Saturday, December 28, 2013


It's coming up..2014..
Just a few days before our Christmas celebrations.. the weather was quite frightful..yet beautiful..  lots of snow..another reason to do some chores outside..with some baking therapy inside..
Ask me if I prefer shoveling or baking and the answer is quite clear..the baking makes me forget the an instant:)
I had been charmed by Yelena's Gribotchkys..Russian Mushroom Cookies..Hers popped off the screen wanting to tumble into our home♥

So that particular shoveling snow day..I decided to try making them..I thought they would be cute to add to the goodies I would be dropping off..
I must admit I was apprehensive as to getting them to look like hers..but step by step  I saw them come to life..
So cute they turn out!
Go to Yelenas' and Pin or Print or will have fun♥

If you want to add whimsy to your New Year's cookie platters.. a touch of color and nature:)..make these..they are on my keeper list now..forever:) I already cannot wait to make them again next year:)

If perhaps some of you  are not familiar with Cooking Melangery..I have been a follower for quite  a while..But not from the very beginning... which would have been a very good place to start:)
So I have started perusing posts I missed and Pinning wonderful things..
Her styling  and photographic talents..inspire.. to say the very least..:)

One idea..I found on Pinterest..I intend to do again~
Prior to Christmas..I had black and white photos printed up ..and used them as gift tags..:)
Cute I found..and time saving!
Now if Invisible tape..could be truly Invisible..:)
I should have Photoshopped it off....Sometimes in a photo things are much..less invisible:)
The photos looked nice on red.. black..Kraft paper and a few printed papers..
The children knew exactly which gift went to whom..etc..
Santa was so good to have photos of everyone:)

I read this  again the other day and like many of this man's quotes..thanks to a  friend..I was quite taken:)

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.If we believe that tomorrow will be better,we can bear a hardsip today~
Thich Nhat Hanh,Peace Is Every Step


and then..


Thought I would start the New Year with a quote I find inspiring:)
To me New Year's is not about resolutions..
It's always about Hope:)
There is a mystery to it.. we don't know the contents..or the outcome..
So we can hope...for anything really~:)

Bye bye 2013~...that's little Santa Noah leaving here after Christmas Brunch..
In a few days...Onto 2014~..:)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Home~ Sweet Home~

There's no place like home..
One thing I love about the the nesting time at home..
Even when I worked..I was always anxious for hours off when I would be home..
To garden..
And the holidays gave me more reasons to nest~
It has not changed for me..Nesting is still my favorite part of the holidays..
No parties for me please.
Seeing people I care on one..or family time..That works with my nature..
I guess I really should read that book QUIET~  in the New Year~:)

Made a few things for the holidays..some a success some not so much..
Success as always.. my baking day with one of my daughters,Jacques and Oli..:)  at her home.. The traditional Tourtières..we made many..small and large..The Noël one will be on the table Chrsitmas eve at my daughters..
Used my mother's crimper♥
December 12th marked the 40th anniversary of her ..leaving me a Motherless Daughter..
Do we ever forget? Never.ever ever ever.
She is always in my heart..Every Christmas..every day.♥

Onto the baking..

Christmas Macarons?  A  MISS..I took pics..but they were awful..they tasted like the gobs of red food coloring (gel) I had to add to get a fluorescent red..the jar clearly said Christmas Red..had it described what actually happened..they would have been left creamy:):( and to taste like the most artificial things I ever baked.
Definitely a blooper..
3 D christmas tree cookies..tried making my own pattern since Ricardos cookie cutter was nowhere to be found..Broke every one..A Miss..
Made Isabelle's Fudge.. a Hit..
The English Toffee Bites..The Shortbreads..The Magic Bars..The far so good~
I am enjoying stopping at the mail..I always have..seeing if there is a card or two..fewer and fewer each year..
Next year..I think I should stop too..YET when I hang a photo on my tree included in one of the cards..I think..this IS part of Christmas..the written word to say hello..we live farther away now..but I still think of you still think of me?♥
Do many of you still send? I think I shall not stop.
I was thrilled to find some Ontario Garlic in my post office box..Friends grow it and sent us arrived unscathed...if not a bit cccold...Will try and grow next year:)

Enjoying all the Christmas songs..
All the snow..because after all it is Christmas..After Jan 15th you have my permission to stop all activity.
Looking at ornaments..that through the years get packed away and unpacked..
Some Old some new..some home made some bought..some received..

