Weekends Are Too Short [Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies]

Some things are just good. Like Girls (which I’ve only just discovered, thanks to my girls), car karaoke times, girl getaway weekends, homemade sangria, dressing up for a classy dinner, dancing at the bar til it feels like a workout, and, oatmeal cookies. In my mind, these things are all kind of related. It’s like, after a weekend of all those things, an oatmeal cookie is the perfect, old-fashioned, comforting ending. I think I’m getting a little too poetic about this oatmeal cookie.  But I hope your weekends were lovely. Mine was, and Monday morning seems like a very cruel thought right now. Might have to have an oatmeal cookie for breakfast.

If it’s as steamy where you live as it is in Ottawa lately then it is probably way too hot to consider using your oven…so why don’t you just keep these cookies in mind the next time you’re able to move around your kitchen without sweating. (Or! Wake up early and bake before it’s hot and then you can have a fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie when the sun comes up. I wish I was more of a morning person.)

If you’re more of a raisin than choco chip person when it comes to oatmeal cookies that’s cool, too. Or dried cranberries (kind of good for Christmas, right?).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

(don’t even try to steal my) Fig Gallette

Well hey there! I do still exist, I’ve just been having too much fun and a tad disorganized. My mum said that I’m going to “socially exhaust” myself…I laughed at her, but I’ve been battling a runny nose&sore throat combo that just won’t go away so maybe she’s right (as usual!). Amidst all the fun I’ve been having there was a bit of a bummer a couple weeks ago: my iPad and wallet were stolen from under my desk at work while I was at a short meeting.  Several other people on my floor were also unlucky victims of this thief who made off with some extra cash, iPhones and Blackberries; it wasn’t a fun day at the office. It’s unfortunate because everyone is just so comfortable at work and security is good (you need a key card to get in on each floor) so I never really thought to worry, but now I have a locked drawer and that’s where all my stuff will stay. Anyway, I’m only writing about this because the story has an almost-happy ending! The next day one of my super nice supervisors dug through garbage cans outside of our office building to see if the thief had dumped some stuff in there.  Indeed, he had!  I was able to get my nice wallet back (although it was really stinky), and all my cards/ID/license, which saved a lot of hassle. So just goes to show that there are some supremely nice people out there (I mean, he went through downtown garbage cans with his bare hands, what a guy!). I lost some cash and my iPad which really blows, but it’s not the end of the world. 

That day I had lunch with some great gals who watched me cry and ranted with me about how low some people are which made me feel a lot better (thanks, girls!).  I was also lucky to be having another great gal over for dinner that night! My brother made chow mein and Angela brought over a delicious cheesecake, so this fig gallette that I made may have been superfluous to our meal but I had fun making it, and by the end of the theft-day that was what I really needed.

Gallettes are lovely since they really let the sumptuous fruit shine through with a flaky, buttery crust for a bit of a treat. This recipe from franish nonspeaker was easy to whip up and perfectly nut-free for both Angela and my twin; hurrah! The simplicity of baked figs with a drizzle of honey is a perfect combination (even without the dough if you are so inclined). Bon appetit! And if you happen to buy an iPad with “KShap” engraved on the back…that’s mine!

GMOs and Baked Polenta Fries

Polenta is enjoying a sort of resurgence in my household. I remember eating it when I was young, but until last year I feel like we had sort of forgotten about it. I’m so glad it’s back in action in our kitchen.

I feel like I often talk about how much I love a certain ingredient featured in a recipe because of it’s versatility  and polenta fits in exceptionally well in the versatile-club. (Polenta vegetable pie is a favourite at home, and I’ve been wanting to try this cake for a while…see how versatile? Yay polenta!) Seriously, I think I like these better than potato fries (but then, I don’t really like potatoes). Either way, they were a big hit.

Cripsy and crunchy on the outside with a little cheesy goodness…you won’t have leftovers.

These “fries” are so easy to adapt to different preferences in taste and texture; I’ve made them three times already but I’m excited to experiment some more. Also — cut these up into smaller pieces before you bake them, and you can have polenta croutons!! Perfect on soups, salads… I get way too excited about food…

I found the recipe on Kitchen Vignettes by Aube, and not only did I love the sound of the recipe and the beautiful photographs, but the way she fit a little bit of activism into her post about Monsanto and GMOs made my heart beat a little faster. At the time I had read the post, I was actually working on a group project for a class at school about the environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms, so it really struck a chord. If you have a couple minutes, head over to her post and watch the clip from the documentary called “The World According to Monsanto” — hopefully it gives you some food for thought.

Enough talk, make those fries!

