Welcome to "chuff to bits"! My blog about food, crafting, and other wonderful things! Stay tuned to find out what!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I'm kind of out of order in my posting now, and have been trying NOT to post things that will be gifts for Christmas....but....I do have to post something, so, here's a recipe I'm trying out this Christmas.

So I love LOVE Pfeffernusse. I don't know why, it was never something we had when I was a child so there's no "sentimental" attachment to it. I just love it. Deliciously spicy and wrapped in sugar. If you've never had a Pfeffernusse I highly recommend you go try it. It tastes like Christmas....goes well with Hot Toddies. Mmmmmm Christmas in my mouth.... drool.

Ok, so, all the Pfeffernusse love aside, I've never made these before. I dug up a recipe from allrecipes.com and modified it to my liking. I recommend you do that, adjusting the spices up or down depending on your preferences, just don't leave the pepper out! The spiciness and the soft texture is what really distinguishes a Pfeffernusse from a Gingerbread. **See Note At Bottom**


1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
4 cups flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp each of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups icing sugar

Despite all my anti-eggness, I DID use real eggs in this recipe so I'm not sure how it would respond to fake eggs, but my research tells me it would be fine.


1. Preheat oven to 325. In a small pan, heat molasses, butter, and honey until smooth. Cool to room temp. Add both eggs.

2. In a large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients.

3. Mix molasses mixture with dry ingredients until combined (will form a crumbly mixture, see pictures)

4. Chill for 1 hour.

5. Press and roll into 1" balls (this is tricky because the dough feels dry, just keep working it with your hands and it will soften into a ball). Space 1" apart on a dry nonstick cookie sheet.

6. Bake 10-15 mins until balls flatten slightly and some crack a little at edges.

7. Remove from pan to dish and dust with icing sugar while still warm! Once cool, place in ziplock bag with remaining icing sugar and re-dust. This should form a good thick coating of sugar.

First Coating:

Second Coating:

8. Make yourself a batch of Hot Toddies to go with them, and go relax by the fire. Merry Christmas.

**DISCLAIMER: As I said, I never had Pfeffernusse as a child, I'm only baking Pfeffernusse according to my own tastes. This is not, BY FAR, a traditional Pfeffernusse recipe as they don't often call for black pepper and instead of starting out hard as rocks and softening with age, my recipe is for a soft cookie.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Somewhere Where I Don't Know Where I Am

Blogging is HARD! I never had any idea! I just thought, ok, I like to write, I'll start a blog and write about the things I like.

It's an incredibly frustrating process. Not for most people I'm sure. I rarely get time to sit down and do something like this. Most of my posts have been done at work during lunch. There are a couple of reasons behind this. One, I have time to do it there at lunch, and Two my work computer uploads pictures faster than the netbook I have at home.

Now today, I'm posting from home. I have a couple of hours of time this morning, and thought I'd post that recipe for Corn Chowder, and was unpleasantly surprised to discover that I'd left my camera memory card at work.

So, that means I don't have any pictures for you today :( It's sad, I know.

This past couple of weeks has been a complete blur. I've been up late, and early getting items ready for my etsy shop. Taking pictures and editing them. Buying Christmas gifts and supplies. My one day off this week will be used to drive out to visit some family.

I really have high hopes for the Etsy shop (www.penguincraft.etsy.com or just click the pictures to the right of the post here. I'm really hoping I can build up a customer base, and some niche items and get myself out of the industry I'm in now. Big dreams.

Anyway, this week has been a flurry of ornament making. They're fairly easy to make en-mass and while I'm working (shhh don't tell the boss). I'm thrilled about the sparkly paper ones. They look stunning hanging on a tree. I posted some new ones yesterday. Some beautiful green ones with a sparkly ribbon, and a nice set of red/gold ones. The first gold ones I've done (I'm partial to silver personally).

I also attempted some "lace paper" ones. They turned out asymmetrical so I'll have to take another stab at that using a different paper.

I have definite plans for a baby mobile using the paper bells in baby colours. I'm also designing a wedding garland. I hope to have those up soon.

I'm also hoping to dive into some more polymer clay stuff. I don't have a very good supply of colours right now though.

Stay tuned to both here, and etsy, for my latest posts!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Well hello, didn't see you there.

I'd started to write a blog post the other day about a delicious recipe for Hot Toddies that I made, and an equally delicious recipe for Corn Chowder that I made the same day. (It was nice and cozy that day. I got distracted though.....waaay distracted.

