Recipes

Pumpkin Muffins

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Pumpkin is one of those ingredients that tastes good in pretty much any kind of baked good it’s in.
Pumpkin tastes amazing in cookies, breads, cupcakes, & biscotti, but I think my favorite baked good to add pumpkin to is muffins! The pumpkin helps keep the muffins super moist, and gives it an amazing flavour.
This is a super simple recipe for delicious, moist, perfectly-spiced pumpkin muffins. (No mixer is required!)
It’s a perfect, simple recipe to make if you have some leftover pumpkin.

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Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:
(yield: 12-14 cupcakes)
1 + 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pure pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Β Spray 2 muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray, or line with cupcake liners & set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg together until combined; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar & eggs together. Add in the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until ingredients are just combined – don’t overmix!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop batter and divide evenly into 14 muffin cups. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

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Recipes

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

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I just couldn’t stop baking with pumpkin that easily! Although Fall is sadly over, and we are now in the midst of the snowy weather season, I just couldn’t resist baking some more goodies using pumpkin. I had one can of pumpkin left over so I decided to whip up a batch of these gorgeous, soft & chewy Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies.

I love the combination of the flavorful pumpkin with the usual Gingersnap spices (ginger, cinnamon, & cloves). It makes for a perfect, spicy Winter cookie!
The pumpkin helps keep these cookies super moist, and really adds a nice punch of flavour.

These cookies are not hard & crunchy like most gingersnaps.. they are totally thick, soft & chewy which is just the way I like all cookies to be.. (No hard/crunchy cookies for me!)
I like to roll the cookies in sugar before baking because it adds a little more sweetness, and it also makes the cookies sparkle & look really pretty which is always a plus.

If you like gingersnaps, you will love these cookies.
They are a staple in our Fall & Winter baking, and we hope you enjoy them as well!

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Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

Ingredients:
(yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies)
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for rolling the cookies in)
1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, & vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves & salt together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and slowly mix until combined. Do not overmix.
Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours. (Dough can be chilled for 1-3 days)

2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line or spray baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
Place 1-2 cups of sugar in a small bowl. Using your hands, roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls than roll balls into the sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet approx. 2 inches apart. Bake for only 10-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft, and almost underbaked. That is what you want – do not overbake. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, than transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Enjoy!
Natasha xo

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Music

Cold December Nights: A Christmas Playlist

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It’s no secret that I am crazy obsessed with Christmas. I love everything about it.
Snow, eggnog, christmas cookies, & spending time with friends & family.
But one of my favorite, favorite things about Christmas is…
the music!
Nothing says it’s Christmas time quite like hearing Christmas music wherever you go.

Every year I am in charge of the Christmas music and make a huge playlist. I like to have a wide variety of Christmas songs and include a little something for everyone – some good ole classics (Elvis & Frank Sinatra), a lil country (Nobody does a Country Christmas quite like Dolly Parton!), a lil pop (Britney, Mariah), indie, etc.
I like to add new Christmas songs each year and keep it updated because let’s be real, nobody wants to hear the same old christmas songs played over and over again, year after year.

Here’s a list of 20 of our current favorite Christmas songs for this holiday season..
(You can find all these songs on youtube or itunes.)

Happy Christmas Caroling!

1. Merry Christmas, Baby. by Cee Lo Green ft. Rod Stewart
2. Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) by Elvis Presley
3. Mr Right by Leona Lewis
4. My Only Wish (This Year) by Britney Spears
5. New York Christmas by Rob Thomas
6. Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton
7. Last Christmas by Taylor Swift
8. Wrapped In Red by Kelly Clarkson
9. Carry Me Home by Hey Rosetta!
10. Little Saint Nick by She & Him
11. Sleigh Bells & Reindeer by Act As If
12. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) by U2
13. All My Bells Are Ringing by Lenka
14. Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Jessica Simpson
15. Cold December Night by Michael Buble
16. Silver Bells by Elvis Presley
17. Joy To The World by Andrew Ripp
18. Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea
19. Winter Wonderland by Jason Mraz
20. Oh Santa! by Mariah Carey

What’s on your Holiday Playlist this year?!
We’re always on the lookout for new Christmas music. We’d love to hear your favorites! Comment & let us know.

