Monthly Archives: October 2012

French Vanilla Cappuccino Cupcakes

Not to complain, but it’s been cold and rainy around here the past few days.

This means that I tend to stop at the nearby coffee shop more often these days in search of a warm drink.

Problem is that I don’t drink coffee. I love the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, however I find the taste so bitter and I can’t find the right balance between milk and sugar that I just gave up. Call it child-like tastes, but when it comes to my choice of drinks, I always pick hot chocolate or french vanilla cappuccino ( and just so you know, I am under no pretense that it is anything remotely close to an actual cappuccino).

So when I was trying to think of a cupcake to make on the weekend, all I could think of was a warm and creamy french vanilla.

French Vanilla Cappuccino Cupcakes

I amped up the vanilla in these cupcakes so that it wouldn’t be overpowered by the addition of espresso powder, and then topped them off with a super creamy and lightly sweet  vanilla frosting.

makes 18 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F . Line your muffin pans with liners and set aside
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar together until light and fluff, about 3  minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl, combine espresso powder, flour and baking powder. Add the flour to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat until smooth.
  4. Fill each of the liners about 2/3 of the way full and pop into the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool completely, then top with Light and Fluffy Vanilla Frosting (below).

Light and Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 cup milk ( I used 2%)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk and the flour, whisking until smooth.
  2. Set over medium heat, and slowly add the remaining milk, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until thickened. You want it to be about as thick as custard. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, continuing to stir for another couple minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, beat together the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk mixture and continue to beat for a couple minutes, or until light and fluffy. I switched to the whisk attachment to get it extra fluffy, but you don’t have to.
  4. Store any leftover frosting in the refrigerator.

My brother’s fiance H said these were here favourite cupcakes I’ve made yet!

– Mel


I linked this recipe to Strut Your Stuff Saturdays and:

Categories: Cake and Cupcakes | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

25 While I’m 25

Today is my 25th birthday! Yay!

In honour of this milestone ( is 25 considered a milestone?) I decided to challenge myself. Like I imagine many novice cooks and bakers, I have a sort of “bucket-list” of things that I want to make. I have chosen 25 of them, and have given myself 1 year ( or until I’m not 25) to try them. Hopefully there will be plenty of successes. Likely there will be failures. Either way, I’m going to work my way through the list throughout the year.

Some are simple, some are more challenging, a lot of them involve yeast ( Despite many successful attempts, I still fear yeast) and all of them I have been meaning to try for a while now.

In no particular order:

  1. Bagels
  2. Sourdough bread ( using a starter)
  3. Butterhorns ( aka : Cresent rolls that don’t come out of a tube)
  4. Croissants
  5. Irish soda bread
  6. Macarons
  7. Baked Alaska ( like Gran used to make)
  8. Pizza Dough
  9. Baklava
  10. Angel food cake (my nemesis)
  11. Arancini
  12. Fudge (the real stuff. Not the cheaters version )
  13. Pierogies
  14. Pretzels
  15. Tourtière pie
  16. Rye bread
  17. Gnocchi
  18. Cinnamon rolls
  19. New to me icing ( I’m thinking a Swiss meringue… but we’ll see 😉 )
  20. Ice cream
  21. Whoopie pies
  22. Marshmallows
  23. Tortillas
  24. Danish
  25. Biscotti

So there you have it. 25 things that I am going to attempt to make this year, mostly just to say that I have. I have no idea if I will make it through this list in a year, but I am certainly going to try.

Dear God, wish me luck.


Categories: Misc. | Tags: | 8 Comments

Oatmeal Raisin Bread

I really don’t like raisins.

I remember when we were younger, Mom would send us with the little red boxes of raisins in our lunches. Occasionally, we would eat them, but most often they would end up hidden in the bottom of our backpacks. At any given time, there might be four or five uneaten boxes of raisins.

Because we never actually told her that we didn’t like them, she just kept buying them. That is until one day, she needed to check out school bags (probably for report cards or something) and discovered the hidden stash of raisins. Needless to say we rarely saw raisins in our lunch bags again.

So when the ingredients for this month’s Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker were Oatmeal and Raisins, I seriously considered not participating. I could not for the life of me think of something to make that I would actually enjoy and want to share. Until I thought of raisin bread.

Warm, toasty, and slathered in melted butter, it was always a breakfast treat that I looked forward to.

The oats in the bread add wonderful texture and the raisins add just the right amount of sweetness. Liberally laced with cinnamon, this will make you house smell amazing while it’s baking.

