Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vanilla Bean Scones

These scones are an absolute treat! They are so delicious, I'm not even sure how many I had eaten right after they were dipped in the glaze.

The use of real vanilla beans really shows through in these scones.  They are also really great without the glaze, but the extra dose of vanilla-infused sweetness is amazing.

In order to get the nice triangle shapes, roll out the dough into a rectangle, and then cut it with a sharp knife (or pizza cutter) as shown below.  If I am making these to bring as a dessert, or to have after a meal with tea, I think I will cut each of the triangles in half again to make them bite-size.

These are also wonderfully easy to make, and very impressive to serve. Next time you need something sweet for breakfast or to bring to a dinner, try these out!

This recipe is from, and can be found here.  This recipe makes about 2 dozen scones.  If you have time some free time, check out the site, it is great!

Vanilla Bean Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream (I used whipping cream)
  • 2 whole vanilla beans
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a couple cookies sheets with parchment paper
  2. Split each vanilla bean (lengthwise) and scrape out the inside
  3. Stir the inside of the beans with the cream, and let sit for 15 minutes. You can also add the vanilla bean pods to the cream for extra flavor, just remember to move them at the end of the 15 minutes :)
  4. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl
  5. Cut the butter into small cubes, then add to the dry ingredients
  6. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives until crumbly
  7. Add the egg to the vanilla/cream mixture (after removing the vanilla bean pods) and whisk together
  8. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until the dough just starts to come together
  9. Spread some flour on your counter, then place the dough on the floured surface
  10. Roll it out until about 1 to 2 centimeters thick
  11. Cut the dough into squares, and then into triangles
  12. Place the triangles onto the parchment lined cookie sheets, and bake for 15 -18 minutes or until they just begin to turn golden brown on the bottom
  13. Allow the scones to cool completely before adding the glaze
Vanilla Bean Glaze
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  1. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the inside
  2. Place both the inside of the vanilla bean and the vanilla bean pod in the milk and let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Remove the vanilla bean pod, and then whisk in the icing sugar, one cup at a time
  4. Continue whisking until all icing sugar is added, and the glaze is smooth
  5. Dip the completely cooled scones in the glaze, or drizzle the glaze over the scones
  6. Allow the scones to dry before storing

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maple Cupcakes with Maple Frosting (Vegan!)

What better dessert to make during this lovely fall weather, than a Maple Cupcake?  These cupcakes had the most wonderful smell while they are baking, but then again, what Canadian doesn't love the smell of maple?

These cupcakes are from the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook, and are absolutely amazing.  Once again, this book has produced the most wonderful cupcakes!  The texture is light and fluffy, and the taste is unbelievable.

If the massive swirl of icing is too much for you (personally, it is way too much for me!), then you can also spread on a thin layer of icing.  I find that the thin layer is a better balance, then you get just enough maple flavor from both the cupcake, and the icing.

I will post the Maple Icing recipe a bit later, I still feel like it can use some tweaking.  There are are a ton of easy maple icing recipes available online too!

This recipe makes 12 regular cupcakes.

Maple Cupcakes (Vegan)

  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F, and line your muffin pan with paper liners
  2. Mix together the soy milk and the vinegar, and let sit for 5 - 10 minutes
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract, maple extract, and soy mixture
  5. Create a well in they dry ingredients, and then pour the wet ingredients into that well
  6. Mix well, and then fill cupcake liners
  7. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center
  8. Frost with a maple frosting, or with your favorite vanilla frosting
  9. Enjoy!
I can still smell them when I look at this picture!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Salt and Pepper Shakers

My sister and I were shopping the other day, and we came across these awesome salt and pepper shakers! How could I pass these up??

Every time I look at these two on my kitchen table, I get this ridiculous grin on my face, they are awesome!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Broccoli and Corn Chowder (with Bacon!)

With the exception of the last 3 days, our weather has still been pretty chilly for September.  As a result, warm and delicious soups have been on my mind like crazy!

