Category Archives: super simple

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without little bowls of sugary temptation to nosh on around every corner. A particular favourite of mine are Misty Mints, the pastel coloured mint chips coated in white nonpareils. Sometimes mowing down on more than a few (cough handfuls cough) can be minty sweet overload, so I threw them into some chocolatey cookies to mix it up. When you bite in, you get a cheerful peek of colour and a delicious hint of mint.

I used a great chocolate cookie recipe that you can find here, but feel free to Misty Mintify your favourite batch. Before scooping out my dough, I added 1 cup of chips and stirred them in slowly. Be careful when you’re mixing because they are a bit more fragile that chocolate chips. If you want a pop of colour on the outside of your cookie, stick a few chips on top of the dough before baking.

These make a great holiday treat, but if you stock pile your mints (boxing day sales anyone?) you can enjoy them all year round. Is it just me, or are these colours screaming Easter? I’m glad I’ve jumped ahead a few holidays. Not to worry though, I still have a few ideas to share before Christmas, so don’t be a stranger. Happy baking!

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Filed under cookies, holidays, super simple

Itty Bitty Figgy Pudding

I have always had a thing for miniatures. I started collecting tiny trinkets when I was a little girl, and when I see an opportunity to shrink something down to dollhouse size, I just can’t help myself. These Itty Bitty Figgy Puddings make adorable table favours, and couldn’t be easier to create.

 

 

Take a dome shaped chocolate, drizzle a bit of royal icing on top, and decorate it with teeny tiny holly sprinkles. I was lucky enough to happen upon these Wilton Holly Mix Sprinkles at HomeSense last year. You can find them at some bulk or craft stores, but if you can’t track them down, design your own topper out of candies or fondant.

For the icing, mix together 1/4 cup of icing sugar, a pinch of cream of tartar, and about a teaspoon of water. Adjust the proportions of water and sugar until you have a nice thick consistency. Dollop a little on top of each chocolate, and press in a pair of holly leaves before the icing sets.

Now, these may not be the most delicious item on your dessert tray (royal icing and chocolate isn’t exactly a winning combo), but it’s what’s on the outside that counts, right? If you want something a little more gourmet, you can experiment with different icings, but I found that for an authentic look, royal icing worked best.

Can’t you just picture your beautiful holiday table with a little figgy pudding waiting for  each of your guests at their seat? And to give you an idea of just how teeny these are, here’s one more photo.

 

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Filed under a party, adorability, candy, holidays, super simple

DIY Colourful Coasters

Day 5 is bringing you another thrifty handmade gift. This one is super easy, so even kids can get involved. I’ve had this idea in my mind bank for over a year, and holiday gifting gave me the extra push I needed to put it together. It’s based on a craft that I LOVED as a kid. Do these things look familiar?

I grew up calling them ‘Hama’ beads, but it seems like the ‘Perler’ brand has taken over. I guess a lot can happen in 20 years. You can find them at most craft stores, but believe it or not, IKEA sells them for way less! You’ll need some of these, as well as little peg boards (the green things in the photo below), some waxed paper, an iron, and some sticky backed craft foam (if you can’t find adhesive craft foam, you can attach it with double sided tape or glue).

Work out a design on your peg board. When it’s finished, carefully place a sheet of waxed paper on top (waxy side down), and iron it on medium heat for about 20 seconds. Slowly peel back the paper, and tip the disc off of the pegs. The heat from the iron melts the plastic beads together.

When you’ve finished ironing all of your coasters, stick them, ironed side down, onto the sticky side of your craft foam. Cut the foam around the coasters with a pair of small scissors. Make as many as you’d like, and try out lots of different patterns. The finished product has a fun, kitschy, retro feel, and makes a great addition to a funky apartment.

A few tips: when you move the boards around before ironing them, use EXTREME caution. Picking up these tiny beads from the floor is a nightmare! Also, keep an eye on the beads as they’re melting. You want them to be fused together, but not over melted.

Happy crafting!

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Filed under holidays, inedible, super simple

DIY Cupcake Kits

Here we go with day 3 of Luvcrumbs’ 12 Days of Christmas.

This one is an easy half-handmade gift to make you seem like the world’s most thoughtful friend. Just throw together a few supplies in an adorable little caddy, and you have a perfect present for all the “creative types” on your list.

This project is much more cost effective in bulk, so make as many as you can. For each kit, you’ll need:

Some sprinkles, and decorations…and tiny adorable containers to put them in. I chose 3 different kinds for each of my kits, but it’s up to you.

Fun and colourful cupcake liners (24 for each kit).

Toothpicks and decorations to top the cupcakes. I made little glittery flags out of sticky-backed glitter paper (dollar store whaaat?), and picked up a few little felt cupcakes from Walmart. Do some hunting to find deals, or chose a theme that suits your giftee.

Finish off by popping all of your tidbits into a giftable vessel (perhaps a mini paint can?), and decorate it if you wish. Now your lucky recipients can follow in your crafty footsteps and get their bake on.

