Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

While the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls will always be a huge favourite of mine (and everyone else's from what I can tell!), sometimes you don't have the time to prepare the yeast-dough that they are made of.  Especially if you need a quick and delicious cinnamon bun to quell a sudden craving, or to feed a house-hold of hungry guests!

I first had these while visiting friends.  After tasting one I couldn't write down the recipe fast enough!  I cannot remember where the recipe originates, but oh man, is it ever good! I took a good look online and found several sources with the same recipe, the one that I found the most often is from Company's Coming.

The dough comes together quickly, and I love how they are baked up in a muffin pan so that they can easily be grabbed and devoured.

These are amazing with a classic glaze, but are also sweet enough on their own if you don't want to deal with the glaze. 

This recipe makes 12 cinnamon rolls and it can easily be doubled (or tripled!) for a hungry crowd.

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • Cinnamon filling
    • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • Glaze
    • 1/2 cup icing sugar
    • 1 - 2 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and grease a muffin pan
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender (or your fingers) cut in the cold butter until it resembles coarse crumbs
  4. Make a well in the centre and add the cold milk
  5. Mix until a soft dough forms, then place on a lightly floured surface
  6. Knead the dough about 10 times, and then roll it into a 12" long rectangle
  7. In a small bowl mix together the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon
  8. Spread the cinnamon filling on the rectangle of dough
  9. Roll up the dough and then cut it into 12 pieces
  10. Place each piece into a muffin cup, and then bake for 20 - 25 minutes
  11. After you have removed the cinnamon rolls from the oven, whisk together the glaze in a small bowl.
  12. Drizzle them with the glaze, and Enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Smoked Salmon Wrap

Close by where I work there is a little cafe that serves fresh soup, sandwiches, salads and pasta that is prepared daily. My favourite things to order when I decide to treat myself there are the wraps.  They are massive, grilled to perfection in the panini press, and full of fresh vegetables.

Right now my favourite thing is their smoked salmon wraps. They are amazing!

When we received several cans of tasty smoked salmon recently (straight from BC!) I knew I had to re-create the flavours of that wrap at home. I just love how all of these flavours come together!

This makes four wraps.

Smoked Salmon Wraps
  • 400 grams smoked salmon
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • cream cheese
  • mixed greens
  • raspberry vinaigrette 
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas or pita bread
  1. Spread some cream cheese on each of the wraps
  2. Add 1/2 to 1 cup mixed greens each, and top with the sliced red bell pepper
  3. Top with the smoked salmon and drizzle on the raspberry vinaigrette
  4. Wrap it up, and enjoy!
Note: If you have a panini press, definitely finish it off in there. The wraps are amazing when they have that little crunch from the panini press

Thursday, August 25, 2011

'Peace' Cupcakes and an Unbirthday Cake

Every year one of my girlfriends and a group of people she grew up with have a weekend get-together at her cabin.  I guess it has become a bit of a tradition for her to make these 'Peace' cupcakes by icing vanilla cupcakes with half chocolate and half vanilla icing.  She thought it would be fun to get them 'professionally' made (very loose use of the word!!) this year to mix it up!

Also, I guess the weekend usually falls on/around her friend Neil's birthday, but sadly, not this year. From what I have been told he was pretty bummed that there would be no birthday celebration for him!  So I was also asked to bake an 'unbirthday' cake for Neil to help him feel better :)

I love when people ask me to make different desserts, their unique ideas definitely force me to get creative!

The 'Peace' cupcakes came with very specific guidelines: A vanilla cupcake that was iced in half chocolate icing and half vanilla icing.  I originally had visions of two-toned swirls of icing but I was informed that they were not to be swirled.  Who am I to mess with tradition? Flat icing it is!

For the cake I had free rein. The only request was for a message that made it clear it was in fact not a birthday party for poor Neil.  I baked a 3-layer 6" vanilla chocolate chip cake and filled it with chocolate icing. I then iced it with a classic vanilla buttercream.  The 6" cake seemed like a pretty small canvas for such a long message so I used fondant and wrote on it with food-safe markers.

I had so much fun with these cupcakes and the cake! I hope they had a blast on their weekend :)

**You may have noticed that more and more of my pictures are being taken with my iPhone and not my camera lately.  You can't help but love the convenience of the iPhone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Donairs at Home

That's right my friends, you can make delicious donairs at home! These are awesome, we couldn't believe how much they tasted like the originals.

