Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Video of the Boys

Ok, before I post this, please note that I have no idea why I filmed this sideways! I wasn't thinking. But I want to post it anyway - they look so darn cute. And I am so proud of Aiden and his walking - he runs like a champ around the house and like he has been doing it forever instead of just for the past few weeks!
Hope you like it!

video

The music in the background is Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" - a new fav of mine, and my ring tone for when Jason calls me. Awwww - how sweet.

Love Big, Bake Often

Tania

TWD - Grandma's Sugar Cookies

Ok, out of the December TWD list I chose the easiest! Sorry, but I am a sucker for new sugar cookie recipes. I can't believe I hadn't tried this one yet. So simple, and so super yummy. I did make one addition to the recipe. I omitted a tbsp or so of flour and added 3 tbsp of Starbucks Matcha Green Tea powder. No, they don't sell it, but I convinced a barista to sell me a package. She gave it to me for $4.00 - a deal if you ask me. I have made my own green tea frappachinos with it, lattes, etc. But hadn't baked with it yet. It is sweetened so it added a little more sweet to the cookies. I like the flavour it gives, and the colour too. I know my friend, J, is kinda cringing right now, not a matcha green tea fan. I promise I wont send these to you in CT. But I have another recipe in mind that I want to send you some . . . hint - creamy caramel.

Ok, back to the cookies. I like the texture, it's a great kinda chewy but not really. I find it hard to describe textures of food. Need to break out the thesaurus! I did dip them in sparkling sugar before baking them. I only had light pink in the house, but you really can't see the pink, just looks shiny and delicious. I know the colour of the cookies may be off putting to some, but I love it, so grassy and lovely.
Here are some pics.


Not the greatest shots - I mixed them up late afternoon and then baked them after dinner so my light was all gone. :(
Have a good night.
Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Tuedays with Dorie.....

I am super sad that I haven't been able to participate in most of this month's recipes. Between moving, Korea, and Christmas I really felt like I just haven't had time to breathe. But I am hoping that will change. Today's recipe is Dorie's Tall and Creamy Cheesecake. Yum. And I would love to make it, but I just can't. It's just Jason and I here and there is no way that either one of us needs to eat half a cheesecake. I had made this decision several days ago. And now I am looking at other people's creations and they have halved and quartered their recipes and been very creative with their size variations. Why couldn't I think of that? Oh, I know, my brain is filled with worry about Jason's back.

So today I am going to backtrack and make one of the other December recipes that I missed out on. Will right more later and post my results and pics. But in the mean time check out the other awesome creations by the TWD bakers, and they are awesome!

Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Homemade Granola Bars

It was SO good to get back into the kitchen and do some bakng. I ws excited about this recipe and hopeful that it would be someting that the boys would enjoy eating. They are napping right now, but I have a feeling they will be snacking on them the moment they wake up, Jakob thinks they look "Delicious, Mama!". Thank you to Abby Sweets for posting the recipe and also to Marie at Make and Takes for the recipe too! They were so easy to make, and so yummy smelling as they baked. I think I didn't bake them long enough as they are a little crumbly. I have to remember that the first time you make a recipe you should really bake it as is and then the next time make changes. I baked it in a 9x13 instead of the 8x8, and so I thought I could bake it for a little less time. Maybe that is what happened, I didn't bake them long enough. Thoughts?

In case you don't want to go elsewhere looking for the recipe, here it is....

Chewy Granola Bars Recipe:

2 1/2 c. Oats - quick rolled oats
1/2 c. Rice Krispies
1/4 c. coconut (I did not add this)
1/2 c. M&M minis (I used butterscotch and chocolate chips here)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Add all of the ingredients and mix together until combined. Press into a square 8×8 pan. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars. Let it set completely and then cut into bars. For thinner bars, press mix into a 9×13 pan. They seem to set a little better in the 9×13 pan.

Pictures of the process!

I creamed the butter and sugar together and then added in the other dry ingredients...




Then I mixed it all together, then mixed in the "chips"




I had butterscotch and chocolate chips on hand so I mixed those together. YUM



Then I pressed it into the 9x13 pan. I pressed it down with the back of my scrapper.



The finished project, they look pretty good eh?



I am really looking forward to making these again and changing up the ingredients. But first I am going to make the recipe as it is before I play around with it. Smart thinking, eh?

Hope everyone is looking forward to the new year. I have a feeling it is full of potential.

Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Monday, December 29, 2008

previous post!