Nestle in your nest.. enjoy your time at home.. alone or en groupe..
In snowy weather or southern climate sunshine..
Visiting afar..or just staying near..
Living the life in Paris:)
Or sometimes just looking through a crystal ball and seeing it:)

Bonnes Vacances~ Joyeuse Fêtes.. ♥

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mocha Toffee Biscottis~

We've had about 7 inches of snow since last night..
It's as pretty as pretty can be..♥

The shoveling and snowblowing we could do without..

So I put some CDs on since this morning:)
My fave again this year..Rod Stewart 's Merry Christmas Baby ..

Along with old favorites like James Taylor..The Carpenters..Tony Bennett..André Hervieux..André Gagnon..
Michael Bublé..Josh name a few..
99.5 on the radio has some lovely music too..100.7..not so much this week:)

Feels so nice with snow falling..

Some coffee.. and biscottis:)  

In the last few weeks..
My holiday issues of Canadian Living and Chatelaine featured Biscotti recipes..
I know we have all made our share:)
But I wanted to play with a Snowflake plunger..Available on Ebay for under $3.00 for 3 sizes with free shipping from Malaysia..
I don't know why it seems important for me to tell you this..but I think it is because we sometimes feel things are epensive for food decorating..There are many venues..apart from high end stores like..well I won't name them..that would not be in keeping with the spirit of the season:)

Just want you to know Ebay is a great source of friendly vendors..and reasonable prices.
You can do what I do and search only the Buy Nows..I am terrible at auctions..:)

I am so impressed with the quality price 100% of the small items I have purchased..such as cookie cutters etc..

So ...I used the plunger for the snowflakes..w/ fondant..
And decided on Canadian Living's Biscotti~

You start with the Basic Recipe~

Basic Biscotti Dough~
La Recette
Courtesy of Canadian Living Magazine

Dec 2013

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until fluffy..beat in eggs one at a time.
Beat in Vanilla.Whisk together flour baking powder and salt..stir into butter mixture in 2 additions unti just combined..
My Notes: I used my KA stand mixer..

So that's the basic..and then they offered us variations..
I let Jacques chose  and he chose the Mocha Toffee..~

They say this recipe is SCREAMING to be dipped in a cup of coffee..
I agree..they are sublime.
We will serve these Christmas Morning..

Stir the instant espressointo the chocolate while it is still warm to impart the most flavor


1 batch of basic dough

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits  3/4 now..the other 1/4 cup gets sprinkled on top

You will also  need 1 egg white mixed with a bit of water..

and 6 squares of semi sweet chocolate chopped
3/4 tsp instant espresso powder.

Stir the dough..chocolate chips and 3/4 c of the toffee bits and mix until combined

Divide into 2 logs and roll to about 12 inches..
Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper on rimless cookie sheet,,
Flatten slightly..**** I did not..they flatten on their own..
Brush each w/ egg white mixture..
Bake in a 325 degree pre heated oven for ap 35 mins..untillight golden and firm to the touch.
Let cool on pan on rack 10 mins..
Slice diagonally and place upright ..return to a 300 F oven for ap 35 mins until almost dry..
( I liked the idea of baking upright instead of flipping and baking twice.. and it works..
Transfer to rack..let cool completely..
In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water melt chocolate stirring unstil smooth..whisk in espresso powder until dissolved..Let cool slightly..I didn't..
Dip one end of each biscotti in chocolate mixture  letting excess drip off..
Place on parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining toffeee bits..  and a snowflake or 2:)Refrigerate until set..(no need here..air temp is fine..)

Make ahead..layer between waxed paper  in airtight up to 5 days (longer here)or freeze up to 2 weeks..


