Same Blog, New Website!

Hi friends! It’s been almost a month since I posted here, which I have to apologize for. We are still doing great and little Abel is now twelve weeks old! He’s growing so fast and I am so obsessed with him. I love being his mom!

The last several weeks I’ve been working on a new project which I’m so excited about! For months now I’ve been thinking about upgrading this blog by changing it to a new web address and I finally have!

The Canadian American Kiwi is still going strong but now you can find us at www.tillycutforth.com

I won’t be posting here anymore, so make sure you bookmark my new website so you don’t miss a post!

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Sugar Cookies: Doughnuts!

One of my old hobbies is making and decorating sugar cookies. My mom loves to throw themed parties and she’s great at it, so I loved making sugar cookies for the parties! It takes a lot of time, patience, and practice, and it’s so fun. Search up Pinterest and you can find hundreds of ideas for adorable cookies to make!

Now that I’ve finished work, I find myself with time to actually do things like this – it’s great! I’m enjoying it while it lasts since once Kiwi is here I’m sure things will change and it will be a little more difficult to do things like this. (I can’t wait though!)

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I had so much fun making these. The last time I made sugar cookies was probably a year and a half ago, and I didn’t do a great job so they didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked. This time I had more patience and didn’t try to do it all at once, and it was much more enjoyable! I baked the cookies one day, and decorated them the next day. I let them dry for a few hours in between layers which made a big difference as well!

I was going to do a pink and purple theme, until I realised that I only have food colouring in red, yellow, green, and black. I want to get some new colours soon, since there’s only so much you can do with just these! However, I went ahead with pink and yellow and they still turned out great. Coloured sprinkles would have been fun too but I only had the chocolate ones and I wasn’t going to walk all the way to the store.

Let me just add that they do taste as great as they look! I have to admit I’m a little offended when people ask if they taste good because why would I spend hours making cookies that aren’t even enjoyable to eat? Of course they taste good! And since I’m telling you this I’ll have to share the recipe with you so you can see for yourself. I found this recipe printed off in my mom’s cookbook, years and years ago – it’s the one I’ve always used. The cookies are soft and delicious. I normally leave out the almond extract just because we never bought it when I was growing up. They’re just as good either way. Click the link below to find the best recipe for sugar cookies!

Mary’s Sugar Cookies (Link)

A few tips:
If you’re decorating with icing, don’t sprinkle them with sugar as the recipe says.
When you’re mixing the dough, it can seem like you put too much flour, especially if you’re mixing by hand (don’t; it’s way easier with a mixer) – just keep mixing; it will come together and make the perfect cookies!

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So; doughnuts, anyone?!

Hearty Breakfast Cookies

We had these breakfast cookies lots growing up, and loved them! They’re soft and delicious, and let’s be honest, what kid doesn’t enjoy eating cookies for breakfast? Too good, friends.

Oatmeal peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

My mom (or my siblings and I) usually made these with sunflower seeds and/or chopped peanuts, but you can add anything you want. When I made these last week, I used chopped dried apricot, chia seeds, and coconut.

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I halved the recipe on my mom’s blog and still had enough cookies to eat plenty and freeze a dozen, so what I’ll share here is the halved version. Of course if you have a million kids feel free to double, triple, or even quadruple – what you’ve never done that before? That was the norm for us growing up 😉

Hearty Breakfast Cookies

A soft but hearty breakfast cookie that can be customised with additions of your choice.


Credit: littleearthlingblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup additions (sunflower seeds, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.)

Directions

  • Cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk.
  • In a seperate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients, mix well. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350F or 175C for 12 minutes.
  • Enjoy with a glass of milk!
  • To freeze, just cool and pop in a ziploc bag. Take out the night before to thaw.
  • There’s a lot of freedom with this recipe. I used brown sugar. For the additions, I used 1/2 cup dessicated coconut, 1/4 cup chopped dried apricot (I would definitely add more next time though), and 1/4 cup chia seeds.

