Monday, 31 December 2012

Let's take hold of this winter thing

Notice the cuddly scarves and knit toques? It's winter time people! And we love it over here in Canada. ;) Yesterday my brother Wes and I embraced the icy breeze and went for a walk up our road. It's a rare thing where we live for the sky in winter to be sunny AND not raining AND not raining. Did I say not raining? Today also happens to be this guy's 19th birthday! So, for the rest of the day we'll be celebrating with lots of cake and a little surprise we have for him. :) I hope you all have a wonderful day on this New Years eve!

Much love, Vivi

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Salted Chocolate-Caramel Clusters

What's not to about love crunchy pecans and chewy caramel covered in white and dark chocolate? These chocolate caramel clusters are delicious on their own, and just as tantalising with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt for a finishing touch. I enjoyed more than a couple with a cup of holiday chai by stash tea. Also, these require no baking! So go ahead and eat a bunch while you're putting them together. No judgement here. 


1 8-ounce package pecan halves, toasted
1 14-ounce package vanilla caramels, unwrapped
1 tablespoon milk
1 12-ounce package dark chocolate pieces
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped   


1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Arrange pecans in single layer clusters of five halves each.
2. In a small heavy saucepan combine vanilla caramels with milk. Heat and stir over medium heat until caramels melt and mixture is smooth. Spoon caramel over each cluster of pecans and let stand for 30 minutes or until firm.
3. In a medium heavy saucepan heat and stir the dark chocolate pieces over low heat until chocolate melts and is smooth. Set aside 1/4 cup of the melted chocolate. Spoon remaining melted chocolate over clusters, gently spreading to the edges. Let stand until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Microwave white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute or until chocolate is smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread white chocolate over tops of clusters. Pour reserved dark chocolate into a resealable plastic bag and snip a very small hole in one corner. Drizzle chocolate over each cluster. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt. Makes 20- 24 clusters.

 Much love, Vivi        

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

the morning of Christmas

the tiniest snowflakes cascading down from morning skies
presents wrapped lovingly underneath our Christmas "shree" (tree/shrub... :)
handmade Christmas cards and presents wrapped in twine
emerald green vines freshly soaked with rain
mandarin oranges make Christmas in our house :)
peaceful, restful rain
I'm sure someone wise once said, "the more cream the better"
steaming organic tangerine dream by David's tea making it's way into my mug

I hope your Christmas was filled with everything you love! Christmas morning has always been my very favorite part of the day. I love the anticipation of unwrapping gifts, the strong sense of love and excitement in everyone's faces. I love reading the Christmas story as a family, and thanking God for sending His son Jesus to be our Savior. I love the soft music my mom always puts on, and the baking that's brought out with joy. 
What is your favorite part of Christmas?  I would love to hear.

 Much love, Vivi 

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day is beautiful and full of love. And really delicious food. ;)

Much love, Vivi

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Thoughts on blogging

When I started this blog little over a year ago, my main goal was for it to be a style blog. Well, it has very quickly become more a food blog than anything. ;) Writing this blog and capturing pictures has been such a learning experience. In all its cheesiness, I have learnt more about myself through this blog than I thought possible. Every stage has taught me something; the imagination behind each word and photograph, the editing, creating, fine-tuning, the final product. It's shown me what I truly love most. And truly, I love this little blog and all the people who have made it possible. Yup, I love you. Thank you to the moon and back for reading these words, browsing through these photos. You're the best.

Much love, Vivi 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

A few nights ago I made some biscotti for the first time. Scratch that, a few weeks ago I made biscotti for the first time. With school wrapping up for the year, (cue tests, quizzes, abyss of homework) I completely forgot I had this post, patiently waiting to be finished. Forgive me, biscotti, you sure were delicious.


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 tablespoon sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325* F and line two large cookies sheet with parchment paper. 
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the middle. In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks. Stir in the melted butter. Place the egg mixture in the well in the flour mixture and stir until the dough starts to form a ball. Stir in almonds and cranberries. (dough will be crumbly) Use your hands to kneed until the dough comes together.
3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into three equal portions. Shape each portion into a 14-inch roll and place about 3 inches apart on prepared cookies sheets, flattening each to about 1 1/2 inches wide. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until rolls are firm and light brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks for 15 minutes.
5. Transfer rolls to cutting board. Cut each roll diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Cool completely.
6. Dip one end of each biscotti into cream cheese icing and place on wire racks over sheets of waxed paper. 

Cream cheese icing: 
Beat 3 ounces softened cream cheese and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract until creamy. Beat in one cup powdered sugar, adding milk as needed to make an icing of dripping consistency.  

Store at room temperature for up to three days or freeze for up to a month! 

Happy Baking!   

Much love, Vivi  

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas time

thankful for this December....

light covered fire places 
apple cider with cinnamon sticks
foggy mornings
warm winter gloves
Christmas novels
The Polar Express  
volunteering at a Pioneer Christmas event for kids
cranberry almond biscotti- recipe coming soon :)
learning in biology class

Two more weeks of classes and I am officially finished school for the year! Grade 12 is a lot more work than previously expected. I've been focusing more on that fact that Christmas is fast approaching. (yippee!) Who else is just itching to dig into a hunk of turkey? Or maybe you're classy and eat with a knife and fork. Don't worry, I do too. But it's Christmas time, you gotta live a little! ;)

Much love, Vivi 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Classic Gingerbread

Gingerbread. A classic and heart-warming Christmas treat. These cookies filled our home with the warm and comforting scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Soft and chewy, this recipe broke the mold of typical gingerbread while still meeting the long-loved delicious standards. I made my cookies a little thinner than the recipe called for, only because I wanted to make more. Don't be afraid to courageously decorate these little guys to your heart's content. The more chocolate involved the better. ;)

Much love, Vivi

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Bake up a storm

Chrsitmas is one of my favourite times of the year. I love the festivities, the twinkling lights, and of course, the BAKING! To celebrate the beginning of this Christmas season, I thought I would share a few baking inspirations that have kept my sweet tooth satisfied this year, and would make a lovely addition to any Christmas party.

Chocolate hazelnut macaroons
The most delicious pumpkin scones/cookies
Walnut coffee cake
Classic peanut butter cookies
Lemon meringue pie
Chocolate chip banana bread - I have made this recipe many many times since I posted it! It is the BEST banana bread known to man.
Happy Baking!

Much love, Vivi