Tuesday, 17 December 2013

UPDATE on my lost Iphone

Day 12 --
I found my phone!!  I hadn't quite given up --- yet, I had let go of the stress and worrying over it.  I looked everyday when I was leaving for my walk and when I was doing something in the house.  I always thought it was close by - but realized it could have been dropped outside and with the cold and snow it would be hooped (or picked up by someone)

So today I thought I would change my bedding  --- remember I changed my bedding and thought it was in the with the wash!  Panic to empty the washing machine.  Not there thank goodness!

This time I decided to take off my mattress cover -- the kind that wraps all around and under the mattress --- and THERE IT WAS!  I was shocked and happy and confused... I still don't get how it could have got under that thing!  Mr. SweetArt tells me to forget about how and just be happy you found it!  ( I really am happy)

So after charging it up, calling my provider to reconnect it I spent some time with it... just the two of us.  I got reacquainted with it, appreciated all my information on it, played on it, then backed it up all the way!

Next I am looking for something to put on it so I don't go through this again....
There is the StickNFind or the Tile (although this is not ready till spring 2014)

I will have to research both of these to see what will work best -- off hand I like the TILE.

Most importantly I figured out how to deal with what was a stressful situation and put it into perspective again.. for that I am grateful..

I hope you don't have to go through something like this -- it was challenging and stressful - so I hope to be more aware of my items and pay attention to things and remember to love and care more about the people around me and not things.

Gwen

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Lessons from loosing my Iphone

This happened a few days ago -- December 5th 2013, it is now December 8th.  I can't even begin to explain the moment I realized it was not with me -- if you have misplaced it for a moment you get the idea.

We had our first snowfall of the season, it wasn't too cold out so I decided to go out and shovel just the bottom of our driveway and our neighbours too.  At some point my phone beeped - and I had a message and noticed that my phone was just about dead. (This is the last time that I know for sure my memory was correct about where I last saw it)   I finished up, did the stairs to the front door, loaded some wood by the door, went back downstairs and came inside.    I hung my coat up by the door, took my shoes, gloves and hat off.  I thought (but can't be sure) I took my phone out of pocket, placed it on top of the dryer, turned and took off my pants because they were soaked on the bottom.  I once again thought I grabbed my phone and the dog's leash and went upstairs.  Put the leash away, and went to my room.  Got dry clothes on and decided to through my bedding in the wash. So I stripped the bed, put it in the basket and went downstairs and put it in the washing machine.  Came upstairs - not sure if I did anything else and was in the kitchen when the thought bounced into my mind.... WHERE IS MY CELL PHONE!  OMG was it on the bed and I threw it in the wash!!! Holy mother of.... downstairs in a panic - stopped the machine and took everything out.... not there.... PHEW!!!  ok but WHERE is it???? 
I was sick... besides that it is my phone, it helps me run my business, has all my phone numbers, passwords everything and it was fairly new.  Mr. SweetArt and I looked everywhere outside even at night with flashlights.  We tore the house apart- we are still are!  NADA - nothing ... ZIP  no where that we have looked, anyways.  Today Mr. SweetArt even raked outside in the snow - in case we missed it with the shovel.  nope not there.

I have cleaned a lot, re-organized a lot of places and things looking for it.  I walk through it in my mind from the moment I last saw it over and over again... waking my up at night thinking about it - to no avail.
I finally posted online about a lost phone in case someone picked it up.  If it wasn't dead I could use the "find my phone" APP.  That doesn't work when it is dead....  I reported it lost and locked it out.

I am still sick about it -- its got so much information on it -- some of it is backed up but not everything and the expense of it - I can't afford to get  new phone at this time. 

THEN THE BIG LESSON CAME......AGAIN

Last night a lady that I have helped for over 2 years as a Cancer Connection pal and we became friends phoned me.  She did well - really well and I was grateful that I was there for support.  Having a transplant isn't so cut and dried.  I was fortunate and didn't have any GVHD ( graft vs host disease) she got it shortly after her transplant... like many do.  It continued to get worse until last September when she learned that the leukemia was back.  A new drug they have put her on isn't working and they don't think there is any more they can do.  What's worse is the fevers and pain she is dealing with and the unknown. Not knowing what is going on and not getting any relief from the pain is exhausting.  What does this have to do with my phone??  PERSPECTIVE.... when things happen to me or around me I have learned since my transplant to keep things in perspective.  When I lost my phone ..... I forgot about PERSPECTIVE.  Loosing my phone is financially hard, frustrating, and a huge inconvenience personally and for my business.  Life threatening---- NO. Life altering...NOT REALLY...
PERSPECTIVE - is really such a gift.  For 10 years I have never forgotten it until this happened.
I met a man in the Cancer Lodge - I was feeling sorry for myself - I had 6 weeks to stay there in Vancouver until the possibility could be considered to go home after 4 months from my transplant. There stood a tall good looking man who sat down for a few minutes with me... telling me he had 6 weeks to live!  I felt foolish and learned my lesson.... for a short bit. 

