Mobirise




Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.



From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs



Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

Easter Sugar Cookies

Domestic, Kids

Happy Orthodox Easter!!!

This parade of frosted Easter love is especially dear to me because I used my Granny’s vintage cookie cutters to make them! It’s always a little sweet but sad to bake with her kitchen gear – she’s the only person who spent as much time in her kitchen as I do!

Today will be spent exploring a beach we haven’t checked out yet and general family fun on the wholesome end of the spectrum because today we spent the day in Hollywood and while we met Spiderman and the Green Lantern and Wee One #3 got a hug from Diego, we also saw a whole lotta Hollywood, you know? Yoda totally tried to cop a feel! I mean, hello!

Anyhoo, back to Easter. Usually we spent Orthodox Easter with my extended family (all Greeks have seriously huge extended families) however we will be sending long distance love to them this year and celebrating this one out here.

Moving to California update to come tomorrow!

Easter Sugar Cookies

Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
Easter Sugar Cookies
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Parade of Frosted Sugar Cookies

Domestic, Kids

In this post, I’m participating in Foodie Friday, Friday Potluck, and Food on Fridays

Sugar cookies are amazing because they have got to be the most versatile treat when it comes to being festive with themes. You can cut them into any shape you can imagine and then decorate them however you want. The only trouble is, unlike tasty drop cookies, you can’t just mix them, bake them and walk away!

I’m repeating this recipe for the eleventy billionth time here, but at least it’s organized, right? Really, this post is all about the dramatic photos.

 

Basic Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. DO NOT OVERMIX. Beat in egg till well combined and not a second longer. :P

Add flour and mix till a sticky dough forms. Kneed into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 balls. Roll out each ball between two sheets of parchment paper for about half an hour. Preheat to 350, then take it out, peel off the first layer or parchment paper and slice it into strips like french fries!

Basic Royal Icing
2 tsp lemon juice
2 egg whites
3 cups icing sugar

Beat your lemon juice and egg whites together for a little bit before adding your icing sugar. You’ll want to thin it out a little for spreading (add drops of water till it’s the consistency you’re after), or add a little more icing sugar to make it that seriously thick stuff you typically find on gignerbread people in bakeries. I find this recipe just needs the smallest little touch of water and it’s perfect for spreading. It hardens just right and has a lovely shine.

 

The fun thing about this icing really is the colours! I used paste food colouring for vibrant colours (and because it’s all I know – I grew up with a cake decorator)!

I first made these trees about a week ago, and tucked them away in tupperware for my massive decorating weekend. That weekend turned into another sugar cookie extravaganza so by Tuesday I had over 200 cookies to frost. Thankfully, frosting the cookies is one of my fave cookie activities!

Grand total sugar cookies to package up with the others; 22 stars, 22 trees, 44 small stars, 33 small trees and 11 mittens. Honestly? I loved every second of them. There were even more, but every time one broke, I had to give the kids the broken one – and the rest of the set lol!

 

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Snazzy Sugar Cookies – Daring Baker Challenge Sept 2010

Domestic, Kids, Small Town

In this post, I’m participating in The Daring Kitchen, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

This was my first official Daring Baker challenge and I was so excited to do it, and now I am so excited to show it off!! The theme for this challenge was ‘September’, it was pretty easy for me to figure out which way to go with that when I am surrounded by these beautiful September colours! The first photo was taken in my backyard (it’s part of the view from my kitchen window), the second photo was taken in my front yard. With these colours as daily inspiration, I used brown, green, orange and red on my cookies.

I’m jumping ahead here, I actually baked them on Sunday afternoon and spent wee one #3′s nap on Monday decorating them. I prepared them exactly as Mandy instructed. Sugar cookies are pretty basic, but it’s the most basic recipes that are the easiest to mess up. In this case, whatever you do, DO NOT overmix! As soon as you’re combined, stop.

 

This recipe was a total winner and was explained so well, I can’t wait to make more. And more and more and more. Amazing. Kneading the dough into three balls and then rolling between parchment paper to reduce both chilling time, and the necessity to re-roll was genius. I have made a zillion sugar cookies, and these are by far the best.

Also, this is just the second time I’ve used my Granny’s rolling pin. It’s so weird and sometimes feels so wrong that I reference her so much more since she’s passed than I did when she was alive. It makes me feel both like a terrible granddaughter, and somehow really connected to her. Ever since we traded city for country I’ve been thinking of her a lot – she was certainty an old fashioned country girl making the city work for her. Anyhoo, her rolling pin is very, very heavy – it’s marble with wooden handles and I love, love, love it. In this case specifically, where I’m rolling out soft dough on parchment paper, it makes the job come together in a snap.

 

I really think the rolling, chilling, cutting, chilling, baking procedure makes the cookies hold their shape so well and make them so easy to handle. Which doesn’t matter much if you’re just going to eat them plain. However, if you’re, oh I don’t know, about to attack them with a kilo of royal icing, it would be so nice if they were sturdy cookies that didn’t fall apart when handling!

