I am not ashamed to admit that one of my favourite things to do a Sunday morning is watch Food Network and get some ideas for meals for the week ahead. I’m even further unashamed to tell you that one of my current fave shows is Valerie’s Home Cooking I have tried so many recipes from her show and every single one of them has been a home run! I’m especially excited about my most recent one and I can’t wait to share!
A recent episode showcased lemons and if you know anything about me, you know that love lemons. Lemons in my water, in my tea, lemon slices, lemon pie, lemon cupcakes, lemon chicken… you get the picture. Lemon everything! So it’s no surprise that I was so excited when Valerie featured limoncello on her show. Because, shocker, I also love limoncello.
For those of you who have never tried limoncello, you’re in for a treat. Limoncello is an Italian liquer made out of lemon zest, simple syrup and alcohol. Although traditionally it’s made in Italy, it is an extremely popular homemade liquer and after trying Valerie’s recipe, I can see why! It’s incredibly easy to make and so, SO tasty!
The recipe that I used was Valerie’s recipe and it can also be found on the Food Network site here.
What You Need:
- Lemons! The recipe calls for 14 organic, I used 15 (I’m a rebel like that)
- 1 liter vodka. You don’t have to use a specific brand, but make sure it’s something that you would like to drink. I used Absolut
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3 1/2 cups water
- Glass bottles – I got the Korken bottles from IKEA (they’re also on sale right now!)
- Grate the lemons using a microplane grater, carefully avoiding the pith (white part)
- Place zest in a pitcher
- Pour vodka over zest
- Cover with plastic wrap and leave alone at room temperature for a week
- Make the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
- Let cool completely. This is important, if you add hot liquid to vodka, the alcohol could evaporate and that kind of defeats the entire purpose of making homemade liqueurs!
- Once cooled, pour the simple syrup into the pitcher with the vodka and lemon zest and stir
- Let stand for 24 hours
- Strain the mixture through an extra fine sieve or cheesecloth
- Discard the solids and funnel the rest into glass bottles
- This would make for great homemade holiday gifts!
- Although limoncello is traditionally served after dinner as a digestif, you can also make so many delicious cocktails with it! A favourite of mine is adding ice, gin and some freshly squeezed lemon juice to a shaker and serve in a martini glass.
Does anyone else make homemade liqueurs? If so, I would love to hear about them!
I know that it’s only November, but every year I promise myself that I will start prepping for the holiday season early to prevent stress later on and I never do it. I end up running around like a headless chicken the week before Christmas trying to get everything done, and then I end up disappointed by the 27th because I didn’t do half of the things that I wanted to do. Oh well, there’s always next year…
So this year I am determined to start early. For real this time! Last night was my first attempt at this by testing out my first Christmas recipe…. wait for it…. Bailey’s Irish Cream & Cocoa Mousse!! And, not only was it delicious, it was incredibly easy! (it’s also egg-free for anyone who isn’t fond of the idea of having raw egg in your desserts)
Bailey’s to me screams holidays, and as soon as December rolls around, I need a giant bottle of it in the house at all times. This recipe calls for the original Bailey’s, but you can use any of the new flavored ones too. You can also choose to skip the cocoa part if you just want some straight-up Bailey’s flavour… I would love to hear how you customized this recipe! You can also have a lot of fun with decorating too, imagine how decadent it would look with some chocolate curls and gold leaf.
Makes 2 generous size desserts, or 4 “regular” sized ones
1 package of unflavored gelatin (around 2.5 tbsp)
2.5 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup white sugar
2-3 tbsp (to taste) high quality cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup heavy cream/whipping cream
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 tsp vanilla
Grated chocolate for garnish
1. Stir gelatin and cold water and let stand approx. 1 minute
2. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Put aside
3. Add cream, sugar and cocoa to stand mixer, and beat until stiff peaks form*
4. Add Bailey’s, vanilla and gelatin and keep mixing at high-speed until mousse like texture forms
5. Spoon into bowls (I love martini glasses for festive presentation!), sprinkle on grated chocolate and refrigerate until set, about 1-2 hours
*Make sure you place your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for a few minutes beforehand
Please let me know if you try this, I’d love to hear what you think!
I can’t believe I haven’t posted in over two weeks! I thought things were crazy before but the past couple of weeks have just been insane! Originally I was happy to see the end of October arriving, but November is looking to be just as crazy, if not more so. At this point I’m just looking forward to the Christmas break!
If you have been reading my blog, you will already know that fall is not my favourite time of year, but what you don’t know is Halloween is also my least favourite “holiday”. I don’t know why, I’m just not into it! I have only ever Trick or Treated once in my entire life (people are always so shocked to hear that!),
However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t do some Halloween stuff! We hand out candy and carve pumpkins and of course I can’t resist baking some Halloween treats! Last week I made some pumpkin baked donuts, which I will post about later on this week and last night I decided to try decorating some Halloween cupcakes! Inspired by many Pinterest posts, I went with bloody sugar shard cupcakes and they turned out so well! And they were SO EASY! The sugar glass was actually so easy to make that I’ve been thinking about how I can incorporate it into my Christmas baking.
