It's a party, come on in!

Most of the boxes have been unpacked, at least the important ones. We can all find our clothes, our toothbrushes, the cereal in the morning, and the milk. We even get junk mail already, so we must be settled in enough to have friends and family over for a little get together.

Thankfully our new home is a "bit" bigger than our old one, so fitting 40 or so people in was not a problem, we had lots of room for everyone. Including the pile of boots and coats that come with a winter party!

But what would a party be without including my blogging friends as well? It would be a party without good food, that's what it would be! So I invited you all over to come join us in celebrating our new home.

Here are some of the goodies that fellow bloggers brought to the party, such wonderful "housewarming" presents!

Fellow Daring Baker, and an amazing writer, Kelly from Sass & Veracity brought us a divine looking Orange and Almond cake, or Sformato di Aanci.

You can find her entire feast, a family dinner, ending with this lovely cake, here.

Kelly is right, where food and family are concerned, the more the merrier!

Newish to the blogging world, and new to me, is the blog Zaayeka, hosted by Navita over in Hong Kong. Boy the blog world is small, that someone would come to help us celebrate all the way from Hong Kong!

Zaayeka means Taste, according to Navita, and with this Creole Baby-Mac Salad with Coriander Viniagrette, she's right! I love the flavor combinations in this salad and wish I had bowl right now.

Enough of this healthy-ness for now, though, let's get back to the sweets!

How about some decadent brownies, with caramel? Oh yes, two of lifes joyful flavors, together in one scrumptious dessert! Oh yes, I like those flavors together.

So I am very thankful that Tart Reform brought some for me to the party!

I wonder if I put some of these in my children's lunch boxes, would I get a "mother of the year" award from my boys, or a "please don't send these to school again" from the teachers? Or maybe a "only send these to the teachers" note instead. Yum, yum, yum!

Chocolate and caramel cannot make the world go round, no matter how much we might want it to. No, indeed, for that, we need bread!

How about this wondeful looking bread, an Oatmeal bread, made with fresh yeast and love, just for me, from my good friend Mary! Mary who has been so patient with me, teaching me long distance how to make her signature sour dough, and is godmother to my starter, Marvin.

I'm so glad Mary included the amount of dry yeast needed to make this bread in her post, since I have yet to see fresh yeast anywhere and would like to make this bread. As soon as I buy some steel cut oats. And whole wheat flour. I'm out of both, how did that happen?

Feeling full yet? No? Good, because there is more delicious items to come.

When I sent out my invitation for the party, I let all my fellow Daring Baker's know that I would welcome their variations of the January challenge to the party. I knew it would be tuiles, they knew it would be tiules, but lots of people didn't know it would be tuiles and I'm sure their curiosity was peaked by that invitation.

Well fellow Daring Baker Deeba, from Passionate About Baking, took me up on the offer and brought some gorgeous tuiles to the party! For some very drool-worthy pictures, go visit Deeba, and tell her I said hi!

Just don't go with an empty stomach, or if you are on a diet. You'll be hungry, fast!

Here, have a seat....

This is going to be such a lovely place to sit in the summer time, in the cool of the shade, with a book.

Not so much right now, with the snow on it.

I can picture myself sitting there, reading a book, enjoying one of these bacon, ramp and mushroom swirls, brought to the party by my friend Jasmine. Her oven, affectionately known as Beelzebub, must have decided to behave for her so she could bring these for us all to enjoy.

Jasmine and I sometimes have a similar cooking style, putting something together we like, and then afterwards saying, "Recipe? I was supposed to have a recipe?" Fortunately for us, Jasmine was able to mostly remember what went into these, and what she did to make them.

I had the good fortune to meet up with Jasmine last summer, in a whirlwind tour of breakfast and shopping in downtown Toronto, and look forward to being able to meet up with her again - Jasmine, you want to come explore the market with me downtown in Ottawa this summer?

I wish I could extend this same invitation to another blogger friend, Meeta, who brought this scrumptious looking Tarte d'Alsace to the party all the way from Germany. Alas, Germany is a bit far away to have a fun food and shopping day here in Ottawa.

Meeta doesn't know it yet, but she's my Indian food guru, who I will turn to if I have a question about an Indian dish, such as her chicken Tika Masala that I made a few weeks back (and just realized I haven't blogged about yet - so many yummy dinners, so little blog time!)

Thank you so much, Meeta, for bringing this tart. I think I will not share this with my children, who likely would not appreciate it anyways.

Speaking of not appreciating, here is one I wouldn't even have to hide from my oldest son, who dislikes mushrooms, though he has never really tried them to have that opinion. I, however, love mushrooms, so I was thrilled when Sara brought me some grilled Teriyaki Mushrooms! My inner Hobbit was jumping up and down with joy, tasty mushrooms for me!

And Sara, don't worry, there are still boxes left to unpack, there are rooms to paint, smoke detectors to replace, oh, a looooooong list of things to do (and hardware departments to visit), so you have lots of time to unpack your last boxes!

