Saturday, December 28, 2013

White Swan Wedding Cake

My latest wedding cake was so fun to make since it was different than all the others- with tons of white chocolate curls, 64 white chocolate hearts, and two white chocolate swans.

  • Chocolate Cake
  • Raspberry jam filling
  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream
  • Lots of white chocolate decor
  • 8ls/kg

Cookie Craze

Peppermint Meringue Kisses
 Every year at Christmas I like to go wild with my cookies. Since childhood it has been a tradition of ours to give cookies to family and friends. My Mom and I used to do this, and now I keep it up in my home. This year I made 14 kinds of cookies and candies. Here are some of the ones I made this year.

Outrageous Oatmeal

Date Pinwheels  (Aunt Karen's Favorite)

Carmel Almond Pinwheels

Peanut Butter Cookies (My toddler got a hold of this one and took a bite out before the picture was taken)

Pineapple Pockets

Molasses Cookies

Buckeyes, and 3 kinds of filled chocolates

Chocolate Crinkles with Mint White Chocolate

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies with White Chocolate Decor
Pepper cookies.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pecan Pie- Without Corn Syrup

So, Thanksgiving was on the way and I had even managed to get some pecans. I never buy them here, they are just too pricey. My Dad brought them from the States and I froze them- saving them up. Then to solve the lack of corn syrup dilemma I started looking for recipes without it.

When I made this one I must admit my hopes were high, yet rather doubtful. So much so that I even cut a sliver to taste before the big meal. Wow, this pie despite looking different slightly than the original version is every bit as yummy. So if you want to avoid corn syrup, or if you can't get it then try this recipe! My husband gave it 5 stars! For him to give a 5 stars if like winning the Olympics- he is the best/worst critic I have :)

I did not chop my pecans. I am also going to try making this with a mixture of walnuts, almonds and perhaps peanuts at work because we never buy pecans there, I am sure it will be delightful as well! 

Clicking on the photo will take you to the site with the recipe.

Pecan Pie V Recipe

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sprinkle Bakes

So I just stumbled upon the cooking blog Sprinkle Bakes and for the avid baker like me I am more than a little excited to try some of her recipes. Have a I mentioned here that I work very part time in a local bakery? For me that is a way to do my beloved baking and not have our family eating it all :)  I was looking for some new recipes and this looks so good. Can't wait to try it!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meat Salad

Here in Latvia they have a lots of salads. And at parties when they have a cold buffet people all bring something they could put together with what they had at home. Deli's here also have a huge selection of sometimes 20 or more salads. This is one of my favorites here and is a heartier version of potato salad. I had never made it at home until I found this recipe in my cooking magazine. Četras Sezonas- November 2013 edition. Here is the recipe with a few changes- I skipped the anchovies and capers.

Boiling the meat:
400 gram beef (I used pork)
2 branches of rosemary
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves

630 grams boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes
270 g. peeled, boiled, cubed carrots
130 g. boiled eggs, chopped.
280 g. dill pickles, chopped.
300 g. canned, drained peas

150 g. mayonnaise
3-4 t. Dijon mustard
7 cloves garlic- crushed.
3 t. Worcestershire sauce
300 g. sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

  • Boil meat in about 1-2 inches of water with the spices until thoroughly cooked. Drain. Cool and chop finely.
  • Boil potatoes, carrots and eggs. Cool, peel, chop so that they are uniform in size. 
  • Chop pickles and add that and peas to meat, potatoes, carrots and eggs. 
  • Mix dressing separately. Then add to potato mixture  Mix well, season to taste.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese
It has been brought to my attention that I have not been posting lately. The fact is I had no idea so many people even used or looked at this blog.

The fact that I haven't been posting doesn't mean I have not been cooking. Quite the contrary-yesterday I spent the whole day in the kitchen. Making food to celebrate my birthday. I made 3 cakes, a vege tray, a yummy meat salad and cheese fondue with curry meatballs, french bread and steamed broccoli for dipping.

But rather than sharing any of those party recipes today I want to share with you a comfort food. There are those foods that bring us warm, happy feelings from childhood and this is one of mine.

I don't make it often from scratch since it time consuming, and here in LV we can't get it in the boxed version. But when I do make it this is a recipe that looks like a good one, though I haven't tried this exact one I have made this several times and like topping it with cubed bread for a nice crunch.

