Happy Birthday w/ A Giveaway!

Happy Birthday!

One year.

365 days of publicly spilling my insides.

365 days of full stomachs, well fed friends and a floored family.

I have come a long way.

Happy Birthday!

One year ago today I went public with Little Red Delicious.  I was a nervous wreck.  Seriously, everyone was going to see what I was throwing out there and there was no turning back.  I made a promise to myself to not abandon this blog like I do with so many other things… like chia seeds for example.  I tried to make those work in my food like twice… now a have a 1 lb bag of chia seeds left on my shelf. I think I shook in my pseudo-sleep all night that night (not when I ate chia seeds, I mean when my blog went public).

Happy Birthday!

One year ago today I made cookies.  Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip cookies.  It is a recipe that will forever remind me of baking in my student house with my beautiful housemates.  These cookies got us through the hardest parts of university: midterms, hangovers and break-ups.  I remember how excited they were for me a year ago today :).

Happy Birthday!

In honour of the Vanilla Pudding Chocolate chip cookies I wrote about a year ago, I am now bringing you my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Even though there are enough “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipes out there they are all liars and you really need this one.  No, that’s not true.  Cookies are like little kids. Diverse, innocent, and all with their special place in the world.  We all have our own criteria for what makes a good cookie and I guess this is the recipe I grew up eating, so on top of the soft (almost undercooked),  brown sugar-y flavour with the perfect chocolate chip to cookie ratio, these cookies taste like home to me.

Happy Birthday!

Don’t freak out but, this recipe has always been right under the tip of your nose.  It isn’t ground-breaking, but there is a reason it is printed on the back of the Hershey’s Chipits package… and that’s because they taste amazing.

Happy Birthday!

And you don’t even have to take my word for it, because it is a birthday.  And what to you give on birthdays, well gifts of course. And how do bloggers give gifts? You’re right, in the form of giveaways.  I don’t have a new Kitchenaid Stand Mixer to give away, and I am not sponsored by any camera companies but I do have a handmixer from what I can only assume is from the 70’s (rocking a mustard yellow tinge to it) that is still alive and kicking!  Word of warning though, if you try to mix anything with a viscosity greater than water she’ll be a smokin’!  But actually I can’t give that away, it’s a fire hazard. All I have is a passion for baking and a love for sharing so my giveaway today is a simple one: a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Happy Birthday!

This giveaway is open to anybody living in Canada–I will express ship!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me which post over the past year you liked the most and why!  You have until Sunday, February 10th at noon to leave your comment before I randomly select a winner.  {Teri don’t enter. I will be home later today with cookies.  Plus as my mom you know you could never win, people would think it was fixed and complain… heck I would complain.}

Happy Birthday!

And for all but one of you who don’t win, I have included the recipe below for when you get your next cookie craving.  Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you!  And while you are in the process of leaving your email you can sign up to receive an email every time I post something new by following me ——–>(scroll up a bit)!

Thanks for the year of love and support and taste testing. If it weren’t for you I would just be an almost certifiably insane person talking to no one.  Which is pretty much how it is every day, in my own head, with no one listening but me (obviously), on a daily basis. Shrug it off.

Best,

Red

Red’s Childhood Chocolate Chip Cookies

Courtesy of Hershy’s

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing well.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop 1 tbsp balls of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet leaving about 1 inch between cookies {they will spread!}.  Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cookies sit on baking sheet for 1 more minute.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Wait at least 30 second and then go ape shoot.

Happy Birthday!

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Blueberry Oat Bars

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to floss more.  I can proudly say that in the last 23 days I have flossed 23 of them.  I know it sounds kind of gross to not floss on a daily basis (which is why I vowed to improve my gum health this year) but I am an individual that has not one but two permanent retainers cemented to the backs of my teeth.  That means that flossing goes from a 30 second ordeal to a 5 minute one that can’t be completed without a mirror and threaders.  If either of those aspects are missing- forget about it.  Starting to sound like way too much work?  Apparently, 50% of people do not floss on a daily basis.  73% of people would rather go grocery shopping than floss. Grocery shopping.  People would prefer grocery shopping! That makes a statement right there.

Blueberry Oat Bars

Maybe not all of you can relate, but certainly those of you who have had braces can.  And kudo’s to you if you have top and bottom permanent retainers and think I am ludacris for complaining about this.  I envy your patience, will and determination towards your impeccable oral hygiene.