One of the benefits of blogging in the foodie community is the "friends" you make, all through sharing food and experiences in the kitchen. During this last year I have been fortunate to make a few more friends through my blog, one of which is my pal Megan of My Baking Adventures, and her cooking children, Sabrina and Alex. Her children have actually set a lovely example to my own Alex (the oldest), and have inspired him to get into the kitchen as well. But not to make these tasty fried mozzarella balls, I get to make these, since I am not ready to set him loose with a deep fryer yet.

Though it is his birthday coming up, and he has decided I need to buy a deep fryer for myself for his birthday, so I can make him lots of mozzarella balls. And beer battered fish and chips. He's a boy who knows what he likes, isn't he?

Back to the sweets, how about this amazing looking treat, brough to us from the other side of the world, the upsidedown side, Australia!

Steph has taken a few things I love, and combined them in one decadent bite: a Dorie Greenspan recipe and chocolate. Sorry, not just chocolate, but Quintuple Chocolate! That's FIVE chocolates in one square, alot of chocolate.

Do these not look simply amazing?

Oh my, oh my, oh my, what a way to end a party....

Oh wait, I've forgotten something!

How about my own dish! I can't have a party without making something good and tasty for all my friends, can I?

Seeing how much I love chocolate, and caramel, okay, and butter and cream..., it will probably come as a bit of a surprise to see that I did not make a dessert, but instead a soup. Alot of soup. Enough to feed an army.

It is cold outside, and has been for awhile, so I wanted something warm and hearty, to welcome my guests and make them feel all toasty inside. Which is why I chose the Barefoot Contessa's Cheddar Corn Chowder.

I admit, small lapse in judgement on my part - doubling a recipe that makes enough for 10-12 people was probably too much soup. But it did give me enough to send some home with family, and still have some for dinner the next night.

And, to be really honest, I also forgot to add the cheddar to the soup. And the half and half cream. I know, how could I forge those items? Easily - and you know, it didn't matter, it was still a very good soup! I served it from my big crock pot, with garnishes of green onions, bacon and cheddar cheese. So the cheese made it into the soup, just not the way the recipe was written.

Cheddar Corn Chowder
from the barefoot contessa cookbook, pae 74-75

8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric (I didn't add this either)
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled
10 cups corn kernels, 10 ears fresh or 3 pounds frozen, I used frozen
2 cups half an half (or not)
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (again, or not, or saved for a garnish)

In a large stock pot on medium high heat, cook the bacon in olive oil until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and save for topping the soup with later.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and the butter to the bacon fat, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper (and tumeric, if using), and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bringing the mixture to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the frozen corn to the soup, stirring well. If using the cream and cheddar, add both to the soup, cooking fo 5 more minutes so the cheese can melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with bacon (and cheese).

Note: If you don't add the cream and cheese, this soup heats up very well the next day.

Thank you all so much for coming to our housewarming party! I hope you enjoyed yourself. Please feel free to come visit us again.

Last day for your Housewarming entries!

It is almost time.

My house is clean, their are flowers in my vases, and bottles of wine chilling. Lis is bringing over the napkins and cutlery, so I am nearly set to invite you all into my new home!

Today is the final day to send me your submissions, be it a dessert, a drink or something savory. Just send me your link, along with a picture, and the name of what you've made, to allthingsedible (at) hotmail (dot) com - and be sure to include the word HOUSEWARMING in your subject line. If you don't have a blog and want to participate, please feel free to join in as well.

I plan to have all the entries up tomorrow for everyone to come on in and enjoy the party.

Just one thing.... With all the snow we've had lately, please be sure to wipe your feet!

TFF: Pancetta Carbonara

In Tyler's book, Dinner at my place, this is known as, "My wife's pregnancy pasta."

That title must have sent my brain back into pregnancy mode - shrunken ad not working properly at all. Why else would I choose to make a pasta for dinner that I KNEW at least half of my family would not like?

Yes, my family really likes pasta. But let me qualify that: my husband loves his spaghetti, with tomato based sauces only. My children like cream sauces, but my husband does not. And the boys like fun pasta shapes, but my husband does not.

So here I was on a Sunday night, standing over a double boiler, with my nearly 10 year old immersion blender, trying to make the sauce for this pasta. I didn't have time to make my own, so I had used the only long, non-whole wheat pasta I had, a long tube pasta that I had bought for fun - spaghetti length, but thick with almost a straw like make up. Yes, fun pasta! In the bowl I had 6 eggs, a cup of cream and a cup of milk. I went back and forth between my blender and a whisk, so my immersion blender did not burn out on me, when my husband walked in, looked at what I was doing, and said, "Cream based? With eggs?"

That is when the bells went off. A little late.

To be fair, he ate a full bowl. My youngest dove into his, but then proclaimed he did not like it. My oldest raved about it for 1/3 of his bowl, then put the rest in the fridge "for later." I found it alright, but rather rich and did not finish my bowl either. I tried some again for lunch the next day and found it tasted like scrambled eggs on noodles, so it did not reheat well.

So much for trying something different. After cleaning up, I made a second dinner, another pasta, but this time a staple that everyone will eat.

For other Tyler Florence Friday participants, his recipe is on page 146 of Dinner at my Place, and is missing an important step: When done eating, break out the mop to clean up the sauce splatters from your floor, a result of the immersion blender.

