Friday, February 28, 2014

The Granola Goddess

Hello Sweets,

I guess all the productiveness from yesterday made for a sore body today :(  Not to mention the migraine I had was a little ridiculous, lol my poor landlord had to stop by and felt horrible.  I told her it was okay that she stopped by as I knew it was going to be quick, and that I was also going back to bed :p  Thankfully I had leftovers from yesterday, so at least I didn't have to strain to make sure I ate.  Although I haven't eaten any of it yet, but I managed to get a banana and some crackers down so far...yayyy!  I'm going to try eating some soup here soon, so let's think positively lol.

Thankfully I did make something last night after I finished my post :D  Unfortunately I forget that I didn't pick up any eggs yet, so I couldn't make any muffins.  So obviously that made figuring out another recipe a bit of a challenge, until I made a snack that is.  Probably one of my favorite snacks right now is yogurt and granola, it makes me happy lol.  So that got me thinking, why haven't I made my own granola yet?  Clearly I had no good reason, so that made my decision to make some that much easier.  I looked at some recipes to determine whether or not I had everything I needed, and although I didn't have some things I had some other interesting substitutions :)

Canuckette's Granola
6C rolled oats
1/4C dark brown sugar
1/2C olive oil
1/3C honey
2tsp vanilla
1/4C coconut flakes
1/2C raisins
1/2C dried cherries
1C pecans, chopped

1)  Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix rolled oats and brown sugar together. 

2)  In a separate bowl; whisk together the oil, honey, and vanilla. 

3)  Pour over dry mixture, stirring well to coat thoroughly.

4)  Add in chopped nuts (and seeds if you want) at this point.

5)  Spread on a sprayed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Stir frequently (every 5 mins) to ensure even baking.  It should be golden brown when done.

6)  Add dried fruit and coconut once it's done cooking.

7)  Let cool on baking sheet, then break up any large pieces.  Store in an airtight container.  Stores for 3 weeks.
Not only did my house smell amazing, but it tastes great too!

Not only do you know exactly what goes into it, but it tastes a million times better because it's fresh.  You can also personalize it for everyone in your family :)  Don't like coconut, leave it out!  Big fan of flax seed, add it in!  You could even add in chocolate chips to it if you're a chocoholic.  What ever you do make it your own, that way you'll enjoy eating it.

First thing I'm doing tomorrow is getting some eggs, lol let's face it I'm going to need them.  As long as I do that the sky's the limit tomorrow!  Now to make that limitless list, a little shorter ;)  For the rest of tonight I'll be relaxing and talking to the love of my life, and if my migraine will permit it maybe a little painting too!  Until next time....

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quality Time, Quality Food

Hello Sweets,

I am tired, how about y'all?  I couldn't sleep last night because my head felt like it was going to explode, thanks to my injections :(  I had to be up early for my landlord to come by, and then do some quick grocery shopping for the dinner tonight.  Thankfully I got everything taken care of pretty quickly, and since I did all of the clean last night I managed to relax before prepping the food.  Tonight's post is going to be a short one because I didn't take any process photos (oops), and I'm feeling a little lazy lol.  But as I'm sitting here I'm thinking about baking something tonight, lol maybe muffins?  Who knows, but one things for sure, I'll have a new recipe tomorrow ;)

My grandparents picked a Mediterranean salmon as the star of the dinner, so I was tasked to prepare it and prepare some delicious sides too.  I chose to leave the salmon as it was, because it was already seasoned and didn't want to muddle the flavors up.  I personally love brussel sprouts, I know most people don't and it seems those that do cover them with cheese.  Yuck!  I stemmed them just enough to soften them, and then finished them off in the frying pan.  I added a little butter, salt, and pepper, then tossed them a little more.  I also made some brown rice for our starch, I didn't do too much to it.  I just made sure that it wasn't too dry, then added butter and salt.  It was a very simple dinner, but it was delicious.  My grandparents were very happy and satisfied.  Again my grandma ate a good helping of food, which is something she doesn't do enough.  We finished dinner off with the Chocolate Molten cake that I made last night, they both finished everything on that plate lol.  I really like making food for them, but it's even better now that I can have them here at my apartment :)

Now I'm going to go through some of my recipe books to see what delicious treat I can make tonight.  Until next time....

