Happy birthday, America!
This is it, Canada. The day we waited for all through those long winter nights. The longest day of the year. I can’t speak for your area, but Winnipeg is HOT. And sunny and altogether delightful today. I hope you can get outside and enjoy it. Don’t forget to watch the sunset tonight – it’ll only be earlier from here on in.
Please leave a comment to tell me which of these options appeals, or if you’d like something else.
Commenters will be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card.
- Baking only (cookies, cakes, desserts)
- Easy Entrees
- Kid-chef friendly
- Change it up every month
- add your own option
May the new year find you healthy, wealthy, and wise. Happy New Year and have a wonderful 2018!
Most of these (with the exception of the Candy Cane Cookies) are kid-friendly when it comes to baking and cooking, so give them a try!
And if you are reading this before December 31, 2017, don’t forget to download your free copy of 12 DATES FOR CHRISTMAS for over a dozen family-favourite holiday recipes, and sneak peeks at twelve holiday romances – including DECKER AND JOY and HOLLIS AND IVY.
So far we’ve made two batches. I don’t know how they disappear so quickly. Fortunately, they are very easy (and kid-friendly) to make.
Boiled Chocolate Drops AKA Chocolate Haystacks
1/2 cup butter or margarine (125mL)
1/2 cup milk (125mL)
2 cups granulated sugar (500mL)
1/2 cup cocoa (125mL)
2 1/2 cups rolled/quick oats (625mL)
Put first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 full minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in rolled oats. Drop by teaspoon full onto trays covered with waxed paper. Let harden. Makes 4 dozen.
Coconut fans can replace 1/2 cup of oats with 2/3 cup of coconut.
These harden quickly, so get them onto the tray ASAP.
(The recipe books says is great for first-time cooks, and they are. Easy and quick to make – there is no downtime to get bored.)
1 cup soft butter (salted)
1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s/powdered sugar)
1 1/2 cups flour (sifted)
1/4 cup cornstarch
Maraschino cherries or slivered almonds
Put butter in mixing bowl. Sift other ingredients every top. Beat at high speed until creamy*.
Drop by teaspoon full on to tray and decorate with a piece of cherry or almond.
Bake at 325 F for 12 minutes.
Notes from Elle
* My recipe actually says “Beat at high speed until consistency changes. You’ll know it when you see it.” It sounds like terrible instructions, but if you are beating it and say “nope, it looks the same” then it hasn’t changed. For some reason, I think it takes 20+ minutes of beating (my mom used at hand mixture.) When the texture goes from cookie dough, to like whipped cream, you’ve got it! I’ve had it happen once. This year my mixer started heating up so much, the beaters got hot and started melting the butter. Folks, that shouldn’t happen! Creamy tastes just fine, and that’s usually where I stop because I don’t have the patience.
Only a week until Hollis and Ivy will hit your e-reader. Is December 11th circled on your calendar? I thought I’d tease you a little with a snippet from this sweet romance.
There were numerous chain coffee shops in the village, but Hollis preferred to try independents when he travelled. A food truck with “Coffee Run” painted on the side, set up on the street beside the main parking lot had caught his attention. It was brilliant marketing for a town built on ski slopes.
He wasn’t the only one with caffeinated intentions. Sunlight was barely peeking over the mountains, signifying the beginning of the ski day, and the line was trailing off after the morning rush. Hollis found himself standing next to a tall, gangly man with a red and white striped hat and matching sweater. A woman in a wool coat—obviously not a skier—fell in behind him.
The service was quick, the drinks were steaming, and the sugar was on the ledge beside the order window, beside a wide-mouthed jar of biscotti. Hollis took a deep whiff of his coffee before setting his cup on the counter. As he tucked his gloves in his pocket, he took a step to the side to make room for the next customer.
“Good morning. The usual?” the man in the truck asked.
“Make it a double, Joel. Thanks.”
Something about the woman’s voice made him smile. Clear and light and a little husky, like she was used to speaking quietly. He noticed it had the same effect on the food truck worker, who offered her a big grin. “One of those days, huh? Don’t worry, Ivy, we’ve got you.”
Then she directed that voice his way. “Excuse me, please.” She pointed at the biscotti container, and Hollis sidled sideways two more steps. He wasn’t about to come between a woman and her cookie. She grinned, and it hit him twice as hard as her voice. She was gorgeous. Her long, dark brown hair matched her eyes, and her friendly but anxious “Coffee, coffee, yay coffee” whisper made him laugh. A puff of wind brought the scent of spring, a reminder of it even though winter had barely begun.
She used the tongs to pull a long, chocolate-topped cookie from the jar. He wasn’t sure of her next move; it happened too quickly to see. But after that, he saw her arm jerk, and watched in amazement as the cookie went up, executed a perfect backwards, double twist, and splashed down in his coffee.
Nobody spoke. Until she gave a horrified gasp and said, “And I’d like to buy the handsome man in the tan jacket a biscotti.”