Check back tomorrow for an impressive holiday cake.

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Filed under adorability, cupcakes, inedible, super simple

Poor Man’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

For day 2 of my 12 Days of Christmas, I’m sharing my version of a fall favourite at the ‘Buck. It is super rich and festive tasting, for a fraction of the markup, and it’s topped with a deliciously frothy cream cheese whip. This recipe will make a cozy serving for two. You’ll need:
  • 2 cups of strong coffee
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 6 tbsp. of canned pumpkin pie filling
  • 4 tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. of Philadelphia Whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. of sugar

Combine your milk, 4 tbsp sugar, pumpkin and spices in a small pot, and whisk them until hot and frothy, but not boiling.

Meanwhile, whip your cream until it is stiff, then add in the cream cheese and sugar.

When your milk mixture is nice and hot, divide the coffee between two large mugs, and pour the milk mixture over top.

Top each serving with a healthy dollop of cream, and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon if you like.

While sipping away on your budget latte, you can dream up all the lovely gifts you’ll buy with the money you’ve saved.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a fun do-it-yourself gift for friends and family who envy your chops in the kitchen.

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Filed under holidays, pop culture, super simple

Pantry Raid: Mediterranean Stew

After a rough day, I was craving something warm and comforting tonight, but my fridge was looking a little bare. With the ingredients I had on hand, I came up with this deliciously flavourful Mediterranean stew. No word of a lie, this is probably my favourite recipe that I’ve ever created. I’ve been meaning to come up with a recipe for my carb-free friends Lori and Cathy for a while, so ladies, this ones for you! Sorry the photo is such crap, I was in a hurry to eat my delicious stew!

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 canned artichoke hearts (drained and quartered)
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 can (540mL) President’s Choice Blue Menu Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
  • 1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste

If your chicken isn’t cooked yet, go ahead and start with that. Season them with a little salt and pepper. They’ll be ready by the time you need to add them to the stew.

In a medium sized pot, heat your olive oil on high heat. Finely chop your shallots, and add them, your garlic, and your cherry tomatoes to the hot oil. Reducing the heat only slightly, toss in your herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until your tomatoes are seared and beginning to deflate.

If you are persnickety, now would be a good time to remove the skins from your tomatoes. I just left mine in there.

Add your olives and artichokes into the pot, along with your canned soup. Use whatever brand you like, as long as it is good quality, and not creamy. Look for something that contains little other than roasted veggies.

Cut up your chicken into bite sized pieces and throw it into the mix. Add your grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and let the stew simmer over medium heat until it thickens up a bit and the flavours develop (at least 15 minutes).

For a quick meal, serve this alongside a slice of crusty bread, or over a bowl of noodles. It will make enough for 2 large servings plain, or 4 over pasta. It is so delicious that I may have to shop for these ingredients intentionally from now on.

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Filed under relatively healthy, savory, super simple

Evergreen Brownies

Holiday party season is fast approaching and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll take any excuse to get creative in the kitchen, but Christmas themed baking really gets me going. Sometimes I go overboard around the holidays and spend more time slaving in the kitchen than catching up with friends and family, so I decided it was time for a treat that screams Christmas without kidnapping me for 3 hours. For these tannenbaum brownies, you’ll need:

  • one batch of your favourite brownies, baked in an 8 inch round pan. I used this recipe here, and skipped the icing. They turned out moist and delicious! A mix works just as well if you’re feeling lazy.
  • 1/2 cup green candy melts (or white chocolate and green food dye)
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles or decorations (my snowflake sprinkles are from bulk barn)
  • 8 small yellow candies like Smarties or Misty Mints

When your brownies are cool, cut them like you would a pie into 8 equal slices. Feel free to make more skinny minny slices if you want.

Put your candy melts into a ziploc bag, and microwave them on high for 30 second bursts until they are melted. Be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll scorch the chocolate. Between each blast, squish them around in the bag to help the melting process.

Lay your brownies out on waxed paper (or something) to avoid mess, and snip a tiny corner off of your ziploc bag. One by one (trust me, I tried to do them as a batch and the chocolate cooled too fast) drizzle your candy melts back and forth across each tree. To get the best results, hold the bag about 6 inches above the brownie, and move quickly. Sprinkle (or strategically place for optimum beauteousness) your decorations right away so they stick before the chocolate cools. Add a yellow “star” to the top of the tree with a dab of extra chocolate. Now, and only now, can you move onto your next brownie. Repeat this process until you’re all done.

If you want to get really spiffy, you can cut yellow stars out of fondant, or pipe them all fancy-like with royal icing, but hey, this recipe is supposed to be about simplicity.

These will keep in an airtight container for a few days, but I can’t imagine that they will last that long. With all this extra time on your hands, you can rock around the Christmas tree and chug eggnog like you’ve been meaning to all year.

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Filed under a party, holidays, super simple