Coffee Chatter – Sunday Edition

Happy-Mothers-Day-Graphic-Design-4While I wait patiently for my mother’s phone line to free up so I can wish her a happy Mothers Day, I have been trolling around on Pinterest, pulling weeds out of the garden (it’s raining right now so I’m on a coffee rest break), and checking up on some online friends.

I’m not sure about your lawns but ours seems to be over run with dandelions this year. Last year was bad enough, but this year they’re back with a vengeance. I blame the local township banning all kinds of chemical weed killing products.

badweedsMy hips and lower back hate weeds more than I do. They will only allow me to bend down while pulling for a half hour at a time before they seize up on me. I have been thinking a lot about one of those pole devices that leave holes in the grass big enough for gophers to pop up out of. My body’s not getting any younger, and my next door neighbour lent me hers last year for a quick trial. My pride wasn’t quite to the place it is this year back then, so I passed on picking one up at Crappy Tire. But this year… I might just break down (before my back does). :-D

nappingGuess what? I guess I got too much sun weed pulling that I fell asleep on the couch halfway through this post. LOL I woke up and a few hours of my life disappeared. And it’s about to rain again. It started raining when I fell asleep, so perhaps I should just stick a fork in this day and put my PJs on now.

And no, I still haven’t gotten a hold of my mother. I have no idea what’s going on over there, but she did birth seven of us, and she is legally blind, so my best guess is she didn’t hang up the phone properly after one of the others called her to also wish her a happy Mothers Day. I will have to try her again tomorrow after work. *sigh*

hotcoffeePS: When I fell asleep, my freshly brewed cup of coffee was HOT. When I woke up it was cold. That’s quite the feat given how hot it is outside and in the house today. How long was I out cold, anyway!? Jee-bus! Oh, well. It’s nothing a few ice cubes couldn’t sort out. ;-)

[ All images found on ]

How things are going in my little world

Since taking on a different role at my job earlier this year, all of my free time has almost evaporated. I apologize to the three of you (?) left who may still be reading this page, or keeping an eye out for new posts.

I haven’t really had time to work on new recipes since Christmas, and I’m disappointed about that. I really like playing in my kitchen, but since I work a lot of overtime hours now, and I’m tired all of the damn time when I finally get home each day, I’m having a hard time forcing myself to stand at the stove for more than ten minutes at a go.

I’m hoping I can carve out a new routine very soon. I will let you all know when, or if, that ever happens. :-)

Christmas 2014 Tear Down

2015-01-01 12.36.37 An old tv production term still used to this day is “the tear down.” It refers to the tearing down of the set, lighting, cameras and furniture (desks, chairs, etc.) when a show has finished being shot or aired live. I haven’t worked in tv in a very long time, but that doesn’t stop me from saying, “Well, I guess it’s time to tear Christmas down around here,” in our home every year. Today I tore Christmas 2014 down.
2015-01-01 12.37.00 [ sigh ] Well, that’s another holiday season in the can, kids. Hope yours was all you wanted it to be.

Happy 2015, everyone!

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy 2015! Hope you were all able to stay up and see the new year being rung in. If you weren’t, don’t feel bad. My husband had a long nap in the afternoon, and he still turned in early. :-)

But, beforehand I was able to share this dinner with him. It’s homemade cabbage rolls with bacon on top, sauteed cabbage with kielbasa and onions, and served with rustic red potato mash.

New Year's cabbage rolls, sauteed cabbage with kielbasa and onions, and served with rustic red potato mash

New Year’s cabbage rolls, sauteed cabbage with kielbasa and onions, and served with rustic red potato mash.

It was all tasty, and we washed it down with this great non-alcoholic sparkling wine drink I found at the grocery store. I really like it. I’m not a fan of booze, or champagne, but I like the taste of this drink. A lot. We finished the bottle as I did the dinner dishes.

2014-12-31 22.48.45It’s about ten minutes to the big moment, and my husband is now sitting on the couch. I guess he wanted to wait it out with me after all. Aww. He’s a total sweetheart.

I’m not one for resolutions, but if you are, I wish you the best in keeping them. Conviction is the key. Conviction and a clear goal without any other voice in your head telling you change isn’t possible. It is. Totally.

