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food

Food Kids

sugar cookies with toddlers: tips and recipe

October 16, 2017

Baking with toddlers. It’s going to be messy, might even be frustrating. However, if you learn to let go of expectations, accept that your kitchen will be covered in flour, it can be a great time! It helps nurture their creativity and improve their fine motor skills. Being in the kitchen with my kids are some of my fondest memories. Here are some tips to make the activity more seamless and sharing one of our favorite sugar cookie recipes!


This recipe comes from my dear friend Emma. What are the odds of meeting someone who lives next door to you, is the same age as you, who has the same hobbies and has a child the same age as your own?? Those odds are slim friends and I hit the freaking jackpot. My neighbour is better than your neighbour. Just sayin’.

Emma’s sugar cookies are thick, fluffier and has a cake like texture due to the sour cream. Another thing I like about this recipe is it’s not very sweet. I find sugar cookies use a lot of royal icing and that alone is very sweet. A cookie base that is less so makes for an overall more balanced cookie eating experience. I will also share a thinner, crispier sugar cookie down the road but for now, try these!

Emma’s Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Variations
1) No sour cream – use 2 1/2 cups of flour
2) Substitute 1/4 flour with 1/4 cup cocoa or add 3 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate

Method
– Mix dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking powder. Put aside.
– Cream butter, sour cream, and sugar.
– Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
– Add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Mix until soft dough forms.
– Divide dough into two batches. Mould into two round discs, cover with plastic wrap.
– Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F
-Flour table surface and rolling pin. Roll dough to 1/8″ or thicker. Thicker cut makes for nicer cookies.
-Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 6-8 minutes or until edges start to lightly brown.

I used this icing recipe for my cookies. Its a straightforward royal icing for sugar cookies. Click here.



Tips on decorating cookies with toddlers

  • To minimize mess, use different containers for sprinkles, decorative candy, and sanding sugar. Use one container at the time.
  • Use shaker bottles for sugar and sprinkles. Keeps the flow slower and hopefully, more clean.
  • Have them decorate their cookies on cookie sheets (I used two small quarter sheets). It helps catch stray sprinkles. Afterwards you can dump leftover sprinkles into a container and reuse.
  • My kids were too young to pipe their own cookies, so I piped the icing for them. But you can buy ready made icing in tubes that they can squeeze onto their cookies.
  • Alternately, you can also put little bowls of icing, give them a spoon and help them spread.

Their cookies won’t be the prettiest but it will be made with so much love. And they will be so proud at their creations. Let go, expect a mess, and have fun! Enjoy!

 

Food Travel

New York Eats

September 29, 2017

How Steve and I travel is we eat our way through places we visit. And we eat a lot. As you can see, our eating adventures warrants a whole blog post. Here are some of our food discoveries, some well known favourites, some local favourites (One of Steve’s best friend lives in Manhattan), from Michelin starred restaurants to street food carts.

– Fast Food/Street Carts –

Shake Shack, Grand Central Station, Broadway locations  – Steve loves Shake Shack, anytime he’s home from New York he craves it. This time around, he took me to pop my Shack cherry; it most definitely lived up to the hype. We returned several times to satisfy our late night burger cravings. The Shack Stack Burger was my favorite: it’s essentially a cheeseburger topped with a deep fried portabello mushroom stuffed with cheese. Like what?? So good.

Halal Guys – These famous orange and yellow street carts serve up aluminium platters stuffed with rice, chicken and gyro meat (we endearingly call it “mystery meat” haha). Top yours with lots of white and hot sauce, find a curb somewhere to sit and stuff yo face.

Joe’s Pizza, Carmine St. – The quintessential New York slice. Super thin crust, minimal toppings. I’m still thinking of that crispy crunch.

Prince St. Pizza – Completely different from the traditional thin crust NY slice at Joe’s. This popular joint serves up thick square slices of pizza. Lots of cheese, thick pepperoni cups that curl up and hold a good amount of pizza grease. It’s heart stopping but oh, so worth it. However, we did prefer the thinner crust pizzas because back where we live, our pizzas are made with thicker crust and its something we could easily get back home.

Grimaldi’s Pizza, Brooklyn – Clearly, we ate a lot of pizza on this trip! This is a well known Pizzeria in Brooklyn. Underneath the overpass, it was dark and a bit sketchy but we were determined to get a slice. But we learnt you can’t get just one slice here, it has to be the whole pie. Challenge accepted. We bought it, caught the subway back to Manhattan and ate it all! Well, Steve ate it all and I just stared in disbelief. My husband is a bottomless pit.

The Lobster Place, Chelsea Market – I had the lobster roll. A soft white roll piled high with the freshest lobster meat. Good genuine flavour. Although, I would’ve wanted a little salt…I know, I know, salt on fresh lobster–blasphemy.

Los Tacos No.1, Chelsea Market – You’ll cram into a long time and will have no where to sit but the tacos are worth it!

