Hmmm…Appreciating the little things…

Gifts of this life… #memories #pastandpresent


If we had company coming over, this would greet them.  When we have company again, the display may have changed, so for now – welcome to a glimpse into my world….

A corner display of moments in time.

The larger dried flowers are from my wedding bouquet – 23 years soon…

The smaller dried flowers are from a floral arrangement brought by my high school BFF, Deb, to our 20th anniversary party – almost  3 years ago.

It sits in a tiny plastic skull, a gift from JKL or KBL – from the sis in law/ niece – if I am remembering correctly.

The skull is filled with loose pearls and beads – the foundation of my creative sewing life…

The mini paintings I made on the only creative visit I’ve had with my mother. It was a good day, a few years ago.

And the present… presents from two creative souls for my b-day this year – thanks Sonia and Dar for adding beauty to my world during these crazy times…

Appreciate whatever you can, folks…



Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

Having started the baking session with scones today, I was still in a bit of a biscuit mood when I started this recipe- a hybrid of a shortbread and scone concept with some cocoa thrown in. I wanted a way to use up the half jar of dulce de leche I still had after making the Squirrel Cake…..

So without further ado…

Could have let it chill a bit more, but it cut pretty well….

Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

Mix in a large bowl:

    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • ½ cup rolled oats
    • ⅔ cup sugar
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder


Cut in with a pastry blender or two knives:

  • ⅔ cup softened butter or vegan replacement

Mix well in another bowl:

  • ½ cup Balkan style yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

add to dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour into a greased pan, lined with parchment paper.  Either: a 9×13 pan  or two 8 inch square or round- or whatever you have and spread it evenly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F and for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and spread the ½ jar of dulce de leche ( 225-250 grams)on it- glob it on and wait a minute for it to melt, then spread.


Sprinkle an even layer of chocolate chips on top and return to the oven for about 2 minutes.  Remove and spread the melted chocolate chips , blending with the caramel is ok.

Chill in fridge or freezer until ready to serve . Enjoy!

Two chocolate biscuit bases baking…
225-250 grams of dulce de leche – I had half of this jar remaining and used it all…
Dulce de leche spreads nicely when warmed…
Sprinkling an even layer of chocolate chips and then popping it back in the oven to let them melt- easy icing method especially over the caramel…

Chilled and ready for cutting

Squirrel Cake for Squirrel Appreciation Day- Jan 21 2021


Squirrel Cake for Squirrel Appreciation Day…

Ok- I made this recipe – sort of…

I cut the recipe amounts mostly in half, making one layer that I cut into two. Because I used chick pea flour/ besan to make it gluten free, and the almonds and walnuts were pretty roughly chopped in my little processor, the cake crumbled. So I divided each layer into 8 separate little servings and that worked well.

I reduced the sugar for the whipping cream to about 2 tablespoons, and actually only used ¾ cup of cream and 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder.

I skipped the amaretto mixture completely.

here’s the link to the original recipe:

It still came to over 550 calories per portion…but the toasted almonds and walnuts I used combined nicely.

Red Lentil and Sweet potato soup

Super easy!

FULL CREDIT: I was inspired by the recipe I saw on minimalist baker  .

I opted to simplify some things – but feel free to pop over and follow the recipe there

My version

  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Saute onion and celery in the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat.  Once the onions are transparent, add your spices to let them warm up a bit – you can do your own thing for spices – these are what I have handy…

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

then add

  • 2 sweet potatoes < medium size> – oven roasted , peeled and chopped. note:I had already done that – and I would likely micro wave them to bake them quickly if they were not already baked..
  • 60 grams dry weight red split lentils < I used my kitchen scale, not sure how much this is in cups>

and enough water to cover – I did not measure, but it was probably 3-4 cups – enough to make large bowls of soup for two.

Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat to medium low, let simmer until the lentils are soft – maybe 15-20 minutes. Once they are soft, puree the soup with an immersion blender – or however you puree soup!

I served with Whole wheat coconut scones, based on this recipe

I just used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose flour and replaced the whipping cream with coconut milk.

I had meant to go completely vegan – but I did in fact, use an egg  – but you should be able to sub whatever egg substitute you like….



Steamed Custard Buns…

For this recipe, I followed the one shared by Woks Of Life Here:

Cantonese Steamed Custard Buns (Nai Wong Bao)

And it was super easy and successful! In spite of the small size of steamers I had available to use….

4 sort of fit in the small steamer I have…
this single guy had more space int he larger set up in my larger pot… and the parchment is perfect for them to slide right off!
Steaming away – and so easy!

Holiday Baking adventures part 2 – the experiment!