I was very weak and walked to the clinic for my appointment (normally about 5-6 minutes) It took me 45 minutes!  By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs, I was beyond exhausted.  I looked up at (to this day it still seems like there were tons of stairs there) the top of the stairs and didn't know how I was going to climb up them.  The tears pouring down my face, people staring at me - someone offered to help me - but I said no "I'm ok"  what a pile of BS that was.  I slowly - very slowly I started up one step at a time, every step was painful. By the time I got to the top and in the doors - there sat a man who smiled at me, from his wheelchair as a quadriplegic. BIG LESSON REMINDER!!!  That was the last time I needed to be reminded.... until I lost my phone.... I realized once again -- my friend would think that it's not really that big of deal in the big picture life -- frustrating yes.. she would trade positions with me I'm sure. 

I was reminded that just because I am now 10 years after my transplant it doesn't mean it can't come back.  One phone call after blood work can change everything and put PERSPECTIVE back in it's place.  I will try really hard not to have any more lessons about this. I GET IT.... forever I hope.

I am GRATEFUL for just being here in relatively good health, with my wonderful husband, our incredible grown children and their spouses, my group of awesome friends who have been there for me on this journey.  To celebrate this holiday season with them all. 

Here is  breakdown of what I have learned:

1. BACK UP  YOUR PHONE
2. DON'T LET IT RUN OUT OF BATTERY LIFE
3. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE "FIND YOUR PHONE" APP INSTALLED
4. USE A PAPER CALENDAR TOO
5. KEEP SOME KIND OF RECORD OF YOUR IMPORTANT INFORMATION SOMEWHERE
6. IT'S NOT THE END OF YOUR WORLD.... A PAIN .... BUT NOT THE END IF YOU LOSE IT
7. ONE PHONE CALL CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE SOMETIMES FOR THE BETTER AND SOMETIMES NOT... REMEMBER THAT.

From me
- I wish you all good health and a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays if you prefer)

Gwen



Friday, 22 November 2013

WINTER GIVEAWAY

WINTER GIVEAWAY

SWEETART SUPPLIES

 
 


I know it's been awhile since I have done a giveaway - and there are lots of ways of doing one... for me I like simple without too many instructions or things I have to do to enter.  There is easypromo on Facebook or the "copter" one - which personally drives me crazy, having to like dozens of pages, tweet, or well the list can go on and on. So here it goes -- very simple and easy first make sure you live in Canada or the USA (not Hawaii or Alaska). One entry per household and you can get one more entry with any order over $10.00

That's easy right?  .. ok then email me with the subject line WINTER GIVEAWAY before December 15th and tell me you want to win - make sure you put your full name, mailing address and phone number.  I won't email you or bother you but if you win I need to get hold of you.  Please type it the way it needs to be addressed on the package. ( so I don't have to retype it)  That's it...  Enjoy!  Feel free to share the contest with your friends ( you never know there might be something special for doing that)

A variety of liners, toppers, diamond shape quins, and 4 decorating tips # 8, 32, 20, &2

 EMAIL Me :)
 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Maple Bacon Buttermilk Scones


Maple Bacon Buttermilk Scones
(admit it I had you at Bacon)


I saw a video on this - I think it was from Jamie Oliver on youtube.
They looked so good and savory plus... they had bacon in them!  I am hooked on good -- I mean really good bacon!  We have a local store here called the Red Barn that has double smoked bacon and in this recipe -- it is awesome!

When baking or cooking it really does pay to use quality products - good wine, good vanilla, real maple syrup... it just makes a difference.

Maple Bacon Buttermilk Scones

Fry up about 1 cup of bacon - I used 6 slices and then chopped it up - set aside.

3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Combine this together in a medium bowl.

1 Cup Butter - Cut in very cold non salted butter and blend well with a pastry blender so you have tiny crumbs.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and add 
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
3/4 Cup Maple Syrup (real syrup)

With a fork combine the wet into the dry - do not over mix it - it should come together but without a lot of work or time.

Stick it in the fridge for about 10 minutes. 

Turn your oven on to 350 degrees ( I do 325 with my convection oven) 

On a floured surface - shape it and roll it till it is about 1/2 inch thick.  

