Monday, November 30, 2009

Monkey Monday


This is what Aiden looks like when he tries to say “cheese” for the camera!!

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Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Getting back here….

I am upset with myself…..I shouldn’t have signed up for NaBloPoMo this month.  I knew going into it that I wouldn’t have the time or the material to keep up with it.  And with Jason gone and all the emotions that go along with that made it difficult to find the motivation to blog…

But I had such high hopes!

I have been baking, but not taking the time to get the good shots and actually blogging the recipes.  That’s not good.  I really want to make this blog into something that people really want to come and read all the time…to have it in their reader so they don’t miss anything.  And so far I am failing myself on that.

It’s going to change.  I have some product reviews, some giveaways, and some awesome recipes to share with you all.  Bear with me….don’t give up on me yet.  I am getting on the blogging train and promise great, information rich posts. 

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. 

Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Ok…I am so cheating….here are my pics of the Molasses Cookies for Tuesdays with Dorie.  Sorry!

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These are AMAZING…I will be making these frequently!  Aiden really loves them.

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

At a loss of words

I am sorry friends, I truly have nothing to say today. I have been living in my head the past couple days and am trying to dig my way out. I will be back with bells on tomorrow....and hope to post a Wednesday with Dorie....if I can remember to take some pics in the morning as it is WAY to dark when I get home at night!

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big Bake Often

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monkey Monday

While paring through some pictures I stumbled across this video of my three “men” from last November.  I cannot believe this was a year ago. 


 


Take Care,


Tania
Love Big, Bake Often


video

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lavender Sugar Cookies

Let me just start off by apologizing for the lack of pictures with this post.  I had the camera out at the book fair yesterday and the batteries ran out.  And of course today while out shopping I knew that there was one thing that I was forgetting, and for the life of me couldn’t remember and of course those were it.  And once home and remembered right away, I refused to go back out as Sunday’s are a very lazy day for me these days.

So I have a recipe for you…and they turned out really great.  But no pretty pictures of cookies surrounded by lovely purple lavender. You will just have to picture them.  Perfect circles of yummy goodness, coated in sugar with bits of fragrant lavender peeking through the dough.  Can you see it?

Here is the recipe, I kind of adapted from Susan, at She’s Becoming Doughmesstic’s, Sugar Cookie Recipe.

Lavender Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1 cups white sugar

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking powder

1 tsp Lavender

In mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla, beating until smooth. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and lavender until incorporated. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).  Then roll tbsps of dough into balls, coat in sugar, and flatten balls with the bottom of a glass.  Bake at 390F for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool….pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!

They are fantastic.  And soon I will show you a picture of them….I promise!

Take Care,

Tania

Love Big, Bake Often

 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eggnog French Toast

Last week I was on an Eggnog high….the scones I made were stellar, so I continued with the Eggnog and made some Eggnog French Toast. And we LOVED it…the boys both asked for seconds and Jakob asked for some later in the day (sadly it was all gone!).

Look at this….who wouldn’t want to eat it?!?

DSCF3325Ok, so it’s not easy to take a “good” picture of baked French Toast.  But it does look yummy, right?

It is easy to make, I use this recipe from Aimee, at Under the High Chair, as a basis for all the French Toasts I have been making.

This is what I did for this one:

Eggnog Baked French Toast

4 – 5 cups stale or day old French Bread (or Baguette)

4 Eggs

200 mls Eggnog

50 mls Skim Milk

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tbsp Cinnamon

Directions:

Cut up French Bread and spread out in a buttered casserole dish.  Mix together all other ingredients and pour over bread.  Push the bread into the liquid to ensure even soaking up of all the eggnog goodness.

Cover the casserole dish with Saran wrap and put in fridge overnight.  In the morning pull out the dish, preheat the oven to 350F.  Bake at 350F for 35 – 45 minutes until it is brown and toasty and the eggs are set. If it starts to brown too soon cover with foil and continue until eggs are set.

Then pull out this….

DSCF3326 And enjoy!