Daring Bakers: Light and dessert?

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Phew, now that I got that important bit of information out of the way.... (Hi BC, and BC's wonderful computer literate son!)

Well this was an interesting challenge, making Tuiles and shaping them, with alot of different options. And I will admit right now, I ignored most of them. I printed off the original post with recipes, I used the first one and I ignored everything else.

I also made them twice.

This was attempt number one.

I had this plan. I was going to make little Tuile cups, filled with a fruit mousse, and serve them at my housewarming party. They were going to be so cute, these little cups, entirely edible, with fun tuile decorations.

The best laid plans of mice and bloggers....

It didn't work.

I personally think I forgot to sift the icing sugar or something, cause they just did not work well. I could never get the cookie layer thin enough on the sheet and what did bake up had an odd, lacy texture.

I even tried with some of my little decoration ideas. Chocolate tuiles, thin, wrapped around chopsticks for a fun and "ooooh how did you do that?" shape. Some of my batter I turned blue to make playful shapes with.

Unfortunately, most of these turned out brittle and uncooperative.

So I put them aside, made other things, and came back to them later.

This is what later resulted in. A much better batter, able to make thin, crisp tuile cookie cups and shapes. This time I went with a slightly larger sized mold, a ramekin, and made just enough "cups" for my family, with seconds for the boys.

The blue tuile cookie, standing out on the plate, is actually from my first attempt, as are the little chocolate curls that decorate the mousse (which is a milk chocolate salted butter caramel mousse from Tartlette - hey, Karen and Zorra said to pair the cookies with something light, which a mousse is. They never said anything about that light not involving chocolate or caramel! Common, this is the Daring Bakers, of course I had to use chocolate and caramel!)

Aside from not freaking out about this months challenge recipe length, one thing that really hit home actually came from the mousse rather than the challenge recipe. I decided to make the mousse on a Sunday night. After we'd all had dinner, I'd cleaned up, gotten a start on the next day's lunches, mopped my kitchen floor, and then the entire rest of the house, I decided to make mousse.

Heck I'd even put my youngest son to bed already. While he curled up under his blankets with all his little stuffed friends, I made a caramel without blinking an eye. I pittered around the kitchen, getting the next steps ready, while the sugar bubbled away in the pot and I kept an eye on it.

I could never have done that a year ago. Working with hot sugar would have forced me to do it early in the day (so I'd have time to redo it, several times if necessary) and I'd have hovered over the stove, afraid to blink.

Every month, despite some annoyances, I am glad I am a Daring Baker. And I thank Daring Baker's like Karen and Zorra, for sending me off on a different culinary path than one I might have chosen for myself. If not for this month's challenge, I might never have felt a need to make a tuille cookie.

And extra special thanks, ongoing all the time, to Lis and Ivonne for starting this little baking journey that sooooooooooo many of us are on now.

Oh, and in case you wondered, I did let my little guy get out of bed to have an extra special bed time snack with his brother. They giggled and ate, talking about how they were eating the antlers off the mousse with ever crunch of the cookie. Both of them had seconds.

Menu Plan Monday

Another pretty good week for the menu plan. Still working the tweaks out of the Thursday night meals, as even the plan of sandwiches didn't work well and we ended up having various types of take out (pizza slices for the children at 4:30pm, and then subs for the adults at 9pm.)

This week's plan is decadent, and on purpose. I'm trying to plan ahead for a few blog events, and am making use of my well stocked freezer to do so. So if you are coming here for the first time, seeing this plan and thinking, "Wow! That is quite the decadent plan!", you would be right.

Sunday: spaghetti carbonara

Monday: Rotisserie chicken with lemon and garlic, and lemon roasted fingerling potatoes

Tuesday: shrimp and vegetable tempura (anyone suggest a good tempura recipe for me?)

Wednesday: lasagna bolognese with garlic bread

Thursday: Texas chili (in the slow cooker) with chips and fixin's

Friday: Taco night - my almost 10 year old has decided that he would like to try cooking, and has specially requested that he make taco's on this night, the only item in the entire week that will not involve a recipe. And, yes, I know that means tex-mex two nights in a row. I wanted my slow cooker, and he wanted his tacos, and we like tex-mex!

Saturday: Up to the hubby. This past Saturday he made bacon, egg and cheese bagels for dinner.

As usual, don't forget to head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and see the how many others have been inspired to menu plan.

I have menu planned for years, but have to say the last few weeks, posting on my blog, has made me feel almost accountable to everyone for my plan, so I am less likely to ignore it. And it really is nice to know that when I plan with recipes, I write down what I will need to pick up for them, and always have my list with me. I still get to a grocery store too often during the week, but only when I am already near one anyways for other events. And I have yet to start a recipe and discover I am short an item (which does not include the recipe I made last week where I missed an ingredient off my list entirely, but then decided we didn't need it and it was not worth my making the extra stop.)

Don't forget, only a few days left to get your housewarming recipe to me for the big Housewarming Party! Your choice of sweet or savory, food or drink, everyone is welcome. Just send me your post link, with a picture and some info about yourself to allthingsedible (at) hotmail (dot) com by January 30th.

