Breakfast Recipe: Bacon and Egg Hash

We love breakfast food. I don’t think I can explain how much we actually love it. Its probably why you see breakfast food recipes where we just eat it for dinner as well. Breakfast style dinners are just fantastic. Anyways, with that said, I wanted to try something different for my husband’s birthday brunch since we’re quite traditionalists so we go with the separate bowls of bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and potatoes. However, I’d had breakfast casseroles and skillets and hashes and have loved it a lot so I went hunting on Pinterest for one that I liked which was relatively simple to make.

Then I came across this recipe: https://cafedelites.com/cheesy-bacon-and-egg-hash/

And of course, its me so I modified the portions and some little bits here and there and came out with this:

breakfast hash

Bacon and Egg Hash

Ingredients

3 medium potatoes, scrubbed clean and peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
Bacon (I used about 4-5 strips)
4 cloves of garlic, minced/finely chopped
2 large eggs
Pepper to season

How to make it

  1. Dice potatoes in 3/4 inch cubes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in a skillet pan or an oven pan. Spray with a light coating of cooking oil spray.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Mixing them once halfway through cooking time.
  5. Remove from the oven, add the bacon and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and make two wells in the hash, crack the egg into each well and sprinkle the garlic around the eggs and over the potatoes.
  7. Put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until the eggs have been cooked to your preference.
  8. Remove from oven. Season with some pepper if desire and serve immediately

This is definitely  more than an inspiration. I honestly needed a recipe that would tell me the temperature to bake it in and yet again, I worked with what I had. We ran out of green scallions so I used garlic. I actually used a little too much but we love garlic here so its not a big deal for us. This is for a 2 person portion since we exactly had 3 potatoes left. Either way, this breakfast hash turned out pretty good. We also did remove the cheese but thats because we never do cheese on dishes since I’m lactose intolerant. My husband ended up sprinkling some shredded cheese on there afterwards to taste.

These meals are fairly straight forward and you can technically put anything you’d like that cooks fairly quickly. The efficiency of breakfast food is one of the reasons we like to make it on a lazy Sunday morning (evening). It was pretty tasty since it didn’t even need salt with the bacon already having the salt to season everything around it. It turned out pretty good. The potatoes weren’t as crispy as I had wanted but if you use a wider pan or skillet (which I couldn’t find), it will do the job. The single layer potatoes are the key here for having it crispier.

I have improvements I’ll work on for next time but overall, this breakfast hash turned out pretty good. 🙂

Christmas Decorations 2017

Its almost a tradition now to start off the holiday marathon with my Christmas decorations. There’s always a bit of the same and still manage to get some changes in there. If you’ve seen the previous one (and actually remember it), then there will be something new still. Christmas is a big deal at our place especially with my husband and his family so in our 9+ years together from dating to marriage, its been a huge part of our life and honestly, one of the most exciting times of the year when we do get to decorate. At the point of this going up, we still have some possibly outdoor decoration to put up but not sure when that is happening as outdoorsy wires and rigs are up to my husband and he hasn’t found the time just yet. Its our turn to host the family party this year so I’m guessing it will happen.

Let’s go!

Bay Window Lights

It seems fitting to look at the display for the outside. Our bay window lights haven’t changed using a layer of white and blue lights. My poinsettia has been the same for the last three years. Its a little sad but I’m hoping it’ll turn red soon. You can’t see it here but I ended up adding in a garland to line the bottom of the window and putting a candy cane decoration on the top.

On top of the stairs

One of our new purchases this year from Michael’s are somewhat rustic which matches our dining room ceiling that extends over our stairs. Its little people hanging on in their winter getup on some rustic string.

I can’t remember where I put this reindeer last year but I think it was in the den. This year we took away the candle and put it here by the shoe rack drawer by the front door.

On top of the piano are these singing chipmunks that when pressed sing Up on the Rooftop. On its side is a little gift from Starry Traveler which was a little puzzle and I put it together and decided to use it as display instead of ornament this year.

Our new wreath this year that I put together is with a empty wreath and wrapping around a garland of white poinsettia, adding in three elves, one little santa, two tricolor berries along with a bell ornament that I used to put on the tree but fills as a ribbon. There are some pine scented Scentsicles buried in it.