I'm taking a new tack with my life I think. I'd done months of research and writing and planning for jobs I could do to get myself out of my current work situation. I finally hit on a great idea. I have Etsy to thank. I kept trying to think of ways I could work from home, something I could make and sell to the general populous seemed like the ideal situation. The problem was, what do I make? I spend a lot of time crafting items....lots of them.... of various kinds. It occurred to me that maybe I shouldn't be choosing what to sell to people.....maybe THEY should be choosing for me. So I've opened a shop on Etsy. I've posted a number of different types and styles of things that I make. Starting with the ones that seem to be the most well-received as gifts at Christmas. It's taken work, and research, and will continue to be an uphill battle for a little while, but this is what I like to do, so why not do it.

So, today includes no photos, but there will now be a new section on my blog where you'll get to see items from my Etsy shop.

You can find me there at PenguinCraft

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Warm nights by the not-fire

So the other day it was coooold out and I was craving warm food. I was flipping through recipe books looking for something warm and delicious and stumbled across a recipe for Hot Toddies. Now for all you non-English folks (english heritage not english speaking.....or maybe ALSO english speaking....but if you don't speak english how are you reading this???) a "Hot Toddy" is a wonderful, creamy, rum based drink designed to warm you up on cold nights (believe me this works). This recipe is adapted from "Company's Coming - The Rookie Cook" book

I also made a delicious corn chowder, but that will be for the next post.

Hot Toddies

For a batch of mix you'll need:
4 cups vanilla ice cream (splurge on the good stuff, no cheaping out)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup butter (real butter, softened...or melted like mine was)
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice

For each drink you'll need:
1 1/2 - 2 oz of rum (pick your favourite smooth light rum)
boiling water

Toddy Mix Directions
1. Mix all the mix ingredients in a BIG bowl. (See my pictures for the hilarity of making a big mess in a small bowl....it DID all fit in the bowl once I mixed it, so I'm not entirely an idiot).

Sugars and Butter

Ice Cream Goes IN

Delicious Spices Are Added

2. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Stir it again before using because it will separate. (If you'd like it to separate less, add a fake egg to the mix using Pane Riso powder and water, do NOT use real eggs).

See! It All Fits!

Hot Toddy Drinks Directions

1. For each drink put 3 tbsps of mix in a large mug, add 1 shot (1 1/2-2oz) rum and fill mug with boiling water to taste.

2. Stay warm.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chicken Pot Pot

Well, it seems as though there aren't enough hours in the day. Why is that? Now I'm not saying I'd like the days to be longer, because then I'd have to work more. It just doesn't seem as though the down-time equals out the slaving-away time. Since the S.O. and I moved recently all of our free time seems to go towards getting our house in order, which buys me peace of mind, but not peace of soul. I'd love to add more hobby-doing to my to-do list, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen any time soon.

Why is it that we work all the time, to make money that it never seems like we actually have, to spend it on doing things we never actually get to do? How's that for ironic?

Anyway, I'm currently searching for long lost pictures of the fruitcake I made for Christmas. It was beautiful, and delicious so I'm hoping to post it in time for you to go out and make your own (it needs to be made months ahead of time).

A few weeks ago (1? 2? who knows) I was feeling like I wanted roast chicken for dinner. The night before the S.O.'s parents came down to rescue us from a dead car, and they brought a whole bag of delicious veggies with them. So I hit the grocery store to buy a chicken. Turned out the grocery store was out of chicken. ***(see footnote) So I ended up buying chicken legs and thighs instead. Here's how I made that all work:


3 large carrots
5 medium potatoes
3 small onions
2 cloves elephant garlic (like regular garlic but milder and ENORMOUS)
4 chicken leg-thigh pieces

Here's a pic of the ingredients to give you a sense of scale. The garlic is almost as big as the onion.


1. Chop all veggies into relatively same size chunks...except garlic, chop that tiny.

2. Put everything in a large oven-safe pot. Add 2 cups water.

3. Butter up those thighs. That's right.

4. Place the chicken thighs as shown. Cover the whole deal with foil.

5. Place the whole thing into the oven at 400. Cook until chicken juice runs clear, chicken isn't pink in the middle, or oven thermometer tells you it's ok to take out.

6. If you like gravy, refer to this post where I tell you all about how to make gravy. Just remember to use Bisto for poultry instead of Bisto beef flavoured. You could also use cornstarch, just doesn't taste as yummy.

I didn't get any "after" pictures that turned out well, so you'll have to use your imagination...or make it yourself.

