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Bake Your Best Shot

Take a break from life, the bombardment of 24/7 news and bake a batch or two of Chocolate Chip Bourbon Cookies.

Yes, you read that right. A shot of Bourbon in your cookies is not only out-of-this-world-delicious, but it’s hard to be stressed and sad when you’re eating these cookies.

WARNING: These cookies are addictively moreish.

Put them in a tin and give them as a gift. These cookies freeze well.




Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. hot water

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 1/2 TBSP Bourbon

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups milk chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips if you’d like, your choice)

Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 350F

2.      Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water, set aside.

3.      In a large bowl, add softened butter, white sugar, brown sugar and maple syrup, and Bourbon and cream everything together until mixture is smooth.

Smooth and creamy texture that looks like caramel.

4.      Beat in the eggs, ONE at a time, mix well.

5.      Add the dissolved baking soda and the salt to the batter and mix in well.

6.      In a separate bowl, add: flour and chocolate chips, and mix to evenly distribute the chocolate chips.

7.      Add flour bowl to the wet mixture, and mix all together, but don’t mix for too long or too strong, just enough to incorporate your creamy mixture with the flour and chocolate chips.

Don’t mix too much, just enough to incorporate the dry and wet ingredients.

8.      Set aside for about 1/2 hour (or you can put in fridge for 10 minutes).

9.      Using a tablespoon drop cookies (and flatten just a little bit) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

10.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are nicely browned.

11.  Leave on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack.

Be a star breadwinner.

When my home is filled with the scent of bread baking in the oven it always brings back nostalgic memories of my childhood.

On Friday’s when I’d come home from school, and before even reaching the front door, the aroma of fresh baked bread filled the air as Friday’s was my mom’s baking day—breads, buns, pies and cookies—she made enough for the week ahead to feed a family of seven.

A slice of delicious love with creamy butter, and homemade jam awaited me for an after school snack.

When I had a day off from school, I would help, and it is at our kitchen table that I learned how to put love into baking and cooking. I made a lot of mistakes when trying it on my own, but my mother taught me that making mistakes is how one learns to make great meals.

As I watched her knead the dough for the breads, I saw how much love she put into each loaf, and how happy it made her when they came out of the oven, all risen and deliciously golden.

She would always make the sign of the cross, and say a silent prayer after she finished kneading the dough.

I followed this routine, as I knew she was giving thanks for the flour, yeast and all the food she was able to prepare.

I told her once that it was such a nice tradition to give thanks while baking.

She told me that it was one of the reasons she prayed while baking, the other reason was that she prayed the dough would rise. 🙂

ITALIAN BREAD RECIPE

Following is my recipe for making bread and buns. I did learn to knead the dough by hand, but thanks to modern technology, a stand mixer does a great job as well, and saves time.

I’m also sharing a tip on how to make your crust golden and crisp and the inside of the bread soft and chewy for a scrumptious slice of carb heaven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and ¼ c warm water (between 100F & 110F)
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 4 cups flour (You can use any of these flours: 00 or bread flour or all purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • spray bottle with water
  • A tray of ice cubes or a oven-proof bowl of water