I used my round fluted cutter and was able to get 15 scones out of them -- they are about 3 inch circles.

On a parchment lined cookie sheet place them with little space between them.  

Make an egg wash = 1 egg and 2 Tablespoons of milk (or water)
and brush over the scones.
Sprinkle with course sea salt - not much just a touch!


Bake (350) for 25 minutes.

Take out and place them on a light cotton tea towel on a cookie rack and cover lightly with another tea towel.

Served warm is always best - but you can always rewarm them for that fresh out of the oven taste.


I hope you enjoy this as much as our family does!

Gwen 









Thursday, 31 October 2013

ALMOND BUTTER CRUNCH

ALMOND BUTTER CRUNCH
by
 
 
I have never made anything like this before -- and I am hooked!  I had some very wonderful Almond Butter Crunch given to me by friend Lorna from Your Perfect Gift.  ( if you order one of her awesome gift baskets -- make sure you ask for some! It is made by Frazer Valley Gourmet. (and it is gluten free)
 
I can't even begin to tell you how wonderfully smooth and delicious it is!  I had to try and at least come close to delectable treat.  I searched all over the internet and came up with a few different recipes that I thought might work -- I kind of looked them over and came up with what to do.
 
 
I did have a candy thermometer and that is a must when doing this recipe. I tried to do a little video -- to show you what it looks like... make sure your thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pam - or you will get a false reading.
 
Recipe:
1 cup of butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1Tablespoon of clear corn syrup  ( next time I am going to use pure maple syrup!)
1 cup toasted slivered almonds -- (next time I am going to use chunks of almonds too)
1 cup of toasted slivered almonds for the topping - crush really well
 
It is very important to melt the butter, sugar, water and syrup all together -- don't melt the butter first!  It changes how things come together.
 
This takes a bit of time -- it gets up to the 200's very quickly but takes longer to reach 300 degrees
It will bubble away - just keep an eye on it and stir it every so often.
 
Once it reaches the temperature - remove from heat and stir in one cup of the almonds right away.  It is important to have everything ready to go - so get your almonds toasted as the mixture is coming to the correct temperature.
 
Pour onto a cookie sheet - there is no need to grease it because of the butter in the  recipe.
You can pour it all together or make round dollops of it if you are making some for gifts.  Or cut it right away into bars... or just break it up once it is cool... your choice.
Let it cool completely -- really don't skip this... then add either melted milk or dark chocolate on to the top! (I recommend using good chocolate)  Cool it again and then it is ready to eat!   OMG it was so good!!   
I will update this as I make it again and try and get better pictures and directions... until then if you have any questions feel free to ask.
Gwen
 
 
 



Thursday, 24 October 2013

Rambling thoughts from our little business meeting

 
As a home based business it is nice to be able to sit down with others and bounce ideas and information off others who are in the same boat.  That's what we did today - I always feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  Lorna from Your Perfect Gift has the most amazing gift baskets - I know how much work she puts into each basket order.  Getting ready for Christmas as a business can be frustrating because most consumers don't want to even think about it!  Lorna puts personal attention into her Christmas baskets so they are stunning and you won't be disappointed!(plus it when you send one - you look good too)  Also check out the Facebook page too! 
 
Kristina from Par-T-Perfect runs an awesome party event company!  Educating people to know that they make sure their equipment is properly maintained and checked all the time, insurance coverage is there, and the staff is well trained to make sure no one gets hurt.  Something most people don't think about when hiring a party company.  Check out their Facebook page too!
 
Myself (Gwen) from SweetArt Supplies have some incredible cake and cupcake decorating supplies, edible imaging and some party supplies too.  We now have two big bulk stores in Victoria - some of items we just can't compete with! Except as Lorna and Kristina pointed out a few things - FRESHNESS - our edible products don't sit on a shelf for months and months, Quality- our liners come from Sweden they are grease proof and don't lose the colour, and to me the most important thing - Sanitary.  Bulk items can have their place for many people - I prefer - if I have to buy from bulk personally to use bins that you put the bag underneath and fill it.  There is something about bins that you bend over so hair and stuff can fall into it, everyone's hands on the handle - etc --- don't get me started --- it just grosses me out!  Also most people who are selling their cakes - cannot take a chance of contamination of the products that they use.
 
We chatted about social media - that is making us all less social even when we are face to face!  I like picking up the phone or sitting down and chatting with people. 
 
If every one spent just once a month $10- $20.00 at a small local business - how much that would help us all!
 