– Bakeries/Pastries/Sweets –

Dominique Ansel Bakery, Soho – The home of the famous Cronut. We went early and the line was short. Got three PB&J cornuts and several other pasties. The cronut itself was too rich for me but Steve has a big sweet tooth and loved them. I preferred their popular DKA, a flaky pastry with a crunchy caramel crust.

Taiyaki – Specialty soft serve ice cream served in a warm fish shaped cone stuffed with red bean or custard. This little ice cream shop was included on Buzzfeed’s list of most Instagrammable eateries in NYC. And I gotta say, it lived up to the hype. The ice cream had good texture, flavour was mild but good. And the soft Taiyaki pastry and red bean wasn’t too sweet–I really enjoyed it! Be prepared to wait though!

Mille-Feuille Bakery Cafe, Greenwich Village – Walking around the area, we stopped in to get a croissant, they were sold out. I got an almond one instead and satisfied my craving.

Tous Le Jours, Koreatown – This South Korean bakery chain serves amazing Shaved Snowy Ice. The ice is flavoured, comes with fresh fruit and a big scoop of ice cream. A great and cheap dessert option!

Magnolia Bakery, Rockefeller Center – Had my Sex and the City moment and got some cupcakes from this famous bakery. Gotta say, the cupcakes were just so so, I’ve had better. The husband really liked their Banana Pudding though!

Lady M Cakes, Rockefeller Center – They are famous for their crepe cakes. Layers upon layers of crepes and cream? Uh, YES PLEASE! And yes, it was so good and I could for a piece right now.

 



– Restaurants –

Daniel – This two michelin starred restaurant was recommended by our friend who lives in Manhattan. It is also #1 on TripAdvisor, so we decided to book it for our Anniversary. You will probably spend your life savings here BUT its worth it. The food is what you expect, amazing contemporary French cuisine. You’re coming to Daniel for a dining experience. From the classic, romantic ambience, to the well trained staff, the professionalism, all the thoughtful details, it will be an experience to remember. Certain dishes come to your table to be finished such as my fois gras. Some drinks are also shaken table side.

We ordered the 4 course meal and were prepared to grab a burger afterwards. To our surprise, the food was well portioned, spaced out through your dining time there and by the end we were stuffed. Throughout the meal, there is a selection of piping hot french bread for you to enjoy. Its accompanied by good quality butter and different finishing salts. Your meal starts with an amuse bouche and little tasting dishes are served in between the courses.

Daniel doesn’t play games with their dessert. Along with your regular dessert (and an extra anniversary dessert), a little platter of tasting desserts were also offered. And then came a basket of freshly baked french madeleines. Two tiny house made chocolates to finish your meal. And when I thought they were done, they gave us two jewelry boxes with french Cannelle to take home “for the morning after”. Dessert itself felt like a four course meal.

Yes the food was great but what knocked it out of the park was the service. Unpretentious, professional and knowledgeable. We had three waitstaff for our table and all of them were so nice and friendly and they truly made our dining experience an amazing one. Daniel is a great choice for our anniversary or any celebration.

Loeb Boathouse – This lakeside restaurant is in the heart of Central Park and was a romantic spot to have our anniversary lunch. The service wasn’t the best I’ve had but they were quick and efficient. The food was good, the crab cake appetizer was a knockout and the best part of our meal. The view is what this restaurant is known for; with a huge open window, all guests have a beautiful view of Central Park, the lake and its charming and romantic rowboats.



Cosme – Mexican inspired cuisine. The extent of my mexican food experience has been limited to tacos and the like. I have never had this level of mexican food before. And man, I have been missing out. I had the Egg Sope as an appetizer and grilled Branzino. It’s hard to explain the complexity of flavour and how well all the ingredients complimented each other. The food was so fresh and flavourful. It was one of my favorite meals during our trip. For reference, we went for lunch/brunch which is a separate menu from dinner.

Jongro BBQ, Koreatown – Our friend lives close to Koreatown, so we ate around the area a few nights. Being big fans of Korean BBQ, we decided to go to one. You sit in a booth, with a large grill in the centre and a hood fan above you. You order your cuts of raw meat and at this restaurant, the servers cook the meat for you. There are traditional Korean side dishes, rice, lettuce to wrap your meat and dipping condiments. Our one friend is originally from Korea and according to her, this place is top notch and authentic.

BCD Tofu House, Koreatown – This was our last meal in NYC. By now we were so stuffed with so much NY food we just craved home cooking. This place was perfect for that reason. We ordered their speciality Tofu stews. They serve traditional hot tofu stews in individual simmering pots, comes with a choice of side dish (I picked korean short ribs), rice, and side dishes. It felt so comforting and a perfect end to our stay.

That’s mostly everywhere we ate! NYC is the mecca of good food, its constantly changing and evolving. And it could feel very overwhelming with all its choices, hopefully this list has given you some inspiration to find some really good eats while your in The Big Apple! Happy Eating!

