Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lemon Cranberry Cream Scones


I have been making these scones for breakfast a lot lately. They are easy, quick and delicious! Give them a try.

Servings:       12
Prep time:     5 min.
Cook time:    15 min.
Total time:    20-25  min.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder1 tsp salt
grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp  cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup whipping cream 

lemon icing (optional):
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp lemon juice


-preheat oven to 425F
-line baking sheet with parchment paper or grease
-in a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and zest
-cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in the cranberries
-add the cream and mix with a fork until a dough starts to form
-turn out onto a floured surface and knead a few times
-cut dough in half and pat each piece into a circle about  8" diameter
-transfer to baking sheet and cut diagonally into the dough to create 6 triangles in each circle, separate and spread out on sheet
-bake for about 15 minutes or until golden
-if you are using the icing make it now by stirring together icing sugar, milk and lemon juice in a small cup

-remove from oven and  either drizzle the icing over top or brush with some melted butter
-serve plain or with butter and jams

*an original recipe by jcsmama

Saturday, February 26, 2011

True Beauty is inspirational...

People are like stained glass windows:
They sparkle and shine
when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in
their true beauty is
revealed only if there is
a light within.

       ~elizabeth kubler-ross

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ultimate Maple Syrup Pie


I found this recipe about a year ago in one of my favourite cookbooks: 

"The Flavours of Canada"
by Anita Stewart
It's a classic french canadian dessert also known as "Tarte au sucre" or sugar pie and it is just delicious...give it a try!

Servings:         8 servings
Prep time:       5 minutes
Cook time:      40-45 minutes
Total time:       45-50 minutes + cooling time 

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 9-inch pie shell (bought or home made)
whipping cream and toasted walnuts for garnish

-in a medium bowl beat eggs lightly
-whisk in brown sugar, cream, maple syrup and vanilla
-beat long enough to dissolve sugar crystals
-pour filling into pie shell and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 40-45 minutes or until centre is just becoming firm
-let cool before serving
-serve topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted walnuts

* linked with

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spaghettini with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

*an original recipe by jcsmama
I love making this dish in the summer with my garden fresh cherry tomatoes and freshly picked basil, however it is february and all I had on hand was a store-bought cello pack of not so great tasting grape tomatoes. But I had a craving so I gave it a go, and I have to say that it was probably the best way to use them up!
Servings: 4
Time to make: about 40 min.

3 cups cherry tomatoes
salt to taste
4 tbsp bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp parmesan cheese
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
about 450g (2 lbs) spaghetti
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chopped basil for garnish
freshly ground black pepper to taste

-wash and dry tomatoes and cut in half
-lay out tomatoes on an lightly oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, set aside
-preheat oven to 375F
-in a small bowl mix together bread crumbs,garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil and basil
-top each tomato half with some of the bread crumb mixture
-bake for about 30 minutes
-in the meantime cook pasta as per package directions
-drain pasta, return to pot and mix in 2 tbsp butter, parsley, chili pepper and oregano
-serve immediately in indiidual bowls, topping each with 1/4 of the tomato mixture, a pinch of chopped basil and some freshly ground black pepper

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lemon Orange Toddy

*an original recipe by jcsmama

Treat yourself to this wonderful spiked tea on a cold winter's eve... as you sit by the fire reading a great book....aaah the scene is set, now off to it and enjoy.

Prep time:  5 minutes 
Servings:    1 cup

1 oz cognac
1 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 cup hot freshly brewed orange pekoe tea
thinly cut lemon and orange peels (or slices)
1 cinnamon stick

-pour cognac and grand marnier into a glass mug
-top with hot tea
-add a few lemon and orange peels, or a few slices, to the mug
-give it a mix with the cinnamon stick (leave in cup)  and serve

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Winterlicious Review...

Toula Ristorante & Bar

Last night I took advantage of  "Winterlicious" to dine with friends at  Toula, an Italian, fine dining restaurant located on the 38th floor of the Westin Harbour Hotel in downtown Toronto.
Winterlicious, a restaurant event which usually runs for 2 weeks between January and February, offers a great opportunity to try a restaurant of this calibre at a price that is affordable thanks to fixed menu pricing, in this case $35. This includes an appetizer, entree and dessert, and although the choices are usually limited they give a good indication of what is normally on the menu.
 At Toula the choices were enticing and the whole group found it difficult to decide as they all sounded terrific and delicious. After much debating I finally settled on my choices, while enjoying a tasty red pepper spread with bread which had been brought to the table and a good glass of Pinot Grigio. My appetizer,  a lobster tail on a saffron risotto cake was good but small and the tail was difficult to remove from the shell. Friends chose the smoked salmon appetizer and the caprese salad, and they were a good size and looked delicious, probably better choices. For my entree I chose the Rib-Eye steak with  wild mushroom gravy, roasted potatoes  and asparagus. The meat was butter tender and cooked to my liking, medium, and the sauce was delicious, as were the vegetables, so much so that I just had to sop up the juices with some bread, yummy! My friends were also quite happy with their choices, beef tenderloin, squash ravioli and lobster pasta. Dessert was again a difficult choice, I opted for the delicious cappuccino cheesecake with berry sauce which went fabulously with my cappuccino. Friends chose apple strudel with a chocolate sauce and Crema Veneziana (creme brulee), which I sampled and liked very much. And we  were quite surprised when Limoncello shots arrived at the end of our meal on the house! A sweet  ending to a great meal.
The restaurant is circular and offers great panoramic views of the lake and the city, and there was also live entertainment thanks to a very talented musician and singer. The service was very attentive and our waiter was professional, friendly and accommodating to the needs of our group of ten women, not an easy task. We all enjoyed the dinner and concluded it was the best "Winterlicious" dinner we have had to date. Toula is an excellent restaurant choice for  dinner with friends, out of town guests or a romantic date night, but be prepared to spend at least double the cost of the Winterlicious $35 price. Still...I would highly recommend this restaurant if you are looking for a great fine dining experience.

*PS...the restaurant also offers a Sunday brunch, which I think would be a great way to enjoy the restaurant and views at a more affordable cost

Authentic Italian Sunday Brunch

11 AM - 3 PM

Toula Ristorante & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

*recipe found on a Kraft Peanut Butter Jar

This recipe peaked my interest because it only calls for 3 ingredients...I had to try it! Well it turns out all you need to make delicious peanut butter cookies is exactly that, just 3 ingredients!I would not have believed it but I tested it and these cookies are great....give them a try!

1 cup Kraft Peanut Butter (or any other brand)
1/2 cup sugar

-preheat oven to 325F
-mix ingredients in a mixer or with a spoon until well blended
-roll into 24 balls, place on a cookie sheet and flatten with a fork
-bake 15 minutes
-remove from pan and cool on a wire rack

*makes 24 cookies

*next time I will try these with crunchy peanut butter or perhaps with the addition of chopped peanuts in the batter...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Inspired to give...

Cute Kitty

"Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you."

~madelaine s. bridges