Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats + Win a copy!

Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats + Win a copy!

I wish I had more people to bake for because I’d love to try all 25 recipes in Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats by Hannah Miles. I made the iced mitten and frosted pinecone cookies this weekend in my jammies (which I highly recommend for extra baking cozyness) and they are indeed both adorable and delicious. And there’s much more where that came from! Cookies to warm the heart (snowman faces and polar bear snow globes), cookies to decorate the tree (garland cookies and candy cane cookies), cookies to gift (mini gingerbread houses and peppermint bark), and cookies to stir up some seasonal magic (coconut snowballs and clementine linzer cookies). All in a beautifully photographed book with both American and British measurements for friends across the pond. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to help us get into the holiday spirit and they’ve got one for one of you too. It’s the most, won-der-ful tiiiiiiiiime, of the year!  Continue reading “Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats + Win a copy!”

Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!

Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!

Remember the story of the little red hen? Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to help bake it. That’s what it’s been like around here the past week, only everybody wants to eat the cake, but nobody wants to get off the ipad and help make it. Or do much of anything else. I asked my daughter to give me a hand with this photo and what did I get? “What was I BORN for? Helping with PHOTOS or LIVING?” Yeesh. If you’re looking for me later I’ll be over here stress-eating hunks of this maple pecan cake. It’s from Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to review and they’ve got another one for one of you lucky ducks.  Continue reading “Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!”

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!

My husband’s late grandfather had the habit of starting many of his sentences with “Here’s another thing you didn’t know,” followed by a long ramble about something obscure that I couldn’t possibly have known or cared to know, like how the father of former finance minister Paul Martin got his start in business or any number of things about Napoleon (the man, not the dessert.) Then it made me bristle, now it makes me snicker. Because despite his gruff delivery, he was almost always right. (Maybe not factually correct, but his versions of events were certainly new to me.) And the more I try small things, the more I think, “Here’s another thing you didn’t know.” Like you can make a cake in a couple of minutes and it’s actually really delicious! At least the ones I tried from Suzy Pelta’s Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes: 28 Quick and Easy Recipes for Tasty TreatsThomas Allen & Son sent me a review copy, and I think you’d like it too.  Continue reading “Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!”

The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson + Win a copy!

The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson + Win a copy!

It’s been a fantastic year for cookbooks, and out just in time for holiday baking (and giving!) is The Sprinkles Baking Book: 100 Secret Recipes from Candace’s Kitchen by Candace Nelson. It’s the first cookbook from the investment baker turned pastry chef and founder of America’s first cupcakes-only bakery, Sprinkles. Inside are 50 cupcake recipes including customer favourites and new ones created for the book, as well as 50 other desserts (brownies and bars, pies and tarts, loaves and puddings and more). I want to try them all! But I started with two.  Continue reading “The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson + Win a copy!”

Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft + Win a copy!

Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft + Win a copy!

The other day I asked you to share with me something you tried recently and quite a few of you told me about a new recipe you’d made and how well it turned out. It’s so satisfying, isn’t it? I’m confident you’ll have all kinds of success with this book too. Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft of the famed Lehamin Bakery (Tel Aviv) and Breads Bakery (New York) is an approachable and inspiring guide that will excite both novice and experienced bakers with its inventive twists on classic and lesser-known breads, scintillating photography and clear, step-by-step instructions.  Continue reading “Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft + Win a copy!”

Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff

Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff

Like the incredible cakes photographed in its pages, Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff has all of the ingredients for a delicious and satisfying read: 150 recipes for cakes, frostings, fillings and edible garnishes, gorgeous photography, and detailed instructions for all of the techniques to create them. (Everything from what to stock in your pantry and how to prepare your pans to how to check for doneness and master a variety of frosting finishes.) Classic cakes, chocolate cakes, casual cakes, whimsical cakes, adventurous cakes and holiday cakes are served up with the stories behind them and plenty of helpful troubleshooting tips. Bakers are encouraged (and inspired!) to think beyond chocolate and vanilla (tho you’ll find recipes for those too) and try something inventive and new: an orange passion fruit cake with ombre frosting reminiscent of an island sunset; a boozy banana espresso banana tiramisu cake perfect for dessert al fresco under strings of twinkly lights; and a peanut butter lover’s chocolate bombe topped with a dome of peanut butter mousse and a chocolate ganache so rich and decadent it can only mean I love youContinue reading “Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff”

The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook by Jean Blacklock

The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook by Jean Blacklock

The secret behind Mona Lisa’s smile. How they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar. Why it takes my kids 20 minutes to put on a pair of snow pants. Some things will always be a mystery but I do know this: Prairie Girl Bakery‘s cupcakes are delicious! delectable! delovely! and you can totally make them at home. The secrets are all in The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook, released just last week. I baked from it on the weekend (would you believe those are my cupcakes up there? I’m so proud!) and I’m here to tell you, it’s a revelation. Heck, it might even be the secret behind Mona Lisa’s smile! The cupcakes are that good.  Continue reading “The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook by Jean Blacklock”

Five things

Five things

You know those weeks when you feel like you can’t get anything done? I’m having one of those. Well, a couple of them actually. The house is upside down and I don’t know where to even begin to put it right side up, and the whole mess has got me feeling terribly unorganized and unmotivated to do anything. But then I look at pictures from the past couple of weeks and think wait a second! I have been doing things. I may not be ripping through my to-do list, but these things still matter.

five things april 28 15

1. For special occasions, I love the Chateau Laurier. (Seen here from the Alexandra Bridge, which we walked along after a trip to the Museum of History.) It’s where we gathered for lunch the day I graduated from university, where my girlfriends surprised me with a baby shower when I was pregnant with my son, and where we celebrated my daughter’s fourth birthday with afternoon tea. Ah, so fancy! What’s your special occasion place?

2. I love whiling away the lunch hour at a favourite coffee shop with a girlfriend. That’s Kirsten’s sleeve up there. We met at work nearly 20 years ago and have been friends ever since.

3. A lesson from Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist: Ten Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. It’s one of the books I turn to for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck or stale. What books inspire you?

4. My entry for Chatelaine’s April cooking club challenge, classic vanilla cake. Each month the magazine invites readers to make and photograph a particular recipe for the chance to win a prize (this month it’s a set of bakeware — right up my alley!). The winner was announced today. And it’s me! Woot woot!

5. And tomorrow I’m off to the second annual BConnected blogger conference, just across the river in Gatineau. I know it takes an army of dedicated people to pull off an event like this and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from so many of my talented peers. But if I could do it from home I totally would. I’m nervous to meet everybody and feel way more comfortable here at home behind my computer than I do out there in the world. I feel so vulnerable admitting it. Aren’t you supposed to never let ’em see you sweat? I am sweating here, people!

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, everybody. I’ll be back soon with another fantastic giveaway!