Getting organized, seriously organized.


It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages.

I love lists, after all. I make them every day. And I love baking, especially holiday baking

So I finally swapped precious sleep for a few extra hours* on my laptop and am absolutely tickled to bring you…

The Ultimate Holiday Baking Pantry Checklist!

It’s an A-Z shopping checklist of everything you need to stock your pantry for holiday baking. The PDF can be downloaded and printed to help you organize your baking ingredients – and be sure nothing is forgotten.

From my post on Simple Bites:

I designed this list with efficiency and thoroughness in mind. Here’s how I’m going to keep track of ingredients I need for my holiday baking this fall:

• Print the free checklist.
• Sit down with cookbooks, magazines and bookmarked online recipes AND the list.
• Go through recipes that I know I will be making and check the boxes on the printable.
• Keep the checklist on the fridge or somewhere visible for a few days, and add items as they come to mind (or remove items as ideas change)
• Go through my pantry and take note of anything that is running low or has gone stale. Check those ingredients off on the list.
• Head out shopping WITH the Ultimate Holiday Baking Pantry Checklist in hand.
• Highlight any items I am unable to locate or are temporarily out of stock, so I know I need to keep looking for them.”

Trust me, you’ll want to print this up. With Canadian Thanksgiving less than three weeks away, it is not to early to start planning for holiday baking.

Head to Simple Bites and download the tidy Holiday Baking Pantry Checklist pdf today. You’re welcome!

*I have to say, Danny gave up sleep as well, as he made the pdf pretty for me. Thanks honey!

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…]

Weekend Reading

Back to…Cooking School: How to Make Brown Stock

Before we get started, though, let me just clarify one thing. I see a lot of recipes and methods for “Bone Broth”. What is the difference between ‘bone broth’ and ‘stock’, you ask? Is there a difference? Yes, indeed.

Sure, both are made by simmering bones and mildly aromatic vegetables in water for a lengthy period of time, but a true bone broth is made with meat as well as bones, and often contains extra flavorings such as garlic or turnip. A stock is more ‘bare bones’ (pun intended!) containing not much more than bones, water, and mirepoix.

Think of it this way: the term ‘broth’ implies it could be a dish, while ‘stock’ is clearly just an ingredient. Hope that helps. We’re going to learn how to make a brown stock today.

[Read more…]

Going Nuts: How to Make Nut Butters (recipe: Cinnamon Walnut Butter)

Written by Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn

The schools that I attended had the option of a hot lunch you could purchase or you could bring your own lunch. I was a brown bagger. Not only was it cheaper to BYOL, but the food was generally less nasty. As a small child my mother would pack my lunch, but as I got older and her life got busier, I got the memo to make my own lunch.

Because I’m a last minute kind of person (don’t believe me? Ask my editor!), invariably my lunch would consist of a peanut butter and jam sandwich and a piece of fruit. PB &J was the quickest, easiest sandwich to make, so that’s what I lived on during the school year.

Oddly, this unadulterated peanut-butter-based diet didn’t make me loathe peanut butter. I went through collage eating PB &J’s, sent my husband off to work with PB&J’s, and proceeded to raise a new generation on peanut butter.

Today’s kids bagging their own lunches, or their moms doing it for them, face a new challenge. Because of the increasing number and severity of peanut allergies, many schools are banning peanut butter. For the peanut-challenged, this can be a literal life-saver, but for the harried moms trying to throw together a quick, nutritious lunch, it presents an early morning crisis.

But a crisis can just be an opportunity in disguise. In this case it’s the opportunity to explore the world of other nuts available out there. All nutritious, in their own ways delicious, and each with their own characteristics. Once you start making your own nut butters, you’ll find it’s fun and addictive. [Read more…]