Baked French Toast

Weekday breakfasts for me are usually just something fast and simple, but weekend breakfasts can be special. Without work or school to rush off to, it’s so nice to sit and really enjoy your first meal of the day! As far as “special” breakfasts go, I’m a pretty big fan of french toast; it’s easy, delicious and you can add almost anything to it. Well, this baked french toast takes even less prep time but is still lovely enough to serve for an occasion.
You can put it all together and leave it in the fridge overnight, then all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven! I think everyone can handle that.Ottawa is getting it’s second weekend of beautiful weather in a row, and I can’t get enough of the sunshine (although my lobster red shoulders might disagree).   This long weekend is the perfect time for a languid breakfast in the sun — hope you can take advantage of it!

This baked French toast was part of our Mother’s Day brunch… it was a delicious morning and I have so much love for my wonderful Mum & Nana! 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…start baking!

Spanish Sweet [Lemon Ricotta Pudding]

One of my best friends is leaving for Madrid to be an au pair for the next few months.  I am so excited for her, but selfishly I will miss having her in town this summer! She came over for an impromptu dinner the other night, and while the meal was not Spanish I thought it would be fun to serve a Spanish inspired dessert.

My parents gave me this beautiful cookbook for Christmas, The Food Of Spain, and I’ve been dying to try some of its recipes.  I’m excited I finally have!
I didn’t have a lot of time to whip up dessert when I came home from work, but this recipe actually turned out to be perfect for the occasion.  Four ingredients and almost no prep-work later, we had some delicious Spanish Cheese Pudding on our hands. (In the cookbook it is just called “cheese pudding”, but I think Lemon Ricotta Pudding sounds nicer…!)
This simple dessert is the perfect accompaniment for the colourful fruit that is starting to abound at the market and a little drizzle of honey.  The lemon flavour comes through lightly and will be great for easy breezy sunny days, this one is definitely on the “make again” list.
Love you, Laura — buen viaje!! xo

La receta

Light & Airy Coconut Cupcakes

I think coconut might be one of my favourite flavours whether it be in a curry or a cupcake (look at that versatility).  Its flavour is distinct but super light and makes me  think of sunny times on an island….which is never terrible. I’ve made my favourite coconut macaroons several times since I discovered how easy they were in December, but I decided it was time for a new coconut dessert in the house and so these coconut cupcakes happened. They were gone the same night they came out of the oven, so I guess everyone liked them!

The recipe from Canadian Living will leave you with nice, fluffy cupcakes. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese icing as they suggest for the garnish, so I dipped the tops of my cupcakes in melted dark chocolate with some toasted shredded coconut on top. The contrast between the light cupcakes and the strong chocolate is a winner.  I think these are a great sprummer (spring + summer!) treat and would be perfect for a Mother’s Day dessert if any of you are baking for Mum this weekend! Enjoy!

Honey Bran Muffins

Before you balk at bran being thrown at you once again as a great way to get your fiber, let me say that these muffins are truly delicious.  My mum has been making these for a long time, and even as a kid they kind of seemed like a dessert to me (this might be partly because we didn’t eat dessert a lot…).  Now that I’m sure I’ve convinced you of these muffins’ yummyness (I’m just inventing words this morning), I should tell you that they are also healthy (and yes, a great way to eat your fiber). Go make them!

This recipe is a great base, too, for whatever dried fruit/nuts/berries/all of the above you want to throw in.  One of my favourite add-ins are blueberries, but I went for something a little different this time with dried cherries and walnuts. Delicious.  These babies also make very satisfying travel snacks — a good thing, since I’m taking a couple to the airport with me. Have a great weekend! Mum’s muffin recipe

Chocolate Orange Biscotti

As you may have guessed from previous posts (see here and here), I quite like tea. By extension, I guess it’s not surprising that I also really like biscotti; perfect for tea and coffee dunking! These treats are fun and easy to make, and the result is a biscotti that rivals any coffee shop’s, but better cause they’re yours and oh-so-fresh!
I love the combination of chocolate and orange in almost any form, so this recipe seemed perfect.

I only made a few modifications: added a teaspoon more orange zest, used bittersweet chocolate chips and left out the nuts so that my brother could enjoy these, too! These were a big hit. Happy weekend, you guys!

Perfect for a rainy day.

What Does Freedom Taste Like?

Gem-shaped cranberry ice cubes in sparkling wine -- I'm a sucker for shaped ice cube trays!

Gem-shaped cranberry ice cubes in sparkling wine -- I'm a sucker for shaped ice cube trays!

Released from the shackles of academic obligations for the next four months I eagerly embraced my first day of vacation. (Okay, that might be a little dramatic. I like school, and I’ll be starting my summer job soon, so I’m not on total vacation…but summer is always exciting!)
What did I get up to? Quality time with the puppy, a singing rehearsal, yoga, dinner with friends and I got to play in the kitchen! I actually exercised some willpower and didn’t bake at all during my exams, so I was itching to make some dessert. Hope your day was as tasty as mine!

Tired after so much walking!

Tired puppy after so much walking!

My mum's amaaaazing pizza.

Chocolate orange biscotti