Natasha xo

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Recipes

Hershey Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

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Happy Holidays Everyone!
Today we are sharing yet another de-lish Christmas Cookie recipe. (Who doesn’t love Christmas Cookies?!)
They’re cute little personal treats that spread some tasty festive cheer.

Cookies are my absolute favorite thing to bake at Christmas. Not cakes, not yule logs – cookies.
I love them for the fact that they are easy to pack up and give as gifts to friends & family, and they’re not messy.

Okay, I’ll be honest – the real reason for my love of cookies is that I somehow feel less guilty devouring 10+ cookies, than eating one slice of cake or any other dessert, (Cake just seems so heavy/decadent.)
Somehow in my mind I think that because cookies are small, that makes it okay to eat way more than I should! (I know, I know. My cookie addiction is out of control.)

These Hershey Candy Cane Kiss Cookies are basically Christmas in a cookie.
They are perfect sugar cookies rolled in Christmas sprinkles & topped with a Hershey Candy Cane Kiss. Numm!
You get all the goodness of Christmas (sugar cookie dough, festive sprinkles and peppermint) wrapped up in one cookie.
These cookies are super easy to bake (no chilling or rolling dough is required!) and are a sure way to add a splash of colour to your Holiday cookie tray.

Enjoy & Happy Holiday Baking!

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(pre-bake. candy cane kisses and sprinkles galore!)

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Hershey Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

Ingredients:
(yield: 24-27 cookies)

10 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
christmas sprinkles
24-30 Hershey Candy Cane Kiss Chocolates

Directions:

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
Using your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & sugar together on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until light & smooth. Add the egg yolks & vanilla extract, mix on medium speed until all ingredients are combined. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until fully combined.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using your hands, roll the dough into balls (approx. 1 tablespoon of dough each). Roll the balls into sprinkles and bake for only 9-10 minutes. The cookies will look underbaked, but that is how they should be. They shouldn’t be golden at all – Do not overbake.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, than once slightly cooled, press the Hershey kisses into the centers of the cookies. Once you have put the Hershey kiss on the cookies, immediately put the baking sheet into the freezer for 5 minutes to ensure that the Hershey Kiss’ don’t melt.

(Note: recipe slightly adapted from sallysbakingaddiction)

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Enjoy!
Natasha xo

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Uncategorized

Oh Christmas Tree

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Happy Holidays!
We finally managed to get it together and got our tree up & decorated. Typically we have the whole family come over and we decorate the tree together. Usually this is complete before the end of November. However, this year everyone’s schedule was all over the place. My sister, her husband and their 2 small children went away on an impromptu surprise trip to Disneyland, my son is working out of town and my parents had plans. So that left Natasha and I. Oh and Zeus (aka our fur baby).
I went through that dreaded chore of rummaging around in the garage to get the tree and drag it all the way inside.Β  (And yes, it’s a fake tree. Gasp!) Got it all set up and 3/4 of the lights didn’t work! I tried everything to get them to work. You know, that whole process of going over all of the bulbs, checking the extension cords, plugging and unplugging from the outlet a hundred times. The joy. One hour later, Natasha tries her magic touch and still, nothing. No magic. Like how frustrating is that?
Coincidentally my sister bought a new tree and had her old one waiting in her entrance to be recycled.
Perfect! We’ll take it!

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Every year or 2 I like to choose a new theme when decorating for the holidays. This year we chose purple and gold. One of my all time favourite color combinations. A great design tip I follow is to try and incorporate the colours you have in your home so your tree becomes an extension of the whole room/home.Β  I love it. I have deep, rich warm colours throughout our home. Deep reds, burgundy, gold, terracotta and purple are the main colours in all of our rooms so the tree looks like it belongs and it is so beautiful.

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We are loving how our tree turned out.

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It’s a purple and gold Christmas!

