DIY Chocolate Christmas Trees

Do you ever wonder how people make such beautiful cupcake toppers? Or how they decorate cookies so well? Well, now you can make your own chocolate Christmas Tree decorations!

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These are super easy to make! All you need is chocolate melting wafers, a piping bag with a small tip, and parchment paper!

First, melt approximately 1/2 a cup of chocolate wafers in a heat proof bowl. You can either heat them in the microwave, or over the stovetop.

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Once your chocolate has melted, fill up your piping bag.

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Now if you aren’t a whiz with freehand drawing, you can use a pencil to draw guidelines on your parchment. Now start drawing!! Make sure all your lines are connected otherwise your chocolate figure will not be sturdy.

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I placed little white sprinkles on my trees so it looked as if the trees were decorated.

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I made a whole batch of the same so that later I could decorate cupcakes with them.

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You could do all sorts of designs with the melted chocolate! How creative can you get?

xxC

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I was thinking to myself the other day… What’s a cool yet easy treat I can bring to share with the people in my office… Something that won’t take too long to make a large quantity… Hmmmmm ….. OOO OOO I KNOW!!! Chocolate covered pretzels!!!

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How awesome and delicious do those look! And everyone probably thinks you spent hours slaving over them. Well they are wrong!! I was able to decorate over 60 pretzels in less than an hour! Yes you heard that right, less than an hour!

Here’s what you must do:

Ingredients:

1 bag of mini pretzels
1 cup melting chocolate wafers to completely coat pretzels (I used milk chocolate)
1/4 cup melting chocolate wafers to drizzle over pretzels (I used white chocolate)
Crushed candycanes or peppermint candies

First, take a small pot and fill it with water. Then take a bowl that is big enough to sit on the rim of your pot without touching the water. Put your chocolate in the bowl and stick the pot on your stove, heating at medium-high heat so the steam from the water warms the bottom of the bowl enough to melt the chocolate.

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Once your chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pot and place it on a hot pad. Take a second bowl and fill it with the 1/4 cup of chocolate. Place the bowl on top of the pot, and turn the heat down to low. While your second bowl of chocolate is melting, dip the pretzels in chocolate, covering everything with chocolate. Allow some chocolate to drip off the pretzel so that you are able to see the pretzel holes. Place the chocolate covered pretzels on a sheet of parchment.

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Once you are done with the first coat of chocolate, your second coat should be melted. Remove the second bowl from the heat and place it on a hot pad. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the pretzels.

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Sprinkle broken candy cane bits over the pretzels.

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If you have any leftover chocolate, drizzle that over top of the candy pieces so that they are secured in place. Don’t worry if it looks like a big spider webish mess – once they are dry they will look beautiful trust me! Allow for the chocolate to completely dry before removing the pretzels from the parchment paper. Voila! How easy was that!

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These pretzels are even good without the candy cane pieces!!!

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I was thinking it would be super cool to add coloured sprinkles, skor pieces, or caramel bits! How creative can you get with these??

xxC

Broccoli, Potato and Cheese Soup

Man is it ever getting cold around here! I always thought Vancouver was supposed to have warm and rainy winters, not sunny and cold winters! But hey I’m not complaining – I love seeing the sun in the winter.  Plus, all this cold weather makes me want to cuddle up with a blanky and eat warm soup! Soups like this broccoli, potato and cheese soup.

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The Perfect Cheese Platter

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Have you ever wanted to impress friends who come over for drinks but not want to put in a huge amount of effort? Look no further! You have stumbled upon the perfect solution… Who doesn’t love a good block of cheese anyway? Now you can jazz up your cheese plate with very little effort and have your friends talking about how cleaver you are!

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Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

Sometimes you just need a sweet treat. Today, I need cupcakes! And I think you do too. This is my classic go to recipe for chocolate cake and chocolate cupcakes!

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INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

DIRECTIONS

STEP 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners. (or mini cupcake liner!)

STEP 2
Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.

STEP 3
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

STEP 4
Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Top with your favorite icing!

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XX C

Post Halloween Blues

I don’t know about you but I think Halloween should be two days not just one!! I know Halloween has passed but I never had a chance to post about all my fun creations as I sort if put this blog on the back burner. Anyway better late than never!

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We had a few people over at our place and I used that as an excuse to go all out with my baking, and even some decorating!

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The delectable treats I made were creepy witches finger cookies, and pumpkin cupcakes with a spiced cream cheese icing! Deeeeelicious! I suppose I should at least share my creepy witches finger recipe with you… So here it is!

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Ingredients:
1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
1 cup (250 mL) icing_sugar
1 egg
1 tsp (5 mL) almond_extract
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2-3/4 cups (675 mL) all-purpose_flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking_powder
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) whole blanched almonds
1 tube (19 g) red decorator gel (blood for fingers)

Preparation:
In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla; beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remaining dough refrigerated, roll heaping teaspoonful (5 mL) of dough into finger shape for each cookie.
Press almond firmly into end for nail. Squeeze in centre to create knuckle shape; using paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle.
Place on lightly greased baking sheets; bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes. Lift up almond; squeeze red decorator gel onto nail bed and press almond back into place, so gel oozes out from underneath. Remove from baking sheets; let cool on racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

I found this recipe in a Canadian Living magazine and figured it was too good to not try. Not only were the cookies a huge hit because they looks creepy, but also because they taste delicious!!!

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Cheesy Mac & Cheese

Who doesn’t love warm cheesy mac and cheese on a cold, dreary winter night.. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I just ate! Why buy packaged chemicals when you can easily make it from scratch! That seems to be my motto for everything these days. 

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My Week through the eyes of a camera

I feel like it is time for a change of pace in this blog.  Don’t get me wrong I do love cooking – I want to blog about more! I love everything do it yourself, not to mention art, fashion, photography etc.  So that’s what I’m going to do! Starting with this post! I have also decided I would like to co-blog, other than just doing the blog myself.  I am going to include my friend Sonia, who will hopefully be posting on here soon! Now back to he blog…

Living in a new city has really sparked some new photography inspiration from within me.  Not only are there new places to go, but new sites to see and most importantly new things to photograph! I whipped out my DSLR and tried something that is rather new to me… Panoramas! So here are a few shots I took of around this beautiful city.

This photo was taken at the top of eagle bluffs on the top of Cypress mountain.  What a day to go hiking that was – completely clear, sunny, but oh so chilly!

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This next hiking photo is at the top of the Chief.  This is a hike out in Squamish that not only gives you great views, but is an incredible workout that made me stiff for days!Image

Now moving on from hiking to some night photography.  Who doesn’t like the underside of the Granville bridge!?Image

 

Last but certainly not least, we have a gorgeous shot of the Vancouver night skyline.  Gosh what a beautiful city.

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