Hot Polka Dot
6Sep/12

From The Family Kitchen.

This recipe is adapted from a long-time family favourite. Whether we were gathering for Christmas dinner, Easter lunch or just a casual dinner party, my Oma would be lovingly coerced to bring Cherry Delight. Failure to bring said dessert would result in chiding and lots of disapproving head shakes. I wouldn't go as far to say that Oma would be denied turkey, but maybe not the choice slices.

For as long as I can remember Oma would make it in her tried and trusted vintage baking pan. The kind made of tarnished waffle-textured tin. We'd all wait patiently as the tea and coffee was poured and the heirloom spoons were distributed and fought over. We'd sit there salivating as the pieces were carefully sliced and passed around. We weren't allowed to eat until everyone had their fair share, until piece after piece was passed down the table. My aunt always scraped off the cherry topping from her slice and handed it over to the closest wide-eyed cherry lover. My uncle eats his layer by layer. Oma always had a sliver and I would usually have two.

Graham cracker crust, simple cream cheese filling, topped off with cherry pie filling. Easy, fast, basic. To anyone else it's just another no-bake cheesecake, nothing special. To us it's an institution, a tradition, a phenomenon.

Many of the recipes I share with you are adaptations of family recipes. Opa's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Grandma's Grasshopper Pie. Oma's Lemon Loaf. Mom's Angel Icebox. I've even explored recipes my distant Dutch and Indonesian relatives would have enjoyed like Kue Lapis Legit and Speculaas Cookies.

Food is an integral part of our family history. Food is what brings a family together, be it at the end of a busy day or after years of distance. That's why it pleases me to tell you I have a lovely book to give away on this very subject!

From the Family Kitchen by Gena Philibert-Ortega is a beautiful exploration of how food defines us and shapes us. It talks about how recipes handed down generation to generation have become treasured traditions and even guarded family secrets. These recipes, whether hand-scrawled on stained index cards or dictated and translated countless times, have a story to tell us over the decades and offer special insight on our genealogy. This book even includes several recipes from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which demonstrate how much food changes with time, culture and circumstance. There's also a recipe journal included for you to document your own family's recipes and what special memories they're attached to.

If exploring your family history and recipes is important to you, please enter to win your own copy of From the Family Kitchen! For inquiring minds, take a look at the digital preview.

The reason there are no photos of a slice is because lunch guests usually frown upon dessert that's been already hacked up. When I learned my aunt and cousin were coming for a timely visit, I knew it was a perfect chance to make my version of this family favourite. And, wouldn't you know it, even with my homemade Cherry Sauce, she still scraped the topping off and gave it to me!

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29Aug/12

Ninja Peaches.

I'd like to tell you a funny story or wax poetic about sunsets, but honestly I just don't have the time. You were probably going to skip all the words and go straight to the pretty pictures anyway.

Weren't you?

So, much like a ninja with a smoke bomb, here are some yummy pictures of cupcakes to distract you while I make my swift exit.

Poof!

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2Apr/12

Springkles.

Spring is a time for new beginnings. It's when all life wipes the sleep from blurry eyes and timidly steps into the sunlight to greet the world. Windows are swung open, bicycles are dusted off, birds fly home, coats are shrugged off, flowers bloom.

It's time for spring cleaning! I decided it wasn't enough to just redecorate and reorganize my house. I want to do the same for myself. This calls for a little personal spring cleaning. So I got a hair cut, bought some shoes I desperately needed, commissioned an updated blog theme, began reading an incredible fantasy series, decided on a new hobby and started exercising again.

It's been a long winter and I've been hibernating for far too long. It's time to open some windows in my mind, let in the fresh air and grow some satisfaction.

As the seasons change so do we. What was once painted with dirty greys and murky browns is now injected with splashes of emerald, gold and sapphire, violet, cherry and rose. Like sprinkles on a daintily frosted cupcake.

Whether you have a colourful personality, a colourful garden or a colourful living room, now you can have a cupcake to match. Rainbow sprinkles through and through with double cream cheese because, like sprinkles, you can never have enough.

Definitely not on the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 meal plan, but Double Cream Cheese Funfetti Cupcake have my vote!

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18Aug/11

It’s 12am, Do You Know Where Your Cookies Are?

You're awoken by the sound of distant thunder. Flashes of heat lighting stream through the drapes and reflect off the wall. Restless, you lay awake in bed, a thin sheet your only protection against the crisp night air. The heavy blanket long since set aside for colder weather. The scent of imminent rain filters through the open windows and a new breeze disturbs the curtains.

Curiously drawn, you carelessly throw off the sheet and pad downstairs in your bare feet. The light from the refrigerator floods the kitchen and you squint, you're eyes not accustomed to the sudden brightness. You snatch a midnight snack and welcome the darkness back.

Blindly, you find your way to the window. The storm rolls in, clouds of violet and black blanket the sky decorated with intermittent shimmers of silver and gold. You nibble idly on your Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Cookie as the rain falls in an impetuous torrent.

These cookies are fresh, sweet and quickly disappearing. Just like Summer. Best enjoyed with an accompaniment of thunder and lighting.

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14Feb/11

Sweetheart.

  I thought that on this most auspicious day I would share with you mine and Lee's favourite poem. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to express your feelings someone has already beaten you to the punch.

A Rhyme of the Dream-Maker Man

Down near the end of a wandering lane,
That runs 'round the cares of a day,
Where Conscience and Memory meet and explain,
... Their quaint little quarrels away.
A misty air-castle sits back in the dusk
Where brownies and hobgoblins dwell
And this is the home
Of a busy old gnome
Who is making up dream-things to sell,
My dear,
The daintiest dreams to sell.

He makes golden dreams of wicked men's sighs.
He weaves on the thread of a hope
The airiest fancies of pretty brown eyes,
And patterns his work with a trope.
The breath of a rose and the blush of a wish
Boiled down to the ghost of a bliss,
He wraps in a smile
Every once in a while,
And calls it the dream of a kiss,
Dear heart,
The dream of an unborn kiss.

Last night when I walked thro' the portals of sleep
And came to the weird little den,
I looked in the place where the elf-man should keep
A dream that I buy now and then.
'Tis only the sweet happy dream of a day--
Yet one that I wish may come true--
But I learned from the elf
That you'd been there yourself
And he'd given my dear dream to you,
Sweetheart,
He'd given our dream to you.

-William Allen White

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