1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sour cream

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. Blend together butter and brown sugar.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time; mix well.  Add vanilla; beat until light.

4. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream; mix well.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto non-stick or lightly greased baking sheets.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack; cool.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bonus Treats: Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Flour}

My friend Deb, from work, was lamenting the fact that she couldn't get a birthday carrot cake anywhere in town. Her son is turning 18 this weekend, and that was his choice of cake. Anyway, I offered to make her one and gave cupcake samples this evening.

For this recipe, I turned to my trusted--and treasured!--Flour cookbook by Joanne Chang. Absolutely everything I've made from her book is outstandingly good.

And, this recipe didn't disappoint. I'm not a fan of cooked carrots. And, I cannot stand cooked fruits etc. in my baked goods. BUT, no matter how much you dislike something, if you make it to serve others, you need and must try the dish before allowing others to eat your cooking/baking.

And, they are delicious. Seriously. If there's ever going to be a recipe to win me over to eating carrots in my cake...this one is it. I'll post a picture of the cake on Friday!

Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Flour, Joanne Chang

[I made the frosting first, as it has to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours.]

2 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup oil
3 tblsps buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tblsps flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups tightly packed shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 oz cream cheese, room temperature {leave out for 4 hours prior to using}
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 + 2/3 cup icing sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8-in cake pan or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment [or a handheld mixer], beat together the eggs adn brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is light and thick. [This step will take 8-10 minutes if using a handheld mixer.] In a small bowl or pitcher, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. On low speed, slowly pour the oil mixture into the egg-sugar mixture. This should take about 30 seconds.

3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg-sugar mixture. When most of the flour has been incorporated, add the carrots, raisins, and walnuts and continue to fold until the batter is homogeneous. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, or divide evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

4. Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or the cupcakes for 20 minutes. As always, keep an eye on your baking and when the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, remove from the oven. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

5. To make the frosting: Put the cream cheese in the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and bet on medium speed for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Add the butter and continue to beat for another 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the icing sugar. Beat for 1 more minute, or until well mixed. You should have about 3+1/2 cups. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before using to allow it to firm up enough to pipe and spread.

6. Frost your cake/cupcakes and decorate as you wish.


Here's the cake. Gotta say, I need more cakes to practice on!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bonus Treats: Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting {Let's Dish}

I love pumpkin bread--here's my favourite recipe--and decided to try out these cookies I had pinned on my "cookies" board. The link is from Danelle who blogs at Let's Dish.

I really enjoyed the cookies, and not being a huge fan of frosting/icing--I actually liked the caramel frosting too!

My favourite way to eat them, though, is sans frosting...tastes like a cross between pumpkin pie, cake and bread :D


Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tblsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour

3 tblsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup icing sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla--mix well. Stir in pumpkin.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk [or sift] together the baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, salt and flour.

5. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.

6. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and press down to flatten them a little bit. Bake for 10-12 minutes.


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cream, and brown sugar over medium heat.

2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just begins to boil; remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

3. Cool then stir in confectioner's sugar. Spread frosting over cooled cookies.

4. Enjoy!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bonus Treats: Wilton's Sugar Cookies {Wilton}

So this week being the last of May and home stretch of my "no chocolate" campaign, I want to share some recipes that so good--you won't miss the chocolate.

To kick the week off, I have Wilton's Sugar Cookies. This is a recipe I got off the back of a Wilton cookie cutter package. I first made them for Russell's baby shower using the train cookie cutter to go with this "Train" theme.

I loved the texture and flavour of these cookies. Best of all--no chilling required!

And then, a couple weeks ago, my friend Sarah and I made a couple batches for the Ladies Tea our church hosted. We frosted some that night, and then Sarah and another friend, Sara, finished up the next day.

I think they are quite pretty! And, they taste very good.

Wilton Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsps baking powder
3 cups flour

1. Pre-heat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

2. Beat in egg and vanilla.

3. In a separate, small bowl, mix the baking powder and flour. Combine this, one cup at a time, with your butter mixture.

4. Divide dough into 2 discs. On a floured surface, roll each disc in a circle approximately 12" in diameter and 1/8" thick. [I make mine a little thicker--1/4 in thick.]

5. Cut into shapes of choice and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

5. Remove from sheet and place on cooling rack. Once cookies have cooled--decorate how you want to!

6. Enjoy and have fun!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Moments: In Everything...Give Thanks

The last several days, I have been relaxing [mostly!] in Calgary. A friend and I drove up--I guess it'd be down!--on Thursday and leave tomorrow morning. Being in a new area, even for a couple days, had moments of thankfulness I want to highlight.

