Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesdays With Dorie….MY choice!

 

I have been trying to write this post for over two weeks.  Seriously, two weeks.  And I had hoped to have something clever, something inspiring, but alas….my writer’s block continues.  I was hoping to get my mojo back once Jason got back from Iraq.  Having him home on vacation this past month has sent me into a bit of a tizzie….my routine was pretty much turned upside down.  Not that I am complaining (well, maybe a little), we are SUPER happy to have him home.  It has been nice to have someone to cook for, and to bake for….especially breakfast treats on the weekend, which brings me to this week’s Tuesday With Dorie goody….Devilish Shortcakes! 

I was perusing the TWD website the other month looking for my name to see when I would be making my choice and noticed that my name was NOT on the list.  I tweeted Mrs. Laurie lickity split and she quickly rectified the situation and let me know that my turn would be in November!  WHOO HOO….then came the challenge of choosing the right recipe, a daunting task.  And after choosing a couple of recipes that had already been done (before my time, and coming up the next week – duh) I chose the amazing, chocolatey goodness of the DEVILISH SHORTCAKES!

These shortcakes are fantastic.  They are light and airy, and have JUST the right amount of chocolate in them….enough to call it a dessert….but not too much that you can’t indulge and have them for breakfast – which is what we did.  I whipped up some cream, defrosted some mixed berries….and voila…breakfast.  All three of my “boys” were delighted.  They were quite the treat.

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Thank you Dorie for providing me with a recipe that I can use as a weekend indulgence!

Devilish Shortcakes, from Baking; From My House to Yours  by Dorie Greenspan

For the Biscuits:

1 1/3 cups Whole Milk

1 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Large Egg

3 1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour

2/3 cups Cocoa

2 tablespoons Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Sugar

1 1/2 Sticks (12 tablespoons) Cold Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

To Make the Biscuits:

Whisk the milk, vanilla and egg together.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar into a large bowl.  Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour.  Quickly, working with your fingertips (Dorie’s favorite method), or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.  You’ll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes, and pieces in between – and that’s just right.

Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and toss and gently turn the ingredients with a fork until you’ve got a very soft dough.  When the dough comes together, you’ll probably still have dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl – just use a spatula or your hands to mix and knead the dough until it’s evenly blended. Don’t overdo it; it’s better to have a few dry spots than an overworked dough. Even with all the flour mixed in, the dough will be soft and sticky.

Spoon out about 1/3 cup of dough for each shortcake onto the baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between the mounds. Pat each mound down until it is between 3/4 and 1 inch high. (The shortcakes can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add at least 5 more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back at the midway point, until the shortcakes are puffed and give just a bit when prodded.  Pull the sheet from the oven and transfer the shortcakes to a cooling rack.

Then you can do with them what you please….we chose to cut them open and fill them with mixed berries and LOTS of whipped cream….see?  like this:

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They are light, airy and oh so delicious.  Plain and simple.  We ate them later in the day plain, with large glasses of milk.  Thumbs up from the WHOLE family.

I hope you all enjoyed making them.  Everyone needs to check out all the others on the Tuesdays with Dorie Blogroll

Thank you all for your patience.  I will be doing my best to get back my blogging mojo….and have fun things starting in the new year.  2011 is going to be MY year.  I can feel it.  Do you have anything planned for 2011?  Tell me…maybe we can inspire each other.

Friday, October 1, 2010

French Fridays With Dorie

 

Yes, another blogging/baking & cooking group! 

I LOVE DORIE GREENSPAN.  She has helped me learn more about baking in the past year than I thought possible.  I adore her recipes.  There are few that I have not just LOVED.  When I heard that she had a new book coming out I could not wait to get it.  I was VERY excited to find out that it was being released early.  Then, I was even MORE excited to find out that my amazing friend, Laurie, was going to be heading up a new blogging group to cook their way through the new book, Around My French Table.

The first month’s recipes were chosen by Dorie herself.  This weeks recipe is the “Goureges”….a yummy, light, and delicious cheesey puffs of air.  They are simple to make, quick to make, and didn’t last long!  Aiden wasn’t sure about them….but Jakob inhaled one after another!