Ok, forgot to mention the baking part of that post!! I am also grumpy because I didn't get to bake today. I need to bake when I am stressed. Not necessarily eat what I bake, but just bake. It's a stress reliever for me. So I look forward to tomorrow morning (hopefully not at 4:30) when I can bake again. I want to make some homemade granola bars for Jakob and Jason. I found the recipe here on Abby Sweets, who found it here. They look yummy. And so simple and cost effective, need to run the numbers. And also I really like that I am in control of what is in them. Makes me feel better - less processed stuff.
So by this time tomorrow I should be in a better mood, and there should be some goodies in the kitchen that I can feel good about the family eating!

Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Stress and Baking

I am a grump today. I was woken up extremely early by Aiden this morning (4:30 early!) and then the day began. So there I was up early with a cranky and hungry little man dying for some coffee but he wasn't having any of it, he wanted to cuddle on the couch and he eventually crashed on my shoulder for almost and hour. Jake was up at 7, looking for Daddy.
Daddy was at the Dr. getting checked out. Turns out they think he has either a bulging disk or a ruptured disk - is there a difference? He is on home arrest for 48 hours, then restricted duties for 2 weeks, then an MRI booked for the 16th, then who knows what. He is in alot of pain still, but that should end soon - they sent him home with a pharmacy of drugs. Prednisone, Oxycoton, valium, and a couple others. It's crazy. They told him not to drive while on the heavy stuff because if he got pulled over they could charge him with a DUI. How crazy is that? He is going to be a zombie. So I am kind of a single mom - all the "hard" labour is on me, he can't help with baths, or clothing changes, or bottles, or picking up when crying, or out of the crib, nothing. Thank goodness Jakob is pretty self sufficient!
So wish us luck. I hope that he doesn't need surgery. But I have a bad feeling about it. hmmmmm . . . . where did the optimist in me go? Probably to bed!! zzzzzz. . . . .

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

bulging disk

ARG!!! Jason just called from the Dr.'s. They think it might be another bulging disk!! Which would more than likely mean more surgery! Yuck and stuff. He is on his way to the hospital to schedule an MRI. So I guess I get to play Florence Nightingale for awhile. And now I am going to go and try not to stress about more surgery and all that can go wrong. :(

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Sunday, December 28, 2008

measurements

Baking Question...

When you bake, do you measure your ingredients by weight, or use measuring cups?

I have been finding more and more recipes that use weight for their ingredients, but have never used one of them.

Think it is time to get a scale..... like this one.

Any tips or advice would be great.

Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Backache!

Jason is in quite a bit of pain. He has put out his back. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but for him I think it is a big deal. You see, a few years ago he had back surgery for a disk issue. And he is now saying that the pain he is having is reminiscient of that old pain. He is heading to the Dr. in the morning. So wish him luck. For now the pain relievers that we picked up at Target are not quite taking the edge off, but hopefully tomorrow the Dr. can give him something stronger.

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas in GA

Jakob was adorable. He thought that since there wasn't any snow that Santa wouldn't be coming for Christmas. It took some convincing that there are lots of places in the world that don't have snow for Christmas and that are alot hotter than the weather we were having. Though I have to admit, 72 degrees on Christmas was so weird for me. Being a Canadian girl, we usually always have a white holiday. And my friends (who I miss dearly) were having a white one in CT. Jakob was very happy to see that Santa had made his way to our house. It was another year for the boys, boy did they get spoiled. Even though I thought I was being more conscious this year to not have SO much for them, and to make the gifts more memorable to them, the room was soon filled with toys and clothes and things that beep and sing. It was crazy.
I also spent most of my day in the kitchen. Even though I was extremely tired and just at the end of my jet lag, I was determined to cook a fantastic dinner. I tried to do everything from scratch. The only thing that wasn't, by accident, was the stuffing. I bought a package of Peppridge Farms cornbread stuffing!!! It was terrible. But what can you do? I just plain forgot. But I did make my own yeast dough, and made my own monkey bread with it. Then made another batch of dough and made baguettes to go with the baked brie I was making for lunch!! It was great. A day in the kitchen, while being able to watch my family play together, in my new house. I just wish we weren't so far from friends - only downfall to the holiday.
I had brined the turkey the day before, for the first time, and boy did it ever make for a yummy turkey. So tasty, and moist. YUM!! The meal was a hit, and I took some time to relax while Jason and his Mom cleaned up in the kitchen. My favourite part of cooking, next to having people enjoy my cooking and baking.

It was a great day. Filled with giggles and joy, good food, even better company, and the boys and I under one roof. It was great. No complaints.

Hope you all had a happy holiday spent with loved ones! Looking forward to the new year. Stay tuned - the Christmas Baking List to follow....soon.