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Let me know if you make these bad boys! I wanted to make something that would be filling, somewhat healthy, and easy to grab for breakfast or a snack, and after searching recipes for homemade granola bars on Pinterest for what felt like ages, I finally thought of these cookies. There’s nothing like a good reliable recipe that you know you’ll love, and this is great because you can change it up with the additions depending on what you have or what you feel like.

Apple Recipes for Autumn

I love warm apple flavors, but especially in autumn! Here are three I found this week that I love.

At the grocery stores near us they have this thing called ‘The Odd Bunch’. You can buy a bag of ‘the odd bunch’ produce at a discounted price because it’s unusual or funky shaped.

Well, last week I got groceries at Countdown, and since Jared needed our vehicle that day, I had my groceries delivered. How cool is that? I wanted to make some homemade apple cider (especially since I’m pregnant I feel like I should add this disclaimer: in NZ if you say cider you automatically mean hard cider. In the US it’s a name for a kind of apple juice, basically. I’m referring to the American kind). Honestly it didn’t turn out as great as I’d hoped… the powdered kind from Costco is still ten times better. I kind of regret not bringing any back when we were in the States because it’s the perfect autumn drink.

Anyways – so Countdown had ‘the odd bunch’ apples – a 2kg bag for $2. That’s a great deal! Normally I buy apples at around $3.50/kg. So since the price was great and I needed lots of apples, naturally, I bought two bags.

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Sonic knows that I hate when he’s in our room if Jared or I aren’t there too! That’s his ‘Am I in trouble?’ face.

Well I didn’t quite realise how much 2kg is. So when my groceries arrived I had two very large bags of apples. I got my apple cider started in the crockpot (apples, water, spices) and then found an applesauce recipe since Jared and I definitely can’t eat 30 apples in a week.

The applesauce was so amazing! It’s so easy to make. I honestly didn’t know that applesauce was so simple. It didn’t take long for us to finish off the batch I made, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what a good deal the apples were.

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$1/kg. They were all in great shape too, I think two apples had bruises and a couple had spots but nothing major. So on Thursday after work I told Jared that I really, really, really wanted to get more apples.

So I went to Countdown and bought some more apples – 4 more bags. Why not?! When will I find a deal like this again?! We have a chest freezer, the applesauce is delicious, and so easy to make.

For those wondering how much 8 kg is in pounds, it’s about 17. And if you count the two bags I got earlier in the week, that’s a total of 12 kg, or around 25 pounds.

Homemade Applesauce

I got the recipe from The Forked Spoon, but it’s really simple so once you’ve made it a couple times it’s easy to just throw together. Click here for the original recipe.

I made several batches as per the recipe, and then made a batch with brown sugar, extra spices and a sliced lemon instead of lemon juice, and that’s the one I got photos of. And it turned out amazing! I didn’t measure, I just added a cinnamon stick, lots of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and some cloves. At the end, before blending, I removed the lemon peels and cinnamon stick.

Essentially, take a ton of apples (I used mainly royal gala, with a bit of granny smith) and chop them up. You don’t need to peel them unless you really hate apple peels and you don’t use a blender at the end.

Add 1/2-1 cup water (I used 1 cup for a full pot of apples), a few Tablespoons lemon juice, salt, and spices. Add sugar, if you’re using it – it’s up to you! The recipe calls for white sugar, but I made some with brown sugar instead.

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Bring to a boil, then turn down and cover with a lid, and let simmer for about half an hour. I put my burner on 10, then turned it down to 4. After the half hour was up, I took the lid off and let it simmer until I was happy with the amount of liquid left in the pot. Once you’re satisfied, take off the heat and use an immersion blender to get it nice and smooth!

On Friday I started making more applesauce, and had several batches going throughout the day. But since I had soooo many apples I also looked for other recipes with apples and found two great ones!

Apple Waffles

Click here for the recipe for apple waffles. I made a batch and they were delicious, so I made another batch – doubled this time – and put a bunch of waffles in the freezer. The flavor of these waffles is just warm and tasty and cosy. I’m looking forward to being able to pop one in the toaster and have a delicious waffle anytime I want! This blog has tons of recipes including lots for the freezer, and I’m planning to try out several of them.

