#throwbackthursday with the BEST sugar cookies

#tbt to this Valentine blog post from last year.

Do you remember days coming home from school and your mom had made cookies? The smell filled the whole house and it could turn any bad day around. You always remember your mom’s cookies. Your mom’s version was always the best… until now. My mom made GOOD sugar cookies. I have never come across a better recipe, that was until I had these. They rock. They are thick and soft as a sugar cookie ought to be. The cream cheese frosting is the perfect compliment.

I got this recipe from my husband’s friends. We used to get together with them and do Thai food every few months when we lived in Utah. It seems like each time we met up, these cookies were mentioned. Yes, every time. I was skeptical, but intrigued. This past summer, before moving to London, Trent made them. I’ll admit, at first I did not fall head over heals in love with them. But let them sit in a tupperware container over night and, man, they stole my heart. I confess I have altered the recipe, slightly. One thing that I love about my mom’s cookies, I’ve added to these. Almond extract. I love desserts with almond flavouring.

As I rolled the dough out, my husband sat on the floor playing with our baby. It was a sweet moment to hear and watch the two of them together. It melted my heart. Baby G kept jabbering away, telling Trent a story of his own. Everyone says to enjoy these moments while they last; that they go by so quickly. At times it can be hard to do that. I feel like so often we’re constantly looking forward to the next stage. I can honestly say in right then, I was in the moment and loving it.

Watching them play I couldn’t help but think about someday making these cookies for my Baby G. Thinking about spending an afternoon decorating sugar cookies with him at the kitchen table; thinking about him coming home from school with fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk waiting for him. I know how much those moments have meant to me and I am anxious to share my love of food with my son.


2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp pure almond extract

2 cups sour cream

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

6 ½ cups flour (plus flour for rolling out)


Preheat oven 350˚.

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs, vanilla, almond extract and sour cream. Mix the baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of the flour together and add to the butter mixture. Continue to add the flour until the dough is manageable.

Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch, just remember the cookie will almost double in thickness. Bake on an un-greased cookie sheet for 8-12 minutes (when they start to get golden brown all over you have cooked them too long, they should barely be golden on the bottom).

Makes about 3 dozen

Cream Cheese Frosting:

¾-1 pound cream cheese, softened½ pound unsalted butter, softened1-2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 pound confectioners’ sugar


Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together. Add the sugar and enjoy.

#throwbackthursday with Orange Tart

A few months ago I moved my blog from wordpress to here. I love having everything together. It feels more cohesive. But I’ve left behind some great posts. So on Thursdays, I’ll do a little flashback bringing over some of the more favourite blog posts. You may have seen these before, but I’ll still be posting fresh posts as well.

(This is the exert from the original blog post):There’s something about being alone in the kitchen. It’s where I go to fill that void, or to calm down if something is upsetting to me. When I am in the groove, I feel a connection to the ingredients I’m using, almost like they become part of me, as they inspire me to create something new. I love that feeling.

My small counter top quickly becomes crowded with ingredients. As I work, I shove used items to the side. There have been many times when Trent has come in and laughed at the impossible mess I have created. It has become an inside joke with us. He says he loves me more for it.

More than the end result, what I love most is when I get to share what I create with someone and see their reaction. I love when the first bite hits their lips, they close their eyes and go “mmmm.” That is where the real joy of cooking lies. Our landlords have become great friends of ours. Since they live right above us, Lacey, happens to be around often as I shoot, so naturally I let her try a piece of what I’ve just made. Her reactions are always the best, practically oo-ing and awe-ing with each bite. It’s not that I love the praise, in fact that part makes me feel a little embarrassed at times, but it’s that I’m sharing part of myself with that person, giving them a little love, and they, in turn, are accepting it.

This orange tart is delicious. It’s simple, but elegant and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Orange Tart

The crust:

1 1/4 cups flour, chilled

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar


Mix all the ingredients together in a mixer until they resemble course oats.

Add 1/8-1/4 cup cold water slowly.

Chill in fridge for 30 min.

The filling:

1/4 cup fresh orange juic

1 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup sugar

5 large egg yolks, beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 oranges, sliced thin


Preheat oven to 400˚

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust and place in 9” tart pan. Fill with pie weights or large, dry beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and bake 5-10 minutes more, until lightly golden brown. Cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 350˚

In mixing bowl, whisk the juice, zest and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in beaten egg yolks and the cream. Pour in prepared pie shell and bake until set, about 35-40 minutes.

Cool completely, cover and place in refrigerator until well chilled, at least 3 hours. Just before serving, arrange orange slices and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup

As I’m writing this blog post it’s currently 4:30 pm and there is still some light outside! It feels so good to have the days starting to get longer. Does anyone else experience the winter blues?

Trent has started applying for jobs recently. The thought that this adventure of ours is coming to a close is starting to feel real and I’m beginning to feel antsy. It’s a double edged sword though. If we don’t find work here and go back to the states we will really miss our friends and this wonderful city. London has been challenging, frustrating, and really fun. It will be nice to move on to the next phase, one that involves a pay check will be nice.