Oatmeal Raisin Bread

makes one loaf

  • 1 cup rolled oats ( not instant)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp dry active yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2-3 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl, pour boiling water over the oats. Add the maple syrup and stir. Let cool to lukewarm ( about 110° F) Add yeast, and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, eggs, salt, cinnamon and raisins. Stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add the flour until you get a soft and elastic dough. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl,and set in a draft free place. Let rise until doubled in size, about and hour.
  3. Punch down the dough, and turn onto a floured board or counter. Knead in the remaining flour, until you get a smooth dough Shape into a loaf and set into a loaf pan. Let rise for about half an hour, or until it has doubled in size again.
  4. Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for 35-45 minutes ( the bottom should be golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped)
  5. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
  6. Slice, toast, and slather in butter.

Don’t forget to check out the other great oatmeal and raisin recipes!

– Mel


I also shared this recipe at Strut Your Stuff Saturday and:

Categories: Breads | Tags: , , , , | 23 Comments

Pizza Rolls

It is Mr. Ginge’s and my 5th anniversary together.  That’s a long time, bro. Especially since I don’t turn 25 until the end of the month!

In honour of this momentous occasion, I am going to tell you the ultimate love story. You better be prepared.

Mr Ginge and I met by a combination of both mutual friends and the fact that we both worked at the same bar.  At the time I was the cook of all late night munchies, and he was helping out with security since they were short handed. In a stroke of fate, he gets stationed on the side of the bar where the kitchen resides, where I happen to be cooking up a combo platter.

The bar kitchen was “open concept”, so I was used to people, whether it be patrons, or the staff coming up and chatting with me on down times.  On this night, as I was checking on the done-ness of the fare in my fryer basket, Mr Ginge saunters up, leans up against the steel counter, and proceeds to tell me”You’re cooking that wrong”.

Having worked in a restaurant for several years that specialized in fried foods, I was very confident in my cooking abilities. My response to him, along with a dirty look, was “Excuse me?”

I tend to be on the defensive side, although apparently that wasn’t a deterrent.  He, being the smart-aleck that he is, decided that this was an excellent time to school me on the cooking of fried foods, particularly the pizza roll.

” You see” he said ” You have to watch them carefully. If you pull them too soon, then the filling is too cold. But if you wait to long for the cheese to melt, then you’ll burn the outside.”

He received an ” I know how to cook.” in response. Along with a classic Mel Death-stare.

Apparently for him my prickly nature was love -at-first sight. And the rest, my friends, is history.

Have I blown you away with my utterly romantic story? 😛

However romantic it may not be, in honour of the occasion I recreated the classic bar food snack that ultimately brought us together. And, five years later, I apparently still cook them wrong.

Pizza Rolls (according to Mr. Ginge)

This does make a fairly large batch (especially for 2 people) so I’ve included instructions for freezing them. Also I realize that deep frying is not everyones thing, and these also bake up wonderfully, so I’ve also included directions for baking.

makes 18 rolls

  • 1 package of egg roll wrapper (mine had 18 wrappers in it)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced pepperoni , chopped in quarters
  • 1 1/4 cups pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese ( I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup each of your favorite pizza toppings ( mushrooms, peppers, onions, bacon, olives, etc.), optional

To make the rolls:

  1. Working with one egg roll wrapper at a time, position it so that it is in a diamond shape ( so a corner points towards you). Top with a few slices of pepperoni, followed by any of your favourite toppings.
  2. Spoon about a tablespoon of sauce on top of the toppings, then top with a bit of cheese.
  3. Using your finger, wet the top corner ( furthest away from you) with a bit of water. Fold the two edge corners in over the toppings. Bring the corner closest to you up over the toppings, rolling tightly. Press the moistened edge against the roll to seal.

To Freeze:

  1. Place the prepared rolls, seam side down on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet.
  2. Freeze for a couple hours, then transfer to an air tight container or a freezer bag.

To Deep-fry:

  1. Preheat your fryer ( or your pot of oil) to 350°F. Line a plate or tray with paper towel and set aside.
  2. Working in batches, drop them in the hot oil until golden brown and floating, about 5 minutes ( add a couple minutes if you are frying them from frozen). Set them on the paper lined plate or tray to absorb any excess oil.
  3. Serve immediately with some extra tomato sauce for dipping, if desired.

To Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange your pizza rolls in a single layer, and lightly brush with a bit of vegetable oil.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the rolls over so that they can brown on the other side, then bake for another 10 minutes. If you are baking them from frozen, then increase the time to 15 minutes per side. Let them cool a couple minutes on the tray.
  3. Serve immediately with some extra tomato sauce for dipping.

