This and that: December 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Best Recipes.

Today is the last day of 2012
Tomorrow we bring in the New Year!
This year has been a wonderful year for me....
I never envisioned that I would be able to keep anyone interested in what I blog about.
I want to thank you all for following me, commenting and giving me support.
It means a lot to me.
My hopes and wishes for the New Year is that 
I will be able to continue to bring you recipes that are tried and true.
As we leave 2012, I would like to let you know
the 12 recipes that have had the most views on my blog...
That means the ones that you have checked out the most
and for that I thank you!

Best Recipes of 2012

Nine months ago, I started this blog.. and I think I have come a long way.  I hope that you agree with me.  Along with this blog I have a second one that I dedicate just to photography.  That blog is called This and That Photography.
Shortly after I started this blog, I was invited to join a wonderful group called Foodie Friends Friday.  Each week we hold a Linky Party and have had a great turn out.  With each party we have sponsored giveaways.  This group is great and I have learnt so much from each and everyone of them.  I want to take this opportunity to say thank you and that I count each one of you as a special friend.  Within this group, eleven us under the direction of Tracy from Busy Vegetarian Mom  started Foodie Friends Friday Daily Dish.  Tracy has done a lot of work getting this e-magazine up and running and everyone in the group has participated and worked together to bring many different aspect of cooking to all of us.
When I started blogging, I had first thought of just doing it for myself.  To put on my recipes in one place and keep track of what I am making.  I never in a million years thought I would have followers and ones so dedicated as you all are.  I love hearing your comments, communicating with you.  I have learnt lots from all of you too.  Thank you for being here with me.  I also never envisioned that one of my recipes, Salted Caramel Mocha Latte  would be featured on Foodista Drink Blog of the Day.  It may only be a few words and my picture of my drink, but too me it is a big accomplishment.
My hopes, dreams and goals for 2013 is to learn more about blogging.  I am hoping that I will have time to figure out my blog so that it may be easier for you to navigate around and find what you need.  I also want to learn more about taking food pictures as I know for me that is what captures my attention... the pictures tempting me... making me want to taste the food.  I  hope that you will want to continue this journey with me.
Wishing you all a 
Wonderful and Blessed New Year
May 2013 be a Year of Happiness and Prosperity!
Thank you for being here with me

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rice porridge and prune soup.

Every once in awhile I get a craving for rice porridge 
or as it is called in Finland Riisipuuro.
Growing up we would make riisipuuro when we had extra rice leftover, 
so that is always how I make it... I don't really have a recipe,
I just add to my  rice.

In Finland they will also add an almond in the riisipuuro
One almond and the one that gets the almond will 
receive good fortune.

Riisipuuro is also good with Marja Soppa (berry soup) made with prunes and raisins.
It is also called Luumukiiseli 

Rice porridge with prune soup in my Iltila 

2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 egg

Add sugar to rice.  Whisk egg and milk together well and add it to the rice mixture.  Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. 
You can also eat this with more milk and cinnamon.  I will also add raisins when I am cooking the rice porridge.  Or eat it with Prune soup.

Prune Soup ( Marja Soppa)

2 cups prunes
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried apricots (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
1-2 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 cup cornstarch with small amount of water

In medium pot, add prunes, raisins, apricots, sugar, water and cinnamon stick.  Boil on medium heat for 1 hour.  If soup is very liquid, add cornstarch and water and boil for another 5 minutes.  
Enjoy alone or with rice porridge.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day

Today, December 26th in many commonwealth  countries including Canada
Boxing Day is observed.
It is a federal holiday in Canada.

What is Boxing Day you may ask?

Growing up it was just another day... a day to play and eat leftovers...
as I got older and moved away from home, it was a day to get some good bargains 
and when I was of double pay.

But what is the origins of Boxing Day

The origins of this day are unclear, but likely it was started in England
One story is that employers would give their servants gifts the day after Christmas in boxes,
another story is that employees were allowed to take home the leftover of Christmas meals in box.
This tradition is carried on when employers give baskets to employees during the holiday season.
Lastly, it may be because of the boxes in the churches where people can leave money for the poor
where opened on the day after Christmas.
We still do some of this when we give money and gifts to those that do services for us,
mail carries, tradesmen, doormen and any others that have helped us.
Although we may not wait until Boxing Day to do this.

 December 26th is also the day that the Feast of St. Stephen take place
St. Stephen was one of the deacons, 
who was ordained by the apostles to take care of the poor and the widows.

I am planning on making what I would think is a traditional United Kingdom meal in the middle ages
Roast Beef dinner with potatoes and carrots.

picture courtesy of Bron Marshall
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours.
Merry Christmas!
May your Christmas be merry and bright..
and Santa fill your stockings with joy!
As you open your presents and enjoy your day,
Take a moment to pause and
Remember that today we celebrate
the birth of
Jesus, Our Lord and Savoir.

