Cooking Tip: DIY Frozen Dinners

Hello all, this whole vacation thing has really got me in a cooking rut! I just got home last night, had a midterm and school all day, quickly ran to get some fresh fruit and veggies and finally got home! Phew! Please take me back to Hawaii! I know many of you can relate, whether it’s picking your kids up from school, or even working longer hours. A simple trick for an quick and easy meal is to prepare frozen meals (thanks mommy)!! That way, when you know you are not going to have a ton of time for dinner, you can simply pull it out of the freezer, heat it up in the oven, and voila!! Remember that Orecchiette with Kale and Sausage I made about a month back?  Well, we put a little of the left overs in a dish, grated a bit of cheese on top, and Voila! Here is your quick and easy dinner masterpiece!

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DIY Heart-Shaped Eggs and Toast

Valentines day is fast approaching and you’re probably thinking – oh crap I still have to go out and purchase something from the store….  Have no fear!  Even if you completely forget to get your special someone a gift, I have the perfect solution!  Why not make them heart shaped eggs and toast?! I (Candice) am a total sucker for Valentine’s day.  I’m not so much into the cards, it’s more small romantic gestures like this one that always put a smile on my face.

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Guys – I can assure you your significant other would adore this small and super easy gesture. (Although personally I’d still like chocolate as a side gift! 😉 )

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New Years Eve Party Ideas

New Years Eve is one of the few times of year you can eat and drink extravagently without the guilt that may otherwise go along with it. For the past few years I have taken it fairly easy on NYE but still like to indulge a bit. Throughout the month of December ELP has shared festive recipes and cocktails which that are also great ideas for NYE.

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DIY Christmas Cards

I’ll be honest, I rarely get around to sending out or giving Christmas cards. I’m honestly not the biggest fan of store bought cards that sit out for a few weeks and then are either recycled or sit in a box for years with no one looking at them. However, I do love homemade cards! This year I decided to make some I’d been seeing around on Pinterest and a few other blogs!

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DIY Knitted Headband

Brrrrrr it’s been SO cold here in Vancouver. The little duck pond by my place is completely frozen! It is definitely time to whip out the headband I knit myself. I wear this every single time I go outside to keep my ears from freezing. I can assure this will keep you warm without giving you that awful toque hair! Here is the pattern to all you knitwits!

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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

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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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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