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

Five things

What happened to all of our beautiful fall colours? It’s been so windy the past couple of days that most of them are already off the trees. Before I go pick up the rake, here’s a couple of notes on recent happenings.  Five things

Five things

If you follow me on Instagram you might recognize most of these photos but here (and only here!) can you get the scoop behind the pictures. Okay not really. You can also get it on Instagram. But sometimes I fill in different details here too, so you should still read my Five Things. Heck you’re here, so you must want to. 🙂 Read on then! Don’t let me get in your way!

five things sept 14

1. Speed-walking to school, as we do most mornings. How can we get almost everything ready the night before and still take so long getting out the door? Tell me I’m not alone in this. What hurries things along for you?

2. I can’t get over these emoji cookies from A Couple of Squares. The London, Ontario bakery supplies to The Second Cup near our dentist, so we picked up a few after our last visit. And then brushed our teeth really well.

3. Well we already know Mindy Kaling has an amazing sense of style, but did you know she’s also got a brilliant eye for decor? I love her feature in the latest issue of Domino. And may I just say I’m so glad the magazine’s back? Now we just need them to put out another book!

4. This cutie is one of the Minted prints I’ll be showing you in an upcoming post about transitioning your decor to fall/winter. Don’t you love?

5. I’ve started a six-week bootcamp at the gym three mornings a week and let me tell you, it’s a killer. Or I am super out of shape. Or maybe both. Today I managed to squeak out a few more push-ups than I did in the first class on Monday so I can already see some progress. Yay! (Everything hurts but still, yay!) Do you amp up your fitness routine in the fall?

Hope you’re having a good week, everybody! Talk to you again really soon.

The Sweetapolita Bakebook + A Giveaway!

Random House Canada sent me a complimentary copy to review, however all opinions are my own. 

If I slept with a book under my pillow like my kids, The Sweetapolita Bakebook would be the one I’d tuck under my head and dream about each night. Baker, blogger and photographer extraordinaire Rosie Alyea invites readers to a magical land where playing with your food is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. Colour and paint on decadent cookies and cakes with edible paint and chalk, make your own sprinkles and candy clay, and top your cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting — Alyea shows you how in step-by-step instructions even the newest (and littlest!) bakers will want to try. And if you have a few flops along the way, she’s there to remind you she’s had her share of failures too. The teenager who fell in love with the world of cake and confection working at a bakery grew into a multi-talented entrepreneur, mother of two, and author of this most endearing first book where decorating takes the cake. The Sweetapolita Bakebook + A Giveaway!

Five things

Hey, you came by! Thanks for popping in. I know many of you are busy celebrating Easter and Passover, so it’s especially nice to see you here. Here’s a little update on the week that was. Five things

Five things

Just one more week ’til Christmas and you know what that means: time to bake all the cookies! Here I used two simple gingerbread and sugar cookie recipes to make DIY holiday garlands.

cookie garland

Want the easy how-to? Drop by So Fawned Lifestyle.

christines cookies full

Oh the kitchen’s been smelling so good! Yesterday I made these triple chocolate sour cream cookies by Christine at Life on Manitoulin. Their cakey texture makes them almost brownie-like (yum!) and the m&m’s give them a nice crunch.

girls cookies full

We shared them with friends who came over for a playdate after school.

ornament glue

We’ve also made a few ornaments for the tree, like these Christmas pom pom ones over at So Fawned Lifestyle.

minted notebooks

How much do we love personalized notebooks? I ordered these ones from minted a couple of weeks ago using a gift certificate I’d won in a contest (woot!) and couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. It’s Christmas come early!

package

And speaking of Christmas, one try small things reader is going to find this surprise prezzie at their door in the next couple of days, maybe even tomorrow! Is it you? Oh I can’t wait for it to arrive!

Five things (and a winner!)

Raise your hand if you’re all ready for Halloween. I see a lotta hands out there! Usually we’re scrambling around at the last minute, but this year we’re nearly set. The decorations are up, the costumes are made, the treats are bought (and sampled) and we even have our pumpkins, ‘tho we won’t carve them ’til tomorrow afternoon. Here’s a peek at some of our prep, plus a few other pics from the past week. Oh! And I’ll announce the winner of my Fall faves contest. (Hugs if you read the post before scrolling down to see who won.)