Take Care,

Tania

Love Big, Bake Often

 

Friday, November 13, 2009

I have two words for you….

Chocolate Bread!

That’s it.  Stay tuned!

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whining…..It Doesn’t change Anything!

 

I absolutely HATE whining.  It is really one of the biggest button pushers for me. It can send me into parenting “fit” in seconds flat….it wears on my nerves.  You get what I mean!

Jakob is the King of whiners…..he should have a crown! Seriously.  Those of you who have spent time with him and/or heard stories about him know what I am talking about.  He whines about anything and sometimes everything.  And the one thing that I continuously tell him is this…..”whining doesn’t change anything!”  Whining will not make me suddenly say “Yes” to eating candy with breakfast.  Whining will not make me agree to watching more TV after I have told you that was it.  Whining will not make me clean up your mess for you.  It doesn’t change anything!  It makes it WORSE!  It makes me want to pull out my hair and rock in a corner!  

I don’t understand where whining comes from, is it genetic?  Is there a switch that is flipped when children hit a certain age that programs them to whine?  Is there some older child that pulls yours aside at the playground and teaches them the technique?  I certainly didn’t teach him.  And now I am worried that he is whispering in Aiden’s ear about whining. 

Whining is hopefully a habit that he will soon outgrow, and I know I am probably dreaming, but I hope everyday to get through it without just one whining session.

But on to me……and my attempt to get through a year without Jason and without whining.  I hear from people how brave I am going through this and how tough it must be, and it makes me think.  Should I be complaining more?  Will that change anything?  No…as I said before….whining doesn’t change anything.  It goes for adults too. I am not only being strong for me, I am trying to be strong for my husband, for my boys.  It’s important to keep it in perspective. It’s not forever, the happier we are going through it - the easier it will be.  Now don’t get me wrong….I miss Jason every day and would be super happy if they called me and told me he was coming home tomorrow, but that probably wont happen so I wont sit around holding my breath, whining about the situation.  As my friend, Susan, use to tell me….I will “pull on my big girl panties and drive on!”

And that is my opinion on whining….for everyone.

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Playing in and under the banana trees….

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Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TWD – Seriously Slacking

 

I am *this* close to being kicked out of Tuesdays with Dorie…..I have not posted a TWD blog post/recipe in forever.  I am so sorry.  I am hoping to have some time to catch up and post some of the past recipes and catch up with what is coming up.   I figure with the holidays coming up there will be the need for LOTS of baking…and you can’t go wrong with a Dorie recipe.

So forgive me and be sure to check out all the other non-slacking bakers who have posted their recipes in a timely manner.

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monkey Monday

The bakery that I have been working at, Back In The Day Bakery, hosts a Cupcake Happy Hour the first Friday of the month.  Last month I took Jakob and my Mother there after dinner.  This month I brought both boys by myself after picking Jakob up from school.  The concept is great…buy one get one half off….and then they play bingo for free cupcakes.  Lots of fun. Draws in a huge crowd.  We had a blast.  It is nights and events like this that are going to make the time away from Daddy a little easier….having something to look forward to weekly or monthly.

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cupcakehappy

Jakob chose a brownie instead of a cupcake, Aiden got an Old Fashioned cupcake and I chose a chocolate chip cookie….absolutely yum!  We had a blast….we didn’t win at Bingo….but at least this time Jakob didn’t have a meltdown about not winning! 

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Scones….yummy yummy Scones

I never use to like scones….at least the ones I had had from bakeries or Starbucks.  They always tasted dry and needed something to drink to swallow them down.  So I didn’t have high hopes months ago when I made my first batch.  But now I can’t stop making them.  They are just the perfect breakfast treat and mid-afternoon snack with that cup of coffee that you just have to have to get through the rest of the day!

These are special scones….I tweaked a recipe and added some of this seasons first Egg Nog purchase.  So, I give you Cinnamon and White Chocolate Chip Egg Nog Scones!

