Stock This: The Ultimate Holiday Baking Pantry Checklist (Free printable!)

For many of us, holiday baking is about to start. Canadian Thanksgiving is just three weeks away and after that, well, it is time to start cracking nuts for the Christmas fruitcakes.

In the minds of many bakers, myself included, ideas are already being formed about shortbread flavorings, pie fillings and cookie shapes. It won’t be long before those ideas will evolve into solid plans, and sooner or later, a grocery list will be started for those items essential to holiday baking.

Every year I make the same, lengthy handwritten list of baking ingredients, and yes, while it is a small part of the fun (I love lists), I have to admit it does take a lot of time. Not to mention that something inevitably gets omitted by mistake, causing unnecessary stress and wasted time come baking day, or worse yet, on the holiday itself!

No one likes to be in the grocery store, frantically searching for that one elusive item when they should be at home, basting the turkey, so this year I decided to make a digital list, one that I can print, bring on my shopping rounds with me, and be sure to stay organized. Luckily for you, I’m sharing! [Read more…]

Citrus Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce

It wouldn’t be right not to tell you that I had the opportunity to guest post for the kind Alice of Savory Sweet Life this weekend. I shared my famous citrus cheesecake recipe with her readers, along with a little story of how I came across the recipe.

Of course, I’ve included plenty of tips on how to make a successful cheesecake, as well, so if you’re looking for a perfect dessert, this is the one!
From the post:

“Now, I’ve probably made this cheesecake 75 times over the past 15 years. It has graced the sweet table at baby showers, church luncheons, graduation celebrations and birthday parties galore. No matter the event, it is always a suitable dessert, and no matter the company, no one can resist a slice.”

Head here to continue reading and get the recipe for Citrus Cheesecake.

How to Make the Best Zucchini Bread Ever

One of my favorite narratives on zucchini is from Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ where, when faced with a unrelenting crop of the green squash, she devises many ways of using up the abundance them in her prolific garden.

She baked, steamed, fried, and froze zucchini, as well as gave them away to friends with such abandon that she freely admits: “Our gardening friends knew enough to slam the door if they saw a heavy sack approaching.”

I could completely relate to Barbara’s dilemma (if you can call an abundance of food a dilemma), and I, as a gardener, fully understand a zucchini’s capability to turn into a baseball bat practically overnight if overlooked on the vine.

Fortunately, I have a strategy to help me maintain the upper hand during the Great August Zucchini Invasion: Zucchini Bread. Around here this humble loaf is a favorite snack for the kids, a bake-sale best-seller, and alongside a tall glass of milk, has made it’s way into our ‘Guilt-Free Non-Suppers‘.

Now some of you probably think that you have the best zucchini bread recipe, others perhaps have never found a recipe they liked, –and chances are a few of you are thinking: “Zucchini? Bread?” And to all of you I say, I hope someone has shared their zucchini crop with you, because you’re going to want to make this recipe!

If you remember, I brought you the best muffin ever (which is still making new converts every day), so believe me when I say I have done my homework for this zucchini recipe. [Read more…]

Five Steps Toward a Greener Kitchen

Today I’m guest posting over at Simple Mom on Five Steps Toward a Greener Kitchen, plus giving out our much-loved recipe for ‘Happy Planet Cookies’.

From the post:

“Environmentally friendly practices are a dime a dozen, but implementing them in the home doesn’t happen overnight. Like any lifestyle change, they are best put into practice gradually; little actions that can be realistically maintained.

It’s important to take those steps to being eco-aware, even if it is just giving up bottled water this summer. Multiple small changes add up to big changes and there is less chance of you having a ‘green burnout’ if you start small…

Here is a list to get you started on your kitchen ‘Greenover’, or, if you are already a conscious cook, inspire you to reach even further towards a low-carbon lifestyle.”….(click here to continue reading on Art of Simple.)

See you in the comments over at Simple Mom!

Cooking with Kids: Pita Bread

Baking can be intimidating even for adults, but I believe that fears and doubts should be checked at the door and the kitchen entered with abandon – and ideally with a child or two in tow.

Children are baking with their parents less and less often; with our busy lives, plus the easy accessibility of baked goods at supermarkets, youngsters are missing out on opportunities to learn. I say let yeast and fly, (let’s face it, things may get may be messy), just get in the kitchen together and have some fun.

Pita bread is something my family has been making for as long as I can remember, and is one recipe I continue to make with my children. Our family’s simple recipe is ideal for making with children because it comes together quickly, requires only one brief (30 minute) resting time, and produces almost instant puffing results in the oven. I promise you will be as excited as your children to see these flat rounds of dough balloon to three times their size. [Read more…]