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo
Healthy and yummy!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's What's On the Inside That Counts

Hello Sweets,

Another day complete, and another painful doctors appointment :(  I really, really, really hate the needles I have to get!  It was so bad today that I was crying so badly that my doctor asked if I needed to take a break, obviously I said yes.  We then proceed to discuss my ongoing battle with my benefit company, and what has become a never ending battle >_<  It always amazes me when the doctors ask me why they are stalling, lol I wish I had a good answer but I don't.  When all the doctors I've seen over the last 3+ years are in agreement about me not being able to go back to work yet because of my health, it's hard to understand why I'm being denied.  Well, other than them being know whats.  We both agree on one thing though, nobody in their right mind would go through these awful needles for a dog and pony show!

Last night I resumed a painting I had started months ago, and yes it did help my mood a little.  The reason I had stopped before, was because I was extremely unhappy with the way my "sunset sky" had turned out.  It was blotchy and did not flow well at all, but now it is this beautiful pink, orange, and yellow sunset that compliment each color and blend perfectly.  The reason why I am taking this particular painting so serious, is because it's based off a photo I took while on vacation four years ago.  It was heaven on earth, otherwise known as "Bear Mountain" in New Mexico.  It is in the middle of a national park, but the land belongs to a friend of the family.  Their family has had it for a long time, and have chose to keep it almost off the grid.  We're talking no indoor plumbing or electricity, but when the views are that beautiful you don't need TV, cellphones, or many people for that matter lol.  There were many beautiful views from many different spots on the land, but there was one that I was particularly fond of.  It was right beside our A frame cabin on a little park bench, and it over looked the gorge that the mountains surrounded.  You could actually watch thunderstorms form in a swirling vortex, it was a really cool experience.  Anyways, the sunsets and sunrise were to die for.  Once I am closer to being complete, or when I'm actually done I'll share the final product with y'all :)

I'm very excited for tomorrow, I'm making my grandparents a delicious salmon dinner here at my new place :)  I am still planning all the little details, like the main flavor and side dishes, but it's going to be amazing.  I am making it after all lol.  In preparation for dinner tomorrow I made a delicious dessert to finish off the perfect meal.  I've been wanting to make theses from scratch for a long time, but thought I didn't have the right bake ware.  Then in a Macgyver like moment it hit me, I could make due with something I thought I would never use.  French onion soup bowls!  I don't care for onions so the soups on that list too, lol but I could use them for something even better :)

Molten Chocolate Cakes (via Kraft)
4oz Baker's semi-sweet chocolate
1/2C butter
1C icing sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6Tbs flour
(I only had unsweetened chocolate, so I added a Tbs of sugar for each oz of chocolate)

1)  Preheat oven to 425F.  Butter 4 (3/4C) custard or ramekins.  Place on baking sheet and set aside.

2)  Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwavable bowl on HIGH for 1 minute.  Stir with a whisk until chocolate is completely melted.

3)   Add icing sugar (and sugar if needed); mix well.

4)  Blend in the whole eggs and egg yolks.


5)  Stir in flour.


6)  Pour into prepared cups.  Bake for 13-14 minutes, or until the sides are firm but the centers are still soft.


7)  Let stand for 1 minute.  Carefully run a small knife around the edges of cakes to loosen.  Invert cakes onto dessert plates, and remove cups.  Cut in half, serve warm with cool whip or icing sugar.

** You can also make them in muffin cups with the paper liners, bake for 10 minutes.**

It is a decadent cake, with a warm gooey center.  This is one of my favorite types of cakes, and now that I know how simple and easy it is to make this will be a regular occurrence at any family meals :)  I still can't believe how simple it is, but I am glad that I gave it a try and succeeded!

Now I've got some research to do, as I want tomorrows dinner to be deliciously perfect.  I'm also wanting to wash my floors tonight too.  Guess I better get my butt in gear :p  Until next time....

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seeing Red

Hello Sweets,

I'm going to apologize upfront because this post is going to be very short.  I'm entirely too mad and upset to really focus, and it feels like I just don't have it in me.  I'm not about to air my dirty laundry on my blog, but I am not about to force myself to lie consistently throughout my post.  Y'all deserve a better read than a woe is me tale of frustration.  I will say it's times like these I'm glad I'm off work and live alone, I don't hide my emotions that well :(  I hope if I try painting that it will get me back in a positive mind space, I really don't like feeling this way.