Start your morning out right

I've had the recipe for these pancakes sitting in my in-box for awhile. An email from a friend, with her recommendation for "the perfect pancake mix" that she makes for her family. While we both work to feed our family healthy meals, in a few ways she is a bit more health conscious than I am (and her family will eat things that mine will not, legumes being a prime example.)

This is a two part recipe - part one for the dry mix that you can keep on hand, and part two for actually making the pancakes. A bit heartier than my family enjoyed, they aren't fans of textures inside pancakes, but I liked them. Though I think they need some cinnamon and blueberries. Don't all pancakes need blueberries?

The "Perfect" Pancake Mix

3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour or oat flour or combo - I used the whole wheat
1 cup 7 whole grain cereal
1 cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons wheat germ (optional) - I didn't use this

Mix together and store in air tight container. If you are using wheat germ, you have to store it in the fridge.

For pancakes for 1 or two - I doubled this and made pancakes for all of us, plus a few left over
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream or milk - I went with yogurt
1/2 cup pancake mix

Melt butter in pan. Lightly beat in the egg and sour cream (or whatever you use). Add mix and blend until smooth.

Heat your griddle and make pancakes, like this:

Good with warm syrup, with yogurt topping, with fruit, with whatever.

Yahoo! Non-food related milestones!

This morning marked a major milestone for me in the pool. Two actually.

I've always had a fear of water and could not learn to swim growing up. I could tread water forever as an adult, but could not put my face in the water or swim much at all. Going one length of the pool, 25 meters, was very, very hard.

Despite this, I joined a Master Swim program last September and learned how to swim.

Today, I swam 2000 meters, for the first time ever.

And, at the encouragement of my coach, went up on the 3 meter diving board, frightened as I was creeping to the end of that thing, and dove. Well, it was somewhere between a dive and a belly flop.

And now I am celebrating with a breakfast devoid of good nutrition, toasted crumpets with butter.

And later today, I will take a nap.

Tyler Florence Fridays: Braised Beef Brisket

My first ever Tyler Flore Fridays, introduced to me by fellow blogger and long distance friend Megan, and really, I think the pictures speak for themselves.

I mean seriously, look at all those lovely ingredients, waiting to meld together in the oven. The star, beef brisket, ready to be braised with carrots, garlic, celery, onions, tomatoes, herbs and half a bottle of red wine.

My only complaint (aside from the cost, but I found a source for local, organic beef and it was worth it!) is that this needs more veggies. I plan to make this again in the future, but will more than double the veggies. Especially since I ended up freezing a generous amount of the meat and sauce and still could use more veggies.

Unfortunately, I pulled this recipe off of Food Network's website and it seems to have disappeared since then. I can find one there, this one, but this isn't the one I had pulled off. The one I had suggested a parsnip puree with it, but this is fairly close.

So find some good brisket and try it!

Oh, PS to Megan - I didn't just buy one book - I BOUGHT TWO!!!!!

Weekend Cookbook challenge: 5 ingredients or less

Don't you love it when a blog event and a menu plan come together? I know I do!

I don't often get to make it to this event, the Weekend Cookbook Challenge hosted by Sara of I like to cook, but every once in awhile I manage to catch it. This months theme of 5 ingredients or less, chosen by non-blogger Lynn, was perfectly matched with a few items on my meal plan for the week.

This meal was fairly successful though, so it is the one I'm picking!

I used to really enjoy watching Fixing Dinner on FoodTV. Sandi has such good ideas for meals, that look nice when presented on the tv screen, but that don't always translate well to my kitchen. I've had some successes and some flops, but mostly alot of, "eh, whatever" from her recipes. So much so that I hadn't tried anything from her for awhile (and honestly have spent YEARS browsing her cookbooks and trying to decide if I want them,) but decided to give this one a shot when I ran across a printout of it in one of my binders.

So I didn't go into this recipe with very high expectations, I thought it would be decent and would be a nice change. Plus I was going to make a small change or two to it.

First off, I used pork tenderloin instead of chicken thighs. Easy decision - I had pork in the freezer, I had no chicken thighs. Second, I omitted the Mrs. Dash, partially because I have none, and also because I've never really found it added anything to the flavor. Oh and I replaced the dried onions with half a fresh onion, which to me takes no time at all to chop.

Don't crinkle your nose when you read the ingredients. This turned out nicely - every single person ate it, my youngest went back for more sauce, my husband went back for seconds, and took the remainder in his lunch today.

And it uses 5 ingredients or less, so it is my choice for the Weekend Cookbook Challenge!

Hot and Sour Pork
based on this recipe from Sandi Richard of Fixing Dinner

2 pork tenderloins, cut into chunks
1 cup Catalina salad dressing
3/4 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place chunks of pork in the bottom of a small dutch oven. Sour the rest of the ingredients over top of the pork, then mix well to ensure all the sauce ingredients are well blended and all the pork has been covered with the sauce.

Bake, covered, for 40-45 minutes. The sauce will bubble over slightly, so keep an eye out in the last 10 minutes.

Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, then serve pork and sauce over rice.