Dining Table Decoration

The santa here was bought this year as a possible tree topper but we decided to use it as a dining table decoration with some white beads as the bottom. The candle holder on the side is also a new purchase and used for the table decoration. We don’t have a big table so these items will move when we have the party.

Moving into the den, we have a little berries display with some IKEA shards in the vase to keep it in place. I have a red snowflake candle holder along with a little Merry and Bright panel.

Wreath

On the other side by the closet door is the first wreath I made for the house. I added in some new Scentsicles. I couldn’t find the berry ones so I also used pine for this one as well.

Moving over to the office, I used to only have one strand of light on the bookcase but we found another smaller one so I connected it up and draped it over the new art I had put up this year. I love it as it keeps me in a great mood and motivated to get work done.

FINALLY…

To wrap things up, the christmas tree! We’ve had the same one as the last few years. Its a 7 foot Christmas tree from Costco. This year, we have the colored lights and then after a very painful hour, I managed to strand a shorter but brighter strand of LED colored lights around the middle. We didn’t get any new ornaments this year but did keep it between the fun and fancy ones and held off on some of the solid color ball ornaments.

That’s mostly it for this year’s Christmas decorations!
What do you think?

My Weekly Adventures #48

Its been a month since our last update! Honestly, the last one would’ve been just pure Fantasia Festival recap. I was going to put together a Top 5 or 10 films of Fantasia that I saw but after one recording, I just wasn’t happy with it so ended up putting that to the side. I still want to do something more for Fantasia Festival. Just giving it a little time to cool down as I catch up with some outstanding posts. Regardless, that is my own housekeeping and I won’t bore you further with it. On the note of housekeeping, the indexes for both books and movies are updated till the beginning of August so if you are looking for anything, you’ll find it there. I’ll work on restructuring that a little more by the end of the year.

Without further ado, let’s see what went on this past month! 🙂

Fantasia International Film Festival

Its obvious that the first thing to talk about is Fantasia Festival. It took most of July and overlapped the last My Weekly Adventures. Here’s some of the photos that I took from the Q&As. I did more recording than pictures. I’m thinking of compiling something out of it but working on that. Maybe it’ll be too late when I finally get around to it. However, you can find Fantasia movie reviews both in the Movies section or the drop down to Fantasia Festival, which will queue up all the last 15 posts or something about it.

If you look back at the Fantasia Festival movie list before I started (this post HERE), a good 40% of it probably had changed for many reasons. However, the original plan was around 15 movies and I watched about 14 and had an extra post for the short films. Things worked out quite well, I’d say. I will however get the Top 5 or 10 films list done soon. As I’m writing this, it feels necessary to give it a final wrap-up even if its late.

What made Fantasia Festival even better, other than the press pass was having my best friend join me for a day and my husband join me for two movies for back to back weekend date nights. I’d say this event coverage was pretty awesome! 🙂

New Blinds & Decoration

Seeing as I managed to spare some normal expenses in July, I decided to achieve the 2017 goals of changing our kitchen curtains which were lacy white curtains to actual blinds. After some discussion, we got the dark brown bamboo blinds and they are fantastic and match our color scheme perfectly. We just forgot to get a small one for the door but we will live. However, on our trip to Bouclair (a home decor chain in Quebec), I found this darling decoration on top. In case you haven’t realized, I love the word dream so one more thing to add to the den as I slowly transform it into my little world.

Sessions 375 x Ile Soniq

sessions 375 x ile soniq

August is like the music festival month. The first weekend kicks off with Osheaga Festival and then last weekend was Ile Soniq. For those who don’t know, I’m like electronic music quite a bit. I’ve been listening to it and honestly as the years gone by, I’ve become more selective. I’ve always wanted to go to Ile Soniq but never really had the chance, mostly because I don’t want to go to these events by myself. However, Phoebe (aka The Starry Traveler & my co-host of Battle of Ingredients, which will return from hiatus very soon) dropped me a message and said that there was a free event in celebration of the Montreal 375th birthday called Sessions 375 x Ile Soniq En Ville. I met up with her at a midpoint and headed there with her and her bun bun. She has the goal of exposing her little one to all kinds of stuff so we didn’t go into the event grounds because of long line-ups and crowds and safety purposes but we watched and listened from afar and it was good enough for us.

