Yearly Archives

2011

Happy New Years!

It’s New Years Eve!
I’m looking forward to 2012, and all it will bring!
I have a word that I am going to focus on this year.
I am going to remember it with all the decisions I make this year in my life.
My word is 
I have a lot to do in my life still.
A lot I want to accomplish.
So much to learn.
So much to try.
There are places I want to see.
Things I want to experience.
There is so much I want my kids to experience.
There are friendships to cherish.
Relationships to nurture.

So I am entering into 2012 with 
my mind and my heart wide open.

It’s time to LIVE.

Sharing my word over at The Lettered Cottage!

My Blog…A Year in Review

I have been pretty excited to put this post together!

I am a numbers person, I like to know what’s going on and I like to stay on top of things.
This is a good and bad thing!  But for this post, it’s soooooo fun!
I really enjoyed seeing who my top referrers were (there were no surprises there!)
and which posts were the favourites (there were some surprises there!)

1.  I Heart Organizing  (thanks Jen!  I LOVE your blog!)
2.  Pinterest (what did we do before pinterest?!)
3.  My Facebook page! (thank-you fb friends!)
4.  Centsational Girl (thank-you Kate!)
5.  One Pretty Thing (thank-you Rachel!)
6.  Just a Girl  (thank-you Chris!)
7.  craftgawker (I love craftgawker!)
8.  Nesting Place (thank-you Nester!)
9.  Tip Junkie  (thanks Laurie!)
10. Funky Junk Interiors  (thank-you Donna!)
This post has exceeded my expectations a thousand times over and over!
Who knew?!
Y’all love chalkboard labels as much as I do!  Whoot!
I love a simple and pretty project, and apparently so do you!  Yay!
‘Eye’ see you love this spooky wreath too!
Feelin’ the love for my yarn wreaths!
Hooray for colour and quirkiness!
I was feeling the love for these birch additions to my mantel!
We all love organizing!
(this post reaaaaally surprised me! I thought no one would even read this!  
But now that I know you love organizing too, I may do more posts like this in the New Year!)
The love of yarn wreaths continues… 😉
I’m sensing a theme here…yay for wreaths!

I’ve had so much fun this past year blogging!
I’m so inspired by this bloggyworld, and I can’t wait to get going on new projects and recipes in the New Year!
Thank you so much for reading along, and letting me into your home!
I’m truly, truly happy to have you here!

Smoked Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Flatbread

This Smoked Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Flatbread (Smoked Salmon Pizza) is a delicious appetizer, perfect for parties! 
So do you love New Years Eve or hate it? I’ve always been a take it or leave it kind of gal with this holiday! When we started having kids, staying in really was our only option, so we always had a quiet and early New Years.  We’d order in food and watch a movie. Often we didn’t even see the countdown, and that was just fine with me!
But there’s just something about getting together with friends that’s so fun too! So this year we are getting together with friends, and it’s going to be a good time. Good food, good drinks and good friends!  Yay!
Good food…now what to make?!
How about Smoked Salmon Pizza?  This is a really great appetizer or snack! I was inspired to make this recipe after I had it at my friend Lori’s. It’s so yummy, looks so fancy, but is really easy to make!
Smoked Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Flatbread (Smoked Salmon Pizza)

 

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Smoked Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Flatbread (Smoked Salmon Pizza)


  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 – 12 inch pizza crust base, pre-baked
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 – 2 tbsp capers
  • 8 pieces of smoked salmon
  • fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a bowl combine cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add dill and mix.
  4. Spread the cream cheese mix over the pizza base, leaving about a 1/2 inch along the edge of the crust.
  5. Lay on the smoked salmon pieces, spreading it out so you are making 8 pizza slices.
  6. Sprinkle on the red onion and capers.
  7. Bake at 450 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. The crust should slightly puff up and be slightly browned. Watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn!
  8. Remove it from the oven, sprinkle on some fresh dill, slice into 8 pieces and serve!

Notes

You can add a touch of Dijon Mustard to the cream cheese mix – it’s fantastic! [br]I doubled this recipe and made 2 pizzas. This served 8 people comfortably.

Adapted from Lori and Canadian Living

Smoked Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese Flatbread  (Smoked Salmon Pizza)

 

Christmas in Review at A Pretty Life

Only 3 more days!
I’m always amazed how fast this season goes!
The presents are wrapped, what’s going to be baked is baked, and the tree is trimmed (and dry as dry can be)!
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Now all we have left to do is head home for the holidays!
Time to sit back, have a festive drink by a roaring fire, skate on the lake,
hang our stockings, and wait for Santa!
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I pulled together a little review of the festive baking and projects I have made for this season!
Enjoy!
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Happy Holidays to you and your family!
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And thank you again so much for stopping in!  I am honoured to have you here.
Truly.

 

Candy Cane Crumble Nutella Cookies

These Candy Cane Crumble Nutella Cookies are a perfect holiday treat!  Easy to make and eat!

Earlier this week one of my most favourite people brought over the yum-yummiest cookies! (Hi Lori!)  They were soft, chocolate-y and minty.  Delish.  Delish.  I just knew I had to make them for the holiday season, so I sought out the recipe which is the peppermint crumble cookie from Becky Higgins.

I was all ready to make them, had my candy canes all crushed, and realized I didn’t have any chocolate chips.  No chocolate chips?!  Who doesn’t have chocolate chips?  I guess that would be me.  OH NO!  What was I going to do?  Then I looked over and I saw the Nutella.  Ok, brain is thinking…what can I do with Nutella…hmmm  So I went on an on-line search and discovered the Chocolate Nutella Cookies from two peas & their pod.  They looked like the perfect cookie to add candy cane crumble to.  And they are. 