May you have a Blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Candy Cane Meringue Kisses

I have never made meringue before... 
But I saw these somewhere on Facebook with candy cane kisses
 and thought they looked wonderful, I am not sure where I found them
so if you posted it let me know so that I can give you credit.

The first batch I made I used the candy cane kisses and tinted the meringue with red food colouring.
The second batch, I used chocolate kisses and mixed in candy cane crumbs in the meringue.
Both smell heavenly.

Candy Cane Meringue Kisses

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
dash of salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
Hershey kisses - I used candy cane kisses and chocolate kisses
1-2 drops of red food colouring
crushed peppermints
red coloured sugar or sprinkles

Preheat oven 200 degrees F
In large bowl, mix egg whites, cream of tarter, and salt.  Beat until egg mixture until it forms peaks, add sugar slowly and continue to beat until stiff and glossy.  Add food colouring if you like.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place a candy cane kiss on the paper about 2 inches apart.  Using pastry bag and star tip, pipe meringue around candy cane kiss.  Bake in 200 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Turn off oven.  You can now add coloured sugar or sprinkles at this time.  Return the meringue back to oven and leave in until completely cooled - at least 3 or more hours or even over night.   I was able to make 21 -24 meringue kisses.

For the meringues that I made with the chocolate kisses, I crushed about 1/8 cup of candy cane and mixed into the meringue before piping it around the kisses.  I did not put food colouring in the meringue or use sprinkles with these.  Some of the pieces of candy canes were bigger then the others.

Meringue with 2 drops of red food colouring,
ready to be piped around kisses

meringue piped around candy cane kisses

meringue piped around chocolate kisses

Both types of meringue kisses, to show how they are piped
around the  Hershey kisses


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Santa's elves Gingerbread house and Bloggers Unite for Sandy Hook

After the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School,
many bloggers got together to show their support
 to the families of the victims and the community of Newtown.
Today, December 21st, bloggers are going to unite and bring cookies or a craft.
To find more information about this please go to Your and Mine ARE ours and  Crazy for Crafts.
cookies and crafts for sandy hook
I found this on Tammy's blog ~ Yours and Mine ARE Ours

As I was trying to think of something to make or do to show my support
My thoughts went to making a Gingerbread House.
I loved making Gingerbread Houses with my nieces and nephews over the years,
and I wondered if any of these children that lost their lives had ever made one or 
if they were going to be making one this Christmas.

I haven't made a gingerbread house for many years but this year
My gingerbread house is going to be a tribute to all the children and adults that lost their lives
in the senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th.
This will not bring them back but it is my way of showing support to the families and the loved ones of 
these fallen victims.

May God give you the strength and comfort you through these trials.

After cutting out and baking my elves gingerbread house,
 I decided to decorate the pieces before putting them together.

the roof
the walls, front and door
 After decorating the roof and the walls, it was time to start putting it together
Once the walls together, I knew that I need a bit of support before I put the roof on.

a straw made a good beam

a picture from the side... not the best picture

a close up of the final project from the front..
I will be posting the recipe for the dough that I used for the gingerbread house hopefully this weekend.
I used the leftovers to make cookies..
Here is where I found my pattern.

related articles
Gingerbread House Competition at the Daily Dish (
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party -12/20/12

Last party of the year...
It has been a great year and I have had lots of fun...
Hope you all did too.
There has been so many great recipes linked up,
I just wish that I would have time to make them all...

Thank you to all of you who have made our parties such a success

If it wasn't for you we wouldn't be able to do this...

This week's giveaway is sponsored by one of our own

Remember to fill out the rafflecopter for your chance 
to win some peppermint foot scrubs..
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now onto this week's party

Foodie Friends Friday
Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom
Marlys at This and That
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes
Cynthia at Feeding Big
Jodie at Binomial Baker
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
Angie at A lil Country Sugar
Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writings: : 
Joanne at Winelady Cooks:
Marlene at Nosh My Way:


Last week party:

Hun What's For Dinner ~ Mini Chocolate Cherry Flourless Cake
Hun What's For Dinner ~ Double Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge
Half Baked Harvest ~ Chocolate Covered Pecan Truffles 

Sweet Heat Chefs ~ Rosemary Garlic Infused Oil
This and That ~ Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
Walking on Sunshine ~ Homemade Coloured Sugar

Did you make a Gingerbread House this year?
Remember to link it up at the Daily Dish...
You could win an apron with a gingerbread applique..

You do not have to be a blogger to enter
Just ignore the URL.
Enter at the Daily Dish or on my blog.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Granola Bars... the most delicious ones yet.