The evening ended with a meal and I’ll be sharing a post on that soon. We have two foodie posts coming up. 🙂

Matsuri Japon Festival & Brossard Cultural Fest

J-Dog

Imadake

Matsuri

Takoyaki

Every year, Matsuri Japon Festival and Brossard Cultural Fest lands on the same day so as usual, my friends and I head out to these events. First stop for lunch is Matsuri and we shared all those foods and my friend had some noodles also, which is not here. The day was incredibly local showers since we were in and out of rain and seriously one patch would have rain and the other would not.

Brossard Cultural Fest

Brossard Cultural Fest

Next up at Brossard Cultural Fest! We just made a little walk around, had a natural juice popstick and then got rained on a little and then left for home. There were some cute bouncy inflatable things every where for the kids and it was so awesome. My fave was the giant T-Rex but there was also a huge tiger, etc. Super cool stuff!

Game Warp – Instagram Fun

Not sure if I had mentioned it before but Game Warp Podcast has a Instagram. We mostly share random gaming stuff that we come across and hope to expand our platform a little more. Earlier this month, we decided to do a little social experiment, thought up by my fantastic co-host to see if we took selfies and held some random gaming stuff, we could get some more views. We ended having quite some fun with it and I’m thinking of doing that again. Mine turned out pretty good, which is so rare so I even changed a few of my profile pic to this one.

Yes, I know shameless promotion again! You got it! If you have Instagram, go and give us a follow! 🙂

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • Battle of Ingredients (summer hiatus ends)
  • Foodie Restaurant Recaps
  • Movie Double Features
  • TV Binges
  • Books
  • Top 10 Fantasia Films Seen

That’s it for this My Weekly Adventures (more like Monthly)!
What have you been up to?

Christmas Decorations!

Happy Wednesday, my lovelies! We’re only days away from Christmas and this year, its been much less holidays and Christmas focused than past years! However, it just doesn’t feel right to not share a little Christmas decor post!

Every year I try to change things around a little. We sometimes buy stuff on Boxing Day from the previous year to plan for this year. Most of the time, by the time its time to decorate, I already forgot the initial plan and just try to remember again, or just whip up something completely different. I think the most steady decorations are the wreaths. I haven’t wanted to change them yet or make a new one. Maybe next year. But I swapped them around. And as you see this post, I’ll only be missing the garland for the stairwell and finding that extension cord for the star.

A hint of Christmas in the office

A hint of Christmas in the office with Christmas Mickey

Christmas decorations

Our new LED trees that change colors

Added lights to another window

Added lights to another window

Homemade decorations by my mother in law

Homemade decorations by my mother in law

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Disney Winter plushies: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy

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Wreath moved to the den

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Added a little bit to the berries arrangement in the den along with the sign and candle holder and reindeer

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A new floral arrangement by the stairs

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Christmas seat covers and cushions

Christmas Tree (day and night)

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Do you decorate for Christmas?

 

My Weekly Adventures: Learning Lots of New Things!

I’m back with another lovely instalment of My Weekly Adventures. I should change the title…but it just sounds so clunky if I used biweekly! It sounds like a paycheque.  Regardless, we’re back! Its not exactly exciting tidbits but its been really busy especially since there’s only 15 days left to file taxes and well, I’m still sitting around waiting for something that I need.

Enough of this serious talk! Everything always works out..usually! Let’s see whats been happening! Oh yeah, “Cute Kitty Time” is now the permanent addition to this segment to wrap up the post 🙂

Vacation & AirBnB

You got that right! We have our vacation planned.  Well, we booked the flight and a part of the vacation.  However, its not for a few months so we still have time to iron out transport and places and whatnot.  We’re heading out to Vancouver/British Columbia area, and if you’re not familiar with Canadian geography, its the western end of Canada. I’ve never travelled extensively there but we ended up there because we have a family event going on so we’re heading out to celebrate!

This is the first time, we booked the place to stay through AirBnB during the family portion.  I was pretty ecstatic about having our book request accepted although I’m sure I don’t look like a crazy person. I’m just hoping that everything works out!

If you do live or have travelled in Western Canada, what are the must-sees that you suggest? Maybe even restaurant ideas or hiking trails?

Trying to learn Braided Hairstyles!