Btw, don't forget about my housewarming party. The deadline for entries is coming soon, on January 30th. Send your entries to allthingsedible (at) hotmail (dot) com, and don't forget to send me your link and your picture.

It is going to be such a fun party!

Menu Plan Monday

Last week went fairly well. I had to switch one night with another, and did not end up making Megan's Challenge on Friday (was just too tired and had enough left overs that dinner that night was unnecessary, but I plan to make them for lunches, so it will be made.) We ate at home every night though, and I never had to run out for an ingredient or postpone because I was missing an item.

Now let's see how I do with this week.

Sunday: Sweedish meatballs with potato rosti, cream sauce, and lingonberry sauce. Bought frozen from Ikea.

Monday: Braised Beef Brisket (source for this later)

Tuesday: Fish and Chips. Recipe for the fish coming from the Nintendo DS. (See here if you are wondering what I am talking about.)

Wednesday: Hot & Sour pork tenderloin with rice and green beans

Thursday: ham and cheese sandwiches with fruit, food on the run night!

Friday: Thai Style beef and noodle bowl (from a Rachel Ray cookbook, I will post it if I get a decent picture and if we like it.)

I've just noticed I have no magazine recipes in this group, but also have not planned out any baking for the week, so I will have to look through and see what I come up with.

Don't forget to go see the list of other Menu Plan Monday planners, see what ideas you can get from some of their great recipes!

Magazine Mondays

Do you know how many food magazines you have in your house?

I do.

But only because I recently had to pack them.

And, no, they aren't all unpacked yet.

Ivonne is right. We have all these wonderful recipes from magazines, with beautiful, mouth-watering pictures. Why aren't we cooking them?

Well I am going to try.

If I want variety in my menu plan, and I want to make use of the resources I have, then cooking from the stack of magazines I had to box up and bring with me is a good way to go.

I "think"this came from a Canadian Living magazine. A more recent one, one I had pulled a page or two from before not packing it up. (Yippee! I was right, and found the recipe on the Canadian Living website too!)

It is called Mustard-Garlic flank steak, but needs more garlic to really be garlicky. It was good, tender and flavorful, just not very garlicky. And can someone tell me what exactly the rosemary sprigs did for the flavor?

This took a bit of advanced planning, either marinating it about 4 hours in advance, or as I did, overnight. Which works for me, overnight is a good time to marinate for.

No guarantees I'll be able to put a recipe up each week for Magazine Monday, but like the menu plan, I'm sure gonna try!

Mustard-Garlic Flank Steak
from Canadian Living

Using garlic press or knife, mince garlic. In glass baking dish, whisk together garlic, mustard, vinegar and oil. Add steak, turning to coat.

Place 2 sprigs of rosemary on top of steak; place 2 underneath. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. (Make-ahead:Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) Discard rosemary sprigs.

Place steak on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer to cutting board; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tent with foil and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.

Canadian Living Magazine: July 2008

Those black and white things again

Well, they aren't pretty.

And, as usual, I have problems with recipes from Martha.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.... Try 2 1/2. Using a scoop of the size indicated.

My icing never thinned out enough to make spreading easy, and if I had added much more water, I'd have had a glaze, not an icing. Hence the streak marks, worse on the "black" side.

Spread on flat side of cookie.... So the bottom of the cookie? Cause that is the only flat side I had, the top was very rounded and would not have set down on a plate well if I'd have iced the bottom side.

On the other hand, my oldest is drooling to have some (instead I've sent him to bed for the night and said he could have some in his lunch.)

And the recipe is so quick and little, that throwing out the first batch of dough was not much of a waste. Yes, it was still as waste, but not nearly as bad as some other recipes-gone-wrong I've had before.

So, Megan, Nicole, what's next?

Multi-tasking and cookies do not always mix

There is supposed to be a picture here for you, a picture of black and white cookies, which I was "baking along" with Megan and Nicole.

Instead, let me tell you a little story....

Thursday afternoon I was home, with lots of things to do, but time in there to get some baking done before I had to run off, get my kids off the bus, throw them into the van with their dinners in a lunch box and not come home until all of their combined activities were done. This is our new Thursday routine, trying to maximize our time and minimize my driving. My plan ahead was for Sheppard's Pie, which was in their thermoses, and I thought cookies would be a nice addition as well.

So the potatoes were on the stove, boiling, the meat was already browned, the oven was preheated. The butter was softened and all the cookie ingredients were out, the try was lined with parchment. I was all set and ready to go with the cookies, creaming away when the phone rang.

Taekwon-Do. Our school is hosting a tournament next month, a big one, and in addition to some of my usual office coordinator tasks for the school, I have also been working on a team jacket with logo for the students to wear at the tournament. The jackets we picked look great and we were just settling the last few details of the logo.

Mixer running, in and out of the room I go, jotting down notes between adding ingredients (oops I was supposed to put the buttermilk in two additions, not all at once!), scooping the dough onto the pans, a few more notes, into the oven the cookies go, another note, back to the potatoes, drain them, melt my butter and warm my milk, another note, another phone call with the supplier about my previous notes, write notes from him with his corresponding information, put the Sheppard's pie in the oven, those cookies cooling on the counter do not look like the smooth topped cookies I expected.

