Sunday, January 23, 2011

Salted Chocolate Caramels for Valentine's Day, Anyone??

So, I made some chocolate dipped caramels.

And I can't stop eating them.

And everyone I've given them to can't stop eating them either.

Oh my. 

What have I started? ;)

well.....I've decided to start a little sweets business, that's what. One that involves yummy treats and cute packaging.

And here you have it....

GIGGLE SWEETS online store is NOW OPEN!

Chocolate-dipped Salted Caramels....made with organic sugar and mineral-rich Ancient Sea Salt.

As for these salted caramel bars.....they're *meant* for sharing....and cutting off little caramels one at a time.

But I'm not going to tell anyone if you happen to polish one off all by yourself ;)

Can't say it hasn't happened once or twice.

They get wrapped in soy-wax paper, with an outer layer of eco-friendly parchment paper. Then finished off with a striped paper band and chocolate brown grosgrain ribbon.

If you think you'd have more control with the individually-wrapped caramels....then these are the ones for you :)

They come wrapped in eco-friendly parchment paper, held together with a pink striped paper band, and tied with twine.

Do you have a special Valentine? 

I'm pretty sure they'd be tickled pink if some treats arrived at their door! ;)

Stay posted for a yummy GIVEAWAY very soon!!

In the meantime, pop on over to my little store, if you're craving something sweet!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A pink cupcake day (thank you Dr. Oetker)

So....yesterday was a snow day.

We'd already done the 8:30 am "playing diggers in the snow" thing.

Next on the agenda...

cupcakes :)

I think every day should be a cupcake day, personally.

So....since we had limited time while Finn was napping, we pulled out a trusty Dr. Oetker Organic Vanilla cake mix.

If you haven't tried this....I would recommend you do. In my opinion, it's the best, most home-made tasting, moist cake mix out there.

My little secret...add a good dollop (sort of like a heaping tablespoon) of mayo or sour cream to the mix. Moist and delicious every time :)

And don't bake it as long as it says on the box. For mini cupcakes, I find that 13-14 minutes is perfect. For regular sized cupcakes, 18-19 minutes is good. Not the 20-25 that they suggest.

Now....we all know that the icing makes the cake, right?

Well.....there's nothing quite like a frothy, whippy, vanilla raspberry frosting! :)

I don't use a recipe for icing generally, but it went something like this:

3 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp organic raspberry jam

Oh was gooood!

I actually originally added the raspberry jam because Toby had requested pink icing, and I was avoiding food colouring (it doesn't agree with him).

Just look at this little man....icing away like a pro ;)

He said "I'm the "sprinkler", mom, so you don't have to worry about sprinkling...I'm so good at it" ;)


I can just see it on his resume...."Excellent cupcake sprinkling skills"

I sure know how to raise 'em ;) Good skills and all!

And there they are....the "sprinkles"..

and yes....they're organic and coloured with beet juice and the  like. 

There is such a thing....can you believe it?

Aren't they just so darn cute? :) cute I ate 4 right away....

and then about 6 more this morning.

Oh dear.

I thought...well, there's eggs in them, right? ;)

And then little Finny spotted them.

"cooookie...coookie" (his new word after Christmas)

Not cookie, Finny, but close enough.

So, like any self-respecting, organic-freak mother...

I licked the icing off and handed him a cupcake.

I know.

I know.

awful mother.

Someone please come over and eat the rest for me!

I simply don't have it in me to resist them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A little Le Creuset Cassis French Oven (and Baked Lamb Chops)...

I'm feeling a little bit more french these days...

I mean, I've always wanted to BE french...

Isn't there just something so glamorous about everything french?

Their fashion, their food, their wine, their way of life. 

I'm pretty sure I was meant to be french, but until I can somehow manage to buy a french villa and accompanying vineyard, overlooking the Mediterranean ....

this little Le Creuset pot will have to do ;)

My lovely husband surprised me with this little beauty for Christmas!! :) :)

I am completely spoiled. I know.....I know....

But he's going to reap the benefits ;) 

Well, at least until the novelty wears off...hehe. ;)

I don't think it will, though. This french oven is perfect for so many dishes.

The first meal I made was "Coq au vin". YUMM.

(I didn't take pictures).

The second meal was a little concoction I sort of just threw together with what I had in the fridge, and I was DELISH!

Baked Rosemary Lamb Chops (sounds like a suitable name?)

First, I marinated four lamb shoulder chops for about a half hour (longer would be better) in 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 +/- Red wine (in a separate bowl). Then I seasoned them with sea salt and rubbed fresh rosemary on both sides.

While the lamb was marinating, I cut up about 6 red-skinned potatoes, one large yam, and 3 carrots into cubes and popped them in the pot.

I then added some butter (approx. 3 tbsps +/-) in globs on top of the veggies, as well as some "Herbamare" (my favourite spice mix by A.Vogel...found at the health food store), freshly ground sea salt, black pepper and 2 whole cloves of garlic (just peeled).

I placed the lamb chops on top of the veggies and popped it in the oven at 325F for approx. 2.5 hrs. (with the lid on).

15 minutes before we were ready to eat, I boiled a little bunch of asparagus for approx. 2 minutes and then dumped it in on top of the lamb (seasoned the asparagus with sea salt, black pepper and a little freshly ground garlic flakes). The asparagus was in the oven for about 10 minutes (lid off), and it browned a little and took on a nice flavour from the pot.

All in all, a super easy and delicious (though I say so myself) meal! 

I know that lamb isn't for's definitely a flavour that a lot of north americans are not used to, but it's my all time favourite meat. My parents are irish, and we grew up eating lamb at least once a week.  

I definitely notice the difference cooking with a cast iron pot. It cooks so evenly and doesn't burn, and the flavours seem to blend much better than I've ever noticed with any of my other dishes. Maybe it's my imagination? Who knows.....whatever it is, I'm loving it!!

And isn't the colour fabulous? It's the new colour for 2011....Cassis. 


Bon Soir;)

I'm off to build an IKEA Expedit shelf for the boys' playroom. We need somewhere to contain the now- out- of- control toy situation.

Ramsign WINNER!

And the winner.....


...the lovely....



I know you're going to love your new house numbers :)

(Ramsign will be contacting you shortly)

Hope you're all having a fabulous, relaxing weekend!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Ramsign Giveaway! (House number/name signs handmade in Denmark)

A "Happy New Year" giveaway for you!!

(that I wish I could win myself, I might add) ;)

Since we painted the exterior of our house 3 years ago, we haven't had house numbers up.

Yes...I said 3 years!.....without numbers.......sigh.

And these ones from Ramsign are simply beautiful!

Each sign is handmade in Denmark (hand stenciled one at a time with genuine glass enamel and then fired at 800 degrees celcius...resulting in a one-of-a-kind custom sign for your home)

And just look at their packaging!!

Simply gorgeous.

Ramsign has offered to send one of you lucky ladies (or men, for that matter) a custom name or number sign of your choice!

The winner can choose a custom number or name sign for their home.

Just leave me a comment on this post for one entry, and if you're new here, become a follower for an extra entry.

If you want to get an extra entry, feel free to blog or tweet or whatever you wish to do to spread the word :) Just make sure you leave me a separate comment for each of your efforts!

Good luck!!!!!

The winner will be chosen at random on Saturday, January 8.

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