 

 

 

Food

beef kabob marinade

May 15, 2017

The kitchen is not my husband’s area of expertise. He has difficulty making instant noodles. They’re instant, all you need to do is add water. I don’t understand either. But this mother’s day, he ventured into relatively unknown territory. He decided to be the best husband ever, refused to let me do anything on the day. I admit I had the take out menus ready on standby justttt in case something went awry and we needed dinner fast. To my surprise, I never needed to use them!

He made these to die for beef kabobs that had our whole family clamouring for more. Sure he had to ask me what measuring cups were, where we kept our soy sauce and now to cut an onion… But other than that, he knocked my socks off with this dish. This man can do whatever it is he puts his mind to — and then beat anyone at it!He cut up cubes of sirloin steak, marinaded the meat, along with all the vegetables for the better part of half a day. Skewered them up and grilled on the BBQ for 10-15 minutes. Because of the lemon juice, it gives a good tangy note to the beef, which to me was unusual in a beef marinade. But it was so good!

He modified a version of this All Recipes Recipe

Marinade Recipe
1/3 cup grape seed oil (or use Veg. Oil)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice (he juiced two lemons)
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
He omitted the worcestershire from the original recipe because we didn’t have any on hand.

– Whisk all together, combine marinade, meat, and veggies into a plastic bag to coat.

– This marinade is good for about 1.5-2 lbs of meat. We used sirloin steaks cut into cubes. You can put whatever you want on your skewer. He used mushrooms, red and yellow bell pepper, white onion. We marinaded all the vegetables with the beef before skewering everything up.
Some other good skewer options are: pineapple, zuchhini, bacon slices, eggplant.

I might have to re make these for father’s day, hopefully I’ll do a good job or I’ll hear about it for the rest of my days. 😉

Enjoy and hopefully everyone had an amazing Mother’s Day!

Food Lifestyle

strawberry shortcake

May 11, 2017

Summer may not be here yet but that’s not going to stop me from making summery desserts! Are you a strawberry shortcake cake kind of person or a strawberry shortcake biscuit kind of person? I am most definitely the latter. I prefer a biscuit construction for the base of this dessert. Slightly dense, crumbly, with a crunchy top. For those who like strawberry shortcake cake, I have included a link to a recipe I love for that down at the end. But this one here is my favorite recipe for strawberry, biscuity (not a word) goodness! Continue Reading

Food Lifestyle

how we charcuterie!

February 13, 2017

I love cheese. And cured meat. And them together. Some nights, I’ll throw whatever cured meat I have in the fridge, a couple slices of bread, a wedge of cheese and call it dinner, it’s neither  fancy or frivolous. However, it’s nice to assemble a full board when you have guests over and hosting. There are many guides to making a “proper” charcuterie board but when it comes to food, the best advice is to follow your heart. And taste buds! Put together what you like to eat and not pick a fancy cheese just because it has fancy name. If you like cheddar (I do!), put cheddar on the board. If you like Blue Cheese (I don’t!), then throw blue on that board! Continue Reading

Food

some of my favourite sweet recipes

November 8, 2016

I’ve been making cakes for years and I’ve found some recipe gems online. These recipes are great for a novice baker. For your next gathering, make a cake instead of buying it! You don’t have to decorate it all fancy with chocolate sails and such, like how I do it for clients. Keep it simple and rustic. Cake and icing…nothing wrong with that! There’s such a charm to home baked cakes that I just love, hopefully you’ll find a recipe you and your family can enjoy! Continue Reading

Food

squish it between bread

October 19, 2016

Usually after large parties there are quite a bit of leftovers. Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas hams, rotisserie chickens. They sit in your fridge waiting to be eaten. But after stuffing your face at said dinner party, do you really want to eat that ham or turkey the way it is for a second or third or possibly fourth time? I have to change it up, I’m picky with my food and easily bored with the same. That’s why me and chicken breast just don’t get along very well. Sorry chicken breast, its not you, its me. Or maybe you, because you’re so boring.

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Food Series

cravings :: seared duck, mexican corn, oh my!

June 17, 2016

Cravings is a series where I share what I’ve been eating as of late. Kind of like a food diary but with better photos and without calorie counting. 😉 Being a “drop cook” with a very haphazard, unsystematic borderline chaotic way of assembling food, I am not very good at creating specific recipes. I link to recipes for you to check out and get inspired. And to get hungry! Enjoy!

cravings-0516-i

I’ve been eating simple food but with lots of flavour lately. Who are we kidding, I always gravitate towards strong flavors. No boiled vegetables for this one!

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Food Series

cravings

May 25, 2016

I am going to start a series of where I post things I’ve made and eaten. I have a fierce love of food, especially foods that usually should be kept away in lieu of diets. But I eat them anyways. Join me on my food adventures! Continue Reading