soft peanut butter cookies

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies, with perfect peanut flavour and perfect soft chewy texture. A sure favourite!

I’m still prepping for my upcoming move – I have over 15 years’ of accumulated stuff to sort through and I’ve got 2 weeks left to get it all organized. I’m donating a lot of stuff to charity, giving stuff away to friends, and throwing a lot of stuff out (I really hate having to throw things away so I’m finding homes for as much as possible). I didn’t think I had that much stuff until I really started going through it. Now? Wow, it’s a big job. So once again when it came time to bake something this week (yay! baking weather!), I was looking for something super easy. And comforting. Last week we had the classic chocolate chip cookies (what could be more comforting than warm gooey chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven?). This week? Super soft peanut butter cookies.  (more…)

classic chocolate chip cookies

Perfectly soft and chewy Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, with lots and lots of chocolate. They're a classic for a reason!

So as I mentioned last week, I have an apartment lined up. Whoo! Trust me, I’m relieved. So relieved. But I’m also bummed. We’re heading into this lovely cool rainy fall weather, and all I really wanted to do is hang out and bake – seriously, I had plans for these rainy weekends! But instead I get to focus on purging and minimizing and organizing and packing. And cleaning. Ugh. No fun at all. And then I get to unpack and organize in a brand new place. I can’t wait until this is all behind me.

The apartment-hunting totally stressed me out – not only was I not sleeping well, I had no appetite at all. I didn’t really feel like myself again until that lease was officially signed. Then I really wanted some comfort food. And what’s more comforting than a classic chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven? You guys, it felt really good to bake again – it feels like it’s been forever! Not just the past couple of weeks, but the entire summer before when it was too hot to bake and I was focussed on making popsicles every week. I’ve really missed it.  (more…)

an update on the apartment situation

I wanted to thank all of you who had kind words for me after my stressed-out post last week. Seriously, it means so much that people I’ve never even met are following me and hoping my situation turns out okay. So I wanted to give you a quick update on the apartment situation. I’ve found a place. And oh man, if you know anything about the Vancouver market, you’ll know it was not easy. I went to several open houses where there were literally dozens of people all vying for the place. I responded to so many ads and got no response whatsoever. I walked all through my neighbourhood, up and down every street, looking for “for rent” signs. I contacted rental agencies and building management companies, and only got responses from a couple of them (none positive). I refreshed Craigslist obsessively.

No lie, there was one listing that popped up on Craigslist that I called within 15 minutes of its posting, and it had already been rented.

And as I mentioned last week, it’s this difficult for anyone looking to rent, but it’s even harder with a cat because the pool of available apartments is even more limited.

But I found something. It’s pretty spacious, has lots of closets, lovely hardwood floors, and is bright and sunny with lots of windows. And it’s close to my ideal neighbourhood. But it’s south-facing, so it’ll be hot next summer, it overlooks an alley, and it has no balcony (so I have to get rid of all the plants I have on my deck, which makes me very sad). And it’s off a much noisier side street. It also has a teeny tiny kitchen with a teeny tiny apartment-sized fridge and stove. And I get to pay quite a bit more money for it than I was paying for my old place.

But hey, at least I have a home and can stop panicking. And now I get to focus on downsizing and getting organized for the move. That’s going to be quite an undertaking – I’ve been in the same place for about 15 years now and I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. I’m taking this opportunity to purge and minimize. Partly out of necessity (it is a smaller space after all), and partly because it’s just going to feel good to have a fresh start. Of course I’ll be keeping all my kitchen stuff and cookbooks – those are absolutely necessary. But I’m getting rid of a lot of books that I haven’t looked at in years, all my DVDs and CDs (I’ve digitized everything, why was I holding on to those?), and a ton of clothes that I haven’t worn in ages (most of which don’t even fit anymore). And of course that juicer that I never used after the first couple weeks. And a whole lot of knick knacks that I used to love but now just seem to be taking up space.

I am gonna be brutal.

I’ll try to get a new recipe up as soon as I can, but it’ll be a bit sporadic for awhile. Once I take possession of the new place, I’ll post some pics of the wee kitchen so you can see what I’ll be working with. Fingers crossed that oven is reliable!!

whoops!

I’m afraid I got nothin’ for you this week! Except some sad news. Sad for me anyway. As much as I complain about my tiny kitchen and ancient unreliable stove, I actually really love my apartment. I’ve got the top floor of an old house. It’s old and drafty and falling apart, but with an amazing view of the city and the mountains, plus a nice big south-facing deck that gets lots of sun. I’m in a great neighbourhood within walking distance of everything I need. And my landlord just sold the house. Waaaaah.

