When I found out my friend, Shauna of Piece of Cake was releasing yet another amazing cookbook, I was so happy for her! Then I found out it was all about one of my favourite things ever and I was thrilled. Then I found out I could get myself a review copy plus a giveaway copy for you and my head exploded.
Pure Vanilla is aptly named. The rustic photos, heartfelt descriptions and homey recipes all lend to the organic, unrefined and untouched beauty that is the vanilla bean. Vanilla has become synonymous with words like safe, predictable and ordinary. Shauna shows us how to look at vanilla in a different light, a soft natural light. Vanilla is unassuming, but not bland. Vanilla is familiar, but not boring. Vanilla is nostalgic, but not antiquated. Vanilla is sexy, beautiful and adventurous.
Pure Vanilla's recipe index ranges from the tried and true to the exciting and new. Name your favourite vanilla recipe and this book has it! Everything from luscious Vanilla Buttercream to Vanilla Cream Pie, Vanilla Bean Marshmallows to Vanilla Ice Cream. Then there's a few recipes I bet you've never tried like Twinkie Bundt Cake, Candied Vanilla Popcorn and Vanilla Martinis.
When I saw Shauna's recipe for Heirloom Vanilla Sugar Cookies, I knew it was the perfect recipe to share with you at this festive time of year. These cookies were bursting with vanilla flavour and were melt-in-your-mouth soft. They're cookies best served on a plate to Santa or to loved ones accompanied with a tall glass of milk.
So you want to win a copy of Pure Vanilla? Of course you do!
Just use the simple Rafflecopter widget below for several different ways to enter! The terms and conditions are listed at the bottom. Just leave a comment below letting me know what your favourite vanilla treat is. This mandatory entry opens up three more enxta entries so make sure to make good use of them! The giveaway is open until Friday December 22nd at midnight.
I know, it's kind of late for peaches. Consider it my last ditch attempt to hold onto one of my favourite fruits and seasons. Summer is so fleeting and peache season is short-lived. This year we were lucky enough to have an early Summer but it's fading too quickly. The leaves are turning and the days are growing darker and colder. Thanksgiving is approaching and I'm already thinking about Christmas.
Time is funny that way.
They say that with every year that passes your perception of time seems to speed up.
I remember when a six hour school day would move at a snails pace and it was far too much time taken out of my busy light bright and etch-a-sketch schedule. I remember when the wait for Christmas began at the first snowflake and dragged on for what felt like forever. I remember anxiously peering into the hot oven and watching the pie crust bubble on that night's dessert, all the while being tormented by the scent of spiced apples and buttery pastry.
Now there's never enough time in the day, to-do lists get longer instead of shorter, entire months pass in the blink of an eye and I surprise myself when I realize how many years I've known some friends.
Sometimes I wish that I could just hit the pause button, slow-mo, and definitely rewind.
What better way to slow down than with a warm batch of Peach Oatmeal Cookies? There's something about oatmeal that screams Winter and Peaches are exclusively a Summer treat. Why not combine them to smooth the transition this Fall?
I'm one of those rare people who not only tolerates wearing glasses, but actually loves it. I always envied people with glasses so when the day came that I was told I have a slight astigmatism I was over the moon! Now they're my favourite accessory and I'm always looking for new styles to suit my outfit, hair or just my mood.
So imagine my excitement when the lovely folks at Firmoo Eyewear generously offered me a free pair of glasses! Naturally it took me days to decide which pair I wanted because they have a huge selection and their “virtual try on” feature is way too much fun. When I finally got it narrowed it down to two styles, I realized I couldn't live without either of them.
The first are tortoiseshell wayfarers. I love them because the brown and gold flecks accent my eyes and hair. The second are black Ray Ban look-alikes. They're more rectangular and have a hint of cat-eye flare. Big, bold geek-chic glasses seem to be pretty trendy right now, and I love them because your eyes and makeup are enhanced instead of hidden.
I was so inspired by my new specs, that I made you some “smart cookies”! I just traced my glasses onto a piece of thin cardboard and cut it out to use as a stencil. You could trace your own glasses too and celebrate being a part of the smart cookie club!
Now if only I could only find some rainbow sprinkle frames to coordinate with my cookies I'd be complete!
I'm presently propped up in bed with some of the fluffiest pillows I've ever had the pleasure of smushing in our hotel room in Winnipeg. This week we're visiting family and friends and keeping pretty busy between restaurants, swimming pools, museums, zoos, rivers, lakes and camp sites to name a few.
I'm the sort of person that never likes to come to a party empty handed. Nothing says “nice to meet you!” like a jar full of chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Add some ribbon and a dinosaur and you have yourself one adorable, unique and thoughtful gift, one that you can be pretty certain they've never received before.
This is something you can whip up easily and inexpensively in an afternoon. I've seen so many DIY posts floating around featuring these plastic animals you can get at pretty much any dollar store, so I just had to try it out for myself. These jars are perfect for all sorts of occasions like a favour for a dinosaur-themed birthday party, a gift for the budding archaeologist in your life, or a baby shower favour. You could even swap out the dinos for bunnies and fill the jars with chocolate eggs for a super cute Easter gift.
When you bake cookies it's like some kind of earth-shattering domestic phenomenon. The house fills with the intoxicating scent of fresh baked love all gooey with melted chocolate chips, chewy with oats and sweetly studded with dried cranberries.
Suddenly people from all corners of the home come out of hiding and follow their noses to the source of their mutual adoration. Like hounds who've caught the trail of prey, noses to the ground, tails wagging.
In the course of the next few days, hours, or in some cases minutes, the cookies are greedily devoured. No crumb is safe, no chocolate chip left behind. Gradually the batch is thinned out, the plumpest cookies picked off one by one like lambs to the slaughter. What was once twelve becomes eight, then six, then four and finally one. One lonely cookie sits in what now seems like an immense jar. Once stuffed with its brothers and sisters, the jar is now empty save one survivor.
Days pass and there it remains. The relief of being spared the all too recent massacre wears off and he's left wondering why he wasn't chosen. Was he too small? Was he over-baked? Was he lacking in chocolate or cranberries? No, this isn't fourth grade kickball.
No one wants the last cookie because no one can bear to put an end to the deliciousness. No one wants to be the one responsible for depriving the others of all that sugar and love. Once the last cookie is reduced to crumbs you know it will never fill that void inside when you crave another and realize that's it.