The 12 Treats of Chirstmas: Peppermint Patties

by , on
Dec 2, 2013

Ok, one cookie down. Now for something that takes a little more commitment. Homemade Peppermint Patties. I know I posted about these a few months ago, but when looking to the Top 12, you can’t leave these out. They always get tons of compliments – I mean really, who knew you could make your own peppermint patties? So, so good.

MommyDo Peppermint Patties

I usually let the innards sit overnight so they have a little snap. And, I find they take more chocolate than you think. The dipping is a real pain. You’ll want to quit about 10 times. But later, once you’re polishing off the last one, you’ll wish you hadn’t given up and tossed a bunch of undipped middles out. Trust me. Keep on dipping.

Remember to use bakers chocolate or candy coating so the chocolate hardens nicely. And, (like I really need to say this) be sure to save some for guests. I know it’s hard, but you’re not supposed to eat them all yourself. You can find this recipe online here on the Eagle Brand website.

Ingredients:

1 can (300ml) Regular Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed Milk

1tbsp (15ml) peppermint extract (I add a little more to make them extra minty)

6 cups (1.5L) confectioners’ sugar (that’s icing sugar)

1 1/2lbs chocolate candy coating or dark or semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted.

1. Combine Eagle Brand and peppermint extract. Add sugar, beating on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

2. Knead lightly to form a smooth ball. Shape into 1 inch (2.54cm)  balls. Place 2cm paart o n parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2 inch (4cm) patty. (I used the flat bottom of a drinking glass lightly dusted with sugar.)

3. Let dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour. With fork, dip each patty into warm candy coating (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Invert onto wax-paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.

4. Try very hard not to eat them all as soon as they’ve hardened.

MommyDo 3 Peppermint Patties

Enjoy!

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle cookies that you can make to use up the leftover chocolate after you dip the patties.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Whipped Shortbread

by , on
Dec 1, 2013

Are you ready to get baking? I’m digging deep into my legendary Christmas Baking Binder to bring you my top 12 Treats. Cookies, bars, brownies, bark, fudge and candy. We’re gonna make a little of everything.

Mommydo Whipped Shortbread

In my younger days I would make 30 types of treats and give goodie baskets to a rather long list of hungry and happy recipients. Sweet! Now that time is short, I’ve cut it down to my top 12, and bake mostly for family. After all this baking, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Before we begin, here are 10 things you should keep in mind when you set out to do a big bake.

1. If you’re baking on a budget, remember chocolate goodies are spendy. Fill baskets with cookies and just a few chocolate treats to keep the cost down.

2. Read through the recipes you’re planning to make and make a master shopping list. Spots like Bulk Barn have many of the things you’ll need, and if you’ve done your homework you can get your shopping done in no time at all and for much less than multiple late night trips to the grocery store.

3. Read the recipes all the way through before you start. There’s nothing worst than setting out to make a quick batch of cookies and realizing you need to chill the dough overnight.

4. Wear a short sleeved shirt. Trying to take off a sweater when covered in chocolate and flour is the worst.

5. Tie your hair back at the start. Same reason. Pushing your hair back with messy hands is a pain.

6. Parchment paper really is the best to line trays, and can be used more than once.

7. Pay attention to the part in the recipe that talks about cooling and when to transfer the treats. Your cookies will be better looking if you follow the rules.

8. Baking is not a ‘wing it’ sport. Precision delivers the best results. Measure carefully and you’ll find things bake as expected and taste better than if you guesstimate.

9. Sometimes experiments turn out well. Go ahead and try some new things. (You’ll hear about my cookie invention later this week.)

10. Having a few cookie trays on hand makes quick work of big batches of cookies. Borrow some if you only need once a year. Preferably from someone who’ll give you a nice glass of wine when you return them. You can enjoy it with some delicious fresh baked goodies!

MOMMYDO TREAT 1: Whipped Shortbread

This is an easy recipe from The Harrowsmith Cookbook, and credit is given to Shirley Hill of Picton Ontario. It’s quick to make and is always a big hit. I’ve been making it since I was in grade school. It doesn’t go that far, so I often double it. The key to these is to really beat them between ingredients. Don’t stop when the ingredients are mixed, give them a minute or more to beat at each step.

I finish the cookies 2 ways, with a little candied cherry or with a little silver ball.

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Recipe:

1/2 lb. Butter

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 cup flour

Beat butter until light and add remaining ingredients one at a time, beating well after each addition. Roll into small balls and flatten with a fork (I JUST DROPPED MINE).

Bake at 300F for 30 min.

Makes 3 dozen

Just in the St. Nick of time

by , on
Nov 30, 2013

Wow! Everything seems to get done at the last minute around here lately. But I’m happy to say that BOTH kids will have an advent calendar this year. I squeezed out an extra day, as the boy is visiting grandparents tonight, so although it’s not hung, it’s ready to go.

