Tag Archives: xmas

Saturday, Nov. 23: Toronto Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

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Sat. Nov. 9: Make It Indie Christmas Fine Craft and Decorative Art Show!

Weezie World & Headhugz will be teaming up at the upcoming Make It Indie Christmas Fine Craft and Decorative Art Show this November 9 (that’s THIS Saturday) in Coburg, Ontario (just a hop, skip and a jump from Toronto on the 401!)

Make It Indie is an independent Fine Craft & Decorative Art Show whose mandate is to encourage, support and promote regional artists and artisans who unabashedly make it, make it independently and support each other in the process.

Admission: $2 (kids are free!)

I’ll have a whole slew of new items on hand, including some fun Christmas décor (wine charms, ornaments, napkin rings) and these funky new keychains  — made in honour of the upcoming 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who!

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(Incidentally — if these strike your fancy and you’re a bit geographically challenged with regard to the Cobourg event… never fear! You can find them HERE as well.)

** FULL EVENT DETAILS:

Make It Indie Christmas Fine Craft and Decorative Art Show
When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 | 10am-4pm.
Where: Lions Community Centre (157 Elgin Street East, Cobourg, ON.) | MAP
Admission: Adults $2 | children are free.

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Gingerbread Redux (a final shoutout to 2010!)

Cals: 244 | Fat: 9 g | Sodium: 275 mg | Carbs: 36 g | Fibre: 2 g | Protein: 3 g

I know, I know… we’ve moved on. It’s 2011, already. But I promised my mum I’d post this for her. And, since it’s my blog… I’m gonna!

This year, I’d volunteered to bring a dessert to my in-laws for Christmas Eve dinner. And, since I wanted to make something festive but wanted to make it a wee bit more, well… Weezie, I opted for this bit of fabulousness: Double Layer Gingerbread with Eggnog Filling. Yeah. I know. And you’re welcome.

But, despite how decadent it sounds, it’s really not as damaging as one would assume. Including the icing/filling, each hefty slice (we hacked this bad boy into 10; yes, there were seconds) still clocks in at less than 250 calories.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. table salt
4  tbsp. regular butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar Splenda
½ cup buttermilk  (made from Soy Milk!)
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350ºF. Coat  cake pan (in my case, I used the the cutest silicone xmas tree pan ever made so that I could make layers) with cooking spray.  You could use a similar sized pan OR double the recipe to make two 9″ layers.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda and  salt.
  • Stir butter, brown sugar splenda, buttermilk, molasses, 1/4 cup water and egg together until smooth.
  • Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture.
  • Pour into pan.
  • Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, about 42 minutes (45 to 50 minutes if you’re using the standard 9″ pan)
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

PS – I did NOT go out and buy buttermilk to make this. Where’s the sense in buying a litre when you’re only using a half-cup of it for your recipe, right? Because let’s be honest – how often are you going to use buttermilk? If you’re me, you can likely count the number of times on one hand. So, what’s a girl to do? Make your own!  But that’s madness, you’re thinking. Crazy wizard talk! Nope. Trust me. If I had magical powers, I’d already have a marathon,  pulitzer and national best-seller under my belt.  But I do have fat-free soy milk. And I have lemon juice. And, as a result of the two, I now have buttermilk.

Here’s how you make your own:

For each cup required: place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add in soy milk (or regular milk, if that’s what you have on hand) to equal 1 cup. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes. Use as needed. Rice milk, incidentally, won’t work as well because of the lower protein content.

Gingerbread + Eggnog = Happy Tums

Since I was taking this particular tasty treat to my in-laws’ house to share and wasn’t going to be serving it warm from the oven, I wanted to add a seasonal flair that would counteract any potential drying out that might occur.

Enter Eggnog Frosting. Not only did I turn gingerbread into a Christmas tree-shaped layer cake, I frosted between the layers with a delightfully decadent-tasting filling of eggnoggy goodness. And, since there was only one piece left Christmas morning (and my sister-in-law quickly snagged that for breakfast), I think it’s fair for me to brag just a wee bit about this creation. Just a wee bit. OK, I’m done.

Ingredients
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups powdered/confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup light eggnog
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Instructions

  • In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy and light in colour.
  • Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until it is well incorporated.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and beat until frosting is airy and thoroughly mixed (about 2 minutes)
  • Frost away!

(You can store this in the fridge if you’re not planning to use it right away; just keep it covered and be sure to let it return to room temp. before using.)

