Bring out the barbeque!

Ah, spring is here. The sun in shining, the air is warm, new possibilities seem to be waiting around every corner. Another thing that excites me about this warm weather is barbequing! Ok, well my husband barbequing. I’ve never done it before. I think it’s on purpose (honey, don’t read this), so that I don’t have to cook the food, I just prepare it! I can have everything ready and he seems to enjoy some alone time at the barbeque when he comes home. It’s a win-win. I think.

Anyway, here is my favourite homemade hamburger recipe. You can find the recipe that I adapted this from here.

My husband goes crazy over these burgers. I love it. When something so simple as these burgers can get you so much praise and admiration from your spouse, you can’t go wrong! Now combine this with the homemade barbecue perogies recipe I shared before, a caesar salad, my husband’s favourite drink; root beer, and I have a sure to impress summer fun supper. A nice summer dessert with this would be the S’mores Cookies I posted a while ago.

I hope these work as well on your husband as they do on mine 🙂

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef

10 whole wheat crackers crushed, or 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs or 3/4 cup oatmeal (depending what you have on hand)

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided

3 tbsp. chopped cilantro, divided

1 egg

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. barbeque sauce

1 tomato, diced

Directions:

Combine the ground beef, crackers, 1/4 cup of the cheese, 2 tbsp. cilantro, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder together. Shape in to patties. Brush with barbeque sauce. Top with remaining cheese while your husband is cooking them.

Combine the diced tomato and remaining cilantro and top the burgers with it. We love ours with lots of mayonnaise, mustard and relish. Eating these on toasted buns make it even more delicious!

Variations: For spicy burgers replace half the cilantro with 2 tbsp. of salsa. If you don’t like the flavour of cilantro, green onions can be used instead.

Next time we make these I’ll get a picture to add to this post!

I hope you enjoy these. Who knows, these burgers may just make you feel like you’re eating outdoors in a place this this!

But I’m not making any promises…

Some Little Touches

With spring just arriving, we are getting the itch to clean up the house, redecorate a bit, and take on some projects we have been wanting to do. From touch ups around the house, to cherry blossom paintings to re-upholstering an older chair, we have lots of vision!

Around the House

This past weekend we continued with painting our doors and our trim. Our doors are going from white to espresso, and our trim from white to a somewhat latte colour. Then eventually I will have cream cupboards! We decided that a nice little touch would be to change out all our light switches and electrical plugs from their white coverings, to black. They hardly pop at all now, and seem to make our walls look more elegant!

This picture is what the combination was before. Basically white with brown. White trim, white doors, white light switches.

Here is the new colour combination. The glare is from the flash. (I’m praying for a new camera, so hopefully if I get one you’ll see a better picture of the colour!)

One other thing that I LOVE about my new black light switches and outlets is that I have a black counter tops, and I also felt like the only thing you noticed in the kitchen was that. Now they fade right in to the counter.

Again these aren’t the big things, they are the little touches that make the difference. I look forward to one day posting pictures of our finished touch ups!

In the Kitchen

Sometimes a plain and ordinary dish needs a little variation to keep it exciting! Growing up I didn’t like oatmeal, in fact, I dreaded the days that I woke up to oatmeal! But every now and then I would like how it turned out. It always seemed like a mystery. When I got a little bit older I realize I hated “quick oats” and love those creamy “old-fashioned oats” that take a little longer to make. I have an even creamier and more delicious way to enjoy in your bowl of oatmeal.

Creamy Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 apple, peeled and chopped

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 -2 tbsp. honey

Combine the milk, water and oats on the stove at medium temperature and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add apples and cinnamon. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, covered. Stir in desired amount of honey. Top with additional cinnamon and milk before serving!

Serves 2 huge helpings, or 4 normal sized ones!

We enjoyed this oatmeal before my husband left for work this morning (thanks to my son’s extra early arising), and it was perfect for this cool and rainy day!

 

Blessings,

 

Grocery List Tip & White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

After a somewhat eventful night, Caleb and I slept in an hour later than usual. So at eight we got up and I still had hopes of getting myself ready, him fed and ready, my grocery list completed and us out the door to the story well before snack time. We didn’t even come close to that. I just decided to give up on my ambitious grocery run for this morning and try again this afternoon or tomorrow. It’s funny the stress we can sometimes put on ourselves, and our kids for no real reason. Caleb sensed the rush to get out the door, so he was being an extra little turkey, scooting to spots far away when I grabbed the car seat, and creating messes he’s never made before with his new found standing ability (nothing is safe in my house anymore)!
In the moment I felt like I just conceded defeat, but actually I was a flexible mom who put the needs of my son ahead of my plans.
Phew.
I knew there must be something good coming from the last couple hours.
Perspective.
For today’s Try it Out Tuesday, I want to show you a great resource for grocery lists. It’s called GroceryLists.org
The original project came about because a man started to look at the various grocery lists he found in the store while he was shopping and began noticing many hilarious things. For example, how not many people can spell mayonaise mayonnaise, everyone has their own short hand, and the interesting notes that wives wrote for their husbands about actually completing the shopping list this time!
Out of the humour, came a book, and now beyond the book you can download a copy of “The Ultimate Grocery List”. This is a list that I go through every month, and I hardly have to think of anything, I just go through it and see what on that list we need. They think of basically everything!
The first time I looked at the list I laughed at the section called “carcinogens” (which literally means a substance capable of causing cancer) and saw cigarettes down there. The writers definitely have a sense of humor.
Thankfully this list can be edited and personalized once you download it, so you can remove anything from it that you want to.
Click HERE to go download your free copy of the Ultimate Grocery List!
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
After last week’s High Five For Friday, I promised my white chocolate cranberry cookies recipe (which really isn’t mine at all, but in my little circle of people I’m the only one who makes them).
You can visit the website called “Lovin’ From The Oven” that I took the recipe off of HERE, and check out more of her beautiful cookie photos (the one displayed here is hers as well).
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

