In My Kitchen

French Toast In A Pinch

Well not really but a close second for sure! I wanted to share a holiday favourite with you, a little after the holidays. I meant to make a big batch of this and give it away in mini mason jars as Christmas gifts for friends. Like many, time slipped away from me and the holidays we over. Still, I couldn’t resist this super simple recipe, a staple in our home: Cinnamon Butter! This batch should probably be called cinnamon-maple-vanilla-honey-butter though. If you have read any of my food posts before, you know that I tend to veer away from following recipes. I am more of an instinct person when it comes to ingredients. A dash here, a heavy hand there. In the end, if it tastes good it is probably working just fine. So rather than share exact measurements, I am just going to tell you the ingredients and steps. Everyone has different tastes so feel free to add more of one thing and less of another. Spread it on your morning toast and it tastes very close to french toast with half the work and none of the clean up. A win-win for all the busy mommas out there.

Ingredients:

Butter – I use unsalted and a full pound. This made five mini mason jars.

Cinnamon – my personal favourite is by Watkins.

Maple Syrup – use the real stuff, not pancake syrup.

Vanilla extract

White Sugar – many of you will shake your head at that one but I am sure all the bakers can appreciate it’s importance.

Honey – liquefy before adding.

Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and MIX. I went old school and used a vintage hand egg-beater that my mom had. I was feeling the need to work out some aggression. Probably something to do with the kitchen faucet exploding that morning OR the furnace shutting down for 24 hours and leaving us all shivering our booties off. It’s been a tough week here! Using the hand mixer actually whipped up my butter and made it super frothy though so I will no doubt use that method in future. Taste as you go and add more of ingredients depending on your taste. In my case, it was all of them! But the result was perfection. Every buttery time. Enjoy! Full disclosure: Not the healthiest option and tastes even better on white bread. YUM!

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Breakfast Lovers

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – we are major breakfast people in our home! There is just something about the smell of bacon in the morning. Or in the afternoon. Or for dinner. Let’s face it, all things that end with bacon end well. With my picky toddler tummy, it’s always a constant guessing game as to what Hallie will eat today. This week there is a mild obsession with mini mandarin oranges. Last week it was cheese. The minute you feel confident that she loves a certain type of food (for examples, bananas), she will change her mood so fast that you won’t even get home from the grocery store with it and she has decided it’s gross. Bananas are now a mushy form of lotion that she likes to massage into her own hands. Thank the lord I can still get her into a high chair or bananas would be my new living room rug. One consistency Hallie has always remained true to though is toast. Sometimes she just likes to suck the butter off and discard it but 7 times out of 10 she will eat it. Which is why I am a huge fan of French Toast! Bit of protein from the eggs and a dash of fun with cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice. What kid doesn’t love it?! I am a huge fan too so it’s a win for everyone. Not to mention the massive side of bacon we can easily pile up on the plate next to it! There is something about the cooler weather & Fall that makes me feel like cooking up a warm breakfast on the daily. No wonder everyone gets a little chubbier this time of year! I am currently on the hunt for some new breakfast recipes too so if you have any to share, please do. Pinterest is such a fantastic resource for such things but these days I don’t exactly have two hours to get lost in the pinning world. Hope you are all having a great Friday and that the weekend ahead is full of bacon and smiles!

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I have had people asking me lately about my dish & coffee mug obsession on Instagram! Majority of my dishes and items styled in photographs are from Anthropologie and my favourite mixing bowl shown above here is from Homesense.

Just because I can’t resist…. (‘Stop taking my picture mom!’)
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Toddler Tummies

I remember when I used to think of being a mom and having babies, I had all sorts of hopes and dreams for the type of parent I would be. I like to pride myself in being a rather relaxed parent but there are things that I have always been strict about. Bedtimes. Lots of cuddles. Bath time and brushing teeth. After experiencing a newborn baby, an infant, a baby and now a toddler, I feel like I should send out a disclaimer that corrects many things I said PRE-parenting. The truth is, you just have no idea until you are in it. It’s survival of the fittest. If it works, you do it. My little girl was in total hysterics the other day because I took away the disgusting dirty Freezie that had been dropped in the grass seven times while she tried to eat it. She was so upset and it broke my heart so much that I handed it back to her. I have no idea if she played with it or simply ate it but that filthy blue popsicle was all that made her smile in that moment. Don’t even get me started with how happy she was ten minutes later when I am almost positive she ate a dragonfly! I am not saying she is the boss all the time and that the slightest tantrum will win her all battles. I am not saying that at all! I am fully admitting though that you need to pick your battles wisely. Some of them are not worth the tears. With all of that being said, I feel it is the perfect segway into the topic of food! Toddlers are picky as hell. If they like it today, tomorrow it will end up splattered across your face. Or all the way up your walls and all over your crisp, freshly washed white linen curtains. Toddlers also have the ‘chipmunk winter-food-storing-ability’ down to a science. This girl will chew up about fourteen baby carrots, hold them discreetly in her cheeks, and wait until about an hour later when you are cuddling on the sofa and spit them out all over you. What the logic behind this for her is I have absolutely no idea. She sure finds it funny though. As I fight my way through the darkness in identifying what foods will and will not work, I wanted to share a few tasty treat ideas that are a success in our home- this week anyways. I have probably jinxed it now!