We all have advertising challenges - and small budgets, so asking our customers to write a referral or note that goes on the website always helps especially an on listing sites like Shop in Victoria 
 
If you have bought something from us we would really appreciate a review :)
 
Here is the recipe for the Scones (repeated so you don't have to go hunting for them)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheese Scones


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1 1/2 tsp baking powder


1 tsp dry mustard


1/2 tsp salt


1 green onion chopped finely (optional) or chives


2 bacon strips cooked and chopped (optional)


4 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut up


1 cup (4oz) shredded cheddar cheese


2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese


1 large egg


1/2 cup buttermilk


Heat oven to 400F


Put flour, baking powder, dry mustard, and salt into large bowl; mix well


Add butter and cut in with pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine granules.


Add cheeses, bacon and or green onion and toss to mix


Break egg into the milk and beat with a fork to blend well.


Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms - do not over mix


turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and give 10 to 12 kneads. Cut dough in half and knead each half briefly into a ball, turn smooth side up and pat or roll into a 6inch circle.


Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.




Bake 12 - 15 minutes --- check at 12 or until medium brown.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Thanks in Giving


Thank you - a powerful word when you really think of it.  Yet sometimes we say it "like it is nothing" We don't give it any thought and sometimes we don't even give it a proper "You're Welcome". 
Yet if we don't hear it when we anticipate it - the lack of it or the silence of it not being said is as loud as a blow horn. 
I want to be sincere when I say Thank- you to someone because I know how I feel when I don't hear it. It's a strange feeling - it can happen once and you sort of notice it but think "maybe I didn't hear it". Although if you do something for someone many times and don't get a Thank-you or some kind of acknowledgement - you eventually just stop doing it and there is a sadness that starts to creep into your heart. 
So I realized tonight on this Thanksgiving weekend just how very important those two (four) little words are.  I hope this makes you think about these words - Thank-you and You're Welcome. 
So here is mine....
To my son and daughter Thank-you for being there through some pretty tough times and a lot of great times. I am proud to be your Mom. 
To my husband of 33 years - Thank-you. no one ever said it would be easy but we have never given up and we love each other. 
To my parents - Thank-you-  it doesn't seem enough but I mean it from the bottom of my heart. 
To my friends past and present Thank-you. I learned many lessons from each of you. Arigato Gozaimasu
And to those of you whom have supported me in my business even if it's through Facebook and maybe we have never met but we chat on Facebook - Thank-You for your words of encouragement, laughter and support on this journey. 

Thank-you and You're Welcome!👍😀



Gwen


Friday, 11 October 2013

Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday Dad


Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday Dad


This weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving. For me personally I have so much to be thankful for. It also falls on what would have been my father's 93rd birthday. He passed away 4 years ago and there isn't one day that goes by that I don't think of him and miss him with all my heart. I am grateful for having such wonderful parents. My Mom will 91 in February and is as sweet as ever.

This November will be 10 years since my bone marrow transplant.  I got to see my children grow up (something I didn't know if I would be here for)  see my daughter get married to a wonderful man. My son is with a wonderful woman and they have bought their first house. They are all happy - and as a parent I couldn't ask for anything more. 
 I have let go of relationships that were not healthy for me with no regrets. Some were harder than others to let go of - the time had come to move on and that's ok... I have reconnected with some old friends and have new friends in my life. (My Tomodachi- you know who you are)

I am thankful all the time- not just on Thanksgiving. I take the time to see the beauty that surrounds me- thanks to my daily walks with Libby. 

We see the colours of nature



I hope you are able take the time to breathe in the fresh air, enjoy your surroundings and have friends and family that bring happiness to your life. 
Thank you for taking the time to join me on Facebook and my blog - I appreciate and truely thank you. 
Cheers!
Gwen

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Lemon Loaf

LEMON LOAF
 
 
 
 
Two things I like - cinnamon and lemon!  On facebook the other day Life Tastes Good
posted this wonderful recipe for a Lemon Loaf.  I have made it twice in three days and I am making it as a birthday cake for my friend on the weekend.  I also think it would make a wonderful Orange Loaf too, by substituting orange for lemon.  I will be making that soon too! 
 
Mr. SweetArt devoured the first loaf that I could barely get a picture taken!! 
So this time I made it late in the evening so it could cool and he wouldn't get in to it. (sneaky)
I made changed a couple things from the original recipe and here is my version for it - I used my whisk on my kitchen aid as I don't have a food processor.
 
This is light and fluffy - a wonderful flavour of lemon!
 