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We have to have hot cocoa before any decorating can begin!
With Baileys Irish Cream?
Yesss please!

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Mariah… being all Mariah!
We had our tv on for the first little while because we wanted to see the lighting of the Rockefeller tree in New York… and see Mariah sing her classic Christmas songs.
Infact her Christmas CD is one of the best Christmas albums ever. We listen to it every year.
Santa Baby!
Great song!

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Our mantel.
I like to coordinate the mantel to match the tree.

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Our coffee table.

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Ummm… yes, we are wearing matching pajamas! ha!
Gotta love La Senza.

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Natasha is a beautiful model… Zeus, not so much!

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We look like crazy school teachers!

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Christmas picture selfies in the middle of the night? Sure, why not?

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It’s probably around 2 a.m. at this point.

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Natasha showing some love to the tree that almost wasn’t!

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From our home to yours, we wish all of you the most magical Christmas season.
Much love,
Laura & Natasha xo

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Recipes

Snowball Sandies

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In keeping with our ‘Holiday Cookie‘ theme, today we are sharing Snowball Sandies which are another cookie that we make year after year during the Holidays.

We like to call these little balls of love ‘Snowball Sandies‘, but they typically go by quite a few different names. They are most often referred to as Sandies, but also are called Mexican Wedding Cookies, Pecan Sandies, Butter Balls or Snow Cookies.

They are delicious nutty cookies that are rolled or coated in icing sugar and are similar in taste to a shortbread cookie but with the added goodness of pecans, and icing sugar. (They go perfectly alongside a nice cup of coffee or tea)

The white icing sugar makes them look like little balls of snow – They are so cute, you won’t be able to eat just one!
They really are the perfect Christmas cookie.

This recipe is from my mom and is a family favorite, (it’s actually my auntie’s favorite christmas cookie ever!).
Snowball Sandies are so easy to make, and are sure to add a little snowy touch to your Christmas cookie tray this year!

Happy Holiday Baking!

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Snowball Sandies Recipe

Ingredients:
(yield: makes approx. 30-35 cookies)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup icing sugar (for rolling the cookies in)

Directions:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for approx. 30 seconds till fluffy. Add the sugar, water, and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in flour and pecans.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Shape dough into 1″ – 1 1/2″ balls or crescents, and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on sheets for 5 minutes, than transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. After allowing cookies to cool (about 10 minutes), sift or roll cookies in icing sugar.

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Enjoy!
Natasha xo

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Recipes

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

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Thumbprint cookies are a staple during the holidays in our house.
Most thumbprint cookie recipes use the same ingredients – they’re usually shortbread type cookies, with slight variations. These Raspberry Thumbprint cookies are very similar in taste to shortbread cookies. They’re soft, with a tender crumb and the raspberry jam adds a nice sweet holiday flavour.

One of our favorite go-to thumbprint cookie recipes is very similar to this one but the cookies are rolled in pecans, and topped with a hershey kiss candy. (We’ll be posting that recipe soon!)

These Raspberry Thumbprints are the perfect Christmas cookie – they are easy to bake, & the jam adds a nice festive touch to the cookies. Feel free to use whichever preserves/jam you have on hand. Blackberry, peach etc.

Happy Holiday Baking!

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Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
{note: this recipe requires chilling the dough for 1 hour.}

Ingredients:
(yield: approx. 37-40 cookies)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
raspberry jam

Directions:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter & sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the vanilla extract, salt and egg yolks and beat until blended.
Add the flour and mix until it forms a stiff dough.

2. Divide dough in half. Roll dough into 2 even sized logs, and wrap each log tightly in wax paper or saran wrap.
Chill dough logs in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Dough can be refrigerated overnight).
Remove dough from fridge and let sit for about 10 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Unwrap, and slice dough into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. (Each log should make about 20 cookies.) Using your hands, roll the pieces into balls and and place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Using your thumb, make a small indentation in the center of the cookies and fill each hollow with approx. 1/4 tsp of jam each.

4. Bake for approx. 18 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the pans for about 5 minutes, than transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Natasha xo

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