Macaroni and Cheese

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Embrace The Season- Beet Salad -1

Summer is over, autumn too is nearly gone. With the changing of seasons means that the produce of summer also had ended. Here where I live the natives try to buy locally. And with this means the change of diet as winter comes.

The veges that will last the winter are those that can be kept in cellars and will still be able to add a bit of color and some vitamins to our daily diets.

I have decided to share some of these veges with you and some recipes to help each of embrace the changing of the seasons and eat more healthy by using locally grown veges.

I never ate many beets growing up in the USA, but here they are cheap and popular.

This salad is one that I am fond of here, it is fast, easy and even my kids love it and ask for more. I typically boil 4 medium size beets, which will last a couple of days and a couple of salads.

Beet Salad- Serves 2-4

2 medium size beets- boiled and peeled.
1-2 cloves of garlic-depending on how much you like garlic.
1-2 T. mayonnaise
salt and pepper


Boil the beets until tender. Peel them when cool, their peels slip off very easily without even using a knife. Grate the beets with a course grater. Finely grate or chop the garlic. Add mayo and salt and pepper. Stir and season to taste.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hot Peppers- Pickled.

Wanting some spice in my diet to remind me of home, and have a bit more than the bland cuisine here I got some seeds this spring and planted some hot peppers. My peppers ended up being very productive in our new green house and I had a TON of hot peppers.

So to please my husband and work up the peppers I decided to try pickling them.

We were very pleased with the results, and the visitors we have had have been enjoying popping these at times. ( A nice challenge for the male guest. Women here don't seem to go for the spicy things).

I got the recipe HERE

But as you can see I made a few changes, because I didn't cut my peppers and I used at least 3 cloves of garlic per jar.

Add some spice and zip to your life this winter.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wedding Cake

Last weekend I got to make my brother's wedding cake

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Eggless Pancakes

Since my little lady is allergic to eggs we have had to make some adjustments and try some new recipes. These are "her" pancakes which she asks me to make and comparing them with the ones the rest of us eat I would say these are pretty good.

Thanks for the Egglesscooking for posting this recipe!

Eggless Pancake Recipe

Monday, August 19, 2013

Whole Wheat Bread

From the Fannie Farmer cookbook. A nice simple wheat bread.


1 cup warm water.
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour- apx.

  • Dissolve yeast in warm milk and water. Add sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve. 
  • Stir in enough flour until dough is stiff enough to knead. 
  • Knead a few minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. 
  • Kneading, add enough flour so that dough is not sticky. 
  • Knead about 10 more minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. 
  • Place in greased bowl and let rise until double. 
  • Divide dough into two loaves, place in greased bread pans. 
  • Let rise until double. 
  • Bake about 45 minutes in 375 degree F. oven. Or 180 degree C. 
  • Remove from pans and let cool. 

Minestrone Soup- My version

I love soups when the weather starts growing more fallish. This is a favorite soup if you want to use some garden produce as I did today. This is a bit different from the minestrone soup you might know, but this is how I made it today and we enjoyed it with some fresh bread I made as well. YUM!


1 quart/liter or more beef broth ( I made my own using some beef). 
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 can white beans- drained.
1/2 cup chopped salt pork (speķis) or bacon
2 onions- finely chopped.
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 tomatoes- peeled and coarsely chopped
2-3 carrots, diced.
2 cups chopped zucchini
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley- chopped
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Optional: (Ingredients in the recipe which I didn't use)
3 stalks celery chopped
2 cups chopped cabbage
4 Swiss chard leaves.

  • Prepare broth. 
  • Cook up bacon so that the pieces become clear. Add chopped onions and cook. 
  • Add to broth, add carrots and boil until they are soft. 
  • Add all ingredients except for tomatoes- add those when the zucchini is soft. 
  • Allow to boil until tomatoes are soft and squishy. Turn off and allow to cool slightly. 
  • Serve, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Something Italian

Yesterday we had a wonderful time making Italian food with the girls. I had wanted to teach them to make tiramisu, since most people really consider that something special. I searched through lots of recipes, and reviews before deciding to try this one.

Tiramisu II Recipe

Then I wanted to find some yummy Italian recipes. I wanted something simple, delicious, but a little more fancy than just normal spaghetti or pizza.

I ran across the website Italian Food Forever and really fell in love with it. I found lots of new recipes I would like to try. But we made the following two dishes. The girls gave both dishes a flying 5 star rating!

Herb Ricotta Gnocchi - Picture from the site and clicking it will take you to the recipe.