We also got a bunch of beets that day, now I don't like beets all that much. I had a beet appetizer once that had roasted beets and goat cheese, it was delicious. That's about the only time I've liked beets. I wanted to use the beets though and beets are very sweet when cooked so I made Beet Muffins. (Also no pictures, but I did get this lovely blurry picture of one of the beets).

Beet Muffins are pretty easy to make, just make a standard oatmeal, or carrot muffin (omit the carrots) and add a cup or two of shredded cooked beets. I used a packaged oatmeal mix, and add a little extra brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. They really did turn out delicious, and as an added "bonus", they're pink. I'll make them again, from scratch, and post the results.

Stay tuned for "Cautionary Tales of Rural Ontario" and "Funny Title With a Play on Words Involving Tuna Cassarole".

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Visions of Shortbread Cake Danced In My Head

Hello again,

Phew, it's been a wild wild August. The S.O. and I are now officially relocated. We're now in a more rural and relaxing environment. Living in the big city takes a lot out of you. It's loud and chaotic and you're always no more than a couple of steps away from your job. ICK. Now, if only my plans for winning the lottery would pan out....

Without further ado:

Shortbread Cake

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup glaceed cherries cut in halves
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp almond extract


1. Mix the flour and salt together then throw in the cherries and mix to coat them all.

2. Whisk softened butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract together (again I used egg substitute).

3. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

4. Pour into bundt pan and bake at 300 for 90-100 mins while watching CAREFULLY. My oven was notoriously uneven so I shifted in around the oven a number of times and poked it with a skewer a dozen times to see if it was done.


*It's worth noting that I had intended for this just to be a regular cake that had cherries in it, and the tasting like shortbread was a delightful side effect.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No really, I'm still here.

Well hello all!

Summer is traditionally the time of year when I find myself with loads of free time. Not so this year....... Anywho, this summer is going well despite how tragically stressful it has been. I'll be moving at the end of the summer so besides all the normal hectic things going on in my life, I also get to relocate.

I don't have any delicious recipes or pictures for you today (forgot my camera at home....booo). I can promise that there's a Shortbread Cake in your future, as well as a fun collection of photos.

Instead of all that, today I'm offering a link, but only one:


Joe Pastry's blog is phenomenal if you're trying to cook anything. He helps amateur bakers by not only posting delicious recipes but explaining the "why" behind the cooking. Want to know why your cookies aren't chewy enough? The difference between cake and pastry flour? Anything else baking related? He's got it. If you're currently trying to bake ANYTHING right now, go to his site RIGHT NOW and read up.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rootbeer Floats

Sing it with me now folks "Tag Team, back again!" .....no? really? "wave your hands in the air?" .......... not even "shake your derriere"?

Well, f*ck you too then.

Ok, I'm sorry, that was uncalled for.....but funny.

So, I'm going to rant a little again. Tell me you didn't see it coming.

I'm at odds with myself here. I tried this diet thing (from my last post) and quite frankly, it tanked. I mean, it was successful. I lost a fair amount of weight, fast. But, I was also incredibly unhappy. It's not a lifestyle I'm going to be able keep up. Disappointing.

You see, I LOVE FOOD. Not in the "NOM NOM NOM MOAR" famous wedding cake photo kind of way. But I love the taste of food. I distinctly regret having to EAT the food to be able to taste it and if it was socially correct to just spit it out afterward, I probably would. I also love to cook, and baking is frankly the kind of cooking I know how to do best.

So the important question became, do I want to be thin? or enjoy food? I know, someone here is going to tell me that I can do both, and how vegetables are wonderful. Believe me I know, I love vegetables.

Here's the kicker, I'm not unhappy with the shape that I'm in. I don't think I'm particularily fat or hideous looking. I do feel like I could stand to be healthier. Mostly I dislike how other people treat me when I'm not ridiculously thin. I'm not a big girl really, but the difference between how coworkers, clients and friends treat me when I'm skinny, and when I'm not, is extreme. It's sad really....and it's EVERYONE I know. Now, it's not really their fault. They don't know they're doing it. They just gradually pull away. It's like they find me less interesting, less engaging, less fun.
Maybe it's me, maybe I'm more defensive. Maybe.....but my best gauge for how big I am is my friends.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't really care. That my best course of action is to healthy up my eating and my activity level whenever it seems appropriate for me. Chalk the diet up to a valuable lesson learned. Carry on as we were just maybe with slightly less sugar. In that vein, I'm posting today a recipe ("recipe") for Rootbeer Float cake. It's a slightly (and only just slightly) less carby recipe than what I'd normally make.

