Cookie Swap Thanks and a Product of Canada [Maple Cookies]

Landed in a Ottawa yesterday, in a winter wonderland. Am now cozy by the fire, presents wrapped, holiday tunes on, poodle at my feet, surrounded by family and so happy. Holiday bliss!

[From @tomshap's instagram]

[From @tomshap’s instagram]

Came home to discover treats waiting for me in the freezer — the cookies I received from the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! Thank you so much to Megan at the bold baker, Destini at The Healthy Wife, and Lisa at Je Suis Alimentageuse, for the delicious goodies! They were shared with family and friends over tea this afternoon — lovely.
(You can find the recipe for the Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies we sent out here!)

Cookie swap goodies -- thank you!

Cookie swap goodies — thank you!

During the last week of school in Spain, my 7th graders decided to have a dessert party to celebrate the start of the holidays.  Students got together in groups of two and made different desserts that are typical to Spain or Andalucia and several of them spelled out my name on their dessert, which was adorable.  I decided that I should make something Canadian to share and so I treated myself to some pure Canadian maple syrup from the biggest department store in Huelva (I had to search in the international food section!) and made these sweet maple cookies.
This was my first time creaming butter and sugar together by hand — I was so happy that with a little elbow grease these cookies came together easily and gave everyone a little taste of Canada (they were a hit!).

Excited to find maple syrup in Huelva!

Excited to find maple syrup in Huelva!

Maple Cookies in Huelva

Maple Cookies in Huelva

photo (1)
It’s so nice to be home for the holidays — definitely the best Christmas gift this year, by far! Merry Christmas to you all, I’m off for my long winter’s nap! xo

A Year on Kate’s Plate

114 posts, 75 recipes, and 8 countries later, it’s my little blog’s first birthday!

This time last year I was up to my eyeballs in chemistry notes and ecology theories and distractedly jotting down little ideas for a blog.  The internet certainly didn’t need another food blog, I figured — there’s an overwhelming amount of big, beautiful sites that can satisfy any hungry reader. But here I am! I didn’t know what I wanted to blog about, only that I wanted a little space for a creative outlet.  As time has gone on, I guess I’d call Kate’s Plate a generalist/travel/food blog…as indecisive as ever, but having fun along the way.
shakespeareHaving just participated in a wonderful blogger cookie swap, I can’t get over how nice the blogosphere is, and I’ve been lucky to meet some really interesting and lovely people online and off because of my little blog.  I’ve learned so much this year, and now I see how the people who run the blogs I admire most are full time bloggers — they have to put in a lot work!

I’m so grateful for the positive feedback I’ve received this year — thank you to everyone who has commented, sent recipe suggestions, book recommendations, interesting links, travel tips, constructive criticism and lovely encouragement.  Thank you for stopping by my little blog and I hope you’ll come back often.  I enjoy having you here!  (Special thanks to all my taste testers, and family and friends for waiting for me to photograph my food before you get to eat…even though some of you make fun of me! And mama, thank you for being my number one after-the-fact-mistake-finder, recipe helper and kitchen consultant, just to name a few.)

And now, to celebrate a first year of happy blogging, here are the top five recipes from the first year on Kate’s Plate!
5. Baked Polenta Fries

[Baked Polenta Fries]

[Baked Polenta Fries]

Crispy and crunchy on the outside with a softer cheesy center, these are winners.  I’ve made these several times now, and have even cut them up in tiny cubes to be little croutons for my salads and soups.  However you choose to cut yours, I’m sure you’ll love them.  And, if you have a minute, the video linked in the post may give you some food for thought.

4. Dark Chocolate Earl Grey TartSONY DSC

[Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tart]

[Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tart]

I might have waxed poetic about my love for Earl Grey in this post…but seriously, this dessert was lovely.  And yes, Earl Grey and I are still an item.

3. Cheesy Quinoa, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake

[Cheesy Cauliflower Broccoli Bake]

[Cheesy Cauliflower Broccoli Bake]

This easy dish falls into one of my favourite food groups: healthy comfort food.  Warm, cheesy, and loaded with tasty veggies– this is something I love to throw together for a quick tasty dinner, and the leftovers (if you have any) rock.

2. Guinness Chocolate Cake

[Guinness Chocolate Cake]

[Guinness Chocolate Cake]Dunlop trying to sneak up on the cupcakes...Dunlop trying to sneak up on the cupcakes…

This Guinness chocolate cake was a hit last Saint-Patrick’s day.  Just like the beer that’s featured, the cake was dark and smooth.  Intensely chocolatey the recipe also worked super well for the Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Icing that silly Dunlop is trying to taste….
You can use any other stout beer in this recipe, and definitely don’t need to wait until next Saint-Patrick’s day to make it.

1. Cheesy Quinoa Cakes with Healthy Aioli

[Cheesy Quinoa Cakes with Healthy Garlic and Lemon Aioli]

[Cheesy Quinoa Cakes with Healthy Garlic and Lemon Aioli]

These little quinoa cakes were an instant hit.  I remember the night I made them I had had a bit of a rough day and really didn’t feel like cooking, but I’d already made the quinoa mixture and just had to plop these in the skillet so I plowed on.  I was rewarded with crispy, cheesy, nuggets of goodness and it was the perfect dinner on a cold January night.

So, there it is folks.  Time flies when you’re having fun, right?  It’s been a challenge, it’s been tasty, it’s been a ton of fun, and I’m grateful for it all.  Muchas gracias — hasta pronto!