LEMON LOAF
Ingredients
 
  • 3 eggs (large)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened (unsalted, as always)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
For the GLAZE
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (for the glaze)
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon zest
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9"x5" loaf pan with parchment paper. Allowing extra so the parchment hangs over the sides for easy removal. No need to spray the parchment. Be sure to have oven preheated and pan ready to go before the batter is ready. You want to get the batter in the pan and into the oven as soon as it is mixed.
  2. In a mixer or food processor combine 3 large eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 2 tablespoons of lemon zest and 1/3 cup lemon juice and blend until well mixed.
  3. Add 1 -1/2 cups flour to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix until just combined. Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil and mix until combined.
  4. Immediately pour batter into prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes until toothpick or cake tester inserted 1/2 way from the edge comes out clean. The top will bounce back when lightly pressed and won't jiggle.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan and then remove from pan. Leave on parchment and prepare the glaze by mixing 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons whole milk and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of zest. Add more sugar if you prefer a thicker icing. Glaze the cake, slice and enjoy
 
Thanks again Marion for the recipe and inspiration of this wonderful lemon loaf!! Head on over to her page and check our her website too!
 
And of course - our Facebook page and website too :)
 
Enjoy
Gwen



 
 


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Basic White Bread

 
Basic White Bread
 
 
 
First off I am not going to go into the good, bad or ugly of "White Bread"  For me-- once in awhile I love to enjoy fresh white bread - plain and simple.  It brings back wonderful memories of my childhood - and it just tastes wonderful!
 
There is something special that happens in a home when bread is baking - the aroma fills the air and engulfs everyone that enters the home.  Taste buds light up, smiles appear out of no where and it puts you in a good mood.  Add some fresh jam and a cup of tea and you have a friend for life - or at least until the loaf is gone!
 
Don't be afraid to try making bread - it's really quite easy and once you catch on to how it should look and feel as it is rising you can start experimenting!
 
I personally use saf-instant yeast ( I usually have some on the website - just call and check if you don't see it there as I sometimes squirrel a couple away for myself)
 
Ok so here it is and how I do it- I use my Kitchen Aid Bowl
 
BASIC WHITE BREAD
 
In the bowl of your kitchen aid add
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
(I still like to "proof" my yeast - most of the time but you don't have to, it's just my preference)
 
I let this sit for a few minutes then stir the yeast and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
 
Add 2 cups of flour to this mixture and start to stir on low
Then add:
1 cup of warm milk
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup warm water
(I take a large measuring cup and warm it all up together)
 
Now start adding the flour  - this is the part where you don't really follow how much
3 more cups of flour at 1/2 to 1 cup at a time.
You want the bowl to be scrapped clean by the kneading action of the dough hook.  I start with 1 cup and then slowly add more and knead it in.  You want your dough to be slightly tacky -- sticks slightly to your hand when you handle it.  That's when you know you have enough flour in it.  If you add too much flour your bread will be fry tough.
 
Place your soft dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a light tea towel until it doubles about 2 hours.
 
Once it has doubled it will look silky and beautiful - gently place it on the counter and divide it in half and gently lay it out on a slightly oiled counter (SLIGHTLY) just enough so it doesn't stick.
 
shape into two loaves and place in parchment lined loaf pans.  Cover again with plastic wrap and the towel and let rise for another hour. 
Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes depending on your oven.  It should sound hollow when tapped. 
 
For best results do not cut the loaf until cooled (GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! )
 
Enjoy!!
 
Gwen
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Flour and stuff... measuring makes a difference especially with Biscuits

 
BISCUITS
 
Measuring flour who would have thought... there could be that big of a difference in a recipe!
Even after cooking and baking for over.. yes over many years - ok 40 years plus I've learned something new!

So I saw this little video about making biscuits - something I have done for years and the lady said to measure out the 4 cups of flour and of course use a knife to get exactly one cup. Now I know some professionals use weight and not cups for an accurate measurement - but sometimes I am just whipping them up and can't be bothered!
After measuring the 4 cups into a bowl they say to lightly fluff it with a fork - not sifting it or over beating it - just a light fluff.   I was shocked to see I had almost 3/4 of a cup extra!  In fact I was so shocked I re-measured it.
So I gently put together the ingredients for my biscuits - not over mixing anything.... gentle mixing
that's the key to light and fluffy biscuits and of course cold butter.  I know some recipes use shortening - but I just don't use that stuff...


This recipe used a very hot oven - 500F for 10 minutes!

and they came out light and fluffy!


