Browsing the blog archives for November, 2010.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

Domestic, Marriage

I recently mentioned that this year for my Christmas baking, I am only going to use recipes from all the cookbooks and food magazines I’ve collected over the years. All foodies have stacks of Martha Stewart Living books and magazines, piles of Gourmet magazine, Everyday Food, maybe even Bon Appetit, Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle (and if you live in Ontario you’ve got a collection of Food & Drink magazines as well!)

This recipe is no different, and comes from one of my all time favorite cookbooks – Betty Crocker’s Best Christmas Cookbook, this one is an oldie but goodie. It came out in 1999 and was one of the first gifts my husband gave me. I knew he ‘got’ me when he gave it to me, I have used it all year long for 11 years now, but there are some extra Christmasy recipes in it that I tend to use just at Christmas.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons – from Betty Crocker’s Best Christmas Cookbook (p.262)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix the icing sugar and the graham cracker crumbs together. Then in a small pot, melt the butter with the peanut butter – and pour that onto the crumb mixture!

Rolling them into balls requires wet hands and a little time. I have three kids and a stack of Christmas knitting taller than my third child. Soooooo, I used a deep tablespoon and scooped out perfect little balls without any mess or issue – I saved a whole lot of time too I’d imagine.

Next, naturally, you melt down some chocolate and dip! Easiest and neatest way to do this also makes them look as pro as possible. Put your peanut butter ball on a fork, hold it over your bowl of melted chocolate and use a big spoon to pour the chocolate over it. Give it a second to drip off, slide the excess off the bottom of your fork with a butter knife and then slide the bon bon off the fork.

Then, eat eleventy billion of them because ps, they’re only about 95 calories each!

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Making Your Home a Haven Recap

Churchy, Crafty, Kids, Marriage, Small Town

In this post, I am participating in Making Your Home a Haven, and Marriage Mondays.

I skipped a Marriage Monday post last week and there was so much I wanted to say about the challenge being over and what I’ll be doing in the coming weeks! I am very happy to read recently on Courtney’s blog that she has a December challenge coming up to remind us to stay close to the true meaning of Christmas during that incredibly busy time!

Lighting my kitchen candle every morning has reminded me to start each day with kindness and saying a little prayer for peace every time I saw it burning throughout the day has kept me focused. I keep burning my candle and I will get a new one when this one is gone and will continue this practice. It’s been a quick and simple reminder to be kind to those around me and to make my home the haven I have always aimed for it to be.

I’m looking forward to the December challenge because it’s coming at a time when I have decided to make myself sleep 7 or 8 hours a night. I usually get about 5 hours, sometimes 4 and last week I was going on about 3 hours a night – every night. Why do I do this to myself? I have a long history of wanting to do so much that I fill my plate till it’s overflowing and there is no time for sleep. Many of my friends could argue that I manage my time well, but just like the cute girl in a size 5 dress, I think I can do so much better. 😉

Yesterday, I plunked down and made a schedule of all the things that need to get done for my sister’s birthday weekend here in the woods, and whatever I couldn’t fit in the schedule (that obviously included my regular life stuff), I dropped. I still want to try those things (like making croissants from scratch) but I can do that for next month’s girl’s weekend. Usually, I’d just cram those other things into the wee hours of the morning, but I am refusing to let myself get stressed out by things that should be fun. So now I know what I’m going to do for her birthday weekend, I know when I’m going to do it all and I know that there is time to get it done without losing my head. And last night? I got 7 hours of sleep AND I got the garbage out on time this morning!

Plus, we just moved from the biggest, busiest city in the country to a cute house in cottage country so shouldn’t my life be more laid back? Which also goes back to the Making Your Home a Haven challenge, a laid back house is always a more inviting house. I have always been a pretty laid back parent – with very clear lines drawn in the sand, but I need to learn to be a lot more laid back with myself. I have found that the flurry of Christmas knitting has actually helped me a lot in this, and actually the last time I felt nice and laid back was when I was at the end of my pregnancy with Wee One #3, and my husband was terrified that I was going to go into labor early like I had with our first two kids, so I was stuck in the house. So I knitted for three months – and it was wonderful!

It slows me down because knitting isn’t something you can rush! You can get faster over time (we call my sister a ‘turbo knitter’) but it is a process that just takes as long as it takes and there isn’t much you can do about it. So now, I get my chores done early, usually before the kids have even gotten on the school bus in the morning, get in a blog post, get in a workout and then off to the living room I go with the littlest one to watch Christmas shows and knit!