Phone calls done, cookies cooled, onto the glaze, clean up the counter a bit first, what is this I see?

An egg.

No, the egg.

The one supposed to be in the cookie dough.

Not sitting on the counter.

Hmmm wonder how these cookies will taste without it, can I fake it?

No. Not so good for faking.

Check the time, bus is arriving in 30 minutes, still have to pack up for piano and assemble the thermoses.

Do I have any more butter out at room temperature?


Do I have time tomorrow to try this again? Hmmm maybe. Have to see. (And for the record, no, I did not.)

Oh dear.

And that is my tale of the cookies that aren't. Looks like I will have time to make them tomorrow though, after swimming, before I need to go out again, so I'll just take some butter out now.

Sigh.... I'm sorry Megan and Nicole!

Comparing apples to apples?

I admit, I am a recipe junkie. It doesn't have to be cookbooks, though I love cookbooks. It doesn't have to be from a magazine. It could be an online recipe, or from a friend. It could be anywhere. I just like recipes.

So I admit, Nintendo had my attention the first time I saw the add for What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver. Seriously? A "cookbook", recipes, cooking games and a shopping list? On a DS?

Okay, that appeals to me. Especially the shopping list part, actually. I had an older Palm Pilot at one point, used for the phone book and for groceries, but it kept dying on me. Usually while I was at the grocery store with the list open.

Anyone have this? Is is worth the $40 for it? I'm not sure, which is why I didn't buy it.

Now this one, on the other hand, was only $20.

And, it came with a very good recommendation from this fine young cook, Sabrina. So I took her recommendation, borrowed one of my children's DS, and sat down to find a recipe to try.

There were 245 of them to choose from. No games that I've seen so far though.

In the end, I decided to do a little "bake off", making the recipe for pound cake from the DS Personal Trainer, against the pound cake recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.

It isn't really a fair comparison though. The DS recipe makes a perfectly good pound cake, a small loaf, with very few ingredients. It was good, I liked it. Ina's recipe, on the other hand, had alot more ingredients (it was supposed to have an orange syrup poured on it while hot, and then had an optional orange glaze, both of which I skipped,) and made two large loafs of pound cake.

But if you look closely at these two cakes, you'll see crumb wise, there really isn't much difference between them. The Barefoot Contessa cake is on the left, the larger loaf, and has orange juice in the batter. The cake from the Personal Trainer is the smaller one on the right. It does not have orange juice mixed into the batter.

If I were to pick my favorite recipe based on easy of making and the least amount of mess made, the DS Personal Trainer recipe would win, hands down. It was 5 minutes together, with very few bowls and minimal mess.

If I were to base it on consistency of the cakes, it would be about equal.

In the end, though I liked them both, my two testers, the hubby and my oldest child, gave Ina's cake the slight edge. My husband thought it might have been the orange juice. And the fact that there was alot more of it to test with than the smaller DS loaf.

Still, not bad for a recipe found on my son's hand held gaming unit. And since the instructions are clear, with voice, pictures and words, this looks like it might be a good thing for my oldest son to use to try and get into the kitchen more, a goal we both have this year.

Now.... Anyone have any opinions on the Jaime Oliver one?

Pound Cake
from Personal Trainer: Cooking from the Nintendo DS

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 medium eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
dash of vanilla extract

I'm actually going to write down what the program says to me when I have it ready to cook this recipe. Yes, it talks you through the recipe.

Warm the butter to room temperature - you'll need a mixing bowl. Take the butter from the fridge and put it in the mixing bowl. Leave it to warm at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 35oF.

The next step is to prepare the cake mix - you'll need a mixing bowl, a fine sieve and a whisk. Place the sieve over the mixing bowl and place the flour inside. Add the baking powder. Stir the flour and baking powder with the whisk and sift them into the mixing bowl.

Next you'll need a small bowl to break the eggs into. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them.

That's it for preparations!

Mix the softened butter with the whisk. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly, until the mixture is pale. Gradually add the eggs and mix them in thoroughly. Mix in a dash of vanilla extract. Add the sifted flour and baking powder and use the rubber spatula to fold it in.

The next step is to line the loaf pan. You'll need a loaf pan and parchment paper. (I'm going to skip the details on how you line your pan, though it suggests a 9x3x3 loaf pan for the size.)

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and flatten out the surface. Tap the bottom of the pan gently against a hard surface to remove any air bubbles.

Now it is time to bake the cake. You'll need a wire rack. Bake the cake in the 350F oven for around 45 minutes. After removing the cake from the oven, place it on a wire rack to cool.

It goes on to give instructions about removing from the pan, slicing and serving, so I'll skip those too.

Daring Bakers catch up, Lavash crackers

I realize it is January, and not September. And yes, I know it is 2009 now, so I am not even in the same year, but late is better than not at all, right?

Back to September, when the Daring Baker's made Lavash crackers, hosted by Natalie and Shel, I did not participate. My kitchen was immaculately clean for prospective buyers, and rolling out dough makes a mess. Now, however, I am making messes often. Sometimes several times a day. And having a wonderful time doing it too!

So I finally bring you the Daring Baker's lavash crackers: I divided my dough and made half mine with chives and the other half with fleur de sel and cracked black pepper.