So this past week has been a whole lot of panicking and running around, desperately trying to find a new apartment. Which is hard enough in a city with less than 1% vacancy (eep!), but it’s even more difficult when you have a pet. And I have a cat. An oooooold lady of 18 who I’m not going anywhere without. So with all that stress and worry, I didn’t even feel like eating, let alone baking. Sorry, but no new treats this week. In fact, I completely forgot about writing a post this week at all. I was so exhausted yesterday I fell asleep sitting upright on the couch. Whoops.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

watermelon popsicles

Watermelon Popsicles – a perfect way to enjoy sweet juicy watermelon all summer long!

Earlier today, someone mentioned that they were really looking forward to pumpkin spice season starting up soon. I thought “What are you talking about? It’s still summer! It’s only… waitaminute, next week is September!?” I feel like the summer has flown by. But when I look back at the blog, I’ve made a lot of popsicles, so it’s not like I didn’t get the chance to enjoy it or anything. We’ve had a lot of beautiful weather, and a lot of omg-it’s-way-too-hot weather. And I’m honestly looking forward to things cooling off again. And I’m definitely looking forward to being able to bake again on the weekends. I have so many recipes tagged and plans for what I want to make. But the summer’s not quite over yet. The stores are still full of fresh summer fruit – right now there’s lots of peaches and nectarines, and cherries are starting to show up. And watermelons. Beautiful fat juicy watermelons. What’s more refreshing on a hot day?  (more…)

strawberry rhubarb popsicles

If you like strawberry rhubarb pie, you'll love these strawberry rhubarb popsicles. Sweet juicy strawberries plus sour rhubarb for a perfect summer treat!

It’s another scorcher in Vancouver, so instead of going to the farmer’s market, I’m dipping into my supply of frozen fruit again for this week’s popsicle. As I mentioned last week, I like to make fruit smoothies to take to work with me for breakfast, so I keep my freezer stocked with the basics – bananas, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries. Plus whatever looks good at the market each week. Right now I’ve also got a lot of blackberries, raspberries, and rhubarb. I have no plans to add rhubarb to my smoothies (I’m sure it would be stringy and unpleasant…), but I do use it occasionally in baking, like these amazing rhubarb almond muffins I made last year. I’ve also added it to apple crisp, along with cranberries. And sometimes I’ll add it to my oatmeal while it’s cooking. Man, I can’t wait for the weather to cool down a bit so I can get baking again. I really miss it, and I don’t even have any more of my stash of frozen muffins in the freezer. Sadness.  (more…)

cranberry orange popsicles

These Cranberry Orange Popsicles are both sweet and tart – one of my favourite flavour combinations and so easy to make!

We’re taking a little break from the farmer’s market this weekend, but we’re still making popsicles because it’s crazy hot here (don’t even ask me about my sunburn). In fact, it was too hot to go to the farmer’s market (why yes, that is why we’re taking a break). All I wanted to do was keep cool in front of my fan. So this week we’re working with ingredients you can get any time of year, and it’s one of my favourite flavour combinations – which is why I happened to have all the ingredients on-hand. Orange juice and cranberries (plus a bit of Cointreau). It’s a combination that works well in so many things. I haven’t posted it yet, but I have a recipe for cranberry orange muffins that I make all the time, and they’re fantastic.  (more…)

blackberry honey popsicles

Blackberry Honey Popsicles – tart blackberries, sweet honey, and tangy yogurt combine for a perfectly refreshing summer treat!

I hope you’re not all sick of popsicle recipes yet, because it’s just too hot to be making much else right now. And I hope you’re not sick of hearing about our amazing farmer’s market, because I’m still going every weekend. And every weekend it’s the inspiration for what I end up making. Right now it’s all about the berries – every stall has tables loaded full of baskets of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. I’ve been buying lots of all of them, eating a few fresh (they’re great added to salads!), and freezing most of them to use in my morning smoothies and muffins. And of course making lots and lots of popsicles. This weekend we’re taking advantage of the beautiful plump blackberries.  (more…)

raspberry popsicles

You can't beat these refreshing Raspberry Popsicles, made with lots of fresh juicy raspberries.