This recipe actually made quite a bit more than I needed and, sadly, I wound up tossing about half of it (which, given my sweet tooth, was actually a wise decision.) Once you’ve assembled your layers with frosting in the middle, add a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar (like snow!) and you’ve got yourself a fantabulous, festive, Xmas treat!

Because let’s be honest – how often are you

going to use buttermilk? If you’re me, you can likely count the number

of times on one hand. What’s a girl to do? Make your own!

But that’s madness, you’re thinking? Crazy wizard talk!

Nope. Trust me. If I had magical powers, I’d already have a marathon,

pulitzer and national best-seller under my belt. But I do have fat-free

soy milk. And I have lemon juice. And, as a result of the two, I now

have buttermilk.

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’tis the Season, Part 4: Les Yums!

For the longest time, I lived in apartments with limited kitchen space and a severe absence of dishwasher technology. So, when it came to holiday baking, I tended to shy away for the most part.

The thing is – I’m a bit of a superstar in the kitchen.  No, seriously. At the same time, I’m really quite lazy. So the prospect of having to hand wash all those extra dishes was unappealing enough to keep all my Martha Stewart-esque leanings at bay.

This year, however, things have changed. I have a kitchen that has enough counter space to let me and all my naturally clumsy tendencies manoeuvre about freely & unscathed. And, best of all, it has a dishwasher: a shiny, spankin’-new stainless steel, wonder-of-technology and slayer-of-dishpan-hands dishwasher. Truly, it is a thing of beauty.

Our first Christmas in our Rockstar House, however, we’d only just moved in (I’m talking: got the keys and hauled our stuff in 2 short weeks before Santa and his helpers set out on their big journey) so I did well to find knickers to wear, never mind muffin tins.

Last year, I was still convinced that every calorie was out to get me.  I’m pretty sure they are. But I’ve since learned to run long distances and they aren’t as good at catching me anymore.

Christmas 2010 is the year I’ve decided to regale my loved ones with my culinary prowess once again. But, instead of the super-rich, stick-to-your-thighs, shrink-your-pants recipes I’d mastered lo those many years ago, I decided to go another route.  This year, I trolled around the web and found some tasty treasures that I was able to adapt into healthier renditions or, at the very least, versions with fewer calories than found in their original form.

My big weakness, when it comes to delighting my palate, is peanut butter. Truth be told, I’m perfectly happy to eat it straight from the jar. I know. Pretty civilized, right? I didn’t say I was proud.

Cals: 108 | Fat: 5.8 g | Sodium: 62 mg | Carbs: 9.4 g | Fibre: 1.1 g | Protein: 3 g

My first adaptation came in the form of these über-tasty (if I do say so, myself) Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. My husband doesn’t have a particularly pronounced sweet tooth, so I wanted to be sure that whatever I made with peanut butter would be something he’d help to eat (because – let’s face it – left to my own devices, I’d just end up inhaling the entire batch on my own.) Thankfully, he’s a sucker for cookies of both the oatmeal & peanut butter persuasions. So combining the two seemed like a win-win. As it happens, I was right. I’ve already made two batches of these bad boys.

Ingredients
1C margarine (2 sticks), softened
1 C natural peanut butter
1 C Brown Sugar Splenda
½ C Egg Beaters (or 2 large eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2½ C rolled oats
1½ C whole wheat flour

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°C
  • Combine softened margarine and peanut butter in a large bowl
  • Add Splenda & egg beaters and mix until smooth, fluffy and glossy
  • Stir in vanilla
  • Add salt, baking soda, oatmeal and flour
  • Stir well
  • Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet & flatten with the back of a spoon or a fork
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes

Makes 45 medium/large cookies.
(warning: I’m pretty sure these are habit forming)

Cals: 66 | Fat: 1.4 g | Sodium: 3.7 mg | Carbs: 11.8 g | Fibre: 1.5 g | Protein: 1.8 g

Don’t think peanut butter or oatmeal are quite festive enough on their own?  How about Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies (made with pumpkin purée & whole wheat flour, instead of butter & the processed-beyond-the-telling-of-it white stuff) that are moist, chewy and full of seasonal spice!

Thanks to SparkRecipes (and if you don’t already know about this site, you need to go to there – immediately!) I didn’t have to make any alterations to this yum-tastic concoction and simply followed the recipe as found.