Ahem. Excuse my baggies, I need new piping bags desperately. My birthday is less than a month away and pretty much everyone knows I’d love a refresh of my baking gear. ;)

Decorating these cookies was so much fun! Wee one #1 was at school, wee one #2 was home from school with a cold (as much as she wanted to go the poor thing) so she was in the other room playing Mario Kart and wee one #3 was blissfully napping. A quiet, (mostly) uninterrupted stretch of time?? Really? I took it! LOL

 

I had intended to also pipe out our initials (we planned when we named everyone to not repeat any initials!) but I got so wrapped up in the magic of dragging a toothpick through the icing, I had attacked all three dozen! Next time I make these, that’s the plan, but in brighter colours I think.

These cookies are destined to be in our neighbour’s tummies tomorrow afternoon. As I mentioned earlier, I have been here for 3 weeks and have only met two neighbours, so I will rectify that situation after wee one #1 gets home from school. Hmm. Maybe we should give some to the school bus driver as well!

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2010

Crafty, Domestic

The past few months have been a flurry of activity, and while I wouldn’t have it any other way, a few more hours in the day would be helpful.

I made a really interesting cake this past weekend for a friend’s 30th and I have had a good start to Cake Year! First though, and mostly just to show off some photos, here are a few of the things I didn’t blog about this holiday season.

I made heaps and heaps of brownies during the holidays, as I’m sure you can imagine. These made in the donut pan seemed especially fun for the kids for some reason, and this apple pie with a handful of chocolate chips was just silly – and delicious!

This year, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day landed on the same day, so we had a fete to celebrate both! There were a whole lot of glittery New Year decorations and a whole lot of shiny heart decorations. The kids had a party that afternoon, and one of their activities was cookie decorating. I made standard Sugar Cookies and Cocoa Brownies and set out frosting, sprinkles, candies and broken up treats in recycled pudding cups for easy access!

For their school parties, the kids hit Google to find ideas for their class treats. Wee one #1 went with Chocolate Covered Jumbo Marshmallows. We put some red sprinkles on while the chocolate was still wet. Wee one #2 picked Cinnamon Heart Kisses and Hugs Cupcakes, which I think explains itself really. Both treats were really fun to make and the kids classes loved them. Before anyone thinks I’ve left someone out, wee one #3 isn’t in school yet and is too small for treats. ;)

There are some really fun gems left out, like attempting a Jamie Oliver appetizer, and my cinnamon hippo cookies, but these were the most fun of the last few months. I can’t recap too much because I want to jump back in and show you the 10 cakes I’ve made so far this year!

The husband machine, our three wee ones and myself did some Christmas road tripping. It took us to three different cities in two weeks and we had a blast. On the way home, with our little car packed to the roof with kids, gifts and gear, I got a text from my amazing friend Gill, asking if we could do the first Stitch n Bitch of the year that night, and that she really, really wanted to make Red Velvet cake with me. I pretty much never turn down an evening with my ladies, so as soon as we got home, I prepped the kitchen for fun, fed the kids and within minutes Gill was here with her beau Andrew, and my sister, Nikki. Usually there are two more good friends that spend Saturday nights with us, but one was out of town and one was hanging with someone who is usually out of town.

So, the Red Velvet cake, as you can see, looked like a winter birthday cake! The cream cheese frosting wasn’t too cream cheesy, as they often are, and the chopped pecans were a really nice touch! None of us had ever made this cake before, and we were all a little alarmed at how much food colouring it takes to give it that red hue! It was amazing, definitely one of my faves so far, The look of the two red layers with the contrast of the white frosting was so pretty.

Inspiration for the second cake of the year came while browsing Chow. The photo of the cake was amazing, but they put a crunchy almond crust on the top of the cake (prepared in the pan before the batter was poured in), and I opted for a few ground up chocolate chips on top after I had already iced it. I used the recipe as is otherwise, and it turned out so good.

This Double Lemon Cake was made because the husband machine asked me to make him a Lemon Meringue pie, and I had a little lemon filling leftover. The cake itself is a standard lemon cake, really you can just sub some lemon juice for a liquid in your favourite vanilla cake and add in some lemon zest as well. It’s two layers, with the lemon filling from the pie I made earlier and buttercream tinted yellow. ;) If you love lemon, you’d love this.

The fourth cake was made for Miss Talea’s financee, who she never refers to by name on her blog, so I’ll hold back. I made him a Brown Sugar cake, though he is away at med school and couldn’t enjoy it himself. This recipe was found on Bell’alimento, and yes, I covered mine in whipped cream too. I made two square layers, one smaller than the other and sprinkled cinnamon on top!

Cakes #5 and #6 were made on the same day – because we had a few more people than usual that week – to celebrate Miss America. We all just love how campy and silly it is, and we really rolled with it. We all wore tiaras and drank champagne (ok, sparkling wine) and had a lovely evening. Cake #5 was a Chocolate Coconut (which just means I added a little sweetened shredded coconut to the batter and sprinkled some on top once it was cooled). Cake #6 was exciting for me, as I had never made one before – a Black Forest cake! My mother used to make these a lot when I was a kid, my father loves them. This was a cake doctor-style recipe, to be honest. All I did was mix up a devil’s food cake mix with a few eggs, some water and an entire can of cherry pie filling. Once it was baked and cooled, I put a little dollop of whipped cream on each of the wee flutes in the cake and put a maraschino cherry on top.