Honestly, even if I made them everyday for the next ten years, according to him, I would still cook them wrong. Men.

– Mel


I shared this recipe at Strut your Stuff Saturdays and:

Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

One Lovely Blog Award

Last week, the lovely Amber from The Cooks Sister nominated me for The Lovely Blog Award! Yay My first blog award!

According to the rules of nomination, I have to share 7 random things about myself, and then pass the love on to 15 more lovely blogs 🙂

So here goes:

  1. Going along with the season, I will confess that I hate pumpkin. I really want to like it. I see all these wonderful recipes on others blogs that I want to be able to like. I’ve honestly tried to like it, but it’s just not happening. Fortunately, this poses no problem for Mr. Ginge, who also doesn’t like it.
  2. I have two uvulas. Uvuli? I know. I’m a freak.
  3. I have a deep and undying love for Timbits and pizza. Not necessarily together.
  4. I used to play flute, clarinet, alto sax, bari sax, guitar and piano.  I wish I could still really play any of them.
  5. I found my doppelganger. One of my best friends looks strikingly like me ( or I guess me like her). We also had a knack for dressing exactly the same on the same day without planning it. Literally people would stop in the hall to ask if we were twins.
  6. I am obsessively on time. I absolutely hate being late for anything. So much so, that I am often awkwardly early for things. Which really, is often no better than being late. It’s a viscous circle.
  7. I cannot brush my teeth in warm water. It gives me the heebie jeebies.

And here are 15 other lovely blogs that you should definitely check out:

  1. Movita Beaucoup
  2. Food Through the Pages
  3. The Spiffy Cookie
  4. Bits of Sunshine
  5. Dinner is Served 1972
  6. Fotographia Foodie
  7. The Gingerbread Road
  8. Butter Baking
  9. The Domestically Impaired Guide to Retro Kitchen Arts
  10. Sugar for the Brain
  11. Confessions of a Recipe Junkie
  12. From My Sweet Heart
  13. Cook Lisa Cook
  14. Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
  15. The Food Pusher

Happy Friday!!!

Categories: Misc. | 1 Comment

Marbled Chocolate Orange Pound Cake

I have a confession to make.

I bought a Christmas decoration last weekend. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve already bought three, but the first two don’t count.  I buy them early every year.

Point is, it is barely October, hardly past Thanksgiving, and I have succumbed and bought something related to Christmas. It’s scary I know.

This also means that I should also have my Christmas baking list ready to go, and it’s so totally not. I have no idea what I want to make or what I am going to make. Now normally this is not a big deal, except that I bake soooo much that I am actually starting to panic.

Yes. I have issues.

So, instead of focusing on the nest big holiday that is  far away, I baked something festive for Halloween.

That ended up tasting like those whack and unwrap oranges you get a Christmas time. Go figure.

Marbled Chocolate and Orange Pound Cake

makes one 9×3 cake

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • orange food colouring ( optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×3 loaf pan and line with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides.
  2. In a bowl, combine the milk and eggs, beating together. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer ( or in a large bowl) combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Give it a whir to combine, then slowly beat in the butter. When it is combined, pour in about half of the egg mixture. When it is combined, scrape the batter from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Slowly pour in the remaining egg mixture and beat until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter into two bowls. In one half of the batter, mix in the cocoa powder. In the other half, stir in the orange extract and the food colouring, if using.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of batter  into the prepared pan, alternating chocolate with orange batter. Swirl the batter together gently with a knife.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then lift out of the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack

– Mel


I linked this recipe to Strut Your Stuff Saturdays as well as these other great blogs:

Love Bakes Good Cakes


Categories: Cake and Cupcakes | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

8 Thanksgiving Recipes

You know those weeks where everything gets away from you.

The kind where you accidentally hit the snooze button one too many times, and that include frazzled brains, stressed out hubbies, two rounds of retail therapy, one round of iced capp therapy, and then the sudden realization that it’s the Friday before Thanksgiving long weekend and you have no idea how it happened.

Yea….I’ll be lucky if I get some cranberry sauce on the table!

Fortunately for you, I gathered some Thanksgiving-y recipes all together in one place! Yay!

Cranberry Sauce

Apple Blueberry Turnovers

Apple Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

Mini Apple Crisp Cookies

Tomato Soup Cake

Zucchini Cake Bars

Mini Mushroom Turnnovers

Yay for food related long weekends!


Categories: Misc. | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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