For a direct link to the rceipe..Just go here~

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shortbread Cookies~ It's a Wrap now~Or just about,,

It is soo cccold here..How cold is it?  So cold it will get even colder in the next few days..and we are already below 0 F~
Tires need changing..snow needs blowing..pathways need shoveling..already..Weather reports assure us Christmas will be white..
So far so good except for the cold..

Shortbreads are a favorite..not too sweet..perfect w/ giving etc..and so easy to pretty up..
I mentioned the pan..:)

Great size for gift giving and a small indulgence for yourself..a nice square:)

I am not making the other different pan ones this year..
Sticking to these..
But I do like cutting out shortbread ..and I have included the recipe I used..They are Donella's shortbreads.. she gave me the recipe at least 20 yrs ago..and I will bring her some in her package..:)
Hope they are as good as her mind:)
I brought a Rudolph to Noah yesterday and God Bless The Child as they say..he bit the nose off first then the head..Ate it all..
Then told me he likes chocolate better if I can do that:)
When I told him I brought him a treat his answer was so grown that's a surprise Nana?
I knew you would♥

And I made some I have been making since 2008 because they are Walker Like to me..I like Walker's shortbread cookies..
These are not as sweet but they taste similar and look alike..
I forget where I found the recipe in 2008~
Hope I am forgiven~

Donellas' Shortbreads..(cut-outs)

3 cups flour
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup corn starch
1 lb butter
pinch of salt..
Sift first 3 ings together.. cream with butter..and salt..

Knead by hand ..
Roll out to desired thickness..
Cut out in your preferred shapes..

Bake 300 for 20 mins..


Walker Wannabes:)

2 cups of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour


1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
2.Cream butter and brown sugar..
Add 3  to 3  3/4 cups of  flour..Mix Well.
3.Sprinkle board with the remaining flour..Knead for 5 mins  adding enough flour to make a soft dough..
Roll to 1/2 inch thickness..cut into 3x1 inch strips..Prick with fork and place on ungreased baking sheets..
Bake at 325 F for 20 -25 mins..

Thought I would sneak these in while some of you may be wanting to try something new..
I know I sure get influenced every day with new things I find on your blogs or on Pinterest ♥

WRapping is part of the fun..
You can do it prettily and very economically..This year Target was the winner for pretty $1. things..
I found their cute baker's twine w/ the gingerbread man too hard to resist.
I realize that all thsi fluff is a luxury..I realize not everyone can buy ingredeinets and make treats..etc..
I got up this morning.. with a complaint about the cold in my mind.. as my husband walked the boys to the morning bus♥..and thought..
what about the these temperatures?:(
So never think I take wrapping and baking and giving  for granted.
I know that for these things..I am a lucky one.

I made cookie press Wilton Cookie Press method..trees..I ahve had taht press for yrs.. 3 disks broke.. the contraption was awkward..:(
It's gone..
I will revert to my 30 yr old Mirro next time..
See..Love the pan..hate the press!
That Nordic Ware pan is quite flawless:)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tout doucement..un peu de rose pour les Fêtes~

Stepping gently off the beaten path..into more subtle food gift offerings for the holidays..

Not everything has to be super sweet and square and red and white for the holidays..especially for holiday gift sharing~
I think I know someone who will love a sweet or two or three..

But pretty shortbreads and little cakes for tea.. may please her more..

While away..

I saw Bonnie's post about her Almond Sour Cream Cake..I knew my husband would be ready for a sweet after dinner when we returned he only ate lovely Lebkuchen from friends..and scrumptious  scones..  (that I made again right away upon our arrival!)

Not enough ..

 he is always prudent..never overdoes anything..  but likes something sweet after dinner..just a his mom for sure!
I try and make smaller quantities:)

I knew I had almond paste at home.. we picked up sour cream and eggs at a new incredibly attractive food store ..close enough.. nearby..I see weekly jaunts for certain..♥
You can't imagine:)

and ..I made Bonnie's Cake..

I made 3 actually.... a small heritage type silicone mold I have shown you..SO wonderful it is..
Silicone is so pleasing to use..
I keep saying it..but it's true..Silicone..good quality..
Nordic Ware.. USA pans..:)

..and I made..2 smaller loaves..for gifting.