Again, I didn't write anything down, so use my measurments only as a guideline.

Rootbeer Float Cake

Ingredients (for one layer)

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup of rootbeer (to be divided)
1 cup natural sugar
3/4 cup organic flour
1/2 cup ground golden flax meal
1/2 cup ground almond meal
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 eggs
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Whisk butter and sugar with a little rootbeer until fluffy. Add eggs and whisk a little more.

2. Add all the rest of the ingredients except chocolate chips and remaining rootbeer.

3. Add rootbeer and mix with whisk until cake batter consistancy is reached. (See photo). Add chocolate chips.

4. Bake at 350 for a half hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool, then decorate with frosting.

Rootbeer Frosting


2 tbsp softened butter
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup rootbeer
2 drops pure almond extract

1. Slowly whisk icing sugar into butter until stiff. Add a little rootbeer.

2. Continue adding icing sugar and rootbeer until you get frosting consistancy and volume you desire.

3. Add two drops almond extract.

This recipe made an OK cake but would make delightful cookies.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


So I've been missing lately. Off on an "adventure". Or some people call it "working"..... most people even......... especially me. Anyway, I don't have any glorious food pictures for you today...."booo-urns", I know. I haven't been cooking lately. Actually, I HAVE been cooking, but you don't want to eat the food I'm making.

Despite all my better inclinations to do, say, and eat, as I please, I decided it was time for a diet. Personally, I don't like restricting my food options. I don't like being one of those people who has to carefully track everything they're eating, and I do NOT like worrying about my weight. For the most part I'm happy the way I am, chubby bits and all. The problem is, that the more I don't pay attention to what I'm eating, the tighter my pants fit. Ultimately, if I don't do something about it, I'll have to keep buying pants and, quite frankly, I'm not rich.

I don't metabolize foods right. I've eaten low fat, organic, mostly vegetarian foods for ages. I've tried to pick the healthiest options for everything I eat. I've tried working myself to the bone. Still I gain weight. I stumbled on something the other day that made me realize the one part of my food intake I haven't looked at....... sugar. I eat a LOT of heavy carb foods. Enough that my dentist was concerned I might have diabetes.

I LIVE for fruit, bread, potatoes, pasta and anything that combines the two, especially pastries. I dream about cake at night.

So against all my better instincts, I started a low-carb diet. Originally thinking I'd have to eat piles of steak and eggs, I was concerned. Turns out it's like every other diet, it's mostly about eating vegetables, with various proteins, and avoiding any kind of sugared or starchy foods. Then, after two weeks, slowly re-introducing starches and sugars until you reach the point where you stop losing weight.

Well, let me tell you, it sounds great, but I feel like a big bag of $hit. Both physically and emotionally. I don't eat eggs, so that's out. I don't really like to eat this much meat, makes me feel gross. I feel like I'm overdosing on vegetables that I'm forcing myself to eat. I feel cranky and deprived of one of my FAVOURITE foods (ice cream cake) that I'd been looking forward to eating for a YEAR now, and that I only allow myself once a year. Worst of all, the online "support" forum seems to contain a number of pretentious, egotistical, conceited people who love to tell people what they've "done wrong" whenever they ask a question.

At any rate, it also means that the stuff I'm cooking is sugar, egg, and starch free. So I made these flax muffins that everyone on the website seems to love. The S.O. and I tried them out. He's now calling them "The Lumpy Brown Things". They look like brown-green lumps of dirt, and they taste of fake-sugar chemicals and cinnamon....mmmm. So then I tried pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin being one of the vegetables on the "allowed" list. So, following the instructions to the letter, AND taking the cookies out 10 minutes early. The cookies were burnt on the tops and the bottoms. Were little round hollow balls of pumpkin coloured chemicals. They tasted AWFUL. They looked vaguely edible. Like edible packing peanuts.......but pumpkin coloured.

I'm not impressed. Needless to say, I'm not posting those recipes here. Instead I'm going to leave you with a few more links. The first is a fun little music discovery type of site. The second is arguably the MOST addictive game on the internet. I'm begging you to just try it once. you'll love it. The third is a link to a site that can warn you when interesting space weather is happening, so you don't miss out on meteor showers and northern lights.

Here you go:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Win Soup

I made this recipe the same day as the "Fail Nougat". I was craving a good dose of veggies, something in a soup form. I basically just went to the organic market down the street and bought every kind of veggie that I like that they had in that day. It turned out wonderful, delicious, and freezes really well for lunches.


