So, remember in my last post where I was complaining about the cold weather? Yeah, that’s not the case anymore. It has been so incredibly warm and beautiful here the past two weeks I almost forgot I live in Winnipeg. Granted, our summers are traditionally nice and hot. I actually went for lunch on a patio with a friend on Friday and got sunburnt. Gone are the days where I used Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil with SPF 6. Seriously, that’s what I used 20 years ago when I went to the beach! Today, I put on SPF 60 to cut the grass. Either our ozone layer is non-existent now or I’m learning another harsh reality of growing older. As if the grey hair wasn’t enough, right?
We are celebrating 4 birthday’s on our hockey team this week. Since I am incapable of celebrating without baking, I decided to make something unique for the birthday girls. These cookies combine my favourite movie theatre snack items. I recently discovered that the kids pack is the best invention ever. I don’t know about your theatres, but our theatres have a kids pack that comes with the perfect amount of popcorn, one chocolate bar of your choice and a normal-sized drink. Not to mention, it’s cheap! Well, cheap for movie theatre standards I suppose. You simply cannot go wrong.
You also cannot go wrong with these cookies. The salty buttered popcorn pairs wonderfully with the dark chocolate chips and creamy cookie dough. They are also extremely chewy and soft. I used buttered microwave popcorn because it’s super convenient. But you can also pop and butter your own popcorn too if you don’t like microwave popcorn. This was actually the first time I bought microwave popcorn in years as we typically pop our own on the stove. A huge shout-out to both Joy the Baker and Deb from Smitten Kitchen for originally creating this recipe. They are two of my all-time favourite food bloggers, so serious props need to be given to them. I highly recommend you check out their blogs. They are stunning.
I love receiving recipe requests. After blogging for a few years now, sometimes it’s hard to come up with recipes every week to share. This recipe was a request from somebody on our Facebook page and we couldn’t be happier to share it with you. I’m a very picky bran muffin connoisseur. Most of the time I find them to be really dry and flavourless. This recipe is the complete opposite. These muffins are extremely moist and very versatile, with a deep sweet flavour that comes from the brown sugar. The original recipe calls for raisins, but Claudia prefers dates in her bran muffins so we decided to feature that instead. However, you can simply swap out the same quantity of dates for raisins if you prefer Raisin Bran Muffins instead.
I love fruit desserts. Apple, strawberry, raspberry – you name it.
But pineapple? I was a little skeptical.
As you can tell, this recipe is old. It apparently was my Grandmother’s. The image above reaffirms why I needed to create this blog, as this is Claudia’s recipe. Handwritten, worn and slightly yellow. Splash some water on this puppy and it’s a goner.
My Grandmother apparently made this dessert a lot more than Claudia did while I was growing up. Prior to this blog posting, I argued with Claudia that I never tried this tasty dessert before. She vehemently disagreed. When we received a request to make this treat for Christmas, it was then that I fell in love with this delightful slice. Try it and you will too!
I can always tell when the holidays are upon us. My evenings become jam-packed and I spend my Sunday’s in the kitchen with Claudia. I’m talking 6 hours this past Sunday! It was pretty fun. My feet were killing me by the end of it though. I honestly don’t know how Claudia can stand in the kitchen for hours on end making dozens upon dozens of perogies at a time. She’s Superwoman. Somebody buy her a cape!
Last Christmas we ended up featuring a lot of the holiday baking items I enjoyed growing up. Today’s blog is no exception. These cookies are my Dad’s favourite – and for very good reason. They literally melt in your mouth. Literally. This is no joke people. They are the softest, most delicate shortbread cookie I have ever tried. And they are delicious and super, super simple to make.
For as long as I can remember, Date Squares (aka Matrimonial Cake) were always on Claudia’s Christmas baking list. I’ll admit that when I was younger I didn’t fancy them too much and chose holiday desserts on the table that had a lot more chocolate on them. But as I get older (and wiser of course) I have grown to absolutely love them. The buttery crumbly layers and the sweet date filling makes this the perfect recipe for your own holiday baking list.
You don’t get any more Ukrainian than Cabbage Rolls. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was fed these as my first experience with “real food” as a baby. Not one special dinner has gone by in our family without cabbage rolls being served. There are many variations. But I can tell you now that nobody’s cabbage rolls compare to the ones that Claudia makes. They are simple the best. Not too tomato soupy, not too cabbagey. They are perfect little delights. However, I learned in this blog process that I apparently haven’t inherited the Ukrainian cabbage rolling gene, as I found the process extremely frustrating. My 1/4 Slovakian genes took over my hands and rendered me incapable of “tucking and rolling” the rice and cabbage. But do not fret kids….if you weren’t blessed with the Ukrainian cooking gene like me, it just takes a bit of practise and patience. …and Claudia laughing at you when you curse the rice that fell from your hands and onto your clean floor.
This particular recipe caused a lot of different philosophical cooking debates between myself and Claudia. The largest being that young garden potatoes should only be used in this recipe. ONLY THIS RECIPE. I learned this the hard way when Claudia called me up last week to tell me she dug out some “nice young potatoes” from our garden in Saskatchewan. When she told me this I was quite happy, as I had my eye on this great potato salad recipe that I wanted to make for her and my Dad the following week. BIG mistake. BIG. A mere two seconds went by after the words “use these young potatoes for potato salad” flew out of my mouth when Claudia interjected with one word – “No”. Being quite a stubborn daughter and fond of debate, I then asked her why I couldn’t use the “young garden potatoes” for my potato salad. Her answer (said in a sarcastic ‘well aren’t you a piece of work’ response – quite possibly rolling her eyes at me): “Because, young potatoes are for dill potatoes only.” Fair enough Mom, fair enough.
Dill potatoes are very common in Ukrainian households. Maybe it’s because potatoes were a staple on the farm or in gardens. Probably because it was dirt cheap (no pun intended) to grow and cook with in general. Either way, they are so simple to make, yet so comforting and delicious. Best in summer when you have “young potatoes” and fresh garden dill. Now, when I asked Claudia her definition of “young potatoes” for this post, I didn’t get a really clear, definite answer. Essentially, they are potatoes that are pulled out of the ground at an earlier stage and not left to fully mature. P.s. they are delicious!