There were alot more in the basket before I remembered to take a picture, while hands reached in and out for more pieces.

Fairly easy to make, don't take much time, and nice results. I think I will try using my pasta maker next time, though, for an even thinner dough.

Go here for the recipe, please.

And in the meantime, don't forget my Housewarming Party event, coming soon!

I have some goodies of my own coming, and can't wait to see what everyone else brings.

Birthday request

This does not look amazing but it sure tastes good! I always double the recipe, yet there are very few leftovers.

This is not the recipe you want to make on a tight budget, however. With 3 types of protein, it can really add up.

makes 2-4 servings, depending on who is eating

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large sized boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces, coated in 1 heaping teaspoon of a good chili powder blend
1 large link of chirizo sausage, sliced
1 large red onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 a yellow bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup long grain rice
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup peeled, de-veined shrimp, cut in half and tossed with 1/2 teaspoon a good chili powder blend
2 tablespoons freshly minced parsley for garnish

Heat a good sized non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the sausage pieces, stirring frequently, cook 4-5 minutes until they are browned lightly. When done, set aside in a bowl large enough to hold the sausage and the chicken. While the pan is still hot, add the oil and the chicken, again, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through and browned. Set aside with the sausage.
In the same pan, over medium heat, add the celery, onions and bell peppers. Stir frequently, cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the onions are lightly browned. Reduce the heat to low then add the rice, giving it a good stir, for about 3 minutes, so the rice toasts slightly with the vegetables.
Add the broth, tomatoes, thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes and chicken mixture to the pan. Mix well. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat back to low, cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally, keeping an eye on the volume of liquid remaining and the firmness of the rice.
When most of the liquid is gone, and the rice is nearly cooked through, but still has a bit of a bite to it, stir in the shrimp, recover the pan and cook an additional 3-5 minutes, by which time the shrimp should be done. Taste the rice mixture and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Menu Plan Monday

What an interesting week I've had. My to-do list keeps getting longer and longer, even with my getting some stuff done.

It was nice to have my meal plan, though. What I need to do next is make it more visible for the rest of the family - partially so I remember what I'd planned to make, and also so they know what is coming. Saves some confusion (such as Thursday when my plan called for homemade chicken soup but my husband thought the stock I was making that morning was for something else, so when he came home and the kids and I were gone already, he did not realize the pot of soup on the stove was dinner.)

See? The to-do list just had another thing added to it!

On to the plan!

Sunday: Shredded salsa pork on tortillas with sour cream and cheese (plus left overs)

Monday: Chicken Tikka Masala with rice and naan bread

Tuesday: Mustard-Garlic flank steak with roasted potatoes and greens (pulled from a magazine, so recipe to follow after)

Wednesday: Cheesy broccoli and pasta bake (another magazine pull)

Thursday: Sheppard's Pie (Thursday's are the busy night for the kids and I, so I am planning things they can eat on the run. This they can eat from their thermoses in the van actually.)

Friday: Megan's Challenge!

Saturday: This is traditionally my husband's night for dinner, to give me a break, so I never know what we are having that night, unless we have company coming.

Now to work on posting this up for the family!

PS Like to menu plan, not sure where to start? Go see the looooooooong list of dedicated menu plan bloggers at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Come on in and celebrate with us!

image edited from

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm having a blog party, a HOUSEWARMING party, and you are all invited!

It is very easy to join in to this party, and won't require you to have a passport either. Just cook up something in your own home, your choice of savory or sweet, something to eat or something to drink, and bring it on over by January 30th. Post it on your own blog, then send me the link, with the title "Housewarming" to allthingsedible(at)hotmail(dot)com, so that I can include you in the round-up on January 31st.

For Daring Baker's, I've deliberately set the date for after the challenge so that you can have the option of using a variation of this months challenge (a good one!) for your dish.

Oooh I can't wait to see what everyone bring!

Yes, I'm excited to have you all join in our celebration of our new home.

With all this snow falling, be sure to wipe your feet when you come in, while I get you a hot drink.

Settling in, back to routine and a BLOG EVENT YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS!!!!!

Enough exclamations for you?

Yesterday was back to school for kids everywhere. A new school for my boys, a completely new routine as they are no longer "walkers" but instead are bus kids!

To start their day out right, when I woke them up yesterday, I greeted them with a warm and comfy breakfast, cinnamon sugar french toast.

Your day can never go all bad when it starts out with lots of love, and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

I know you want a recipe, and I'll provide one, but you are really waiting to hear about my Blog Event, aren't you? Well wait no more!


A Housewarming Party!

No surprise, I'm sure, but fun all the same. So bring me your best appetizers, your favorite drinks, a tasty dessert, bring me anything you'd like, the more the merrier!

To be part of my housewarming, just send me the link of your post, showing me what you've made, by January 30th. Then come on over on the 31st to see the round-up!

I'll be posting a few things for the party between now and then, in eager anticipation.

Can't wait to see what you bring!

Cinnamon Sugar French Toast

2 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
cooking spray
10 slices of bread

Heat a griddle or non stick pan over medium-high heat.