4 small carrots
3 parsnips
1 small purple turnip (purple on top, white on the bottom and the inside)
1 head broccoli
4 large shallots
1 cup corn niblets
1 cup sweet peas (I'll leave them out the next time, they just didn't go.)
2 cups brown whole grain rice
2 litres chicken stock (or veggie stock for the vegan version, but the non-tomato veggie stock)
couple tablespoons of cornstarch and cold water
salt to taste

1. Chop all veggies into bite sized cubes. I did NOT peel the carrots or parsnips but I did peel the turnip.

2. Put all the veggies into a big pot, here they are in order.

Turnips:Parsnips:Shallots: (You could use onions, no big deal.)

Carrots and Corn:

3. Dump in the rice too.

4. Pour in enough stock to cover.

5. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until rice is tender.

6. If you like a thicker consistancy soup (almost a stew) , then mix the cornstarch with some cold water until dissolved, then pour into the soup and stir quickly. Let it boil for a minute or so to thicken.

7. Salt and/or spice to taste. (I used about a tablespoon of salt.)

I usually take all the leftover soups that I have, put them in single portion plastic disposable bowls with lids (I wash them and reuse them) and then stack them in the freezer. They make delicious, easy lunches when I don't want a smushed up sandwich.


Fail Nougat

Well well, what's all this then?

You missed me, admit it. Anyway, after working several weekends of 17hr days doing something I HATE, I've had a week off to reflect on the nowhere that my life is going. Hmmmm.

Anyway, cooking hasn't seemed as appealing as it normally does. Mostly because at the end of a 17hr day I just want to sleep, and at the end of a day off I mostly just want to get out of the house. I did manage to cook up a few things here and there. Today I present you with a vegan recipe for nougat that should be divine if you have a working candy thermometer (unlike mine).

So I had a craving for delicious fluffy nougat. (It always starts out so innocently.) Since most of these recipes start out with egg whites, I thought I'd search for vegan recipes and see what came up. I started with this recipe, then I "modified it".

Fail Nougat

3 cups sugar
1 cup light agave nectar (I had amaretto flavoured)
3/4 cup white corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
3 drops pure almond oil
1/2 tsp salt
almonds and pistachios
The original recipe calls for vegan marshmellows. I used fake egg substitute, approx 3 eggs.

1. Mix up your fake eggs. (This recipe really gave me the opportunity to discover if you could "whip" fake eggs. Apparently you can, but only to a very soft peak, not stiff peak.)

2. Combine sugar, corn syrup (for god sakes WHITE corn syrup otherwise you end up with brown nougat, like I did), water, and agave nectar in a pot. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.

3. Once it boils, take the spoon out, drop the temp to about medium and continue boiling until it's 285 -295 degrees. 285 for soft nougat, 295 for harder nougat. You may want to check your candy thermometer for accuracy first (I didn't and my nougat turned out far too soft.)

4. While it's boiling, grease and icing sugar a dish or pan to put the nougat in to set. When it gets to the right temperature immediately pour it off into a heat proof dish to stop the cooking.

5. While still whisking (or mixing) the eggs, slowly pour in the warm sugar mix. Mix in the rest of the ingredients quickly. It will really start to fight you as it's cooling.

6. Once it's cool enough to handle, pull it out and press it into the greased pan. Let it cool overnight.

Despite the name of this recipe, your nougat should work out if you follow the instructions. I didn't include pictures of the finished nougat because it was brown due to the golden corn syrup I used, and it was too soft, resulting in a sticky goo.....mmmmmmm delicious goo. It really did taste good, it just wasn't nougat.....highly disappointing. I'll be trying it again using a white corn syrup and a working candy thermometer, so if you aren't brave enough to tackle this recipe now, stick around for the sequel.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I call these "Disaster Cupcakes"....

So, the Pina Colada cake was SOOOOOO delicious, that I thought "I have to try this again!". Me being me, I decided that I should try and cut down on my waistline expansion project.

The last cake was sooooo good that I ate far too much of it. (Is there such a thing?). SO, in my brilliance, I thought that I should healthy up the thing. I decided to make mini cupcakes (any excuse to use the mini cupcake pan really). I used the Pina Colada cake that I already posted but decided to substitute the sugar for splenda, and the icing for a half & half mix of whip cream and coconut cream.

This was not the smartest moment I've ever had.

