Hot Polka Dot
14Dec/12

Pure Vanilla.

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.

Good luck!

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25Jan/12

Tea Time.


Recently I tried to take up tea drinking. Ever since the great teatastophe of '97 I made the informed decision to henceforth swear off tea in all its guises. Iced tea. Green tea ice cream. Long Island iced tea. Matcha cake. It was just awful. I sipped a bit of my mom's green tea and made a funny face. I was traumatized.

Despite my tainted past with tea, over the years I have acquired a handsome collection of tea related things. Tea towels, tea cups, saucers, tea spoons, cream and sugar sets, cute napkins. It got me thinking, maybe I like tea after all.

I was going to give tea another chance. Maybe we could get reacquainted and become fast friends. I'm sure we just got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it was high time for some high tea.

I had it in my head I was going to throw tea parties with all my civilized tiny hat wearing buddies. We were going to sit in my dining room all prim and proper with our ankles delicately crossed. We were going to sip fancy earl grey and chamomile out of dainty pink cups with our pinkies out. We were going to gossip and giggle and nibble on petit fours.

I mean what better place to show off my Royal Wedding worthy feather fascinator right?

Alas it was not meant to be. Tea and I just don't get along. I made the face again. It wasn't pretty.

There is one part of tea time I think we can all agree is the very best part. The treats. The tiny individual cakes, the gooey squares, the cute cookies, the powdery truffles, the glazed tarts. Because if you take away the tea isn't a tea party just a swanky buffet?

And none of that roast beef and shrimp crap. The good stuff. The end of the buffet we all save ourselves for. Let's all just admit it. You might have stuffed yourself with more than your money's worth, but you just can't refuse that spread of sugary bliss on top of everything. Even if it means that you don't feel physically capable of eating another bite for at least another week.

Here's my contribution to tea time. The best part. The star. The crowd pleaser. The treat. Cardamom Clementine Cookies. They're light and airy with the floral scent of cardamom and the subtle brightness of citrus. I'm guessing they'd go well with a steaming cup of chai tea, but I'm certainly no expert. You'll have to let me know!

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6Aug/10

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice.


The brown sugar is of the dark brown, aka demerara, variety because I've decided it's the best dang sugar on the planet. The spice is cinnamon because, let's face it, it's the rock star of all spices. The everything nice part refers to brown butter because a smidgen of brown butter makes everything nicer.

That's what little girls are supposed to be made of, but instead it's my cake. Let's just be clear that this is 100% cake. No little girls were harmed in the baking of this cake.

Anyhoo...

A little off topic, but did I ever mention how much I hate ribbon roses? Well I do. They're not nice, unlike brown butter. I spent hours of quality time with my piping bag practicing the technique and I only got these eight measly excuses for ribbon roses. I also spent those hours swearing very unlike a little girl. Ok, so they're not half bad, but my perfectionist brain disagrees.

They say practice makes perfect, but what if I don't want to have anything to do with these little monsters anymore? Let's just settle for mediocre ribbon roses shall we? Ok deal.

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27Jul/10

So Next Season.

I know, I know. I'm weird.

Who makes something maple flavoured in the Summer? In case you can't see, that would be me reluctantly raising my hand.

It's like I'm just asking for it. I'm tempting the fates. Tomorrow all the leaves are going to turn orange and fall from the trees. And it will be all my fault. If that happens I take full responsibility. And if that happens you'll at least have some appropriate cookies for the premature Autumn season.

I guess I could have tucked away this little gem and waited patiently for the next season. Do I strike you as a patient person?

Let me explain the method to my madness. Remember when I made these Maple Bacon Oatmeal Muffins? Well I had some maple syrup leftover and I couldn't see that sugary heaven go to waste so I planned these lovely Maple Banana Whoopie Pies.

I had exactly one cup of maple syrup left. Did I plan it that way or am I just that lucky? Why can't I be lucky with something useful like the lottery or Kitchen Aid giveaways? Whatever. I'll take what I can get.

And if licking the measuring cup clean of any maple syrup residue is wrong then I don't want to be right.

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1Jun/10

Love Muffin: Chocolate Cherry

This is the first post of its kind, one of many to come. I've decided to experiment in the wonderful world of muffins once every month or perhaps every two weeks. I love muffins. Don't you love muffins? It's cute. It's muffiny. It's Love Muffin.

Now with that said I'd like to address a certain someone with whom I am currently quite displeased.

Dear Mother Nature,

What is your problem? For serious.

It's Spring right? Let me check my calendar. Yes, definitely Spring. Actually, nearly Summer. And what do we have to show for it? A measly week of blessedly warm and perfectly sunny weather. It's actually snowed at least three times since the first day of Spring and been mostly crappy and cold otherwise.

Do you find it funny to torture innocent Spring loving people? That's right, Spring is my favourite season or at least it used to be. I'm half expecting the leaves to start turning orange and fall off right before we're condemned to a dark snowy prison again. Is Summer even coming? Will I ever get to swim and suntan and eat popsicles on the back step again without shivering?

I'd better.

Now I understand you're very busy controlling the weather all over the world but do you think it would be too much trouble to pay a little more attention to my corner of Canada? I don't ask for much, just maybe a smidgen more sunshine and a teensy bit less snow. I'll even make a deal with you. If you give me Spring I promise to complain a little bit less next Winter. I know how whiny I can be. That's reasonable right?

I think so.

I expect the weather to be different from here on out otherwise I swear I'll relentlessly pollute the ozone or something. No I'm kidding. I wouldn't do that, but maybe I'd stop using reusable bags and start using those horrible plastic ones when I do my grocery shopping. Remind me again, they take how many eons to decompose? Yeah, you wouldn't like that would you? I don't have to as long as you cooperate. Nobody has to get hurt.

I'm glad we had this little chat. I hope we can continue to be friends.

Sincerely your biggest fan,

Lindsey

Ok, now less crazy and more muffins!

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