While the pan heats, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream and nutmeg in a bowl big enough to lay a piece of bread flat on the bottom. In a smaller bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar.

When the pan is hot, but not smoking, coat with cooking spray. Dunk a piece of bread in the egg mixture, being sure to coat the entire piece of bread. Lay in the pan and repeat until you cannot fit in another piece. Try to leave a bit of room between the slices of bread. Sprinkle a bit of the sugar mixture over each slice of bread, in an even layer.

Allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes, then check to see if the underside is toasted and browned. If not, give it another minute, otherwise turn the slice over and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Repeat until all the egg mixture is gone, which for me was 1o pieces of bread.

Serve warm with maple syrup.

Menu Plan Monday

I've always had a written menu plan, in a spiral notebook. If I can find my last one, I'll get a picture of it and post it up - I made that notebook last over two years!

However, I've always given myself flexibility when it came to my menu plan - I could write something down, change my mind, find I was missing an item, and either change the plan or walk to the grocery store up the street.

I don't have a grocery store less than a 15 minute drive away anymore, and a convenience store that is good for the odd milk/bread run, is not good for a menu plan.

With things like this in mind, I want to be more proactive with my menu plan, and a bit better organized with my shopping. This plan for the week is not overly creative, but it should work for us.

Sunday: Roast beef with sour cream and chive smashed potatoes, roasted green and yellow mean mix.

Monday: Shrimp Green Thai curry with rice noodles (sauce from a jar)

Tuesday: Hubby's birthday! By request, jambalaya (recipe to come later)

Wednesday: homemade pizzas with dip

Thursday: chicken noodle soup

Friday: homemade waffles with fruit salad

Saturday: We are having a party, so the menu will be varied and plentiful, with more details to come later!

I'm going to attempt to make this a weekly detail on my blog, so wish me luck and please feel free to send me suggestions for my menu plan as well!

Happy New Years!

Another year over, with lots to look back on and reflect.

We've had a busy year in our family, with multiple files of pictures to show for it. We've spent time with friends, laughed and loved, and had sadness. We've made tough decisions and some major changes. We've set goals, some we succeeded with, others we failed.

Probably just like everyone else.

This year I have a few goals in mind, a few resolutions. Seeing as I am no longer a short walk to the grocery store (or even a short drive actually,) I hope to be more proactive in my meal planning (which will show up this weekend for the following week), and more organized in my shopping.

I want to continue with last years goal to make more from my cookbooks, some of which are still in boxes, along with my good dishes (with plans for them to come out today.)

I want to try to build up some savings, and reduce some of my spending. Circumstances resulted in my stopping my cash budget, but now is a good time to go back to it.

I have a mental list of things I want to make this year, a few carried over from last year: Naan bread, marshmallow fondant, pho soup....

With change and goals in mind, I put out this question - what resolutions did you make last year and how well did you do with them? To start everyone off, I will list a few of my past resolutions and the results of them:

Resolution: No french fries. I resolved this several years back when I looked at my diet and realized that while fries are bad enough (even the kind you bake at home in your oven), it was worse for me because my dip of choice was mayonnaise.
Results: This year I allowed myself to try sweet potato fries at a restaurant (homemade sweet potato fries where I toss the wedges lightly in oil with salt and pepper have always been allowed by me), and those have been the only fries I have eaten in years. Still won't eat regular fries, so successful.

Resolution: Eat breakfast every morning. By this I mean something breakfasty - not left over birthday cake. Try to start the day out right with a good foundation.
Results: Pretty good. There have been the occasional time when I skipped breakfast, but no cake was eaten in its place.

Including this cake.

Resolution: Make two new recipes a week, either from a cookbook or from the internet.
Results: I was doing very well at this until about September-October, when life suddenly became much busier and had to be much cleaner. Then it had to be packed.
However, since we've moved, there has been on average one new recipe a day, so I think I've made up for things. I want to continue with this.

Leave me a comment, or treat this like a meme, but tell me what your past resolutions were, and how you did at them, and maybe share a resolution for this year.

As with last year, I see changes in the year ahead. For All Things Edible, there will be a few: more postings, more recipes, and some product reviews that don't necessarily have anything to do with eating. And coming soon, my own little blog event!

So don't go far!

Cream Herbed Potatoes
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (with my changes in italics)

4 to 5 russet potatoes (I used 4, hand sliced)
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter (sorry PW, I only used half a stick!)
1 medium onion, finely diced
8 ounces cream cheese (I used light, it has more tang)
3/4 cup heavy cream (I didn't measure this but suspect I only used about 1/3 cup
1 cup whole milk (half & half works, too) (again, didn't measure, used 1% until it looked good)
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley (didn't have any)
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives (I increased this, since my kids love chives)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped sage (didn't have any)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice potatoes very thinly.
Add butter to a large skillet over medium low heat, When melted, add diced onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add cream cheese to the pan and stir to melt.
Pour in cream and milk, stirring to combine.
Season with plenty of salt and pepper, then add chopped herbs.
Place potatoes in a buttered baking dish. Pour contents of skillet over the top.
Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubby and…bubby. Allow potatoes to sit 15 minutes before serving.