I doubled the meat part of the recipe and it made about 8 portions.  The sweet sauce makes a large batch, enough for twice as many donairs as this recipe makes.  If you have a use for the remaining evaporated milk, I would recommend halving the sweet sauce recipe.

These are so incredibly easy to make, I couldn't believe it! The only thing to keep in mind is that they are best if they sit in the refrigerator overnight or for a day before crisping up the meat in a dry pan.

We topped ours with sweet sauce, sauteed onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and montery jack cheese. So good!

The original recipe states that these freeze really well, so feel free to double it up so that you have donairs ready for when those cravings hit.

I found the original recipe on I have listed the amount I made (double the original).  Trust me, you will want to make at least this much!


  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground oregano
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Sweet Sauce
    • 1 can (12 fluid oz) evaporated milk
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 white onion, sliced (you can saute the onion too)
  • sliced Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a small bowl mix together the salt, oregano, flour, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper
  3. Place the ground beef in a large bowl, and mix in the spices with your hands
  4. In order to compress the meat to get the donair meat texture, you have two options
    1. Place the meat in a stainless steel bowl on a solid surface. Throw the meat mixture into the bowl about 20 times, kneading between each throw
    2. Or, place the meat mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on medium low for 2 - 4 minutes
  5. Shape the meat into two loaf shapes, and place on the parchment paper
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes
  7. Remove from the oven, let cool, and then place in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight
  8. To make the sweet sauce, whisk together the evaporated milk, sugar, and garlic powder
  9. When mixed, whisk in the white vinegar 1 tsp at a time 
  10. Continue whisking until the sweet sauce is thick, then place in the refrigerator until ready to serve
  11. When ready to serve, slice the meat into thin slices, and then crisp it up in a frying pan over medium heat
  12. Serve on pita bread with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, onions (raw or sauteed), and sweet sauce
  13. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Wedding Cake and Cupcakes

This past July I was asked to bake up about 100 cupcakes and a mini 2-tier cake for a summer wedding.

The bride requested vanilla cupcakes with a classic vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and topped with some flaked coconut.  Simple and beautiful!

For the cake they asked for a small two-tiered cake to top their cupcake tower and for the bride and groom to cut for the pictures.  Instead of a vanilla cake they asked for something a little bit different. When I was going through popular cake and cupcake flavours the groom's eyes lit up at 'strawberry', so strawberry it is!

The cake was iced in vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and then covered with flaked coconut.  The base is a 6" square and the top tier is a 4" square.  In order to make the top tier I baked the cake in a standard loaf pan, and then cut it in half. Voila, two 4" squares!

I made a green bow for the top of the cake at their request, it was my first attempt at making a bow!  The evening before the wedding they asked if I could add a pearl or diamond to the bow, so I rolled some fondant and then painted it with luster dust mixed with lemon juice to give it a pearl-like shine.

I love how this cake turned out!  The mini-tier is such a fun idea and the flaked coconut gave it such a fantastic finish.

I hope the bride and groom enjoyed the cupcakes and cake!

Unfortunately the dessert table wasn't ready for me when I dropped off the desserts so I don't have a final photo. If I get a hold of one I'll post it asap! :)

How do you keep 100 cupcakes fresh overnight? Saran wrap the table!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Over 200? Woah

So I was taking a stroll through my list of posts today and I noticed that I had over 200 posts up already! And my blog is just over a year old (yeah, I missed it's birthday last month. Oops!).  That seems like a lot of posts. Is it a lot? Maybe, but 'a lot' in a good way I think :)

When I started this blog I had no idea if it would stick. I had no clue if the novelty would wear off in a matter of weeks, or if it would become an integral part to my love of baking and cooking.

Luckily for me, it stuck.  Because of this blog I have been able to meet some AMAZING people, and try my had at things I never would have though possible.  I've tried dishes from all over, and I feel like I am just getting started because my 'to try' list is insanely long! It's one of the few long 'to-do' lists that I find exciting to have around.

I've also gotten to travel because of my blog. I attended BlogHer '11 in San Diego at the beginning of the month, and who knows where I may go next!

I thought I would do a little wrap-up of some of my favourite recipes so far. If I saw this list a year ago, guaranteed I wouldn't have thought that it was a list I had made!