I got the idea from Lindsay over at Little House Blog a few years ago here and have enjoyed filling it ever since. Here it is handing last winter.

MommyDo Advent Calendar - Art Deco

I needed to make one for Obi so I went back to Little House Blog and used this free printable to create a second set of bags.

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I love the colours and set the numbers off to the side to give it a modern feel.

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They’re all done and ready to hang.

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His will be filled with the contents of a LEGO advent calendar and hers will be filled with baby things like socks, headbands and some Little People.

Around here, we hang day by day to avoid the whole “Why can’t we open them all at once?” drama.

If want to make one (next year, maybe, since it’s December tomorrow) you can order the bags from Lindsay’s shop.

Oh Happy Day. December tomorrow. And we’re diving into the Christmas Baking binder to start the 12 Treats of Christmas. Are you ready to get your bake on?

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Police Themed Birthday Party

by , on
Nov 26, 2013

A few weekends ago we hosted the boy’s Fourth Birthday Party. Given his current obsession with Lego and Police, choosing a theme wasn’t an issue… As I posted a few days ago, the theme started to come to life with these great wanted posters from 733blog.

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Even the littlest Crook got in the spirit!

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But what’s a party without snacks? I created these great Lego head Marshmallow pops that I found the tutorial for here. I used a half mini marshmallow for the head and cake decorator gel for the face.

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Now you can’t have a party without cake. And I stole the show by putting actual working lights from the boy’s Playmobil Police car onto the Police Car cake I baked.

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I used the Wilton car pan, and took some inspiration from here. I used the Durable Chocolate cake recipe found here and it worked very well.

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As I can’t seem to decorate a cookie to save my life, I ordered some Lego Cops and Crooks cookies from the amazing Dolce. So cute and so, so delicious.

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Then we made these super cute loot bag tags.

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A huge shout out to Oaks n’ Acorns for being a super swell venue and to my brother-in-law who really helped out a ton. All in all, the party was a great success, despite the boy saying he only wanted to have grown up parties from now on. We’ll see if that’s the case when next year’s party time rolls around.

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Adventures in Advent 1: Adapting

by , on
Nov 22, 2013

So my Sis (STOP READING NOW SIS) is embracing a sugar free life. But we’re both big fans of advent and this year, the Starbucks advent calendar.

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But what’s the fun in opening a calendar when you can’t enjoy the spoils? So I took it up on myself to adapt the calendar to include non-food trinkets. I tried to do this on a tight budget as the calendar itself is a little spendy. So cool though…the tins are sitting on a magnetic chalk board with a simple wooden frame. Nice! You should reveal a caramel each day…but instead my sis will find all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

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There are little ball magnets in there, a tea-set of erasers, post-it type notes, crafty things, little puffy nativity stickers, eye shadow, rubber bands and more. Nothing fancy for sure, but a little surprise to count down to Christmas? Love. Advent is one of my fav holiday traditions.

I don’t think I’ve ever missed a year.

I’ve continued the tradition with the boy. And now need to make a version for Obi. I’m not crazy –  I know you can’t have for one and not the other, even if one is only 1. I’m on the hunt for things to fill hers with. And the bags for the creation arrived from the Penny Paper Co. today!

I’ll post about that undertaking on the weekend. I also have another great advent idea to share then too!

I just realized today that December is just around the corner, so if you’re thinking of creating an Advent project you’d better get crackin’.

I learned something about my little guy.

by , on
Nov 18, 2013

I learned something

The boy isn’t a big party guy, despite my pulling out all the stops this past weekend. Like, spent the whole party saying “I want to go home!”

I’m working on a post about the party, my new lens and other goodness, but in the meantime, that there is the grumpy guest of honour. I got this superfab idea and template for the sign here at 733blog.com.

Crispy Waffles

by , on
Nov 13, 2013

Waffles are a Sunday morning fav around here. The boy eats them and I don’t mind whipping up a batch in the early hours. They are dead simple, fairly low on the sweet factor…until the syrup anyway.

MOMMYDO WAFFLE TIP: Cool your waffles on a wire rack instead of in a stack to have a yummy crisp crust on both sides.

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Yes, these are a little ‘homey’ looking, but they taste fab. Super easy too.

My favourite recipe is here, and takes about 5 min plus cooking time. I use a big whisk instead of the hand blender as I often make them with the boy while the husband is still sleeping. And, I usually add a whole teaspoon of vanilla rather than the 1/2 noted in the recipe.

In case you’re thinking “wow, I could really use a waffle maker” I have a Cuisinart like this one and it works great.

Waffles. Wire rack. You’re welcome.