Look at these….don’t you just want to jump through the screen and eat one?

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I put the Goureges “batter” into a pastry bag and used a large star tip to “pipe” them onto the silpat!  Can you tell???

Now….go to the new website and see all the amazing people that are participating in this new group….last I heard there were about 500 people signed up!!

 

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

 

This year I decided to participate in….

12days

Friends have put together the group, and since I am always looking for new and fantastic Christmas cookies to try and add to my array of goodies, it was a no brainer to join them.

I was SO looking forward to having a really good first cookie for this event.  I had it picked out over a week ago.  But being the procrastinator that I am I waited until this afternoon to bake them.  I know, I know….you would think that I had learned my lesson by now, but apparently not.

I found this recipe in this years “Better Home and Gardens Christmas Cookies” magazine. They were suppose to be Soft Maple Sugar Cookies, with a maple glaze.  I had looked at the recipe, and thought I could just swap out the 1/2 cup of shortening, for another 1/2 cup of butter.  Maybe that was be problem I made.  But the dough was SO soft that there was no way I could roll it into balls….and even after chilling the dough for two hours it was still too soft to do so.  I used my cookie scoop to drop nice formed globes onto my cookie sheet and hoped for the best.  NOPE.  Did NOT turn out.  Too soft, falling apart.  I didn’t even bake all the dough.  Made me sad.  I had high hopes for some yummy maple cookies.  Fall and Christmas rolled into one cookie.

Look at how sad these look….

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I promise to not wait til the last minute to make next weeks cookies so that I have something spectacular to see!

Sorry!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Lazy TWD….

 

I think the Tarte Fine is a perfect Lazy TWD dessert.  It is so simple to put together, quick to bake, and tastes really good.  And if it wasn’t easy enough….I got lazy with it.  Which I shouldn’t have, because now I have chunks of apricot jam in my glaze that you can see in pictures….and undercooked puff pastry.  And there is nothing worse than undercooked puff pastry, it’s chewy and a little gross.  I got lazy.  I wanted to glaze it and eat it.  So when I saw the edges of this simple, easy tarte getting browned I pulled it!  I should have foiled the edges like Dorie told me too and let it bake longer.

So even though my pictures are spotted with bits of apricot, and my puff pastry is a little chewy, I think it looks good, and the edges are really good!!

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I, of course, added a little caramel sauce!  I think it really goes with everything! 

Enjoy!

And be sure to go and check out all the other TWD creations of the Tarte Fine!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I just want to make cookies!

 

I had thought about making this title “Frustration Friday” to match my mood.  But that doesn’t really have a lot to do with the cookies!  But it does have to do with the fact that I missed the boat by just a few weeks. And I am kicking myself for it.

Let me backtrack a little……

There is this great party place here in Richmond Hill called Cutie P’ Tutie.  It has some of the cutest gifts, toys and throws an awesome party.  They host different themed parties for both boys and girls.  They go ALL out – including goodie bags and treats.  So a little light bulb went off for me.  Maybe I should make some cookies to go along with their themes, take them down to them, and see if they would be interested in having me make cookies for their parties. 

So these are what I made:

For the Spa Party…..

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For the Pirate Party…..

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For the Diva Party…..

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Cute right?!?

Unfortunately, they had just signed a contract with the company that does their themed cakes to also provide cookie favours.  Bummer right?

Maybe I shouldn’t have waited so long.  Maybe next time.  Trying to not let it discourage me. Just going to keep on making cookies and get them out there.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Are you kidding me? 

Where did the time go that I am now the Mama of a Kindergartener? 

How is it that Jakob is so grown up already? 

Slow Down!  Both of you, please, just slow down.

I think of how much he already knows, and what he will be learning this year, and I am amazed and excited for him.  This is a big time for him.  And I hope to make it as enjoyable experience as possible.  These are the years that will set the bar for his enjoyment of school for possibly the rest of his education career.  This is HUGE.  I am so lucky that he was looking forward to school, strutted his stuff walking in, and that he was sad that I had to leave.  It showed me that he was confident and independent but still needed me a little.  Thank you for that Jakob!

Here is my very excited little man on his first day….