Biscuits
4 cups of AP flour ( measured and then fluffed and re- measure to 4 cups
1/2 cup cold butter cut into small piece.
Blend butter and flower together with a pastry blender until the butter is in small bits.
Add:
6 tsp baking powder (I did the same thing measuring the Baking Powder - fluffed it out)
1 tsp salt
Mix this all together - lightly :)
Add:
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of buttermilk
Gently bring the dough together until it is just mixed together.
Put on a lightly floured surface and gently form so you can lightly roll it out.
Lightly rolling means using almost no pressure - just a little bit to shape it up and so it's about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut into circles and bake at 500 for 10 minutes.
ENJOY!

Hope you see a difference on how light and fluffy these biscuits are!
They got Mr. SweetArt's approval!

Gwen
SweetArt Supplies


Monday, 1 July 2013

Light and Summer Fresh Pasta Salad

 
 

Sometimes I surprise myself and create something of my own - this is one of those things.  Some of the Facebook pages I follow have posted a lot of pasta salads -- it's hot - you don't want to cook and you want something light and flavourful.

I started with the big pasta shells - cooked and cooled.
I had a huge beautiful avocado on my counter, tomatoes, cucumbers and some lemons - that came with a cool spout that you just insert and then squeeze for fresh juice!

I seeded the tomato and used an English cucumber - if I had had a red pepper I would have put that in to for a little more crunch.

I had some fresh baby romaine lettuce and tossed it all together - it looked wonderful now I needed to create something yummy to dress it up.

hmmmm what do I have .... oh Mrs. Jones Jams I have......Roast Garlic Jelly and Pineapple Jam

Roast Garlic JellyPineapple Jam
 
so in a small bowl I scraped the last little bit on Pineapple Jam out - I maybe got a tablespoon - I could have used more!
I added about 1 tsp of  Roast Garlic Jelly
I squeezed almost the whole lemon for all the juice.
I then added some nice olive oil...
 
It still needed a little more punch!  Pixie Chicks Spices!!  Saigon Dreams!!  A perfect fit!
"This lemongrass, cilantro, citrus, brown sugar & red chili love boat will have you lazily drifting down the Saigon River in no time!
Say that fast three times." (from their website)
 
How I did it..... (aka recipe)
 
3 chopped and seeded roma tomatoes
1 large chopped avocado
1/2 English cucumber
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup fresh romaine or spinach (tear to small pieces)
Dressing...
1 Tablespoon of Pineapple Jam ( I could have used 2 Tablespoons at least)
1 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Jelly
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Saigon Dreams
Juice from one lemon
 
 
My son and daughter-in-law showed up from camping and I had just finished making this -- I offered it to them - and it was a big hit!  Light and refreshing - perfect for the hot summer day we are having.
 
A nice switch from my go to pasta salad - especially when you have a wonderful avocado and some great local ingredients and products to use!
 
I hope you enjoy it  - and please check out the websites for them and follow them on Facebook!
 
Of course don't forget to check us out at SweetArt Supplies and on Facebook
 
Gwen
 
 
 


Monday, 24 June 2013

Cheddar Bay Biscuits - with my own twist



Do you think making biscuits is time consuming or too difficult?  It really isn't!! You only need the ingredients, a bowl and spatula and of course an oven...and a cookie sheet... ok you catch my drift - I presume you have those types of things..:)

The baking of biscuits is 12 minutes!  It takes maybe 10 minutes at the most to throw these together!
I have been baking these for a long time - I don't know where I got the original recipe but here is one from The Brown Eyed Baker and recently Wish and Dishes post on Facebook and reminded me of how much my family loves these. So the other night I made them - and in about 30 minutes most of them were gone. 

So today I made them again but added a little extra punch by sprinkling in some Tuscan Sunset from Pixie Chicks, it really added that extra little something to them.


INGREDIENTS:
*makes about 10 -12 biscuits*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Tuscan Sunset
 4 ounces cheese, shredded (about 1 cup shredded) I use 1/2 cup sharp cheddar or marble and 1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese
1 cup buttermilk, cold
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 5 minutes
For the Topping:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Stir in the cheddar cheese; set aside.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and melted butter until the butter forms small clumps.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix gently with a rubber spatula just until a dough forms and no dry ingredients remain. Do not over mix!  Using  a greased ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out portions of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leave a little more than an inch between each biscuits.
Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 12 minutes. When the biscuits are in the oven, stir together the 2 tablespoons melted butter, garlic powder and parsley. Remove the biscuits from the oven and immediately brush with the topping mixture. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes (IF you can wait that long) before serving.   Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container - IF you actually have any left over!!
 
I hope you give these a try - they really are quick and easy and taste so good!
 
