Christmas Wrapping 2013

In the past, I’ve always just used the wrapping paper my parents had in the basement storage. This year however, I decided to get a little creative, and also because I didn’t feel going out to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy actual wrapping paper. Please don’t judge, haha it’s gotten a lot colder in Vancouver in the past few weeks and it’s so tempting to just stay home in my jammies and a big cup of tea 🙂

So I found Kelvin’s huge roll of kraft paper wedged between the couches and I got a lightbulb moment. I saw it all over Pinterest last year and I finally got the chance to do it this time! Here was my pinspiration:

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And here’s what I ended up doing. I took it down a few notches and kept it simple.

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I only drew on the front side because I forgot to draw before wrapping, and at that point I wasn’t too keen on unwrapping and rewrapping. My favourite one is the snowflake because for the longest time, I couldn’t think of a good way to draw snowflakes. I googled and Pinterested a while and finally found one that was easy to draw. The holly and candy canes are definitely a lot easier and very festive and I just wrote my cousins’ names on the front so I wouldn’t forget whose was whose. The one that makes me chuckle is the top right one. If you look closely, there’s elephants drawn with white pencil crayon… Can you guess where that gift will be going? Yes, it is for a white elephant gift exchange! Hehe get it?

Thanks again for stopping by and reading. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and show me the creative ways you’ve been wrapping your gifts!

P.S. If you’re still looking for a last minute gift, consider my gift guide

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Pinterest Experiment #6: Red Velvet Cookies

I love cookie fake-outs! For me, that means cookie recipes that are semi homemade so you can still claim it is “homemade”. For this recipe, it caught my eye because who doesn’t love red velvet cake? And when you put that into the convenience of a cookie, you just can’t say no. Well, at least I can’t. Hehe…

Here’s what you’ll need:DSC_0186

  • 1 package of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted to remove clumps
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp red food colouring (I’m guessing this is referring to the liquid drops you can buy in grocery store) – I used about 1/4 tsp of concentrated red gel food colouring
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (your preference)

Allons-y! (Can you guess which Doctor that catch line belongs to?)

  1. Prep your baking sheet with parchment and preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cookie mix, cocoa powder, egg, and butter. I did this by hand but in hindsight, it would have been a lot easier with a stand mixer or hand mixer. The dough will come out a little dryer than it usually is because of the cocoa powder.DSC_0191
  3. Mix in the food colouring, whether it is gel or liquid. I had to switch to using my hands to knead it in because dough was a bit dry and gel food colouring didn’t stir in well.
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  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
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  5. Drop by the tablespoon onto your baking sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes. Check on it when it has 1-2 minutes to go, to see if it’s already done. If your oven isn’t calibrated properly, you could possibly be baking at a higher/lower temperature than you thought.
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  6. Serve warm because somehow, the white chocolate chips, take on a cream cheese like taste so they taste like a true red velvet cake should: chocolate-y red goodness with some ooey gooey melty cream cheesiness.
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Thank you for stopping by and wishing you happy Christmas baking!

Pinterest Experiment #5: Bloomin’ Onion Bread

Pinterest version
Pinterest Version

I saw this idea on Pinterest a while ago and wanted to make it but I had one problem: This bread serves an army and it’s only Kelvin and I at home. So I waited, and waited, and waited, for the opportunity to bring it to either a potluck or party. Hurrah for the Halloween potluck our friend threw so I could finally make this glorious dish!  I wanted to take a nice professional-ish photo of my finished product but I finished it off at the party so you’ll have to settle for my iPhone pic, but I will describe to you in as much detail as possible, to make your mouth water 😉

So let’s start with the bread. Oh my goodness this bread. Made by the talented Nicole, owner of Cake by Nicole (pst she makes beautiful wedding cakes so check her out for that!). It’s a sourdough bread and oh my goodness… forget all the store bought loaves although I’m sure it would have tasted great that way too. But this bread, it had this amazing crust and the inside was soft and, my goodness as I’m typing this I’m drooling just thinking about it. Imagine the most amazing bread you’ve ever had, this may just be better. I mean, just look at it!

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Now this recipe is actually quite simple. First step is to prepare the filling. Slice up your mozzarella or any sort of melty white cheese (spicy Monterey Jack would be good too!). Avoid cheddar just because when it bakes, it releases a lot of oil and the end product becomes too greasy. I used about 3/4 of a medium size block of mozzarella. Next, melt 1/2 cup of butter and stir in 3-4 chopped green onions and about 2 tbsp of poppy seeds. The poppy seeds are optional, but it makes the end product pretty. Thinking of it now, adding a tbsp of garlic powder would have made this the ultimate cheesy garlic bread…Next time!

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Next, carefully cut a grid pattern into your loaf of bread. This will be a lot easier if you buy a regular soft loaf that doesn’t have a crusty crust. I had a bit of difficulty slicing the sourdough loaf, but all the hard work was worth it. If you’re going to be getting bread like mine, make sure you’re very careful when slicing! I had a few almost accidents. Cut almost all the way through to the bottom, but cut just shy of it so it stays in tact when baking. This way, it’s great for sharing because people can grab a square portion or two.

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Now time for the fun part! Take your cheese slices and place it in between every cut edge! Every cut edge. Oh yeah, this is going to be one hell of a cheesy bread. Trim your cheese slices, when need be, to fit into each spot. Then spoon the melted butter mixture all over the loaf and let it soak into every open crevice.

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Bake the loaf in a 350F oven, covered for 15 minutes, then uncovered for 5-10 minutes to finish melting and browning the cheese. I baked mine in a casserole dish lined with foil and I’d recommend that just for easy clean-up. Present however fancy or humble you like. Either way, the loaf itself will be the centre of attention.

Now just try and keep your hands off this beauty before all your guests arrive. The bread was crisp and crusty on the outside, buttery, soft, and ooey gooey cheesy on the inside. I guarantee this will be a hit at your next potluck or party (unless all your friends are gluten free or vegan)! It looks great and it tastes absolutely amazing. You’ll be sure to get a lot of oohs and aahs too.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend! Let me know if you end up trying this and how it turned out 🙂