Winter Comforts 2.0

Dinner this week was so much fun! There was some cookie decorating, ugly Christmas sweater wearing, giggles, delicious food, and an 8-year old Golden Retriever who decided she should sit at the dinner table and enjoy the meal too. After baking all day, my house smelled of gingerbread and sugar cookies — in my mind two of the essential smells of the holiday season. Annie made a delicious spicy bean soup which is perfect for a cold winter’s day and so simple to make, while Mary made a flavourful winter salad using pears and dried cranberries. A winter meal isn’t complete without a hot drink, so our Mexican hot chocolate from last year’s winter dinner made an appearance and filled our stomach’s with velvety chocolate magic.

Spicy Bean Soup:

Ingredients:

  • Onion, diced
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cans pinto beans

Directions:

  1. Sauté onions in some olive oil in a saucepan. Meanwhile, mash 1/2 can of the pinto beans and rinse/drain the remaining 1 1/2 cans. 
  2. Once onions are soft, add the can of fire-roasted tomatoes, green chilies, pinto beans, cumin, and chicken broth. Bring to the boil and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Spicy Bean Soup

Spicy Bean Soup

Winter Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Mixed greens
  • Dried cranberries
  • Sliced pears
  • Cranberry balsamic salad dressing

Directions:

  1. Put ingredients in a bowl and toss! Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Winter Salad

Winter Salad

Gingerbread Cookies: 

Ingredients:

Cookies

 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses

Frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. milk

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. 
  2. In another bowl or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until incorporated. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Use gingerbread cookie cutters to cut out cookies and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until they are firm and the edges are beginning to brown. Remove cookies from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and well blended. Add vanilla, powdered sugar and milk and beat until frosting is light and fluffy. Add food colouring if desired, and decorate.
Gingerbread people!

Gingerbread people!

Sugar Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough onto floured surface 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes.
  3. Bake 6-8 minutes. Cool completely, then decorate.
Stocking sugar cookies

Stocking sugar cookies

Mexican Hot Chocolate: 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and 1 cup of water over medium heat, whisking constantly, until hot, but not boiling, about 8 minutes (the mixture should be smooth). Pour into mugs.
Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Some other pictures from our festive night!

Pretty plates

Pretty plates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olga

Olga

So. many. cookies.

So. many. cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

Mary & Sydney

Mary & Sydney

Eating with us!

Eating with us!

Mary & Annie

Mary & Annie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the FND girls :)

Some of the FND girls 🙂

Happy eating, everyone!

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