Gwen
 
 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Struesel Topped Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

SweetArt Supplies

 
As most of you know I really enjoy making muffins -- and even more so in these beautiful parchment paper Tulip Cups.
Muffins are so easy to make and quick to bake - everyone enjoys waking up to a fresh homemade muffin in our home!  Cinnamon is kind of a favourite here and the only thing is and I am so excited to finally have found them .. is Cinnamon Flakes!!  The kind you find in the baked goods at Cobs or other places!  Cinnamon Scones will be the first thing I make when they come in tomorrow!  I have been looking for ages for a supplier and finally found one --- yes I am giddy over it.
So for now we have these wonderful muffins;
 
Struesel Topped Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins.
 
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Struesel Topping
2 TBS flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBS butter, softened
Preheat an oven to 350°F.
 
Grease 9 standard muffin cups/cupcake liners or with our Tulip Cups with nonstick cooking spray; remember to fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent your pan from warping.
 
For the muffins, in the bowl of an electric mixer using the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until pale and smooth.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and cinnamon.
Add to the flour mix to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until moistened and the batter will be slightly lumpy - not all smooth like a cake batter.  If you over beat it you will have a dry and tough muffin!
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full.
 
For the topping, in a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork or your fingers until the mixture is well blended.
Sprinkle topping evenly over batter and gently press down into the muffin mix.
 
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch ( toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean)
 
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes -  let stand until cool enough to handle.  If using the tulip cups or some of our greaseproof cupcake liners you don't need to take them out of the papers.
 
I hope you enjoy these!
Gwen

Friday, 1 February 2013

What's the difference?

SWEETART SUPPLIES

 

It's kind of funny how after 2 and half years in business that I just realised I have never really blogged about how and why SweetArt Supplies came to be and why I think we and our products are different.
 
This all started when I was recuperating from a bone marrow/stem cell transplant for Leukemia in 2003.  After a few years of "getting better" I needed something to do and I couldn't go back to the gift basket business I had before I was sick.  I have always enjoyed cooking and baking but even more importantly I needed to have control over what was in the food I was eating.  As I started to get better I also became concerned over what I used to cook or bake with.  Anything that could be questionable I try and avoid.  I did not like baking in cupcake liners that look really pretty but when you bake in them all the pattern disappears --- where the heck does all that ink go??  I don't want it into my baked goods - thank you very much!!  You bake your cupcake or muffin and it all gets stuck on the liner... yuck! Our cupcake liners come from Sweden and are greaseproof - they are compostable, biodegradable and just down right beautiful!
 
 
The other thing I try and do is order from Canada or the USA sometimes England products that are produced there - the quality is better and I had many of my customers who just won't buy items from certain places.  For instance our paper straws are made in the USA, they are very sturdy and are great for cold or hot drinks - many people use them for parties, cake pops or decorative accents on cakes or cupcakes.

 
Another great item we carry are the party/goodie bags from the USA.  They are stronger than what you find at the dollar stores.  So your goodies won't fall through the bag :)  The patterns are unique and you never have the ink come off on your hands and they don't smell funny either!
 
We carry Cupcake Cuddlers or otherwise known as Dressed Up Party Cups because they are not just for cupcakes!  You can put candies, a flicker fake candle, a little cup with ice cream in and of course your cupcake!  We even have bride and groom cuddlers!  These are hand made down in the USA and the company employs physically and mentally challenged adults.
 
My personal philosophy is I do my very best to treat people the way I want to be treated.  If I don't know something I will try and find out for you.  If I don't carry it I will try and bring it in or find out where you can purchase it. I really enjoy getting to know people through the Facebook page
and at one point in time - the numbers of "likes" was so important... and now it's the people who continue to follow my posts, chat, share and sometime I am lucky enough to meet them!  I don't get upset if the numbers go up or down.... it happens.  Facebook has changed the way people see business pages - which is unfortunate, but I can't do anything about that - so I don't worry about it.  I just keep on trucking.  Sometimes people can get nasty or rude on Facebook pages - it's my page I just delete the post - there is no need to get people all riled up over it and spread the unhappiness.
 
The business is growing and I hope to add new items and ideas for you!
 
On  a more personal note:
I've learned something on my journey of life and that is in SPLIT second your life can change so dramatically that all this little stuff really doesn't matter.  You can lose your friends, family and people that you thought would never hurt you - do. 
I've learned to stand up for myself and accept my short comings - none of us are perfect or better than anyone else.  I live my life for me and my own personal family.
People can hurt you and disappoint you - it's your choice how you choose to deal with it. 
If you don't have your health - the rest is hard to enjoy. Living with pain sometimes just sucks...  so pick up the phone and make someone happy to hear from you --- don't complain to them.
Laugh I mean LAUGH - really it's good for you!
 