This recipe was emailed to me on a chilly day last week as part of a weekly newsletter from  It looked so hearty and warm, and it had bacon! What more can you ask for in a soup?

This soup is fantastic alone.

And even better with some bacon.

You could add some cheese too!

This didn't take very long to make, and made an awesome lunch the next day at work too.  The next time you are facing a cold day, make this for lunch or dinner!

Broccoli and Corn Chowder (with Bacon!)

  • 8 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cans chicken broth (about 350 ml each)
  • 1 russet potato, cubed
  • 2 heads of broccoli, with florets cut into small pieces
  • 1 small package (or about 1 1/2 cups) frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  • shredded cheese (optional)
  1. Cook the bacon in a large pot until crisp, then remove and let cool on a paper towel
  2. Place the onion in the same pot, and cook until it begins to soften
  3. Add the flour, and stir for about half a minute with the onion
  4. Pour in the chicken broth, and add the potato
  5. Simmer until the potato is soft, about 10 to 15 minutes
  6. Then add the broccoli, corn, thyme, and milk
  7. Stir well, and cook for 10 - 12 minutes, or until the broccoli is starting to become tender
  8. Season to taste with the salt and pepper
  9. Top with bacon and cheese
  10. Enjoy with some warm bread or biscuits!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vegan Lemon Cupcakes

I made some cupcakes for one of my girlfriends this past weekend.  Since she is vegan, I made vegan chocolate cupcakes with a vegan vanilla 'buttercream', and these vegan lemon cupcakes with a vegan lemon 'buttercream' frosting.

random fact: my computer doesn't recognize 'vegan' as a word! very strange

Anyways, these cupcakes are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and are absolutely amazing!  The texture is absolutely perfect for a cupcake, no-one can tell that these cupcakes lack dairy or eggs!

I cannot wait to try more recipes from this book since these turned out so well.  I have been on a search for a really good vanilla cupcake recipe, and I have a feeling this book might have exactly what I have been looking for!

This recipe makes 12 regular cupcakes, or approximately 3 - 4 dozen mini cupcakes.

Note: Vegan cupcakes tend to taste the best when baked a day in advance. This allows for the flavours to meld and for the texture to become wonderfully fluffy!

Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
  • 1 cup soy milk (I used Silk)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and fill your muffin pan with cupcake liners
  2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and set aside for about 10 minutes to let the soy milk curdle
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the soy milk/vinegar mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest
  4. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until well combined
  6. Fill the cupcake cups, and bake for about 20 minutes (or about 10 minutes for mini cupcakes) or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

Last week we had some really gross weather for September, and that had me digging out my 'Fall' recipes a little early this year.  This meal is very easy to throw together, and it warms you right up! I had this with my jalapeno cheddar biscuits, and it was exactly what we needed on a cold day.

You can make this with any vegetables that you have sitting in your fridge.  I used asparagus, red onion, carrots, mushrooms, and red peppers.  I love the way asparagus and bell peppers taste when they are cooked like this!

This recipe was originally from, a website that has a ton of amazing healthy recipes.  This recipe originally called for a large amount of rosemary, but when I made the dish for the first time we found it to be very overpowering.  I love being able to taste the delicious flavors of all of the vegetables in a dish.

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 pieces of asparagus, cut into 2" long pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • 2 carrots, sliced 
  • 6 large mushrooms, cut in half (or quarters if the mushrooms are quite large)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 to 2 gloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 to 2 tbsp oregano
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F
  2. Clean your chicken and cut each into two pieces
  3. Place the chicken and the prepared vegetables in a roasting pan
  4. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper, and oregano together in a bowl
  5. Pour the balsamic mixture over the chicken and vegetables, and place uncovered in the preheated oven
  6. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through
  7. Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Creamy Asparagus Soup

On these chilly days, nothing is better than a quick and warm meal! This soup is very easy to make, and doesn't take very long at all. Just serve it with some warm biscuits, crackers, or a fresh bun for a fast and delicious meal!

