Category Archives: Recipes

Faking Your Holiday Baking

Christmas shopping, gift wrapping and tree decorating; these are all a must for the holiday season, but what about Christmas baking?  Who has the time on top of all this to make dozens of happy-looking gingerbread men and jolly old shortbread snowmen? 

Personally, as much as I love to bake, it moves to the bottom of my list during the holidays.  So today I am sharing my cheat notes with you because I assume you’re in the same boat. If you’re like me, you put a small amount of pressure on yourself to produce something that can be classified as Christmas baking.

Photo from presidentschoice.ca

Enter President’s Choice Shortbread Cookie Mix.  I picked up a box at my local grocery store and whipped up a batch of cookies in no time.  All you need to have on hand is a cup and a quarter of unsalted butter.  Mix the two together and voila…a batch of shortbread cookies.

I made mine following the package directions but you could easily roll out the dough and cut with Christmas-shaped cookies cutters.  Either way, the result is a light, flaky shortbread cookie.  They aren’t the most buttery tasting but definitely on the nice, light side.

I picked up a box on sale for $3 but they usually retail for $3.99.  Also look for the Gingerbread Cookie Mix.

White Chocolate Gingersnaps

Cookie dough balls tossed in sugar coating.

This post is dedicated to my American friends. These tasty, tender cookies are a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table.  And Christmas? Forget about it…baking list complete!

The combination of ginger, cloves and cinnamon with white chocolate make these soft cookies a spicy-sweet treat that will quickly become a holiday family favourite.

This is an easy recipe to allow even the smallest hands to help with.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 /2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar

Adding molasses to the brown sugar mixture.

DIRECTIONS

  • In a medium bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until blended
  • Beat in the egg, then the molasses
  • Mix the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves
  • Gradually add to the wet mixture and mix well (the dough will be stiff)
  • Stir in white chocolate chips until well mixed
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours
  • Combine both sugars in a deep bowl
  • Shape dough into 1 inch balls
  • Toss in sugar mixture
  •  Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray
  • Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set
  • Cool for a few minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. 

White Chocolate Gingersnaps

Yield: 3 dozen

Happy baking & Happy Thanksgiving!

City Mom is on Vacation

Gobble-Gobble

City Mom has gone country…and loving every minute of it!

Everyone needs a vacation now and then even from the things you love, so while it pains me a little to write this, I feel it’s only fair to let you know that I’m taking the week off and asking a favour; I’m handing the keyboard over to you. Your assignment is to create this week’s post by sharing your favourite Thanksgiving recipes. Just enter it into the Reply field to share with everyone. 

So until next week…happy eating and happy Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Autumn Inspirations

Fall is my favourite time of year. I adore the crisp cool weather, the changing colours on the trees and the smells of burning leaves, freshly baked pumpkin pie and roasted turkey dinners; all things that autumn brings. This time of year always inspires me, and when I feel inspired I love to cook and bake. This past Saturday I woke up with a plan, and that plan involved making magic happen in the kitchen so I set off to the market to collect my ingredients. 

The Covent Garden Market has not received enough attention on City Mom. We are  really lucky to have such an eclectic, quaint and convenient market so close to home. There are so many fabulous things to see and do at the market and some amazing food vendors. I started out by purchasing a Halloween costume for little S at a 100% Canadian children’s clothing vendor called Happy Wear. All the clothes are made here in London. It feels so great to buy and support locally.  

Next I explored the food vendors. I scoured store after store and became inspired to make my two menu choices completely organic. This is not something I normally do. I buy some organic items here and there at my local grocery store but (due mainly to the cost and availability of organic ingredients) I usually go for the more cost-friendly option of non organic so I was rather surprised when I fell in love with a store called Homeopathy London in the northeast corner of the market. I found everything you could ever need to care for your family in the organic, enviro-friendly format from chlorine-free diapers to complete skin care lines for women. There was an entire section devoted to babies & children with names like Seventh Generation, Erba Organics, Weleda & Green Beaver Company.  It was confirmed for me that cost truly is a big factor when buying organic. For example a 32 pack of Broody Chick 100% natural, fully compostable diapers is $27.95 in comparison to $17.97 for a 140 pack of Pampers Baby Dry at a store like Walmart. Obviously you get what you pay for and the more expensive choice is clearly the better one for your child and for the environment but you need to have the budget available to shop in this manner. I long for the means to shop like this on a regular basis. 

But I digress…back to my dinner. I found all of my dry ingredients in this store, my fresh organic vegetables at Havaris Produce and my meat at Field Gate Organics. After a quick validation of my parking voucher (parking is offered free for two hours on weekends and thirty minutes on weekdays) I was heading back home to create my masterpieces. I’m sharing the recipes because they were both so delicious and perfect on a cool Fall evening.  

Autumn Beef Barely Soup
2 lbs ground beef (I used extra lean)
1 large onion chopped
½ cup chopped celery
3.5 cups water
29 oz beef broth*
1 cup barley
29 oz canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
*I used 1 tsp of Better Than Bouillon organic beef base to 8 oz of boiling water as an alternative to the beef broth.  

Directions:
1. In a Dutch oven, cook the ground beef, onions and celery over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add barley and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
This recipe yields 3 quarts and is perfect for freezing. Thaw in fridge. Place in a saucepan and heat through. There, two meals already sorted out for your busy week ahead.  

Autumn Beef Barley Soup

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
4 eggs
15 oz canned pumpkin*
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup canola oil
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
*I used a 15 oz can of Farmer’s Market Organic pumpkin pie mix as an alternative to the pumpkin pie spice and canned pumpkin.  

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, water and oil; mix into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 70 – 75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 – 15 minutes before removing from pans.  

This recipe yields two loaves. Wrap one in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.  

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

Note: Soup is best enjoyed with a glass of red wine and pumpkin bread with a hot cup of coffee. Mmmmm! Happy eating and Happy Fall!