I did some other regular/ repeat baking this past weekend during a virtual gathering with friends – and it was the BEST WAY to deal with an online gathering – I was. busy, I was doing stuff! Listening to our friends, some of whom we have not seen for months, and contributing in my own special snarky way as appropriate…

I made a small batch of each :

Chocolate cake cookie sandwiches< a variation made by using cake mix and reducing the water and filling them with more of my vegan Swiss buttercream as it is lasting quite nicely!>; Gingerbread cookies; standard chocolate chip cookies < be inspired – I added fireball whiskey to them>

And then, I returned to look at what I had intended to be a truffle mix, but it was too soft.  I had mixed cream cheese, icing sugar and added lemon juice and a tiny bit of vanilla, hoping  the icing sugar would be enough to have it set up and become a rollable ball – nope….I stuck it in the freezer until I have time to contemplate …

So this morning – Happy YULE – I decide a no bake cheese cake direction was a good way to go…

Lemon Truffle Cheesecakelets

Filling – can be used as a straight mousse if you prefer no crust 

  • 2  250g blocks of regular cream cheese – room temp
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream/whipping cream – cold

Cream the cheese, and add the icing sugar, mixing well. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff. Fold the lemon cheese mixture into the whipped cream gently, until it’s just mixed.

Set aside.

Crust: < I think you can use this in a springform pan as well, I just wanted to make minis so I could give them away easily..>

  •  1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips or Merkel’s pieces
  • 1½  cups unsweetened flaked coconut

Heat the cream in the microwave for 45 seconds or warm it on the stove.  Add the chocolate pieces and stir until melted. Add the coconut and stir well. Divide into 12 muffin cups – about 1 tablespoon each.

Using a flat bottomed glass that fits well, push down the coconut mix into the bottom of the cups with a gentle twisting motion – flattens it nicely and the twists away without the glass getting full of goo.

Fill each cup with the lemon cheesecake mixture and chill in the fridge for 6-12 hours.

YOU WILL HAVE LEFTOVER MOUSSE – pour it into some martini glasses, and stick a graham cracker in each  or make a smaller cheesecake in a separate pan using graham crackers on the bottom…your choice!


Holiday Baking adventures!

So many cookies! I was on a roll…
Some of these cookies are long time favourite recipes , some are experiments…

Some are vegan, some are not – but you can modify them yourself I’m sure to explore whatever dietary choices you prefer to make.

Some are gluten free, dairy free, and some are all the bad- er I mean good stuff…#nojudgement

Click through on the recipe links where I found my inspiration and support those bakers too!

Ginger bread Dinosaurs/ or are they cats… or both…

Ginger bread recipe is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
The cutter I picked up at Ma Cuisine on Dalhousie street here in Ottawa.
And I used the spicy icing left over from my Wolfenoot cookie baking…

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

This gluten free cookie recipe was a variation on the recipe I found here. The change I made was to use half chick pea flour and half oat flour< I make my own by grinding oats in a coffee grinder>.
I would also recommend chilling the dough before baking- I did not, and the cookies spread out a lot!

Cherry shortbread

Based on the recipe I found here  – and these shortbread cookies melt in your mouth… I used vegan butter replacement, and otherwise followed it.
The dough is super soft when mixed, so chill it for at least 30 minutes before creating these melt in your mouth cookies! And be sure to drain the cherries, if you buy them in syrup.

Oatmeal Coconut choc chip cookie

Here’s the recipe – I choose to add coconut “and” chocolate chips – or sometimes all three!

Oat cookies from no name oatmeal bag

and these chocolate cookies are a family tradition 🎉….but I’m changing things up a bit…

Vegan Chocolate cookie sandwiches

Vegan chocolate cookies and Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting…

So this is a variation on one of my families traditions….these are amazing frozen when in their sandwich form ( stolen from the giant Tupperware container in the chest freezer…)

  • ½ cup vegan butter substitute
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg replacement*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup cocoa
  •  ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup oat milk

*egg replacement options :  1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water or 1 tablespoon aqua faba < strained liquid from canned chick peas> or your own choice!

Cream the first 2 ingredients then add the next 2.

Mix the dry ingredients together and add, alternating with the oat milk, until you get your batter.

Drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet, flattening with wet fingers/ bottom of a glass, and bake for 7 minutes at 400Degrees F.
Cool completely and enjoy as is or fill with frosting to make sandwiches….

Vegan Swiss Buttercream frosting…

So I hybridized the original family recipe, which uses Marshmallow creme < I wasn’t going out to buy this>,  and this Aqaufaba Swiss Buttercream I found online which called for WAY TOO MUCH FAT – as in I had used all my vegan butter by this point in the day

  • 1 ¾ cup aquafaba ( strain the liquid from 1 or 2 cans of chick peas- measure it )
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening ( I used Crisco) softened/at room temperature.
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla

Mix aquafaba and sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil for 5 minutes…stirring occasionally.
Take off heat, pour into mixing bowl and cool completely ( I put the bowl into the fridge for about 20 minutes.)
Once cool, start whipping the mixture at high speed. You can use a whisk attachment, I suggest not trying to do this by hand unless you have strong arms. It can take up to 15-20 minutes to get it to firm peaks with the machine doing the hard work…
Once you reach that stage, mix  together the cream of tartar and icing sugar, and gradually add that in, whipping it- whip it good…
Add the softened vegetable shortening ( I used Crisco) that is at room temperature, keep whipping to incorporate it fully and finally, add  the vanilla.