Ingredients
1 C canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pie filling)
½ C cup brown sugar Splenda
½ C Egg Beaters (or 2 large eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ C whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. salt
3 C rolled oats
1 C dried cranberries
½ C slivered or sliced almonds

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°C
  • Beat together pumpkin and sugar
  • Add eggs and vanilla, beat well
  • Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon salt ; mix
  • Stir in rolled oats, cranberries & almonds
  • Drop rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake 10-12 minutes

Makes 45 cookies.

Cals: 36.3 | Fat: 1.2 g | Sodium: 75.8 mg | Carbs: 5.7 g | Fibre: 0.2 g | Protein: 0.6 g

I realize that not everyone has the time, nor the inclination to go all Battle of the Food Network Stars simply because it’s the holidays. So for those of you who can’t be arsed with baking… but don’t want to bring a bag of oreos to your company pot luck: get ready to start falling in love with me. Weezie’s Easy Peasy Chocolate Bites are bound to change your life!

I found a recipe that needed a tiny bit of tweaking. But it still only involves 3 main ingredients . And you’ll look like a rock star when you show up with these in tow.

Here’s what you need!

Ingredients
1 package (250g) Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese
1 Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food)
1/4 C Margarine
to sprinkle on top:

1 tbsp. (approx.) cocoa powder
1 tbsp. (approx.) icing sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°C
  • Soften cream cheese & margarine in microwave & mix together in large bowl
  • Add cake mix & combine well
  • Roll into balls (approximately 1″)
  • Place on ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake 12 minutes
  • Dust lightly with cocoa powder & icing sugar while still warm

Be sure to store these guys in the refrigerator (they do have cream cheese in them, after all!)

This recipe makes 72 to 75 chocolate bites – enough to share with the whole class!

And when you’ve got a plate of yummy, tasty Christmas cookies is there anything that washes ’em down better than egg nog?

Nope.

Assuming, of course, you don’t have any spiced rum on hand. If you do, then I’m afraid your plain ol’ eggnog has just been trumped. You’ve already saved yourself a whole buttload of calories with these recipes. Go ahead and treat yourslf: add a few back in with some bottled holiday spirits. I mean, with what’s already in the eggnog, what’s an extra 60 or 70 calories? Exactly. I’m sure as hell not judging.

Oh, and if anyone can tell me why the marketing geniuses in Canada never stopped to think, “hey, that’s pretty gross,” when they signed off on Lait de Poule (literally: chicken milk) for their packaging, I’d be curious to hear about it.

I have to wonder if francophones actually drink eggnog.  You have to admit, that has to be one of THE worst product translations ever. It’s almost enough to turn me completely off the ‘nog. Almost. But then I remember the spiced rum.

1 package (250g) Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese
1 Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food)
1/4 C Margarine
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350

Soften cream cheese & margarine in microwave & mix together in large bowl
Combine cake mix
Roll into balls (approximately 1")
Place on ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 12 minutes
Dust lightly with cocoa powder & icing sugar while still warm

Store in refrigerator

Yield 72 to 75
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’tis the Season, Part 2: The Shopping

It’s December 3, which means there are only 21 days – less than 3 weeks – left until Christmas. This year I seem to have, unconsciously, taken a cue from my husband and his M.O. when it comes to purchases of any sort. Get in. Get what you need. Get the HELL out.

Only I’ve taken it one step further and done a significant amount of gift buying already without ever having to set foot into the cesspool we know as The Shopping Mall.

The thing is: I hate malls. At the best of times, I avoid the Eaton Centre like the plague. It’s full of tourists, teenagers & the ubiquitous meanderers. You know the ones I mean, I’m sure of it. You need to get from point A to point B, quickly & efficiently. But two or three of these slow-moving creatures are bobbing & weaving so as to effectively block your path from any and all given points of entry. So this time of year makes The Mall* even more of a No Fly zone for me.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I love to shop. But there is one major caveat to that love: I do not enjoy shopping when there are any restrictions on time and/or end result. If I have all the time in the world to mosey about, browse, pick things up, try them on… then I’m happy to shop. If I have an hour in which to find and purchase a specific item, I can get a wee bit persnickety.

Needless to say, I’ve done quite a bit of online shopping already for this year’s Festival of Gifts. And tonight I’m taking myself on a date after work to the One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale. If you live in the GTA, I highly recommend you check it out – especially if you have someone on your list a bit difficult to buy for. But give yourself lots of time… you do NOT want to go into this bad boy with any time constraints.

*any and all edifices dedicated to retail gluttony & fun… not solely the Canadian Mothership at Yonge & Dundas.

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