Friday, November 30, 2012

Santa Strawberries

These little Santas are almost too cute to eat.

santa strawberries

But we ate them all anyway. And then made more, and ate them, too.

I was sent the inspiration from these about a week ago from a friend, and couldn't wait to make them. So yesterday I whipped up a few and surprised the boy when he came home from school with some long-anticipated holiday spirit. They were a hit! 

The best part is they're SO easy to make that he made about a dozen himself later on for our dessert. If a 6-year-old can do it, you definitely can. 

I filled the little guys with whipped creamed, but you can use icing, cream cheese, or anything else on hand that may do. They aren't picky. My only regret is not having fresh, local strawberries to make them with. 

PS. On Facebook? Get sneak peaks at upcoming posts and giveaways over here! OnTwitter? Tweet with me here!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Apple Hand Pies and Suzie's Sourdough Circus Giveaway

It's safe to say that we discovered a new favourite treat this week.

Completely addictive, these pies were gone by dinner, mere hours after I made them. The buttery crust contains no shortening, and the apple filling slightly caramelized with a hint of spice. My only regret is not making a double batch. I'm looking forward to trying again with different fillings, too. (I've got my eyes on you, blueberries...)

But you probably didn't come here for pie, because I have a giveaway for you! 

Starting today and ending next week, I'm giving away TWO copies of Suzie's Sourdough Circus. A perfect holiday present for the bread fan or little one in your life, Suzie's Sourdough Circus follows a young girl whose wild imagination takes us into the crazy world of sourdough starter. I'll let Kathy Sagar, the author, break it down for you:

In rhyming prose, sure to appeal to both children and their grown-up sous-chefs, this story is both informative and fun. Young readers spend a snowy northern afternoon in the warm kitchen with little Suzie, her dad and their zany sourdough circus, learning a simple method to bake wholesome and tangy sourdough bread.

Kids will be asking their parents for their very own sourdough starters once they see Eliska Liska's bright and playful sourdough creatures cavort, frolic, sing and dance, blow bubbles and get up to all kinds of trouble in order to make the bread rise.

Amazing illustrations and recipes are in the book, too. Want to learn more? Check out Kathy's website! She also has a worldwide Sourdough Share going on, where you can sign up to give and receive some sourdough starter.

Here's how to enter. You get one entry per item:

1. Leave a comment telling me your favourite way to cook with sourdough. Bread? Biscuits? Something totally awesome I've never heard of? Spill! Be sure to heave a way I can contact you.

2. Become a fan of Leanne Bakes on Facebook, and leave me a comment to let me know (or leave a comment if you're already a fan!).

3. Become a fan of Suzie's Sourdough Circus on Facebook, and leave a comment here to let me know (or leave a comment if you're already a fan!).

4. Follow Leanne Bakes on Twitter (again, comment to let me know).

5. Share the giveaway, either on Facebook or on Twitter. Leave a link to said share in the comments.

Good luck! The winner will be drawn on December 5th.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Honey Ginger Chicken Wings

I might have gone a little bit wing crazy this weekend. But you know what Costco does to people.

While the Sriracha Garlic Wings reign supreme, I wanted to try a different type of sauce because a) variety, b) my poor man's tastebuds, and c) Costco portions. I went for a bit of an Asian vibe with this Honey Ginger sauce, and it's not only really easy to make, but tastes incredible, too.

Honestly, I'm lazy as hell so I just put the ingredients in my blender and let it go to town mixing everything up instead of chopping and mincing. But you can do it by hand, if you so desire. The wings don't need to be marinated, so you can make the sauce a few days ahead, or as they bake.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sriracha and Garlic Chicken Wings

These wings are the best wings. Trust.

Dubbed “Crack Wings” for how amazingly addictive they are, they also mark my first foray back into the kitchen after a car accident last weekend. A cab I was in was hit by a car running a light, and the ordeal has left my right hip in a lot of pain. I’ve fought hard enough to walk already (my tibia bones were reconstructed when I was 9) and feeling this way again seems almost cruel while bringing back some rather shitty memories. So I’ve had a bit of the recovery blues, needless to say.

But baking and cooking always helps me relax and process whatever is on my mind. And these wings are awesome. Like, the most awesome. They aren’t nearly as hot as the 1/3 cup of Sriracha implies. Even my man, who can’t handle a 1/4 tsp of cayenne at the best of times, loved them.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I love having pre-made muffins or loaves on hand for lazy morning breakfasts or snacks.

I've developed this recipe based off of a couple I've found, and I think I've finally hit the jackpot. It's moist and has the perfect banana taste, and the chocolate chips lend a great sweetness. If I don't add the chocolate chips, then I mix in about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg instead.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When it comes to pumpkin seeds, there's no need to get all fancy.

Okay, so there are actually plenty of reasons to get all fancy, but when you're elbow deep in squishy pumpkin guts, sometimes you just want to get things over with quickly.

That's why I usually choose the incredibly quick and incredibly easy option of roasting pumpkin seeds in a little olive oil and sea salt. They're just as delicious as other varieties, and you can always add more seasoning to them afterwards. Plus, they suit all palates -- especially my man's spicephobic tastebuds.

This recipe is as basic as it gets, so feel free to follow it exactly or add your own spices to suit your tastes!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Canadian Kitchen: Nanaimo Bars

This is the first post in a series highlighting classic Canadian dishes. Yes, they do exist. 

Nanaimo Bars are, perhaps, Canada’s most famous dessert. The legend goes that they originated in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island (which, while not Nanaimo, is very close). Mabel Jenkens submitted the recipe to a bake sale, and the bars rapidly gained notoriety from there.

Nanaimo Bars are recognizable for their chocolate, coconut, and walnut base, custardy buttercream filling, and chocolate topping. I miss them very much now that I’m deathy allergic to coconut and nuts. So it goes. 

But our family obsession with Nanaimo Bars reaches much further than the Island where they originated, and the country where they became popular.

In a time before the Internet, digital recipe collections, and the easy jet-set traveling we’re used to today, my mom packed a book with her favourite recipes and set off halfway across the world. In 1972, her travels took her to a city in New Zealand called Timaru, where she entered one of her go-to recipes from back home into a radio contest.

The bake-free bars became a huge hit and quickly spread over the town and beyond. My mom now thanks herself for bringing Nanaimo Bars down under, where you can still find them today.

I've seen a lot of misleading recipes for Nanaimo Bars around (ahem, SAVEUR), but this one is the real deal. Trust.

Want to try your hand at this Canadian Kitchen classic? The recipe is below, and if you send me a picture of your Nanaimo Bars, I’ll post it on my blog!


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