Saturday, November 30, 2013

are you ready to bake some cookies?!

I'm so excited to share the 2nd annual kitchen frolic Cookie Advent Calendar!

I have some wonderful friends from around the world ready to share their personal cookie recipes, including bloggers, bakers, bakery owners and even a food truck!

I hope you enjoy checking out the cookies and recipes revealed in the Cookie Advent Calendar each day as much as I enjoyed putting it together and would love to know if you try baking any of the recipes yourself.

Happy holidays!

For even more cookie recipes, check out last year's Cookie Advent Calendar!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

birthday cupcakes: earl grey tea (aka london fog) cupcakes

My sister's birthday was back in September and she chose Earl Grey as her birthday cupcake flavour and I was pretty excited to get baking. I already had a great Earl Grey buttercream recipe (why is everyone surprised by that?) so I figured it would be pretty simple to create a cupcake recipe around this.

These turned out pretty awesome - the subtle flavour of Earl Grey got stronger after sitting for a day, so when Suzy picked them up, they were pretty good. The best thing is that she really enjoyed them - at a rate of one cupcake a day.  :)

I also loved the cute cupcake papers I found for these Earl Grey cupcakes - they were a pretty blue with pink flowers - perfect for a tea party!

I also like to refer to these as London Fog cupcakes. One of my favourite drinks is the London Fog - a drink created in Vancouver, Canada that incorporates Earl Grey tea, vanilla and milk - very much like these cupcakes!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

brown rice pudding

Growing up in a Chinese household, I ate rice. A LOT of rice. Plain white rice. Every day. Every single day. So...needless to say - I've had more than enough experience cooking plain white rice. It was my "job" as a young child to "wash" the rice and measure out the water, so I can pretty much make rice with my eyes closed with a rice cooker.

However, my experience with brown rice? That would be a big fat zero. So when I was asked to cook a recipe using USA brown rice, I was happy to take on the challenge. Did you know that 65% of the rice consumed in Canada is grown in the US? I sure didn't!

Some other pretty interesting rice facts:
  • rice is grown in six US states: Arkansas, Lousiana, California, Mississippi, Texas and Missouri.
  • rice has been produced in the US for more than 300 years
  • there are thousands of rice varieties. 
  • one seed of rice yields more than 3,000 grains. It's the highest yielding cereal grain and can grow in many kids of environments and soils (it's grown on every continent except Antarctica
With these cool facts in mind and brown rice in hand, I wanted to create something we had never had before. Rice pudding is one of Paul's favourite desserts, so I thought it would be fun to try creating this comfort food dessert with brown rice instead of the usual white.

This dish was really nice warm, and would be perfect for a winter evening, but it's also great cold (which is how I like to eat my rice pudding).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ready, Set, MO

I've gotta be honest. I'm not a fan of moustaches. Beards? Sure. Goatees? No problem. But moustaches? Sorry, only if your name is Tom Selleck (seriously - have you ever seen Selleck without his moustache? I tried to Google a good, non-photoshopped image of him sans moustache for this post and came up empty - for once the internet failed me. ).

Anyhow, the one time I will actively promote the much-maligned moustache is during the 11th month of the year. Because it's Movember!

For those of you wondering what the fuss about moustaches (or Mo's) is about, "Movember is the month formerly known as November, where men and women across the globe join together to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues. Men grow a Mo (moustache) for 30 days to become walking, talking billboards, for our men’s health causes - specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and male mental health initiatives." (from the Movember Canada website).

And us gals have a part to play to! Mo Sistas are dedicated to supporting Mo Bros throughout their moustache-growing journey. While (obviously) not expected to grow a moustache, Mo Sistas can lead by example in other ways by encouraging the men in their life to know more about their health and for supporting the Mo Bros they see out there on the streets, bravely sporting (or trying to grow) Mo's.

As a registered Mo Sista for the first time, I'm hoping that I can count on your support as I raise funds for the Movember campaign.

My sister, Suzy, and me, rocking cookie Mo's
If I've ever donated to your cause when asked, supported your business with my dollars or otherwise have been of some help to you, be aware that I'll be bugging you for the next month to return the favour. This is my first fundraising attempt, and I'm a little nervous, so please don't leave me hanging!

You can support my Mo Sista efforts in several ways:
  • make an online donation directly through my Movember Canada page (tax receiptable) 
  • give me cash when you see me (if you give me your full contact info, you'll get a tax receipt)
  • donate a prize/auction item for me to use in my fundraising efforts
  • purchase a Moustache Necklace that I've made - more details here.
Moustaches will be available in black, turquoise and hot pink! Coming soon...
THANK YOU in advance for your support and for putting up with my consistent pestering for the next 30 days! And a special thank you to Chris, my Movember Team Captain, for letting this newbie join in the Mo fun.

Let's go MO!