Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rose swirl cake

I decided to attempt a rose swirl cake for my daughter's 4th Princess birthday party. I usually don't venture too far out from my typical cupcakes and kept debating whether or not I should actually make this cake - I was nervous it would turn out awful and then she wouldn't have any cake for her party, but I knew if I didn't at least try making it I'd regret it.

Despite the few hiccups along the way - the biggest one being that I ran out of icing with only THREE roses left to go and needing my poor husband to drive out late at night to pick up more icing sugar, I'm actually really pleased with the final product! There's obviously some imperfections and it took me a lot longer than it probably should have to complete, but seeing the ecstatic look on my daughter's face when she saw it for the first time showed me that it was all worth it!!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

These little sweet treats are to die for. They are so incredibly moist and flavourful and when topped with such a divine frosting such as browned butter, it makes them pretty much irresistible to stop at just one.....or two.....or, say, three.....

And have I mentioned just how easy they are to make? Oh goodness, you can whip up a batch of these bad boys in no time. I'm sure many of you have seen this super easy recipe floating around Pinterest and maybe wondered how well they actually turn out. Well, trust me when I say they taste absolutely amazing!

This batch I made last year with no frosting, but instead just brown sugar and cinnamon


1 package any flavour cake mix (I used Butter Pecan)
1 398mL (about 14oz) can Pure Pumpkin

That's all. I swear.

Mix the 2 ingredients together with a mixer. Fill cupcake holders about 3/4 full of batter for larger cupcakes or 1/2 full for slightly smaller ones. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes. Makes approximately 12 larger cupcakes or 18 slightly smaller ones.

Brown Butter Frosting
I found the recipe from this blog (I only used the frosting recipe, not the cupcake one) and decided to give it a whirl from all the positive reviews. I did change it a bit by adding some cinnamon and brown sugar though, which gave it a really nice extra flavour. It was soooooo yummy, it took a LOT of will power to not just stick a spoon in and eat it entirely straight up!

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp cinnamon

*note, all measurements are approximate. You can add more or less powdered sugar or milk to get the frosting to the consistency of your liking.

Melt butter on low to medium heat, eyeing it closely so it doesn't burn. Once melted and starting to turn a nice golden brown (again, do not over cook that it starts to burn), remove from heat and slowly add powdered sugar, mixing constantly to make it a smooth consistency. Add brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and continue mixing until all ingredients are blended together smoothly. Slowly add milk to thin it out a bit and keep adding it until you've reached the frosting consistency that you desire.

Take a spoonful of frosting and drizzle as much or little as you'd like over each cupcake. Frosting will harden to a really nice soft consistency, that even a couple days after making them and biting into them, the frosting will still have that melt-in-your-mouth taste.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

This soup is such an incredibly simple recipe that requires very little prep work with the end result being so tasty and flavourful. It's also a wonderful way to sneak in lots of veggies for those little (and big) picky eaters!

Listed below are the ingredients I used to make the soup due to what I had on hand and modifying it to my liking, but you can find the original recipe here.

1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 small white onion, diced
3 - 4 cloves garlic
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 zucchini, diced
4 mushrooms, diced
4 1/2 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1 large can diced tomatoes with liquid (I used 'no salt added')
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cheese filled tortellini
grated cheddar cheese

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter (or margarine) over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini, and mushrooms and saute until just about to turn a golden brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Turning heat up slightly, add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, oregano, basil, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to boil.

3. Turn heat down to medium and add the tortellini. Let simmer for about 10 minutes until tortellini is nice and tender (do not overcook or they will really expand).

4. Serve into bowls and top with grated cheddar cheese.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Autumn Wreath

Fall is in the air! Such a beautiful season with the falling leaves and all the gorgeous colours! As much as I love a hot, sunny summer, I was so excited to welcome the cooler weather (could be partially due to being 29 weeks pregnant though). And with fall comes all the lovely smells and so many divine sweet pumpkin and cinnamon treats and the trips to the pumpkin patch and the scarves and the boots. Ahhhhhh! Oh the joy!!

I knew I had to bring in autumn by doing a fun craft - and no craft beats making a gorgeous seasonal wreath to hang on the front door. So my daughter and I took a little shopping trip to Michael's to pick up all our materials for this year's fall wreath and then we went to the park in search of our own pine cones (no way was I about to spend $10 on a small bag of pine cones at Michaels).