This isn’t a sponsored post. Just a note about stuff I have that I like,

What makes you feel like a winner?

by , on
Nov 5, 2013

For me, these days, it’s trying a new recipe and having it turn out to be as good as the picture looks. For one lucky blog commenter, it’s winning the stamp of their choice! For a little more on the stamp winner, scroll to the bottom of the post.

This weekend I tried 2 recipes from Pinterest and BOTH were great. There’s no point in showing my photos since the original posters’ look far more appetizing. I have to say both of these will be part of the regular rotation around here. They def get the MOMMYDO two thumbs up.

Both are slow cooker recipes. The first is from La Creme de la Crumb

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Tried it! So, so good. Like, leave-what-you’re-doing-right-now-and-go-to-the-store-and-get-what-you-need-and-go-home-and-put-it-in-the-slow-cooker-right-now kind of good. Quick and easy to prepare. Tastes super fab and is fancy enough company.

The second is from The Comfort of Cooking

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Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken.

Also super yummy and easy to make. The chicken is juicy and the sauce is sweet and tangy. We put both onto tortillas to make tacos one day and served on rice the next. 4 days worth of meals (with lunches) for less than 20 min prep each.

Awesome.

What’s also awesome is winning a stamp! There weren’t a lot of comments, and I didn’t count my sister. So, of the seven, it’s Lucky #7 that won.

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I’ll contact you to let you know you’ve won and give you the details. If you haven’t responded in 72 hours, I’ll pick a new winner.

Thanks to Lindsay at The Penny Paper Co. for donating our wonderful prize.

I’ll contact you with the details.

There’s nothing like…

by , on
Nov 3, 2013

the first whiff of the holiday season to make you miss the ones you’ve lost

Today is Starbucks Red Cup day – for me, that’s when the countdown to the holiday season starts in earnest. And, of course, there’s no time I miss my Dad more. This will be the 14th Christmas without him.

It’s true what they say, times does heal all wounds. At the same time, it makes the memories richer. Like my memory of a pot of hot soup on the first day there’s a chill in the air.

My dad wasn’t an excellent cook, but he wasn’t bad. And he could turn a few simple things into meals that still find a way to warm my heart.

Tonight I made his Tomato Macaroni Soup. I added a few little touches (garlic and broth) but it’s pretty much the same as he used to make back when I was too small to peek into the pot.

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Ray’s Simple Tomato soup

2 stalks celery

1 medium onion

1Tbsp butter

1 lg can diced tomatos

1 can water or broth (use the can from the tomatoes to measure)

1 can tomato sauce (or 1/2 jar)

A sprinkle of basil, oregano, fresh ground pepper or whatever vaguely italian seasoning you have on hand

1 crush clove of garlic

1 cup dry pasta (give or take – I eyeball it)

Chop the onion and celery. Place in microwave safe bowl with the butter and ‘nuke’ on high for 2 min 30 sec.

Meanwhile put the tomatoes and water or broth in a large pot. Throw in whatever spice you have on hand. Crush the garlic into the mixture. Add some tomato sauce from a tin or a jar.

Add the onion, celery, butter mixture to the pot.

Cook on medium-high heat until the soup begins to bubble.

Reduce the head and simmer for about 20 min.

After 20 min, add the pasta to the soup. Turn up the heat to achieve a gentle boil. You may need to add more water to maintain the ‘soup’ consistency once the pasta starts to cook.

Stir frequently to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Let the pasta cook a little longer than al dente to get a nice squishy soup noodle.

Variations include adding salsa instead of sauce, adding tomato juice instead of water or broth, adding browned ground beef (making it ‘hamburger soup’), adding cooked  chicken and garnishing with cheese and avacado…the possibilities are endless.

Serve hot.

If you keep leftovers, be prepared to have the noodles suck up all the juice. You can make the pasta separately and combine the soup and the noodles in each bowl – which does improve the state of the dish on the second day if you like a soupy soup. I usually just add water or broth the second day to rejuvenate the soup factor.

To me this is the ultimate comfort food. I hope you find some comfort here too.

Do you have a bread machine?

by , on
Oct 27, 2013

If you do, you need this book:

The Artisan Bread Machine by Judith Fertig

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It is DEF a MOMMYDO favourite. If you have the machine, but not the book, try this simple but delicious white bread recipe from page 24.

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Blue Ribbon Bread Machine Bread – 2LB loaf

8tsp granulated sugar

1 1/2tsp instant or bread machine yeast

1 1/3 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

4 cups flour

2 tsp salt

1. Add sugar, yeast and water to the bread pan. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast starts to bubble.

2. Add oil. Spoon flour on top of liquid. Add salt.

3. Select the Basic/White cycle and Light Crust setting and press start.

NOTE: As with all bread machine recipes, it’s important to add the ingredients in the right order.

Or, um, you might get the loaf on the left. Image

Oops. The salt and the yeast need to be separated by the flour.

Live and learn. Live and learn.

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