When the kids were tiny, we hired a live-in caregiver from Baguio in the Philippines and she has graced our life with love and kindness ever since. Before every special birthday party or event, I would come home from work to find a freezer full of amazing filipino spring rolls, and the kids and I would devour them early in any party! The rolling of these gems always eluded me, so I sat down with her and we all learned proper spring roll rolling technique together.
Superbowl Sunday is more of an excuse to entertain as opposed to understanding the highly complicated game of football. Or maybe that’s just me. With the big event looming, we’ve been trying to crash the internet by searching for gorgeous superbowl food ideas. It’s all about the cheese (and the whoopie pies!!) So grab your ingredients, download some Katy Perry and set your DVR to record Sunday’s commercials! Go sports!
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 c white wine
1 cup lobster stock (or vegetable)
2 cloves garlic
2 T fresh thyme
1 medium onion, diced
1 T butter
1 T fine flour
2 cups diced lobster tails
2 bags dried pappardelle
1. Saute the onion in butter over medium heat until soft.
2. Deglaze the pan with wine and add stock.
3. Reduce liquid to 1/2 cup.
4. Add flour while stirring constantly.
5. Add garlic and thyme and cook 2 minutes while stirring – you don’t want the garlic to burn.
6. Pour in heavy cream and allow it to thicken. You may have to add a bit more flour depending on your preference.
7. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle in boiling water.
8. Add the chopped lobster to the sauce so that it is warm but do not overcook.
9. Mix the al dente pasta and the sauce together and form Mickey heads on a plate.
10. Serve with Mickey-shaped garlic bread.
Talk about standing on your own feet. Check out Efeet, Dylan Kendall’s new line of footed home accessories. In today’s world, being normal is over-rated. We all want people to notice how nice our home is or how great cool our dishes are. The Efeet Collection is the perfect conversation starter and takes a stand against the run-of-the-mill boring dishware. Turning the world of traditional dish ware on its head, this collection proves to add that little touch of whimsy everyone longs for. From footed mugs, bowls, mugs and even bathroom sets, these dishes will be a huge hit at any event or gathering.
Better yet – like charity and animals? By purchasing a new footed bowl for your pet through www.indiegogo.com you will help animals in need. $1 of each dog bowl pre-sold through the Indiegogo campaign will go to Hope For Paws — a remarkable dog rescue doing critical work in South Central Los Angeles (where I have family) and $1 of each cat bowl pre-sold through the Indiegogo campaign will go to Stray Cat Alliance whose work rescuing homeless cats and advocating for a No Kill Los Angeles is vital to raising awareness and making a difference to the lives of cats on the streets.
We know you’ve done it: spilled flour/milk/grape jelly on your iPad while trying to follow a recipe. This Thanksgiving, spend more time on the table decor and less on futzing around with recipe books by getting technical. There are a few things you’ll need, but we guarantee you’ll become hooked. Not only will you want to spend all your time trying new things in the kitchen, but your prowess will win over the hearts and health of the family. We’ve got 6 iPad recipe apps and accessories that will make your Thanksgiving dinner easy-peasy. Ready?
1. An iPad. Not that you don’t have one already. But if you don’t (or have a hankering for the latest)… the fourth generation iPad has a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display perfect for viewing digital recipes and cookbooks as well as video tutorials. And with it’s advanced dual-band Wi-Fi you can download and stream content at remarkable speeds. Not that you’re watching Real Housewives while you cook or anything.
2. This is the best ever for those of you who cover your screen with ingredients. Protect your iPad with Chef Sleeve’s Disposable Sleeves. chefsleeve.com
3. Get Appy. Apps, not appetizers. These are some favourites:
a) Shopping List Free Universal (Free) Sort your items into store departments and organize your shipping trip!
b) GrocerySmart Universal (Free) Sync and share lists across multiple users and devices.
c) MealGuru iPad ($3.99) MealGuru transforms your iPad into a mobile meal planning solution capable of whipping up deliciously healthy dinner ideas for every day of the week.
d) MealBoard Universal ($2.99) MealBoard combines recipe management, meal planning, groceries and pantry management into a single app.
e) Evernote Food Universal (Free) Discover and save delicious recipes and amazing restaurants, add photos, notes and location to remember your food and experiences and share with your friends via email. Twitter and Facebook.
f) Big Oven Universal (Free) The most complete cooking tool for getting inspired and organized in the kitchen and on-the-go. Take 250,000+ recipes wherever you go.
4. Be a stand up chef. Williams-Sonoma Smart Tools Kitchen Stand for Tablets is a must have. And while you’re at it you may as well order some new Vitamix accessories, a new chef’s knife, Thanksgiving decor…..
5. No counter space? Attach your iPad directly onto the fridge with the minimalist-inspired Belkin fridge mount. Space-age.
6. Want to write down recipe modifications or create your own? Geek out with the Cube – Bluetooth Laser Projected Keyboard. (PS. It’s on sale).
