Why a manly man made dainty hand pies and why you should too

Written by Danny.

The quick and easy answer is: You want to make these to have beer.  The more complete and correct answer is below.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting up with an old friend, Zaak, for supper and a beer tasting with 8 of his future housemates from Dragonfly Cohousing. 8 people and 13 beer over 2.5-3  hours (no one was keeping time) made for an enjoyable time of meeting new friends and tasting new beers.

As it happens, the only other time I had participated in a beer tasting was about 10 years earlier with my brother and Zaak.  3 people tasting 8 high-alcohol content beers made for a bit of a disaster.  Okay, a lot of a disaster.  We were genuinely interested in tasting the beers, but didn’t want to waste any. And one of us had to leave early (me) for a reason I can’t remember.

I’m planning to host a beer tasting of my own over the holidays, and want to ensure that it is not a disaster, and that everyone makes it home safely.  Part of my secret arsenal to do so is to serve lots of food, and these will include some hand pies.

Read on to see how easy it is to make mini Tourtière hand pies, and get the recipe for these savory holiday bites. [Read more…]

Gingerbread 101 (giveaway: Decorating Cookies)

There’s only one time in the year that I break out the royal icing, the piping bag, and decorative dragées: Christmas-time, when homemade gingerbread cookies are a requirement, preferably available by the dozens. Stars, snowflakes, trees, and the essential gingerbread boy – all are shapes I have been making since I was a girl, and now create with my children.

Every step of baking gingerbread is special, from the grinding and measuring of the spices for the dough, to the rolling and cutting of playful Christmas shapes, and perhaps the most fun of all, the detailed icing work. Sometimes we’ll throw a cookie decorating party, where we ice ten dozen cookies, and coat my floor in sugar in the process; other times I’ll put on some Christmas tunes after the kids are in bed and lose myself for an hour or so creating a drift of pretty white snowflakes.

Both ways to decorate are fun, and you should definitely break out the spices and a rolling pin sometime in the weeks leading up to the holidays. This post will give you enough information to get started. Be sure to stick around for a fun giveaway at the bottom to ensure you are well equipped for the task.

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Weekend links: Eat Well, Spend Less edition

The fall weather is so gorgeous, invigorating, and inviting, that we’re spending as much time outdoors as possible this weekend. Wearing sweaters and rain boots, we’re combining chores and play in an attempt to prepare the gardens and yard for winter. Today, we’re ‘harvesting’ our hens, so you can look for a post on that later, if you’re interested in farm-to-table eating.

Last week the ladies of our Eat Well, Spend Less group rallied together to bring you tips on saving time in the kitchen. We also applauded first-time-author Jessica Fisher and the arrival of her new book, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook (NYM Series). My giveaway is closed (congratulations to the cookbook winner, Maryann!) but be sure to read my tips on saving time in the kitchen by batch cooking.

My weekend link love today highlights all the time-saving posts from the group AND many cookbook giveaway that are still open. Happy reading!

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On batch cooking, plus a make-ahead & freeze cookbook giveaway

It’s a cozy Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting here watching the cold rain fall, thinking of all the times batch cooking has saved our family dinner time. Today, Danny is laid up with a nasty cold, and I’m juggling the busy household on my own, attempting to get ahead just a little bit for the upcoming week.

I’ve brought Danny a mug of hot ginger tea with honey, and am the afternoon has filled up with washing school uniforms, baking cookies for lunches, wrapping up homework, and making a M-F menu plan. Still, the boys want me to play a game of Sorry with them, the baby’s getting into everything, and oh!wouldyoulookatthetime? the Twitter chat I’m co-hosting is starting in 30 minutes.

I’m flying, and although I’m unsure if I’ll get half the things done I need to, I’m comforted with the fact that at least dinner is taken care of. Once again, batch cooking comes to the rescue.

We’re going to have a hot, balanced home cooked dinner, thanks to a hearty chicken & red lentil coconut curry I’m reheating. All that is required is for me to steam some broccoli and dinner is served. Maybe we’ll even taste-test the cookies for dessert.

No matter how busy the day gets, it’s really important to have us sit down as a family together for dinner; batch cooking is my time-saving tip to make that happen.

Today our Eat Well, Spend Less team of bloggers are talking about time-saving tricks in the kitchen – and highlighting Jessica Fisher’s new cookbook: Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, too! Read on for more batch cooking tips and a chance to win a copy of Jess’s book.

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Weekend links: Eat Well, Spend Less edition

How are the girls from our Eat Well, Spend Less group preparing for the back-to-school season? With eight posts jam-packed with ideas for school lunch, hot breakfasts, menu planning, and easy weeknight dinner suggestions. Let’s get to it!

And in case you missed it, my post on Bringing Back the Menu Plan for Fall gives some ideas for getting back into the meal planning groove.

Enjoy the week ahead!