I love messing around with my hair.  Weird because I don’t have very adventurous hair cuts.  Now its more about convenience.  But, when I saw this Youtube video the other day, I just fell in love with it all over again and decided to give it a try (finally!) and that’s pretty much what I’ve been practicing while watching TV series or movies the past week or so.  I have a few more I want to try but I need to wait for my hair to grow longer.  I’m hoping to try out a super pretty braid hairstyle for said family event later this year. 😉

Birthday Dinner!

Call me old but turning 30 doesn’t mean all that much.  Everyone asked me if I wanted to do something special.  You know what is special to me? Spending some quality time with my husband and having a good chat, playing some games and just not having to do chores and all those grown-up homeowner responsibilities.  My husband had his vacation on my birthday week so it was fantastic because he also made me dinner and I woke up to a clean kitchen which is usually what I’d take care of.  Plus, that day work went surprisingly smooth for the trainwreck few weeks its been (and will be coming). Now, that my friends, is a great birthday.

Breakfast Style Dinner

Oh, the dinner I asked for was a breakfast style dinner matched with a lovely mimosa! Well, we didn’t have orange juice so we used apple juice. It still tasted delicious!  I gotta say, it was perfect! 🙂

Family visit!

Talking about family, I had my aunt and uncle come over to visit with some of their extended family. It was tons of fun, especially because we got a super good meal out of it.

homecooked meals

My mom’s delicious meal!

Plus, we ended up heading out to try out a restaurant in Chinatown which I rarely do.  It was different to say the least! I’ll probably do a restaurant foodie post on it soon!

Brunch Weekend!

Since we’re talking about food, one of my super good friends have a little birthday tradition for his good friends: we get a birthday credit and he takes the birthday person out for a brunch wherever we want. Well, last year he took me to this lovely little restaurant in Old Montreal called Le Cartet.  I probably posted about it.  I asked for that place again but this year, he was super awesome and also took me out for a brunch the day before after we had a change in plans so that we could hang out with some other friends.  I ended up getting a two part birthday brunch.  I guess, its the benefits of entering a new decade in life. 😉

Le Cartet

That being said, I’m going to do a Restaurant double feature soon! I usually do that in an upcoming post section but its one I wanted to highlight!

Lots of food stuff coming up, eh?

Cute Kitty Time

We were all having a lazy weekend.  She was fast asleep in my arms in less than a minute.

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Upcoming:

  • Netflix A-Z: R-U selections
  • Baking Through Disney project for Fantasia
  • Unboxing for a new box (one month trial only)

What’s been going on with you?

Happy Friday, my lovelies! 🙂

Happy Year of the Fire Monkey! :)

Happy Chinese New Year~! 🙂

We’re stepping into the Year of the Monkey today in Chinese tradition.  Spring has arrived in the lunar calendar and we welcome it with a lot of traditions.  We spent most of the weekend tidying the house and making sure that we’re all set for a fresh start in the New Year! This is the first year I’m spending Chinese New Year living at my new house away from my mom.  We had to put together a bit of decorations to hopefully bring some good luck.

Here’s a bit of the decorations around our house and some of the Chinese New Year celebrations and we’ll end with a 2016 New Year video.  Its in Cantonese and its a ton of good luck wishes but yeah, its fun to watch even if you don’t know what its saying. And well, Hoi-Pang Lo is one that you’ll recognize if you watch Hong Kong movies. 😉

I know its more flowers than anything but its really lively and I love having them there.  We have a few of those hanging decorations.  I just didn’t want to bore you with how they are everywhere as well as those lucky slogans.  We have 3 of those around the house. As for the orchids, they opened just in time for the New Year.  The timing couldn’t be any better! 🙂

Dinner

Dinner

Chiense New Year

Year Cake

Rice Balls

Dessert

Heading over to my mom’s for dinner is always awesome! I think my mom makes the best food ever so what more can I say? Plus, we had the Superbowl playing in the background which I talked more than I watched but the halftime show was fun.  I thought it did the 50 years justice.  Bruno Mars was a great special guest and its great that they had him because well, he got judged so harshly back when he did it a few years ago that having him back gives him justice that he is definitely a great performer. Plus, Coldplay is always great! 🙂

Happy Chinese New Year from my family! :)

Happy Chinese New Year from my family! 🙂

And now for the song! 🙂

Have a great day, my lovelies! 🙂
It may be Chinese New Year but expect another post this afternoon!