Panzarotti-  Or fried pizzas. Picture is from the site and clicking on it will take you to the recipe. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today at the Bakery

So today was the day I got to try my hand at baking at this cute bakery. It was fun volunteering there today. But nothing went quite as planned.

It has been a long time since I baked in any kitchen, other than my own. And I had forgotten how very much ones kitchen plays into the general outcome of what one makes. I had a whole slew of unexpected problems and outcomes. Everything turned out well in the end, some things very well, and it seemed people liked my things in general. I wish I had had more time to concentrate on making things pretty- not sure if the goal was quantity or if I could have made less and focused more on making things pretty.

We will see what the outcome of this all turns out to be- who knows maybe I will end up working there :) Thanks to those of you who stopped by and said "hi". I appreciated the support of friends.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sweets for the Sweet

Made for a friend: 
  • caramels with various toppings
  • truffles

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Latvian Piragi. Bacon Rolls

Growing up I ate these and we all loved them and knew they were something special from the old country, Latvia. Not until I first came to Latvia did I taste a real Latvian pirag with spekis. Spekis is a  smoked pork fat, something like bacon, and gives such a wonderful taste and aroma. These are an essential at any holiday occasion here in Latvia. You can buy them at the bakeries, or if traditions are strong make yourself at home, like we did for Easter!

Try these and make sure to eat them warm!


Prepared Yeast dough

At least 600 g. spekis or ham, or bacon. (When I make these in the USA, I use 1 pkg. bacon finely chopped and ham as well as ham. Do no throw the bacon fat away!)

1 chopped onion


1 egg- beaten and mixed with a little water. 


 1. Choose meet. This is what the meat I used looked like. It is thoroughly cooked and read to chop. If you use bacon  you will need to cook it. Do no over cook it. It does not need to be crispy. Add chopped ham and onion.
 2. Mix all meat together, and add onion. Cook just until onion is tender.
 3. Roll a section of the dough very thin, and put a teaspoon of meat mixture near edge.
 4. Fold over and seal.

 5. Cut with a cup. By using a cup and folding you save time and it helps make them all uniform in size. If you don't like using this method  you can of course make little balls and roll or pat them out as we used to as kids. I much prefer the method Aunt Baiba taught me of rolling them out like this as it is much easier and faster.

 6. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash

 7. Let rise and bake until golden. YUMMY

NOTE: My grandma always would brush them with water and sugar mixture when they came out o the oven to make them shiny. Aunt Baiba didn't mention this so I skip it. It does make them sweeter if you desire that.

If you have left over dough you can make it into cinnamon rolls, or poppy seeds rolls.

Warm left over ones before serving- they are always tastier warm.

Yeast Dough- Aunt Baiba's Recipe

Everyone has their favorite yeast dough recipe. One you turn to in any situation, one for rolls and sweet breads, etc.

Wanting to get a recipe as near to my husband's mother's as I could find I turned to her sister. Aunt Baiba, she is a good Latvian housewife. We get farm eggs from her weekly and I knew her recipe would be authentic both for Latvian apple bread, and Latvian Piragi.

Her recipe is shown as closely here as possible- since of course she does it all on impulse.


1 liter fresh milk (if you can find it, if not normal milk will work)
200 g. butter
3 pkg. fresh yeast or 3 T. dry yeast
3 egg yolks or whole eggs
3 T. sugar

  1. Melt butter in a large pot, this is where you will mix and let the dough rise.
  2. Add milk and heat until just warm enough to add safely add yeast. 
  3. Add yeast, eggs, sugar and stir well. 
  4. Begin stirring in flour until you have a soft dough. 
  5. If the dough is too sticky add some oil, and a bit more flour. 
  6. She does not knead the dough, she only stirs it with a spoon and tests the stickiness. She says not to add too much flour or the dough will be stiff.
  7. Keep adding a bit of flour and oil until you have a nice, soft, yet not too sticky dough. 
  8. Let rise.
  9. Use form piragi, or apple bread or any other sweet bread you desire to make.
NOTE: I always use this dough now when I make  piragi, and it is light, and fluffy and never too sticky if done this way. Go by your feelings when deciding if it is right as far as stickiness. 

Friday, March 29, 2013


This is a thickened fruit juice, served as a sauce with other desserts, used as a drink, and served with whipped cream. The thickness determines its purpose.

Taken from an old Latvian cookbook "Majturiba". 