Tomorrow I’m posting about Snickerdoodle cupcakes and cookies!

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Ooey Gooey Chewy Smore Bars and Wickerware Socks

Crafty, Domestic

Next up on the list of Christmas baking was Ooey Gooey Chewy S’more Bars from the same magazine as the treats I posted about yesterday. There is a batch of these babies in the basement freezer right now, though I think I may take them out before Christmas to see how they froze (the recipe says they’re good in the freezer for 3 months). I had a tiny nibble of a piece that broke off and man these are so good. Essentially, you bake a spongey cake-like loaf with oatmeal and graham crackers. After it’s baked you add the marshmallows and chocolate on top and pop it back in the oven for those to melt!


Ooey, Gooey, Chewy S’more Bars – from Christmas Cookies Magazine (Better Homes And Gardens, 2009)

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 cups tiny marshmallows
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate baking chunks

Preheat to 350, line your pan (13×9 was called for, but I used one more like 12×10) with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil. I thought I was smart in using a silicone pan and skipped the foil – and my bottoms burned! Use foil, and butter it!

Beat butter on high for 30 seconds, add the brown sugar until combined scraping the sides of the bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined, then beat in the flour. Now stir in your oats and graham cracker crumbs.

Set aside 1 cup of the mixture, and spread the rest of it in the pan (using the back of a wet spoon makes this eleventy billion times easier). Bake this for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned (mine was more like 10 minutes).

Now for the fun part! When you take it out, sprinkle the marshmallows and chocolate chunks over the top of it! Then take the 1 cup of the mixture you set aside and dot that over top of the marshmallows and chocolate. Now pop it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so – just till the marshmallows are browned campfire-style.

You’ll have to let them cool completely on a wire rack before you cut them or you’ll have a seriously gooey mess on your hands (ask me how I know lol). According to the recipe store them at room temp for up to 3 days or freeze for up to three months.

I was going to post my list of Christmas baking, but it’s a little insane and full of surprises for other people. I’ll post recipes as I bake them and do a recap as I thaw and package them all.

Switching gears, but keeping with the Christmas to do, are these men’s socks. Men’s socks are tricky because if there’s too much detail in the pattern they end up looking too feminine but if there’s not enough you’re just knitting a plain tube and I literally fall asleep while knitting when I knit patterns like that.


These socks are the cure for that! A very simple 6 row repeat that keeps you focused on the knitting, but lets you carry on a conversation and are clearly GUY socks. 🙂

Back to knitting now, the countdown to Christmas is only 42 days and stay tuned for preparations for my sister’s birthday weekend!


Christmas Freezer Baking


I have missed three posting days after not missing for over a month! The horror!! I will wait till next Monday to catch up on my Marriage Monday posts, and will resume my regular posting schedule next week. For now though, I’ve got some fun recipes to get you in the mood for Christmas!

Just a little note for future reference, mostly to myself. All recipes made for the 2010 Christmas season will come from magazines and books I have fallen in love with, bought, and left to sit alone (well, alone with each other) in my kitchen. I have about eleventy billion of them, time to actually use them!

I’ve been gearing up for Christmas baking, mostly icebox cookies that are made for freezing. Some doughs make for great slice and bake logs and some cookies freeze excellently after they’ve been baked and cooled. So I’m doing a bit of everything and as I make things for the freezer, I’ll post recipes and next month let you know how well they froze. I can’t possibly explain to you how hard I am hoping that next month I’ll say that all the recipes I chose to freeze worked out perfectly! The whole point to doing this is to cut back on my December baking time and to make as many different kinds of cookies and bars and wee treats to package up and send out as possible!

So far, I have made White Chocolate Dipped Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies, Peanut Butter Brownie Biscotti and Ooey Gooey Chewy Smore Bars. Yes, I sampled – but just one of each! They were all pretty straightforward and turned out well. Today I’ll give you the shortbread and the biscotti – stay tuned tomorrow for these gooey bars. Mmmmm.

The red velvet shortbread was pretty much what you’d expect – a fairly standard shortbread with a general addition of red food colouring, once they were baked and cooled, I dipped them all in white chocolate. I got two dozen cookies out of the recipe, half of them I left the white chocolate alone, and the other half got a dash of red and green sprinkles.


Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies – from Christmas Cookies ’09 (a Better Homes & Gardens magazine)

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut up
1 tablespoon red food colouring
3 ounces white chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons shortening


Preheat to 325. Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Use a pastry cutter to cut in butter and food colouring until mixture is crumbly and starts to cling together. Form into a ball, knead till smooth.

Now flour your counter, knead your dough on it and roll out to about 1/2″ thick, cut your dough in whatever shape you like, just keep in mind the baking times will be off. Put them on your parchment paper lined baking sheet, mush the scraps up, re roll them and do it again.

The recipe said to bake for 20 minutes and mine burnt at the 10 minute mark. In my supernova oven they were ready in 6 minutes, so test your oven!!

As the cookies were cooling on a wire rack, I melted the white chocolate in a ceramic bowl set in a pan of hot water. Then I coated half the cookie, and put it on a piece of parchment paper on a tray. If they got a shot of sprinkles, they got it here before they were popped in the freezer till the chocolate had set so I could put them in freezer containers.


Even though I had never made biscotti before, making four different kinds of it to give away at Christmas is on my list of things to do this week. I’d show you my list but I don’t want to frighten you. 😉


Peanut Butter Brownie Bsicotti – from Christmas Cookies ’09 (a Better Homes & Gardens magazine)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate (about 6 ounces)

Preheat to 375. Cream the peanut butter and the butter, beat for 30 seconds and add the sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder. Scrap down the sides of the bowl, beat in the eggs and vanilla until well mixed, now beat in the flour and once it’s all combined, stir in the chocolate chunks with a spoon.

Knead the dough on your floured countertop and form it into a 9″ x 2″ roll. Usually, when recipes tell me to do something like that, I can never get it to be the right shape but this recipe actually works and 9″ x 2″ is totally doable. Bake this loaf on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 20 minutes (according to the recipe, my crazy oven had both rolls fully cooked in half the time).

Once they’re out, you can turn off your oven – for now. Let them sit for an hour, then cut them into 16 pieces each and bake them again, for another 10 minutes (5 for me), then flip them over and bake for another 10 (or 5 lol).


This month is full of Christmas baking and knitting and serious prep for my sister’s 22nd birthday party in 2 weeks. I’m so excited I want to post all about it, but I don’t want to unleash any surprises in case she’s reading. Hi Nikki!

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Christmas Knitting (Under Pressure)


Is Christmas knitting ever NOT under pressure? I mean really? I could have my knitting list ready to go in March and probably still not start knitting for it until October. Though, in my defense, I have been doing a lot of birthday knitting for the past couple of years and this year there is a whole lot of Christmas baking – that is a whole other delicious post though, for now I’m staying on topic!

I posted about my first completed Christmas gift of year last month, and I love how they turned out. I casted on immediately for the next project in line (Shifting Sands scarf) but I started it an an awful, awful peachy pink colour. I was proud of myself for going through my yarn stash and making use of it. It’s a gift for one of the teachers I never even see (really, I don’t see anyone thanks to this whole ‘kids take the school bus because we live in the woods’ thing) so the colour didn’t really matter to me.

However, when knitting on it during my birthday weekend, everyone protested that it was ugly. Gill said she wouldn’t bother knitting something that wasn’t pretty, Talea said it was mean to give an ugly colour scarf to anyone and my sister said that the yarn I was using wrecked the pattern. They were all right. Behold – a lovely version of the same scarf. This scarf is being gifted to the kids’ principal. 🙂 So that’s two down, eleventy billion to go!

It’s a nice pattern to knit up, and would look nice with a yarn that has a little colour variation to it. The pattern in a four row repeat, and every other row is just purling anyway, so it’s a pretty quick knit – depending on how quickly you can cable! I have only used a cable needle a few times, I usually just use a short wooden DPN (wooden because it’s least likely to slip out).

These socks I adore. Love, love, love them! Talea made these last summer and I fell in love with them. I queued them right away, but didn’t actually start on them till now. Then, throwing caution to the wind, as I pretty much always do with socks, I casted on with my facourite DPNs and they were amazingly small. Normally this would be cause for alarm and I’d rip it back and start over on larger needles, you know like a sane person would. However, I do not have time for sanity. 😛

Luckily, my children appreciate hand knits and one of them has a size 3 foot and loves green! They’re growing up watching me knit daily and witnessing my friends knit every time they come over. Especially wee one #1, he’s the most thankful for pretty much anything that someone has taken the time to make, I’d imagine mostly because he’s pretty crafty himself.

