Sweet Potato Chronicles - THE NEVER ENDING STORY OF THE WELL-FED FAMILY…

Holiday Cookie Week: Raspberry Linzer Cookies (or How to Feed Santa)

Lindser Cookie 39876

When you're a par­ent you play the lot­tery all the time. In the early years, there is the can-we-keep-them-from-killing-themselves lot­tery or the will-they-be-a-good-eater lot­tery. Then who could for­get the par­ent­ing gam­ble of will-they-have-a-total-meltdown-in-the-cosmetic-aisle-of-the-grocery-store. It serves you right for think­ing you could buy your­self a new lip­stick while get­ting fruit and the cereal you'll eat out of a bowl while stand­ing in the kitchen. As your chil­dren age and enter school, you'll rel­ish the will-we-get-the-good-teacher-at-school lot­tery and the will-they-wind-up-with-the-right-friends crap shoot. Sur­pris­ingly, I've won every time at school.

Since Scar­lett entered her local pub­lic school we've been blessed with the most ded­i­cated, highly-experienced and lov­ing teach­ers. And, coinin­di­ten­tally, of the two teach­ers she's had in the last three years (we were lucky to repeat our lat­est), the teach­ers also hap­pen to be long time bud­dies. But Mrs. Gib­son and Mrs. Heath are more than just friends to each other, they've become impor­tant con­fi­dants in both mine and Scarlett's life, espe­cially since their respec­tive chil­dren are some of Scarlett's favourite peo­ple. Scar­lett adores Mrs. Gibson's charis­matic younger son Hunter, who is a mas­ter crum­ble maker. She has also become fast friends with Mrs. Heath's twin 9-year old daugh­ters. Katie and Sarah write sweet con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sages on Scarlett's cor­rected tests and the girls send gifts and notes back and forth through Mrs. Heath. Katie and Sarah also hap­pen to be bak­ing whizzes. Fans of our cook­book, Mrs. Heath shares with us pic­tures of the girls cook­ing from their copy of How to Feed a Fam­ily and we rel­ish their feed­back on our recipes. So it was only a mat­ter of time before we would all bake together.
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Holiday Cookie Week: Chocolate Bark

chocolate-bark

Okay, eagle eyes, this is not a cookie recipe! But for some­thing as impres­sive as these choco­late bark vari­a­tions, it was too easy for me not to share it with you in the run up to the hol­i­days. If you've got peo­ple com­ing over this week­end or early next week, this is a pretty impres­sive sweet to lay on them after din­ner or a gor­geous treat to wrap up in a small tin.

I was a bit ner­vous to make bark as I have lim­ited expe­ri­ence work­ing with choco­late. But after spend­ing some time read­ing what David Lebovitz and Stephanie Jaworski have to say, and tak­ing a walk down the street to the awe­some Soma Choco­late to pick up some spec­tac­u­lar ingre­di­ents I felt pre­pared. What turns out to be the only tricky part is tem­per­ing. So, when you buy a nice bar of choco­late and it's a bit cool to the touch, it's shiny and doesn't melt the sec­ond you touch it — that's because it's been tem­pered. When choco­late looks dusty or grey? It's not bad, it's that the cocoa but­ter has just risen to the sur­face. You could absolutely make bark with­out tem­per­ing it, but it wouldn't be quite as glossy and or have the nice snap you get from tem­pered choco­late. Read more

Holiday Cookies Week: Stained-Glass Cookies

stainedglasscookiesfinal

Allow me to just start this post by say­ing I am not a fancy hol­i­day cookie per­son. I love hol­i­day bak­ing, and in par­tic­u­lar, cookie mak­ing. But I am not one to go to far out of my com­fort zone. These beau­ti­ful, stained-glass cook­ies are the kind of thing I'd see on Pin­terst, maybe even save on an inspi­ra­tion board and then never, ever make. Because look at them! So pretty, so ridicu­lously pretty that I'd never be able to pull them off. I was swamped with work right before our most recent stu­dio ses­sion so Ben offered to help me out by find­ing some cook­ies I could make. He showed me these with a self-satisfied grin. I asked him if he was high. Read more

Sponsored: Cloverleaf Tomato Appetizers & Giveaway

tunastuffedtomatoes

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for hol­i­day enter­tain­ing? Like, a recipe that knocks peo­ple out? Or a sig­na­ture cock­tail you hand peo­ple as they come in the door? I'll be hon­est, I don't have a lot. And when I think of the par­ties that peo­ple used to throw — those par­ties your par­ents had that you observed through the ban­is­ter before you were shooed off to bed — were made of up those lit­tle details. My mom used to make these appe­tiz­ers — pas­try turnovers filled with mush­rooms that she'd serve warm at par­ties. They were insanely good. I've decided I need a few of these retro-inspired recipes in my ros­ter this year. And so, meet my new favourite things: warm, tuna-stuffed tomatoes.

I decided to use Cloverleaf's Tomato & Onion tuna, which gives you a great start­ing place in terms of flavour. I made up a sim­ple mix­ture using the tuna, mayo and mus­tard, some cel­ery and scal­lions for tex­ture and cheese for a melty fin­ish. I wanted some­thing you could eat in one bite so I decided to try Cam­pari toma­toes — you know the kind that are about the size of a golf ball? These are really quick to make and they are def­i­nitely going to be the new trick up my sleeve. Served warm, they're super yummy, not too fill­ing and have exactly the retro vibe I was going for.

When I gave Esme one after school (one didn't cut it and she ended up eat­ing four!), she said, "These would be so great to serve at a party." Exactly. Read more

Comfort Food Week: Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

Sweet Potato Apple Soup

It's com­fort week and I could eas­ily spend our time together in this post com­plain­ing about the polar vor­tex snap that hit Canada, and most of the mid-west States, this week. How­ever, it's too obvi­ous of a com­plaint and it's also WAY too early for fuss­ing about win­ter, espe­cially since it's not tech­ni­cally Win­ter yet. Instead I'll get back to my reg­u­larly sched­uled whin­ing about the ran­dom cir­cum­stances in my day that make me cry. Recently, while I was doing a house­hold chore that I dis­like nearly as much as chip­ping ice from my wind­shield, I thought about how much extra time I'd have each week if I didn't have to go back to the gro­cery store for that one thing I for­got or if I didn't have to spend 30 min­utes open­ing and clos­ing the tray of our home printer to cor­rect the mys­tery "error" that is caus­ing the machine to hold the last few pages of Scarlett's cur­rent events project hostage. You know, the copies of the arti­cles we needed, like, yes­ter­day. I bet I could fit in that man­i­cure I so des­per­ately need with all my found time. Now that's what I call a com­fort week!

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