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Back from Hiatus

15 Apr

Flower in Battery Park

Folks, you may have noticed that I have been MIA for quite a while.  For this I apologize.  I have missed you and I have missed my beloved blog.  It has been a crazy last couple of months.  When I last updated it was to ring in the New Year and now spring has already sprung.

Charlie girl

Charlie Girl

I hate to give excuses, but holy cow, puppies are a lot of work.  Before Charlie in my spare time I used to bake and enjoy it.  Now in my spare time it’s all about Charlie, walking, playing, park, and the cleaning….oh my God the cleaning.  I’m no neat freak (ok maybe just a little) but I was not prepared for the amount of shedding Charlie has been going through with the change in season.  I think that my vacuum is on its last legs and I’m pretty sure I have single handily been keeping Swiffer in business.  Gone are the days of unwinding after work by whipping up a chocolate Bundt, man I miss those days.  But don’t get me wrong, Charlie is a joy.  She is very lovable and is growing by the day.  We estimate that she is about 5 months and a bit and she’s already a whopping 45 pounds.  Although I have night terrors that she will outweigh me in no time.

Work has also been pretty hectic and I have been putting in some extra time.  That leaves for a very tired Anna.  Hubby and I decided to take some time out from our busy schedules and take a mini-vacation.  Sure a beach would have been nice, but we only had a few days to play with so we decided on New York City.  We both love the City and wanted to go back together, so over the Easter weekend we packed our bags and flew to the Big Apple!

Manhattan

Manhattan

Thankfully the weather was gorgeous and we did tons of walking.  I kid you not we walked everywhere. Our hotel was by Time Square which was perfect and close to Juniors which was even better.  I’m not a fan of cheesecake, but there’s something about Juniors cheesecake that I cannot resist.

Juniors...mmm cheescake

Mmmm, Juniors

Central Park was absolutely amazing.  We’re pretty big Beatles fans so we had to make our way to Strawberry Fields and the Imagine memorial.  Well guess who I saw strolling by on the way there, none other than Yoko Ono!!  I couldn’t believe it!  Of course I had my camera handy and snapped a few shots, while trying to be so casual about it.

Yep, that's Yoko Ono

Yep, that's Yoko Ono

Me by Imagine memorial

Me at the John Lennon memorial

I would love to say that I shopped, but really the prices there are unreal even with the Canadian dollar being at par.  Nevertheless, it was a great getaway and I’m sure we will go back one day. I’m posting a few pictures of our trip for you to enjoy and for me to reminisce.

Central Park Pond

Central Park Pond

Central Park

View in Central Park

But enough is enough; I have to get back to my kitchen.  I swear I could hear my KitchenAid calling for me.  So friends, I make this promise to you I will be back.  I simply cannot live without my oven and flour and moreover I cannot live without you.  So forgive me and in the words of  Tony Micelli, “stick around”.

Central Park

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Christmas baking…not so much

21 Dec

As you may have noticed I have not updated my blog in a while.  The holiday season tends to be busy so I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen. I had planned to do the bulk of my Christmas baking this past weekend, but I had a slight change of plans that led to little time in the kitchen as well as being terribly exhausted. 

I didn’t come down with a terrible bug, nothing horrible happened.  Actually something very excited happened on Friday.  My husband and I adopted a 3-month old puppy. As you can see from her picture she is extremely cute and when I saw her puppy eyes I fell immediately in love. 

Her name is Charlie and she comes from the pound.  Someone actually surrendered her for reasons unknown.  She’s healthy and is adapting to her new home very well.  We are not sure what kind of dog she is, the pound seems to think she’s a German Shepard cross.  So as you can imagine life with a new puppy means very little sleep and 3AM walks, so there is also an adapting period for us.  While she has brought so much excitement into our home I still miss my baking.  Hopefully I’ll be alert enough tonight to ease my way back into the kitchen and whip up some Christmas cookies..and maybe even some puppy treats!

Thanks for checking in and I will update soon!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

6 Dec

The Food Network, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways, well let me just count to one; Alton Brown.  Thank you, thank you a million times over Alton Brown for giving us this creation we call the Cinnamon Roll.  Seriously, if I could give each and every one of you one of these cinnamon rolls I would. Given that I can’t, you really and I mean really have to make these.  I know, some of you may have a recipe that is tried and true but do me this one favour and give these a chance.

There are so many things that I love about this recipe, first and foremost, they can be made the night before and baked in the morning.  Now tell me what’s better than the smell of baking cinnamon buns in the morning….can’t think of anything can you?  This is another first for me, I’ve never made cinnamon buns before thinking that it was too labour intensive ..well yet again I was wrong.  This recipe rocked in its simplicity.  Most of the time spent on it was during the first rise, a little over two hours.  You just have to remember to bring your eggs and buttermilk to room temperature and really, you’re ready to go.

The dough comes together rather quickly in no time.  Please follow the recipe carefully, and if you have a scale I do recommend you use it.  The more reading I do on baking the more I learn that baking with ingredients by weight is actually the most accurate.  Scales are rather inexpensive and if you do a lot of baking it’s well work the investment. Now where was I, ah yes the dough.  Be sure not to add too much flour, otherwise you’ll end up with tough dough.  You can always add too little and if you need more add it in at the end.  You should end up with a soft and smooth dough once kneaded.

And you better have butter on hand, as you will use it thrice.  The first time in the dough itself, secondly in the filling and last brushing it on the dough once rolled out.  Now to you get why these are so good, add butter to anything and it will just taste better.  Which reminds me, I’m running a little low on my supply…I better replenish.

The most difficult thing about this recipe is the waiting, the first rise and then the overnight rise.  I was so anxious during the first rise, worrying that it wouldn’t rise at all given how cold the weather has gotten.  Paranoid me swaddled the bowl that held the dough in a table cloth and one blanket and place it near a chair by the radiator. 

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Weekend baking…for dinner!

5 Oct

What we have here is a cake, but not your typical cake or maybe it’s a pie…after all it does have a crust, but it’s also layered, confused yet? 

This is a potato “cake”; I’ve been making this for years.  It’s one of those recipes that’s been in my family for decades, my mom made it, my grandmother made it and now I’m making it.  I learned not from a recipe but by watching my mom.  The only difference between my version and that of my mom’s it that she puts the bread crumb crust on the top of the cake and I out it on the bottom. 

This cake boasts two luscious layers of mashed potatoes, sandwiched in between is homemade salami (I’m Italian, is there any other kind of salami?) , mozzarella, hardboiled egg and parmesan cheese.  It’s assembled and baked to delicious goodness in a 9-inch spring form pan. Continue reading

It’s almost the weekend…

2 Oct

Stacked pancakes by you.

I almost consider Friday part of the weekend.  It’s the Eve before the official weekend starts, and doesn’t everyone celebrate Eve’s…there’s Christmas Eve, New Years Eve…and that’s about it.  Come to think of it we should definitely have more Eve’s or we can just make them up like I do.  This post is in honour of Saturday Eve.

There’s nothing I look forward to more than sleeping in on Saturday mornings.  I get up around 5:30AM everyday to go to work and so the thought of sleeping in until 8:30AM is bliss.  Anthony and I have a Saturday morning routine, I make pancakes.  It’s just an unspoken thing between us that has developed over our 8 years of marriage (yikes!). Continue reading