    Directions:
  • In a small bowl, add: yeast, sugar & water, and stir lighty. Cover with a cloth and let it sit for 10 minutes, or until yeast doubles.
  • Add the yeast into your stand mixer bowl (if not using a stand mixer, add into a large bowl), then slowly add 3 cups of flour and the salt.
  • Using a dough hook on the mixer, mix everything at low speed. Use a spatula to scrape the sides.
  • When all ingredients are incorporated well, mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. (If not using a stand mixer, mix with a large wooden spoon for 8 to 10 minutes).
  • Cover bowl with a dish towel and allow dough to rest for 1/2 hour.
  • After 1/2 hour, turn mixer to low, and add 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing on low until all the flour is incorporated. (If not using a mixer, use your hand to mix the dough well).
  • If the dough is wet and shaggy, add a bit more flour (about 1/4 cup or less) until you get a smooth consistency and it does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
  • Set mixer at medium speed, and mix for 8 minutes. (If you are not using a mixer, then knead the dough by hand for 25 minutes).
  • Once you’ve finished the kneading process, add some olive oil to a bowl, then put the ball of dough into the bowl and ensure dough is all coated with oil.
  • Cover bowl with a tea towel (or you can use plastic wrap) and let the dough rise in a warm (draft-free) area for one hour (should be doubled in size)
  • Preheat your oven to 400F (doing this at this point will ensure your oven is hot enough to bake the bread)
  • Put an oven proof bowl of water at the back of your oven
  • You can either use loaf pans or a baking sheet to bake the bread, whichever you use, line with parchment paper, and after the dough has risen, sprinkle flour on a surface and use this surface with floured hands to shape your bread into an oblong loaf.
  • Put your dough either on the baking sheet or in a loaf pan.
  • Using your spray bottle with water, spritz the dough, cover and let it rise for 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, score the loaf with a sharp knife, with criss cross slashes or diagonal slashes
  • Put the dough in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • While bread is baking, spritz the loaf fully with your spray bottle every 10 minutes
  • To check if bread is done after 30 minutes of baking, you can use an instant read thermometer (190F means it’s done), or tap the bottom and it should sound hollow.
  • Once baked, allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

HOME MADE FRESH BUNS

You can use the same recipe and technique to bake buns.

Bake buns for 15 minutes.

The bread or buns would be great with a steaming bowl of Italian Barley Soup. Click here for recipe.

This blog post is dedicated to my mamma. A beautiful, witty, loving, strong woman who lives in my heart and memories every day of my life.

I’m sure she’s baking a lot of goodness in Heaven.

I love you, my Angel.

Italianizing a classic soup #recipe

Autumn means nesting, reading by the fire, baking and stirring a pot of love into scrumptious homemade soup.

I’m sharing my recipe for Beef Barley Soup which I have Italianized–something I tend to do with most classics. It’s easy to make, and deliciously warm and satiating.

Get your glow on with
BEEF BARLEY SOUP—ITALIAN STYLE

Ingredients:

2 pounds of Italian meatballs (your favourite recipe) roll them into ½ inch balls, brown in the oven and set aside

You can also substitute for 2 lbs. of cubed beef, or 2 lbs. ground turkey, whichever meat you choose to use, season with salt and brown in a skillet, then set aside

3 celery ribs, sliced

3 carrots, sliced

6 cipollini onions, sliced and roasted

4 garlic cloves, roasted and mashed

2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 slices Parmesan rind

2 sprigs fresh Rosemary

1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes, if whole, chop them up

1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley

6 cups beef broth

1 TBSP olive oil

Fresh basil, chopped finely, optional

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a Dutch oven (you can use a large pot as well), warm up the olive oil on medium-high heat, then add carrots and celery, stir until the vegetables sweat (about 5 minutes).
  • Add cipollini onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, stirring, cook for 5 minutes
  • Add broth, canned tomatoes (along with the tomato juice) and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, and add: rosemary, parmesan rinds, pearl barley, and the meat
  • Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until barley is tender.
  • During the cooking process, taste to adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • At end of cooking cycle, you can remove the remainder of the parmesan rinds and chop them up to add to the soup bowls, and – optional to top with freshly chopped basil

My New Life – Two Years Later

 

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July 10, 2018 at 7:15 p.m.; I held my husband in my arms as he took his last breath.

It was the biggest heartache of my life, and these past two years have been the hardest years of my life.

Nothing prepared me for that last moment.
Nothing prepared me for the days leading up to his death.

Time does not heal the heartache.
Time does not diminish how much I miss him.

I’m still a major work in progress, navigating and working my way through this new life I never wanted.

I live each day wondering how I will get through another day without the love of my life—a loving husband, bonus dad, Baba (grandfather), friend, and uncle that nothing I can write will do justice to the wonderful man he was to us all.