Enough about my problems, y'all come here to read about all sorts of treats and I'm not about to let y'all down :)  I said yesterday that I was stepping back from the sweets today, and I am delivering that promise!  When I came across this recipe on the Mr.Food website, I knew I had to try it and that I would most likely love it.  Yesterday I attempted this recipe at dinner time, and I now have another great way to make potatoes.  Although my title seems to represent the turmoil and frustration I'm currently going through, but as y'all will see in the pictures it's a reflection of the final product.

Lone Star Fries
1Tbs paprika
1tsp chili powder
1tsp salt, divided
1/4tsp black pepper
6 potatoes, skin left on
2Tbs olive oil

1)  Preheat oven to 425F.  In a large resealable plastic bag; combine paprika, chili powder, 1/2tsp salt, and pepper.

2)  Cut each potato in half, then each half into 4 flat wedges.

3)  Add olive oil and potatoes to seasoning in the bag, close tightly and shake to coat well.


4)  Spread potatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until fork tender.  Sprinkle with remaining salt and serve immediately.


They're so yummy, with their crispy outside and subtle spice.  I think I am going to make a kicked up version of these next time, with extra extra spice!  I find that we usually do potatoes the same way over and over, but this is a great way to change it up.  I'm always looking for new potato dishes to keep things interesting, and these will definitely be put into the rotation :)

I wish I could say that this post took away my frustration, but that would be a lie.  However, it did take my mind off things for a little bit.  Hopefully the painting will work a little better, if not I will dive into funny movies.  I do after all have a Will Ferrel special on my dvr :)  Until next time...

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Funny Valentine

Hello Sweets,

I have again been a bad blogger :(.  I haven't been writing at all, or baking for that matter and this makes me sad!  Then last night I realized something, baking and cooking makes me happy so I best get my butt back into the kitchen.  So that is what I did, I even went as far as to schedule a dinner for my grandparents :)  The other reason I haven't been writing as much is because I've been painting, and I am loving it!!  When I'm feeling down or grumpy, I pull out one of the paintings I'm working on and just dive in.  I never realized that I had such a passion for it until I went to Painting with a Twist, and it just stumbled into my everyday life. I honestly didn't think I had the artistic capabilities, but I guess I was being too judgmental.  I have accumulated a few supplies; I have a bunch of paints (acrylic only, for now) and a full range of brushes.  I even have a few different canvases, all in different sizes, and even a cute little paint pallet.  There are only two things I am lacking, the first is a full size easel (I have a mini one lol) and the second is a stool so I can paint near my window with natural light.  I am slowly gaining more confidence, and not being so hard on myself.  The latter is harder than it should be lol, but all in all I am enjoying every minute of it.  I am particularly proud of the current project I'm working on, once it's complete I will share with y'all too!

Since I didn't post on Valentines day I thought today would be perfect.  Unfortunately Nathan and I could not be together this year :(, but as he always says "our Valentines hasn't happened yet, not until we're together".  He did send me a lovely bouquet of flowers, well they would have been if the delivery company was competent :(  The delivery got all messed up, then I couldn't pick them up like I was supposed to.  By the time I actually had them, they were wilted and died a few days later :(  Of course Nathan felt awful (even though it wasn't his fault), but thankfully they not only fully reimbursed him but offered him a free replacement bouquet :D  He hasn't ordered them yet, but I am super excited to get some purdy flowers.  I ended up spending quality time with my grandparents, I gave my grandmother a valentine with word search book and that made her happy.  My grandfather however, was more difficult to figure out what he'd like.  So I did what I do best, I baked him a treat!  Of course I sent enough over so my grandmother could enjoy them too ;)

Ultimate Chocolate Brownies (via Hershey's)
3/4C cocoa
1/2tsp baking soda
2/3C butter, melted and divided
1/2C boiling water
2C sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3C flour
1tsp vanilla
1/4tsp salt
1C semi sweet chocolate chips
6Tbs butter, softened
2 2/3C powdered sugar
1/2C cocoa
1/3C milk
1tsp vanilla

1)  Heat the oven to 350F.  Grease 13"x 9"x2" baking pan or 2 8" square baking pans.

2)  Combine cocoa and baking soda in a large bowl; stir in 1/3C butter.

3)  Add boiling water; stir until mixture thickens.

4)  Blend in sugar, eggs, and remaining 1/3C butter.

5)  Add flour, vanilla, and salt; blend well.

6)  Add chocolate chips.  

7)  Pour into prepared pan(s).  Bake for 35-40 minutes for the rectangular pan, and 30-35 minutes for the square pans.  Or until the brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.