With my distain for flossing I have become pretty good at avoiding foods that are prone to getting stuck in my retainer… well almost all foods…

Blueberry Oat Bars

Fresh, soft tortilla wraps are the absolute worst for reasons unknown to me.  That doesn’t mean I prefer stale tortilla wraps, I just make a conscious effort to only eat them in the privacy of my own home.  Corn on the cob is on the same list.

Blueberry Oat Bars

Oats though…oats may be one of the exceptions (and oranges, obviously).   They are nasty little culprits that I just can’t bring myself to avoid.  Funny enough, both of those ingredients can be found in this recipe.  I was standing in Starbucks one morning and made the mistake of perusing through the glass treasure box of treats when I laid my eyes on one of their Blueberry Oat bars.  Since I couldn’t afford the price or the nutritional information I scoured the Internet for a recipe I could make on my own.  I think I may have to include Canadian Living Magazine in my will.  Click here for their version of these Blueberry Oat Bars.  I would floss 5 times a day for the rest of my life to spend a minute in their test kitchen.

Blueberry Oat Bar

Why do they tickle all my fancies?  Because this recipe is about half the calories and fat of the Starbucks version, and for 24 bars is the cost of 2. Eat up!

Best,

Red

2012

In an attempt to not make this post ridiculously cheesy and philosophical, I will start this reflective post on a lighter note, spill my cliche guts towards the middle and end on a proud high note of all of the foods I have “accomplished” this year.  If my degree in Psychology taught me anything, it is that you are most likely to forget the “cheese” if I hide it in the middle somewhere.  Is anyone craving cheese now?

I will start with my top 12 favourite recipes of 2012.  These are the recipes that are deliciously fool-proof. Every time.  Like, Canadian-Living-tested-till-perfect amazing.  I originally wrote a little blurb about each of my favourite recipes but realized I was saying the same 3 things in as many different ways as a could: 1) This is the best thing I have ever made. 2) If I had only one thing I could eat for the rest of my life it would be this. 3) If you haven’t made this yet you are denying yourself happiness.  Apply to all.

1. Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

Om Nom

2. Portobello Burgers with Gouda and Roasted Garlic

Grilled Portobello Burgers

3. Chocolate Layer Cake aka Death By Chocolate Cake {aka blood sweat and tears cake}

Chocolate Layer Cake

4. Perfect Pad Thai

Perfect Pad Thai

5. Chocolate Caramel Crack

Caramel Crack

6. Roasted Tomato Soup

Yum

7. Cuzzupelle

Seducin'

8. Guacamole

Dad's Guacamole

9. Gooey S’mores Cookies

IMG_1472

10. Artichoke Bruschetta Chicken

COLOUR!

11. Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

12. Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade Jarred Tomato Sauce

Aside from all of these successes in the kitchen, 2012 was a great year.  Not to overwhelm you if 2012 wasn’t your year, but these past 12 months have been the happiest months of my whole life.  At the beginning of the year I was nervous.  How could I be so happy? Something will have to change eventually so enjoy it while it lasts! Well, it lasted.  I successfully finished my fourth year of University, was offered my first real job, moved into my first apartment {alone!}, became closer with my family–which I didn’t think was possible, made new friends and realized how important my old ones were to me, and fell more in love with my boyfriend.  I worked hard and was rewarded.  I started new hobbies and not only stuck with them, but improved at them!  I figured out what type of person I want to be when I grow up and started working towards that person. I had fun.

Only after reflecting on all of this have I realized that maybe it is the weekly reflecting that I do on this blog that has brought me all of this happiness.  Good or bad I can lay it all out on the line, venting about the bad so I can let it go and reminding myself of the good so I can appreciate it.  I also need to bake.  A lot. Which has always been a stress reliever for me.

I will continue blogging in 2013.  I will push myself to try new foods and go easy on myself when I am too busy to post on time.  I will continue to learn the ways of my DSLR and photoshop and practice more yoga– the one thing I abandoned in the last 12 months.

To end the post here is some visual proof of how far I have come in 2012. In list form (obviously).

Things I tried for the first time in 2012:

Almond Butter

Almond Milk

Artichokes

Avocado

Baba ganoush

Bananas

Blueberries

Cauliflower

Chia Seeds

Duck

Eggplant

Green Beans

Guacamole

Leeks

Lentils

Matzo

Pad Thai

Parsnips

Peas

Pumpkin

Quinoa

Salmon

Scones

Strawberries

Tomatoes

Zucchini

…and of course developed an obsessive relationship with cinnamon.

Everyone have a safe and amazing New Year!!

All the very best,

Red

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