DSCF3313

Recipe Adapted from Sur La Table

Cinnamon and White Chocolate Chip Egg Nog Scones

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup Cinnamon Chips

1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips

2 large eggs

2 tbsp Egg Nog

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and position an oven rack in the center. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a thin silicone mat. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and process for 10 seconds to blend well. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse 5 times a 1 second intervals, or until the butter is cut into medium pieces. Add the cinnamon chips and white chocolate chips but do not blend them in. In the small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg nog, and vanilla until well blended. Pour the egg mixture into the processor and pulse another 25 times, or until the dough holds together in large thick clumps.

2. Use a spatula to scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently squeeze or kneed the clumps together until they form a cohesive dough - it may seem a bit dry at first, but will come together with a few kneads. Pat the dough into a circle 7 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. Use a chef's knife to cut the dough into 8 equal wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

3. I then brushed the tops with egg nog and sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 14 - 17 minutes, until fully risen and golden brown, especially around the bottom edges. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature.

These are light, buttery, and fluffy.  Hard to eat just one.  Serve them with a yummy coffee or chai tea….you wont be disappointed. Look at how light and fluffy they look inside…

DSCF3318


Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Putting on my “daddy” shoes

 

Being a “single” Mom for a year means that there will be times that I will have to put “Daddy” shoes on and fill in for him.  Today was one of those days.  Jakob and Jason spend some quality boy-time on the first Saturday of every month.  Home Depot puts on a Kids Workshop for free and they go every month.  It is just too much fun – they give the kids an orange apron and buttons for each project they complete. And then the boys go for lunch.  So today being the first of the month it was time for Mama to take him.  We had a blast.  He told me he missed Daddy, and going with just Daddy, but then he told me that it was fun to go with me.  Love that Kid!

Today he made a trivet….he made the frame for it and then we went and purchased a tile for the middle of it.  (so today’s was not entirely free!) He got to chose his own tile and he picked a great one.  I only wish we could have made more than one, as they would make great Christmas gifts!

Here’s Jakob hammering his little heart out…

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FYI…..Aiden was with us….we think he is still a little too young to be hammering and using tools, but in the new year we hope to start him on his own projects.  Just think….when Jason comes home I will be getting one Saturday morning to myself!  SWEET!

So if you have little ones and haven’t tried this out – get yourself to Home Depot on the first Saturday of every month!!

Daddy, you were definitely missed!  But it made me feel good that Jakob thought I filled your shoes well!

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Friday, November 6, 2009

fixation Friday….

I have not baked anything with chocolate in FOREVER!  I haven’t had the time to do much baking these days….but that is going to change really soon.  But I have had the time to peruse my friend’s blogs and have found some recipes that I MUST make…..so here is a list and some links for you of recipes that are on my baking list for the next little while. 

Peanut Butter S’Mores Turnovers…..these look evil!

This looks like the best Chocolate Cake I have ever seen!

Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars…..these look so rich and chewy!

I cannot believe Holly makes her own Nutella like Chocolate Hazelnut Spread!  This is a must make!

My friend, Nikki, makes this and says it is to die for….New Orleans Double Chocolate Praline Fudge Cake!

Those are my top five chocolate recipes that I need to try out….what is on your chocolate list of must makes?  Leave me a comment and let me know….I’d love to bake it some time!

Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumpkin scones….


I made these awhile ago after seeing them on Maria’s blog “Two Peas and Their Pod”….I knew that we would love them for breakfast.  I made them for breaky the Saturday before Jason left….and he wished I had made them sooner so that I could have made them again before he left!  LOL

I tweaked them a little bit…. I didn’t have any white chocolate in the house, and decided on a maple glaze instead…oh!  and I forgot to add the sugar!!  But we still loved them!  I can only imagine how much tastier they would be if I remembered the sugar and had white chocolate chips in them!

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Here is the recipe….which I borrowed from Maria’s blog.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Scones

Adapted from Del’s Sisters Kitchen

Scone Dough:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup) light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/3 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cream

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling the tops of the scones

Spice Glaze:

1c. powdered sugar

1/2t. cinnamon

1/8t. cloves

Sprinkle of nutmeg

Milk

Add as much milk until desired consistency. Drizzle or spread over scones.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. I use my hands! The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the white chocolate.