He’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up, and my last thought before I sleep.

Every day I wake up wondering, how will I push through today; and then I remember my promise to him—to honour his legacy of hope, optimism, love, laugh and live—the best description of David I could offer.

A kinder more courageous person I have never met. A true warrior, and the way he handled the last fourteen months of his life only emphasized what a beautiful human being he was from the time he was born until the day he died.

I keep memories of our life together alive, because memories are all I have left.

I am so grateful to have been loved and cherished by this beautiful soul and so privileged and honoured to have been able to love and cherish him.

 

David, my love, the number of years without you could never be greater than the number of ways I love you, the way we all love you.

Eternally in loving memory.

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Discover New-To-You Authors

 

 

Choose your own escapism with a variety of well-crafted stories in contemporary or historical or paranormal settings. With dynamic characters who will make you laugh, keep you in suspense, or ride along to help solve a mystery, or you could choose to sink your reading pleasure into a solid women’s fiction novel.

Today’s authors offer a variety of genres and sub-genres sure to please readers with an appetite to suspend reality for a few hours, and escape into the creative world talented writers have devised for your reading pleasure.

 

A Cornucopia of Great Reads

 

deb-stover

THE GIFT by Deb Stover
Romance and mystery with a paranormal twist

 

sue-phillips

YOU OUGHTA KNOW by Sue Phillips
Compelling Women’s Fiction

 

paul-carhart

PLANETFALL by Paul M. Carhart
Sci-Fi Adventure

 

justine-davis

LONE STAR HOMECOMING by Justine Davis
Contemporary Romance

 

teresa-daly-ramin

SOUL KEEPER by Cathryn Marr
Sexy Paranormal with a twist of humor

 

susan-ricciRAINBOWS AND RESCUES by USA Today Best Selling Author, Susan Jean Ricci
Contemporary Romantic Comedy

 

linda-wisdomHOTEL HEX by Linda Wisdom
Clue meets Bewitched and Nancy Drew Paranormal

 

connie-vinesHERE TODAY, ZOMBIE TOMORROW by Connie Vines
A quirky, sassy and fun paranormal romance

 

deborah-macgillvrayDeborah Macgillivray brings you an array of historical and contemporary romances.

 

kellyFATED TRILOGY by Kelly Moran
Paranormal Romance

Get Mugged

It is a fact that chocolate makes everything better; no matter what is happening in your world or the whole universe, chocolate will comfort you, never disagree with you, never cause you stress, and best of all it’s healthy.

 

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Health benefits of cocoa bean:

  • Powerful source of antioxidants.
  • May reduce heart disease risk.
  • May improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
  • Raises HDL and protects LDL from oxidation.
  • May protect your skin from the sun.
  • Could improve brain function.

I know what you’re thinking—“Selena is a self-professed chocolate guru/chocoholic, of course she’d say chocolate is an important part of a balance diet.”

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There is that, but Mayo Clinic does agree with me. Click here to read how chocolate can be part of a nutritional and healthy eating plan.

CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

 

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Go get mugged with this easy, quick (takes less than 10 minutes to make) recipe for those times when you need chocolate to satisfy a craving.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 TBSP powered peanut butter (or creamy peanut butter)
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBSP warm milk (or warm water)
1 egg white
1 tsp. olive oil (or canola oil)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. maple syrup (or 1 tsp. agave nectar – or – 1 tsp golden syrup)
1/4 tsp. baking powder

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Spray a 10-12 oz mug with non-stick spray

2.  Add all the ingredients in a small bowl, and stir well together, until smooth.

3.  Pour the mixture into the mug.

4.  Microwave on high for 60 – 90 seconds (will depend on your microwave’s wattage) or until center of the cake is done.

5. Serve warm.

Top it with your favourite yogurt and fruit, (I topped mine with vanilla Greek yogurt and berries) or whipping cream, or chocolate chips—get creative.

Enjoy in good health!

 

Long Live Chocolate

 

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