These socks will be his, when I was unpacking my Knit Picks order he mentioned that he really liked the colour and he thought it was neat that he loves edamame so much and that’s the name of the colour!


Once these are done (halfway done the leg on the second sock right now), I’ll do some face cloths for one of my husband’s aunts. After a two week scarf and two pairs of socks, I need something a little faster to keep my knitting mojo happening!


Window Shopping Wednesday (and Giveaway) at Little One Books

Kids, Reviews, Window Shopping

This is part nine of my Window Shopping Wednesday series, this time focused on a single store, Little One Books. I’m featuring this store because their selection is unlike any other in that all their books are handpicked by the couple that created it! They have over 700 books, music and videos and they have all been chosen based on content and readability. Each book even has a ‘why we chose this book’ write up explaining in great detail what made this book stand out.



Before I go any further, I want to mention that the book I was sent was packaged well and in perfect condition! I am mentioning it because all too often I’ll order something with a set of expectations because it’s from a well known company and when it arrives it’s falling apart. Very well done on that front, Little One Books!

The book I requested when I was given the option? Where the Wild Things Are, of course! I have loved this book since I was first read it as a child by my parents, who had read it to their Godchildren before I was even born! Timeless and fun!


They have also put together bundles of themed books, music and videos! From Quiet Time to Let’s Sing and Dance, they’ve got a nice selection and they are well matched up!



Want a $25 gift certificate to Little One Books? Here are all the ways you can enter this giveaway – just be sure to comment here and let me know what you did to enter!

1. Head over to Little One Books and sign up for their newsletter. (1 entry)

2. While you’re there, have a look around and let me know in the comments which book you’d pick if you win. (1 entry)

3. Head over to Little One Books on Facebook and become a fan. (1 entry)

4. Follow Little One Books on Twitter. (1 entry)

5. Tweet that you’ve entered this giveaway! Mention me (@soverydomestic) and Little One Books (@littleonebooks). (1 entry)

Remember, you don’t have to do all five things to enter, each one counts as it’s own entry!


This giveaway will run for two weeks, closes November 17, when a winner will be chosen by I will email the winner immediately and they’ll have 48 hours to claim the prize – if the winner does not claim their prize within 48 house, we’ll use to choose another winner. Good luck!


Spooky Shepherd’s Pie, Zombie Fingers and Granola Bars

Domestic, Healthy, Kids

In this post, I’m participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Hearth ‘n Soul, Tuesdays at the Table and Delicious Dishes at It’s a Blog Party

We were really feeling the Halloweeny vibe this year, but wee one #2 marches to the beat of her own drummer. So in the midst of the black and orange explosion of last week, she chose to go off the rails and bake something not even remotely seasonal. That’s ok, she’s 4 – as long as she’s actually creating edible food in the kitchen who cares if it’s on theme or not right? Right!

The Halloweeny food does not need recipes, as I am sure you make these on your own already and if you don’t there are about eleventy billion recipes online. I did my best to make Halloween week as silly and as fun as possible for the kids – of course it got me in the spirit too. Every day, we had at least one themed treat or meal, and towards the end of the week the whole day was themed! Not that I have ever been known to get carried away. Ahem.

The spooky shepherd’s pie was just sherpherd’s pie with spooky dudes on top. I put the mashed potatoes into cake decorating bags and piped little creatures on top, one for each of us – with little pea eyes of course!

I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top – liberally – so it’d brown nicely and look less pasty than when it went in!

I think it turned out pretty good and the kids all loved it so that works for me.

The night before Halloween, my husband and I found a recipe for a meat hand! A meat hand!! I didn’t want to be a total copy cat, so we made meat fingers and with the cheese on top and the onion fingernail it looked so gross and zombie-like so we called them zombie fingers.

I used the exact recipe for my hamburgers, which is just 2lbs of ground beef, an onion, way too much garlic

(mmmm garlic), oregano, a little thyme and a teeny bit of Miss Diana sauce for chicken. I know that doesn’t sound amazing, but trust me, it is.

We were having a really laid back day and I asked wee one #2 if she felt like baking something on her own (under supervision, natch) and without even thinking about it she announced she wanted to make granola bars!

They are painfully easy. All I did was turn the oven on, measure the ingredients into bowls, put the dish into the oven and then later take it out. She did the rest.