Fish Tacos with Lime Coleslaw
Originally posted: March 26, 2011

I made this two nights ago and I still love them just as much as the first time I made them.  The balance of the fish, the dry rub, and the lime coleslaw is out of this world.  Topped with some fresh avocado...bliss.

California Rolls
Originally posted: July 05, 2010

Every time I make these it still shocks me how simple they actually are to make. They are perfect when you need a simple meal and are a great way to use up those veggies sitting in your veggie drawer.

Vanilla Bean Latte Cake
Originally posted: July 11, 2011

This is the perfect cake for a girl's night. What female doesn't love a delicious frothy latte? And who doesn't love cake? BAM! This cake was born and it is awesome. I am also proud of this cake because it shows how far my decorating has come, and how far it has yet to go :)

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
Originally posted: September 23, 2010

I. Love. Lemon. I never know that I had such a love for lemon in desserts until I started baking on my own.  Then I realized that more and more often I was finding the urge to add some lemon zest to anything and everything.  While lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream may be considered a 'lemon overload' to some, I find myself shoving these babies in my mouth.  It's one of the rare occasions where I enjoy my dessert as much with the icing as I do without! And we all know how much I usually love my naked cupcakes.

Vegan Black Forest Cupcakes
Originally posted: August 01, 2011

These cupcakes were full of win. Vegan? check! Insanely cute? check! Satisfied my vegan girlfriend's pregnancy cravings? CHECK! I consider these a complete success.

Tiffany & Co. Cupcakes
Originally posted: July 05, 2011

Who would of thought a year ago that my cupcakes could ever look like this? Not I!

Whole Wheat Garlic Knots
Originally posted: June 03, 2011

I think I can safely say that I am over my fear of using yeast. I'm not saying that I don't find it incredibly exciting each time my dough actually rises, 'cause that is definitely a cause of the kitchen happy dance every time, but now I don't put off trying a recipe for fear of having yeast involved.  And these things are aweosme. So much garlic, so much happy.

Lemony Glazed Bundt Cake
Originally posted: May 29, 3011

Once again, lemon makes an appearance.  Aren't bundt cakes just so pretty?

Focaccia Bread
Originally posted: May 10, 2011

Another triumph over yeast, and such an easy bread to whip up.  The food processor does most of the work for you!  This is the perfect bread to serve with almost any meal, and it makes tasty panini's too.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Originally posted: August 15, 2010

This is hands-down an ultimate crowd pleaser.  If you need a cake to bring to a party, potluck, baby shower, etc., whip up this baby. So delicious!

Tikka Masala
Originally posted: December 31, 2010

We love Indian food in our house, and this dish comes together pretty easily.  I find it has become a comfort food for us in the winter months; it warms you up inside and out!

OK, I'm going to stop here. I am afraid this list will just keep growing!

Thank you so much for being here and being a part of this blogging craziness. It has been such a blast! I have a backlog with a ton of recipes to post, so I will be getting on that ASAP.

Until then, Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

San Diego - Beaches, Fish Tacos, and Bevies!

Last Sunday Amy was an amazing host and took me around to experience the best that San Diego had to offer.

We started the day with a trip to OB (that's 'Ocean Beach' to the tourists) (yes, I'm practically a local) which was unbelievable. There is nothing like some time spent laying in the sun and listening to the ocean to recharge and relax.

After some quality beach-bum time we checked out a nearby restaurant recommended by Amanda and had some amazing fish tacos.  I now know why San Diego is known for their fish tacos! These were delicious! I'm hooked.

We had also tried fish tacos the night before at the pool restaurant by the San Diego Convention Center. They were good, but $14 good?

And yet the ones we had on the beach cost us $6 and were AMAZING! Lesson learnt, go with the locals, not the tourists!

Our fish taco experience was followed by ice cream in fresh waffle cones. Heaven.  If that isn't a fabulous way to spend a day in San Diego, then I don't know what is!

Thank you again Amy for being such an awesome host! I am so lucky to have made such a great friend through the wonderful world of food bloggers :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Butterbeer Cookies

A few weeks go I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the opening night of the vey last Harry Potter movie! I have loved the series since I picked up that first book a long time ago. Both the books and the movies are awesome, but the books will always be my favourite.