Now, I should mention that these little beauties were delicious, and we polished off all of them, and I'm sure they were healthier but they were NO match for the original Pina Colada cake. They were drier, not the moist and gooey of the original, and the icing was more bland and not the right consistancy. They froze alright, and were small so they were easy to eat while frozen. All in all, they just weren't that great. So, I'm giving you the photos but I'm advising you to just throw waistline caution to the wind and go whole hog. Make the Pina Colada cake, you deserve it.

Now, gratuitous food porn:

So many chocolate chips, so little time.

Quite frequently, my baking adventures are spawned from a desire for something sweet following dinner.

I'll admit it. I'm a dessert addict.

This is one such dessert.

This one comes from that 350 recipe Taste of Home holiday magazine

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Bars

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
1 egg (I used egg substitute)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (I used seeded)
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (I used normal sized)

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in egg and extract just until moistened. (By this point mine had gone from crumbs to batter, just add more flour). Set aside 1 cup crumb mixture for topping.

2. Press remaining mixture into a greased pan (they used 11 by 7, I used whatever I have). Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Spread with jam and sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes longer or until golden brown.

3. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, return to oven for 30 secs or until chips are glossy. Cool completely on rack. Cut into bars.

I'm not sure about the 30 seconds there, I did that and all my chips fell off when I tried to cut the thing. I think next time I'd mix my chips in with my crumbs and take my chances. It would probably be a chippy, crumby mess, but it would taste goooooooood.

Here it is, fresh out of the oven and half devoured:

And the next day as I attempt to wrap one up for lunch:

Something smells like Cyanide....

Oh yes, THAT'S what's up for today's delicious dish.

Almond Cupcakes

Need I say more?

This recipe is from Canadian Living magazines May 2009 issue.

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

1. Beat butter and sugar til fluffy, then beat in eggs one at a time (I used egg substitute, works just fine).

2. In another bowl whisk together flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Stir into butter mixture alternately with milk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of milk (I found that last part of the instructions unnecessary but there ya go). Spoon into baking cups or greased muffin cups.

3. Bake in 350F deg oven until cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean. Transfer to rack and cool.

I put butter icing on mine, but the Significant Other and I both agree that they'd be really good with cream cheese icing.

Butter Icing
3/4 cup butter softened
3 3/4 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. In bowl beat butter until light, beat in sugar 1/2 cup at a time (I just slowly poured it in). Beat in milk and vanilla.

The instructions say that you can pipe it out, but my icing was a little soft for that. Looks beautiful and tasted delicious anyways.

Counting Sheep

So this post is long overdue, for two reasons.

First, I made several dishes long before the "tiny cake incident" and didn't post them. Too wrapped up in tiny cakiness. (cakeiness? cakeyness?) Anywho...the second reason is the obvious "why the hell don't you post more often???" reason.....and I well, I have no GOOD excuse for that....just many many bad ones.

At any rate, I'm hoping to write up a pile of posts today so that there will be at least a few posts in my repetoire that I can send on the days when I'm too tired to do this.

Today's delicious dish will be Shepherd's Pie. This recipe is my grandmother's. She made this many times when I was little, my father makes it all the time, and now, whenever I need the truest of comfort foods, this is my go-to dish.

1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
5 large potatoes
1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
1lb ground beef
2 cups frozen corn
4 tbsp butter or margerine
1/2 cup milk

1. Slice the potatoes into small chunks and boil on high until they're easy to pierce through with a fork.2. While you're waiting for the potatoes, brown the ground beef in a pan on medium high. When that's almost done add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onions are transluscent.

3. Mash the potatoes adding butter and milk to your personal taste and consistency. Now I mash my potatoes with this thingy:

Is it a potato masher? Some weird sort of lifter? Something else entirely? Do you own one? If you can definitively answer this question for me, there may be tiny cake slice earrings in your future.

4. Put the corn in the microwave (or in a pot of boiling water) for a minute or two until thawed and warm.

5. Mix 3 tbsps bisto with a small amount of lukewarm water until mostly dissolved. Add this to the beef while mixing like crazy. Add more water or bisto until you achieve a light gravy-like consistancy.

6. Pour the beef mixture into a cassorole dish and spread evenly. Top with corn, spread evenly. Top with potatoes, spread evenly. Sprinkle cheese all over the top....evenly.

7. Place dish in oven under the broiler until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown on top. (Keep an eye on that sucker because it can go from brown to burnt FAST).

8. EAT! (careful, it's hot!)

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