Dinner: Beer Chicken

I can feel my experimental and fun cooking/baking self coming back! The energy is just coming back in.

I’ve heard a lot about Beer Chicken or Beer Can Chicken, whichever you want to call it.  We did a pseudo version of it for Christmas dinner upon the suggestion of my best friend. And it turned out really well since just marinated the chicken in it.  Its one of the reasons I was pretty delighted to give this a go especially since we just got gifted some Labatt Blue and everyone laughed at it but no one drank it. I’m not a beer connoisseur. In fact, I don’t digest beer well so I can only have it when its used in cooking (or mixed in drinks like Jagerbomb).

However, my one fear is that the can will explode in the oven.  Which it didn’t 😉 My oven and home is very much intact. *knocks on wood* Lets not jinx myself…

Beer Chicken
Serves 6
(Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.jocooks.com/main-courses/poultry-main-courses/beer-can-chicken/)

beer chicken

Follow the link above for the ingredients and cooking instructions.

Substitutions:

  • Dry Tarragon was replaced with Oregano.
  • Smoked Paprika and Chili Powder both omitted.
  • Adding a 1 tsp (roughly) of Montreal Chicken spice

Beer Chicken

The recipe doesn’t specify it but I had to use the bottom rack of my oven to put in the chicken was its placed in upright and should come out upright as well. However, mine toppled over some time in the last half an hour. I’m sure depending on the size of your chicken, it will vary as well on time but for me, the 1 hour 15 minutes was exactly perfect.  The meat was juicy and tender.  It was absolutely a delight.  Not to mention the very delicious smell as its cooking that spreads through the house.  It is a really simple way to make a dinner.  I did it after work but if it was done earlier on  a weekend, it would be perfect.  I love making roast chickens because I just put them in the oven and then set the timer and walk off to do whatever I need to take care of.  When its all done, I’m done with my stuff also, right on time to fill up my belly with some delicious food.

Beer chicken is definitely a winner.  On a side note, its kind of a silly and weird thought to talk about a recipe where you have to stick a can up a chicken’s behind.

How do you like to make whole chickens? What spices do you prefer? Do you like to cook with beer (or other alcohol bases)?

My Weekly Adventures!

After some intensely busy holidays, life feels like its tapering off into quiet.  Slowly but surely it is. The one thing I do notice in January is the immense amount of birthdays.  Not a complaint, of course.  I like being invited to parties, even the hermit in me likes to go out and have fun. The first half of January is a little slower than usual. You will see that this might be a rather short Weekly Adventures that isn’t really that adventurous but I still have a few things to talk about.

Cat Naps

Sleeping Cats

Cat

Wait a minute! That’s not an adventure! I already told it isn’t but the first half of January was all about my cat napping and recuperating her nerves from all the unexpected visitors that invaded her safe home and once her purring starts, she makes me want to doze off. It was an endless cycle.

Family Dinner at the In-Laws

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Last weekend, we had a proper feast at my in-laws with everyone in my husband’s family.  I drank a little too much of my father in-law’s heavily spiked punch and totally channelled all the French speaking me and tucked away all the self-conscious part of me. It was a ton of fun.  I think this picture is just missing the chicken wings that were still in the oven at this point.  Those were fantastically delicious!

Lifestyle Changes: Eating Habits and Working Out

Two years ago, I was great at this, maybe it was 3 years now.  Then, I got that eye infection that wouldn’t go away and it just kicked that perfect sleeping, eating and exercising routine out of the equation.  I get it back in the summer and if anything, I proved that in some pretty extreme conditions, I can still push myself to work out when I need to. Then winter rolls around and things get out of whack again. I didn’t mention it for the New Year’s post but its kind of a the past week decision to slowly make the transformation.

Consider this a new goal this year and I’m going to give you updates so I stay accountable!

I’m going back to a mostly gluten-free diet, working out (weights and cardio) 2-3 times a week and getting back a good sleeping routine, which means no more procrastinating and being much more efficient at organizing everything.