You will have leftover frosting- so feel free to halve the recipe…and it will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in a. tightly sealed container…

Homemade Steamed Buns…

So, I stumbled across this original recipe in social media – so check it first:


If you are Vegan – just follow the above amazing recipe and stop reading now.

For omnivores, you can safely continue:

Tofu is not going to happen for the hubby, and I had some minced turkey to use, so my version of these pan fried buns:

Dough – make the same as shown above:

  • – 300 g [~2 1/2 cups] all-purpose (plain) flour
  • – 175 ml [3/4 cup] hot water ⁣
  • – a pinch of salt⁣

Mix all the ingredients together, knead into a dough, let it rest for 30 minutes.

In a skillet, sauté in some oil – I have olive oil, that’s what I use:

  • 1 medium onion chopped finely
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped finely
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • ½ cup grated cabbage
  • 200 g minced turkey < or your protein of choice>

Cook it all together until the meat is cooked – this just felt safest as I was not sure how well it might cook from raw in the steamed bun…

Let it cool, and add 1 tablespoon or so each:

  • soya sauce < or your choice of salty>
  • mirin < or your choice of sweet>
  • balsamic vinegar < or your choice of vinegar>
  • sesame oil < or your choice of flavoured oil like garlic oil etc.>

Stir it up and add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide dough into 10 portions, roll each one into 4″-5″ circular disk⁣ to fill.

Spoon in the filling, pinch the buns closed, dip them into the sesame seeds and pan fry as directed, adding the water to finish with steaming as indicated!

Pinched side down, frying in a tiny bit of oil and black sesame seeds.
Flipped and continuing to pan fry.
Added the water and let them steam away!
Added the water and let them steam away!

I served ours with steamed broccoli and green beans < in homage to the original recipe>

served with steamed broccoli and green beans. light and flavourful!



Wolfenoot 2020 : cookie time

3 glazes/frostings to assemble, lemon, cinnamon-ginger, and chocolate

It’s Wolfenoot Weekend 2020 and if you have no idea what I am talking about – head over here for more information on this newly created day to celebrate all things Wolfie!

I’ve celebrated over the years as November 23 is also, by coincidence, the adoptaversary of our fur beast Sprocket.

Sprocket finds November walks a bit chilly- wait til January…

And this year, I decided that while my paintings are great for us here at home:

Wolfenoot2020 WolfMoons

I wanted to create something to share with my friends and neighbours – so – Cookietime!


Two cookies, layered to replicate the Wolf Moons I painted.


I used the same sugar cookie recipe I used when I made the hubby’s Face Hugger cookie…
Go check it out – but here’s the recipe again this time with white sugar and all purpose flour though!:

Sugar cookie recipe

Cream together:

  • 1 cup butter
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix in

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Knead into a dough, wrap and chill for an hour. Then roll it out and cut into the shapes you want.
Bake at 350 degrees F until golden – about 9-12 minutes.

Cut 30 Moons using a 2 inch round cutter and sprinkle each with a bit of brown sugar to create the moon surface.

I actually have a campbell’s soup can that use as my round cookie cutter.

Basic sugar cookies sprinkled with brown sugar to create the full moon

Cut 30 wolf heads: I used the same template that I created a few years ago for my first Wolfenoot silhouette and using a foam tray from the grocery store < waste not!> I have a nice solid wolf pattern to cut around using a knife.

You can find wolf silhouettes online and print them off – make sure the size will fit inside your round cookie cutter

Hand cut wolf heads
Some thinner ones browned a bit more.


Make frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or magarine
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons oat milk < or whatever is needed to make it work>

I divided that into 3 and added:

White Glaze: Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons

Tawny shaggy wolf Frosting: 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger powder, and vanilla

Chocolate Glaze: 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon butterscotch schnapps

I used each respective frosting/ glaze to assemble and decorate.

Happy Howling Wolfenoot2020

Tim Tams? WTH are Tim Tams…?

After noting our friend’s social media lamenting about her lack of Tim Tams… and I’ve been binge watching Baking shows….I looked around briefly online to see if these could be purchased nearby.

I stumbled upon this recipe – shared through a few websites…especially this one: …Hers look so neat!

A major thank you to the original recipe creator – Sarah from So many recipes there to check out!

And for a first attempt…here are some pics of the process and what I produced…

Frozen cookie dough between two sheets of parchment- brilliant concept!
Gentle baked biscuits
Biscuits halved because they just seemed too big and I had not actually read the size I was supposed to cut the dough properly!
Chocolate Malt Frosting
Frosting anyone?
Chocolate sandwiches
Dipping process involved fork and spoon!
Dipping in the chocolate
Dipped and chillin
Ready to go or to be decorated!
Vegan royal icing
Piping takes practice

Thanks for checking this out- if you make some, enjoy!
And my inspiration to go on this adventure- author and creative soul, S.M. Carrière!

” not quite Timtams but delicious…” I’ll take it!