8)  While brownies are baking, prepare the frosting.  Beat butter in medium bowl.

9)  Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency.  Additional milk may be needed.

10)  Stir in vanilla.  Makes about 2C.

 11)  Cool brownies completely in pan.  Frost with prepared butter cream.  Garnish with additional chocolate chips, if desired.  Cut into squares.
I may have taste tested it lol

 I thought I would try to be fun and cute by cutting out valentine themed brownies.  This was easier said then done lol, I don't think this particular recipe is solid enough.  However, I will share what I attempted lol :p
A penguin, because they only have one mate for life.  So frickin' adorable lol

Two hearts, lol that needs some additional shaping.

 This recipe, although may not be solid enough for cookie cutters, it is very yummy.  They're very moist, and deliciously sinful with chocolate.  I don't normally care for anything overly chocolatey, but these are so delicious that I may have ate more than one.  Okay, okay more than two :(  It's not my fault, I was sad because I was without my soul mate on a day meant to celebrate love.  Although as I'm writing this I realize that Nathan and I don't need one day, because he try to celebrate each other and our relationship all the time.  I know I'm cheesy, lol but y'all love me and therefore my cheesiness ;)

Tomorrow I've got a non dessert recipe to share with y'all, but something savory and equally delicious!  Until next time....

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Pumpkin Shortbread Baby

Hello Sweets,

I have had a terrible weekend :(  As if it wasn't bad enough that I felt sick, but Nathan sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for valentines day.  No that is not the bad part, the bad part is Canpar gave a fake phone number to call the driver to ensure I get them in time O_o  Yup, a fake number!!!!!  It's a holiday Monday here in Canadia and they don't deliver on weekends, so my beautiful flowers will sit in a cold warehouse for five days.  It's hard enough to be in a long distance relationship on valentines day, but finding out that he sent me a stand in gift until we're together to celebrate and the company screwed it all up is heartbreaking.  I'll be sure to share with y'all what the bouquet looks like when it finally gets to me, at least I know the card and vase will still be intact.  I'm very fortunate that I have a thoughtful boyfriend, it just makes things harder when we're in different countries.  Well it could always be worse, he could be in Japan lol.

Since valentines day was on Friday, I did make a sweet treat but I won't be sharing that will y'all today lol.  I know I'm cruel, but I had one more recipe to get caught up so I decided to write about this one instead.  Lately I've been making a lot of pumpkin themed food, but that's only because the can is big and there are always leftovers.  When I found a recipe that included my favorite cookie, shortbread, I didn't have to look any further for what to do with the leftovers.

Pumpkin Shortbread
1 1/4C flour
1/2C cornstarch
1 1/2tsp pumpkin spice (I made my own as usual ;) cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger)
1/2tsp salt
3/4C butter, room temperature
3/4C powdered sugar
glaze (I opted not to use this)
2C powdered sugar
2-3Tbs milk

1)  Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray 9" tart pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2)  In a bowl; whisk together flour, pumpkin spice, cornstarch, and salt.  Set aside.

3)  With a mixer beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

4)  Add in pumpkin and beat until combined.

5)  Turn mixer to low and add in dry ingredients until just incorporated.

6)  Spread dough into the prepared pan, smoothing with a rubber spatula.  Bake 60-70 minutes until formed and golden brown.

7)  Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

8)  Mix up glaze in a bowl, stirring until there are no more lumps.  Pour on top of shortbread.  Let glaze set, slice and serve immediately.
so yummy!
 The pumpkin flavor is so very subtle and not over powering, anyone that is unsure of pumpkin will warm up to this little cookie.  My grandparents thoroughly enjoyed it, and that makes me very happy.  Since I didn't use the glaze, it's best eaten with a glass of milk because shortbread isn't a very moist type of cookie.  This is definitely a keeper for me, I love shortbread so when I find a variation of the treat, I'm sold.

So I finally finished Nathans valentine gift, but cannot share it with y'all until after I see him because as you know he is the editor of my little baby.  I want to share it with y'all so bad, but I can't so I won't lol.  All I'll say is, I think it's the perfect gift to give someone who is in a long distance relationship.  I've also have the itch to start a new painting, I do have a painting currently in progress but I really have an idea I need to get on canvas.  First I'm going to make myself some dinner, and the perfect dinner is......breakfast!!  Yup, I'm really looking forward to it lol.  Until next time....

Stay sweet,

Jennifer xoxoxo