These are truly delicious! Try them out, and explore that cute cooking blog that this recipe is from!

Blessings,

Covered in Cream

No I didn’t have an accident with my beloved container of 18% cream and lose its precious content to my floor, or my body. Thankfully. Nor is this about my favourite face care or body products that are always cream based for me.

There is something so comforting about cream. When you think of cream in your coffee it just adds richness and delight. Whipped cream on top of dessert or waffles conjures up all kinds of pleasant memories or cozy evenings or happy family breakfasts.

Cream in the decorating sense is something I am completely in to right now. The only problem with cream: it doesn’t hide dirt. That automatically is a no-no for me as we’re in the baby stage. But I can dream right?

Here is my “cream dream” blog post. I would never do all of these things in the same house, because it would just be over load!

In reality…

This is a project that we actually are working on, because we actually could have cream in this sense. We are doing a little transformation with our kitchen. We’re going to be painting our cupboards cream and our trims a latte colour, our doors espresso and our walls are already light chocolate (I kind of want to drink up our colours)!

Here is some of the inspiration we’ve been looking at with our kitchen project.

Read about this kitchen here.

Read about this kitchen here.

So by realistic I basically mean we’d have cream cupboards! These kitchens are a lot nicer and bigger than ours, and our walls will still be dark.

Semi realistic…

Cream clothes! These are just a couple little things, that probably would get wrecked, but they’d be nice to keep around for date nights, outings, etc.

Not realistic…

A cream living room! This has disaster written all over it, but it’s oh so calm and refreshing.

You can read about this living room here.

You can read about this living room here.

I absolutely love the flowers on the coffee table in the last living room. So beautiful.

I guess the most realistic cream thing for me to having in my home are flowers, which I have a picture of some gorgeous cream roses. You can see the photographer’s site here.

This is my little cream obsession. By the time I can actually have a lot of cream in my home, I’ll probably be over it!

What is one colour or shade scheme that you could crazy over?

Encouragement with a Scone

This is a bit of a unique Try It Out Tuesday post, but I hope you will give it a read, hear my story from this morning and then make one, or both of these delicious scones!
For the heart…

Today I received a phone call completely out of the blue. I don’t know if I have ever really talked to this person before, but we are in the same denominational circle. I guess you could say the power of blogging and social media linked us together. So when I say out of the blue, that’s truly what I mean.

She called basically to encourage me as a mom and hear what I was struggling with since she had picked up that we were having some issues with Caleb screaming a lot.

She didn’t simply offer advice that worked for them, she affirmed me as a daughter of Christ first, then as a mom.

My tiredness was still with me, but my spirit was rejuvenated. God had spoken to someone to encourage me, let me know they were praying and to build me up. The power of her words and the influence of her obedience is indescribable.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Being the recipient  of a random word of encouragement revealed to me again the power of my words. In my tongue I have the power of life and death.

Which will we choose? Why don’t we each finish off today by trying out what this lady did for me. Be that voice out of the blue in someone’s life, bringing hope and encouragement.

For the home…

I have been loving trying new scone recipes lately. Whether eating them warm with butter or cool and plain, scones are a comfort with tea or coffee.

Perhaps one of these recipes would make the perfect gift for a person you want to encourage?

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones (view original recipe here and see the cute blog I found it on!)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt (I used raspberry yogurt since that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together; add softened butter to dry mix and combine until mixture is the size of small peas. Combine milk, yogurt, egg and vanilla and add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in remaining ingredients, and spoon 1/3 cup of batter onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown.
Double Chocolate Scones with Cinnamon Butter (see original recipe here)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick cut into pieces and 1 stick softened
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. In a small bowl, mix the egg with the buttermilk until just combined. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until the dough just comes together. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and place on the prepared baking sheet. With lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a flat, round cake about 6 inches in diameter. Using a sharp, straight-edged knife, cut each round into 6 equal wedges, leaving them in place. Sprinkle the tops with the granulated sugar and bake until firm in the center when lightly touched, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly before breaking into wedges.