Ok, we’re down to five minutes left in 2014. Get your drinks, noise makers and lips ready, kids.

Talk to you in next year!

Auntie Stacey’s Gingerbread-Espresso Christmas Cookies

Ginger-Espresso Christmas Cookies

Ginger-Espresso Christmas Cookies

I used this gingerbread cookie recipe as the base of my cookies, and then tweaked the overall flavouring by adding 2 tbsp of fine ground coffee beans for texture. You can see the flecks the grinds create in the final baked cookie form, and you can feel the grinds as you chew them. They add a lovely mouth-feel to contrast with the chewy gingerbread base, and together I think they create a sophisticated update on the old, somewhat tired gingerbread theme.

The other change up I made to my gingerbread cookies was in shape (I chose a lovely scaled snowflake over the man figure), and in the icing colour (typically you’ll see a lot of piped white icing, and some chocolate, red and green piped icing accents) which I did in a blue icing for a smashing pop of colour against the dark cookie base.

Picture courtesy of Glorious Treat's blog - gingerbread cookies

Picture courtesy of Glorious Treat’s blog – gingerbread cookies

I mean, LOOK at how fabulous this colour combination is. I won’t lie, Glory’s iced cookie version utterly seduced me. When I saw that, no other colour compared!

Gingerbread-Espresso Christmas Cookies:
1/2 C Unsalted Butter, room temp
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg, room temp
1/3 C Fancy Molasses
2 /2 C All Purpose Flour (unbleached is fine)
2 tea Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tea Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tea Salt
1/2 tea Baking Soda
1 tbsp Instant Espresso Powder
1 1/2 tbsp Coffee Grinds, Fine (not used – yuck!)

In your mixer, blend the butter and sugar together till it’s pale in colour and fluffy in texture (about 5 mins).

In a medium size mixing bowl, add the flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Whisk well to combine all of these ingredients. Set near the running mixer.

On the mixer’s slowest speed, add the egg and the molasses. Blend that in a bit before adding in your dry ingredient mixture slowly one cup at a time. When the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the dough finally, add the espresso powder and coffee grinds. Quickly run the mixer enough to blend them through out the dough batch before turning the dough out of the bowl to portion it out into four balls for chilling.

I used a pair of thick chopsticks that are about 3/8″ in diameter to flank each ball of dough between two sheets of wax paper as I rolled it out flat into a circle or square. I then placed all four flattened out dough balls on a tray and let them rest in my refrigerator or about 1 hour before cutting them up into shapes.

After an hour, I pre-heated my oven to 350 degrees (I have a convection oven so I have to set mine at 375 because the oven drops the temperature down by 25 degrees automatically), and poured a bit of flour into a bowl to dip my cookie cutter into between cuts.

I made as many snowflake cookies as I could fit on my baking pans with at least 1″ around each cookie and when the oven was ready, I baked two pans at one go on the middle rack for 8 minutes. I continued cutting out more snowflakes to line my next two pans as the first batch baked up and cooled down. I continued to repeat this until all four balls of dough were baked up into cookies.

I left the cookies to cool completely for about two hours and then started my decorating process. You can use whatever icing you like, but I happen to have been pressed for time so I cheated by melting some baking chocolate waffers in a small Ziplock baggy in my microwave (about three 30 second times for a handful of waffers). As the chocolate started to harden while decorating the cookies, I would melt it some more in the microwave at 15 second intervals.

NOTE: This is a great cookie dough to make up to one month before you need to bake it, so for Christmas I would say mix it up in the last week of November or the first week of December, wrap it as a disk in plastic wrap and then tin foil, and throw it in the freezer to speed everything up as you get into your baking groove. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes sitting on the counter for the dough to come up to temperature so you can work with it.


Christmas baking round up

2014-12-22 12.21.14So I baked a lot this year. For both sides of the family. And friends and co-workers. This isn’t the whole list, just the ones I could recall off the top of my head after the first three day marathon in the kitchen.

My Gingerbread-Espresso Christmas Cookies came after this list was made, and almost at the end of the second baking wave. It was an inspired last minute recipe idea I threw together, and I think it was the best cookie I gave out as gifts.

Speaking of, I promised you all that recipe the other day, and then life got in my way. Apologies! Coming right up. As promised, each will have their own post entry so you can search for it in the future.