Sunday, June 26, 2011

Take a Little Thyme...

On one of my trips to the local Farmer's Market, I bought myself a whole big bunch of potted herb plants. But the one that smelled the best, was the lemon thyme. I kept pinching the leaves and smelling my fingers...all the way home.

I had no real idea how or where I would use the thyme, but I figured anything that smells this good has GOT to taste good too. 

I love the smell, taste, and colour of lemons...especially in a dessert. But thyme? Could I get away with it? Hmmm...I say,"why not?" And so my taste buds started to tingle as I imagined my mother's snickerdoodle recipe transforming itself into a sugar cookie with a little lemon thyme. And well, I was right. They are delicious. And rather simple. So let's get started...

Cream together 1/2 cup of softened butter, with 3/4 cup white sugar...then add your egg and the seeds from 1 vanilla bean. (If you don't have beans in your pantry, use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

Add 1 tsp of grated lemon zest...

And 1 Tbsp of lemon honey
(if you do not have lemon honey, add 1/2 tsp lemon juice to 1 Tbs of plain honey)

Mix it all well in your mixer or with a wooden spoon.

Finely chop 2 tsp of lemon thyme leaves and add to creamed butter, sugar, eggs, zest, and vanilla. 

Place in your flour sifter, 1 1/2 cups white flour, along with...
1/4 tsp each of kosher salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

Sift all together into a mixing bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix...
First, with a wooden spoon,
And then, get your hands in there and make a nice, squishy ball of dough.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in berry sugar...
Regular granulated sugar will work too, but I find it grittier on my teeth.

Place them on a parchment-covered cookie sheet...
Press them down with a fork...and bake at 375° for 8-10 min. 

If you find your cookies are turning brown too quickly, turn your heat down 25° and cook them closer to the 10 minute mark. The cookies will be golden on the bottom, but appear a wee bit undercooked on the top. They should still be fairly cream-coloured...not golden. If your cookies are a bit too puffy, press them down with the bottom of a glass when they are hot out of the oven.

And there you have it...a "snickerdoodle-turned lemon cookie" and all it needed was a little bit of thyme.

The Recipe in Short...

Lemon Thyme Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1Tbsp lemon honey
2 tsp lemon thyme leaves

1 1/2 cup flour 
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Cream butter, sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla, zest, honey, and thyme leaves.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir and form a dough ball.
Press down with a fork.
Make 1 inch dough balls, roll them in berry sugar, place on parchment-covered baking sheet and bake.
357°F for 8-10 min

(Oh, and I won't tell anyone if you don't add the lemon's not easy to find on a whim. So just go ahead and make a lemon cookie if you can't bring yourself to wait!)

Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dandelion Bouquet...

If I had a nickel for all the bouquets of dandelions I have had the pleasure to receive from each of my 6 children, I would be a rich little Mumma. 
There is nothing like the start of the dandelion season. The little yellow blossoms start popping up all over the city. And while most people are cursing at them, I am smiling. First of all, what's happier than yellow? And secondly, when else does a mother get flowers brought to them EVERY day of the week?? 

What's not to like about this season?? 

And then...all of a sudden...dandelion bouquets got all that much better. One of my friends posted a poem she had written. It's just beautiful. When I read it, I got goosebumps and as my son says, "my throat felt sad." I asked her if I could use it in a craft for my day home kiddies and she said yes. Thank you Makiko! You made a bunch of parents smile.

For those of you who would like the poem in it's entirety, head on over to this lovely blog...

And for those of you who would like a little craft to do with your kidlets, stay right here for the fun...

You will need...

A small metal bucket for each child
Acrylic paints
Mod Podge
Paint brushes
Ribbon (cross grain works the nicest)
The poem printed for each child
Pretty paper for mounting
Rubber stamp (optional)
Hole punch
Laminator (optional)
Smocks!! It gets messy!

Give each child a bucket and let them get painting!

Don't worry if they glob it will dry just the same :)

Set them outside to dry...this may take a couple of hours, so make sure you plan ahead.

While their buckets are drying, allow the children to colour and stamp their printed copy of the poem.

Then they can glue the back and mount it on patterned paper.

I find that parents are more likely to keep things if they are laminated...well, I am anyway! So I laminated each poem. This way, the parents can use the poem as a bookmark later, or put it on their fridge.

Cut 8 inch sections of ribbon for the top corner of each poem, And then 8 inch sections X 3 to tie on each bucket handle.

Now it's time for the sticky part! Break out the Mod Podge!