Painfully Easy Granola Bars

3 cups quick cook oats
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla
14 oz condensed milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter


First she piled her dry ingredients into the Kitchen Aid and gave it a whirl. My mother didn’t get a Kitchen Aid till I was 14, so it’s hilarious to see my not quite 5 year old daughter working the kitchen power tools!

Then she literally dumped all the wet ingredients on top and gave it another whirl. It worked. If I had made them, I likely would have mixed all the wet ingredients together first and then added that to the dry, but what do I know?! 😉

She then greased a brownie pan with Becel and a pastry brush before unhooking the bowl from the stand and dumping the entire contents into the pan. She smoothed it out and instructed me to pop it in the oven. And so I did – then 20 minutes later I took it out again.

It was hard to hold everyone back while the pan cooled enough for me to cut them into bars. Mmmm. The kids brought them to school the next day! Yes, I know there are peanuts in them and I said they took them to school. Believe it or not, their school only has 41 kids in it and no peanut allergies so they are a peanut friendly school.


Making Your Home a Haven, Part #5

Churchy, Domestic, Healthy, Kids, Marriage

In this post, I am participating in Making Your Home a Haven, and Marriage Mondays.

I am so excited to get to this week’s challenge I want to breeze through last week, but I wont. 😛

So last week was about tenderness, and the suggestion was a serious pillow fight in the living room. We had a pillow fight, but in the interest of not breaking our TV, we had the pillow fight in the girls’ room – home to many pillow fights already! I gave back rubs to everyone and they all got into it and they were all giving back rubs to each other! Wee one #3 is in the ‘mimicking everything everyone does’ stage and was really, really into it. It was both heart warming and hilarious. I said last week that I don’t know how long the tenderness will last with the kids as they grow up, especially my son! You never know what the future holds, so for now I’ll take as many snuggled as he’ll give me!

This week’s challenge is to cook things that smell good. As anyone who has ever read my blog knows – I’ve got this locked down. I have considered cooking and baking to be art since I was a kid and first decorated cakes with my Mother and sugar cookies with my Granny. I cook every meal from scratch with the exception of lunch for the kids when they want something ‘fast and boring’. Even breakfast is pancakes or french toast or oatmeal (you know, the kind you actually cook in a pot and not the instant ‘just add boiling water’ kind).

Sometimes I fall in love with a recipe that uses store bought pre-made stuff, I’ll take it a step further (most of the time) and make as much of it from scratch as I can. It sounds a little crazy but I swear it’s never as much work as you think and the house smells so so so good!

These mummie hot dogs are a great example! The recipe I first saw used refrigerated crescent roll dough and hot dogs. While I am not above making my own sausages I do use regular hot dogs, but never pre-fab dough! So I took an extra 10 minutes (literally) and made some pizza dough to wrap around our hot dogs! 10-15 minutes in the oven at 350 and they were done. Even if you do use the pre made dough, the whole house will smell a lot yummier than it would if you just cook up some hot dogs and pop them in buns.


My kids are 10, 4 and 20 months and already I know they all associate me with the kitchen and yummy smells. I even started sneaking veggies into their treats a couple of years ago and no one noticed the chick peas in the chocolate chip cookies or the black beans in the brownies (thanks Gilly!!)

These candy corn cupcakes were made with apple sauce instead of oil and no one even notices!

I made these cakeballs as Halloween treats for the kids classmates and they are made using mashed bananas instead of oil. The orange pumpkin though, he’s 100% orange candy melt, no nutrition there. 😉



Of course there is a spiritual side to this too. The whole point of this challenge series is to make our homes more welcoming and inviting and full of love for our families. This only happens in the kitchen if you’re focusing on your family and your positive intentions while you’re in the cooking and baking. Have you ever seen an overstressed woman preparing a serious supper? It smells wonderful, but the moment a little one tries to cross the threshold into the kitchen, mama freaks out and wants the kids out of her way. It’s not about that, it’s not just the smell. It’s about the feeling of togetherness and warmth we’re creating, and coming from someone who is literally in the kitchen most of the day, I can say with certainty that sometimes it is a little stressful. But just like with everything else in life, when it gets too much for me, I give it up to God and feel a lot calmer. A kitchen that smells amazing is spoiled by a grouchy cook!

I am thankful that today’s post is food-focused so I can post about some of the fun treats I made and didn’t have a chance to post on Thursday and Friday. I’ll sneak in two more pics for this post! Chocolate coated and candy covered mini marshmallows!


There will be a handful of Halloween treats left that I’ll save for another foodie post tomorrow. 🙂