I really love how this wreath turned out. It adds so much colour and gives off such a welcoming feeling to the house!

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Crockpot Lasagna

It really works!

I've seen recipes for making lasagna in the crockpot and will admit I was a bit skeptical at first. It just didn't seem feasible for some reason, but I was intrigued at the same time at how it would turn out. I just used my own favourite lasagna recipe that I've come up with over the years and crossed my fingers for the best. I must say, I am extremely pleased with how well it turned out. It was so well kept together and not at all runny. The hubby enjoyed it so much and the two year old had THREE servings and kept saying "mmmmm" every time she took a bite! I will definitely be making lasagna again in the crockpot!

12 lasagna noodles (I used oven-ready, so no cooking prep before hand)
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained of grease
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 package frozen spinach, heated in microwave and drained
1 jar tomato sauce
1 - 500mL container cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1 cup grated cheese of your choice (I usually use cheddar because that's what we normally have in the fridge)

1. Cook meat with garlic until fully browned. Drain any excess grease. Add onions, celery, mushrooms, and whatever other vegetables you want to add into it.

2. Heat spinach in microwave, according to directions on package (normally about 4 minutes) and then drain any excess liquid. Mix in with the meat mixture. Add tomato sauce and let simmer a few minutes until vegetables are softened to your liking.

3. Line the bottom of the crockpot with 3 lasagna noodles (depending on the size and shape of your crockpot, you'll probably have to snap off some of the noodle so it will fit - but you can just place those broken pieces in the gaps).

4. Evenly place meat mixture over top noodles and then do the same with the cottage cheese on top of the meat. Repeat until you have 3 layers of noodles and no more meat mixture or cottage cheese. Place grated cheese on top.

5. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours or until noodles are softened to your liking.

May not look as neat as oven-baked lasagna, but definitely tastes just as delicious!

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Banana Blueberry Muffins

I always make sure to buy extra bananas when I'm at the grocery store, knowing full well a few will over-ripen and get mushy, leaving me no other choice than to make banana bread! It is such a hit in this house and how can I say no to my little girl asking for her "ana bed".

There are a gazillion banana bread recipes out there. I've made many over the years that have turned out so flavourful and tasty but I've also come across those not so good ones that are so dry with no flavour and nobody in the house wants to finish it. I discovered this recipe only about 3 months ago on All Recipes, but I foresee it being my go-to recipe from now on. I just like how easy it is and the end result is so moist with lots of flavour and not overly sweet. 

I have bags upon bags of blueberries in the freezer from last summer when we went blueberry picking, that I really need to use up, so I decided to add some to the recipe - even though I was going against the husband's wishes. He doesn't like people messing with his banana bread. He likes it straight up and pure, but he admitted he was wrong and was amazed at how much more flavour the blueberries added. 

I usually make my banana bread as a loaf but I'm taking some for my friend this week who just had a baby and figured it would be much easier taking muffins instead of trying to cut nice slices of the loaf but instead completely destroying it as I usually do. 

Recipe courtesy of with slight modifications
Makes 1 loaf or approximately 24 muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup sour milk (I just use whole milk) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 - 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine sugar, butter, bananas, eggs, flour, baking soda, milk, salt and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl; beat well. [Add blueberries and mix gently]. Pour batter into prepared pan [or muffin tins].
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 60 minutes (or approximately 22-25 minutes for muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. 

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crockpot Onion Mushroom Chicken

This is a really simple, super delicious chicken recipe. My mom used to make this (in the oven) when I was a kid and I would get so excited anxiously awaiting for it to be ready. I've made a few of my own modifications throughout the years and have recently started making it in the crockpot instead of the oven to let the flavours even more so infuse. The aroma throughout the house is absolutely amazing, it'll be a long 3 hours waiting for dinner! 

6 - 8 chicken thighs, with or without skin
1 can mushroom soup
3/4 cup light sourcream
1/2 package dried onion soup mix
2 tsp lemon juice
6 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Cornstarch to thicken sauce

Lightly cook chicken in frying pan until nicely browned on the outside. 

In crockpot, mix together mushroom soup, sourcream, onion soup mix, lemon juice, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and salt and pepper.

Add chicken to the mixture and coat with sauce.

Cook on High for about 3 hours, or until chicken is fully cooked. In a separate small bowl, combine cornstarch with cold water and mix into sauce until thickened to your likening. Serve over rice alongside vegetables of your choice. Enjoy!

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