This recipe makes about 6 servings of soup, I often halve it since there are only two of us enjoying it.  The original recipe is from

Creamy Asparagus Soup

  • 2 pounds (2 bundles) of asparagus 
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (or a whole medium or small onion, diced)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Wash the asparagus and snap off the tough ends.  Cut the asparagus into 1" long pieces
  2. Add the olive oil and onion to a large pot, and saute the onions until soft
  3. Add the chicken broth and asparagus, then bring to a boil
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender
  5. Add the sour cream, and stir to combine
  6. Blend the soup in a blender, or use an immersion blender if you have one
    1. Please note that you do not want to fill your blender more than 1/3 of the way with the hot soup when blending! Blending the soup in batches doesn't take very long, and is much safer :)
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  8. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Streusel Cupcakes

These cupcakes are great because they are really light and fluffy.  Also, they are not very sweet (all of the sweetness is in the toppings) so they are fantastic for dessert after a large meal, or as a snack with a cup of tea.

The topping is a cinnamon-brown sugar crumble, and then topped with a delicious milk glaze.  These cupcakes are fantastic!

The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, and makes 24 cupcakes.

Streusel Cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
Streusel Topping
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
Milk Glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  1. Make the streusel topping first, then set aside
    1. Whisk the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together
    2. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or with your hands)
    3. Place the streusel topping in the fridge until ready to be used
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line your muffin pan with paper liners
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl
  4. Beat together the butter and the sugar until fluffy
  5. Add the eggs, and beat until completely combined, then mix in the vanilla
  6. Add the flour mixture to the egg-sugar mixture, and then add the sour cream
  7. Mix until the batter is just coming together
  8. Pour into the prepared cupcake cups
  9. On top of the batter-filled cupcakes cups, sprinkle half of the streusel topping
  10. Press the streusel topping into the batter, and then sprinkle the remaining topping over the cupcakes
  11. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted
  12. After cupcakes have cooled, prepare the milk glaze by whisking together the icing sugar and milk in a small bowl
  13. Immediately drizzle the milk glaze over all of the cupcakes 
  14. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits

The other night I made some roasted chicken and veggies, and wanted something just as warm and tasty to serve with it.  I saw this recipe on, and decided to give some homemade biscuits a try!

These came out awesome! The recipe stated to cut the dough into 8 biscuits, but this recipe can easily make 16.  When cut into 8 pieces, the biscuits were a meal by themselves!

The addition of the jalapeno's added a nice flavor to these, but they would be just as tasty without them too.

The original post can be found here.

Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (cold)  (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cups buttermilk (cold)
  • 1 egg (cold)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (medium or strong/old)
  • 1 diced jalapeno (remove seeds if you don't like spicy food)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt
  3. Grate the cold butter into the flour, and mix until the butter pieces are evenly distributed in the flour
  4. Mix together the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl, and then add to the flour mixture
  5. Mix together until just combined
  6. Place the cheese and jalapeno in a bowl with some flour, and then mix well
  7. Add the cheese and jalapeno to the batter, and then mix until everything is just distributed evenly
  8. Knead lightly, then cut into 8 or 16 pieces
  9. Place on the prepared baking sheet, then bake for 18 - 22 minutes, or until nice and golden brown on top
  10. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This weekend my dad dropped off some gladiolas that he has growing in his garden. They are such an amazing shade of red, they have brightened my kitchen right up! These last few days have been so gloomy outside, and these flowers help bring what is left of summer inside.  All of the buds that were on the stems are now opening up, they are beautiful!

These flowers are more of a bright scarlet red, the pictures seem to have lost some of their vibrancy when I uploaded them?  

They are still beautiful though!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cinnamon Bread

I used to love cinnamon raisin bread when I was younger, it is so delicious when you toast it and then eat it with just a little bit of butter. I found this recipe on, and after my first attempt at making bread went so well, I knew I could make this! is an amazing website for new recipes; not only is everything on the site delicious, but she also has step-by-step photos for each of her recipes, which is a huge help!

I still get excited when the dough rises!