What I thought of next was a warm, spicy, apple cake. And… I couldn’t find one. All the recipes I found didn’t look like what I pictured in my head. I searched breads, muffins, cakes.

Apple Cake

Finally I found this recipe, which isn’t quite what I was thinking of at first but it is delicious! The original recipe is very sugary. So if  you love sugary cakes, this one’s for you! I made a batch, and while it tastes amazing, it was a bit sweet for me, and the spices a bit subtle, so I decided to be brave and try and adjust the recipe. I am not a baker. I love baking but I know nothing about the chemistry side of it. So I did some googling and found this great article from King Arthur Flour about how to reduce sugar in cake. I made this recipe again, but this time I cut the sugar in this recipe by 25%, and added some extra spices.

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I was so nervous. But it turned out great! Still not quite the warm spicy cake I first dreamed of, but it’s a good, tasty, apple cake.

Here are the adjustments that I made:

Original Recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar.
I used 1 1/4 cups white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Original Recipe calls for 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg.
I used 4 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice.

For the applesauce in the recipe, I used my freshly homemade applesauce – you can’t really beat that!

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Stay tuned, because sometime before Kiwi makes his or her arrival, I’ll be doing a blog post about freezer meals! I’m currently cooking and baking to stock our new freezer so that when we’re figuring out life with a newborn baby, I won’t have to worry about cooking. All of today’s recipes are going in the freezer! So far I’ve also made banana bread, pumpkin bread, chicken curry, cinnamon swirl bread, and garlic herb bread (the last two are variations of white bread, so I’m hoping they’ll thaw and reheat well!)

And check out this naughty guy. He’s in his kennel in this photo because I let him outside and he ran off and wouldn’t come when I called. He always comes back but he’ll be gone for a good hour or two. So he gets to stay in his kennel for a bit since he knows better.

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Meat Pies

One of the meats I most commonly buy is mince (ground beef) because it’s always in the store, at a reliable price, and there’s so much you can do with it. I often get stuck into making the same ten meals over and over again until we get sick of them, so lately I’ve been trying some new recipes, and this one was amazing.

I’ve had so many delicious meat pies and I wanted to try making my own someday but was a little nervous to take on such an amazing food. I get a little discouraged when my food doesn’t turn out well on the first try.

But the other day I just decided I’d give it a try. I found some recipes that were full of vegetables and looked really complicated but let’s be honest I just wanted a good mince and cheese pie. After looking at a few recipes, I found this one from Food52.

Click here for the meat pies recipe!

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I am sooo happy with how these turned out! They were fantastic. They take some time but the actual work isn’t very complicated. I made my own pastry because I didn’t want to go to the store and buy some, but feel free to use pre-made to make it a little easier!

For the pastry I used this recipe from Jared’s and my favorite (minus the swearing), Gordon Ramsay.

Buttery, flaky crust, and gooey, cheesy, flavorful filling… these were perfect. My born-and-bred Kiwi, Jared, whole-heartedly approved!

I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce, although I really need to get some because I see lots of recipes that call for it and I always leave it out. However, I really wanted these pies to be great. So I didn’t feel like I could leave it out entirely, and I found a recipe for a substitute online. I’ll share the substitute here in case you’re out too and don’t want to run to the store!
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce = 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and a dash of hot sauce.
I have no clue what Worcestershire sauce is supposed to taste like, absolutely no clue, but the pies turned out amazing so it must have worked.

I’m currently working three days a week, but on the days I’m home I love to bake or cook, and I thoroughly enjoyed making these! I was sooo tired because Jared forgot his lunch but he had the car, so I walked to his work to take it to him (because I love him and I wanted to see him; he didn’t make me! He would have been fine without it, but I insisted). Then on the way back I stopped at Spotlight to get more yarn and knitting needles, and at a shop to get some onions, beef stock, and hot sauce (I looked for Worcestershire sauce but they didn’t have it) for these pies. Once I got home, I set straight to work making these pies and during the waiting times I did laundry, packed Jared’s rugby bag, washed the dishes like three times, tidied up, and began knitting. By the time Jared got home I was soooo tired but he was refereeing a rugby game in the evening and I really wanted to go with him, since it’s been ages since I was at a game with him. I slept So. Well. That night. I was so stinking tired.