Once the buckets are dry, let the children coat their paint job with Mod Podge...
They will be messy and glob it on all over the place. If you can't handle it, don't watch! Heheheh! And then when they are not looking, you can smooth out all the gloppy parts.

When they are all dry, you can tie the ribbons on the handle with knots. 3 on one side and then knot the tag on the other side...

Now, if you haven't already, go out and pick some of those pretty yellow blossoms and fill your buckets up til they overflow. Add a bit of water, or let them wait until their buckets are safely home so water doesn't spill on the journey.
Now it's all ready! 

Seasons of dandelions will always be. But our little ones won't. They will grow and like puffs on the breeze, they will be off in the world. I know I will treasure each and every bouquet I am given. Every fistful of yellow weeds will be as precious as the one before it.
Thank you, Makiko for your beautifully crafted words.

I really would take a dandelion bouquet any day over a thousand roses.

Thanks for stopping by, and HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Well, THAT was Easy Enough...

When I told my kids we were going to make our own homemade popsicles, they were skeptical. When I told them they would taste even better than store bought ones, they just couldn't imagine it. How in the world?? Well, I'll tell you "how in the world"...

I gathered the 3, ok, maybe 4 things we needed and we got to work. Everyone helped. And when they were all finished and the final product was 6 yr old exclaimed, "Well, THAT was easy enough!"

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, get your little luvies involved and whip up a batch of pops's simple and healthful and yummy. And you can try all different kinds of need to stick with strawberries and cream! In fact, tonight we are making "rootbeer float pops!" If it sounds yummy to you, and it will freeze, then try it!!

But for now, here is the simple recipe for strawberries and cream ice pops...

Start with a pint of ripe strawberries in your food processor...

Whip them up into a smooth puree... and make sure to take time for the "little bloggers" in your life!

Once you have a smooth puree, pour the strawberries into a large mixing bowl...

Pour in 250g or a healthy sized cup of vanilla greek style yogurt...

Give all the kidlets a chance to stir...
...until it's all mixed up into a pretty pink colour.

Now to make the creamy swirl! Slowly and carefully fold in a cup of already whipped cream...

Do not overmix on this stage or you won't have a swirly popsicle.  Just a few stirs will do.

Pour them into your popsicle moulds...if you don't have any, use a paper/plastic cup and a popsicle stick.

When they are all filled and ready, pop them into your freezer for 3-4hrs...

When they are frozen, run hot water on the outside of the mould so the lids will easily slide off...
Now, enjoy!!

That was easy enough!!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Bit of Strawberry in the Mint...

I spent an evening in the city of Edmonton the other night, and without naming the restaurant, I will say two things... No, THREE things.
First, the company was fantastic. Second, the salted caramel brownie was heavenly. Third, the strawberry mint mojito was lacking in every possible way. It came to me pale and flavourless. And I was disappointed. I could have had a nice glass of red, instead!! Anyhow, I went home, woke up the next day and decided to have a do-over. I was going to make my own strawberry mint mojito. So I went to the farmer's market and picked up some fresh, ripe strawberries and came home and got to work. Now, I'm sharing the RIGHT way to make a strawberry mint mojito! ;)  

*And for those of you who prefer a virgin drink, follow all the same directions, just leave out the Bacardi...its still as yummy...ask my kids! Hehehehe

This recipe is for one tall glass...

Grab 3 ripe, juicy strawberries. If they are hard and white in places, you may as well forget it. It just won't be the same.

Once you have your berries... go and tear up about 7-8 mint leaves.

Use a mortar and pestle to bruise up your mint. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, bruise it up with a metal spoon against a plate.

Add your 3 chopped up strawberries and a pinch of cane sugar and smush them up!
Trust me on the cane sugar. I have tried making the mojito with about every sugar I could think of. The cane tastes the best.

Set those aside and sugar the rim of your glass...

Rub a lime across the top of your glass...

Then tip your glass upside-down in the cane sugar...

Now you can toss your bruised strawberries in the glass, along with the juice of 1 lime and a scant teaspoon of cane sugar.

Give it a little stir...

This is where you add the rum if you desire. A white rum... 2oz because its a tall glass! Hehehehe.

Fill the glass 3/4 full with ice...

Then fill your glass up with your favourite chilled club soda.

Add a garnish of mint to make it look pretty...and there you have it!

A strawberry mint mojito the way it was intended.

Enjoy the weekend and DO take time to spoil yourself with one of these!
Thanks for stopping by!