The movie was AWESOME! It was so well done and I cannot believe that it is the very last one.  While the movie has a happy ending, it was sad to see everything come to an end. The anticipation of the next book or movie has been half the fun!

When I spotted these cookies on Bake at 350, I knew they would be the perfect celebratory snack to smuggle into the theatre.  I have yet to try the 'real' butterbeer that they serve at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, but I do plan on making my way over there one day! Road trip anyone?

This recipe makes a fairly large batch of cookies.  I make just over 3 dozen with my star-shaped cookie cutter.

Butterbeer Cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp butter flavouring (you can buy this at Michaels)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Butterbeer Glaze:
    • 1 1/3 cups butterscotch chips
    • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
    • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
    • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder
  3. In a second bowl cream together the sugar, brown sugar, and butter until it is fluffy
  4. Add the egg, butter flavouring, and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well
  5. Add the flour to the wet ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time mixing well after each addition
  6. When you add the last bit of flour, you might need to knead the dough with your hands to incorporate all of the dry ingredients
  7. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment until 1/3" thick
  8. Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown
  9. Let cool fully before drizzling on the glaze
  10. While the cookies cool you can prepare the butterbeer glaze
  11. Set up a double boiler and mix together the butterscotch chips, evaporated milk, corn syrup, and salt until smooth
  12. Drizzle the cookies until your heart is content
  13. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BlogHer '11 - An Amazing Weekend

Yesterday I came home from the most amazing weekend in sunny San Diego.  I had flown down last Thursday to attend BlogHer '11, my first ever blogging conference.

My trip started out on an awesome note when I was picked up by Amy of Do You Know the Muffin Pan? and her boyfriend at the airport. After three flights from Edmonton, Alberta to San Diego, California, friendly faces were a welcome sight! Not only were they kind enough to pick me up, I was booked in at their place all weekend! They are some of the nicest and most genuine people I have met, it was a privilege to get to spend my weekend with them.

Amy and I at the conference, as you can tell we're pretty much famous

Though the sessions that we attended were great, what sticks out most in my mind are the people that I had the honour to meet and everything that I had the opportunity to experience!

I got to know Amy as we explored the unknown world that is the BlogHer conference together.  I am so lucky to have been able to work my way through this new experience with such a wonderful friend!  We had such a fun time together, and she was also kind enough to show me the best parts of San Diego on Sunday (fish tacos and the beach! Best. Day. Ever.)

Amy, The Sun, and I

The people we met were just wonderful.  Laura of Hey What's for Dinner Mom?, Kathy of Panini Happy, Lisa of The Gonzo Gourmet, Amanda of What We're Eating and Food Porn Daily, and so many more stick out in my mind.  We also got to listen to the insanely talented Penny de los Santos (website) at a photography session, and I played paparazzi as Amy learned to cook from the great Marco Pierre White himself!

Amy, Penny, and I

Chef Marco. He mentored Gordon Ramsay, no big deal

Friday night we were invited on a yacht ride around the bay by Dove Chocolate where we were welcomed by amazing hostesses, delicious hors d'oeuvres, and free flowing beverages. It was a great start to the evening!  The yacht ride was beautiful, and we even had our own 'private' fireworks show as we were heading back to the convention centre. After the yacht ride we danced our buns off at the Sparklecorn party, a perfect ending to a fantastic day.

Saturday was another great day as we checked out the expo again (so much swag, it was insane), attended an extremely helpful food photography and styling session hosted by Hillshire Farm, checked out the pool, and then had a blast at the Social Fiesta and Cheeseburgher.

If that isn't a fabulous conference, I don't know what is.  I cannot thank everyone enough who showed us so much kindness!

I think that the most important thing that I can take away from the BlogHer experience was how amazing and supportive the blogging community can be.  I am so lucky to be a part of it all.  Oh, and I learned to try and not get sucked into all of the free swag. oh dear

As informative as the sessions that we attended were, by far the best parts were the times outside of those sessions.  Cooking experiences at the expo, the amazing Dove Yacht Cruise, and all of the people we randomly met in the hallways and in the Sails Pavilion for our meals.

Amy, Lisa, and Kathy - Risotto Pros!

I loved every minute of this last weekend, and I cannot wait for the next opportunity to do it all over again! BlogHer Food 2012 anyone?

** All photos were taken with my iPhone, so some are a bit fuzzy.  I couldn't bring myself to carry around my heavy camera all weekend :)