I’m working on knitting some soft toys for our little kiwi, so once I’m happy with them I’ll take some photos and share the pattern here! I realise basically none of what I’m sharing with you is original… I don’t come up with my own recipes, or patterns… but I hope that you enjoy nonetheless! It can be overwhelming to try and find a recipe, pattern, product, etc. when there are so many options so I hope that my recommendations can help!

And just a little sneak peek of my knitting project…

The bear on the right was my first attempt. The limbs are not sewed very evenly, and you can see the stuffing through the head! Yikes! I got some smaller needles and thinner yarn and ended up with a tiny bear… so I’m going to keep trying and once I get a good sized bear that doesn’t show stuffing, I’ll share the pattern and my tips!

My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes with Jello Frosting

Jared and I love teaching sunday school to the kids at church each week. Our church is blessed to have a bus and depending on the week, we have anywhere between 5-25 kids ride the bus to church. Last week I had promised the kids I would bring cake, so on Saturday I made some cupcakes. With so many kids there are birthdays all the time, so I used to make a lot of cake. Eventually I told them I would just make cake about once a month, for anyone who had a birthday that month.

That being said, with so many opportunities to bake cake, I had to find a good reliable recipe, and this one is perfect! It is easy to make, tastes great, and is nice and moist. (Recipe linked under photo)

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Easy Vanilla Cupcakes from Life, Love and Sugar

Can I just say… these cupcakes were good. Only a few kids came to church last week, so there were plenty of leftovers, and after church I walked into the kitchen to find all the adults helping themselves! Which was a good thing because although I could have eaten five of these (and might have), Jared and I didn’t need to bring twenty cupcakes home.

I added sprinkles to the batter, and used this recipe for the frosting. 

Have you ever added Jello to frosting? I’d thought about it a dozen times but was never brave enough to actually try it and I’m so glad I finally did! I followed the recipe linked above, but didn’t use vanilla. Then I took a packet of Jello, mixed it with warm water (1/2 cup maybe? I didn’t measure) until it was dissolved, to avoid a grainy texture, and then mixed it into the frosting. I used lemon Jello, and added yellow food coloring as well. Then I just put it in a ziploc sandwich bag, cut the tip off, and piped it on the cupcakes. I chopped up some Sour Patch Kids, and added them on top.

Truly the best cupcakes. Soooo delicious. Let me know if you try them sometime, or if you try the Jello frosting!

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The BEST Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are really the best you will  ever make. My mom’s friend Mrs. S gave her this recipe years and years ago, and since then we’ve never used another one. These muffins are light, moist, flavorful, and on top of that they’re pretty easy to make.

Mrs. S’ Blueberry Muffins

Preheat oven to 400F or 200F.

Mix:

1/2 cup softened butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cups sour cream

Mix separately:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Fold in:

1 cups blueberries

Spoon into muffin pans. Bake at 400F or 200C for 20-22 minutes. Recipe makes 1 dozen muffins.

Notes: Feel free to substitute any other berry for the blueberries. You can also use plain unsweetened yogurt in place of the sour cream. I did this last time I made them and they were just as good!

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Unrelated photo, but really what is a blog post without at least one photo? Also I just LOVE the photos I took at the Australia Zoo. Take me back anyday… So many amazing animals to look at and learn about and of course to photograph! Plus that bokeh in this photo? Kinda cool if you ask me!

Amazing Cookie Recipe

Last week I made some a. maze. ing. cookies. I found the recipe on Pinterest and somehow I didn’t end up pinning it. I printed it but must have thrown it away afterwards. But I needed to find that recipe again.

Because these are just so good.

Peanut butter. Oatmeal. Chocolate chip. Cookies.

Find the recipe HERE and trust me – save it to your Pinterest board, or bookmark it, or somehow make sure you have a way to find it again!

They’re easy to make.

Absolutely delicious.

And they don’t have butter, only call for 2/3 cup of sugar, and duh, who doesn’t love chocolate chips?