1. The generosity and hospitality of our hosts {my friend's in-laws}.
2. Meeting up with my brothers for some sibling bonding.
3. Getting lost in the city was one way of seeing the sights [although, a little bit stressful in method--I did get to see downtown!].
4. Finding the cake stand I saw at Chapters when I had visited home in November!
5. Attending a good church away from home [all by myself too<< that's pretty big!]...
6. Which made me appreciate my home church all the more.
7. God's amazing scenery--displayed in the mountains at Banff and the [frozen!] Lake Louise I had the privilege of visiting this past Saturday.
8. Sleeping in.
9. Replenishing my stash from Bath & Body Works.
10. Being lulled to sleep by the nighttime country sounds.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Celebrating Canada: Visiting Banff & Lake Louise

Today we spent most of the day at Lake Louise and in Banff National Park. The Rockies were nice to see in all their majesty, and it made me feel quite small and in awe of our Creator. 

I loved the winding roads up and down the mountain side--even though I had to keep popping my jaw to get my hearing back :D

Only spot that wasn't comletely frozen over. I was pretty disappointed not to see the emerald green waters of Lake Louise. I suppose May is still too early for spring/summer temps up in the North!

Chateau we ate lunch in.

Lake Louise is a little ways past Banff, so we headed there first and then backtracked to the mountains.

It was overcast pretty much all day, but didn't rain until we headed towards Banff. Most of the rain came while we were traveling, and we were able to stop and get pictures in Banff.

The "Castle". That's what someone referred it as when describing the Banff Springs Hotel. I can see the resemblance!

Bow Falls

The Gondala. You can either walk up the mountain and get a free ride back down or take both ways in the Gondala. Personally, I liked having my feet on solid ground, so I didn't go up. However, my parents did, back when they visited Calgary several summers ago, and really enjoyed it.

So, now I have been to Banff National Park, and Lake Louise!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Timeless Treasures: Graduation

With so much talk of graduations, I'm reminded of the night 5 years ago I marched proudly into the auditorium with my friends and fellow graduates.

I snagged this photo off Facebook as I didn't take any pictures that night. I was too busy taking it all in [and, I'm pretty sure I didn't even have my camera with--me to my chagrin] and making memories.

Congratulations to this year's graduates!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Moments: In Everything...Give Thanks

When you look for blessing in your life and things to be thankful for...there's no end. And, you know what? You become a happier person when not feeling sorry for yourself and looking inward, but looking towards God and what He's done for you and continues to do.

You can find my first list here and the second here. Recounting my blessings is a blessing in and of itself!

1. I'm pretty excited to have won a $25 gift card to Amazon from a fellow blogger friend, Valerie from I decided to use my gift wisely...and look forward to getting America Test Kitchen's The Science of Good Cooking and Martha Stewart's book, Cakes. They are supposed to arrive this Wednesday!!

2. The sincerity in compliments I receive from friends, and even strangers!

3. The opportunity to be a part in children's lives, and for the parents letting me.

4. My own apartment {period!! :D} with freedom to sing at the top of my lungs in the shower. And no one judges ;)

5. Baking, frosting, and eating cookies with Sarah for our church Ladies Tea this Saturday.

6. Messaging my sister makes me laugh all the time.

7. Hip-hugging laundry baskets. Seriously, they make all the difference in having a stress free laundry night when you don't have your own washing/dryer machines. Carrying your basket full of clothes, detergent, change, and keys...Yes, it's come in handy!

8. Books. Without question one of my loves. History, biographies, mysteries, cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction. Anything but sci-fi...and please {unless it's a children's book, but even then I'm not quite sure} keep non-humans non-talking. :D

9. Colour. Can you imagine how drab and lifeless our world would be without colour?!

10. God's love. So vast, and so great.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday Treats: Mini Hand Pies {A Pinterest Idea}

My friends were up visiting from Victoria, so the past few days have been filled with catching up, eating, and get togethers. I've enjoyed their visit immensely! Tosh and I had plans to bake up a Mile High Chocolate Cheesecake, but didn't get around to it. She did make a spice cake and a caramel sauce for church potluck, and I made my Creamy, Dreamy Oreo Dessert for Saturday supper.

Anyway, today's post is sorta cheating because Sarah, Theresa, and I made these back in August for a friend's wedding, and it's more assembly than using an actual recipe. It's so easy, your 6 year old could make them! You've probably seen the idea floating around Pinterest :D You're more than welcome to make your own pie crust and filling, though! This post [minus the pie pop at the end] also kicks off my "No Chocolate for the Month of May" challenge!

Mini Hand Pies
1 box ready made pie crust {I used Pillsbury}
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can blueberry filling
1-2 eggs, beaten for egg wash

1. On a lightly floured surface, unroll the pie dough.

2. Using a biscuit/round cookie cutter, make as many circles as you can. On half, make a hole in the center using plastic straws. {Wonderful idea by Sarah!}

3. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of filling on circles without the holes, and then top it with a circle that has a hole.

4. Crimp the edges using a fork, and brush tops with the egg wash.

5. Bake at 325 for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

6. Cool and enjoy!

This one I filled with chocolate and mini marshmallows. Pretty yummy!