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Oh….and since I love to commemorate every occasion with cookies….I made these for Jakob to take to his class for snack time….

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At then end of the day he was happy to start school, was excited to meet new friends (even though he couldn’t remember ANY of their names), and is looking forward to going back tomorrow. 

The only thing missing on this day is Jason.  Jakob really misses him and was sad that Daddy couldn’t be here.  But the good news is since we are moving mid-school year, Jakob will have another “first day of kindergarten” and Jason can take him that day.  ALWAYS look for the silver lining.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Military Monday….a farewell and a hello!

I am going to miss Nikki.  Next week there is a change of command happening….  Nikki’s husband Cory, Jason’s current Commanding Officer, is being moved to a different “company” and a new Commanding Officer is coming in….I don’t do well with some change.  But what this change means for me is a new FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader.  I am sure that JoAnn and I will get along well.  I am just sad that I wont be able to finish out my time at Ft. Stewart with Nikki as my partner in crime. 

Anyway…..so a few weeks ago we had a meeting to welcome JoAnn, and say goodbye and THANK YOU to Nikki.  Nikki has done a phenomenal job pulling all us crazy wives together and into a cohesive group.  She will be greatly missed. 

So, as co-leader of the group I thought it was only appropriate to acknowledge the occasion with cookies!  LOL

Here are my Thank You and Welcome cookies for Nikki & JoAnn.

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Thank you Ladies for all your hard work.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Military Monday

I guess I should have posted these over the weekend for 4th of July inspiration….whooops.

I made these cookies for a bake sale on Fort Stewart this weekend.  The proceeds will be going toward Jason’s Brigade….including the Brigade Ball in December.  I decided to do the stars for the 4th, and the yellow ribbons to represent those waiting for their loved ones.

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Happy Fourth of July Everyone!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

I am not sure if I have mentioned it on here….but I am starting my own ”Happiness Project”.  If you aren’t familiar with it, you can check out the blog here….and pick up the book here. Gretchen Rubin spent a year working on becoming a happier person, one month at a time, tackling new resolutions and creating her own Twelve Personal Commandments, the Secrets of Adulthood and Four Splendid Truths.

The basic premise of it is taking small steps each month to try to be a happier person!  And this is not to say that I don’t think I am already a happy person, because I am. I love my life.  My marriage is in a great place, even though he is thousands of miles away.  My boys are a joy as always, even when they drive me to pour a glass of wine at 5 pm. And I a loving being a stay at home Mama again, and working on my cookie biz.  I just believe that there are things that I may be missing that could make me a happier person.  Personal growth is never a bad thing right??

I find her Twelve Personal Commandments to be inspiring in themselves.  I forsee post it notes around the house reminding me of them.  Here they are:

  1. Be Gretchen – I plan on Being Tania!
  2. Let it Go
  3. Act the way I want to feel
  4. Do it NOW (this is going to be a tough one for me)
  5. Be polite and be fair
  6. Enjoy the process
  7. Spend out
  8. Identify the problem
  9. Lighten up
  10. Do what ought to be done
  11. No calculation
  12. There is only LOVE

Pretty simple, yet kind of profound.  Wouldn’t life be easier if we all followed these?

So today was my first day.  I have decided to pick and choose the different “resolutions” from each month and add a couple of my own.  Make sense?  To kick start my Happiness Project I will be making the following additions and keep track of them each day – giving myself a gold star for each as Gretchen would say.

  • Clean the kitchen before going to bed (I am sad to say that this is hard for me! but Jason will be happy about it!!)
  • Clean out the closets (time to downsize this place before we move – this make take more than one month!)
  • Tackle a nagging task
  • Use my To Do list
  • Follow the “One Minute Rule” – don’t put something off that only takes a minute to do
  • Observe the evening tidy up – pick up the toys, shoes etc before going to bed
  • Try not to raise my voice as much
  • Exercise – this is going to be another toughie – but there is no reason that I can’t fit it into my day

There you have it.  This is the start of something good.  I can FEEL it. And I plan to post my way through it.