So he is enjoying the cake w/ the design....the other 2 will be gifted..
I had a bite to make sure it's's's even better the next day:) Love those kind of cakes..
It's like a great almond pound cake..not dry..  not wet..just right~
Thanks Bonnie!

Let us all keep calm and bake on~♥

Saturday, December 7, 2013

All Is Calm..All Is Bright~

Santa came early while we were in Fl~..But it was only opened the day we made our tree here..
The giver knows I love words and chalkboard..I have even wrapped a few gifts for thsi yr..w/ chalkboard greetings..The pillow cover is from Pottery Barn..she told me..and the tag told me..
I am so happy I had fiberfill to stuff it..right away..
It looks lovely and sweet in the sunroom on the white love seat..just beyond our tree..and many yrs of ornaments on that tree from the sender..
Very very grateful~..

The first   baking I did for the holidays..

were these English Toffee me they are like a Skor bar kind of..or a Laura Secord specialty~
In FL..I bought the mold she used at Amazon .com..
I did not put whole almonds as she half I put sliced the others nothing just the toffee..

They are delicious and I have a special person in mind to receive some:)

You can find the recipe here..
It's her photo on Pinterest that caught my eye..
Mine turned out a little darker..
But ..delicious~

I am happy I added these to the Christmas baking♥
Tree is up..

And Santa's Typewriter is ready..

Happy Holiday Season~
Thanks for all the recipes and decorating ideas you all share~

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ebb Tide...long...

Love that is so romantic to me..I was very young when the Righteous Brothers made it so popular..and I was very unpopular..with the boys at that age..
I remember a few of the girls I was friendly with being about 2 years older than I was..and they were very popular with the boys..slimmer..prettier..older.. struck a chord that lasted with me..still now:-) Go take a little listen..~


Seems funny posting a summery little entry in December..when we have already had snow here..
But we had the opportunity to drive to Florida..(27hrs).. this year..and much to our great of our daughters..her husband and 3 boys came for a 1 week stay..
They too drove for all that time w/ an 8 yr old..6 and 4..Troopers!!I loved it.
Romance of a different nature..:-)
Our eldest daughter has come too with Noah..but she is a teacher and cannot get away..she loved it too:)

It was lovely..

It's so nice seeing the days through children's eyes..  their joy at everything is intoxicating.
They were in the water every day..even after they caught stingrays.. shark.. catfish..bluefish..
Some days the water was like the clear and calm and pristine..see through to your toes..
And a few others..

Quite rugged..a different kind of beauty.

The area where we stay.  ...up the beach further away... there has been work done on the public boardwalk..wonderful work..and many  benches..  in memory of..
This one caught my spirit..I have left out the name of the person..but what a lovely tribute..

Loving words as I do..these had to be shared~ The sea affects all of us in different ways..usually..deeply.

It is no surprise that sun sand and sea can elicit such joy in children..!:)


                                                               Our very own Mowgli~

 My Baywatch Boys~

The fun..nana is in trying to eat the bubbles after we have blown them~

One night..  Max got a new shirt and tie:) And wanted to be our waiter for the night..(best waiter ever).. he was so agreeable to having a photo shoot with me  :)

Be still my heart..
I am certain you do not want to see all 25 I took of him.. and he had jumped out of the shower w/out combing his hair..:)(I wish I could jump out of the shower and not comb my hair..:)..)..He is my fashionista grandson..the artist..He is 6..

                                                          Our lovely waiter~

Thank you Florida.. a lovely state..friendly people..
No kidding..the grocery stores nearest to us.. Publix..  the staff was extraordinarily nice.
Every shop..courteous..friendly..
Walking the beach to the right of us..where mansions of a sort sit along the shores..
I..walking along after a stormy day..looking quite like a hobbit..collecting shells and sea urchins..was asked by one of the owners of such a great hit the mother load today..would you like me to get you a bag?
How nice was that?
Thank you dear sir sitting on the shore of your beautiful home to ask a perfect stranger if she needed a bag for her treasures...
Friends we see ..from Massachusetts..Germany..Pennsylvania....Ontario...New Jersey..Cincinnata:) Wisconsin...
Michigan..Carmel...New York..Long Island..
Walks on the beach every morning..  were spirited with small talks with everyone we know and like and see:)
Everybody has a story..
Be kind..  as..