Love big, Bake often
Tania

A week in Korea

Korea.... another world away. It was a whirlwind week. But lets start at the beginning.
Ask anyone who I talked to before this trip and they will tell you that I dreaded the 15 1/2 hour flight with a toddler. I was concerned that he would lose it a few hours into the trip, feel trapped, want to run around, etc, etc. And it was the total opposite - he was a doll. Jakob did great. He was patient and understanding of the constraints. The only thing I would have changed was his eating, he really wasn't interested in food. He wanted to snack alot, but had no interest in the food offered to him. And that was ok. He played his game, he watched movies and shows, we took walks up and down the aisles for a bit, and he finally slept for a short while. He was a great traveller. He was able to pull his little roller suitcase through the airports, he stayed close and held hands when necessary, and he guided me to where we needed to go. He slept on the bus from Incheon Airport to the hotel, but was a live wire when we got off the bus. Tim was there to meet us with his fiance, Nicole. I finally met my future sister in law, just a mere 4 days before they were to be married. Strange, I know. But what are you going to do when they live on the other side of the planet? Nicole is great. She's kind, gentle, beautiful, quiet, and funny. Her English was better than I expected (from what Tim told me), and communicating with her was easy. So we hung out for a while, had some dinner, and then settled into the hotel for the night. Mom arrived later, we each had a room with two single beds, and a door connecting us. It was convenient for us to have rooms like this, that's for sure.
The next few days were spent getting adjusted to the time change, the korean ways, and definitely the food. I am sad to say that I think my skinny mini of a boy lost a pound or two. He was so not into food on this trip - he would snack like a fiend, but when it came time to sit down for a meal, he was uninterested. And I got some flack for it. But I did what I believed was best for my boy. He was happy (most of the time!), healthy (mostly), and enjoyed himself (again, most of the time). He is making up for it now, eating regular meals, snacking appropriately, and drinking water and milk - he didn't drink milk in Korea, it totally tastes different. So I think soon he will have put the weight back on that he lost in Korea and I can let out his pants a little since I had to cinch them in over there.
Lets get to the wedding. It was a very interesting day. The wedding was a traditional white dress ceremony. Nicole looked beautiful. I think the Koreans do it right - they rent their dresses. What a clever idea - save a fortune!
Here is a pic of the happy couple getting married. Shoot - can't find my memory stick. Will upload some as soon as I can find it.

Jakob looked adorable. He was the ring bearer. He did a great job - and made me proud.
Here is a pic of him (I downloaded this directly to my computer - not on the stick!)

Cute eh?
Then there was a brief stop at the buffet, and then off to the traditional tea ceremony. I was unaware that I was expected to participate, and was a little nervous that I was put on the spot to speak at the ceremony. But I managed to say a little something, and hope that I didn't sound too lame. I wanted to say something profound to Nicole and Tim, in welcoming her into our family. Here is a pic of the couple in their traditional garb - again, saved on the computer, not the memory stick. Arg.


The rest of our days were spent checking out some of the old places I loved when I was living there, we went shopping in Itaewon- the area for shopping for foreigners, we visited Tims new apartment, toodled around Insa-Dong - the area for artists and their wares (J, you would have spent hours and hours there), went to a Palace, and just hung out together.
It was great to be there with family, my Mother, Aunt and Uncle, and my cousin and his wife were able to make it over too. The trip to the Palace was really cool. Jakob loved it. It was like he was a celebrity - the Korean kids loved him. I guess it was field trip day because the place was packed! They swarmed him like bees to honey. They chased him around and practised their very limited English on him. At first it was a little overwhelming for him, and ME! Bu then he got into it and was upset when we had to leave, saying he didn't want to leave his "girls". What a flirt!

Ok, enough Korea for now. I am sure there will be future posts of bits and pieces that I remember as the days pass. But let me end this by telling you about the flight home. It was great, another easy flight with Jake. It was 13 1/2 hours long and he slept 7 of them! And the others he amused himself with his game, movies, etc. He was a little out of it getting off the flight, and then there was the little girl that insisted on hitting him over and over again waiting in line at customs (her mother was useless at preventing it, or disciplining her), and then the three security checks we had to go through in Atlanta, before getting to the gate to see Daddy! But he was a trooper.
I have to say that I am really really happy that I was able to make this trip with Jakob. It is something I hope we both remember for the rest of our lives. A Mama can hope, right?
Congratulations Tim and Nicole! May your life together be filled with love, comfort and understanding. Thanks for the memory.
Love big, Bake often
Tania

I'm Baaaack!!!

Whew. It's good to be back. Now hold on tight for several catch up blogs to get us up to date and then get ready to start a new year of life with two (well, three) reall amazing boys and my mixer and oven! Bring it on.