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These mini pizzas were delicious and a hit with those big and small. I picked up what I can only compare to Naan Bread from our local bakery, infused with spinach and herbs. Drizzled with tomato sauce, topped with prosciutto and mozzarella (some grated and fresh), and baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I even like to grill the top a little bit to brown and bubble the mozza. Slice them up small for baby and serve as is for mom and dad. Bon appetit!

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Hallie is slightly obsessed with Munchies Mix – the mix that has sun chips, cheetos, pretzels, etc. Not going to lie, I love them too. Instead of buying a bag of that though I bought a bag of each type of chip in it (more or less) and mixed it all together in a jumbo zip lock bag. I then divided up the mixture into these plastic mason jars. These plastic jars are the best! They store easily, stack, travel well to the park, I LOVE them!!! Very kid friendly too. Oh and husband friendly! Henry cannot open a bag of chips to save his life. We always end up with a long rip down the bag and stale chips, so this is a great solution for him too.

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bitch-i-know-guac-is-extra-meme

Homemade Guacamole is possibly my favourite snack ever. It may as well be a meal. Today in fact I ate a bowl of guac which consisted of at least three avocados. Good fats right? (Don’t care..) I follow a very simple gauc recipe. Perfectly ripe avocados, lime juice and lemon juice, chopped cilantro, fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper. Sometimes I will add a few tablespoons of a really nice salsa just to excite things but trust me, it isn’t necessary! Nothing like fresh ingredients. It also helped that a certain little lady LOVED dipping her tortilla chips in it.

Until next week when she decides she hates all of the above mentioned snacks and we need to turn to Pinterest for new ideas. I don’t know if I have thick enough skin though. It slightly hurts my feelings when she hates my cooking or hard work & preparation haha!

Fried Chicken

This recipe came from a few weeks ago and I had intended to share it, but forgot all about it. Do you ever get a hankering for some good fried chicken? I LOVE fried chicken. It has to be authentic though. No Shake & Bake for this lady. I picked up this gem of a cookbook, ‘Fried & True’ in the clearance bin at Superstore and it has just about every form of fried chicken you can think of. I am even tempted to purchase a deep fryer to make nights like this happen more often… however then I would have deep fried food that much easier and I am not so sure that is a very good idea after all! This meal was fairly laborious but when it came time to eat, it was well worth the pain and effort.

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After a long contemplation, I decided fried potato cakes were the best side to accompany my fried chicken. Yes, more fried! Can you feel your arteries clogging yet? To balance things out, there is nothing like fresh cut raw veggies. We need to be slightly healthy here folks. I am filing this meal under the so yummy that my mouth waters thinking about it but major pain in the ass to make. All in all, well worth it for this fried-chicken-craving preggo momma!

Blueberry Pancakes & Sunshine

The sun was out in full force this morning which meant it really felt like Spring. Not a single dark cloud to threaten the day so we celebrated with some homemade blueberry pancakes. We are total breakfast people so I don’t really need any excuse to whip up a batch of hot cakes. Not to mention, Hallie LOVES them! Add in some fresh blueberries and it makes them even better – more mess! I am not sure what it is but my child needs to make an enormous mess whenever food is consumed. I wanted to share my go-to pancake recipe with you. Easy & delicious!

1   3/4 cups all purpose flour

2   teaspoons baking powder

1/4   teaspoon salt

1   tablespoon sugar

2   large eggs

1  1/4   cup milk

4    tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1   cup fresh blueberries

In a mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and combine with blueberries. Warm your greased frying pan on medium-high heat. Use a ladle to spoon out your desired amount for each pancake, cooking until bubbles appear. Flip to cook other side – usually about a minute each side. That is it really. Time to eat!

So that was our lazy morning. Eating many pancakes, making lots of messes, and getting out in the sunshine. We also snuck in a quick shopping visit to the Carters store – some ADORABLE Spring finds in there right now including a great clearance section. I love this denim top and these eyelet lace tee’s  are perfect for adding some color to winter/spring transitional pieces. I picked up this Fox Sweater for $5, and the best 80’s inspired cardigan, sold out online but shown in the photos below. Can I get an amen for 80’s inspired baby clothes? Hallie pulls them off so well. Girl looks great in bloomers too.

Time to catch the last bit of sun in the backyard before dinner – love these longer days! Thank goodness for black out blinds though keeping a certain someone’s bedtime consistent! Hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday afternoon, filled with sunshine and toddler messes and smiles!