You never know what someone is going through:).

Beach people.. are pretty great people..Actually..very great people.A melting pot..

With our family..We found shells and shark's teeth.. A turtle walking the beach..heart stones.. Sea urchins...shared meals..walked the beach ..played Go Fish..(how appropriate..) swam..fished..did puzzles.. watched High School Musical twice..painted T Shirts..blew huge bubbles.. fired off torpedo balloons..walked the beach to the Tam Tam festival at night ..played Heads Up.. at night on the beach..painted..bought bait..ate the bluefish..made castles....sent off secret messages..combed each others hair...saw 2 weddings..  old friends....gorgeous dolphins.. met a photographer who paddle boarded with her beautiful family right in front of cute..the dolphins decided to play with them..what a show we witnessed..found a starfish..ready for QC.. as it was already..well you know..  and a bit I am.. some shells to measure flour and sugar thanks to Mary Pat..Discovered  a new cookbook thanks to Mary~Ann....A great new strain of garlic..thanks to M~A and D:)
Watched a Dolphin's Tale  (so good)..that Morgan Freeman..his voice..his presence..Ashley and Harry..the kids so cute..That one we saw after the children left so we will watch with them at home..
Found a sea sponge..followed the egrets and sandpipers..chased the several books and magazines..knit a small neckwarmer~

Tried painting..

That poor woman to the left:)
I painted Bravo cards..  and my 2 lipsticks..NYC..:)

and Apple Polish by Revlon.. last yr I was looking everywhere for daughter they probably discontinued it 10 yrs ago..
So EBAY..through her came through..
Anyone else wear Apple Polish on occasion? Or Revlon Red like my mom?:)
My perfume..  some views..some beach people..

Made a new dinner courtesy of Linda~
I was fortunate that my friend on the beach grows garlic and had given us a bulb..It was sooo good:)
The chicken is garlicky w/ parsley and lemon..

And I tried a new bread recipe..
And a new scone recipe..
The Chicken and the Scones are worth repeating..

Thec scones are from Katrina...

I have a few fave scone the pom ones..  But I would not hesitate to use this recipe with  poms:)

I took a few photos..but here is confession time..our kitchen in our rented hideaway..the counter is 2 x 3 rolling pin empty wine bottle..the fridge is miniature and the oven is off..and miniature..way off..and I have very little ingredients..

I do buy flour..sugar.. sour cream..baking powder etc..

so I figured I had what was half necessary to try Katrina's recipe:)  Missing?  Real OJ..I had the Pulp 

Tropicana in the fridge..oj rind..and cranberries.. we had no dried fruits.. but Raisin Bran cereal..LOL..

... in front of the sea..nothing material counts:)

So we scooped out a handful of the raisins and added..still imagine w/ real OJ..  real rind and cranberries..

I am sure you can see why there are no photos..
But do make Linda's Chicken and Katrina's scones..Both Keepers~

Thank you!

Smiling Oli~Divaish you see J and I:-) ? make me smile out loud..always..inside out.

Love that face..all of them..all 4 alphabet boys..

I am keeping all this inside me in reserve..for the long winter ahead~
I will remember every hibiscus..bougainvillea..etc..bouquet I picked every morning for our outdoor patio table..and so much more.

Thanksgiving day in Florida..

We were graced with such beauty..
I had to capture the sound~
We were treated to the music of the waves..and a near deserted beach~

Listen..Reminds me of Rod McKuen and The Sea~

I guess now I should concentrate on Christmas :)  Don't let my words fool you..I started preparations before we left:)some..

P.S..By some wrong press of a key..  because I uploaded a video to YOUTUBE..I am with Google +..(I don't want complicates everything..) Anyone know how I can just get back to how I was without the +..and yet still save all my pics in Picasa etc?