Yum yum in my tum tum.

Candy Cane Crumble Nutella Cookies
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Candy Cane Crumble Nutella Cookies


  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Yield: 36 cookies

Description

These Candy Cane Crumble Nutella Cookies are a perfect holiday treat!  Easy to make and eat!


Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 candy canes, crushed

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. For the fun part, put the candy canes into a ziplock bag, and using a heavy ladle (or hammer), crush the canes, but don’t pulverize them! Hammer out your holiday frustrations!! Crush. Crush. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl cream together the butter and sugars, until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add the vanilla. Mix well.
  6. Add the Nutella and mix again until smooth.
  7. To the Nutella mix, add the flour mix in 3 parts, alternating with the milk. Mix well.
  8. Refrigerate your batter for at least 15 minutes.
  9. After the batter has cooled, it is ready to go.
  10. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then take 1 tablespoon of the batter and roll it into a ball, and space them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Lightly press down the ball. Bake for ~10 minutes.
  11. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, make a well in the centre of the cookie with your finger, by lightly pressing down, and add about 1/2 tsp of the candy cane crumble.
  12. Let cool.

Recipe adapted from two peas & their pod, inspired by Becky Higgins (and Lori!)

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Grab a loved one and enjoy!
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Candy Cane Crumble Nutella Cookies
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Apricot Pecan Rugelach

I’ve been baking up a semi-storm this week! Only 5 days until the big day!  Whoa. I’m ready now.  I mean there’s only so much one can do right? As long as we are all together, surrounded by family, life is good. Oh, and a table full of treats helps too!

I will be adding these cookies to our treat table this year! They are kind of a nice change from the cookies you find this time of year…and for some reason I don’t make them often enough.

But when I do make them, I am reminded of how much I like them, and how they aren’t really that hard to make. A little more tedious than some recipes, but sometimes I like the extra little challenge!  Especially when that challenge is good for my taste buds!

So on to my recipe!  Give them a try!  If you love nuts and jams, these are for you!

Apricot Pecan Rugelach {A Pretty Life}
Whisk
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Apricot Pecan Rugelach


  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature, cut into chunks)
  • 1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese (at room temperature, cut into chunks)
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • one vanilla bean pod – scrape out the seeds in the centre

The Filling

  • 2 cups pecans (see tips)
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam (see tips)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

The Dough

  1. In a bowl sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cut up the butter and cream cheese into chunks, into a bowl to be creamed.
  3. Cream together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the lemon zest, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds to the butter mixture. Combine well.
  5. Beat in the flour mix. Mix well.
  6. Work the dough into a ball, then split the dough into 2 balls.
  7. Flatten each ball into a 6 inch disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Now it’s time to make the filling…

The Filling

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then spread the nuts evenly out onto a cookie sheet. Toast the nuts in the oven for 6 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned. Watch carefully, and don’t burn them!
  2. When the nuts are toasted, set them aside to cool. When they are cooled, using a knife chop them up.
  3. Then get out your food processor!! Use it to combine the chopped nuts, jam, honey and cinnamon. Combine until the pecans are coarsely ground.

Putting it all together!

  1. After the dough has rested and chilled for the required time, take out one disc at a time from the fridge – it’s time to roll it! (leave the other disc dough in the fridge until you are ready to work with it)
  2. Generously dust a clean work surface with about 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. (the more the better!)
  3. With a rolling pin roll the dough out into a 16 inch circle of even thickness. If the dough is too stiff, just knead it in your hands for a bit.
  4. Using half of the jam filling, spread it out evenly onto the dough, leaving about a 1cm space from the edge.
  5. Using a knife slice the dough first into 4 equal quarters.
  6. Then slice each quarter into 6 equal pieces.
  7. It’s time to roll the rugelach! For each wedge, start from the edge of the dough and roll to the centre.
  8. Roll, roll, roll until you have a cute little crescent!
  9. Then take each dough crescent, generously dust it with powdered sugar, and place on a cookie sheet. Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  10. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 14-18 minutes, until the tops start turning golden brown.
  11. Immediately remove them from the pan, and place them on a cooling rack.
  12. Generously dust them with powdered sugar again.
  13. Repeat all the above steps for the second disc of dough and the remaining filling.
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Recipe adapted from The All-American Cookie Book

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Cut the butter and cream cheese into chunks, and put into a bowl to be creamed.

Putting it all together:

With a rolling pin roll the dough out into a 16 inch circle of even thickness.  If the dough is too stiff, just knead it in your hands for a bit.

Using half of the jam filling, spread it out evenly onto the dough, leaving about a 1cm space from the edge, as shown above.

Using a knife slice the dough first into 4 equal quarters.  Then slice each quarter into 6 equal pieces.  It’s time to roll the rugelach!  For each wedge, start from the edge of the dough and roll to the centre.

Roll, roll, roll until you have a cute little crescent!

Then take each dough crescent, generously dust it with powdered sugar, and place on a cookie sheet.  Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 14-18 minutes, until the tops start turning golden brown.  Immediately remove them from the pan, and place them on a cooling rack.  Generously dust them with powdered sugar again.  Repeat all the above steps for the second disc of dough and the remaining filling.

Apricot Pecan Rugelach {A Pretty Life}

Tips!

  • I used a mixture of half pecans and half almonds, but you could use any nut combination that you like.  Walnuts, pecans or almonds are delish!
  • And I bet you could use what ever jam flavour you like too!  Marmalade, raspberry, strawberry!
  • You can make the dough and the filling up to 2 days ahead!  Yay!  Just let the dough warm up a bit before rolling it out (about 20 minutes or so)
  • And trust me, these are not as hard to make as they may seem!
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