Let me know if you have any tips on being a happier person, if you have done your own Happiness Project, or leave me a comment of support!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I have always wanted to belong to a club…

Seriously….I have always wanted to belong to a book club.  The idea of reading a novel and then spending time with like-minded people talking about the book….that would make me happy.  I just never found the time, the right group, or the right books.  So I have decided that since I have made so many great online friends that are also interested in joining a book club but just can’t seem to find the time, the right group, and the right books….that we should have an online book club.  I am still fine tuning the plans for this, but I wanted to put it out there, to get some ideas of what kind of books people want to read together, how long do think we need to read said book, etc. 

So these are the questions….leave me a comment if you would like to join us, or email me (lovebigbakeoften@gmail.com).

1.  What are some books that you have been meaning to read?  What “genres” would you like to read?

2.  How long do you think you would need to read a book? Is a book a month too much? 

3.  Would you want to be checking in through the month and discuss or just discuss after everyone has read it?

4.  Do we want to take turns choosing the books we read, or take a poll/vote?

I think that is all the questions I need some help with.  Hope you will join me. 

One Word Wednesday…..

ONLINE!!

Computer is back in my possession….after spending a week with Geek Squad.  But still having an over heating issue so may be going back in!

Time to get blogging! 

Technorati Tags:

Monday, June 21, 2010

I’m Back

 

Did you miss me?  I cannot believe that it has been SO long since I have blogged.  Time to get back in the groove as I feel like I have a LOT to say these days.  Posts are running through my mind!

But I wanted to post something to show off my new design….thanks to Jessica of Frilly Coconut.  She was so amazing to work with…so easy to get in touch with, answered emails lickity split, and answered all my silly questions.   And look at how beautiful she made my little blog!  Gorgeous right??

Thank you, Jessica!!

Stay tuned….more coming this week….promise!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

About ME!!

Hi there....

Welcome to Love Big, Bake Often. I am a stay at home mom to two amazing boys, Jakob and Aiden, wife to a pretty awesome Army man, named Jason. Our life is never dull, the Army has had us moving around the country and in about 6 months we are heading to the West coast for the first time for both of us. We roll with the punches and know that as long as we are together, life is good!
I live everyday loving to the fullest, and baking as often as I can. I enjoy baking for others more than anything! My dream is to raise two beautiful, confident, kind boys....while running a small bakery. A girl can dream right?!?

I hope you enjoy my blog. LOL

Take care,
Tania

Contact Me

Hi there....Feel free to give me a shout if you....

Have a baking question or just want to say hello?

Would like to sponsor a giveaway or have a baking product, gadget, cookbook reviewed?

LoveBigBakeOften@gmail.com

Take Care,
Tania

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monkey Monday

A belated Christmas video...but I had to post it! LOL
video

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

 

I have so many things going on in my head right now….and really not capable of putting them down on “paper”. 

There is a lot going on in our household…changes happening, Jakob and school, Aiden and his speech (doing much better), Jason coming home in a couple of months (even if it is only for 2 weeks), changes in me – or at least I am working on making some changes….

I apologize for the short post.  I am tired tonight….have been spending too much time staying up late watching TV.  Such a sad little life I lead.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monkey Monday

This is a true Monkey Monday post….we have found this year’s location for Jakob’s birthday party…..drum roll please……MONKEY JOE’S!!

Here is the link.  Monkey Joe’s is an indoor bounce house place…filled with slides, bounce rooms, and fun!  Lots of fun.  They have a small area for the younger kiddos too.  Though when we were there this past weekend Aiden refused to go in any of them and spent his time running around the place and pretending to play the video games. But both had so much fun!

On the way home Jakob declared “That’s where I want to have MY party, Mama!!”

It’s going to be a blast!

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Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

It has been a very long time since I have written a Thoughtful Thursday post…but today I am feeling inspired.  I had a really good day.  We had a good morning routine, out the door on time, no arguments, had a great day at work, picked up the boys, no problems at school or daycare, had a pretty good dinner, a great tubby time, no fights to get dressed or brush teeth, and no fights going to bed!  It was a really good day.  And now I am sitting on the couch, watching some random tv show and blogging. 