It’s hard to believe how genuinely excited I am over each of these cakes! Cake #7 was especially important because one of my closest friends, someone who has been coming out to my knitting nights for years, moved. Yup, Talea joined her fiancee somewhere that isn’t Toronto so they can live together as he finishes up med school. To celebrate all the joy and friendship and wine fueled nights we’ve all spent together, I made her a 10 Layer Smell You Later cake (inspired by the always amazing Bakerella) and invited only her very favourite people. It was a lovely night, but so so sad too. Moving on, the cake would have been more layers, but my husband machine was snacky and I had baked all the layers the night before. :P I assembled it with runny fudge as the glue that held it all together between all the layers. I coated the outside in it as well, but had to do as Bakerella suggested and make up some cocoa frosting and give it another layer.


Two weeks ago, as you know, was both Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. Last year, I made a Mandarin cake because I thought that the traditional citrus fruit had to be made into something, but it doesn’t. Just leaving out a bowl of any kind of citrus fruit is enough! So I didn’t make a cake for Chinese New Year, but I made up a serious Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake for Valentine’s Day. It was plain chocolate, in a heart shape, topped with a pint of strawberries and loads of both whipped cream and cocoa frosting. Amazing.

Even more amazing than that cake, Gill’s brother was on his way back from Thailand that day and even though he woke up on the other side of the planet and had a serious 12 hour jet lag to deal with, he came over to celebrate with us! Since he had been away for his birthday, I also whipped up a belated birthday cake – the one he picked weeks before – Chocolate and Peanut Butter!

And finally, to be totally up to date, this past weekend, I made my weirdest cake yet – by request. I made Tres Leches (or 3 milk cake, if you prefer). It’s Spanish and while most of their cakes are really moist, this one is over the top. It was for Andrew’s 30th birthday, the first of us 1980 babies to turn 30 this year. He requested it partly because he has a thing for moist cakes and this one promised to be the moistest, and partly because any time I ever serve this man cake, he always puts it in a bowl or mug and pours milk over it. Always.

This cake starts out as a plain vanilla cake, though I’m sure you could sub in whatever kind of plain cake you’d like. Once your cake has baked and cooled (mostly), move it to a larger pan then poke holes all over the top of it and pour this mixture over it; 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1/2 cup whole milk. You have to keep scooping up the mixture and pouring it over the cake for it to absorb it all. It’s nuts to see a cake soak up 3 cups of liquid in a few minutes.

You’ll notice there are actually four kinds of milk in this ‘three milk cake’. I actually looked into it more and traditionally the recipe has no whole milk in it, just whipping cream. The best part about this is two of us are lactose intolerant. Ha! I had a very small piece and then later in the night, I had another small piece. Andrew had several, so glad the birthday boy liked it. :P

To go with the random theme of three, I also made three squash soup. Gill made her amazing pizza pinwheel bites and we all forgot about the soup. I will ask her about the recipe to post it one day.

Way more playing in the kitchen than knitting and sewing lately, as I’m sure you can tell, but I did manage to finish a very nice pair of socks, Marriage Lines, they were a late Christmas present to one of my dearest friends, Talea.


There’s your recap, stay tuned for Window Shopping Wednesday tomorrow!

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Traditional Meets Modern – Kitchen Edition

Domestic

Try not to be too jealous, but I got a long-coveted Kitchen Aid stand up mixer for Christmas this year. ;) I’ve wanted one since I was a teenager and my mother got one for her birthday, I made my very first torte in it and most of my first attempts at baking were done with her mixer. This is a new style, where the head tilts back instead of going up and down on a slider, and the bowl screws into the base instead of hanging from arms. This one came with the bread kneader, the whisk and the paddle mixer.

new kitchen aid mixer

I’ve mostly just been looking at it, with all the leftover baking from Christmas it really hasn’t made much sense to actually take her for a test drive just yet. Until yesterday when the husband machine ran out of sugar cookies and nothing else would satisfy his snacky craving. Here she is in all her shiny glory whipping up a new batch.

kitchen aid mixer in action

My old mixer was a Sunbeam, and it wasn’t really a bad mixer at all, it’s just that for the amount of baking that happens around here the issue of the bowl not being that big and the way the beaters snapped into the mixer part was almost too much bother and I ended up mixing most goodies by hand with my giant mixing bowl and wooden spoon. Naturally, this gave all the treats coming out of my kitchen a very ‘homemade’ look, which is fine but it’s so nice to churn out some snazzy looking cookies in less time than my old ones!

good housekeeping sugar cookies
(l-r): rolled out and ready to go, fresh from the oven

So far these cookies are all she’s made, these sugar cookies I’ve been making for over a decade from my Good Housekeeping Cook Book. The biggest difference between the cookies made with this mixer and the same cookie made by hand is how smooth and easy to handle the dough is. I’d much rather roll out doll that doesn’t want to fight with me and actually get an even thickness to the batch.

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