Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday at the Baker's Market

I am thrilled to be at the Vancouver Baker's Market for the next three weeks. Each Saturday, until December 11th, I will be selling my gourmet marshmallows, marshmallow sliders, marshmallow pops, holiday cookies, holiday candies, and my Auntie John's Cheesy Shortbread. I will also be debuting Smarshmallows- a confection invented by my 2 1/2 year old daughter. They are delicious.

Drop by for a sample of one of the many gourmet marshmallows that I will be featuring, or pick up a holiday gift or box of treats for entertaining. I look forward to seeing you and helping you make the holidays very sweet.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I love Martha Stewart and how she broke my toe.

If you know me you know that I LOVE Martha. And I have found that people either really, really love her or really, really hate her. My love for her started many years ago; literally the first year that she published her magazine. I own every issue of Martha Stewart Living (with the exception of about 3 issues that were not returned to me) and have moved my collection to every home in Toronto and Vancouver over and over again. I have been a subscriber to 3 Martha magazines, watched her shows, visited her website about 12 times a day, and purchased her products at Macy's, Michaels, Home Depot, Kmart- you name it.

So, why do I LOVE her? She works very hard. Every day. I admire that she started her catering business when she was 40 and that blossomed into publishing and then creating a brand and media corporation that shapes our culture. She made home-making cool again. She took her passion and turned it into her life's work.

A few weeks ago, while baking, I reached for one of my cookbooks on a high shelf, and dropped it on my foot. I fell to the ground in pain and discovered that I had, indeed, fractured my toe. It was my favorite Martha Stewart cookbook. I can't be angry with her. After all, I have learned so much from her. But most of all, I have learned that work is about life.

I used to make a list of "career goals" and "life goals". One day I realized that the list should all be one and that my goals in both work and personal life are the same. And if they are not, then something will suffer. This is the secret to work-life balance. A phrase we all know and perhaps try to achieve. But I think it is misleeding. The "balance" isn't so much equal time/effort to two parts of our life but rather all aspects of our life being forgiving and accomodating. This realization helped me to respect my time more (because if I don't respect it, who else will?) and discover how I can create work out of my passion. Food.

My toe is starting to feel better. Which is good because I have a lot of orders to do in the coming weeks. And if I am going to have a workplace injury, at least it was in my kitchen, with Martha Stewart.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Story of my Almond Butter Crunch

I grew up with a Dad that loves to cook. He has his specialties but what may surprise many, is that he loves to make candy. Often we would rent a movie and he would pause it for a bit, only to return from the kitchen with bowls of candy corn. 

So naturally, I inherited Dad's sweet tooth. But we didn't grow up with a lot of candy and "junk" food in the house. The first time I had sugared cereal, for example, was summer camp in grade 9. I think I lived on Fruit Loops for two weeks for the sheer novelty. I grew up with my Mom cooking beautiful food, eating salmon that my Dad caught on fishing trips, walking to the market every weekend for our groceries and I was often sent to school with french bread and cheese in my lunch. I developed a rather sophisticated palette, I would say, for a teenager. (My Mother will never forget my Vegetarian period inspired by Sting- announcing it at the dinner table one night, all the while holding down a job at Wendy's).

Holidays were really the only time that we had a lot of sweets. One of my Dad's favorites is Almond Roca. Truly, a good confection with the combination of salty, sweet, buttery, crunch, chocolate. Mmmm. I am always trying to think of new recipes to test for Kimberley's Kitchen and my Dad's love of candy provides a lot of inspiration. I remembered recently his love for Almond Roca and set out to make something like it.

My Almond Butter Crunch has been my best seller since I started making it and it only has 4 ingredients. I love the simplicity of it and yet the final product is complex and one of those things most people won't take the time to make for themselves. That is why I make it. So that you can enjoy a treat made with simple stuff, inspired by my Dad.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Anatomy of a Marshmallow Slider

I love gourmet marshmallows. And chocolate, and sprinkles, and cookies. And then I though "let's put it all together!" And that is how I created the Marshmallow Slider.

I was stuck on a name for the cookie/sandwich/confection that I started making and selling. My cousin coined the term "slider" (as in burger) and it fits perfectly. Now, I create Marshmallow Sliders in over 20 flavors and shapes with some very festive ones for the holidays. Peppermint with crushed candy cane, Gingerbread with Smarties, Eggnog, and the very popular Coconut.

The anatomy of a marshmallow slider is simple- two cookies, chocolate, handmade marshmallow, more chocolate, sprinkles/nuts/candies. And there you have it.

Take a look!

Here I have started with two sugar cookies, a vanilla bean marshmallow, white chocolate, and chocolate sprinkles.

I then apply the "glue"- the white chocolate to the inside of each cookie.

I place the marshmallow and "glue" the other cookie with the chocolate.

I press it together and allow it to set- almost ready!

A little more chocolate and then the sprinkles!

And there we have it- a delicious Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Slider!

Marshmallow Sliders available to order in Mini and Jumbo-
visit the Holiday Menu.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Sisterhood of Motherhood

Having two daughters has me thinking a lot about sisterhood these days. I have one sister (no brothers, except for my brother-in-law who really has been a brother to me). She is older than me so by the time I was aware of the world, she was off living her life and we didn't have that much to do with each other. When I was 9 she moved away to travel and work and I rarely saw her until she moved back to Vancouver when I was 17. My sister and I started to get to know each other but we weren't very close. I moved to Toronto, she got married and had kids, we lived very different lives.

But all of that changed the day I told her that I was pregnant with my first baby. I think she was more excited than I was, and even though we had yet to find out the sex of the baby she bought it shoes. Of course. And luckily, it was a girl. My sister has two boys (amazing boys whom I love) so having a niece was going to be fun for her. She bought every girly thing you can imagine. But it wasn't just about the baby. I instantly felt a connection with my sister. One I never had. I had joined the club. Motherhood.

Since then, I have had a second girl. My sister is so close to both girls and has been the Aunt Extraordinaire. My oldest daughter simply calls her Aunty. But for me, having a sister that is a mom that I admire, someone I can talk to about pregnancy, recovery from c-sections, raising babies, feeding children, life with children, is something that has really changed me. I wasn't expecting to feel a connection with her in this way.

Now I have the sister I never really had before. And I am so happy that we are close now and sharing our lives now instead of wishing we had stayed close and kept in touch. Because now is when I really need a sister. Because Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is also the part of my life that brings me the greatest joy and that I feel most proud of. And now I get to share it with my sister. The sisterhood of Motherhood.