What You Need:
- Cupcakes, you can use your own recipe or buy some. I was feeling lazy so I went with a boxed devils food cake mix
- Frosting. Again, I was lazy and used packaged buttercream frosting
- Red gel food colouring
- 1 3/4 cups Granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup White corn syrup
- 1/2 cup Water
- Candy thermometer (read below if you don’t have one)
- Cookie sheet
- Cooking spray or shortening
- Bake cupcakes according to directions. Let cool completely
- Grease cookie sheet with cooking spray/shortening
- Mix sugar, corn syrup and water in a large pan over medium high heat, keep stirring until the mixture is bubbling – this takes about 20-30 minutes
- Using your candy thermometer, keep an eye on the mixture until it reaches 300 degrees. Remove from heat
- Pour sugar mixture into cookie sheet and let cool completely – about an hour
- Once completely cooled, smash the sugar with a mallet or rolling pin
- Frost cupcakes
- Add glass shards to cupcakes by “stabbing” the cupcake – I did 2-3 per cupcake
- Decorate with “blood” using the red gel food colouring and a toothpick. The messier it looks, the better!
- If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can drop some of the sugar mixture into a glass of cold water to test it. If the sugar forms a sticky ball then it’s ready to be taken off the heat
- If your sugar starts to look a little brown from the caramelization, you can add a small drop of blue food colouring to the mixture to bring it back to a more neutral colour
- I’m sure this goes without saying, but melted sugar is hot! Please be careful when making it
Did any of you guys make anything fun for Halloween?
Something that you might not know about me if you’re new to my blog is I love baking! Something about transforming ingredients into something tasty makes me feel accomplished and relaxed. It’s always a huge bonus when people enjoy what I bake too. It feels like my contribution and I love that.
This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada so we went to stay with my in-laws (who are great!) and I wanted to bring something “Thanksgiving-y” for everyone to snack on. There’s so many things you make with pumpkin but I figured we were already having pumpkin pie so I craved something different, but still Thanksgiving/Fall themed.
I ended up deciding on making a spiced apple bundt cake and it was SO good! It was super easy to make, mostly required ingredients you usually have in the kitchen, and it stood up to the 3 hour drive really well.
Everyone loved it and it’s definitely a recipe that I will keep on rotation! The apples add a little sweetness to perfectly compliment the spice flavor from the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and a slice is perfect with either a rich, creamy butter or even a cream cheese icing.
I originally planned on taking pictures throughout the entire baking process, but I totally forgot! So all I have is this one pic that I took at the end.
- 3 cups All- purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups Brown sugar
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 2 Eggs
- 2/3 cup Oil
- 1 1/4 cups Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 4 apples, peeled and chopped (I prefer Macintosh)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Grease and flour bundt pan
- Mix all dry ingredients and set aside
- In a mixer, add eggs, vanilla, oil and sour cream/yogurt until combined
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
- Fold in apple pieces
- Pour into bundt pan (batter will be thick)
- Bake for approx. 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean
Feel free to share your favourite Thanksgiving/Fall Baking recipes!
September Writing Challenge #23 – My Favourite Drinks
This is kind of a fun post, it’s also really easy to write about because I have no variety in what I drink. I just stick to three things and that’s it. Exciting right?!
- Wine: What does it say about me that this is the first one I listed?! I seriously love wine though. Rose, white, red, sparkling… doesn’t matter, I love it all!
- Coffee: Either my regular “half sweet soy vanilla latte” from Starbucks, iced coffee in the warmer months, or black with two sugar cubs Nespresso from home, doesn’t matter. I love coffee and I need it every day!
- Water: I try to drink water all day, even though we all know that it can be difficult at times, but it makes such a huge difference to my health, my mood and how I feel all day that it’s worth it. I often add lemon, mint, ginger and cucumber to spice it up a little, but usually it’s just me and plain ol’ water.
That’s it. That’s pretty much all I drink. I would love to hear some new suggestions!
September Writing Challenge #21 – My Fridge Staples
Ok, how boring does the title of this post sound?! I mean, does anyone really want to know what I keep in my fridge? It’s part of the writing challenge though so I have to do it. So what do I always have in my fridge:
- Beer & wine: Kind of goes without saying. Beer for Mr SS and wine for me (or both of us, depending on the day). We usually have an assortment of beer in the fridge comprised of whatever we have leftover from 6 packs we have purchased, or that people have left at our house. As for wine, most of the time I end up getting a bottle the day I want it, but I try to keep a bottle of white (chardonnay or pinot grigio), rose (French), red (cab), and prosecco in the house at all times. You never know when you might need it!
- Lemons: One thing I love in the morning is warm lemon water. I don’t really know if it’s as beneficial as the internet always says, but I drink it anyway. SOmething about it wakes me up and makes me feel good in the morning, so that alone makes it worth it to me. I usually always have a bowl of pre-cut lemon wedges in the fridge for convenience.
- Chef’s Plate: This is something that warrants a blog post of it’s own, but I do need to mention it here because we pretty much always have a meal ready to go in the fridge. Chef’s Plate is a meal delivery service where you get 2-5 recipes delivered to you each week (you pick from a menu) with all of the ingredients ready to go. We have been using it since February and are obsessed, it makes our weekly menu planning so much easier and we avoid the “what’s for dinner” argument each time.
- Feta Cheese: I love feta! It goes with everything, it’s delicious alone, and even though I’m lactose intolerant, for some reason I don’t have any issues with feta. Definitely a fave for me!
- Hot Sauce: I can’t live without hot sauce! Easily my favourite condiment and our house definitely always has a collection of different brands.