I hope you’re not sick of all the soup posts that I’ve been publishing lately. I never make soup in the summer. Fall and winter are my time for soups. This one, lemon chicken rice soup, is one of my favourites and always has been. As I child, I remember loving when my mom made this one. One of the best things about this soup is that you most likely have all the ingredients you’ll need right now in your kitchen. It’s a great go-to meal and it’s incredibly delicious.

6 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/3 cup rice, uncooked
2-3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup chicken, cooked and cubed
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
3 eggs
3 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, combine chicken broth, bouillon cube, rice, carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice and vegetables are tender.

Stir in chicken. Remove from heat and remove lid. In a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups or broth mixture and cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

In a small bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Beat in the lemon juice and temper the eggs by gradually beating in the 2 cups thickened broth mixture.

Very slowly add the egg mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Do not do this if soup is boiling or very hot or eggs will split.

Heat on medium low and heat soup until it thickens enough to coat a spoon, but to not allow to boil.Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Sorry that I’ve been absent the last few weeks. I’ve been working tirelessly on a few projects, one of which I can’t wait to share with you, but as for now it’s still under wraps. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete it and get it up and running within the next couple of weeks.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. My parents have always said that the years that they were in school with hardly any money were some of the best. They have very fond memories from that time. Now, with a little family of my own, I can see what they mean. They last two Christmases have been the most memorable for me. It was so great to make some of the magic for G this year.

I had a glimpse of the teenage years this week. One day returning from the park little G had a melt down. When we got home the only thing he wanted to do was lay in his bed. He didn’t want to sleep, just wanted to lie there. Then yesterday, all day, he kept calling me “Sheena,” not “mamma” like he has always called me.

I am becoming more and more of a soup person. Especially after reading food52’s article about how to make cream of anything soup without a recipe. I have reinvented this multiple times and each time it’s a hit. This roasted vegetable soup is full of flavour, it’s smooth, creamy (even without any cream) and chuck full of vegetables which is a great way to start the new year out right.On Christmas we had some friends from Provo over for lunch. I made this soup as part of the meal. It turned out to be one of their favorite kinds of soups.

Your favorite root vegetables (I used 3 carrots, 3 parsnips, 2 medium potatoes, 1 onion and a large swede)
4 table spoons olive oil or butter
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dried sage (optional)
1 cup cream or half and half (optional)

Preheat oven and baking tray to 375.
Cube all of the vegetables and put in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage.
Once oven is heated, quickly remove backing tray, transfer vegetables to try and return to oven. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown.
Working in batches, place vegetable in a blender with some of the broth. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a large soup pot. Heat through. If desired add the cream (or you can add a little cream when serving as a garnish). Season to taste. Serve alongside crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Holiday Cookies | Chocolate Candy Cane

Trent recently finished two major projects that he has been working on for some time. (For one of them he made a chocolate bust of himself and ate it… oh art school… ) We hadn’t spent much time with him in the last few weeks. Little G got more than enough daddy time Tuesday when I was down-for-the-count too sick to function. He even indicated that he missed his mommy. That doesn’t happen… ever. When daddy is around, he is the star. And that’s okay by me. I get to be there for all of his firsts. I get all the cuddles when he wakes from his nap. It can be hard staying at home, taking care of a child, but there are plenty of moments that make up for it.

Monday I made ultimate chocolate cookies that I’ve blogged about before, but I wanted to put a holiday twist on it. Last year I tried to do that and it failed. After rolling these cookies, you coat them in sugar. I thought instead of sugar, what if I crunch up candy canes really finely and coat them in that. It didn’t work so well. They melted and were completely flat when I did this. So, instead, I chopped the candy canes up, but not quite so small, and incorporated it into the dough along with the chocolate chips. It was perfect. A little holiday flare to some fantastic chocolate cookies.
We took them to some friends of ours later that night. They have five children, so needless to say, the cookies were gone in no time. And we left their parents with five children on a sugar high, close to bed time. I’m certain we were their favourite friends that night.


2 cups brown sugar

2 cups white sugar (granulated)

1 lb. real margarine or butter

5 extra large eggs

2 tsp. almond flavoring (1 tsp. if using real almond extract)

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Cream together above ingredients.

2 1/2 (12 oz.) packages milk chocolate chips

10 -ish candy canes, crushed (add to your liking)

Mix chocolate chips and candy canes into above mixture.

1 cup cocoa powder

6 ½ cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

Combine dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Scoop dough using an ice cream scoop. (I use one with a two inch diameter.) Pack well. Flatten dough slightly with hands. Put some granulated sugar in a bowl. Press formed cookie dough into granulated sugar to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes. (Oven temperatures vary; do not over bake. If cookies crack, you’re baking them too long. If you use a small scoop, bake for about 5 ½ to 6 minutes, but watch for cracking!) Remove cookie sheet to cooling rack.

This recipe makes 4 ½ to 5 dozen big cookies. Sometimes I form the cookies, freeze some of them on a cookie sheet without baking, then dump them into a Ziplock bag and freeze them for later. You can also bake them all and then freeze some. Or, just eat them all. Enjoy.

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