Halloween monster decoration

If you trick-or-treat at our house you’ll see Frank, the monster hubby made out of cardboard and tissue paper a few years ago. We put him in the front window every year. Scary stuff!

clip 8

I’m not dressing up this year (the kids are a vampire and a robot), but I did make these festive pumpkin hair clips to wear. The easy how-to is up on So Fawned, along with my tips for a safe and happy Halloween.

tub time

We even have a little Halloween decor in the bathroom! My guy took a bath after school one day this week with this adorable rubber duckie from Loblaws.

sugar cookies

Okay, these are autumnal rather than Halloween, but they’re in our pumpkin-shaped cookie jar on the kitchen island.

urban barn books final absolutely

And last week I submitted another entry for Urban Barn’s dining hack contest, this time suggesting books as pedestals to elevate serving trays and create visual interest to your table. The grand prize winner will be drawn next Wednesday. Cross your fingers for me, everybody!

And speaking of winners, a huge thanks to all of you who entered my Fall faves contest. I loved reading about your Fall faves and seeing all of your retweets (some of them daily!). I’ll pop the prize in the mail to the winner next week. Was it you? Click here to find out.

Happy Halloween, everybody. Wishing you more treats than tricks and a safe, fun night.

Cranberry oatmeal breakfast cookies

My kiddos are quite happy with cereal for breakfast most mornings, but sometimes it’s nice to try something different. Cue these cranberry oatmeal breakfast cookies. Cookies for breakfast? When they’re as nutritious and delicious as these ones, yes and yes!

breakfast-cookie-breakfast-for-learning

Need more convincing? What if I told you the recipe’s from Breakfast for Learning, an organization that has provided healthy meals to 3.4 million children since 1992?  They know a balanced breakfast is essential for kids to learn and focus at school. Serve these heart-healthy cookies with milk and a piece of fruit and your kids will be off to a great start.

breakfast-cookie-3

I’ve published the recipe below with permission from Breakfast for Learning, but you can also find it and four others in the organization’s free, downloadable booklet Before the Bell: Breakfast By the Batch for the School Week.

We’ve made these cookies a few times now and they’re such a hit that they’ll be in the regular rotation for the rest of the year. We’re not huge cinnamon fans so we use just one a teaspoon and find them perfectly spiced, and ‘tho we used a 1/4 cup measure per the instructions, we could only get 8 cookies (giant cookies at that!) per batch.

Try them and let me know what you think!

Cranberry oatmeal breakfast cookies

Makes 12 large cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 large)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup non-fat milk powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries or sultana raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.

Stir together mashed banana, peanut butter or alternative, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.

Combine oats, flour, ground flax, milk powder, cinnamon and baking soda in a small bowl.

Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined (add 2 tablespoons of water if dough is too thick), while
your ambitious assistant stirs in dried cranberries or raisins.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, drop dough 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. With a spatula dipped in water,
flatten and spread each mound of dough to a 2 3/4-inch round, about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container or re-sealable plastic bag for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months; thaw before serving.

Flourless chocolate cookies

If it’s hot where you are, baking might be the last thing on your mind. You want to be out in the sunshine, walking, lounging or gardening or maybe running around with your kids. But trust me, these cookies are well worth the time in the kitchen. They’re the perfect combination of crispy/chewy goodness, with a welcome crunch from the nuts and plenty of chocolate chunks to sink your teeth into. And while I haven’t tried it myself, I bet they’d be delicious in an ice cream sandwich. Will you try them and let me know?

flourless choco cookies six

C’mon. You know you want one!

cookie close up

They’re large enough to share, but of course you don’t have to.

cookies in pkgs

And if you do, they make a pretty little gift. Just don’t be surprised if people ask you to make more.

Flourless chocolate cookies
Adapted from this recipe

Makes 10 jumbo cookies (about 3 inches in diameter)

Ingredients

1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa

2 pinches salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 egg whites

1 and 1/4 cup walnuts, slivered almonds or pistachios (or a combination of your favs)

2 generous handfuls dried cherries or dried cranberries

1 3 oz/100 gram 70% cocoa dark chocolate bar, broken into chunks (or a couple of generous handfuls of jumbo semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place one rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Whisk the sugar, cocoa and salt until blended.

Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat on low speed for approximately one minute. Mixture will be runny.

Throw in the nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chunks/chips and stir ’til combined.

Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, scoop out mixture and drop onto the baking sheet in six generously spaced piles. (If you don’t have a cookie scoop, measure out two tablespoons per cookie.)

Bake for approximately 15 – 17 minutes, rotating cookie sheet halfway through.

Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before carefully peeling from the parchment paper or baking mat.

Bake remaining four cookies.

Finished cookies will have glossy tops, crackly outsides and a chewy, brownie-like centre.