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Valentines Day Fun

Valentines Day is this weekend! The holiday of looooooooove! I have always loved this holiday. Not that I have ever had an over-the-top, full of romance day…. Before I met my husband this day was definitely NOT one to look forward to. In fact, I would often make a cocktail date with other single girlfriends and get way too intoxicated on wine. But Henry and I have had a few good ones now for sure. For the life of me, I cannot remember last year’s Valentines Day. Hallie would have been four months old so perhaps I was still in sleep deprivation HELL and not able to recall all, or many for that matter, moments. It’s also very close to my birthday so perhaps it was overshadowed by that. Who knows?! One thing I do know that it was a day where we celebrated our commitment to each other in our marriage, something we try to remember to do as often as we possibly can! I would say daily but life gets in the way, let’s be honest. This year, we will be visiting family in Grand Forks for the weekend so we will be spending Valentines Day there. Won’t be a very romantic day between hubby and wife but I am determined to make it a great day for everyone, babies included. Hallie is still too young but she has noticed the abundance of hearts in our home, and even assisted in making Valentines this afternoon. Girlfriend definitely has a thing for arts & crafts, just like her momma! Now if she would just behave on our shopping excursions to Michaels…

Have you taken a look on Pinterest for Valentines related pins? So many cute ideas! This Reeces Pieces idea would be perfect for my husband as he LOVES those chocolates to bits and pieces (see what I did there?!). I am also LOVING this decor idea with the branches and tiny pink hearts. Bit late now and I do not have any spare branches on hand, believe it or not, but a next year craft for sure! Lastly, these hearts are just cute to boot. I don’t know what I would do with them (maybe assemble a garland over the fireplace?) but I think they would be super fun and easy to make. Aside from a few heart garlands and some festive bouquets, my house is on the minimalist side for V-Day decor. Shame on me, better luck next holiday! What sort of decor have you selected to celebrate the loooooove?

Though today was supposed to involve road trip prep and packing, Hallie and I spent most of the day cuddling, trying to get rid of our annoying colds. Hers more than mine unfortunately. FYI, when your child is not feeling well, maybe avoid giving them milk… It’s a real treat to have a curdled, cottage-cheese like liquid hurtled all over you as soon as you change out of the last shirt she spread her breakfast all over. So much for avoiding doing laundry before we leave! Poor kid… Despite that incident, she was mostly all smiles for the day. It’s amazing what Curious George can do. Between cuddles, I managed to get some serious baking and card making done. We made DELICIOUS strawberry shortcake cookies with chocolate chips (recipe here), home-cooked sweet potato for Hallie’s dinners this weekend, and cheese and chive scones with a melted butter glaze. YUM! They were intended for the drive up but I promise you they won’t last. As far as card making went, Hallie and I made Valentines for daddy! She contributed by ripping up pieces of pink paper for hers. It was so much fun! I think we have definitely started a new tradition of making our own Valentines versus buying them. Which also makes me curious about Valentines Day traditions. Do you have any that you repeat every year with your husband or family? I would love to start a few! Looks like I have something else to search for on Pinterest….. !!!!
Have a wonderfully romantic Valentines Day weekend everyone!

COOKIES!!
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First time @ making scones…. Filing under easy and delicious!
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Valentines Day Card Making – courtesy of Pinterest ideas of course!
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Spiced Winter Snowflake Cookies

Something about this time of year has me wanting to bake (and eat!) cookies all the time. Though I do not have much of a sweet tooth, I love baking and forcing my husband to eat the results – though let’s be honest, not too much force is needed with him. Sugar cookies are the best for cookie cutters and decorating however I get a bit bored of the standard sugar cookie all of the time. That is why was so happy when I came across this recipe in Canadian Living. It was like a sugar cookie met a shortbread cookie and got all spicy on the dance floor. I had my own plans for topping so I ignored the icing section of the recipe. Though I must say, ombre cookies do sound pretty cool! I picked up some adorable Wilton Sprinkles and Snowflake Cutters from Walmart and was pretty excited to put it all together. So here I will share with you the cookie recipe and my finished product. I am averaging about 5 cookies a day so I guess you could say they turned out pretty damn tasty!

Spiced Shortbread Dough:

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

pinch nutmeg

Use mixer to beat together butter, icing sugar and vanilla until fluffy. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir the butter mixture in until just combined. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Between wax or parchment paper (P.S. this is a genius idea, thank you CL!) roll out dough  to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutter snowflakes to cut out shapes. Arrange on a light coloured baking sheet 2 inches apart. (Two things here: The recipe calls for rimless but mine had rims and it worked out fine. Secondly, lighter coloured baking sheets in my own opinion are way better for cookies and have a lower chance of burning. No idea why just take my word for it.) Refrigerate the cookies on the baking sheet until firm (about 10-20 minutes). Bake, 1 sheet at a time in 325 degree oven (F) for 12-15 minutes. For the smaller snowflakes I would bake for 10-12 minutes, the bigger ones closer to 15 minutes. Baking is all about judgement calls! Let cool completely before icing and decorating.

It is a rather tedious and laborious recipe but I think it was worth the three hours I spent in the kitchen that afternoon. These are some tasty snowflakes!

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