We’ll also be publishing lots of hearty Thanksgiving recipes, so feel free to bookmark our recipe section on your iPad too.
Cake pops are all the rage. Bet you didn’t know the secret is frosting! For an added touch, drizzle cake pops with melted white chocolate and coloured sprinkles. Try our Mint Chocolate Cake Pops recipe.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
Chill time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
4 cups (1 L) prepared chocolate cake chunks
1 cup (250 mL) vanilla frosting
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) PC Decadent Mint Chocolate Chips
20 paper lollipop sticks
2 tbsp (25 mL) canola oil
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 1. In large bowl, add cake chunks and frosting; mix together using spatula until fully combined. Spoon 2 tbsp (25 mL) mixture at a time and form into rough-shaped balls; arrange on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour. 2. Once chilled, roll each rough-shaped ball into a smooth round ball; refrigerate until ready to use. 3. Place chocolate chips in small glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH in 15 to 20 second intervals, stirring in between, for about 1 minute or until chocolate is completely melted. Dip one end of a lollipop stick ¾ -inch (2 cm) into melted chocolate; insert most of the way into a cake ball. Repeat with remaining sticks and cake balls. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to use. 4. Meanwhile, reheat chocolate if necessary to maintain pourable consistency; gently stir in oil. Dip a cake ball into chocolate to coat completely, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl; insert stick into a Styrofoam block or drinking glass stuffed with foil. Repeat with remaining cake balls. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 20 cake pops. TIP: You can use home-made or store-bought chocolate cake and vanilla frosting.
Are you looking for something new to brighten up your holiday cookie plate? The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking cookbook is bursting with recipes that will satisfy a sweet tooth, cookie exchange or dessert for a holiday gathering.
Everyday Baking features 118 original recipes by celebrated baker and longtime Almanac collaborator Ken Haedrich. A winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award, Haedrich may be best known as the author of Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie, which was recently named one of the best baking books of the past 25 years by Cooking Light magazine.
Everyday Baking, with its handy reference section and time-tested advice sprinkled throughout, demystifies the art of baking and will inspire home bakers of all skill levels to make delicious breakfast treats, after-school snacks, and impressive desserts. The easy-to-follow recipes in Everyday Baking don’t demand unusual ingredients or abstract cooking techniques, but rather just a desire to make delicious home-baked goods completely from scratch.
Everyday Baking is available online at Almanac.com or wherever books and magazines are sold.
From The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking cookbook (page 48)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Optional: Fleur de sel or sea salt, just a few pinches
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the sugars and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir the dry mixture into the creamed ingredients, half at a time, until evenly mixed. Stir in the cranberries, white chocolate chips, and nuts. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours (or overnight).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter two large baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into 1-1/2-inch-diameter balls. Place the balls on the baking sheets, leaving about 2-1/2 inches in between. Optional: sprinkle a tiny pinch of fleur de sel over each ball, literally just about 5 granules on each cookie. Bake one sheet at a time on the center oven rack for about 17 minutes (this sounded like a long time to me, but because the dough was cold, it was perfect!). When done, the edges of the cookies should be golden brown and the centers much less so. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.
Jennifer Low has a belief in teaching kids to cook healthy and fun meals and has developed 100 brand new recipes that use no sharp knives, no stove-top cooking and no motorized appliances. In her new book – Everyday Kitchen for Kids, she encourages children to experience the thrill of cooking for the first time. If you like Chinese fried rice, this recipe for Feast Rice—often served at big parties or feasts—lets you try out cool Asian ingredients to make your own version without any frying.
microwave-safe 1 1/2-quart (1.5 L) glass or ceramic baking dish, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking spatula or wooden spoon, ordinary teaspoon, foil (or lid of baking dish), bowl, fork, kitchen scissors, oven mitts
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp (30 mL) oyster sauce
3/4 cup (185 mL) long-grain white rice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) finely chopped garlic (from jar)
1 cup (250 mL) frozen mixed peas and diced carrots (or ask a helper to dice fresh carrot and celery)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sesame oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) milk pinch of salt
1 stalk green onion
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
In the baking dish and using a baking spatula or wooden spoon, mix the broth and oyster sauce. Heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute.
Remove the dish from the microwave. Using an ordinary teaspoon, stir in the rice, vegetable oil, garlic, peas and carrots, and sesame oil.
Spread out the rice evenly in the baking dish, then cover tightly with a lid or foil. Get help putting the dish in the oven. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, place the eggs, milk, and salt in a bowl and beat with a fork.
After the rice has baked 30 minutes, get help removing the lid or foil. Pour the egg mixture onto the middle of the rice. Do not stir. Cover the dish again and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until you can’t see any more liquid (If you are using a glass dish, you can see if there’s liquid bubbling around the sides of the rice. If you can’t see through your baking dish, ask a helper to help you check if the liquid is gone.)