In a small bowl, using a hand mixer or a fork, beat the softened butter with the confectioners sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until light and fluffy. Serve with the warm scones.
I forgot to take a picture of my scones, so I used the one off the website. My double chocolate scones looked a little different because I just dropped them on a baking sheet individually instead of forming them into a cake and cutting it.
May you be blessed by blessing someone else today!

Valentine’s Day Golden Oreos & Broccoli, Cheddar, Chicken Braid

This recipe is so fast and easy, you still have time to do it if you’re humming and hawing about what to for your loved ones. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually like making things that come from a mix base, but when you’re in a pinch this works great, and it’s really delicious! I adapted this recipe from the chocolate oreo cookies here. I love the chocolate too, but I happened to have a vanilla mix on hand.

Valentine’s Day Golden Oreos

1 Vanilla Cake Mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

Whisk these ingredients together. Roll into balls (dough won’t hold it’s shape fully), and bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 F.

While these are baking and cooling make this cream cheese icing:

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

3 – 3 1/2 cups icing sugar

Chill icing.

Once the cookies are cool, place a dollop of icing in the middle of one of the cookies and press another one down on top, to form a cookie/icing sandwich. Take a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and cut out the oreo. Dip an edge in the icing, or spread it around on 1/4 of the  cookies and dip it in coloured sugar or heart-shaped sprinkles. 

Enjoy wrapping these up and sharing them with friends!

From last week…

Some of you had a hard time getting to the Broccoli, Cheddar & Chicken braid I had posted about. The link to the recipe is here, but I will also post it below in case the URL isn’t working again.

Broccoli, Cheddar & Chicken Braid

Ingredients

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
  • 2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 egg yolk
  • fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents length wise to form a long rectangle.
  3. Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough.
  4. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayonnaise
  5. Spread mixture over the center of the croissant dough evenly to create a log.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough.
  7. Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid.
  8. Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top.
  9. Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

*I make a homemade biscuit dough instead of buying the can. You can find the recipe I use here. Just substitute whole wheat for white flour.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

For The Love Of Tea

For as long as I can remember I have loved tea. Tea holds so many dear memories to me of treasured times with my dad, tea and toast with my mom, or watching movies all set in the Victorian era. Tea has got me through many exams, long trips, and emotional nights. I once fell out of a very large tree I was climbing and hot, sweet tea got me through the shock. A headache is rarely a match for a strong cup of tea with my body. The warm comfort tea brings to me is unmatched by almost any other thing.

The love of tea runs throughout my family, as my dad grew up in England and my mom’s family is notorious for toast and tea before bed. Whatever the reason, I started my love affair with tea at a very young age.

We always drank Tetley Orange Pekoe. Just normal, strong, and delicious. After graduating from high school I discovered Tetley Bold, which is the same thing just a little richer flavour. My family has always referred to Orange Pekoe Tea as “normal tea” and when it is offered to the group, someone always makes some cunning remark about how wouldn’t we all love some “normality”.

As time has gone on I’ve noticed the popularity of tea shops like David’s Tea or other loose tea stores that carry all kinds of varieties. While they are lots of fun to try, the price can definitely start to soar. The more adventurous you are in your tea tasting, the higher price you will pay.

Because of my love of a “normal”, strong cup of tea, I am always hesitant to try new flavours. As I have branched out however, I have enjoyed trying new flavours, as long as they remain in the realm of black teas! The other night when we were over at some family friends, I tried a delicious chocolate and strawberry black tea. While I didn’t have any dried strawberries, I decided to try mixing some flavours up with my Tetley Bold to bring you a gourmet specialty tea.

Cinnamon Chocolate Black Tea

For a full pot of tea you will need:

3 Tetley Bold (or another Orange Pekoe tea) Tea Bags

3 Tbsp. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Cinnamon sticks, broken into large peices

Heat water on the stove until is comes to a rolling boil. Have the tea pot warmed by rinsing it with hot water before. Place the tea, cinnamon sticks, and chocolate chips in the tea pot right before you pour the boiling water over top. Steep for 5-7 minutes.

Have some form of strainer ready to pour the tea through into the cups.

Serve with milk or cream and honey or sugar. This is a simply delicious dessert tea.

Gift Idea!

Mason jars are all the rage at the moment, and why shouldn’t they be? Who doesn’t love a glass, vintage looking container? The variety of sizes allows them to be useful for all sorts of fun projects. I pulled one of mine out and placed the ingredients for this tea inside as an example of what a unique gift this could be. You could type of the directions for the tea or right them out on fancy paper and fold it up and place it in the jar. Add your own embellishments and you have an inexpensive, thoughtful gift.

Another idea that I thought would be fun for a tea party is to have all sorts of finely chopped nuts, dried fruits and chocolates in little bowls, along with black tea bags. Have different brewing instructions to create your own specialty tea, for example “almond apricot” black tea. Or people could be creative and invent their own flavours. It would be a tea party to remember.

Have fun creating your own tea flavour. It just might become your new family favourite!

Share your tea stories below! Tell me your favourite kinds and what memories tea evokes in you!