1 liter of water

200-250 g. of berries - fresh, frozen or dried (red currant are popular here, but you can use just about any combination. This is even made with dry fruit here- apricots, raisins, apples, prunes, etc. If using dried use only 100g. )

125 g. sugar

60-65 g. potato starch for thick, 40-45 g. for thin.


  1. Clean berries if they are fresh. 
  2. Place berries in pot, add water and bring to boil. 
  3. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. 
  4. Dissolve potato starch in a bit of cold water and add to boiling juice, stirring constantly. 
  5. Bring to boil, remove from heat as soon as comes to boil. 
  6. Cool. 
  7. Serve with desserts or use as a drink. 
NOTE: Recipe says to sprinkle the sugar on after you pour it into your desired serving container so as to avoid it having a film over the top. I have not had that problem and always dissolve the sugar in the juice. Other Latvians can feel free to comment and I can adjust this recipe. 

Coffee Mousse

This recipe is taken from a very old cookbook that belonged to my Mother- in -law. the book is called "Majturiba". The original recipe is very small and says to use 1/5 of an egg, which I have never seen in any other cookbook. I did the original recipe x5, which is the proportions I will share with you today.

At Lido, the most popular cafeteria style restaurant in Latvia, with tons of traditional Latvian food choices this is a dessert we enjoy. It is served in a pretty dessert cup, with a red currant ķiselis (something like thickened juice) poured in the bottom and a square of this on top. Yum!


250 g. cream
100 g. milk or cream ( today I used all cream because I didn't have any milk)
1 egg
75 g. sugar
10-20 g. coffee
10 g. gelatin.
Vanilla ( today I used a vanilla been scraped out)

Method: (May not be correct, but it is the way I did it and it worked. Hope if works for you, can see other recipes on the Internet for other directions)

  1. Dissolve gelatin in a bit of water, or milk. 
  2. If you use instant coffee you can add it later, but if you need to brew your coffee as we do here I made a very strong potion with about 1/2 cup of boiling water poured over the coffee grounds.  Let brew.
  3. Mix well and cook over double broiler egg and sugar, stirring constantly. It should become thick. Add vanilla and stir.
  4. I typically put my cup with the absorbed gelatin and milk or water into a water bath over low heat until it liquefies. Then stir this into the egg mixture. 
  5. Add instant coffee or espresso to egg mixture, discarding of grounds. LET COOL. 
  6. Whip cream until thickened and slowly pour in coffee mixture, continuing to whip until a nice thickened consistency.
  7. Pour into bowl, dessert glasses, or pan if you desire to serve it as I mentioned above. I put mine in a small rectangular glass pan. 
  8. Refrigerate until set. 
  9. Serve with ķiselis or pureed strawberries ( as we will eat it this evening).or just enjoy it plain

Saturday, March 23, 2013


These have been a favorite cracker in our home for a long time now. Thanks to Elina for the recipe she copied out of a magazine and gave me. My friend Gunta inspired me to make a larger batch and freeze some for later- thus always having some dough on hand.

You can divide the dough in balls and roll each one individually or roll it out and cut them with cutters like we did.

Healthy, and yummy and sure to please even the youngest in the family.


250 g. flour ( 2 1/4- 2 1/2 cups)
50 g. flax seeds ( 1/2 cup)
150 g. whole wheat or rye flour ( 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 t. salt
20 g. sugar (3-4 T)
1/2 t. baking soda
50 g. melted butter (6 T)
240 ml. kefirs, sour milk, buttermilk ( 1 cup)

  1. Mix dry ingredients. 
  2. Mix wet ingredients and stir into dry to form ball.
  3. Knead as necessary, and divide into balls of teaspoon size. 
  4. Roll dough in balls, or roll and cut. 
  5. Place on lightly greased cookies sheet. 
  6. Prick with a fork. 
  7. Bake at apx. 175 degrees C or 350 degrees F until golden. 

Marshmallow Time

Love marshmallows? Try making your own as we did yesterday. They are really very simple and you can find them HERE. Yum!These very much reminded me of "Peeps" the Easter candy. I was thinking of coloring some sugar and making different Easter themed designs with these yummy mallows.

These yummy s'mores were supposed to be coated in chocolate- but we were short on chocolate so we just stuck them together with it.

We also decided we had better give roasting them a try to see if these can be a substitute for our summer fun of cooked marshmallows. They turned black too quickly though and melted too fast- will have to find a different recipe for that :)

Thanks Sweetapolitia for another fantastic recipe :)