Get help removing the dish from the oven and taking off the cover. Use kitchen scissors to snip the green onion into small pieces about the size of your smallest fingernail onto the rice. Throw away or compost the roots. Wear oven mitts, or get help, to stir the rice with a fork to fluff. Eat while warm.
Makes 4 cups (1 L).
Jennifer is inviting kids to send in pictures of their favourite recipes from the book to her website www.kitchenforkids.com
Excerpted from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books) by Jennifer Low
Photo by Ryan Szulc from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books)
We wouldn’t be true Canucks without breaking out the red and white over the Canada Day long weekend. Our team were busy beavers (couldn’t resist) as we dug up these ideas for food, style, entertaining and plain coolness.
1. The Strawberry Canada Day flag cake by Kraft.
2. Strawberry cheesecake bites by Oh She Glows.
3. Maple leaf jello jigglers on a sandwich with sprinkled yoghurt from Meet the Dubiens.
1. Canadian nails by CND Shellac.
2. HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY COLLECTION Diana F+ Lomography Camera. The Bay
3. Alexander Wang Leather Donna hobo in persimmon at Holt Renfrew
1. The peace shirt. Redfish Kids
2. Daisy flower headband by Carrie N.
3. Swimsuit by Bonpoint
1. Red Paisley Bandanas as napkins. Shindigz
2. The Purple Forge Canada Day app (free)
3. Canada Day printable subway art.
The One Year Old Birthday Party is a celebration not only for your child, but for your family. The milestone of making it through he first year is huge, and a mother and father should take the time to celebrate themselves as much as their child. Many parents skip a formal party altogether, and have a family dinner or quiet evening with their child. Some are so overwhelmed by the last twelve months that a party seems out of the question. Whatever you decide, we suggest that you do something to mark the occasion for yourselves. Lighting a candle, doing a special yoga pose or a walk in the woods can be enough. If parties are you thing… here are the UrbanMommies One Year Old Birthday Party ideas.
(* We hate to ask, but we’re trying to help kids in Africa through the Right to Play organization. If you could just take 2 seconds to vote on Facebook for our Publisher Jill Amery we’d really be grateful! She’s working on ‘We Promote Health’ for kids in Liberia. Thank you thank you!)
Baby’s First Birthday Invitations
1. Tie a single birthday candle with a ribbon and glue to a blank card.
2. Have invites printed with a photo from the day of birth along with a current photo of your child.
3. Using blank folded cards, grab some non-toxic paint and have a fun activity with your child making hand or foot prints on the invitations. Do it in the bathtub for easier cleanup.
4. Companies like TinyPrints have great themed invitations in funky and current designs. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can take advantage of Canada Post’s custom stamps and design one with a photo of baby’s tiny feet or beaming smile.
5. Last minute or think mail is ridiculous? Try an evite invitation and keep it easy and organized.
Goodie Bags and Party Favours
1. We don’t think that any one year old will notice if they leave without a loot bag, but… it can be a nice gesture. Try to get something for the parents that can be used by the baby.
2. Board Books are always a great idea.
3. Travel size wipes, powder and rash cream are constantly needed.
4. If you have the time, a personalized favour is appreciated forever.
5. Why not photocopy your child’s favourite recipes (or just use ours) and make them into a book for the other parents. Cooking and meal planning are always a challenge.
First Birthday Party Games
Really? You actually want to do games with the tots? Why not just take a photo on the sofa of all of the babies together. You can then drink some wine, eat adult food (most parents will bring their child’s favourite snacks anyway) and enjoy the other parents.
1. Our Birthday Party Ideas article offers some themes and activities for parties.
2. Instead of traditional ‘games’, why not begin a new tradition. Have each person write a special wish for baby on a card and continue this every year for the child to read always.
3. Make a time capsule.
4. Have each attendee sign their name on a white tablecloth every year. Have a talented family member embroider each name in a different colour every year. My grandmother did this for me through the school years and I now have an heirloom that is displayed at every birthday.
Unique First Birthday Gifts
1. We always like to get something special for the Mom who has given so much of her love and time to the baby. A necklace with baby’s name on it or a book in which to journal is such a nice thought.
2. If you have the time, try a personalized book. It is a great keepsake and can be read for years by parents and children.
3. A monogrammed tote bag is always appreciated – particularly if the current diaper bag is looking the worse for wear.
4. A homemade CD of music that calms your child, or simply the best tunes to move around to. It might be a perfect solution for a child who gets fussy in the car.
Taking Time For You
The past year has probably been a whirlwind. Take a moment with your partner to remember the birth, remember the high and low points of the year, to cry and laugh. You could write favourite memories, light a candle, have a bubble bath, or sleep all night in bed with your baby – skin to skin. This is your day as much as baby’s and you should be proud of yourself.
Need some more ideas? Check the 1 year old party idea article by Lauren.
– Jill Amery just had a rather significant birthday herself.
Image: Plush singing cake from Multipet.