Revamping and Updating

I’ve posted during the holidays that I was updating the site and getting linked up and making sure the indexes were all good.  I did a bit of editing and actually finished all that up that day. But it also occurred to me that we’re approaching 5 years and I’ve been wanting to make a banner and reposition where I am. I have some funky connected Google+ accounts and I really just use social media for the blog except for Facebook but I don’t have a Facebook page.  Which reminds me? Should I set one up?

Either way, story is…if you happen to drop by any videos on any pages like vlogs or whatnot, they won’t work because while I was trying to work out some magic to transfer my Youtube accounts and change the connected Google accounted, I deleted my own Youtube by accident and there we go…all the subscriptions and likes and lists and videos are ALL GONE! It was my mistake in the beginning while setting up the Google + account and realizing it wasn’t done right and now, it was hard to fix it up. I’m not particularly skilled at technology so that didn’t help either.

Well, I do firmly believe that to revamp something completely, you need to break it down and rebuild it in some ways.  Just like when you want to clean something thoroughly, you first create a bigger mess and then clean it all back up. Maybe its a weird method. It works for me though.

With that said, its just an open invitation to clean up a ton of stuff on the site and fix the menu and widgets and all that stuff.  Expect to see some changes gradually show up over the next week or so. If anything doesn’t work, its because I’m messing around with it so just drop by again and things should be all good again.  It shouldn’t affect anything recent since I’m just relocating and evaluating posts from 2011-2012 mostly.

 Blogathon Announcement

Ultimate 80s Blogathon

In case you missed it, I’ve teamed up with Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews for an upcoming Blogathon called the Ultimate 80s Blogathon to be held on February 15th.  For more details, you can check out the announcement post HERE! Its actually my first time to run a blogathon so its very much thanks to Drew who helped push me to do this one.  Even if you don’t normally write reviews, you are still welcome to do a little write up of your favorite movie. Even if you aren’t a blogger, we really looking forward to see everyone’s choices!

Mini Tribute to Alan Rickman

I don’t normally do much for the death of actors.  I did only once before for Paul Walker.  This past 15 days marked two influential stars passing away but just yesterday, we lost Alan Rickman, someone who my husband and I really love as an actor.  He is so talented and will definitely be missed. I feel it right to take a little moment here to look at some of his memorable roles to us.

Event updates + Upcoming…

Events are kind of picking up again. I’m just trying to find time to get to them. I did go to one restaurant in Janvier a la Carte at Quartier Dix30, which is a little shopping/entertainment/dining complex in the suburbs of Montreal.  I’ve probably mentioned it somewhere else. Regardless, I will have a post for that going up.  I do want to check out another one if I have the time and company, but no promises on that one.  As I do need to make time to catch up on some movies at the theatres like The Revenant.  I personally want to go to see 13 Hours and later on, The 5th Wave. There are a myriad of winter festivals starting to pop up so I want to try and get to one of those as well, maybe see some ice sculptures.  I’ll fill you all in with an upcoming Events post very soon. I have some plans in the making for February and March weekend getaways if things work out well.

I’m going to keep this short since I’ll have something special go up in just a few days.

To wrap it up, upcoming posts…

  • Special post with some announcements
  • Netflix A-Z: D-G (at least) and catching up with more 2015 movies
  • Janvier a la Carte Restaurant
  • Baking Through Disney: Pinocchio theme Baking
  • The Classics Adventures: Persuasion Book Review

Man walking down road at sunset

Happy Friday, my lovelies!

Baking: Sugar Cookies (with 4 different toppings)!

The holidays are fantastic.  We take turns spending time with our friends and this year, we had a few friends drop by for a little potluck and game night to ring in the New Year’s.  Some of you know that I’m in absolutely love with baking.  With My Weekly Adventures post, before rambling about recaps and updates, I gave a quick look of some Boxing Day finds and the one I’m most proud of is finally getting the standing mixer.  For New Year’s Eve, I put it to the test and after much debate between various recipes, I decided to go with Sugar Cookies.  It does sound kind of familiar since I did do Chocolate Sugar Cookies on the baking date with my friend right before Christmas. Except, I’ve been eyeing this recipe in Butter Baked Goods, one of the cookbooks I own.

Here it is!