It’s another raspberry popsicle week! A couple weeks ago when I made those fantastic raspberry sherbet popsicles, I also made some plain raspberry popsicles. Because I had so many raspberries. All the raspberries. And I had some plans for the plain raspberry. If you read that last post, you may have seen that I also made some coconut-lime popsicles and layered them together with the raspberry sherbet. With this recipe I went one step further and made some triple-layered ones – plain raspberry, creamy raspberry, and creamy coconut. And omg, they were SO good. Trust me, the plain ones are delicious as-is, but the combo ones were really something special. If you’re feeling ambitious and have more raspberries than you know what to do with, you should give that a try.  (more…)

tropical biscotti

Perfectly crunchy Tropical Biscotti, with fruity flavour from dried apricots and pineapple, plus buttery toasted pecans and dark rum!

I saw this recipe in one of my cookbooks awhile ago and knew it would be a perfect summer cookie. Lovely crispy biscotti with tropical flavours, including pineapple? Yum! So I’ve been holding off on making it, waiting for sunny days. As we head into summer proper, though, my kitchen gets hotter and hotter, and less and less a place I want to be spending a lot of time. And turning on the oven? Forget about it. So this may be one of the last baking recipes I post for awhile. Unless we have a nice cool rainy weekend – then I’ll break out the baking sheets again. Instead, be prepared for a lot of popsicles and no-bake recipes. Everyone loves those, right? Right. But this week was still not too bad temperature-wise, so this week we still get proper cookies(more…)

raspberry sherbet popsicles

Raspberry Sherbet Popsicles, made with lots of plump juicy raspberries, fresh from the farmer's market. A great way to prolong the fresh flavours of summer!

We’re just starting to ease into summer here in Vancouver, and the weather is still wildly fluctuating between hot sunny days, and cool rainy nights. This is totally normal for us – usually our summer doesn’t start in earnest until August, but then we have beautiful weather well into October. Often I’m still wearing sandals even in November! But it’s definitely warm and sunny enough to enjoy a popsicle or two, and with the farmers market in full swing, I’m loading up on fresh fruit every weekend. And popsicles are the perfect way to take advantage of all that bounty.   (more…)

strawberry-swirl vanilla yogurt popsicles

Strawberry-Swirl Vanilla Yogurt Popsicles – creamy vanilla yogurt and swirls of fresh strawberry purée, with all the bright fresh flavour you'd expect.

Strawberries are at their peak right now. Every time I walk into a grocery store, there are baskets of beautiful, plump, juicy strawberries everywhere. They’re one of the few fruits that I actually enjoy eating as-is (I know, weird, right? who doesn’t like fruit? me apparently), so my biggest problem was not eating them all before I had a chance to make popsicles! Trust me, more than once, I’ve bought strawberries specifically for making popsicles, and then had to go buy more because I suddenly didn’t have enough for the recipe anymore. Oops.  (more…)

honey-nut oatmeal cookies

These Honey-Nut Oatmeal Cookies are incredibly moist and chewy, and taste of honey and peanuts. A perfect combination of flavours and textures.

This recipe really caught my eye – chewy oatmeal, honey roasted peanuts, and honey. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Oatmeal cookies are always a big hit at my office, and so are peanut butter cookies. Combine the two, and we’re already bound to have a winner. But the addition of all that honey flavour, and the twist of using honey roasted peanuts instead of just plain peanuts, boosted this already good cookie to another level.  (more…)

coconut, cranberry, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

These coconut, cranberry, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are absolutely the most popular cookies I've made to date. A perfect combination of flavours!

You guys, let me say right off the bat: this cookie is absolutely the most popular cookie I’ve made to date! There were so many people declaring it their new favourite (seriously, several people), not to mention I kept hearing people telling their friends how awesome they are and to come try one. I usually see the same faces at the cookie jar, but this week I was seeing people who usually don’t partake. This is a fantastic cookie.  (more…)

butterscotch chocolate chip cookies

Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies, moist and chewy, loaded with lots of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and crunchy toasted walnuts.

Making those butterscotch lollipops a few weeks ago reminded me how much I love butterscotch (so much!), so when I saw this recipe? I knew this was what I’d be making this week. Butterscotch alone is good, but combined with chocolate it’s even better (it works amazingly with peanut butter too – seriously, you should try these peanut butter butterscotch cookies!). This little cookie was hugely popular among my coworkers. I saw one person walking away with a whole handful of them, and another person told me very seriously that this may be his new favourite cookie. And you’ll note that I’ve tagged this as a personal favourite too. Yup, this is a good cookie.  (more…)