In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the cream and sprinkle a little Turbinado sugar on top.

Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and drizzle scones with the glaze.

Make them….love them….make them properly!  LOL

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Almost wordless Wednesday

 

Hi there….I am sorry for the short post.  Been two very busy days at the bakery and I am quite tired…..will do better tomorrow hopefully.

But for now…..here is a pic of us the morning we said goodbye to Jason….keep in mind it is 5:30 in the morning and we had been there for over an hour!

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And yes….the boys are in their pajamas!

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

m&m’s

It’s so hard to explain a year to a four year old….much less a two year old. Actually…I am having a tough time grasping a year apart. Jakob has been questioning me about just how long Jason will be gone.  Time doesn’t mean much to the boys….each day is a new day and counting them down, or realizing how long has passed is beyond them.  Jakob understands weeks, but months or a year? He’s not quite there.

So when learning that Daddy was going to be gone for a year, I reached out to my friends with small children and asked them how they were going to help their little ones understand this, or if they had already done it, what they had done in the past.  A good friend suggested I get a jar, fill it with 365 pieces of candy, and each day the boys get to pick out one piece and eat it. Eventually the level will go down and they will realize that Daddy should be home soon. 

I chose M&M’s for my boys.  Jakob’s favourite!  Unfortunately, I misjudged how much room 365 M&M’s would take and got jars that are WAY to big! I need to get back to Walmart and get smaller ones…but in the meantime these will do.  Jakob and Aiden get very excited when they get up in the morning to head to those jars and chose their one M&M.  Jakob declared this morning after eating his “One more day closer to Daddy coming home!”  He misses him so much. 

I have also been told to find something to look forward to…something in the near future, something in the not so near future, and something in the far future….like Jason coming home for R&R.  So for this week it is Cupcake Happy Hour at the bakery, then next week is the Children’s Book Fair, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and then Jason possibly coming home in March for Jakob’s birthday. 

It’s all working well right now….I also think it is a matter of consistency and keeping things as normal as possible.  Wish me luck.

Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monkey monday

 

(These posts are the easy ones!)

My Boys this Halloween….so cute.

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Daddy was missed this holiday, as were our good friends the Lizotte’s.  Jakob asked if we were going to Trick or Treat at Natalie’s house again (we have for the past two years) and was awfully bummed when I told him that Connecticut was just too far away.  Maybe next year.

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween filled with candy and chocolate.

Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nablopomo…again

 

Here we go again folks…..I am participating in National Blog Posting Month….I must be CRAZY!  But a few of my Twitter friends and I decided that we would be a good support for one another to make it through this month.  Be sure to check out, I Heart Food 4 Thought, EZRAPOUNDCAKE, The Way The Cookie Crumbles, and Emerging the Bombshell Within to see how they do this month.

For today’s post I want to write a list of all the things I want to blog about so that when I am having writer’s block I can look back and be inspired.

30 days….here I come!

  • raising boys
  • bread pudding
  • gingerbread houses
  • changing parenting techniques 4 years in
  • charity/volunteering
  • brownies
  • peanut butter
  • m&m’s
  • Jason being gone
  • thanksgiving
  • quilting
  • soup – lots of soup
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • biscotti – lots of biscotti
  • scones
  • TWD – of course
  • You Want Pies With That
  • starting my own business
  • temper tantrums
  • speech therapy
  • priorities – giving up my job
  • celebrating holidays without Jason here
  • cinnamon chips
  • lavender
  • chai….it’s almost cold enough to drink it daily
  • pioneer woman – her cookbook, and my plans to cook my way through it
  • Paula Deen
  • my hatred for the military health care system
  • single motherhood
  • patience
  • FRG
  • Pie – lots of little pies

That looks like a good start!  Hope you enjoy my month of daily blogs! I am hoping that the nights of blogging make the nights alone go faster. 

Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often