“Big” Sugar Cookies
(from Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykins)

Sugar Cookies

Sprinkled with icing sugar

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla
coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Sugar Cookies

2nd batch: With Sliced Almonds

 1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Onto a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and oil on medium to high heat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the sugar and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat briefly after each addition.  Add the vanilla and beat again to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.

6. Use the ice cream scoop to drop 24 equally sized portions of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Use the palm of your hand to press down lightly on the top of each dough portion to flatten slightly, then sprinkle with a little sanding sugar.

7. Baking in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges and cracked in the center.

8. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Sugar Cookies

3rd batch: with Dark Chocolate (Lindt 70% Cocao)

Notes:

  • I ended up with double the batch (48 cookies) with probably smaller size cookies.
  • Replaced vegetable oil with olive oil
  • Sprinkled with icing sugar for first batch but then used, sliced almonds, dark chocolate and snowflakes sugar decorations
Sugar Cookies

4th batch: with sugared snowflakes

These sugar cookies were pretty good. There was a good crunchy consistency.  I put the batches for 15 minutes in the oven. Suffice to say that the snowflakes was a true experiment and they ended up melting so that isn’t a great idea. The dark chocolate toppings were the big hit and ended the night with most of them eaten. Sugar cookies are a very easy solution.  I did these without a sifter and a proper ice cream scoop or parchment paper.  My new home needs some improvement in the supplies portion but that is on our shopping list. To be honest, cookies are my go-to whenever I need a quick fix for baking.  Preparation is usually quite minimal (unless you need to use cookies cutters which adds a step and maybe some kneading the dough depending on what you make) and the bake time is usually under 20 minutes (unless its biscotti which needs to baking sessions). I love quick solutions.  Sometimes life is about enjoying the simple things and sugar cookies definitely fits that category.

On a side note, the promise I made (to my husband and myself) with the new mixer purchase was that it would be the motivation to step back into my favorite activity ever: Baking and work towards improving this year.  Consider these sugar cookies to be the first step back in the kitchen.  For the record, there should be another recipe up soon for the Baking Through Disney.

How do you like to top your Sugar Cookies? Are you fan of cookies? What type do you like?

Dinner: Roast Beef

Man, you can tell that its the holiday season when I’m filling up the space with tons of recipes! This one is from a week before the holidays when we realized that we were truly running out of stuff in the freezer and had to desperately go do some major grocery shopping even if meats were expensive…  Still, here we are with my first attempt at roast beef! 🙂

I got the recipe and adapted it a little to what I had available from the Made in Quebec cookbook.

Roast Beef

Serves 8

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Ingredients

1 standing rib roast, 4 to 4 1/2 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tsp spices of your choice (commercial spice mixture or about 1 tsp each of red pepper flakes, dry mustard, dried thyme and rosemary)
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 strig fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves)

 1. Remove roast from the refrigerator 2 hours before starting to roast.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 250F. Sprinkle meat all over with salt, pepper, and spices. Insert meat thermometer in thickest part of roast, avoiding the bone.

2. Place a rack just a little longer than the meat in a roasting pan and add oil to the pan. Place roast on the rack. Roast for 2 hours, then scatter onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves around the meat.

3. Stir thyme into pan juices. Continue roasting for another 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the roast. When the meat thermometer registers 120F, the meat will be rare.  Remove from the oven or continue roasting until the meat thermometer registers 125F for medium-rare, 130F for medium, or 140F for well done.

4. To brown the roast, increase oven temperature to 500F and continue roasting until richly browned, from 5 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove meat from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving.

 Note:

  • I honestly don’t remember what was the cut of the roast but it was definitely not 4 pounds. It probably was less.
  • I used their recommended spices but without the dry mustard
  • When I did this recipe, I was incredibly low on veggies so I ended up making 4 carrots in the place of the celery.
  • This recipe is paired with a gravy made with the pan juices. If you would like to know it, just email me

The experience of making roast beef the first time is definitely memorable. It took a lot of time. Its been a long time since I had taken so much patience and care on cooking. While I felt a little like a headless chicken around the kitchen and somewhat unsure about how it would turn out, but it did work out alright.

The meat was rather tender. The outside was a little drier because the inside wasn’t cooked enough so I popped it back in for a little bit. I should have added some wine or water or sauce to evaporate to help. However, it was well worth the effort.

Have you made roast beef before? What suggestions do you have? What spices do you use?