Trust me. They’re so worth it.

 

Coffee Cake Muffins from Damn Delicious

Hey guys!!! Today has been a wonderful day (detecting sarcasm… levels:high). Guess what I did? I was editing a video of our move and right when I was done- literally, I was trying to upload it to YouTube- I accidentally deleted allllllll the video clips that were in the video. Yup. Deleted. Gone. Not on iCloud (full). Not on recently deleted (phone storage full)…. So that’s a flop.

So today I’ll be sharing with you a recipe instead. I found this recipe for coffee cake muffins on Pinterest and printed it off ages ago. Well, the other day I finally made it and THEY ARE SO GOOD!!! Jared even said they were the best thing I’ve ever baked…. they’re insanely delicious. Super easy to make too, it’s a simple recipe.

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This recipe is from Chunga, who writes the blog Damn Delicious, and here is the link to the recipe.

Just make them. Trust me. So. So. So. worth it.

By the way… if you’re not convinced, at least click on the link because her muffins look way better than mine and her photos are amazing as well.

I’ll try my best to upload a video next week but who knows I could totally mess that up like I did this week…. I feel so dumb, but, I guess all I can do is just move on! I need to dig my camera out and take some photos around our new place… there are so many flowers! Stay tuned for Friday’s post as well, I have no clue what it will be about, but I’ll think of something 😉

p.s. I don’t ever swear but I can’t really help the name of the blog I found these on… so, sorry about the swear word! 😦

Weekly Menu

Hi guys! I know that Wednesdays I normally post a video on my YouTube channel, but today I’ll be in Auckland for most of the day, and yesterday I was really busy running errands and didn’t get a chance to film anything.

Since I actually planned out our meals for the week for once, I thought I’d share them with you! For lunch we usually do sandwiches or leftovers.

M: Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks, rice, steamed veggies, salad. The chicken was so easy and so good too! Just throw some thawed chicken and some barbecue sauce in the crockpot on high for 3-4 hours and you’re good to go.

T: Sweet Chili Chicken, fried rice, salad. I have more drumsticks that I need to use soon, so I minced up a few cloves of garlic and a small onion, threw it in a pan with the drumsticks, and poured some sweet chili sauce and garlic salt on. Bake at around 400F (200C) for 30-45 minutes or until done, and there you go!

W: Chili con Carne, rice, steamed veggies. I bought a recipe base for chili con carne, so all I need to do is add a capsicum, mince (ground beef), a can of beans, and small ingredients like oil, and follow the directions on the package!

Th: Leftovers. Whenever I meal plan, I always end up skipping a few of the meals I had planned for one reason or another. This time I made sure to plan a day for leftovers, or if there are none, whatever I can whip up real quick.

F: Fettuccini Alfredo, garlic bread rolls, salad, carrot cake. Friday is Jared’s birthday, and I am making the BEST fettuccini alfredo! I found this recipe several months ago, and I don’t make it often just because it calls for parmesan, cream cheese, and cream, none of which I usually buy, but it is to die for and Jared loves it, so I knew I had to make it for his birthday! When I asked him what cake he wanted, he said carrot cake, so while I’m cooking dinner right now (Tuesday night) I hopped on the computer to find a recipe, and ended up starting this blog post instead, but hey I’m not disappointed.

Saturday and Sunday are left blank because I have moved recipes around and changed days a few times, so I was left with blank spots for those two days. It’s really easy to make a quick soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, or cheesy pasta, so I’ll think of something when it gets closer.

Speaking of which, that just reminded me that I recently learned how to make the BEST mac ‘n cheese! I never actually use macaroni noodles because I prefer the penne or spirals, but that’s beside the point. I used to just cook my noodles, add some cheese, butter, a splash of milk, and seasoning, and that’s it. BUT NO. This way only takes a few more minutes and is super easy. Get the recipe here, and trust me you will not regret it! It makes it about 70x better. The recipe says cheese is optional but just use cheese. Let’s be honest when is cheese ever optional…

Andddd in honor of Jared’s birthday on Friday, I have to share these photos!

Jared Collage