Love big, Bake often.
Tania

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Random Picture


I was looking at some old (this summer) pictures and came across this one. LOVE IT....


Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Unable to Bake

Hi there,

I have been noticing that I have had some visitors from some site that are probably looking for my baked goods since I am suppose to be participating in several different baking groups. Unfortunately I haven't been able to do any baking for a couple of weeks now, AND IT IS KILLING ME!!!! I miss the smell of sugar being creamed into butter, I miss the feel of dough in my hands, I miss the sound of greasing baking pans, the feels of the rolling pin in my hands, the smell of things baking, and most importantly the sound of Jakob saying "whatcha baking, Mama?" I cannot wait to get back into the kitchen. It looks like we will be able to get in tomorrow and our household goods should be there tomorrow too (they called with a cancellation and we got bumped up!!!)!!! So you know I will be baking on Thursday... oh what to bake??? Should probably bake some goodies for Jason, Aiden and his Nana for while we are gone to Korea.
Gotta go, shopping list to prepare!
Pictures of house and baked goods to follow.

Hope those groups I belong to will forgive me!!! Promise to get all caught up in January!

Take care,
Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Calmed Down.... a bit

Ok, so I have gotten over the whole rude woman at the restaurant drama. Lets just leave it as she has no clue what one year olds are like!

On to the good news. I have joined a Mom's group here that looks very active and very friendly. I am looking forward to participating in playgroups and coffee meetups, etc. I really need to make some good friends here, and these ladies seem quite nice. And they are very active. There are at least a couple of get togethers each week. Wish me luck!!!

We are still stuck in a hotel. Our landlords have not vacated yet, they had some delay with the husband's clearing papers. But we should make it in there tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
Which then gives me 36 hours to do laundry, pack our bags and head to Atlanta to catch the airplane to Korea for a week. Geez my brother really couldn't have picked a worse time to decide to get married. I am really bummed about missing Aiden's first birthday. Have to get over that - nothing I can do about it. So glad that my friends in CT threw him a birthday party before we left -Thanks again Beth for organizing that! Love ya!

Ok - time to run around finding our way around again.

More later,
Love Big, Bake Often
Tania

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thoughts on the South

Well... my predisposed thoughts on Southern Hospitality were completely shattered last night. I had been told by many, and seen in movies, that the people in the south were nice, polite and more accommodating. How wrong that seemed last night at dinner. Now let me lay it out for you. My boys have not been on their best behaviour lately. After several days in cars, being taken away from all that they have known, and many fast food meals, they (and I) are at our wits end. So there have been temper tantrums, whine fests, and as I have told some of you Aiden has found his lungs and likes to let out the occasional scream. So last night we were out for dinner, Jason and I were super excited out this restaurant because we haven't been to one since CO. Carrabas is a fantastic restaurant. It's kind of like Olive Garden but more adventurous and much more delicious. So we had gotten our table fairly quickly, the kids weren't in hunger melt down yet, and I was feeding Aiden some baby food and trying to eat my salad at the same time. Jake was doing great - he was munching on some delicious bread. So Aiden had let out maybe two short screeches at this point. I apologized to a table of young girls next to us as it seemed that they were the only ones who noticed. But then this table of two women my age started to get up and pick up their plates and drinks. I was shocked, I said something like "really?" to Jason. Just then one of the women came over to tell us that they were changing tables because of, and I quote, "that rude little thing", gesturing at Aiden. I was floored, and a little speechless. I, of course, said EXCUSE ME?, and she continued to say how we should learn how to discipline our children. Jason and I both yelled at her that he was only one, and what would she like us to do? Unfortunately she continued to walk away from us. And now as I sit and type this I can think of so many things I would love to have said to this woman, whose dinner companion, by the way, had nothing to say and looked a little shocked. I spent most of last night dreaming of conversations that I wish I had had with her, fights that I wish I had gotten into with her. And now I can only hope that our paths cross again so that I can give her what for. I was fuckin' fuming. And I don't like to swear here (in person I swear like a sailor some times), but online I usually like to keep it clean. Well this woman pushed me to the edge folks. We tried to continue to have a nice meal. The food was fantastic, I wish I could make a Veal Piccata like that. And the calorie laden fettuccine alfredo that came with it was super yummy. But as I was eating I couldn't help but envision myself walking up to her and smacking her upside her ignorant head. You have to know that this woman certainly couldn't have children or if she did you know that she probably beats the crap out of them and they are just plain afraid of her. Not my style of parenting.
But right now my battery is dying. More on this and about our first few days here and the drama of moving to follow.

Love Big, Bake Often
Tania