I have been reading a parenting book…which I will get more into on another post…and am trying to better my parenting techniques as what I was doing certainly wasn’t working.  I was tired of the constant battles with Jakob, the yelling, the ultimatums, the threats, and none of it working.  I don’t want out time together to be spent fighting, battling for power, or for him to be scared of me.  Fear is not a parenting style! 

So we are trying some new things.  Jakob is being given choices – choices he can understand – choices he gets to make to learn the consequences and how they affect him.  Simple choices.  For example, to avoid the battle of putting on his jacket before going out into the cold, he has a choice – put on the jacket or carry it in case he gets cold.  This is a good one – he and I would always battle over this.  I was always thinking that I was doing him a disservice by forcing him to wear his jacket, thinking that he HAD to wear his jacket.  But that’s not true.  By letting him decide he feels empowered in his choice, and when he realizes that it is butt cold outside he will have his jacket to put on should HE choose to do so.  This was tough the first day of school…it was COLD.  And he chose to carry his jacket in his bag instead of wearing it. So when he was getting out of the car I could hear the gasps from the teachers, and feel the glares…of “how could she let her son come to school in just a long sleeved shirt and a hoodie?”…sooooo  I loudly declared….”Ok Jakob remember that since you chose to carry your jacket instead of wear it this morning, it is in your bag should you get cold.”  It didn’t get rid of the glares but it made me feel better, and I think it made Jakob feel good too….he was able to make a choice and we didn’t fight about it. 

Now, I wouldn’t allow choices to be made that would put him in danger, or harm him in any way.  He would not be given the choice to leave the jacket at home, but it is his choice to be cold should he chose – it wont kill him!  LOL

So we have been making choices….what to wear, either eating dinner or not – there are no more choices with dinner, if you don’t like what is for dinner you have to take one “no thank you” bite and move on.  I am not making different meals for us all….one meal – eat it or don’t.  The next meal is hours away….you will be hungry!  Aiden is having trouble understanding this but we are working on it.

I want my boys to be able to make their own decisions, to learn the consequences of their actions, to think before they act.  And I want them to learn how to do this at a young age.

I want to rethink the way I have been parenting…I want to have more days like today….because it was a really good day.

Take care,

Tania

Love Big, Bake Often

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monkey Monday

This past Saturday was the first Home Depot Day of the year….and we decided that Aiden was old enough to try his own….Yes, I gave a two year old a hammer! 

 

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I was a little bummed that they didn’t have any little aprons for him to get that day….but they say that they should have them by next month. 

Too cute, Right?

Take care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to 2010…..

 

Where did the time go?  I am so glad that 2009 is over…it was not my best year.  I don’t want to get into all the things that went wrong this year, so lets just say that they were rough and move on!

2010 is going to be a better year….and I feel strange saying that considering Jason will be gone for most of it.  He should be back for good in October, and home for a couple of weeks at the end of March.  But even though he wont be here on a daily basis I am determined to make it a better year.  To focus on my family, what is important, rebuilding our marriage, maintain and mend some friendships, reconnect with family, and starting taking better care of myself.   Sounds pretty simple right?  I am not sure about that, but I do know that I am going to do the best I can.
For starters I have signed up to participate in 10 in 10….a great blogging event put together by the awesome Lori, of Recipe Girl.  She and some of the other gals I adore came up with this blogging group – a support group for all of us with similar goals of getting healthy this year….10 weeks in 2010… check it out, sign up, participate and join us.  It’s going to be fun.

As part of my changes in 2010 I am including my parenting techniques….I need to find something that works.  Jakob is totally out of control. He and I are not getting along very well, he is hitting his little brother, talking back, being uber disrespectful….you name it – it is an issue these days!  I am hoping it is a phase that we can work through together, but it is pushing my buttons and I am not handling things very well.  I am acknowledging it, but stumped as to how to fix it. 

So that is where we are on this first day of 2010….plans, goals, hopes, dreams, and hopefully a successful blogging year.  Thank you to all my followers, and for understanding that there were constant lapses in the past, and hoping there will be less of them this year.  The key is to not get bogged down or feeling overwhelmed….this year is all about simplifying.

Hope you all have your goals and dreams for 2010 set…would love to hear what they are…leave me a comment would ya?

Take Care,
Tania
Love Big, Bake Often