The smell this bread makes when it is baking is so awesome, it just makes you happy.  This bread holds up really well to being toasted, so it makes a wonderful and quick breakfast.

This recipe makes one loaf; I strongly recommend that you double it!

Cinnamon Bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tbsps butter
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsps cinnamon
  • extra soft butter for greasing pans and the dough
  1. Melt the milk and butter together in a small saucepan until really warm, but do not bring to a boil
  2. Let cool, and when warm to the touch sprinkle the yeast over the top, and carefully stir
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes undisturbed
  4. Whisk together the flour and the salt, set aside
  5. Beat the sugar and eggs together
  6. Pour the milk/butter/yeast mixture into the sugar/egg mixture, and stir/beat until completely mixed together
  7. Add half the flour, and mix until fully incorporated
  8. Add the remaining flour, and mix until dough forms
  9. Knead the dough on a floured surface or using your dough hook with your stand mixer, knead for about 10 minutes
  10. Warm up a glass or metal bowl (ex: fill with hot water, then dry) and coat with a little bit of vegetable oil
  11. Place the dough in the warm bowl, and roll it around until it is coated with the vegetable oil
  12. Cover with a tea towel, and let sit for approximately two hours in a warm spot
  13. After the dough has risen, place it onto a floured surface, and then roll it out into a rectangular shape, about 9" by 24"
  14. Cover the surface of the dough with the 2 tablespoons of softened butter
  15. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and then sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough
  16. Roll the dough into a 9" long roll
  17. Place the roll (seam side down) into a loaf pan that has been generously coated in butter
  18. Cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 1 to 2 hours
  19. Bake at 350 F for 35 - 40 minutes, or until golden brown on top
  20. Allow the loaf to cool before slicing.  This bread is great by itself, or toasted with some butter. Yum!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sticky Brownie Bites

I was reading through the other day (I love that site!), and I came across this recipe in the cooking section.  As soon as I saw these sticky, gooey, bites of heaven, I printed off the recipe and went straight to work.

These are absolutely divine! If you are having a chocolate craving, this is the best thing you could possibly eat.  Not only are they amazing brownies, but they contain two different kinds of chocolate chips, and then they are topped with even more chocolate! How can you go wrong?

This recipe makes about 4 dozen brownie bites (made in mini muffin tins), which might seem like a lot, but they disappear at an amazing rate! You will come to appreciate how many the recipe makes very quickly.

I will warn you, the batter tastes absolutely wonderful, so try not to eat it all before getting it into the muffin pans :)

Sticky Brownie Bites
  • 4 x 1 oz squares of unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. In order to melt and cool the unsweetened chocolate, place the squares in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval.  Once the chocolate has completely melted and is smooth, set aside for about 15 to 20 minutes so that it can cool sufficiently.
  2. Preheat your oven to 325 F, then grease and flour your mini muffin pans 
  3. Beat the margarine and sugar until it is light and fluffy
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is well mixed into the butter and sugar
  5. Add the cooled chocolate, and mix until just combined
  6. Add the flour and vanilla, and again mix until just combined
  7. Add both types of chocolate chips, and stir by hand until well distributed throughout the batter
  8. Fill each muffin cup with brownie batter, just filling each one so that the brownies don't overflow each cup
  9. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, then remove and let cool completely before adding the chocolate icing/glaze
  10. When cool, you can either drizzle the brownie bites with the chocolate glaze, or dunk them in the chocolate so that they are completely covered.
Chocolate Icing/Glaze
  • 8 x 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate squares
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Chop up the semi-sweet chocolate squares, and place in a heat-proof bowl
  2. In another bowl, add the cream and corn syrup
  3. Microwave the cream and corn syrup, mixing occasionally, until it is very warm
  4. Add the vanilla to the cream, and mix well
  5. Pour the very warm cream mixture over the chopped chocolate, and stir until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth
  6. Serve over the brownie bites, or dunk them right in! This would be a perfect glaze to drizzle over iced cupcakes