I have good days and really good days.... I prefer the latter. How about you?
 
Gwen
 



Thursday, 10 January 2013

A Little Bit of Everything Cookie

SWEETARTSUPPLIES

 
A Little Bit of Everything Cookie
 
 
I've been following Becca from It's Yummilicious and her facebook page - I enjoy her site, recipes  and her wonderful pictures!  She posted an awesome picture and recipe of her Monster Cookies and I thought - what a great way to use up all the little bits of candies from all my Christmas baking! I had little bits of this and that....

 
 
As you can see my ingredients are a little different but made up the a total of 2 cups of  candy - I had a bit of the mini peanut butter cups, vanilla chips, M&M's and chocolate chips.
 
So here it is - with a little twist ...
 
Ingredients:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 4 ounces, softened
  • 2 cups of mixed candies M&Ms, mini chocolate peanut butter cups, milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
Here's is what you do to put it together......
 
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oatmeal, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
Using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium-high speed to incorporate each one completely before adding the next. Add your vanilla extract and then Add the peanut butter and mix on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
 
Turn off the mixer and add the dry ingredients and then mix on low, mixing only until BARELY combined. Over mixing will result in a tough cookie. Use a wooden spoon and stir in the 2 cups of candies and chocolate chips.
 
Scoop a medium spoonful of dough about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
 
Bake the cookies for 9 minutes. DON'T OVER BAKE – the cookies should just be set, but still slightly wet on top and very lightly golden around the edges. Let the cookies sit for 1-2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
 
Store in a airtight container for up to 4 days (the baked cookies freeze well, also).
 
Notes *** Granulated white sugar can be used instead of powdered sugar, increase the amount to 1 and 1/4 cup.


The cute little COOKIES BAG are available on our website.

Original Recipe from It's Yummilicious

 



Saturday, 5 January 2013

Smell that Bread! No-Knead Bread

 
No-Knead Bread
 
 
 It is almost like you can smell it just from seeing the picture!
 
So right to the recipe -- super easy but you need to plan the day before because it needs 12 to 18 hours to be done.  My dutch oven was my Grandma's and then my Mom's and now mine - many roasts, baked spaghetti, and loaves have been baked in this.
 
In a big bowl add:
 
 6 cups of All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of salt
Mix these two together first then add
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
and
2 and 2/3 cups of cool (not cold and not warm) water.
**Note feel free to add seasoning at this point too - rosemary, Italian, herb***
 
Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together - it will be very sticky.  If you find it a little dry just add a little more water a bit at a time.
 
Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and a light tea towel.  I place my bowl in a warm part of the kitchen (not near any drafts) and wrap the bowl with a couple of heavier towels.
 
Let it sit overnight for at least 12 hours - 18 is good too!
 
When your time is up - add some flour on your counter and pull out the bread - don't do too much to it - just enough to make it into a ball.
 
Place it on a cookie sheet covered with a  well floured cotton towel seam side down.
Cover again with another cotton sheet (make sure there is flour on the top of the bread ball)
Let rise for about 2 hours.
 
After an hour and half - turn your oven on to 424 degrees F.  Place your dutch oven in the oven while it is warming up.
 
When your oven is ready - take your dutch oven out and carefully pick up your loaf in the tea towel and drop it into the dutch oven - shake it a bit to centre it in the dutch oven.  REMEMBER the dutch oven is hot so don't forget your mitts! :)
 
Put a lid on the dutch oven and put back in the oven for 40 minutes
Then uncover and continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
 
Place on cookie rack to cool for about 1 hour--- ok try and let it cool before you slice into it- it really is important not to slice a hot loaf of bread.

You need it place it on the rack so the bottom doesn't get soggy. And if you cut it while it is hot the steam will escape and result in drier bread. I will confess I don't always follow the rule because it's so hard to resist bread out of the oven ... it is almost torture having this wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen and being told to wait an hour to eat it.

 
 
Enjoy!!
Gwen

PS
I had people ask if they could just bake it in a loaf pan - I guess you could but it would not be the same at all!

Why?  Well a dutch oven holds a little secret when baking bread and that is to make a loaf that is soft and moist on the inside and crusty on the outside lies in the balance of heat and humidity. The long, (no) knead-free fermentation process allows the dough to develop good flavor, and then the Dutch oven creates the humid conditions needed for a crisp crust.  For those of you that are afraid to try bread - this is a great recipe to start with -- at true artisan bread! Why pay $6.00 or more at a bread shop when for pennies you can make this and you feel so good about doing it and of course eating it too. :) 
This is great as toast too!


 
 
 
 
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