I love granola bars and my husband eats them like they are going out of style...
and I finally found a bar that works for us...
tastes good, not too sweet
and has fruit..

Fruity Granola Bar

adapted from 
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar*
1/2 cup flax
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup dried fruit (I use cranberries, apricots and mangoes)*
1/2 cup honey
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup coconut oil ( I use Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil) melted
2 tsp vanilla 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish generously. 
In large bowl mix together rolled oats, brown sugar, flax, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, flour, salt, and dried fruit. Make a well in the center of ingredients.  In separate bowl mix honey, egg, coconut oil and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.  With hand mix everything together and pat into baking dish.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until edges start turning brown.  Cool for 5 minutes and then cut into bars.  Cool the rest of the way.  You need to cut them after 5 minutes or they will be too hard to cut.

*I have omitted the brown sugar entirely and they still turn out.  
* when using dried fruit the majority is the cranberries and then added cut apricots and mangoes for the rest. Cut in small pieces
**  I have also doubled the recipe and still used the 9 X 13 pan.. they are thicker and I cut them into thinner pieces.


These are great for breakfast and breakfast on the go, and for snacks.
They also would be a good Christmas gift to give for people that are on the go..

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread Truffles

Like my Candy Cane Fudge Truffles,
my Gingerbread Truffles came from the same way...
I made some Gingerbread Spice cookies and they didn't really turn out...
They tasted wonderfully, but as they wouldn't come off the pan and also were hard..
I couldn't serve them...
So I decided to make the cookies into crumbs,
Add some Cream Cheese and roll them into balls and dip them into white chocolate.

Gingerbread Truffles

3 cups gingerbread cookie crumbs
8 oz cream cheese
white chocolate
ginger candy or sprinkles for garnish

Mix cookie crumbs and cream cheese, I used my kitchen aide to do this.  Roll into balls.  Put in refrigerator to chill.  Once chilled dip into melted white chocolate and garnish if you like with small pieces of ginger candy or sprinkles.

I haven't got the art of dipping into white chocolate ~ The balls wouldn't dip, so I used a knife and spread the white chocolate onto the balls.

Related articles
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Subway Art.

Subway art is becoming very popular
and I have tried to do my own.
These are all done with some help of the web and searches I have done
Also from pictures I have seen both online and in stores.
You are welcome to use any of these, but they are not available to be used for profit.
They are only available for personal use.

I am also going to repeat the links so that you can find them to copy as I sometimes have problems with the links at the beginning of my post.  Please let me know if you are having problems finding the links as this is the first time I am doing this and using google doc.

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Candy Cane Fudge Truffles

A while back I made some candy cane fudge, with Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
Although the fudge tasted great it was very soft.
I am not sure what I did to it that it didn't set properly.
I first thought of rolling it into balls and dipping it into chocolate -
but that didn't pan out as well as I wanted it too, as the fudge melted in the warm melted chocolate.
I didn't want to waste the fudge so decided to mix the fudge with some animal crackers and then roll them
and dip them into chocolate.
I will give you the recipe that I used to make the fudge.. Maybe it will work out for you.

Candy Cane Fudge

This recipes was adapted from Dawn's Divine Delight - Dove Fudge

3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 can evaporated milk (large)
1/2 bag Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
2- 4 oz Ghirardelli White Chocolate Bars
7 oz Marshmallow Creme - or 1 cup homemade - I use this recipe

Cut chocolate into small pieces and set aside.  Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil on medium heat.  Boil for 4 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees. Remove from heat and add chocolate and marshmallow creme until mixed. The fudge was very pink, so I added some red food colour and swirled it into the fudge.  Place in foil covered 9 x 13.  Place in refrigerator until set.  

This should have set properly.  Mine set but was too soft to cut into bars, so I then had to rethink what I would do it.  I decided to make some chocolates.  I first thought of dipping as I said, but this didn't work.. My next thought was to use molds.  I didn't have any molds but I did have some ice cube trays and thought those could work... They did.  I placed a small amount of melted chocolate in the bottom of the ice cube tray and then placed a small amount of the soft fudge mixture onto top of the melted chocolate and then added more melted chocolate above the fudge.  Then tapping the ice cube tray to let all the chocolate settle.  Place in refrigerator until set.

place small amount of chocolate in bottom
of tray, then small amount of fudge and cover
with more chocolate

Candy Cane Fudge Truffles

3 cups of the above recipe for candy cane fudge
1 cup animal cracker crumbs
melted chocolate.
candy cane crumbs (optional)

Mix candy cane fudge and animal cracker crumbs together.  Roll into balls and place in refrigerator until set.  Once set, melt chocolate and dip balls into chocolate.  Sprinkle candy cane crumbs over chocolate (optional).  Let cool.

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